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March 9, 2002
Portable pitch technology will take a significant step in New Zealand when the pitch for the first National Bank Test against England at Jade Stadium will be a portable pitch.
It will be only the third time in a Test in New Zealand that a portable pitch has been used, and the second time in Christchurch.
Last summer, in the second Test against Pakistan, the Jade portable saw double centuries scored by each side, Mathew Sinclair for New Zealand and Yousuf Youhana for Pakistan. The game was a dull draw.
Before that the first Test in Auckland was a victory to Pakistan on the first portable used at Eden Park.
However, with another year of development, New Zealand Cricket has taken the step of deciding to use the Jade portable 24 hours before the scheduled announcement.
Earlier, NZC chief executive Martin Snedden said a decision on which pitch would be used for the Test match would be made tomorrow after the effects of tonight's Super 12 match at the ground had been assessed.
The pitch was to have been covered with an artificial surface to protect it during the match.
However, NZC operations manager John Reid announced today that core samples taken of both the natural and portable pitches had resulted in the decision to go with the portable pitch.
The samples had produced positive readings which suggested the pitch would have excellent pace and bounce.
"The grass cover on the pitch is also outstanding, giving confidence that the pitch will provide very good playing conditions," Reid said.
"Given the sample test results we have decided to proceed with the portable pitch as our preferred option for the Test match at Jade Stadium," he added.
Jade Stadium turf manager Chris Lewis backed Reid's assessment and is very confident in the quality of the portable pitch.
Reid said: "We are acutely aware that the last Test played on a portable pitch at Jade Stadium did not produce a result, but all the indications about the portable prepared for this match are extremely positive.
"We are confident that portable pitches are a technology that cricket needs to embrace if it is to successfully share venues with other sports and provide high quality playing conditions for the its players."
The New Zealand Sports Turf Institute carried out the sampling programme yesterday.
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