South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban December 22, 2010

Tempting prospect for bowlers at Kingsmead

The sun has made a welcome appearance in Durban to ease some of the concerns for the ground authorities, but Wilson Ngobese, the chief groundsman at Kingsmead, doesn't want to predict too much about the nature of the pitch for the Boxing Day Test.

As of now, the track looks green and is rock solid, but if it doesn't get enough sun, Ngobese fears a repeat of Centurion where the toss became a major factor because of the moisture retained by the covered pitch. And there has been only two days of fair weather until now: Tuesday and Wednesday have been the only dry days over the last week. Even Tuesday was overcast, though it didn't rain.

"I want to give a wicket that is fair for everybody," Ngobese said, looking relieved to have uncovered the pitch. "It must not excessively help the bowlers too, and then if you can't bat I can't help it. But we are expecting more rain till the start of the match, and I am hoping for more such sunny days. Still, it should help the bowlers with good bounce." BBC Weather has forecast light rains for Friday and Saturday, and heavy showers for the first day of the match.

Ngobese said a lot depended on the weather. "If that man [pointing towards the sky] has other plans, I am helpless." The sea breeze, he said, will help the bowlers, but the one blowing from west to east, into the Indian Ocean, can prove dangerous - for the batsmen and the game. That's because the breeze from the west will bring rain, and the one from the sea will blow it away.

Ngobese said he would cut the grass a bit, but not too much. "I don't want to show cracks on the pitch."

Including Wednesday, there are four days to go until the start of the match, and the ground staff are hoping for good weather.

Eight of the last nine Tests in Durban have produced results, with South Africa losing twice to Australia and once to England.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo