Australia and India got their first look at the pitch that will be used in New Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium, but the ground staff attempted to ban an Aussie reporter from taking any pictures of the strip.
With Australia utterly humiliated in the first Test, the wicket for the second Test is firmly in the spotlight as the visitors hope to keep the series against India alive.
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The innings and 132 run loss in Nagpur was the third heaviest in Australia’s history in India and will need to adjust quickly to avoid the same fate at a ground which has become a fortress for the hosts.
India has not lost at the stadium since 1987 against a Viv Richards-led West Indies.
But on Wednesday, The Age reported an Aussie reporter was told not to take footage of the surface, having been mistaken for the reporter who exposed the first Test pitch preparation. On that occasion selected parts of the pitch were watered and others left dry in a move that Australian media called “straight up pitch doctoring”.
The report said the journalist was forced 30m from the pitch, then over the boundary, where he was told he couldn’t film at all.
However, the stands were open and unguarded, meaning a Getty Images photographer took a picture of the pitch.
The Times of India have reported the pitch will unsurprisingly be a slow turner.
News Corp’s Peter Lalor reported: “Early inspection of the wicket reveals an area sedated in the middle where the seamers pitch, but a crack house being constructed on a length for the spinners.”
The players got a closer look at the pitch but it will still leave plenty of questions for the Aussies as Mitchell Starc revealed he was a “good chance” of returning for this match.
But as for the pitch, Starc said it looks similar to last week’s match.
“I’m not sure we’ll see conditions change too much from last week with how the guys have discussed it,” he said.
“I think judging on the last couple of days, the wickets out the back are similar in many ways to what the centre is.”
However, Cameron Green is an unknown commodity, having practised with a tennis ball so as not to further damage his broken finger.
His status for the match is unknown and with captain Pat Cummins as near-certain starter, Australia has some decisions to make.
Australia has tossed up playing three spinners with Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy and new squad member in left-arm spinner Matt Kuhnemann expected to play.
However, as Australia was bowled out for it lowest ever score on the subcontinent in the last match, it’s unlikely to go into the match with five bowlers, unless allrounder Green is ready to play.
The other question comes in the make up of the batting order with David Warner’s position in the side under question after Australia left Travis Head out of the first Test XI.
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