One pitch on the Bon Andrews Oval, adjacent to the main North Sydney Oval, was scarified and scuffed up, alongside having some significant cracks, to try and replicate what is expected to be on offer in India – although nothing can be certain until each Test begins – with SG balls also being used.
Australia will arrive into Bengaluru next week where they will be based for five days before heading to Nagpur for the first Test on February 9, and they have been told that the practice wickets will be close enough to the Test pitches to provide value, but one of the reasons for the short build-up is the belief that conditions they can control at home are of as much value.
“Kieran has done a fantastic job here with the groundstaff to produce exactly what we want,” McDonald said. “We feel as though out there the surfaces we got are very similar to what we’re going to confront in India which is very difficult to replicate, but we feel as though we’ve got close to that, so the ground staff have done a fantastic job.
“Often [there’s] no real connection between that practice game into the first Test match. We feel as though we can control the surfaces here. [We] get a bit more control in Bangalore to replicate what we’re going to come up against and then we go into Nagpur fresh and hopefully it pays dividends at the back end.
“There’s been assurances given [about pitches in Bengaluru]. We’ll get there and most groundstaff around the world are pretty good at allowing us to get what we want. We’ll wait and see.”
“We went through a lot of those scenarios,” McDonald said. “I think the new ball is the one that creates more of that slide and when the batters do get done on the inside…we’re preparing for that.
“We’ll expect the spinners to bowl early against our opening batters as well with the new ball so all that is taken care of in the training environment. The key to success there is to have a clear method and that will be individually based and depending on the conditions we’re confronted with.”
Another key reason for getting the bowlers into camp was to be able to increase workloads, with those who have been involved in BBL needing to quickly adjust from four-over spells
“Starting to get into that really tactical layer [and] also physical preparation,” McDonald said. “From the fact they’re going to be required to bowl heavy overs and clearly you can’t just shift T20 into Test match cricket.
“It’s been one of the great challenges. I’ve heard state coaches talk about it year in year out, switching from BBL back into Shield cricket and how difficult that is. Everyone appreciates how difficult that is and hence why we are here now. There’s some talk around we’re going to India a bit later… but we’re still preparing over here. Still feel like we’ve got two weeks to prepare for that first Test.”