Australia and Sri Lanka shouldn’t expect a flat track for the inaugural Canberra Test at Manuka Oval, starting on Friday.
Australia and Sri Lanka shouldn’t expect a flat track for the inaugural Canberra Test at Manuka Oval, starting on Friday.

Cricket chief’s surprise Manuka pitch prediction

It's been the world's fastest-scoring one-day ground for the past decade, but Australia and Sri Lanka shouldn't expect a similar flat track for the inaugural Canberra Test at Manuka Oval, starting on Friday.

Manuka is commonly regarded as one of the best batting decks in the country, with a lightning-fast outfield adding to the allure.

The only Australian ground to average a run-rate above a-run-a-ball in one-day internationals in the past 10 years, Manuka's going rate of 6.29 over the past decade is the highest of any international ground to have hosted more than three games in that time.

But Cricket ACT chief executive James Allsopp says that probably won't be the case for the ground's first Test, with curator Brad van Dam aiming for a good contest between batsmen and bowlers.

"I think it will be a very different wicket to what you've seen in the Big Bash where it's been quite flat and made for batting," Allsopp said.

"They've been producing white-ball wickets where it's all about watching batters clear the outfield and stands.

"But obviously high-quality Test cricket is all about good competition between bat and ball.

"They're anticipating (hot weather) for next week. I think he'll leave a little more moisture in for day one just to make sure it gets through the five days.

"I think the first day might have a little bit in it and it will be quite challenging, then day two and three it will be good to bat on then ... it will break up."

Van Dam has previous experience working on Test wickets, having been an assistant at the SCG for five years before becoming Manuka's top man in 2008.

Australia have taken precautions around the unknown quantity of the Canberra pitch, adding all-rounder Marcus Stoinis to the squad in case they see need for a fifth bowling option.

A Sheffield Shield match was played in Canberra at the start of the summer featuring Australia's full frontline bowling attack, with Test spinner Nathan Lyon getting plenty of purchase and taking nine wickets.

"The Shield game showed and even in a (grade) game they played last weekend it will break up and bring Nathan Lyon into the game," Allsopp said.

News Corp Australia


Gympie budget delivers a city/country divide in rate rise

premium_icon Gympie budget delivers a city/country divide in rate rise

One-third of councillors vote against latest budget.

Will Queensland follow suit in banning phones in schools?

premium_icon Will Queensland follow suit in banning phones in schools?

Queensland education minister responds to speculation

Heavy rains flush out creepy crawlies you want to avoid

premium_icon Heavy rains flush out creepy crawlies you want to avoid

Expert warns of a less common threat active in the wet