I stand by the argument that it is not home advantage that is killing the game but the rise of T20 cricket and players being unable to apply themselves and build an innings. I’m not suggesting all games should be like this, nor am I suggesting it was a perfect pitch. It was an entirely one sided game but not in the usual sense.
The pitch cannot be blamed if a home team is scoring 300+ totals and the visiting team can barely reach 150. Cricket is possibly the most diverse and adaptable game around. From the bowlers and their variations, to the batsmen and their game plans. It is ridiculous to suggest that just because a player is from another continent they cannot flourish in adverse conditions. Alastair Cook led England to an impressive win in India in 2012/13 and before this game, South Africa were on a nine series away win streak.
It is just as ridiculous to see how many people are complaining about a pitch that was prepared for spin when every country plays to their advantages. No one made a peep about the 500+ totals that Australia and New Zealand continue to rack up on flat pitches. What kind of cricket is that? It’s called cricket just because it lasts five days? People calling Nagpur out for being ‘rubbish pitch’ have no quarrels when a team scores 300 in a day without a wicket falling. This Test got results. This Test had an end game. It was a new challenge for everyone. India included.
It’s impossible to call it ‘home advantage’ when neither team can play. India overplayed their hand this time. There was no need for a pitch with such character. It overshadowed the bowlers own personalities. Ravi Ashwin still shone bright as he completely outplayed the current best and most adaptive batsman in the world, AB de Villiers. His performance however will still be muddled by suggestions that it was all the pitch. India did not need such a pitch to win the game. They have some of the most skilled batsmen in the world and their spinners could run circles around the best even abroad. If it was the case that India had suggested they wanted turning pitches because they believed they couldn’t win without it, I would be disappointed.
Spinners were the leading wicket takers on both sides. It was not so much an excessive ‘home’ advantage as it was an excessive ‘ball’ advantage. The fact that neither team could negotiate the spin says nothing about home advantage. Cricket is a diverse and adaptable game and suggesting that a sport has to follow an exact play every game is also unreasonable.