Sri Lanka in SA

Pitch will favour SA - Ford

2011-12-22 22:04
Graham Forde (File)
Cape Town - Former Proteas coach Graham Ford believes the pitch at Kingsmead in Durban will favour South Africa's bowling line-up in the second Test against Sri Lanka, starting on Monday.

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Ford, the current coach of the Durban-based Dolphins, expects a bit of grass to be left on the surface but not as much as it used to be there back in the nineties.

"Wilson (Ngubese, the groundsman) has already rolled the pitch hard and it is very firm. Therefore, there will be a lot more bounce and the ball will skid through quickly," Ford told the Beeld newspaper.

And Ford believes that's just what South Africa would want. "You specifically want more pace than sideways movement from the pitch, because in the latter case the Sri Lankan bowlers could also be dangerous. They don't really have quick bowlers, but rather guys that could cause damage with movement off the seam.

"The Sri Lankans don't like it when the ball flies through at head-height," said Ford.

Ford said the fact that less grass on the surface is expected could also aid South African fast bowler, Morne Morkel - who has struggled at Kingsmead when the pitch had a fair amount of grass-cover. Morkel has had a torrid time of late, taking only six wickets at a costly average of 38.66 in South Africa's first three Tests this season.

"Due to the fact that he bowled the ball slightly short because of his height, it meant the ball sat up more on the pitch and didn't skid through as fast.

"I believe with the pitch now firmer, he won't have that problem."

The Dolphins mentor also feels the surface could suit leg-spinner, Imran Tahir. "Here at Kingsmead the spin is 'quicker', which will make him dangerous. Due to the fact that he gets the ball to skid through more off the pitch, the batsmen have less reaction time to play their shots - and that's his big success here (Kingsmead is Tahir's home ground). He surprises batsmen with how quickly he gets the ball to skid through from the pitch," said Ford.

However, rain is often a factor in Durban and Ford feels rain during the Test could make things a bit tougher for Tahir. "He won't play as prominent a role as he would have done in sunny weather when he could have flourished on the last couple of days."

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