Mon | Sep 23, 2019

‘Sabina will have something for everyone’ - Curator promises ‘green-top pitch’ for Windies-India Test

Published:Wednesday | August 21, 2019 | 12:31 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
Michael Hilton (second left) and his crew work on the Sabina Park pitch ahead of the second Test match between India and the West Indies, which starts on August 30.

Head curator at Sabina Park Michael Hylton says West Indies and India players can expect a green-top pitch for their second Test, which bowls off at the venue on August 30.

Hylton and the ground staff have been putting in a lot of work on the strip over the past four weeks, and he believes that the turf will offer a lot of pace and bounce come match time.

“Right now, we are at around 60 per cent with regards to preparation. I specifically requested that we maintain the heavy grass on the surface as this will help to bind the wicket together. I want to have a 60-40 percentage balance on this strip in favour of the batters; however, it will offer a lot of assistance to the bowlers as well,” Hylton said.

In the past, Sabina Park surfaces have had a tinge of brown, but Hylton believes that a green top would make for a good five-day cricket wicket.

“When everyone gets here on August 30, I want them to believe that they are at Wimbledon on the first morning – green, green, green ... . That’s what I want them to see, and the team that executes the two disciplines well will get the desired result.”

The West Indies have won only one Test match in the last five that have been played at Sabina Park. That victory came against Bangladesh last year July, when captain Jason Holder picked up 11 wickets.

The last time the West Indies played India at Sabina Park, Holder and his men were able to hold on for a draw, with Roston Chase ­scoring an unbeaten 137 to save the match.

Hylton said he had more ­concerns for the state of the ­outfield, which he said would be about 80 per cent ready come match time.

“I will be honest, the field is badly in need of some work. It needs to be aerated, and we won’t have enough time to ­complete that task. What I have done is to allow the St George’s College Manning Cup team to use the field to ­practise, and that will help in the aeration ­somewhat with the ­players ­trampling the surface,” he said.

Hylton added that his team had also done some scarification on the lawn and had applied top-dress; however, much more work is needed to get the surface was in tip-top shape, he said.

“Hopefully, we will be able to ascertain the funding to ­properly address the field situation. I would love if we can get some of the funds from the events that are held here on an annual basis to help us to address this critical issue,” Hylton said.

The West Indies and India will square off in their first Test match tomorrow at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua before flying to Jamaica to close out the series.