West Indies in Australia 2009-10 November 22, 2009

Gabba curator says pitch will turn from day four

Cricinfo staff

The Gabba's long-time curator, Kevin Mitchell jnr, has recommended that Australia pick a spinner for the first Test against West Indies starting on Thursday because the pitch is likely to deteriorate from the fourth day. That said, Mitchell expected the seam bowlers to exploit the conditions on the opening day, as it has traditionally been at the Gabba.

''If the preparation goes as planned in a five-day Test match you would go in with three quicks and a spinner,'' Mitchell told AAP. ''It will be a fairly typical Gabba Test wicket - maybe a little more life than would be normal early.

''You would generally think it will be pretty good for batting day two and three and wear a bit on day four and five. It will definitely deteriorate as the game goes on.''

In the most recent Sheffield Shield match at the Gabba, between Queensland and Tasmania, the visitors were bundled out for 156 in 63 overs on the opening day and went on to lose by an innings.

''If you get a bit of humidity the ball swings around like the first Shield match,'' Mitchell said. ''[But] in that regard you're in the lap of the Gods.''

The offspinner Nathan Hauritz is the lone specialist slow bowler for the first Test and if he ispicked, Australia will have to drop one of their four specialist seamers. Doug Bollinger, the left-armer, made it to the squad on the strength of his recent ODI performances but his selection is not certain.

Hauritz was omitted for Australia's most recent Test at The Oval and the lack of a specialist spinner played a big part in Australia's defeat, which also cost them the Ashes. Hauritz's counterpart, Graeme Swann, exploited the turning pitch and took eight wickets.