India’s curators are keeping all options open for the fourth Test, preparing two potential pitches for the Border-Gavaskar series finale in Ahmedabad.

Australia remains uncertain about which pitch will be used at the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium for the Test against India, starting on Thursday.

India coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma both had lengthy inspections of the centre wicket when the hosts trained at the Ahmedabad ground on Tuesday.

Pitch discussion has been a constant during the first three Tests, with India purposely rolling out spin-friendly surfaces to suit their chances of toppling Australia.

But those tactics backfired during the third Test in Indore as Australia pulled off an upset nine-wicket win in a match that ended early on day three.

Spin accounted for 26 of the 31 wickets taken at Holkar Stadium, leading to the International Cricket Council [ICC] slapping the pitch with the dreaded “poor” rating.

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After the match, Sharma backed India’s decision to demand curators prepare heavily spinning pitches that make it difficult for batters to play on, saying there was too much focus on the wicket block rather than the cricket being played.

Officials in Indian team uniforms have been spotted out near the centre wicket for extended periods ahead of all three Tests so far in Nagpur, Delhi and Indore.

“We want to play to our strength at home and not worry what the people outside are talking about. Our strength is spin and our batting depth,” he said.

“People have to play well for the game to last for five days.

Steve Smith, on all fours, rubs his hand on the grass at Narendra Modi Stadium. A woman with a watering can watches him.
Steve Smith gave the surface a close look ahead of the fourth Test.(Getty Images: Robert Cianflone)

“Games are not lasting for five days even outside India.”

Seven of the past 11 men’s Tests in India have ended within three days, including all three games of the current series against Australia, with the last game in Indore the only loss for the home side on those contests.

Former India Test player told ESPN Cricinfo during the third Test that a distinction could be drawn between seam-friendly pitches seen in Australia or England and the “rank turners” being served up in India.

“When you see a greentop, which has a lot of moisture in it, eventually it actually becomes a decent surface to bat on and maybe, at some stage, the spinners also come into the picture,” Chopra said.

“But, when you start a game where the puff of dust [on the pitch] is there from ball one … it just keeps deteriorating.”

The president of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA), Abhilash Khandeka, said Indore had been treated unfairly for the state of the pitch.

Indore was a last-minute choice to host the third Test after the Board of Control for Cricket in India [BCCI] on February 12 deemed the ground in Dharamsala to be unsuitable for the match.

“Two curators from BCCI had come eight to 10 days before the match. The pitch was prepared under their supervision. The MPCA had no role in making the pitch,” Khandeka told The Times of India this week.

“I want to make it clear that just like any other state board association in international matches, MPCA has no role in making the pitch.

“BCCI curators come and they get the direction from BCCI along with the Indian team management.”