Australian Test pitches seem to be getting slower and slower, even at the WACA this season sides have been playing two spinners. Why?
I'm probably wrong but I would have said Perth is usually a swing bowlers paradise. If it were a traditional wicket and conditions were right Hoggard would have a field day and so would Simon Jones if he were fitFaaipDeOiad said:There are two reasons which you don't have listed there which both have a hand in it.
One is the changing nature of the grounds themselves. A lot of them have been dug up, re-layed, altered to suit other sports for temporary periods and so on, and all of them have bigger stands and so on. This obviously has an impact on the sorts of wickets that they produce. Another one is the weather, which has been quite dry and warm in Australia for several years, which results in fewer wickets which suit seamers.
The main reason though is the changing goals and abilities of the groundsmen. With the exception of Adelaide, all the other grounds have become more batsman-friendly because the curators are more capable of making them so. Weather conditions and so on have a much smaller impact on the surface now than they did in the past, because the science of pitch preperation has advanced. The culture of a batting wicket being a "good" wicket isn't that new, it's merely that they are far easier to prepare now.
It's a shame, because Australia has had a well-deserved reputation for a long time for producing the biggest variety of pitches in world cricket. The major test grounds in Australia all have a significantly different identity and traditionally produce different surfaces, from a batting wicket that crumbles and turns in Adelaide, to a spinners pitch in Sydney, to a fast bowling paradise in Perth. The uniform nature of wickets since 2000 or so in Australia has definitely detracted from the quality of the cricket, though obviously they retain some part of their identity most of the time, there's less variation than there should be.
Last year was a step in the right direction, aside from the horror show in Perth. It's hard to tell how this year will turn out just now, as I think the Brisbane pitch was okay and this Adelaide one would have been closer to a traditional Adelaide wicket if the weather had been hotter (as it usually is), and it would have come apart a lot on days 4 and 5. I think it's jumping the gun a little bit to get worked up over the Adelaide wicket, because it's always been the best batting pitch in the country, and this year is nothing out of the ordinary aside from the weather. Ian Chappell or someone quoted Martin Crowe the other day, saying that three things in life are certainties - taxes, death and a century at Adelaide.
Based on the domestic cricket evidence, the SCG and MCG wickets seem a bit different from what we've seen so far, but Perth will be another road.
The biggest factor IMO.FaaipDeOiad said:One is the changing nature of the grounds themselves. A lot of them have been dug up, re-layed, altered to suit other sports for temporary periods and so on, and all of them have bigger stands and so on.
There have certainly been some great spells of swing bowling there, but the most notable characteristic of the WACA traditionally is its pace and bounce. The bounce off a length there occasionally made bowlers like Ambrose totally unplayable, and it was always a great ground to bowl at for any quick.Craig said:I'm probably wrong but I would have said Perth is usually a swing bowlers paradise. If it were a traditional wicket and conditions were right Hoggard would have a field day and so would Simon Jones if he were fit