Foreign experts make pitch for third Test

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has invited two experts from the New Zealand Turf Institute to test the soil and provide expert advice.

Updated: December 07, 2007 13:09 IST
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The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has invited two experts from the New Zealand Turf Institute to test the soil and provide expert advice to the curators preparing the pitch for the third and final Test between India and Pakistan, starting in Bangalore on Saturday.

Chris Lewis, who works at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch, formerly called Jade Stadium, and Mark Hooker, who is from NZTI's Malaysia office, have been working on the pitch for nine days. It is a one-off association with KSCA for the Test match.

"It's a typical Test wicket where there will be a lot of movement early on. It should then settle down and be a batsman's paradise on Day II, III and IV of the match," Lewis said.

Since the sun has not shone brightly here since Wednesday, the cloudy and windy weather might have some effect on the pitch and the game.

"The overcast conditions may not hamper much the pitch preparation, but when the bowlers bowl there should be a lot of swing and movememnt," said the man, who has been making pitches for 25 years.

On the nature of assistance they are providing to the KSCA ground staff, Lewis said: "Basically, we are showing them how to make wickets in different ways.

Rather than shaving all the grass off and then spreading the clippings around there are ways to use the grass blades on top and roll them into the wicket."

Lewis, 43, said that after their one-off venture ends with this match, the local grounds men should build on the expertise they gained from out visit.

"Some people from New Zealand helped source the clay from New Zealand for this new pitch. The local guys should carry it over once we have gone," he said.

Lewis said the pitch soil, brought from Mandya on the Mysore road, was tested. "It [pitch] has been soil tested here and back in New Zealand. We have brought the testing equipment here. It just shows them [ground staff and KSCA] what is happening below the grass," he said.

"We can look at it, but we actually need to base it on some figures. It helps a bit in understanding what is happening below, how hard it is getting ...," he said, explaining the nature of his job.

Lewis said that the soil for this Test "looks very, very good".

"Everyone is quite excited about it because it will just keep getting better and better. Compared to the other stuff [pitch], which is quite dusty, this is a very good wicket," he said.

"This soil is very similar to the Jade Stadium. It shrinks as it dries and when it has moisture it expands. It also has got great bounce."

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