A bone-dry Nagpur pitch already sporting loose cracks two days out from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series
A bone-dry Nagpur pitch already sporting loose cracks two days out from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series opener has both Australia and India considering stacking their side with spinners.
While the track produced for the first Test appeared well-grassed from afar, the eager cohort of Aussie batters who got their first close-up peek at the surface on Tuesday morning came away anticipating turning conditions and up-and-down bounce.
Vice-captain Steve Smith, couching his observations on the pitch with an admission of uncertainty over its precise characteristics, said Australia may look at picking three spinners.
However Smith’s confirmation that allrounder Cameron Green has all but been ruled out of the Test would complicate that, as it would leave captain Pat Cummins as the solitary pace option in the team.
The discovery of what Smith identified as a dry patch at one end right where laser-accurate duo Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel will aim their left-arm spinners will be a greater headache.
“I think it will take a bit of spin, particularly the left-arm spinner taking it into our left-handers. There’s a section there that’s quite dry.
“Other than that, I can’t really get a good gauge on it. I don’t think there will be a heap of bounce in the wicket, I think it will be quite skiddy for the seamers and maybe a bit of up-and-down movement as the game goes on.
“The cracks felt quite loose. I’m not entirely sure – we’ll wait and see.”
“Possibly,” Smith said of the prospect of partnering Nathan Lyon with two of Agar, Todd Murphy and Mitchell Swepson. “If Greeny was fit, it would be definitely more of an option.
“Without him I’m not entirely sure. We’ve got a strategy meeting this arvo where we’ll talk about what we think. Ultimately it’s down to the selectors to pick the team they think is best for the surface.”