Curator has Boxing Day pitch at the ready
Dec 24, 2013
The man in charge of the MCG pitch, Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) head curator David Sandurski, is feeling confident in what he's produced for the Boxing Day Test between Australia and England on Wednesday.
Speaking less than 48 hours before the first ball is bowled the Queenslander, who is preparing his second MCG Test pitch since moving south 15 months ago, says much of the hard work has now been done ahead of the big day.
"The Boxing Day Test is a huge event on the Australian sporting calendar, let alone here at the MCG," Sandurski said. "It's important that we present the arena in the best possible condition and showcase our stadium on the world stage.
The MCC has used portable pitches at the MCG for almost 15 years, allowing it to be a very versatile stadium, particularly in the winter months. The pitches spent six months in parkland near the MCG before arriving into the centre of the stadium in October.
"As a general principle, we try to get an even contest between bat and ball, so that all disciplines – whether they are batsmen, fast bowlers or spinners – have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills at some point in the game.
"So far, this year’s pitch is tracking similarly to the three Sheffield Shield matches we hosted in November, which had a bit in the pitch for the new ball bowlers, before settling down into a good batting pitch for the next few days, with consistent carry and bounce."
Sandurski says the weather throughout the match will determine how much the pitch deteriorates and breaks up for the spinners.
So far, the weather gods have been mostly kind; although some cloud cover and light rain in recent days has slightly hampered preparation.
''We started a couple of days early because we knew this was a chance of happening,'' he said, of the weather.
''About three days before the Big Bash League match last Friday night we got onto the wicket and gave it about three good days of rolling. We got ourselves ahead of the game a bit. It's not ideal, but we're still in a good position.
However, the forecast for Christmas Day and the early days of the Test is encouraging and we should be in for an absorbing battle between bat and ball.
''There's definitely pressure to get it right with 90,000 people turning up. They want to see a good contest and obviously I control a lot of that with the wicket I produce. That's something I'm fully aware of.
''I just approach it like any other game and try to make the best wicket I possibly can.''
'Once the first over is away and you realise the wicket's bouncing, it makes you a lot happier. If the weather's fine, we can sit back and enjoy it.''