A bunch of great comments on my previous post about Indian pitches and Test rhythms. I liked this one from Gareth:
As a New Zealander, I suspect that the whole ‘First morning’ part of a test match may be more fraught with a mixture of anticipation and fear than elsewhere. I love it, but there’s always the possibility that a team will be 6 down at lunch and the ball swinging and moving all over the place. This happens elsewhere, but here the conditions are more likely to stay like that all day and we’ll be deep into the opposition batting by the end of day one.
I agree; the pitches in New Zealand take the first morning anguish a bit too far. Ideally, you’d want a testing hour-and-a-half of the new ball, before the batsmen take over post-lunch. You’d then see another challenge late in the day after Tea. Five wickets down after Day 1 is a beautiful thing. I should also clarify one thing about my previous post: I could get behind the Indian rhythm of building up to a manic Day 5, where balls are zooting all over the place. But that assumes the pitch has deteriorated enough — and that’s not happening as much as before (at least to my mind).
One last thing: Indian pitches emphasize the value of winning the toss. If you bat first on an Indian pitch, you could — as Darren Bravo just showed — rack up a huge total. You then can put pressure on the opposition, who are exhausted and constantly facing the prospect of a collapse. They also have to bat last on a crumbling pitch. Fans of other sports would call this situation unfair, but I have long maintained this outsized role for fate and chance is what makes cricket great.