The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eden may offer low bounce

Calcutta: The mid-October unexpected spell of rain has seriously dented chances of having a hard wicket at Eden Gardens. At least, as of now.

The square was dug up and stuffed with a soil-type expected to help a cricket ball bounce, but the problem is, it hasn’t got the time to get dry enough.

According to people concerned, unless there is bright sunshine in the next few days, the beleaguered West Indians will face more trouble, as there won’t be much bounce. Some slow turn has also been predicted, though the Indian skipper didn’t say this in as many words after his first look at the wicket.

“It may not be a slow turner,” said Sourav Ganguly Friday after a brief spell of knocking on a strip adjacent to the area marked for the third and final Test of the Exide series. “In any case, it’s difficult to assess a new wicket after just a short look,” he added.

The re-laid area got its first taste of real cricket Friday as Bengal’s Ranji probables played a match among themselves. Summing up the situation, head of the BCCI’s zonal pitch committee Prabir Mukherjee said: “We were on course but it rained till October 19, which means the pitch is moist. There will be some turn but not much bounce.”

Mukherjee, however, added this doesn’t mean the new pitch will remain slow. “It will develop into a good, hard wicket once the moisture is gone. In due course, we will have the kind of wicket we want.”

But that is unlikely to happen in the immediate future and those associated with the Bengal team confirmed this.

“It’s going to be difficult for the visitors. The kind of bounce they are comfortable with won’t be there and also, there is a chance that the ball won’t come nicely on to the bat,” said Bengal coach Sambaran Banerjee. “Unless things change dramatically, batting here won’t be easy for the Caribbeans.”

Utpal Chatterjee’s reading wasn’t any different. “From what we saw, the bounce is clearly insufficient and the strip we played on Friday looks under-prepared at the moment.”

There were some, like Deep Dasgupta, who felt things were not as bad. “See, though the basic surface is the same, the Test strip may behave differently with proper rolling and watering. And from what I saw, it looks pretty decent.”

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