India were determined to field first
The decision to field first by India did not surprise those in the know-how in the MCA.india Updated: Mar 18, 2006 19:41 IST
The decision to field first by Indian captain Rahul Dravid, playing his 100th Test, might have surprised many, but not those in the know-how in the Mumbai Cricket Association.
"I was not surprised by the decision at all going by the reactions that was seen on the face of the Indian players ever since they have had a look at the wicket," said an MCA source on condition of anonymity.
"One top player wanted the grass to be shaved off and repeatedly approached us on this count. But we had to be careful about the wicket in view of the warning that came from the International Cricket Council after the last Test here against Australia," he said.
The Test match against Australia in December 2004 ended in three days with Ricky Ponting and his men unable to overhaul a target of 107 and collapsing for a paltry 93 against the Indian spin trio of Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble and Murali Kartik.
The Australian team subsequently complained to ICC about the poor quality of the wicket, resulting in MCA appointing former Test opener Sudhir Naik as the new curator in place of former captain Polly Umrigar.
Incidentally, the decision to insert the opposition in after winning the toss in the 100th Test appearance of another Indian cricketer at this venue, former captain Dilip Vengsarkar, had ended in a defeat for the hosts against New Zealand in 1988-89.
Off spinner John Bracewell led India to their doom with a haul of 10 wickets in that tie.