Pitch yet again hogs limelight

Pitch yet again hogs limelight

Curator Chauhan promises fast and bouncy track for decider

Pitch yet again hogs limelight

With the third Test in Ranchi ending in a draw, the fourth and last Test beginning on Saturday, has assumed the significance of being the series decider. Like in all the three contests, the focus has intensified on the pitch. Curator Sunil Chauhan said the surface here would continue to have bounce.

The pitch here has always been true and supported seam bowling. Chauhan affirmed they would be doing nothing to change the nature of the pitch. Chauhan was joined on Thursday by BCCI chief curator Daljit Singh. Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble took a look at the pitch during the team’s training and spoke to the curators. Against the spinner friendly conditions in the three Tests, which lacked both pace and bounce, the conditions will differ dramatically here.

“The pitch here has pace and bounce and that is how it is going to be. We do not want to change the nature of the soil,” Chauhan said.

The Australians, who trained in the morning, would be praying for Chauhan’s words to come true. Their bowlers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood would be eager to bowl on the seamer-friendly conditions. It may force Australia to drop one of their two spinners -- Nathan Lyon and Steeve O’Keefe. The talk, meanwhile, has already kicked in that conditions might go against the Indians.

Cheteshwar Pujara, though, would have none of it. “It looks like a good wicket. I think we have played a lot of cricket even in Dharamsala. We have played enough first-class cricket, we know the conditions. We will just try and focus on things rather than worrying about how the wicket will play,” he said.

“We have played enough cricket on different pitches throughout the season. So I don’t think wicket will matter a lot to us. We are very confident, the way we have played throughout the series. Apart from the first Test match, we have played very good cricket.”

The venue is hosting its first Test, but has had the experience of holding ODIs and T20 matches. It has faced considerable rainfall in the last one week.

Pujara also cleared that fatigue has not set in the players despite a long season of 13 Tests.

“I think it's the mental battle we've to win and we're mentally up for this game. We are quite motivated because we want to win this series. I think fatigue shouldn't come into play because playing for the Indian team is the most important thing for any cricketer and winning the series is the most important thing, because we've had a fantastic season so far. We want to finish off on a good note.”