India's Cheteshwar Pujara
India's Cheteshwar Pujara is bowled out during the first day of the third Test against Australia at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on March 1, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Indore: The pitch India rolled out for the third test against Australia drew widespread criticism after 14 wickets, including their 10, tumbled on the opening day of the contest on Wednesday.

Milking 'home advantage' is commonplace in international cricket and India have never shied away from preparing pitches that would suit their spinners.

The first two matches of the four-test series were played on turning tracks and India wrapped up victory inside three days both in Nagpur and Delhi to make sure they will retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

But India got a taste of their own medicine on Wednesday when they were bundled out for 109 on a minefield of a pitch, where the ball spun sharply from the morning session and often kept low.

India's star-studded lineup lasted 33.2 overs with only Virat Kohli, their top-scorer with 22, facing more than 50 deliveries.

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For Australia, left-arm spinner Matt Kuhnemann (5-16), who was introduced into the attack as early as in the sixth over, claimed his first five-wicket haul in just his second test.

Australia's Matthew Kuhnemann
Australia's Matthew Kuhnemann in action on the first day of the 3rd Test match against India, at Holkar Cricket Stadium, in Indore on Wednesday. Image Credit: ANI

"It was mayhem," former Australia test batsman Mark Waugh said on Fox Sports.

"The pitch was not up to test standard, I think that's a fair thing to say.

"Balls going through the top (layer) in the first 20 minutes of a test match, that's not good enough." His former team mate Matthew Hayden said the pitch was overly bias towards the spinner.

"It shouldn't be a spin bowler's paradise necessarily, it shouldn't be keeping low and turning a mile on day one," he said.

"You're allowed to have a four or five day test match! Otherwise just call it as it is, we'll just play three-dayers." Former Australia spinner Brad Hogg quipped on Twitter: "One day test match anyone?" The match was moved to Indore only last month following concerns about the newly-laid outfield in the original venue in Dharamsala.

Australia finished the day on 156-4, riding on Usman Khawaja's fluent 60.

Khawaja would only call the pitch "spin-friendly" and does not expect it to get any better.

"It was spinning in the morning, spinning this afternoon, I think it's a pretty spin-friendly wicket out there," the opener told the broadcasters.

"I guess we'll know tomorrow. It's always hard to tell (on) day one. If I'm gonna be honest, it felt pretty tough out there the whole time I was out there.

"I don't expect it to get any better, if I can put it that way."

Did not play poor, rash cricket, pitch turned sharply due to moisture: Rathour

After his side's dismal batting performance in the first innings of the third Test against Australia in Indore, Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour defended his side's performance, saying that it was just an off day as a batting unit and pitch offered a more sharper turn due to moisture.

Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja continued his stunning show with the ball, but a second-wicket partnership between Usman Khawaja, who scored a fifty and Marnus Labuschagne, denied the hosts an opportunity to continue their domination over Australia, taking the visitors to 156/4 at the end of the first day of play in the third Test at Indore on Wednesday.

"The wicket was definitely challenging. It turned way more than we expected and the turn was sharper due to moisture. We definitely could have scored more, but I do not think we played poorly or rashly. It was just an off-day for us as a batting unit," said Vikram in a press conference after the end of the day's play.

But the coach remarked that as time went and Australia came to play, the turn became less sharp.

"Credit to Australia for the way they bowled, they bowled in good areas," he added.

The batting coach said that the side prefers to bat on turning tracks since "it is their strength."

"We prefer playing in turning tracks, it is our strength. This is a one-off wicket. The two wickets in earlier Tests were not bad, we preferred them. Today, it was drier than expected. Perhaps, curators did not get time to prepare the wicket as the shift of venue of match from Dharamshala to here was announced late," said Rathour.