Nagpur/New Delhi: Even as the cricketing stars from Team India landed in Nagpur on Wednesday morning to play the second test against Sri Lanka, the opponent Islanders are likely to battle it out with home players on a pitch with green tinge. This practice of placing green top on the pitch in the wake of rains helped a great deal while India played against Sri Lanka at Kolkata in the first Test. As the weather in Nagpur are bit cloudy and the likely rains may wet the pitch, the organisers can breathe easy as the green tops will ease out the things.
A cricket news website informed that during the Australia ODI series in September, the Indian team management, led by coach Ravi Shastri, spoke to concerned officials in the BCCI and stated that the pitches for the Sri Lanka Tests should act as preparation for the South Africa tour. It is to be understood that Shastri had emphasised that the pitches ought to be “lively green tops”, which are “hard and bouncy”, similar to South African conditions.
The green tops are also likely to show up in the third and final Test at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla stadium and so the spinners will have a minimal role.
In Kolkata, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja shared the ball only for 10 overs, with Jadeja getting two overs, while Ashwin was not even asked in the second innings.
For the home side, usually, tracks are spin friendly and the playing XI composition has two main spinners, two pacers and an all-rounder with more bowling capabilities. However, in the first Test, India went in with three main pacers and one specialist spinner. This all seems to be part of a strategy, as the pitch at Eden Gardens assisted seamers more, a preparation ahead of the long South African and English tour, next year.
The tinge of green at Eden Garden was exploited well, first by Sri Lanka pacers Suranga Lakmal and later by India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, who almost won the game for India. In fact, all 17 Sri Lankan wickets to fall were picked up by the Indian seamers.
On Monday, India opener KL Rahul admitted that such surfaces were a good test for the batsmen.
“It’s very clear that we’re preparing for the next two years that we’re going to travel abroad and play a lot of cricket overseas, and we are going to find wickets like this, and it is going to be challenging for all of us, so we wanted to prepare in that way.”