Pitch Report: Dubai Cricket Stadium
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.
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)
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.
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.”
Should be clear and hot as per usual in Dubai.
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.
Proteas news: Temba Bavuma keen to focus on cricket, not backroom issues
South Africa limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma is eager to focus on his side’s performances on the field, rather off-field problems.
Australia news: New-look squad announced for Sri Lanka T20s – Marsh and Warner out
Both David Warner and Mitchell Marsh have been left out of Australia’s squad to take on Sri Lanka in a T20 series next month.
England’s Reece Topley: Injury battle has given me ‘unique’ perspective
Topley says he is not fazed by ‘pressure scenarios’.
Women’s Test cricket: Katherine Brunt calls for reforms to the longest format
England’s Women go into their Test against Australia trailing in the multi-format series.
Indian Premier League
IPL news: Lucknow Super Giants name revealed, captain named
Welcome the Lucknow Super Giants to the IPL family.
Jimmy Neesham signs up for Vitality Blast stint with Northants
Jimmy Neesham will join the Steelbacks for the 2022 Vitality Blast.
Joe Root has been named ICC men’s Test player of the year for 2021
The England captain made the third-highest run total ever in a single year.
Brendan Taylor reveals harrowing details of trauma, addiction and corrupt approach
Brendan Taylor says the ICC will shortly announce his multi-year ban for failing to report what he says was a traumatising corrupt approach.
International Cricket Council
ICC Awards: All the winners announced so far for 2021
All the winners honoured by the ICC for 2021.
India lost their way in the middle overs says coach Rahul Dravid
India’s missing middle is a problem.