Tuesday, 11 March 2008

What will the Basin do?

In this morning's Dom Post curator Brett Sipthorpe predicts that the Basin wicket will have "good pace and bounce" for the second test starting on Thursday. He compares it to the surface that was used for the test against Bangladesh earlier in the season. In that match the Banglas were shot out for 143 in the first innings and 113 in the third, while New Zealand batted once to score 393.

Given how badly Bangladesh played, those scores don't tell us an awful lot. But the trend of the first innings being a dangerous one and the second a doddle has been a common theme of Basin pitches in recent years.

Since April 2005, the first two innings at the Basin have been:

211 by Sri Lanka, followed by 522/9 from New Zealand.
192 by West Indies, followed by 372 from New Zealand.
268 by Sri Lanka, followed by a disgracefully inept 130 from New Zealand.
143 by Bangladesh, followed by 393 from New Zealand.

Looking just at those figures, it seems that the toss will be absolutely vital and the seamers will have a field day against whoever bats first.

This summer has been particularly hot and dry, so there is the potential that this may reduce the level of early movement. And a look at the two matches played at the Basin in this season's State Championship demonstrates that while the difference between first and second innings scores is still there, it is not quite so pronounced:

272 by Otago, followed by 448 by Wellington.
256 by Wellington, followed by 313 from Canterbury.

Personally, I am hoping that the wicket won't produce the kind of one-sided contest we saw against the Windies and Sri Lanka in 2005 and 2006. The result of a test match should depend on much more than just the toss of a coin.

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