As the groundsmen at the Wankhede Stadium worked on war-footing to get the pitch ready for the second Test, the Indian team went in for a training session at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Bandra-Kurla Complex indoor facility on Thursday.
With an incessant rain owing to a low-pressure area having developed in the Arabian Sea off the northern Maharashtra coastline, neither India nor New Zealand could have a look at the surface on Wednesday and had to call off their training sessions.
But on Thursday, on the eve of the crucial fixture, the Indian cricketers – who had an optional training session – sweated it out at the indoor arena, under the watchful eyes of head coach Rahul Dravid.
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With the ground still wet after overnight rain, the New Zealand team called off its training schedule, even though the players are expected to visit the stadium later in the afternoon to have a look at the surface and set up the changing room and the viewing area.
The Wankhede strip looks pretty bald with grass shaved off, and it is expected that the wicket could help the fast bowlers on the first day, with the spinners joining the party from the second day onwards. On Tuesday, a team of groundsmen, under the supervision of BCCI chief curator Ashish Bhowmick, specifically attended the good-length spots at both ends.
However, with forecasts of scattered showers on Friday, it will be interesting to see what strategy and combination the teams adopt. The iconic Wankhede Stadium will be hosting a Test match after exactly five years, and all eyes will be on the sky!