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South Africa vs Australia 2014: Lush green Port Elizabeth strip leaves curator ‘scared’

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Port Elizabeth is expected to offer the bowlers a lot of purchase © Getty Images

Feb 19, 2014

The lush green top at St George’s Park has left the curator of the Port Elizabeth ground, Adrain Carter ‘scared’ ahead of the second Test between South Africa and Australia.

With Australia comprehensively beating the hosts by 281 runs, the second Test is crucial for South Africa for keeping their hopes alive of breaking their 45 year-old duck of winning a home series against Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported, although it is highly unlikely that the teams would start the match on the existing strip, with Carter stating that he is awaiting instructions from Graeme Smith’s camp to see what kind of surface they want. Port Elizabeth has historically been a spin friendly track but with both teams relying on their famed pace attacks to see them through, spin is expected to play a peripheral role in the second Test.

Carter told ESPNcricinfo that he would preferably like to trim the thick grass covering that the teams witnessed in their training sessions on Tuesday but admitted that he would wouldn’t touch a blade of it without speaking to Proteas coach Russel Domingo and captain Smith.

“The pitch scares me at the moment”, Carter said, “If it was left like this, I’d be sceptical even for the franchise game because I think there would be a lot of assistance for the seamers”.

“It’s very furry and it’s green. I have had a phone call from the South African camp and I’ll talk to them again and see what they want”.

“There’s a lot of experience in (assistant coach) Adrian Birrell and Russell — between them they’ve coached here for over 10 years — so they know St George’s as well as anyone.”

Smith had earlier blamed the bouncy surface at Centurion where Mitchell Johnson had left the South African batsmen ducking for cover and ended with career-best match figures of 12-127.

Carter argued that even with the thick grass cover, St George’s wouldn’t behave anything like centurion “This pitch has been slow for 114 years. I can’t get it quicker,” he concluded.

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