Incredibly, the last match played on the drop-in pitch where India and New Zealand will battle it out in the first Test, was the home team’s Test against England in March 2013.
Since then, this drop-in pitch has been preserved for another Test. The India-New Zealand game here in the recent ODI series was played on a different surface.
Curator Blair Christiansen said here on Wednesday, “This pitch has more grass on it than the one against England. Otherwise the composition is the same. This surface should have more pace and bounce.”
Interestingly, in that England-New Zealand Test last year, the Kiwis made 443 in the first innings.
England was shot out for 204 with paceman Trent Boult scalping six with some outstanding swing bowling.
England — 315 for nine in its second innings — managed to hold on to a dramatic draw.
The affable Christiansen said, “Bounce and seam have been the flavour of the season, haven’t they? It’s time for us to join the party.” He said the pitch was unlikely to break. “The wicket here does not deteriorate. Spinners, traditionally, do not play a major role.”
The 40-year-old Christiansen said, “A drop-in pitch is not different from the other wickets. The soil is the same, the grass is the same. Only difference is that it is portable.”
Because of the rugby matches played on the same ground, three drop-in pitches are being maintained in a nursery adjacent to the Eden Park.