Cricket-India's Pandya slams 'shocker of a wicket' after win against NZ

Cricket - Asian Cup - India v Pakistan - Dubai International Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates - August 28, 2022 India's Hardik Pandya celebrates after the match REUTERS/Satish Kumar/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's stand-in captain Hardik Pandya has criticized the pitches used for the first two T20 Internationals against New Zealand and hopes a better surface will be rolled out for Wednesday's decider in Ahmedabad.

Pandya and New Zealand counterpart Mitchell Santner were surprised by the sharp turn throughout the series opener in Ranchi, where the touring side prevailed by 21 runs to grab a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

The spinners played an even more dominant role in Sunday's second match in Lucknow, where New Zealand posted 99-8 but managed to stretch the contest to the penultimate delivery of the match before India eked out a six-wicket win.

Spinners from both sides bowled 30 of the total 40 overs and not a single six was hit by a batsman.

Suryakumar Yadav's uncharacteristically restrained 26 not out off 31 balls was the highest individual score by a batter.

"To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket," Pandya said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

"I don't mind difficult wickets. I am all up for that, but these two wickets are not made for T20.

"Somewhere down the line the curators or the grounds that we are going to play in should make sure they prepare the pitches in time."

The overly spin-friendly nature of the track prompted Santner to consider making fast bowler Lockie Ferguson bowl off-spin.

"I was trying to find them (spinners) from everywhere," Santner said.

"I was asking Lockie if he could bowl some off-spin. I think you don't often see more than 12 overs of spin out there. I think maybe we bowled 16 or 17, so it's definitely something different."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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