Nielsen, Gayle praise Kensington pitch

Published: Friday, June 13, 2008, 14:41 [IST]
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Bridgetown: Australia coach Tim Nielsen and West Indies captain Chris Gayle have praised the work of the Kensington Oval ground authority for the nature of the pitch for the third and final Test which opened on Thursday.

The nature of the pitch came under the microscope, after an unpredictable surface in the opening Test in Jamaica, and a featherbed in the second Test in Antigua.

"I think right from the word 'go' we saw the ball coming on to the bat and even all during the week in training the boys have really been enjoying the fact they can play a few shots and we've been talking about that a bit and we have tried to equate it to going from Sydney to Perth," Nielsen told reporters.

"So we probably played the penalty a bit for lapses in concentration at pretty critical times, but also that's why it's great to watch cricket on these sorts of pitches.

"The margin for error is reduced so that the good players get runs and the good bowlers get wickets. That's what Test cricket is about, and I thought it was an intriguing day, and the game is evenly balanced."

Gayle agreed the pitch had generated more pace, but he believes it also good for batting, despite Australia closing a rain-shortened opening day on 226 for seven, after they were put in to bat.

"This morning, it was a bit slow, but it is getting quicker, as the surface is drying out," Gayle said.

"The ball is coming on more to the bat. It is going to be good for batting. Once you apply yourself, you will get runs out there.

"It was a pretty decent pitch to bat on once the shine came off the ball. There was not a lot of sideways movement.

"Once you dig in and decide to bat on that track, you will set some runs. Picking up a few extra wickets was really good. I thought the bowlers really bowled well. You have to give them credit for the way they came back."

Nielsen also agreed with Gayle's assessment and is looking forward to his bowlers getting down to business on the surface.

"We saw the ball bouncing and carrying all day, and we think our bowling is strong," he said.

"The Windies bowled well, but our quicks are looking forward to have a bowl, and it was even interesting to see that Chris Gayle and Sulieman Benn got a bit of bounce and turn out of the pitch which is good, so it was an interesting day and it makes for an intriguing Test."

Though Gayle praised his bowlers, he was disappointed that West Indies let Australia back into the game after reducing them to 111 for five.

"The bowlers have been doing a terrific job for the last couple of Test matches and to continue in this game is really good and it is just to finish off on a high now," he said.

"At the end, we were stuck at five wickets for a while which we always do. We're always stuck at five and we have to try and push on and knock over the middle and lower order in the future."

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