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Toss crucial at Jaipur: Curator

With the dew factor certain to influence the outcome of fifth Indo-Pak, the toss could be a deciding factor, feels curator Taposh Chatterjee.

cricket Updated: Nov 16, 2007 18:28 IST

With the dew factor certain to influence the outcome of Sunday's fifth and final one-dayer between India and Pakistan, winning the toss could be winning half the battle, feels pitch doctor Taposh Chatterjee.

Chatterjee, a member of BCCI's Pitch and Grounds Committee, knows the 22-yard strip at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium better than anyone and according to him, bowling in the second innings could prove potentially fatal for both Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Shoaib Malik.

"However we may try to counter it, dew will definitely remain a factor. Bowling in the second innings would not be easy, because it would be quite a task to even grip the ball," Chatterjee told PTI today, hoping Dhoni pays heed to his advice.

"The toss would be crucial and if Dhoni calls it correct, he should not have a second thought about putting Pakistan in. Batting would be relatively easier in the second innings," he said.

However, it's not that the Chatterjee and his groundstaff have put their hands up and retired to the fact that nothing can be done to check the dew factor.

"We have done our homework well. We have stopped watering the pitch two days before the match and for the outfield, we would spray aspa-80 on the outfield, which leaves a coat on the grass and does not allow dew to gather on the blades," he explained.

"Overall, I think we can curb at least 50 per cent of the dew factor but have no illusion, it would be there and would dog sides fielding second," he warned.

India have already taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series to record their first ODI series win against the arch-rivals on home soils since 1983.

Chatterjee said the benign pitch had plenty to offer to the batsmen and predicted a run-feast when the sides square off on Sunday.

"Expect a high-scoring match, which anyway has been the case here. But if there is good bounce in the pitch, it would also help the seamers. But fielding first would definitely give you some advantage."

And with the willow once again set to rule over the cherry, playing a second spinner would not make any sense, he said.

"Playing two spinners on this track is a luxury which no team can afford. Instead, pack the side with batsmen who can bowl a bit. India should go into the match with the lone specialist spinner in Harbhajan Singh, leaving out Murali Kartik. But at the end of the day, it's for the team management to decide," he said.

He said too much should not be made of the cracks that has already started appearing on the track and said, "Cracks are not going to widen. We have to ensure that chips don't come off. We are watering the side tracks to keep the moisture there and that would prevent the cracks from gaping.

"The pitch has enough grass, which would bind the upper surface together. It will stay intact and we'll see even bounce."

First Published: Nov 16, 2007 18:21 IST