Infotainment Factory: Langer worried over Sydney Test pitch

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Monday, 31 December 2018

Langer worried over Sydney Test pitch


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Justin Langer hopes the SCG pitch for the final Test against India is not flat but recent evidence suggests he may be dreaming.

A frustrated Tim Paine criticised the MCG deck after the third Test, saying it handed India an advantage that Australia rarely enjoy when they tour the subcontinent.

All eyes will now turn to the 22 yards in the middle of the SCG, where India's pursuit of their first Test series win in Australia resumes on Thursday.

Australia fear a spin-friendly pitch will play into India's hands but, if this season is anything to go by, it will be more of a batsman's paradise.

Both Sheffield Shield games in Sydney this season were drawn, with ten wickets falling in just one of the seven innings.

A total of 3,116 runs at 46.5 per wicket have been scored at the SCG across those matches plus India's drawn tour game that preceded the four-Test series.

That ratio is even more lopsided than the much-maligned MCG's docile drop-in deck, which had produced 2,772 runs at 30.5 in first-class games prior to the Boxing Day Test.

Marnus Labuschagne, whose legspin made more headlines than his batting on Test debut in October, is expected to claim Mitch Marsh's place in Australia's XI.

Langer suggested conditions will dictate the team but he isn't sure what to expect in Sydney.

"We're interested to see what we're going to get in Sydney ... it's been a bit inconsistent," Langer said.

"It was very flat (for India's tour game) and it was very flat in the Sheffield Shield game there a few weeks ago.

"We certainly hope it's not (flat).

"You want to see a contest between bat and ball."

Pitches have provided plenty of talking points throughout the series, which the visitors currently lead 2-1.

The Perth wicket prepared for the second Test was graded average by the match referee, a verdict that surprised Langer and many others.

There was far less pace and bounce on offer in Adelaide and Melbourne, prompting Paine to detail how he was frustrated and disappointed with wickets that "have taken away from our strengths".

Langer wasn't as forthright but made it clear he would like to see more bounce on offer.

"All I'd say is all the years we've gone to India, we haven't had too many bouncy wickets, it usually spins square," Langer said.

Justin Langer hopes the SCG pitch for the final Test against India is not flat but recent evidence suggests he may be dreaming.

A frustrated Tim Paine criticised the MCG deck after the third Test, saying it handed India an advantage that Australia rarely enjoy when they tour the subcontinent.

All eyes will now turn to the 22 yards in the middle of the SCG, where India's pursuit of their first Test series win in Australia resumes on Thursday.

Australia fear a spin-friendly pitch will play into India's hands but, if this season is anything to go by, it will be more of a batsman's paradise.

Both Sheffield Shield games in Sydney this season were drawn, with ten wickets falling in just one of the seven innings.

A total of 3,116 runs at 46.5 per wicket have been scored at the SCG across those matches plus India's drawn tour game that preceded the four-Test series.

That ratio is even more lopsided than the much-maligned MCG's docile drop-in deck, which had produced 2,772 runs at 30.5 in first-class games prior to the Boxing Day Test.

Marnus Labuschagne, whose legspin made more headlines than his batting on Test debut in October, is expected to claim Mitch Marsh's place in Australia's XI.

Langer suggested conditions will dictate the team but he isn't sure what to expect in Sydney.

"We're interested to see what we're going to get in Sydney ... it's been a bit inconsistent," Langer said.

"It was very flat (for India's tour game) and it was very flat in the Sheffield Shield game there a few weeks ago.

"We certainly hope it's not (flat).

"You want to see a contest between bat and ball."

Pitches have provided plenty of talking points throughout the series, which the visitors currently lead 2-1.

The Perth wicket prepared for the second Test was graded average by the match referee, a verdict that surprised Langer and many others.

There was far less pace and bounce on offer in Adelaide and Melbourne, prompting Paine to detail how he was frustrated and disappointed with wickets that "have taken away from our strengths".

Langer wasn't as forthright but made it clear he would like to see more bounce on offer.

"All I'd say is all the years we've gone to India, we haven't had too many bouncy wickets, it usually spins square," Langer said.

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