Andy Atkinson, the ICC's pitch expert, was happy with the experiment of using adhesive on the surface of the pitch during today's one-dayer between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The pitch held together well for the whole course of the game, and the bounce and carry was certainly better than on some occasions earlier in the tournament.
"The glue was applied at 11am. After initial work the pitch was rolled at 12.30pm," said Atkinson, speaking about last-minute work on the pitch at the Brabourne Stadium. "Our objective was to ensure that the pitch lasted 100 overs and did not deteriorate too much in the second innings," he said. "I feel like we've managed that objective."
Atkinson also suggested that the fact that New Zealand were bowled out for only 165 had less to do with the pitch and more to do with the cricket the two teams played. "Generally the pitch played as expected," he said. "There was reasonably good carry and I think the low score was more down to good bowling than the nature of the pitch."
Atkinson's arrival, and the manner in which this pitch played, scotched rumours that there might be a change in venues if the quality of the three strips being used did not improve. "I'll stay in Mumbai now and prepare two pitches for the final," he said. "We'll allow some of the grass to grow back on those pitches," he said. The basic problem all along has been that the pitches have been on the dry side, and with no grass to bind them, have broken up as the day progressed. Atkinson indicated that the authorities would be looking to use grass - the natural way to bind a pitch - and only turn to polyvinyl acetate adhesive as a last resort. "We'll have more grass on the surface when we prepare the pitch for the final and as a fall-back position, if we're still concerned about the pitches at that stage is PVA."
Incidentally this same treatment has been used in many places around the world in matches, both domestic and international. The most famous instance of this was in Eden Park in Auckland in early 1999 where South Africa played New Zealand. In that game PVA was used on the pitch - and you'd have to say it produced a good pitch, as Daryl Cullinan made 275 not out in a huge South African first innings of 621 for 5 declared. And the pitch certainly held up later on when Geoff Allott batted 101 minutes for the longest duck in Test history and the game was drawn.
Muttiah Muralitharan, who endorsed the pitch even though he might have preferred a rank turner, spoke about his experience of similar pitches in Lancashire, for whom he plays in the County Championship. "I have played before on these kind of pitches," said Murali. "At Lancashire sometimes they glue the wickets when they have a lot of one-day matches and don't have time to prepare wickets. In one-dayers you need runs and for that this helps. It plays well when you put the glue on."