Team India lost the first Test at the Newlands, Cape Town by 72 runs as Vernon Philander left the Indian batting in shambles with his career best 6/42 in second innings; as the Indian chased 208 runs for victory.
The pitch at the Newlands, Cape Town was praised by everyone and curator Evan Flint has revealed the reason behind India’s loss in the first Test. His work was praised by Indian captain Virat Kohli and Flint says that a crucial decision by Kohli might have gone against him.
"From my experience, particularly here on a coastal ground, the impact of the heavy roller, it should really flatten the wicket out, take some life out of it and make it a bit easier for batting," said Flint, the curator. "When you go up in the Highveld, Wanderers and Centurion, the heavy roller can sometimes break the plates up a little bit and it becomes a bit more inconsistent in bounce. Here, the heavy roller should normally flatten it down. Even that didn't have too much of an effect."
Virat Kohli had opted for the heavy roller in the second innings before they started their chase.
"I've heard of that. The heavy roller draws moisture up from underneath. Yeah, yeah, it could've happened. It's possible. It looked like it eh?," conceded Flint.
"I thought Kohli was quite clever on Day 1. He used the small roller at the change of innings. It didn't liven the pitch up or anything," said Flint. "Sometimes the heavy roller can quicken the pitch up but take the seam movement out of it. Look, it's not based on research. Most of it is anecdotal."
Flint said that the biggest difference came when the pitch was covered during the rain on the 3rd day.
"I think, because the grass was relatively fresh, with it being covered the whole day, it actually began to grow. Not to the extent that it grew so much that you cut the next morning and grass came off, that wasn't the case," said Flint. "But it definitely greened up. It almost had like a second bit of life given into it. It definitely greened up overnight. When we took the covers off the first thing in the morning it looked greener than it did on the first morning and out reaction was "wow."
Flint concluded, "It was exciting, that's for sure. But for me, I would've liked the batsman to have had a bit more of a chance. Maybe one or two hundreds and then it would have been a good Test match. Although it was exciting, maybe the balance was favouring the fast bowlers a bit too much."