First of Three Tests begin on Friday:
Lankans hoping for a good wicket and not a ‘green monster’
After a encouraging performance in Canberra, the Sri Lanka cricketers
arrived in Hobart looking confident and after a little rest got down to
training at the nets, determined to register that elusive first-ever
Test triumph against Australia.
The cause for alarm for the Lankan cricketers is the uncertain nature
of the wicket at the Belllerive Oval in Hobart. Matches played on these
wickets have not been batting friendly and bowlers have revelled with
games finishing inside the distance.
The wicket was dubbed the ‘green monster’ after the Test against New
Zealand and Australia. It will be a calamity if the Test was to end
inside the distance. It will not do cricket any good. So the Lankans are
hoping for a good surface.
‘The Incredible Hulk’
The curator who prepared that deck was Marcus Pamplin which wicket
was also dubbed ‘the Incredible Hulk’. However Pamplin has over looked
the resurfacing of the blocks of wickets at the Bellerive Oval.
Cricket Australia’s Senior Manager of cricket operations, Sean Cary,
is confident the venue for the First of Three Tests will provide a more
even balance in the contest between bat and ball. In a recent Sheffield
Shield game here Western Australia was bundled out for 67.
Speaking to the ‘Canberra Times’, Cary said: ‘Tassie curator Marcus
Pamplin has learnt a lot from preparing his wickets this year on a
completely new block. The whole wicket block was re-laid in August this
‘He’s had to manage new soil, clay and rye grass that take months to
settle while preparing wickets for first-class cricket. CA has taken a
back seat monitoring process over the last few weeks and is very
confident of Marcus Pamplin’s skills and expertise.
‘He takes great pride in his work and has been working extensively on
the Test wicket to ensure it provides an even contest. Over the last
couple of months Marcus has been meticulous in the surface preparation
to ensure it is even and void of undulations.
‘The new look block has provided bowlers with more bounce and carry
than the Bellerive pitch, and this is due to the rye grass and the new
clay mix. However, the new wicket has also shown that when batsmen apply
themselves early, runs can be scored when they get in’, said Cory. The
Lankans have played Ten Test matches against Australia losing eight with
two games ending in stalemates. They are hoping for a wicket that will
allow good cricket to be played so that they could probe for that
elusive first Test win on Australian soil.
Prasanna Jayewardene who sparkled with a confidence boosting innings
before the First of Three Test matches in Hobart on Friday, spoke in
glowing terms of former Captain Kumar Sangakkara who scored 55 in the
game against the Chairman’s X1 which ended on Sunday at the Manuka Oval,
He’s a brilliant player and he can always come good at the top level.
He batted really well in that game and I think he’s in form now. The
senior players, when the big occasion comes along will deliver. We need
the best from them.
Sangakkara did not bat in the form he is capable of in the Test
series against New Zealand. Sangakkara’s failure helped the New
Zealanders to win the Second Test at the P. Sara after being
convincingly beaten in the First Test in Galle.
When asked whether the Lankans will go in with medium pace or spin,
Jayewardene said it will depend on the wicket. The Selectors will go
down to the Bellerive Oval wicket and have a look. ‘We hope to field a
good side with a good attitude’.