Grassy pitch in works
Like days of old, fast bowlers will have the historic Kensington Oval ground to their liking for next month’s historic day/night showdown between the West Indies and Sri Lanka on June 23.
That’s according to director cricket of Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), Steven Leslie.
He told NATIONSPORT that a private firm had been assigned the task of preparing the Oval for what will be the third Test of the series and indications are the pitch will have plenty of grass.
“The private company will be doing the major preparatory, which we would like to have like an old-time type Kensington Oval pitch where grass is available. We are doing our best to rekindle the type of pitch we have become known for at Kensington Oval.
“There will be adequate covering of the grass on the pitch and, hopefully, it should be quicker than in the recent past,” he said.
Former curator and West Indies fast bowler Richard “Prof” Edwards will oversee the preparation along with Winston Reid and Hendy Davis.
This will be Sri Lanka’s first Test tour of the West Indies in 10 years. The last one – in March 2008 – ended in a 1-1 draw, and was quite memorable for the visitors, who claimed their first win in the Caribbean.
Sri Lanka are bidding to become the first side from the sub-continent to win a Test match at Kensington Oval which has hosted 52 matches. India are winless in nine matches while Pakistan have not tasted victory in seven Tests.
There have been eight day-night Tests since the first one between Australia and New Zealand in November 2015.
West Indies have already been involved in two of them, without any success, whereas Sri Lanka beat Pakistan on their day-night Test debut.
Leslie said the remedial work at Kensington was the reason why all of the remaining play-off matches in the Sagicor General Twenty20 such as the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final was being played at the Three Ws Oval.
“We were advised by our experts that remedial work on the pitch and outfield was required at Kensington. Based on that advice, we had to shift the Twenty20 matches to Three Ws Oval. All matches will be played under floodlights and will commence at 7 p.m.
“We would ideally love to have the major matches being played at Kensington Oval but circumstances in this case do not permit,” he said.
The last of the ongoing quarter-finals is slated for June 6 with the semi-finals carded for June 11 and 13. The final is scheduled for June 15 with the reserve day on June 18.
Leslie said that preparation was on stream.
“Our experts are very pleased and we at the BCA believe that we will be in an excellent position before we host the day/night Test match, so at this point there are no major concerns,” he said.
The world-renowned ground was being enhanced by aerifying and verti cutting of the outfield along with fertilising. (MK)