India vs Sri Lanka Test: Nagpur, Delhi pitches expected to be grassy

Anuradha Santhanam

Nagpur's Vidarbha Cricket Stadium

What's the story?

The pitches at Nagpur's Vidarbha Cricket Stadium and Delhi's Feroze Shah Kotla, which are being readied to host the second and third Tests between India and Sri Lanka, are to be "green and bouncy" ahead of the team's arrival, according to reports by CricInfo.

The report says the pitch has an "even cover" of grass and will remain that way when teams begin play on Friday.

In case you didn't know...

India drew the first Test against Sri Lanka at Kolkata's Eden Gardens yesterday after 5 days of play that were hampered by rain and constant low light. That low light may have cost India a win yesterday, with Sri Lanka 7 wickets down when play was called to a close prematurely as a result of lighting.

The team looked well on track to wrap things up on Day 5, off the back of spectacular bowling performances by Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was adjudged Player of the Match for his efforts.

The second Test of the 3-match series will be played in Nagpur, Maharashtra from Friday, the 24th of November, while the third is to be hosted at Delhi's iconic Feroze Shah Kotla stadium.

The details

Team officials have said that the pitch will not aid spinners on the first three days of the Test, but will turn more as it dries out on the last two days. The greener pitches will however aid the fast bowlers early on, giving them an opportunity to clean up early on as they did at Eden Gardens.

According to the CricInfo report, India head coach Ravi Shastri and team management spoke to BCCI officials during Australia's tour of India in September, and specified at the time that the pitches India were due to play on for the Sri Lanka Test series should give them "preparation for the South Africa tour" in January and February of 2018. Shastri is said t have " that the pitches ought to be 'lively greentops', and "hard and bouncy".

What's next?

The second Test will commence on Friday, the 24th of November, at Nagpur's Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium.

Author's Take

Given the pitches are grassy and quick, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar could do well again with the ball. Assisted by the pace of the pitch - and the momentum of his performance in the first Test, Bhuvi could be pivotal to India's win, as could Mohammed Shami.

Together, the two pacers cleaned up well and took India to the brink of victory in Kolkata - and with a similar pitch and fewer light-related issues, could go the distance this time around.

Although India have generally done well at home on pitches that turn early on, the pacers' performance - and a lackluster one from the spinners - means that this could bode well with India.

Also, with the number of international tours India have lined up for the upcoming year, practice on grassy pitches will serve them well for 2018.