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"Green Mambas"

Chrish

First Class Debutant
We keep hearing about how home-side prepares pitch that suits their bowlers. Two specific examples come up again and again; SC countries prepare bunsens/ rank-turners and places like England prepare green mambas when SC teams tour there. I am specifically interested in later example. How common are these green wickets? Which countries commonly have them? I don't remember that many specific examples other than that Lords wicket where Rahane scored hundred.

And most importantly, what is the history of these green mambas? Was there any specific time period when wickets with grass were more common?
 

Starfighter

Hall of Fame Member
I can only remember one genuine one in tests that I've watched more than highlights of, Hobart 2011. Even Trent Bridge 2015 wasn't, though it was a little damp, and it's really the moisture that makes the trouble. In comparison those NZ pitches tend to be dry and billiard-table flat under the grass, hence their deceptiveness.

Would that be the pitch NZ scored 6/432 on, and most of the wickets were taken by Wagner?
 

Arachnodouche

International Regular
We keep hearing about how home-side prepares pitch that suits their bowlers. Two specific examples come up again and again; SC countries prepare bunsens/ rank-turners and places like England prepare green mambas when SC teams tour there. I am specifically interested in later example. How common are these green wickets? Which countries commonly have them? I don't remember that many specific examples other than that Lords wicket where Rahane scored hundred.

And most importantly, what is the history of these green mambas? Was there any specific time period when wickets with grass were more common?
Do you think batsmen raised on bunsens have a better chance of succeeding on bunsens as opposed to batsmen raised on green mambas have of succeeding on green mambas? Often seems to me that green mambas become a bit of a lottery if both teams have equally talented seamers. But SC batsmen generally do better than their visiting counterparts on turners. In other words, are green wickets more difficult to bat on for all parties concerned?
 

_00_deathscar

First Class Debutant
Do you think batsmen raised on bunsens have a better chance of succeeding on bunsens as opposed to batsmen raised on green mambas have of succeeding on green mambas? Often seems to me that green mambas become a bit of a lottery if both teams have equally talented seamers. But SC batsmen generally do better than their visiting counterparts on turners. In other words, are green wickets more difficult to bat on for all parties concerned?
India have been burned preparing raging turners before when the opposition spinners are pretty good (Swann), but not too good (Warne).

Vice versa in recent years when teams have prepared tracks for the quicks without realising India has a pretty damn good pace attack now.
 

Chrish

First Class Debutant
Do you think batsmen raised on bunsens have a better chance of succeeding on bunsens as opposed to batsmen raised on green mambas have of succeeding on green mambas? Often seems to me that green mambas become a bit of a lottery if both teams have equally talented seamers. But SC batsmen generally do better than their visiting counterparts on turners. In other words, are green wickets more difficult to bat on for all parties concerned?
Most of the times from what I have observed, green mamba is lethal only for a day. Then grass dries up and it becomes a road. That’s what is said about NZ wickets anyways. So, side that bats first will be in a deep ****.

Bunsen on the other hand turns throughout the game and wicket progressively gets more difficult. In this situation, team batting last will be at slightly more disadvantage.

Green top effect lasts for a day while bunsen effect lasts longer.
 

Arachnodouche

International Regular
Thanks. Guess what I'm trying to get at is if you place an English batsman on a fresh greentop and an Indian batsman on a Chepauk-style wicket, who'd have the better chance of succeeding? And what that says about the inherent difficulty of batting on either wicket.
 

