Domain Tests v India
Perth curator unveils green, mean pitch
Second Test set to be played out on fast, bouncy wicket amid extreme WA heat
Sam Ferris at Perth Stadium
13 December 2018, 01:08 PM AEST
Green is good when it comes to fast, bouncy wickets, and that's exactly what Australia and India are set to face off on for the second Domain Test, according to WACA head curator Brett Sipthorpe.
Sipthorpe unveiled a bright green pitch on match eve that is expected to provide Test cricket's much-coveted balance between bat and ball.
The leafy green grass is the key ingredient for a fast pitch, just like the lightning wickets of old across the Swan River at the WACA Ground offered once upon a time.
Visiting Indian teams of the past have struggled to handle the pace and bounce of Australian pitches, and Virat Kohli's side is to experience what may well begin to earn a reputation as the fastest and bounciest wicket in the world.
"We've just been told make it fast, make it bouncy if you can and run with it," Sipthorpe said on Thursday.
"We're just trying to produce the bounciest pitch we can."
The Test pitch for Perth Stadium's inaugural Test match is set to mirror the JLT Sheffield Shield wicket that was used last month for the WA-NSW clash.
That fixture was dominated by the pacemen – 32 of the 40 wickets fell to fast bowling, with Warriors quick Jhye Richardson taking 11 wickets – but Blues batter Kurtis Patterson proved runs could be scored with a fine century on day one.
Following a thorough survey of the players involved, the surface was deemed a success and suitable for Test match cricket.
"We're pretty much planning for exactly what we had for the Shield game," Sipthorpe said.
"The feedback we got back from the players was terrific, I don't think I've spent so much time talking to players during a game but we just wanted to garner as much feedback as we could from the players.
"We didn't get any negatives from them, they were all really positive about it.
"We're pretty much aiming for the exact same moisture content, and we're hoping for the exact same pace and bounce."
While the pitch will be a handful for the batters and a delight for the two supreme fast-bowling attacks, the biggest threat on day one could be the extreme temperature.
The mercury is set to hit 38 degrees Celsius on Friday and the colosseum-like stadium offers little respite in terms of coastal winds.
The famous Fremantle Doctor that would drift across the WACA in the afternoon won't be a factor in the second Test, but Sipthorpe said the swirling breeze inside the stadium may have played a part in the ball swinging virtually non-stop during the Shield fixture.
A green wicket could tempt the winner of the toss to bowl first, but Sipthorpe warns the scorching heat must be considered.
"They've had all the talk about pace and bounce and movement, but how long can you sustain heavy pressure in 38 degrees?" he said.
"That's the challenge. If you win the toss do you bowl and make the most of the conditions, or do you think – actually, we're going to be pretty tired after 50 overs in 38 degrees?"
Domain Test Series v India
Dec 14-18: Second Test, Perth Stadium
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 3-7: Fourth Test, SCG
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar