Hardly 100 metres from Churchgate station, that is close to the Wankhede Stadium, roadside hawkers selling clothes can be heard shouting, “Kholke check karlo, bilkul chalega (you can open and check it, it’s okay)!” One wished doing the same to see the pitch, that was under covers due to the unseasonal rains in Mumbai on Wednesday, the venue for the second Test between India and New Zealand.
After a thrilling draw in the first Test in Kanpur, there is an increased interest in the nature of the surface for the final game of the two-match series. Generally, the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium is good for batting and aids spin, too. However, a cloudy Tuesday followed by a rainy Wednesday meant the surface was under covers. While there are speculations that a greenish surface could welcome both sides, it remains to be seen if the pitch will move away from its traditional ‘something for all’ nature.
In Tests from 2010 at the Wankhede Stadium, pacers have picked 23 wickets in just over 400 overs while spinners have returned 103 wickets having bowled over 900 overs. The last Test in Mumbai was against England, where India played three spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav. The trio picked 19 of the 20 wickets to fall, with Ashwin returning six-fers on both occasions.
The rains are forecast for Thursday also, meaning the preparation for the surface would be hampered.