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Runs & dew on Jaipur platter

The surface on which India take on New Zealand at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Wednesday is being called the "Hyderabad wicket" after the southern state got routed for 21 on it against Rajasthan in a Ranji Trophy Plate League match earlier this month. Nikhilesh Bhattacharya writes.

cricket Updated: Nov 30, 2010 01:09 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

The surface on which India take on New Zealand at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Wednesday is being called the "Hyderabad wicket" after the southern state got routed for 21 on it against Rajasthan in a Ranji Trophy Plate League match earlier this month.

Debutant right-arm medium-pacer Deepak Chahar took eight for 10 as Hyderabad recorded the lowest-ever Ranji total on the first morning of that match, but there is unlikely to be a repeat of that in the one-dayer.

"It was the same wicket, adjacent to the one in the centre of the square. It is being called the Hyderabad wicket now," the curator of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), Taposh Chatterjee, said on Monday.

"But it was a green wicket with a lot of assistance for the pacers. And the batting side contributed, because no pitch calls for 21 all out."

The next two Ranji games at the venue saw big totals, including 391 for three by Goa in the third innings of their match against the hosts and 523 by Rajasthan against Madhya Pradesh in the first innings.

"The wicket prepared for the one-dayer will be a flat one. It will have good bounce but will be a batting track because batting tracks are what one-dayers require," Chatterjee said.

The weather, though, has hampered preparations. Jaipur has seen un-seasonal rain on and off since November 12. So the RCA started by preparing two wickets and has decided to use the one adjacent and to the east of the central wicket.

While the wicket is expected to be loaded in favour of batsmen, the side fielding second will have another enemy to fight: dew. "The dew is quite heavy here from 8 pm or so. The fielding side will find it difficult to grip the ball and the dew on the wicket will make the ball skid and come on to the bat nicely," Chatterjee said.

New Zealand opted to bowl first in the first ODI in Guwahati to make maximum use of the early-morning assistance. For different reasons, electing to field could be the sensible thing to do here as well.