Australia have had their first look at the JSCA Stadium pitch that will play host to its first ever Test match starting Thursday.
Coach Darren Lehmann, captain Steve Smith and a number of the touring party inspected the mottled wicket in Ranchi on Tuesday morning, which looked like those found in the Caribbean that tend to be slower and lower.
Three pitches were prepared by chief curator SB Singh and it appears pitch No.5, the middle of the nine block square, will be used.
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The wicket was watered by the JSCA Stadium groundstaff while the Australians held their first training session at the venue, resulting in vast brown wet patches on the pitch that will undoubtedly dry out under the Ranchi sun.
The third Test pitch has attracted immense interest after the first Test wicket in Pune was deemed ‘poor’ by ICC match referee Chris Broad, a rating a BCCI official labelled “harsh”.
While the Pune pitch spun prodigiously from ball one, the second Test pitch in Bengaluru also spun fiercely and featured dramatic cracks that caused deliveries to shoot low and rear up off a length.
That pitch at M Chinnaswamy Stadium was reportedly rated as ‘very good’ by Broad in the Indian press.
As a result, the series has to date been dominated by spin bowling, with Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon confirming the tourists expect - and have been preparing for - more of the same in Ranchi.
"We all expect that over here,” Lyon said.
"So we know what we're going to get.
"It's going to be the same for both sides, so let's just go out and play cricket."
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JSCA secretary Debashis Chakraborty hopes the Ranchi pitch lasts the full five days in its debut Test match.
"Whether the pitch is flat or a turner, will only be known when the match is played," Chakraborty said.
"Generally in the ODIs, the par score here is 250 and the pitch provides turn as the game progresses.
"Since it is the first Test the city is going to host, we would like it to be a five-day affair."
India (for third and fourth Tests): Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.
Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade
Australia's schedule in India
Feb 23-27, First Test, Pune - Australia won by 333 runs.
Mar 4-8, Second Test, Bengaluru - India won by 75 runs.
Mar 16-20, Third Test, Ranchi
Mar 25-29, Fourth Test, Dharamsala