Edgbaston pitch is like jelly, says groundsman

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/cricgen3.jpg' class='caption'> Edgbaston pitch, which stages the third Ashes Test next week, is almost like &quot;jelly&quot; after 12 days of non-stop rain in Birmingham, says groundsman.

Updated: July 24, 2009 15:37 IST
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Edgbaston pitch, which stages the third Ashes Test next week, is almost like "jelly" after 12 days of non-stop rain in Birmingham, says groundsman Steve Rouse.

"The whole playing area, including the pitch, is like jelly," Rouse said adding that "trying to prepare a Test pitch in this weather is hopeless."

Rouse said the pitch was under water after almost two weeks of relentless rain and heavy rains have been predicted till Sunday while the match begins on July 30.

"At the moment the ground is unplayable and we need two days of dry, sunny and windy weather in the next week if we have any chance of it drying out.

"But the forecast is for heavy showers today, similar tomorrow and for heavy rain from lunchtime on Sunday. We have had only two dry days in the past 12 so all that is happening is that we are topping up the water levels," he was quoted as saying by the 'Daily Telegraph'.

Chris Wood, the England and Wales Cricket Board's pitches consultant, inspected the pitch on Wednesday.

"Chris wanted to know why the surface was so soft but I had to point out that it hasn't stopped raining for almost two weeks and with so much county cricket at Edgbaston in recent weeks, it has been difficult to keep the pitch dry," Rouse said.

Rouse has reservations about the nature of the track for the third Test between Australia and England.

"The pitch is so green at the moment that it looks like someone has poured luminous paint over it. The initial plan was to try to produce a pitch that turned, but it has about as much chance of turning for the Test as I have of winning the National Lottery," Rouse said.

"It's probably damp down to a depth of about two-and-half inches. At this stage I wouldn't like to predict what sort of surface we will be able to get out for next week, it all depends on us getting some drying weather.

The groundsman said his staff may need to work extra hours to ready the ground in time.

"But I've told the lads on the ground staff that they can expect to work some very long hours in the next two weeks. Not only have we got the Test to prepare for but we have a County Championship match against Somerset to follow two days after the Test finishes, then a one-day game against Leicestershire.

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