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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Cricket

Now, green top awaits India at Lord's
Sanjjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times
London, July 16, 2014
First Published: 01:12 IST(16/7/2014)
Last Updated: 12:12 IST(31/7/2014)

After their experience at Trent Bridge, the India batsmen, most of whom are playing their first series in England, were left wondering what the talk was all about! So much had been made about the challenge of playing the moving ball on green surfaces, that for 10 days ahead of the tour Rahul Dravid was especially called in by the team management to prepare the boys for swing and seam bowling.

Nottingham proved to be a damp squib. It was like playing at home, on a sub-continent brown and slow wicket.

The Lord's groundsmen are not in a benevolent mood, though. For the likes of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, the second Test is likely to provide the first real taste of English conditions.

Pretty green
Two days ahead of the game, the wicket looked extremely green. Though the surface will be shaved off before the game, it is still likely to retain its characteristics.  

"The weather is the key to preparing a good wicket and it has stayed good, in the lead-up to this match. This will be an ideal Lord's wicket which will afford good bounce and pace," said assistant head groundsman, Ashwin Tumu.

There was apprehension about the playing surface here, looking at how it behaved during the last Test England played against Sri Lanka. With the bowlers struggling on a slow track, it had come in for a lot of flak.

"Before the Sri Lanka Test, it had rained for a week. The preparation suffered due to it. This time we had real good 15-days time for preparation," said Ashwin, who's from Hyderabad and has been working at Lord's for five years now.

Dravid, following the series as a commentator, will be in an ideal position to explain to the players on what to expect, for it is a track like the one Dravid & Co played in 2011. Then, the ball had started seaming around considerably on the first day itself. Dravid, himself, had batted beautifully to get his first hundred at Lord's but James Anderson and Stuart Broad were too good for India.

The two England pacers will again pose the main threat. Even though there was nothing in the surface for them at Nottinghamshire, the two still almost won the game for their team.

They have got the rhythm going with Anderson producing incisive reverse swing and Broad hitting the right length.


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