Sydney: South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who top-scored with 89, has rated the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) pitch among the three toughest third-day wickets he has encountered in his 11-year career.
"It's not nice staring down the wicket and you make sure you run on the side of it so you don''t fall down," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Boucher, as saying.
"But we can't control that. It's the playing surface we have been given and we've just got to try and play on it as best we can," he added.
However, pitch curator Tom Parker said he was influenced by forecasts of showers for the eve of the Test and the first morning to keep watering to a minimum.
He said it was common for SCG pitches to crack and deteriorate because of the type of soil used, especially in hot weather.
"I didn''t want to end up with a sticky wicket. The last thing you want is to take the covers off on day one and play is delayed because it''s deemed tacky by the umpires. I didn''t put as much water in, hence I''m not as happy with the pitch. It is dryer than I would normally like it," Parker said.
Parker said he expected the cracks to widen on the last two days, which will increase the difficulty of a South African run chase, but he is otherwise happy with the pitch.