Chennai wicket likely to be spin-friendly

The second India-Australia Test begins in Chennai on Thursday and there is some encouragement for the Indians.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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Chennai:The second India-Australia Test begins in Chennai on Thursday and there is some encouragement for the Indians. Chennai is a happy hunting ground for India with the team winning 11 out of the 26 Tests played here. The hosts also won their last Test against the Aussies here. The ground should definitely make Harbhajan Singh a happy man with the curator predicting it to be a spinners' wicket, and one where the toss will be crucial. Preparing for the big day K Parthasarthy has been preparing the wickets at the Chepauk ground for 32 years now and it's time once more, for him to set the stage for the approaching encounter between India and Australia. The roar of a Sunday crowd is familiar to Pacha, as he is better known, and this time also he promises a wicket full of runs. "Here I hope we've prepared a sporting wicket. Initially it will have some bounce, so good for a batsman, after that it will help the spinners," said K Parthasarathy, Chief Supervisor, Grounds. Of the five Test matches played at Chepauk between India and Australia, the hosts have won two with the last one being the series decider in 2001 – India winning by 2 wickets. India lost to Bill Lawry's team in the '69/70 Test. While The '86/'87 Test is better remembered today as being only the second tied test in the game. Looking for scalps Harbhajan Singh certainly has happy memories of this ground. He took 15 of his 32 wickets in the series against Australia in 2001 in the Chennai test. And he will certainly look to add to that tally. "In those days Sunil Gavaskar and G R Viswanath, they like to bat on on this wicket. Spinners like Prasanna, Venkatraghavan, Bishen Singh Bedi. Now Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble – everybody likes to bowl on this wicket," said Parthasarathy. This is the happy hunting ground for players like Sachin and Matthew Hayden. However, when Dean Jones made his double century here he had to be hospitalised, he was that dehydrated. Hopefully the skies will be clear and Chepauk will be allowed to live up to its reputation of being a very sporting and result-oriented wicket.

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