Australia and Pakistan can expect a fast and bouncy wicket for the series-opening Test in Perth starting on Thursday, says Optus Stadium curator Isaac McDonald.
McDonald has made changes to the drop-in wicket and it’s hoped the tweaks will avoid a repeat of last year’s borefest when the Australia-West Indies clash in Perth was a batathon fizzer.
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The hosts posted 4(dec)-598 in the first innings on the way to a predictable and drawn-out 164-run win.
Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith both posted double centuries during the first-innings runfest, while Travis Head scored 99.
McDonald, also the curator for last summer’s Test, is confident the deck will be a winner.
Australia and Pakistan will have a fast, bouncy wicket for the Perth Test, says Isaac McDonald. Credit: AAP
“The conditions are really favourable for making a really nice, fast, hard, bouncy wicket,” McDonald told reporters on Tuesday.
“Some of the feedback I got (on last year’s wicket) was it was actually quite good.
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“Day one, day two, there were a lot of balls beating the bat.
“Looking back at Marnus’s innings, he had a lot of chances that kind of went through him.
“But just the latter stages of the game, it did flatten out probably too much and then held together too far.”
McDonald said there were 10mm of grass on last summer’s wicket similar to this year’s deck, but it will be trimmed leading into Thursday.
The wicket was dropped in three weeks ago on a day when the mercury hit 42 degrees, causing it to lose some colour.
“Definitely not having as much grass on top is where I’m aiming for,” McDonald said.
“And maybe just having it slightly going a little bit harder, so it does give that chance to deteriorate later on in the game.”
Predictions of a harder and faster wicket will be music to the ears of both Australia and Pakistan’s pacemen.
But they are unlikely to be aided by any significant cracks in the wicket.
“I just don’t think it gets hot enough,” McDonald said.
“You need three, four days of high 30s or mid 40s to really make it blow open.
“In this stadium we’re quite sheltered, whereas at the WACA – it’s open and you get the wind. It’s a different kind of environment.”
“So I don’t think it’s going to blow up.”