With the matter getting very heated up ahead of the ICC World Test Championship Final, we have the first look of the beautiful wicket at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The top shows a good covering of grass which is likely to offer pace, carry and bounce in the initial days and might also help in the last two days. Isa Guha gave fans a sneak peek into the surface for the WTC final clash, with the pitch sporting a green covering. The cricketer-turned-commentator uploaded a picture of the playing surface on Twitter, suggesting the wicket needs a shave.
Although the presenter shared a picture that seems to have been taken from the stands, one can see that the wicket has a healthy green cover, suggesting it is likely to favor the quicks.
— Isa Guha (@isaguha) June 17, 2021
The first look of the playing surface also holds in line with comments made by Southampton head groundsman Simon Lee earlier this week. Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, he gave insight into the playing surface for the WTC final.
“Pitch preparation for this Test is a little simpler as we are a neutral venue, we are guided by the ICC, but we all want is a good pitch that offers an even contest between the teams. For me personally, I just want to get something out that has some pace, bounce and carry in the pitch.”
A lot will also depend on how the weather remains in Southampton. A bright and sunny English summer will mean there will be less movement in the air and ball will come on to the bat nicely irrespective of the grass cover on the pitch but with the weather forecast offering a faint chance of rain during the ICC WTC Final, the conditions will suit seamers more.
With the sun also not expected to shine much throughout the five days of play, the pitch will not dry up easily which will prevent spinners from having an early impact too. Seamers are likely to have a huge say in the game and if things settle out, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will come into the play.