The Centurion curator said that there is little possibility of play on opening day and better part of second day and due to heavy rain, there will be drop in temperature and spinners are unlikely to get much help.
“Temperature will be super low, like 20 degrees. The temperature is now 34 and it will drop to 20. I don’t know what conditions will be like, whether we will get play on Day 1,” Bloy told PTI after his regular inspection of work.”Hopefully we will get some play and it will be cool on Day 3 and I don’t know how much turn will be available.”
The opening Test begins on December 26.
Bloy said that if track remains under cover, batting first will be a tough ask.
“I can’t guarantee the forecast but if it remains under cover for the better part of the two days then that might be tricky to bat first, because its been covered for so long and hasn’t been rolled for so long, we don’t know how long we will have to get the field ready for play in current situation.
“So if it’s a Day-3, 10 am start, it doesn’t give us much time, because it’s in the morning and you start playing at 10 and really three hours of cool weather and early morning will be tricky. If its covered for two days, I would presume bowlers would benefit from it.”
For Bloy, the idea is to prepare a typical Centurion wicket.
“Our goal is to stick to the characteristics, not do anything different or out of the ordinary. I want it to be typical hard wicket as per Centurion’s conditions.
“The wicket is quite green and we have got two more days and its hot, with a bit more rolling, it would lose a bit more colour, but I am happy that there is a thin even coverage of grass. Looks good.”
However, there could be some bad news for Ravichandran Ashwin as Bloy isn’t sure how much purchase spinners would get in case of rain.
“That will be tricky, because you are seeing a forecast on Day 1 and Day 2. It looks awful. The sun is out for four days and so there will be some purchase for spinners, offer turn and bounce, with weather forecast, I don’t know how accurate it will be as there will be lot of rain.”
So what’s a typical Centurion track?
“A typical Supersport Park wicket is slower on Day 1, little bit softer and as time goes by it gets a bit quicker and it gets variable.
“For me, fourth day afternoon finish would always be fantastic but that’s out of my control. We prepare the stage and players will have to come out and put the show,” Bloy replied.
In the past, there have been reports of Indian team management’s interference in curator’s work but Bloy, who was actually a golf course curator, having studied turf management, never faced such issues.
“There is very little communication with the Proteas. You prepare as per characteristics of Supersport wicket and we know what to expect. I don’t get a lot of interference there and I think they just leave us to prepare good wicket,” he said.
In Highveld region (Centurion belongs to Gauteng province), there is more clay content (red soil) unlike other parts of South Africa where black soil is used for pitches.
“In our part of the world, its mostly black soil but in Highveld region the clay content is higher than coastal region and though its different from Wanderers, these 2 are higher clay content, which ensures more bounce for sure but it also produces more cracks.”