The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Test practice for relaid pitch

Calcutta: The city will get a first tentative glimpse of how the new Eden Gardens pitch will behave during the third India-West Indies Test, when the Bengal Ranji Trophy probables play a practice match on one of the identical relaid tracks Friday.

Although the match will not be played on the same track earmarked for the October 30-November 3 Test, CAB officials feel this practice match will throw up “a general idea” about the pitch.

“The entire stretch of the track has been relaid with same soil and components. So, one will get a good impression on the nature of entire stretch, whichever pitch one plays on. The behaviour will be more or less same across the entire relaid stretch,” a senior CAB official said Thursday.

East Zone’s BCCI pitch committee head Prabir Mukherjee, who has overseen making of the Eden pitch, also agreed, saying it would be firm and sporting. “It will help both bowlers and batsmen equally, Mukherjee said. The pitch is being rolled now.

It may be recalled that the BCCI has set up the pitch committee in a move to produce new sporting pitches in ten centres.

However, the virgin strips in Mumbai and Chennai, which hosted the first two Tests, have come in for criticism after Carl Hooper and his team capitulated within the fourth day on both occasions.

The 24-member Bengal probables will be divided into two teams to play the trial match. According to a CAB official, India captain Sourav Ganguly may also take part in it.

Meanwhile, the CAB has described the trend of ticket sale for the Test as “encouraging”. “Ticket sales to various affiliated units so far, as well as season tickets to the public have been to the tune of Rs 40 lakh. “This is quite encouraging. We are also expecting further increase once sale of daily tickets get underway,” the official added.

In another development, the CAB has approached an Indian company to explore possibilities of installing a giant screen at Eden. “We’re awaiting a reply from the company,” said the official.

It is learnt if a decision is reached regarding this issue within a couple of days, spectators at the Eden may get a chance to watch the third Test itself on the screen inside the stadium.

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