Cape drought could slow Test pitch


A box of used pink cricket balls are pictured on the pitch on the eve of the first day of the first cricket Test Match between England and the West Indies at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England on August 16, 2017.

CAPE TOWN – Cape Town&39;s worst drought in decades may take some of the sting out of the Newlands pitch for the first Test between South Africa and India, starting on Friday.

There was a covering of green grass on the match surface when both teams practised on Tuesday, bringing a smile to the face of South African coach Ottis Gibson.

But groundsman Evan Flint said the grass was thin and that the weather conditions had made it difficult to produce the seam-friendly surface which the home side would like.

There was some unseasonal light rain on Sunday and Monday – about four-and-half millimetres in total – but not enough to break the prolonged drought.

"It made conditions a bit quicker," said Flint.

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Flint has had to use borehole water and has been restricted to watering the outfield only twice a week, which means the playing area is drier under the surface than usual.

"I think if the fast bowlers bowl well enough, there will be something in it for them," said Flint. But he did not expect conditions would give a lot of assistance to South Africa’s pace attack.

"It depends on who adapts quicker on the day – it is not necessarily favouring anyone," said Flint.