Heat could crack green WACA pitch, says curator
Curator Cameron Sutherland says the hot conditions prevailing in Perth have taken some sting out of the "green" WACA surface, but the pitch will still suit fast bowlers in the third Test between India and Australia, beginning Friday.
"It still has a nice grass coverage. But it's pretty hot and wind is drying moisture. So we are leaving it at the moment and would decide tomorrow morning if we need to cut the grass," stated Sutherland.
He said the pitch will be as quick as it was against England last year, when the visitors were bowled out for 187 and 123.
"The pitch last time was 20 per cent quicker to the previous one. I would be happy if the pace and bounce is similar to the last one. If it does so again, it would be good.
"It was really green three days out, but the temperature is now nudging 37 and it's taken a bit of sting out of colour (of grass). The grass is of a very fine quality, it's like a carpet but it wouldn't seam too much," he said.
Sutherland conceded the hot conditions might make cracks appear on the pitch over the course of five days' cricket.
"There might be cracking at the wicket but it wouldn't make a difference. I am not sure how much it would crack, how wider it would get. But even then it should be pretty solid pitch, it shouldn't be up and down. But I don't mind it. Wearing pitches is part of Test cricket.
"However, the grass cover will remain there and it will keep the ball shiny and help the quicks," he said.Sutherland reckoned day two and three would be good for batting.
"Day two and three possibly are best for batting. But winning the toss and batting first doesn't mean you are out of the game. Best side more often than not wins. The history shows it's also possible to chase down runs in the fourth innings."
Image: Curator Cameron Sutherland inspects the WACA pitch
'Finger spinner can get purchase as there is more bounce'
The curator refused to say whether Australia would go in with four pace bowlers or retain the spinner in the playing eleven.
"Finger spinner can get purchase as there is more bounce, may be not too much turn. But four quicks is not a wrong way to go as well.
"The Indians, over the course of last three days, have made a lot of enquiries with the ground staff but Sutherland doesn't find it odd at all.
"Actually, Australians were the same last year; they were asking the same questions. People who ask questions and find out information are doing a good job. Andy Flower (England coach) was really curious last year and spent half an hour, enquiring about other grounds of Australia as well.
"Indians have been good. They have been quite jovial, really. Not MS (Dhoni) but Duncan Fletcher has done most of the queries, questions about the take off (of the pitch, the colour (of grass) like, life in it, if it would be hard on day one -- all the background information.
"It's been general chat, but I found them pretty relaxed. They obviously are not used to so much of grass, but today it was a bit off colour (the grass), so it doesn't appear so daunting to them. Getting the backgrounder is a smarter way to prepare. I appreciate when cricketers come and ask questions," he added.
Image: File photo of the WACA pitch with cracks