By Far And Away, It Was The Worst Wicket-Ponting On Kotla's Slowly Turner > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - By far and away, it was the worst wicket - Ponting on Kotla's slow turner

Delhi Capitals batsmen struggled to adapt to the slow and low pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla

That the pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla is painfully low and slow was clear as early as the second ball bowled in the game. Prithvi Shaw was beaten all ends up in trying to cut a delivery that would bounce low and scoot under his bat. The slower cutters gripped, the knuckle balls more so, and there was spin on offer right from the word go. Mohammad Nabi bowled three overs in the powerplay for only 18 runs, and topped his first spell off with the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan.

Delhi know the kind of pitches that will suit a batting line-up populated with Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan and Colin Ingram. There's Colin Munro on the bench too. They need more rolled grass on these home pitches, like it was the case in 2012, when the stroke-makers like Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen would pile up the runs at will and Morne Morkel would defend them. Good true bounce and good pace. The pitch they played on on Thursday was anything but that.

"Talking to the groundsman before the game, he expected that to be our best pitch out of the three wickets so far. By far and away, it was the worst," Ricky Ponting, the head coach at the Delhi Capitals, said after his side's five-wicket loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad. "You saw how little it bounced and how slow it was. I think it's fair to say that that wicket surprised us a lot."

The two wins for Delhi this season - against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium and against Kolkata at home - have expectedly come on good pitches, notwithstanding the batting meltdown on a pretty flat one in Mohali. That was the kind of pitch Delhi's batsmen expected. They have already been undone once before in the season, when a sluggish pitch looked baked straight out of Chepauk, allowing the Chennai Super Kings an easy win, and it was the same on Thursday, with SRH's spinners and cutter-bowling bowlers making hay.

"At the end of the day, it's the same pitch for both teams but if you had asked me would I have wanted to play Sunrisers on that type of pitch.. I mean there's no polar opposite wicket that you want to play the Sunrisers on. It just suits their game. They have got great spinners and all their seamers bowl slower balls. On that wicket, if you bowl slower balls, it's near impossible," Ponting said.

Perhaps Delhi expected the pitch to be quicker and it was alright to take some time upfront and reassess the goals set in the dressing room, but what surprised was their constant will to fight against what was on offer, trying to force the issue. If Jonny Bairstow's power hitting wasn't an option, Shreyas Iyer's run accumulation was but none of Delhi's batsmen went the either way.

"Don't think Prithvi Shaw played a great shot considering how low the ball was bouncing. To try and hit across the line so early on wasn't a great shot," Ponting said. "Some of the other senior players didn't bat long enough in the innings to let us post a total that was defendable. 130 was short of what we were expecting. Even on a slow wicket, we expect our batting to get 160-165.

"We aren't a completely young team by any stretch of imagination. Even Rishabh and Shreyas have played four or five-six seasons of IPL themselves, so they aren't inexperienced players. We all have to play better, it's as simple as that. As a coach, I can't accept a performance like that tonight. From a batting group as good as ours, to get 129 is not acceptable as far as I'm concerned as a coach. Our players have to accept that and find ways to be better next time."

Better pitches may not be a reality any time soon for Delhi this season. It's a tired square and Delhi's pitches can only be so much unlike themselves. Ponting admitted how Delhi needed to work on their technique as much as their selections. "If the wickets are going to be like that here, we need to think about our selections as well," he said. "Because our bowlers weren't best suited to that wicket today but as I said, it wasn't what we expected.

"This is our home ground. We need to learn how to play these conditions better than the opposition. In two of the three games so far, the opposition has played the conditions better than us."

Delhi next play in Bengaluru, Kolkata and Hyderabad - the three best batting pitches in the tournament - and their time on the road could make for a worthwhile time away. Feroz Shah Kotla is set to host Delhi in four more matches this season and how the pitch there adapts to the needs of its home franchise, and how Delhi Capitals adapt to whatever's on offer, will be crucial.

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