Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ind vs Aus: Is another turning track on the cards for the Bengaluru Test?

Team India chief coach Anil Kumble and batting coach Sanjay Bangar inspect the Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch in Bangalore yesterday. Pic/PTI

Bangalore: The Indian team was busier than ever with their slip and close-in catching practice ahead of the second Test that kicks off here on the weekend. And the extra yards being put in wasn’t just because of the mishaps in Pune when 4-5 catches went begging, many of them off eventual centurion Steve Smith. The Indian team is expecting the pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium to turn and provide enough edges off the bat and bat-pad.

Request for a dry surface?
The buzz is that the wicket will assist spinners from Day 2 onwards. But it will be foolish to expect anything as dry as the one in Pune. It has been learnt that there was a request for a dry surface but the ground staff will not go as far as their counterparts went in Pune. There was a fair bit of grass covering as on yesterday but the hosts can rest assured all the grass will be shorn off. The pitch will be brown but not barren, at least that’s the attempt.

The more interesting part is that the main pitch in the square, the one with soil from nearby Mandya, will not be used. But it will be the adjacent one, laden with clay from Kakinada in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, that will be used for the match. This pitch is not expected to get powdery as the game progresses but will still allow good purchase for the spinners.

The pitch already sports cracks though and should they widen in the searing heat that the former Garden City is reeling under, then, expect the unexpected. Remember, after the pitch is handed over to the umpires on Saturday morning, no further watering is allowed during the Test.

68-yard boundary
The smaller boundaries too will play their part, at least on one side. The ICC code asks for 75-yard boundaries and that’s what has been provided on one side. The midwicket, if one is bowling from the pavilion end, is a mere 68 yards while the straights are a decent 72 yards. Captains will no doubt keep this in mind when deciding who will bowl from which end.

All said and done, while the present curator at the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), K Sriram, isn’t allowed to speak to the media, it wouldn’t be out of turn to state what his father, who in the past served as curator for many, many years, told this writer during this 80th birthday celebrations a few years ago.

“I only know how to produce a pitch, how much to roll it, what elements to put in what quantity, but thereafter I have no real idea what it will do nor any control over it,” were the wise words of Mr Kasturirangan.

So let’s wait and see.

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