At a time when Team India is taking all possible measures to prepare itself for the bouncy pitch in Cape Town- the venue of the first Test against South Africa- they may be in for a major surprise as they may not encounter the kind of bounce they are expecting from the Newlands pitch. The area has been hit by theworst drought in many years which has made it tough for the groundsmen to prepare a pitch that is usually on offer at the venue. The authorities have asked people not to use more than 87 litres of water each per day which might rob the Proteas of a pitch that will suit them more than the visitors.
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Evan Flint, the curator of Newlands, has admitted that things could become tricky as the groundsmen might struggle to leave live grass on the wicket.
“With the pitch, we’ve been able to carry on watering it as usual every day with borehole water. But the outfield, we’ve only watered it twice a week so it’s a little bit drier and maybe not as lush as we would like it,” he told ESPNcricinfo.
“The challenge is that we need to leave live grass on the wicket, thin grass, so that there is pace, but we want to make sure the ball doesn’t grip and turn. Ideally, what we need is a little bit of rain in the morning and then sun in the afternoon and I don’t know how many days we will get that for,” Flint added.
However, Flint is still hopeful of providing the home team with a hard bouncy track.
“Everybody is pretty clear on what they want. We have tweaked a few things in terms of trying to get fresh green grass and we are also working on getting the wicket hard, so we’re rolling it, but we have to keep the grass alive at the same time,” Flint said.
“It will help the bowlers out in the beginning but it’s not going to be the Wanderers or Centurion,” he added.
The three-Test series gets underway on January 5 as the top two Test teams in the world will be looking to make a strong start to the series.
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