Saxton Oval wicket should favour batsmen as Black Caps host Sri Lanka in Nelson

Dan Hooper uses a very heavy roller to prepare the wicket for the one day international cricket games between the Black ...

Dan Hooper uses a very heavy roller to prepare the wicket for the one day international cricket games between the Black Caps and Sri Lanka at Saxton Oval.

If history is anything to go by, Saxton Oval should produce plenty of runs again this week.

But if form is your gauge and Sri Lanka bat first, then it might be a different story.

Groundsman Dan Hooper has been a busy preparing the Saxton Oval wicket for the two one day international cricket matches between the Black Caps and Sri Lanka on Thursday and Saturday. He even spent Christmas afternoon with the roller.

"There was some rolling and watering on Christmas Day but the lead-up to any game is important, whether it's a first-class game or a Hawke Cup game. Although if it was a Hawke Cup game I probably wouldn't have gone out on Christmas, maybe Boxing Day," Hooper said.

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Hooper said he was satisfied with how the pitch was looking ahead of the double-header. He described the wicket as having "good pace and bounce" for the bowlers while the batsmen would get "good value for your shots."

"History has shown so far that it's been able to be produced and it's led to some decent scores. There's some grounds of a similar size around the country that produce similar scores, but I think it's quality of the outfield because it's pretty fast and you get good value for your shots here, that's for sure.

"The weather has been great and we've had a good lead-up. We're using the same wicket for both games but to be honest not a lot changes, the pitch will pretty much play the same for both day."

The wicket at Saxton Oval has favoured the batting teams during the previous five ODIs held at the ground, with Sri Lanka's 276 all out on January 20 the only time that 10 wickets have fallen in an innings, while Zimbabwe bowler Tendai Chatara's best individual bowling figures of 3/42 from 10 overs during their Cricket World Cup match against United Arab Emirates are more solid than spectacular.

Four teams posted totals above 300 at Saxton Oval during the World Cup, with Bangladesh's 322/4 in 48.1 overs against Scotland during the highest score on the ground to date.

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Bangladesh 322/4 in 48.1 overs against Scotland - March 5 2015

Scotland 318/8 in 50 overs against Bangladesh - March 5 2015

Ireland 307/6 in 45.5 overs against West Indies - February 16 2015

West Indies 304/7 in 50 overs against Ireland - February 16 2015

Zimbabwe 286/6 in 48.0 overs against UAE - February 19 2015

 - Stuff


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