'Short boundaries will help Warne' December 1, 2006

Lehmann warns Pietersen about Adelaide Oval

Cricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen will need to be careful at Adelaide Oval © Getty Images

The short square boundaries at Adelaide Oval could bring Kevin Pietersen undone, according to the man who knows the ground better than most, Darren Lehmann. He said attacking Shane Warne might seem a good idea but it could be dangerous.

"The short boundaries are a bigger plus for Warne than a minus," Lehmann told The Sydney Morning Herald. "Pietersen will take the short boundaries on. But more people get caught on the rope in Adelaide than anywhere in world cricket because they try to take on the short boundaries.

"You think you've just got to make sure you clear the bloke on the boundary so then you go harder at the shot than you probably should, and all of a sudden you top-edge it and get caught. Look at Michael Vaughan in the last Ashes - caught sweeping Warney on the boundary [for 41] when Glenn McGrath took that diving catch.

"The other side of that coin is that you can get it into your head that you don't need to try to hit it so hard so you have more control. So then you can also get caught on the boundary because you come up short. I've been caught numerous times on the fence. You'll still see a lot of sixes here but if you don't get it right, you get caught every time."

Lehmann said Pietersen would also need to be careful in his use of the sweep shot because of Adelaide's variable bounce, which often meant top edges could fly in the air. "If the bounce is quite true, he can sweep," he said. "But in Adelaide the sweep becomes a real weapon for Warne against Pietersen."

The ground's long straight boundaries could also be deceptive, Lehmann said. "You might think mid-off is way back but he's not," he said. "You might think he's up close, but he's not. The fielding captain sits him in that in-between range, so when a batsman hits it, he's still a good chance of being caught because he can't clear the fieldsman. He's still tempted to go over the top because the boundary's so far back."