Pitch Report: Dubai Cricket Stadium

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We preview the first-ever pink ball day/night Test in Dubai between Pakistan and West Indies, who will lock horns at Dubai Cricket Stadium.

Established: 2009
Capacity: 25,000
Floodlights: Yes
Ends: Emirates Road End, Dubai Sports City End
Home Team: Pakistan
Test history: 9 Tests (5 home wins, 2 losses, 2 draws)
Tosses: 9: 8 batted first (3 wins, 2 draws, 3 defeats), 1 bowled first (1 win)

Overview

One of four planned or completed stadiums in the ever-evolving Dubai Sports City, the world’s first ever purpose-built athletic metropolis, Dubai International Cricket Stadium weighs in with plenty of impressive numbers.

Flanked by football, basketball, ice hockey, volleyball, handball and netball facilities, the 25,000-seater boasts an unsurpassed 350 floodlights across its ‘ring of fire’.

Unique in that its lighting is lavished entirely across the stadium’s stands rather than individual pylons, the ground brags arguably the best playing visibility across the planet.

A 30-floor, five-star hotel, state-of-the-art electronic scoreboard, shaded rafters for every single spectator, oversized dressing rooms, a voluptuous media centre, gymnasiums, swimming pools and a world-class drainage system – the plush, excessive desert oasis has it all.

Reuters news agency has quoted “informed sources” suggesting the PCB are remunerated 800,000 pounds for each event in Dubai, so it’s little wonder they are happy to act as pseudo ‘hosts’ while their real home grounds are without international cricket.

This will be the first ever pink ball day/night Test played in Dubai as well as the first for either nation.

The pink ball presents a few unknowns for both sides but we can be certain that more grass will be left on the pitch than normal to preserve the ball.

Last Time Out

Yasir Shah had England in a spin as the ‘hosts’ recorded a 178 run win, the spinner picked up 8 wickets as senior batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan recorded centuries in each innings to power Pakistan home.

We probably won’t be able to use the previous encounter as any sort of indication of how the wicket will play with the extra grass that is expected to be left on the Dubai wicket.

Happy Hunting Ground

With Younis Khan set to miss the first Test after recovering from a bout of Dengue fever Pakistan are without their leading run scorer at the venue but can fall back on the able Misbah-ul-Haq who has scored 684 runs at the venue.

Yasir Shah has taken 22 wickets in three tests at the venue and could prove dangerous yet again despite the expected extra grass.

They Said

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq after they beat England in 2015 said: “It was tough to play [for England] on a last-day Dubai pitch, in the last innings, when the ball was turning from the rough and two quality bowlers were bowling.”

Australia coach Darren Lehmann said after his sides loss in 2014: “This is a very good cricket wicket and we didn’t adapt well enough and didn’t play well enough. When you are talking about learning how to play in these conditions we got beaten on the other side – with less spin.

“You would think it would spin more. We got beaten with straight balls, I think five or six dismissals throughout the game.”

Weather

Should be clear and hot as per usual in Dubai.

Conclusion

Momentum is with Pakistan but the pink ball and extra grass on the pitch could make this Test less predictable than a normal contest in Asia.

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