The first Test between England and India at Edgbaston produced a classic Test match, which though lasting just 4 days, produced top quality cricket from both sides and tested the skills of both bowlers and batsmen.
England defeated India by a mere 31 runs in a Test swung like a pendulum every session and saw India’s Virat Kohli slamming the only century of the match; in fact, he scored 200 runs in the Test.
Everyone praised the players from both teams and reserved special mention for the grounds staff at the Edgbaston ground for preparing a pitch that gave both sides something to stay interested in.
The head groundsmen at Edgbaston Gary Barwell revealed that the key was to keep watering the pitch and the outfield in the weeks leading up to the game. Around 150,000 liters of water had been pumped in and spread around the ground through pop-up sprinklers under the outfield.
“Moisture is the key here. Else, the pitch can crack up,” said Barwell to Indian Express. “If you dig up to four inches, you will hit sand. We have been pumping water to keep this colour. If the outfield dries, the moisture would escape from the pitch. It literally cracks and it gets virtually uncontrollable.”
“This is different from normal sprinklers. These can pump in 47,000 litres of water in 35 minutes,” said Barwell.
With the pitch getting baked in the sun, some rain on Sunday, 10 days before the game, bought some respite for the city, and the groundsmen. “We weren’t expecting rain but it did some good. Two days before the game, we then decide how much grass to keep and carefully monitor the moisture levels.”
Barwell admitted that he had no idea how the pitch will play out.
Barwell said, “Kohli said he would have bowled, Root obviously chose to bat. I knew the Dukes ball would do a bit but hopefully I had done my job and the surface would hold up. Bit of time with family for couple of days but back here; we got a one-day county game coming up.”
(With inputs from news18.com/cricketnext)