The International Cricket Council (ICC) has, reportedly, prepared two pitches for the World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and Australia, which begins at the Kennington Oval in London today.
The move comes following a warning from oil protesters, who have threatened to vandalise the pitch and ground during the WTC final. Security, too, has been beefed up at the ground. As per an ANI report, ICC has also made changes in section 6.4 of the Playing Condition rule for making an alternate pitch.
If the pitch gets damaged, the officials will assess if the WTC final can continue on the same surface. If not, they will take a call on whether the second pitch can be used. Both captains, Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins, have, reportedly, been apprised of the situation. If they agree to play after the pitch gets damaged, then the WTC final will go on; else the match will be called off or abandoned.
There is also a reserve day in place (June 12) to compensate for any delay in play due to rain or bad weather.
Meanwhile, the head groundsman, Lee Fortis, has promised a bouncy pitch.
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The pitch traditionally offers true bounce and is good for batting but there is some uncertainty over its behaviour considering the WTC final will be first ever Test at The Oval in June.
On the eve of the game, the pitch wore a green look. Cricketer and commentator Dinesh Karthik had tweeted pictures a day apart of the pitch, saying the grass had been trimmed from 9mm to 6mm. So, the grass could be trimmed further going into day one.
The overcast conditions are likely to suit Australia more while India would prefer bright sunshine on all five days.
"It will be a good Oval pitch. It will be bouncy that is one thing. It will be bouncy. Let us hope so (there is no rain). English summer for a change," Fortis told India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on the latter's YouTube channel.
Ashwin is someone who has played County cricket at The Oval, the home of Surrey. Of the 14 Tests India have played at the venue, they have lost five, drawn seven and won only two.
India are contemplating whether to play both Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja or a fourth pace-bowling option in the high-stake game.
(With PTI inputs)