Over the years the endeavour has been to take pitches out of the equation for ODIs and Twenty20s, by making them flat and uniform, so that the toss does not play a crucial part in the shorter format. In Tests, though, the preparation of the pitch and its durability are much more significant, impacting the result and duration of the game. Quite naturally pitches and their preparation in the longer forms of the game evoke a lot of comment and often controversy.

A groundsman runs a roller on the pitch

Bad pitches make bad Tests

If a surface doesn't encourage a result, it's not worth playing on again

A groundsman runs a roller on the pitch

What's with Australia's pitches?

All four tracks for the India series were uncharacteristic of their venues, to varying degrees

A groundsman runs a roller on the pitch

Minefield, or incompetent batting?

Combating difficult conditions tests a batsman's skill. Australia were exposed in Harare because their players failed to come to terms with a legitimate turning track

'Averages not affected by day-night cricket'

Ravi Shastri says that the argument that statistics from cricket would not be any different to the introduction of covered pitches.

A groundsman runs a roller on the pitch

What's a good pitch anyway?

It often seems that only pitches that assist fast bowlers through the game are considered up to standard

A groundsman runs a roller on the pitch

Let's tonk for all our worth

Why pick bowlers, why have fielders, why grow grass on wickets? Let's give people what they want - a welter of runs


In defence of home advantage

Conditions around the world vary, and pitches are prepared to suit the home team on a regular basis. But there's nothing wrong with that as the game would lose its greatest challenges if pitches are homogenised


Stop blaming "bad" pitches for defeats

This notion that there's something sinister about a "home" pitch is just rubbish. The home team is perfectly entitled to prepare a pitch that suits their agenda

'The game shouldn't be a lottery'

Geoff Boycott on the right balance for pitches, Yorkshire's relegation, and the continuing scrutiny of technology in cricket