Saurashtra Stadium’s Test Debut
As England prepare to face India in the first Test of a grueling five-match series, we take a look at the first venue, which has only hosted International cricket for three years.
Home Team: Saurashtra
Head Groundsman: Rasik Makvana
Test History: N/A
The stadium was build in 2009, featuring fancy stands and a press box that looks like the Lord’s space ship media centre, but only made its international debut in 2013.
The Gujarat city has hosted two ODIs, one in 2013 and one in 2015, and one T20, with only the latter being won by the hosts.
It shot to prominence in 2016 as the home ground of the new Gujarat Lions in the IPL, and has a similar isolated feel to some UAE grounds in that it’s well out of the city.
Last Time Out
Happy Hunting Ground
India coach Anil Kumble: “This is the first Test in Rajkot, it’s a new stadium – we’ve played one-day and T20 cricket here, but in a Test, we don’t know how the wicket is going to be. The looks of it, it looks a good surface.”
Guardian journalist Vic Marks from the ground: “The pitch attracts attention and the usual caveats – never draw any conclusions two days before the match. It is not like the ones that greeted England in Chittagong or Dhaka. Some green grass is visible alongside some cracks; there are one or two bare patches, which suggests the surface is not entirely flat.”
He added: “The pitch will offer turn for the spinners – but we are not sure when – however, the expectation is that batting will not be as treacherous early in the game as it was in Bangladesh.”
Very hot and dry. Predictions are for clear skies and mid-30 temperatures all five days.
No idea. Who knows. Let’s wait and see. One would probably bat first, to get some runs on the board before the heat causes cracks to appear. One imagines. Probably.
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