Hyderabad, (Mail Today): Of the two pitches being prepared here, the one without grass was on Thursday chosen for the second India-Australia Test match beginning on Saturday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium.
This gives sufficient indication that India would again rely heavily on spinners in the second Test, having taken a 1- 0 lead after winning the first Test in Chennai on Tuesday.
India fielded three spinners — R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh — in Chennai and they captured all 20 wickets while pacers Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got none.
Till Wednesday, a decision on the pitch was not taken, possibly because the India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and other players had not seen it. On Thursday, Dhoni and his team-mates had a close look at the pitch after the team arrived at the ground at 1 pm.
Soon after arriving, Dhoni and other players had a chat with chief curator YL Chandraskhar and the message was officially conveyed to all concerned, including the broadcasters to setup their equipment accordingly.
“The pitch has been chosen and it’s the one that has no grass,” a source in the Hyderabad Cricket Association told Mail Today. After the net session was over at the practice venue, situated just outside the ground, Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan and other players went one by one to the pitch and took a close look at it.
They also had a chat with Chandraskhar. The short-statured Tendulkar, who is very particular about the height of the sight screen, was seen gesturing something about the sight screen at the pavilion end. He also indicated towards a few spots on pitch while talking to Chandraskhar, but it’s not known what it was about.
No one from the Indian camp spoke to the media. But Australia’s Shane Watson termed the pitch as “very nice”. “The wicket looks very nice; little bit different to the T20 pitches I have played here in the past. But it looks a nice wicket,” Watson said, referring to the IPL in which he represents Rajasthan Royals.
Asked if the pitch would assist spinners, he said laughing: “Probably! The wicket is a little bit dry than in T20s and ODIs. I think it will turn at some stage of the match.”
Comparing the Hyderabad pitch with the one in Chennai, Watson said he would like to believe that it would be a good one for a five-day game. “In regards to the wicket, I’m not exactly sure. I know when I first arrived in Chennai, seven or eight days before the first Test, it looked like the wicket was ready to go then."
“We haven’t had that kind of time before the Test in Hyderabad but I think this wicket will be a good Test wicket,” he said.
“The wicket here is always a good cricket wicket; there is always good pace and bounce for the ‘quicks’ and for the batsmen as well. And it looks like it will turn at some stage...think it’ll be a nice cricket wicket.”