R Sudhakar Rao, secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), has said the Bengaluru pitch for the second Test between India and Australia, starting Saturday, would last five days. The first match in Pune, also the venue’s first ever Test, finished within three days with Australia defeating India by 333 runs on a dust bowl.
India’s batting order had collapsed under sustained pressure from Australia spinners Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon on a rank turner allegedly prepared to benefit the hosts. Since then the pitch of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium has been under intense scrutiny.
MCA officials and the pitch curator have claimed that preparation of the Pune pitch had been taken out of their hands by senior members of India’s team management, leading to the pitch falling apart after it was dried too quickly.
Rao said preparation of the pitch at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru has gone according to the state association’s plan without any recommendations.
“So far, we have not been told anything (about pitch preparation), but the Indian team is yet to arrive. Once they arrive, we have to see if they make any suggestions,” Rao was quoted as saying by The Hindu in an article published on Tuesday.
India and Australia are scheduled to arrive in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Rao said creating a pitch that won’t play in favour of either team is the priority.
“Our intention is to prepare a sporting, Test-match pitch. We want a five-day match. We definitely don’t want to see the match end in two and a half days,” he said.
“We like to keep some moisture underneath. So we haven’t stopped watering it. We’ll water it until two or three days before the match. Then we will see what the pitch looks like, two days out, and take a call.”
PR Vishwanathan, the South Zone head of the BCCI’s ground and pitches committee, is expected to oversee the preparations in Bengaluru. So far, local curator K Sriram has been working with the ground staff on the pitch.
“On the first two days, the pitch should be good for batting and help medium-pacers. On days two and three there should be slow turn. Then on the last two days there should be more turn. I have told Sriram to prepare that kind of wicket. At least, that is our intention,” Rao said.