Parthiv Patel has made a scathing assessment of England's spinners after India reached 146 for 1 on day two on a pitch that offered ample help for them. All 11 wickets on the first two days have fallen to spinners, with several balls turning sharply, but India made a confident start in reply to what looked like a daunting total of 400, given the conditions underfoot.
After the first day's play, R Ashwin had said he expected the pitch to become better for the batsmen on days two and three before disintegrating for good. Batting certainly seemed easier as M Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara batted out the first wicketless session of the Test on the second evening, but Parthiv felt that was purely down to quality of the bowlers.
"More than the surface, I think the quality of our bowling is far better," Parthiv said. "Our bowlers get definitely more revolutions on the ball than what their spinners are doing. And obviously, we vary our pace very well. We have deceived a lot of players in the air, rather than just waiting for the help off the wicket. I think there's definitely a lot of difference in the quality."
Asked what is it that the India spinners have done differently, Parthiv said the England spinners had been "exposed" in Mohali.
"We have definitely tried to spin the ball more than what they have tried to do, for sure," Parthiv said. "That's what even I felt in the last game also. Last game, the way our bowlers bowled in Mohali, where there was no turn and you could see how they bowled in Mohali when we were batting second, where they actually got exposed because there was no help in it.
"And we definitely have traditional bowlers who can vary their pace brilliantly. That's what [R] Ashwin, Jaddu [Ravindra Jadeja] and Jayant [Yadav] have been doing. That's why we have kept them quiet. As you know, on a red-soil wicket, it is very, very difficult to contain the scoring rate, and we did that in the second session [on day one] and that is the reason we got wickets in the third session."
England coach Trevor Bayliss had asked his players to bat positively coming into the Test, but to do so they had to take a few risks, which resulted in a collapse on the first evening. Parthiv felt India didn't need to do so because a release ball was always around the corner with England's spinners.
"That is definitely one of the reasons," Parthiv said, when asked if the India batsmen need not take risks because they can expect loose balls. "We don't have to go over the top and try and play a sweep or a reverse sweep because we know that a bad ball is coming soon."
There is certainly some truth to what Parthiv said about the spinners of both sides -- and there's no doubt that Jake Ball, England's No.10, rode his luck in helping Jos Buttler take England to 400 -- but this press conference also seemed a conscious attempt at a psychological blow.
Behind the babyface of Parthiv is a cheeky wicketkeeper, who as an 18-year-old got under the skin of Steve Waugh with his sledging. You could imagine he was doing the same when asked about his Mumbai Indians team-mate Buttler's effort, full of restraint, that has kept England competing in the Test.
"I think, honestly, he was very lucky yesterday," Parthiv said. "There were a lot of balls when there were inside-edges, and [some] missed [the] stumps by a very little distance, but I thought he batted well today. When you don't have any pressure, you tend to play well. Once wickets fell, he had to play with the tailenders and he played his game. I would love to see him defending a few in the second innings if it turns and bounces."
There was half a cheeky smile on his face as Parthiv said that.