Cricket pitches vary around the world which is something that helps to make cricket such an entertaining sport to watch. It stands to reason that what you get from a pitch during a first-class cricket match is usually what you can expect during a test match. However, there is one pitch where this is not the case, and that is the pitch at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
When Pune Hosts First-Class Cricket or ODI Cricket the Pitch is Flat
The MCA Stadium in Pune hosted its first game during the 2011-12 cricket season. Since then, thirty-six grounds across India have hosted 10 or more first-class matches. Of all these pitches, there are only two that have allowed batsmen to score more runs than the one at Pune.
In the 26 first-class matches that have been played at this venue, ten batsmen have scored more than 150 runs, there have been three double-hundreds and two triple-hundreds. Half of the games have finished in a stalemate.
Four ODI matches have been played here, and 280 or higher was scored in the first innings of three of them.
When It Hosted Test Cricket, It Became a Different Beast
The very first test at the MCA in Pune was played in 2017 between India and Australia. The match was over in three days, with India only managing to score 105 and 107. The only one who seemed to be able to get to grips with it was Steve Smith, who scored 109 in the second innings. The ICC match referee declared that it wasn’t fit for test cricket.
There has not been another test match played here since, but it will host the second test of the ICC World Test Championship between India and South Africa from the 10th-14th October 2019.
Pune has been hammered by rain in the weeks leading up to this test, so it has hampered preparations. However, the wet weather thankfully cleared a few days before the test was due to begin, giving the ground staff to work on the pitch.
When they removed the covers for the first time in weeks, it was difficult to tell the pitch from the surrounding square as it was so green. The grass was gradually removed by the ground staff, but we all had to wait until the test started to see what type of pitch was going to be on offer to the two sides.
Here’s hoping it won’t be the same type of pitch that was played on back in 2017, because, if it is, India could risk losing points for producing a pitch that is not fit for test cricket. Whatever type of pitch is provided, we believe that India will win and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, cementing their position at the top of the Test Championship table.