_00_deathscar

First Class Debutant
Thanks. Guess what I'm trying to get at is if you place an English batsman on a fresh greentop and an Indian batsman on a Chepauk-style wicket, who'd have the better chance of succeeding? And what that says about the inherent difficulty of batting on either wicket.
Nothing.
It's about the skill of the batsman, and their mental state. The pitch plays a role, but just having good/great batsman is far more effective.
Root on a fresh greentop right now would be better any day than Prithvi Shaw on a Chepauk-style wicket.
 

trundler

Hall of Fame Member
The problem with judging pitches in a binary like this is that pitch composition are more complex than generic wisdom indicates. I'm not sure green = bowler friendly, dry = will progressively turn more actually works that often. Pakistani pitches are dry as anything but don't actually help spinners more as the match progresses and NZ wickets actually get flatter usually. And then every now and then a pitch like the first India v England test one pops up which even betrays ground specific stereotypes. I recall there being chatter that spin would play a vital part in the 2018 BG Trophy because of a drought but this was evidently not the case.

I'm not even sure cloud cover affects swing that much tbh.
 

honestbharani

Whatever it takes!!!
Green top effect lasts for a day while bunsen effect lasts longer.
Not as a rule and way more the exception than the norm. But even accepting this flimsy bit as true, it just shows that green tops are the real unfair wickets then. Which means it is far worse as far as pitch ratings go.
 

honestbharani

Whatever it takes!!!
And then every now and then a pitch like the first India v England test one pops up which even betrays ground specific stereotypes
It is what happens when you attempt to create this perfect wicket (which only exists theoretically) where it swings for day 1 and then flattens out on day 2 and 3 and helps spinners and reverse swing on days 4 and 5. It is what they attempted the first test and instead they found a pitch that was even more unfair than an actual turner.

And a turner does not always mean the pitch will break up. The issue with pitches breaking up is the uneven bounce and we had so very little of it in the 2nd test even compared to the 1st test. Just because the top layer is exploding does not mean the pitch underneath is soft. The red soil base held together perfectly well and it created conditions that brought the spinners into the game from both sides in all 4 of the innings. A turner does not mean a bunsen and this was not a bunsen. It was just a good turning track, just like Mumbai in 2016.
 

OverratedSanity

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"Looking" green and "behaving" like a green deck are often not the same. Pitches with patchier grass cover are often much more difficult.
 

cnerd123

likes this
Thanks. Guess what I'm trying to get at is if you place an English batsman on a fresh greentop and an Indian batsman on a Chepauk-style wicket, who'd have the better chance of succeeding? And what that says about the inherent difficulty of batting on either wicket.
engaging with this hypothetical in the spirit you intended - I think both set of conditions rely on a certain amount of 'luck' to get set after which batting becomes easier. It just looks different.

On a pitch where the new ball is moving a lot, you need luck early in your innings to not get an unplayable ball. But if you can see out that tricky new ball phase, batting gets easier as the ball gets older and moves less.

On a turning track, you need luck early on to not get out while you figure out your footwork. Decisive and precise footwork is how you counter sharp spin, and (generally speaking) your footwork is at it's worst when you're at the start of your innings. But as you get settled in it gets much easier to bat, as you have plenty of time to play each ball.
 

Spark

Global Moderator
I think the only out and out "bad" pitch in terms of being unfair/dubious to play on I can recall in the last few years was Bangalore 2017. On top of spinning like a top from the start, which is obviously the flavour of the month to go after right now, that thing had serious inconsistent bounce from the start and got worse as the match went on.

Of course if we use a more reasonable definition of fairness, then half the pitches prepared in Australia from like 2012 onwards would count too. Particularly that Perth pitch where Warner and Taylor got double hundreds, that was flat out death to all bowlers territory.
 

honestbharani

Whatever it takes!!!
I think the only out and out "bad" pitch in terms of being unfair/dubious to play on I can recall in the last few years was Bangalore 2017. On top of spinning like a top from the start, which is obviously the flavour of the month to go after right now, that thing had serious inconsistent bounce from the start and got worse as the match went on.

Of course if we use a more reasonable definition of fairness, then half the pitches prepared in Australia from like 2012 onwards would count too. Particularly that Perth pitch where Warner and Taylor got double hundreds, that was flat out death to all bowlers territory.
and the Nagpur one where Root made his debut. And even the Ranchi one in 2017 tbh.
 

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