Pak pacers appear to like Pindi pitch

Published: Monday, April 12, 2004, 0:31 [IST]
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Lahore:Another lively and grassy track awaits the Indian cricket team in the third Test against Pakistan, with the home team hoping to give their battery of fast bowlers the right conditions for a series-clinching triumph.

The pitch at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, the venue of the decider, has lot of grass on it and indications are that a fast track would be prepared by the hosts.

Although the track was still being prepared, it is expected that some of the grass would be left on it even after the groundsmen are through with their job.

Unlike the track at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, where the turf was dry in nature, the pitch at rawalpindi has a more greenish tinge which would help the fast bowlers, especially in the opening session of the match.

Neither English curator Andy Atkinson, overseeing the preparation of pitches in Pakistan, nor local expert Mohammad Bashir were willing to comment on how much grass would be left on the track.

Indian cricketers, who came to the ground for net practice in the morning, had a close look at the track, though they would have to wait till Monday to get a clearer picture of the pitch.

Coach John Wright said it was still early to comment on the pitch but predicted a Lahore-type wicket which would assist the bowlers in the initial stages.

"It will have a little bit for the bowlers in the early stages. It will be critical to bat well till the lunch break, after that it may ease out. It appears to be somewhat similar to the Lahore track," Wright said.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took charge of preparing the tracks after the Multan turf raised a storm and was blamed for Pakistan's debacle in the first Test.

The Indians scored 675 for five in the first innings in Multan on a placid track and went on to record a historic Test win on Pakistani soil to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan had indicated that "lively" wickets would be prepared for the rest of the series after criticism that the Multan track did not aid Pakistan pacers.

The Pakistan team, which also had a practice session in the morning, were seen observing the track and the fast bowlers seemed to like what they saw.

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