With spotlight firmly on the pitch, BCCI curator Kasturi Sriram said that unlike Rajkot wicket, the 22-yard strip to be provided for the second Test against England “won’t have much grass” and they have already “stopped watering the pitch”.
The open admission by curator Sriram should worry the English team as there is every chance that a square turner may be on offer for the visitors during the second Test starting November 17.
If the pitch is not watered and the sunshine will only make it worse as the top soil might crumble quickly.
With Indian spinners especially Ravichandran Ashwin being rendered ineffective primarily due to lack of assistance from the pitch, it is only natural that the hosts would expect a strip that’s to their advantage. There has been no formal request for a designer pitch from the team management.
“We have stopped watering the pitch. There will not be much grass and we should expect the ball to turn from lunch on Day 2,” Sriram said adding that there has not been any instruction from the team thinktank.
“Yesterday, it was cold and today it’s drastically hot and humid and wicket appears dry now. We will see how is it on the eve of the match.”
Like Rajkot, it will be the first time that a Test match will be played at this venue. On October 29, New Zealand were shot out for 79 on a slow turner to hand India the five-match ODI series 3-2.
ACA secretary Gokaraju Gangaraju was more defensive in his approach.
“We have prepared a neutral wicket and it should assist both the teams equally. We hope to see a result,” ACA secretary and BCCI vice president G Gangaraju told PTI.
The Vizag pitch made headlines for the wrong reasons when Rajasthan skittled Assam for 69 in their second innings in a Ranji Trophy match ending inside three days with their coach Sunil Joshi, a former India leftarm spinner, crying foul.
But Gangaraju stressed that one should not draw parallel with the Ranji Trophy wicket.
“The Assam wicket was a different one and some miscommunication had led to that.”
Referring to the New Zealand ODI, he said: ”The wicket had a bit of moisture during the India-New Zealand match. But it was their inept batting that led to the collapse.”
With spin-friendly conditions on offer, toss will play a key role as England have made their intention clear having won the spin battle in Rajkot.
Their spin trio of Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Zafar Ansari accounted for a share of 13 wickets compared to nine taken by the Indian spinners.