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Bengaluru to offer up ‘sporting’ pitch for second test

BANGALURU: Barring a last-minute intervention from the home side, the second test between India and Australia will be played on a “sporting” pitch which will be fair to both teams, organisers in Bengaluru have said.

Pitch talk dominated reaction in India to their series-opening defeat inside three days in Pune, where Australia’s left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe claimed 12 wickets, the best figures recorded by a visiting spinner on Indian soil.

Many believe India’s ploy to roll out a turning track backfired on the hosts, who would do well not to ask for a similar pitch as they chase a series-levelling victory in the second test from Saturday.

Karnataka State Cricket Association secretary Sudhakar Rao said they had not received any suggestion from the Indian team and were focusing on preparing a pitch which would provide a fair-contest between bat and ball.

“Our intention is to prepare a sporting, test-match pitch,” Rao told Tuesday’s Hindu newspaper.

“We want a five-day match. We definitely don’t want to see the match end in two and a half days.”

Australia beat India at their own spin game on the bone-dry Pune track used for the venue’s test debut. O’Keefe and spin partner Nathan Lyon claimed all 10 Indian wickets in the hosts’ second innings.

“We like to keep some moisture underneath. So we haven’t stopped watering it,” Rao added.

“We’ll water it until two or three days before the match. Then we will see what the pitch looks like, two days out, and take a call.”

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