India captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday joined teammate Ravichandran Ashwin in voicing his displeasure over the quality of SG Test balls used during the first Test against England as they went completely soft by the 60th over with stitches coming off their seam. The Indian bowlers, it was evident, were not happy about the condition of the red cherry but the two on-field umpires — Nitin Menon and Anil Chaudhary — didn’t pay much heed to their request for a change of ball. “Quality of the ball (SG-Test) was also not what we were very pleased to see as that was also the case in the past. Just the ball completely being destroyed in 60 overs is not something that you experience as a Test side or any side could be prepared for,” Kohli said.
The India skipper was speaking after his team’s 227-run defeat to England on the fifth and final day of the opening Test in Chennai.
“Having said that it’s not an excuse and England played better cricket and they deserve to win,” Kohli added.
There were reports that the Meerut-based Sanspareils Greenlands (SG) had manufactured a fresh set of balls for the series with pronounced and enhanced (heightened) seam, darker colour and harder cork, but it seems that problems that the players had with the quality of the balls, remains.
On Monday, Ashwin, who took nine wickets in the match, also said that they didn’t expect a torn seam with stitches being peeled off.
“I have never seen an SG ball tear (get torn) through the seam like that. So it could well be combination of how hard the pitch was on the first two days, even in the second innings after the 35th-40th over, the seam was getting sort of peeled off,” he said.
Ashwin called it bizarre and like Kohli, he also hadn’t experienced anything like this.
“It was bizarre, I mean, I haven’t seen an SG ball like that in last so many years, but yeah, maybe it could be due to the pitch and the hardness of it through the centre which is making the ball get scuffed up,” Ashwin said.
Ashwin hoped to know the reasons for this in the course of the remainder of the series. “We will have an answer for it going through the series,” said Ashwin, who had, in 2018, admitted that he felt more comfortable bowling with the Kookaburra.
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