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India v Australia 2022/23

Report – Australia forced to cancel training after groundstaff turn centre-wicket unusable

Australia Test captain Pat Cummins examines the Nagpur pitch ahead of the first Test against India
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

According to reports in the Australian media, a planned practice session by the Australia team had to be cancelled after the Nagpur groundstaff watered the wicket, scuppering any hopes of batting on it.

Australia were thrashed by an innings inside three days by India in the opening Test of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy. According to The Age, they had hoped to hold a centre-wicket session on the pitch used for the Test, with the Nagpur groundstaff agreeing to the request.

However, Australia were forced to change their plans, with the Nagpur groundstaff then reportedly watering not only the wicket used in the game, but also the nets at the ground, with dirt also scattered on the pitches next to the one used for the Test.


Australia head coach Andrew McDonald explained the need for more practice on turning surfaces on SEN radio. “It’s pretty clear isn’t it, their intent with the surfaces they want to play on. We were expecting that coming in so as I said before, we’ve been really clear on what we expected,” he said. “When we got here we got exactly that. They’re not naughty boy nets today (the planned session). We’ve got a big squad of 17 players so there’s different people on different training programs.

“There’ll be a couple of players from the game that will come down, so they’ll be seen at training. But it’s certainly not naughty boy nets, it’s just preparing for the next game.”

Talk of conditions dominated the build-up to the series, with some in the Australian media accusing India of “pitch-doctoring” by selectively watering the Nagpur surface to hinder Australia’s slew of left-handers. However, while Pat Cummins’ side had no answer to India’s spinners, the hosts put up a total of 400 to show the surface had few demons, with the largest stand coming from Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, two left-handers.

The second Test of the series begins on Friday, February 17 at Delhi.

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