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Harbhajan criticises lifeless pitches

Cricinfo staff

January 1, 2010

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Contrasting emotions: Muttiah Muralitharan's silent frustration against Sachin Tendulkar's relief at reaching his match-saving century, India v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 5th day, November 20, 2009
Muttiah Muralitharan's expression says it all; the Ahmedabad pitch was a nightmare for bowlers © AFP
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Players/Officials: Harbhajan Singh
Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of India
Teams: India

In the aftermath of the Kotla fiasco, offspinner Harbhajan Singh has lashed out at pitches that have nothing for the bowlers. While the abandoned ODI in Delhi was a result of a "dangerous" pitch, tracks such as the one used in the high-scoring draw between India and Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad were also unfit for cricket, Harbhajan said.

"The Ahmedabad pitch was purely a batting pitch and bowlers, be it me, Amit Mishra or Muttiah Murlitharan, were butchered by the batsmen, which was not at all justice to the bowlers," Harbhajan told PTI.

A total of 1598 runs were scored in the Ahmedabad Test for just 21 wickets; there were seven centuries in the game, including a double, and Harbhajan's figures were 2 for 189. "We should not play Test matches on such kind of wickets, because they will finish all the bowlers. They are not fit for any kind of cricket," Harbhajan said. "We should prepare wickets for Test matches, where fast bowlers can get advantage on initial days and later on spinners can show their talent."

Harbhajan added he was happy that India would be playing more Tests in 2010, for it presented a greater challenge to preserve the No.1 ranking. "It is great idea to play more Tests. Winning more Test matches this year, India can maintain top position in Test cricket," he said. "In 2009, we played only six Tests and attained world No.1. I hope this year we will at least play ten to 12 Test matches and by winning most of them we can strengthen our top position."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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