Practice pitch leaves India, West Indies disappointed

Practice pitch leaves India, West Indies disappointed

After the track at the Feroze Shah Kotla had made for an attritional battle in the first Test, the teams had been hoping for a track with more pace and bounce, but if the practice pitches are anything to go by, their hopes could well be dashed. Curator Prabir Mukherjee, however, sought to allay those fears by saying he expected the pitch to have pace and bounce.

“I am only obligated to cricket,” said Mukherjee. “I have tried to make it firm and come up with a surface that will last five days.”

Both the squads were in full attendance, only offie R Ashwin conspicuous by his absence. Ashwin will miss Sunday’s final practice session as well, and will join the team sometime late in the afternoon after his wedding in Chennai in the morning.

Not even the prospect of Sachin Tendulkar making a 100th international hundred has driven ticket sales, with a measly 324 tickets bought over the first two days.

At Tendulkar’s request, Cricket Association of Bengal officials were working overtime to extend the height of the sightscreens at both ends by at least two feet to raise it to around 22 feet at each end. The short-statured Tendulkar has had problems with sightscreens in several venues, but particularly at the Eden.

Play in the second Test is scheduled to start at 9.05 am in a bid to try and minimise loss of overs. At this time of the year, the sun starts to dip rapidly by 4.00 pm, and by starting play 30 minutes earlier, officials are hopeful of getting in at least 85 overs, if not more, every match day.