One got the feeling that the Newlands strip in the opening Test was easing for the batsmen at the end of the Day 2. But rain throughout the Day 3 added the extra spice to the 22-yard pitch. As the pitch was under the covers, the moisture came into the equation. On Day 4, the pitch was a minefield and the Indian bowlers exploited the favorable conditions to scalp the 8 wickets for 65.
It is known that the captains of both the teams are given the option of choosing what kind of roller they would like to use before the start of their respective innings. The Indian skipper Virat Kohli used a lighter roller before the start of their first innings but he opted for a heavy roller which surprised the Newlands pitch curator Evan Flint.
Heavy roller could have drawn moisture from underneath.
Flint said in an interview with Economic Times, “From my experience, particularly here on a coastal ground, the impact of the heavy roller, it should really flatten the wicket out, take some life out of it and make it a bit easier for batting. When you go up in the Highveld, Wanderers and Centurion, the heavy roller can sometimes break the plates up a little bit and it becomes a bit more inconsistent in bounce. Here, the heavy roller should normally flatten it down. Even that didn’t have too”.
Flint added that Kohli was clever when he used the lighter roller on the first day but the heavy roller can sometimes liven the pitch even more as it can draw moisture from underneath. The pitch was doing a lot and it looked like a dynamite on Day 4. Credit goes to all the bowlers as well for putting the ball in the right areas.
Evan added, “The heavy roller draws moisture up from underneath. Yeah, yeah, it could’ve happened. It’s possible. It looked like it eh? I thought Kohli was quite clever on Day 1. He used the small roller at the change of innings. It didn’t liven the pitch up or anything. Sometimes the heavy roller can quicken the pitch up but take the seam movement out of it. Look, it’s not based on research. Most of it is anecdotal”.
Indian team would now look to bounce back in the second Test that is going to be played at Pretoria from January 13.