Different strokes before cracker of a match

It's a ground worthy of the glorious game of uncertainty.

The state-of-the-art JSCA International Cricket Stadium Complex, to play host to the third ODI between India and England on Saturday, will give batsmen and bowlers a sporting wicket, say its curators.

Curators Maheshwar Sahu and Basu Shit have prepared a track that will offer an even contest between the bat and the ball.

"Wicket sporting hoga aur 6-7 run ke average se run banenge (Wicket will be sporting. Score will be around 6-7 runs per over)," said Shit, who with fellow curator Sahu, has been instrumental in preparing the nine pitches on the main ground and six practice wickets.

A fast and bouncy wicket is a fast bowler's dream. And if the ball rolls fast, batsmen enjoy their square cuts and lofted shots.

"Yes, the pitch will have bounce," Shit promised cricket fans. "We have been working on this for the past two years."

And he has facts to back up his claim ' the track record of the JSCA stadium.

"The behaviour of pitches here has been sporting in the BCCI and Jharkhand Premier League matches hosted here during 2011-12 when the stadium was under construction. Both batsmen and bowlers can expect fireworks," Shit said.

Serious cricket buffs know that clay surface and grass play a huge role in making the scorecard fast or slo-mo.

Plus, too dry and you have dust getting into players' eyes. Clay that loves water makes the pitch damp and the match a drag.

Soil for the JSCA pitches procured from Purio village, 17km from Ranchi, is just right, the curator added. "Clay from Purio is suitable for pitches. We have also used Bermuda grass on the pitch. It has grown into an even and silky turf," Shit added.

He said that the perfect pitch was a job that required precision laying and maintenance.

"A pitch is prepared in three layers. To start with, mud is used in the first layer, a mixture of mud and clay in the second. The third and final layer is prepared with clay. Grass is grown in the end," Shit said.

One of the vice-presidents of JSCA and chairman (ground sub-committee) B.N. Singh agreed with Shit.

"It's a wicket that batsmen and bowlers will both love. The pitch at the JSCA stadium in Ranchi will be a good advertisement for cricket," he said.

Fast and furious, it looks Ranchi has a winner on its hands. Check it out, boys.

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