'Brownie' on offer at the Wankhede | india | Hindustan Times
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'Brownie' on offer at the Wankhede

A virgin pitch awaits India and Sri Lanka for the World Cup final here on Saturday and Sri Lanka vice captain Mahela Jayawardene could not help but take a dig at the wicket saying it looked brown. Abhijeet Kulkarni reports.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2011 00:23 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni

The last time India and Sri Lanka met in a knock out tie of the cricket World Cup, a crumbling pitch rather than an exceptional performance decided the outcome of the match.

The newly laid surface had failed to hold up in the second innings in that 1996 world cup semifinal in Kolkata and the game had to be abandoned due to crowd trouble after India all but folded up chasing 252 to win.

A virgin pitch awaits India and Sri Lanka for the World Cup final here on Saturday and Sri Lanka vice captain Mahela Jayawardene could not help but take a dig at the wicket saying it looked brown. "The last time we came here to play New Zealand there was so much grass on the pitch that we could not make out which one was the match wicket. Today we saw a good brown wicket here," he said.

Jayawardene was also seen having a heated discussion with curator Sudhir Naik during the team's practice session. Though Naik was not willing to disclose what transpired during their brief chat, he did mention that the Sri Lankans had some apprehensions about how the wicket would play but he assured them that it would be a balanced affair.

"It is a typical Wankhede wicket. There will be something for the bowlers. But the average score should be around 270."

Though the two matches played on adjacent wickets in this World Cup have been high scoring ones, the wicket slowed down in the second half.

However, predicting how a virgin wicket will play is always fraught with danger and MS Dhoni would want to ensure that he does not read this wicket wrong like Mohammad Azaruddin did in 1996.