Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo March 14, 2013

A 'good Test match pitch' for Premadasa - curator


Sri Lanka's departing national curator Anurudda Polonowita has said a more sporting pitch was in the pipeline for Sri Lanka's second Test against Bangladesh at the R Premadasa Stadium, after a lifeless pitch in Galle had made a result impossible in the first Test.

Polonowita retires after 19 years as national curator, during which time he has prepared over 90 Test pitches, in addition to hundreds of ODI and first-class wickets. The surface for this Test will be his last, and SLC plans to felicitate him for his service during the Test.

Two days before the second Test, the strip on which the match will be played was dressed in a thick layer of grass, which suggests the pitch may be conducive to seam bowling early in the match. The Premadasa pitch has generally been more seamer-friendly since being relaid, with pace and bounce also having been increased markedly.

The Premadasa has not hosted a Test since November 2010, when West Indies toured Sri Lanka, and had had its square re-laid only months prior to that match.

"It will be a different pitch from Galle," Polonowita said. "I can't talk about it much, but the preparation has been going well, and I'm sure it will be a good Test match pitch."

Polonowita has largely been responsible for the extra assistance for the fast bowlers at the three venues Sri Lanka developed for the 2011 World Cup. Both the pitches at Pallekele and Hambantota international stadiums have also seen a significant departure from the drier, spin-friendly conditions that Sri Lanka's playing surfaces have traditionally been associated with.

"The pitches were slow and low, so I decided to redo all the pitches before the World Cup. We took a very methodical, scientific approach and managed to prepare pitches that are much better now.

"At the Premadasa, there were a lot of complaints that at night, under lights, some water seeps up to the pitch and affects the way the pitch plays, so before the World Cup, we raised the whole ground by three-and-a-half feet, and got the gradient right on the whole ground. Now it doesn't do that."

In addition to modernising pitch preparation in Sri Lanka by identifying the most suitable types of clay through scientific testing, Polonowita also introduced the practice of covering the entire ground, during rain delays - a task he said is not undertaken anywhere else in the world.

"Because we sometimes have to play during the monsoon, we thought it was better to get the ground covered in under five minutes, so that when the rain stops, the cricket can start within 15 minutes. In other parts of the world, the rain can be light, but here because it rains hard, it would take longer to restart, if not for our method."

The team of agriculture graduates that work beneath Polonowita have also contributed to his success, he said, as they have applied the knowledge from their field into pitch preparation.

"They understand the soil and how it behaves, so that is good. But ultimately preparing pitches is about practical experience. I have trained them and I'm confident that they will do a good job."

Deputy national curator Janaka Sampath is expected to be appointed to Polonowita's position after Polonowita's retirement.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shafin on March 16, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    uhdam......if BD's worst ever team (according 2 u) made a draw with SL then my opinion is, not BD rather SL should not play test..............but i have huge respect about SL cricket.........i m just answering u logically.

  • samith on March 16, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    one 600 plus score on flat flat deck,all of a sudden every BD fans think bangladesh are world beaters and top test team.LOL..That pitch was a absolute road .Otherwise best ICC test bowler last year should have had some spin on that track.You all should know that galle pitch was under heavy scrutiny for the excess amount of spin last lear specially after the Aus match.I think Warnaweera prepared this for the sake of himself..Watch after RPC match bangladeshi players will be back to where they were..:P

  • KH. RAFIQUE on March 16, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    @uhdam on (March 15, 2013, 19:53 GMT) You are right BAN must play against the club teams of SL.But my question is that full strength SL team fail to defeat BAN within full 5 days of CRICKET then who should play against whom?Its better to use your brain (if you have any) rather than anything else.

  • Shoaib on March 16, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    @uhdam: ha! that's why you failed to beat with your main team few days back. You have no Murali or Vass to save you but good luck though on your wishes :P

  • Madhu on March 15, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    BD has the worst ever teams to play test cricket...l....3 wins from 86 tests......they should be playing against club sides in SL ...not the test team.....SL should hv cancelled this series instead of the SA series

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    Playing on a wicket like the one in Galle, does not do the game or the teams any good.

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @eranme- Ikr , bangladeshis dropped 10-12 catches in the first innings and in the 2nd they dropped Sanga at 30-40 something . Lets see how your team perform against those minnows in Odi and test . I hope to see you in comments till the series finishes cuz I need to make sure if bd is still a minnow . Good luck

  • Satish Chandar on March 15, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    Pitch with a bit spice - Kula can be very handy. He did it in Australia against home team. BD though has a barrage of spinners, are short of quality pace bowler. Shahadat at his best can match inconsistency with Dilhara. Shafiul was decent. I think they should persist with Shafiul more. This game might change the record average of Abul if he plays. Not expecting much from BD this time though they have it all in them to surprise. With Sanga in such magical touch, looks like 100 in waiting. Love to see him bat all the day.

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Some bangladeshi's seem to be blinded by the unresponsive wickets prepared by Warnaweera. Warnaweera was reprimanded by ICC for the wickets he prepared. Now the young SL team is paying for his selfishly prepared wicket just to save his skin. Herath was the no 1 test bowler last year, better than any other in the world, playing even lesser no of tests. So SL has the best spin attack in the world. In Kulasekara we have one of the best swing bowlers around. Let us see what happens.

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    @ TheRisingTeam .. I like how you mention Srilanka needs to play against teams like India and Ireland, I would like you to know India at the moment is trashing Australia,so lets not say India is anywhere close to Ireland or Bangladesh. Sri Lanka needs to beat Bangla by an innings and 100 odd runs now to show them what a real team is.