Monday, February 22, 2010

Gwalior pitch curator promises 'batting paradise'

In what would come as music to the ears of swashbucklers like Virender Sehwag, curators at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium have promised a "batting paradise" for the second India-South Africa ODI in Gwalior on Wednesday.

India have already taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after winning by one run in a thriller in Jaipur last night.

Gwalior Division Cricket Association (GDCA) curator Ajay Sahasrabuddhe on Monday said that We are sure that we will see a high scoring game. It is a 300-plus pitch.

Gwalior has also been a favourite hunting ground for the hosts. Out of the 11 One-dayers held here, India have played nine and won seven of them and lost two ( 73-run loss to West Indies in the inaugural match in 1988 and the upset victory by Kenya in the Coca Cola Cup in 1998 ). The last time an ODI was played here was in November 2007 when India beat archrival Pakistan while chasing.

The buzz is slowly building in Gwalior ahead of the second One-dayer at the Captain Roop Singh stadium on Wednesday and once again expectations are the little big man of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, will deliver.

Tendulkar has played some very special knocks in Gwalior on a wicket that has traditionally been on the slower side. His masterly 97 last time, in 2007, helped India clinch their first home ODI series against Pakistan since 1983. The Mumbai batsman looked set for a century before inside-edging an Umar Gul delivery on to his stumps, but India went on to triumph by six wickets.

The genius was in the act earlier too, hammering a century (100) against Australia in a 2003 match which the home team won by 37 runs. That game also saw VVS Laxman scoring a superb 102.

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