The third Test of the four-match series between India and England began on the 24th of February at 2:30 pm in Ahmedabad. It lasted for two days only, with India beating England by ten wickets. This was India’s second home Day-Night Test after the November 2019 match against Bangladesh. It also was the first international match to be played at the newly built Narendra Modi Stadium, also called the Motera Stadium. Formerly known as the Sardar Patel Stadium, it got renamed after the current Prime Minister of India. The new name for the stadium was revealed at the stadium’s inauguration by President Ram Nath Kovind.
History and Renovation
The original stadium, built-in 1983, hosted all international matches in Ahmedabad after that and has some of Indian cricket’s most iconic records associated with it. Sunil Gavaskar became the first cricketer to reach the 10000 run mark in Test cricket in 1987, and Kapil Dev became the highest wicket-taker in the world by claiming his 432nd Test wicket in 1995 at this ground. Its spectators were also witness to Sachin Tendulkar’s first Test double hundred and 18000th ODI run. It hosted the memorable India Australia quarter-finals of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Hosting India’s second Pink Ball Test against the formidable English team is another feather in its cap. The stadium had hosted 12 Tests, 23 ODIs and 1 T20Is till 2020. The old pitch supported seam bowlers, but the new pitch seems to support spin bowlers with no team reaching 150 runs and spinners claiming 28 of the 30 wickets in the recently concluded match.
The structure was renovated once in 2006 and was completely demolished in 2015, making way to construct the world’s largest cricket stadium. Allegedly proposed by Narendra Modi, the new stadium can accommodate 1,10,000 spectators, around 10000 more than the previous record-holder- the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Larsen and Toubro won the tender bid for ₹677 crore, but the final cost ended up being around ₹800 crore.
Features and Facilities
Owned by the Gujarat Cricket Association, Motera has been receiving praise from all quarters. Former England player Kevin Pieterson praised its magnificence on his Twitter timeline.
India’s premier off-spinner, R. Ashwin, dedicated an entire episode on his Youtube channel describing the ground’s features and facilities. The earthquake-resistant state-of-the-art complex has a clubhouse, an Olympic size swimming pool, four dressing rooms, an indoor cricket academy, a 3D projector theatre, badminton and tennis courts, table tennis and squash areas and three practice grounds. The four dressing rooms were supposedly added to prevent congestion during IPL double-decker matches.
The stadium is spread across 63 acres (e) of land, with the field having a record 11 pitches, some being red soil and some being black soil. A food court is available at every stand. This ground’s unique feature is that it does not have floodlights like most other stadiums worldwide but has LED lights on the roof. The structure designed was such that it required no pillars, giving the audience an unobstructed view of the ground. It is claimed that the drainage system can drain the outfield in 30 minutes. The vast parking lot can accommodate 3000 cars and 10000 two-wheelers. The stadium has 76 corporate boxes, and each box can hold 25 people. The stadium has been linked to the Ahmedabad Metro by a skywalk to ease commuting for the commoner.
The stadium was recently used for the Namaste Trump event hosted by Narendra Modi in 2020, imitating the Howdy Modi event in Texas in 2019. It also held several knockout stage Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 matches.
Some controversy followed after the match began as the stadium’s two bowling ends were named Adani end and Reliance end. The Adani end was named during a Congress Chief Ministership, but the Reliance end is a new name. The Congress also attacked the ruling party for naming the stadium after the Prime Minister and alleged that this move lowered India’s first Home Minister Sardar Patel’s dignity.
The pitch was subject to heavy criticism as the match could not last more than two days. Joe Root, the English captain, got five wickets for eight runs in the first innings and said, “I think it sums up the wicket if I am getting a fifer”. Yuvraj Singh also took to his Twitter to share his opinion about the pitch.