New Zealand Cricket backs University Oval

New Zealand Cricket has backed Dunedin's University Oval to produce a Test-quality pitch within the next four weeks. The ground hosted a State Championship match that finished within two days last week as 34 wickets tumbled in quick time.

Concerns were raised about whether a suitable pitch could be prepared for the New Zealand-Bangladesh Test that Dunedin is scheduled to host starting on January 4. However, NZC has completed a review following the domestic match and made recommendations on how the curators could ensure the ground was ready for the Test.

"Tight control of moisture content and grass density were identified as key factors in producing a good Test surface," Justin Vaughan, NZC's chief executive, said. "NZC and the Otago Cricket Association will be working hard to produce the best possible wicket.

"We are committed to the development of the University Oval as an international venue and are delighted with the ongoing support from the Dunedin City Council. We shall continue to work with the council to ensure that the pitch is up to international standard and will be closely monitoring its progress."

Auckland's coach Mark O'Donnell pulled no punches in his assessment of the pitch after his side lost to Otago in the two-day game. O'Donnell said: "If you'd put a Test attack on that surface you'd probably have killed someone once the divots dried out."