ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 07: Tim Paine and Josh Hazlewood of Australia celebrate the wicket of Mohammed Shami of India during day two of the First Test match in the series between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval on December 07, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 07: Tim Paine and Josh Hazlewood of Australia celebrate the wicket of Mohammed Shami of India during day two of the First Test match in the series between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval on December 07, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Surprise pitch for quicks top pick

Adelaide Oval is the best cricket pitch in Australia.

The Test pace attack has spoken and declared the former batting haven is now the country's new fast bowling paradise.

Gone are the days of the WACA's fearsome reputation, and despite the eagerness of the Australian Test team to start their summer campaigns at their Gabba fortress, Brisbane's wicket has also fallen back in the estimations of the bowlers.

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Josh Hazlewood rates the Adelaide pitch his favourite cricket wicket in Australia. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Josh Hazlewood rates the Adelaide pitch his favourite cricket wicket in Australia. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

 

 

Adelaide Oval is a drop-in, but to a man, Australia's pace attack say it's the new benchmark.

James Pattinson returns to the Australian camp Tuesday after his suspension from the first Test for a homophobic slur, but unless a bowler has pulled up sore from the first Test triumph, it's almost impossible to envisage the attack being changed.

Josh Hazlewood will play his 50th Test match on Friday in the series finale against Pakistan and is licking his lips about the standout wicket in the new world of tiresome flat tracks.

 

 

Tim Paine and Josh Hazlewood of Australia celebrate the wicket of Mohammed Shami of India during the Adelaide Test last summer. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Tim Paine and Josh Hazlewood of Australia celebrate the wicket of Mohammed Shami of India during the Adelaide Test last summer. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

 

 

"I love Adelaide the most I think. I have had good success there," said Hazlewood, who also rates Brisbane.

"Often (Adelaide) is a pink ball game now. But we played red-ball last year and it still did a bit for most the game.

"It keeps you a little bit interested when the ball id a bit older and the wicket is a bit flatter, there is still a little bit there for you throughout the day. And it is a new-ball wicket, so I think it's an even contest between bat and ball.

"I think everyone would have their own favourites, but I think that (Adelaide) is the one that sticks out.

"I think Nath (Lyon) loves bowling there as well. There is spin there for most of the game. I think it's just a great all-round wicket to be honest."

 

 

 

Nathan Lyon holds the ball up to the crowd after taking 6 wickets during day four of the Test against India at the Adelaide Oval on December 09, 2018. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Nathan Lyon holds the ball up to the crowd after taking 6 wickets during day four of the Test against India at the Adelaide Oval on December 09, 2018. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

 

 

Left-arm spearhead Mitchell Starc told The Daily Telegraph before the start of the summer, that Adelaide had left the rest of the country in the rear view mirror.

"I think the benchmark for wickets around the country these days is probably Adelaide Oval," said Starc.

"That's one place it doesn't matter if it's a red ball or pink. The wickets are always very nice for cricket. It's always a nice even competition between bat and ball and that's what we want from wickets around Australia is that even contest."

The double-edged sword ahead of Friday's second Test is that Pakistan's broken and battered pace attack may also get a whiff of a second wind from the generous Adelaide surface.

As solid as Australia's top order looked in Brisbane, they wouldn't want to get too far ahead of themselves before facing the dangerous pink ball.

"Absolutely. The pink ball is always harder to bat against most the time. It'll be a good challenge," said Hazlewood.

"I think the Adelaide wicket and pink ball will suit (Pakistan). A lot of them have nice wrists and present a nice seam. So I think they will be able to swing it around.

"Whether (Mohammad) Abbas comes in or not is up to them obviously. I think they have got a number of guys who can bowl well with the new ball.

"I think it will be hard work, especially when it's new. But throughout the whole Test I think it will be hard work."

The vote of confidence from the fast bowlers about the Adelaide wicket, is intriguing in the context of the drop-in pitch debate currently going on at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Bowlers would prefer the SCG to remain traditional, but given it's docile nature in recent years - Adelaide does stand out as an example that drop-ins can prove to be an improvement.


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