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Aussies target bulk runs at one of India’s most unique venues

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16th January, 2020
11

Friday’s second ODI between Australia and India shapes as a high run-scoring contest, with the Rajkot ground one of the most unique in world cricket.

Australia are bracing for a high-scoring date with India at one of cricket’s most unique venues in Rajkot’s Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

The Aussies arrived to Rajkot’s new venue for the first time on Thursday to the sight of four elderly women scrubbing the pitch with hard hand-held brushes.

The practice is believed to be used to remove grass clippings, before the pitch is again mowed to ensure it will be rock hard for Friday’s second ODI.

David Warner bats against India

(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Acts resembling this are commonplace across some Asian grounds, but it’s outside the boundary where those similarities stop at the spacious and impressive venue which was built in 2013.

Behind the practice nets where Australia trained runs a dirt road and rugged terrain, which motorbikes charged down at different times on match eve.

The solar-powered stadium’s media box to left of the nets is designed off the famous Lord’s UFO look, and sits high over the ground.

One stand has a roof looking similar to those famous at the Adelaide Oval, while there is a hint of the WACA’s light tower design.

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The vast majority of the 28,000 seats in the ground are free standing plastic chairs, similar to those you would expect at a beachside takeaway shop or domestic barbecue.

Each are laid out in rows to give the effect of a normal seating set up, except that they can easily be picked up and moved individually.

The dressing rooms are far more cosy, with some comparing it to the MCG with large cushioned seats.

On the field though, it is most comfortable for batsmen. In Twenty20 cricket the average run rate sits at 9.20 in the three matches played there, with the boundaries on the shorter side.

The ground also has average of 42 runs per wicket across all formats – the highest of any venue in India. It means the bowlers know it won’t be easy.

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“You see with a lot of the scores throughout India, particularly at the small grounds like Mumbai and Bangalore, they’re quite high-scoring,” Australia’s spinner Adam Zampa said.

“You know you’re going to get hit to the fence sometimes, it’s just about simplifying it, playing your role.”

Australia have played just one match at the venue before, in a Twenty20 loss to India in 2013.

Aaron Finch is the only survivor from that team set to feature in Friday’s match.

© AAP