Dhoni calls for “sporting” tracks

Colombo: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni today minced no words in criticising the placid track here after the dull draw against Sri Lanka in the second Test, saying it had nothing to offer anyone and he would have preferred calling off the match on the fourth day itself.

After Sri Lanka piled up 642 in the first innings, India replied with a mammoth 707 with the bowlers on both the sides getting the treatment on a lifeless track.

“On this kind of a wicket, 99.9 per cent of the time you will not get a result. People talk about sporting wicket, for me a sporting wicket doesn’t mean the one that seams around but it has to have bounce,” Dhoni said in the post-match press conference.

Asked whether the match could have been ended a day in advance, Dhoni said he wouldn’t have objected to such a suggestion.

“We would love to get an extra day’s rest (by calling of the match one day in advance if there is not going to be any result). It might be one of the options. They might decide, ok we have had one innings each and on the last day nothing is happening, may be call it off and have some nice food and drinks and have some time off,” he quipped.

Dhoni said sub-continental wickets are known to offer turn but he was surprised to find such a belter here.

“Sub-continent is known for the turning track. Apart from the first day, the wicket starts turning and the spinners get help and the fast bowlers get a bit of reverse swing going. But this was a placid track nothing in it for anyone,” he said.

“In the second innings when there was a bit of wear and tear, there was something for the spinners and they exploited it. I will prefer a turning track,” he added.

Dhoni said he had difficulty placing fielders because of the overtly batting-friendly pitch which forced him on the defensive.

“On a wicket like this you have to be really practical. If you have too many attacking fielders, we had one or two slips and a gully through out the two Test matches and nothing really went to them. That’s a really tough option because if you don’t keep them and there is one edge that goes through it hurts.”

“But I feel that if you have wicket that has nothing for the bowlers it’s always better to have semi-defensive field. Because on wickets like this you never know how to get the wickets. You have the option of getting the batsman to pull but if you have two fast bowlers and conditions like this you can’t really expect them to bowl eight-ten over spell,” he said.