Pitch was Under-prepared: Ponting

Bangalore, Feb 14 (IANS) After South African captain Graeme Smith slammed the Chennai pitch, it was Australian skipper Ricky Ponting who was not happy with the wicket at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here for the warm up match against India Sunday and said it was "under-prepared".

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni also hoped that they don't get such "turning" wickets in the upcoming games of the World Cup starting Feb 19.

Ponting hoped that the wicket will improve as the tournament progress.

"This one looked a bit under-prepared. Both teams lost constant wickets and it spun a lot in the second innings. May be they wanted to keep it nice and grassy for the tournament. Hopefully as the tournament goes on, we will get better wickets than this one. We know that as the tournament goes on, we could get wickets like this we have to find a way to win in tough conditions."

Ponting, who is recovering from a finger injury said: "It was nice to spend time in the middle. I had 3-4 training sessions before this game and it was nice to spend time there."

Dhoni also said that such wickets make toss more important.

"I hope we will not get same wickets in the coming games. It is not possible to win every toss and it is difficult to chase anything over 230 on such wickets. If it is turning less then even if we lose the toss, we get a fair opportunity."

Smith, after an eight wicket victory against Zimbabwe in the warm up match in Chennai Saturday, described the pitch at the refurbished M.A. Chidambaram Stadium as "under-prepared, slow and dead."

Dhoni also said that Zaheer Khan, who did not play the warm up match, has got a minor groin strain.

He, however, said that Sachin Tendulkar, who also missed the match, will play in the second warm up match against New Zealand in Chennai.

"Sachin will definitely play the next game. The Chennai crowd love him. As for Zaheer, he has a minor groin strain, so we will have to wait and watch."

On the warm up match, Dhoni said both teams were looking to give good practice to the players.

"When we were losing wickets, my reading is that Australia backed off because it was a warm up game and wining is not important. There are players who have got niggles and you do not give 100 percent effort."

Asked about his three stumpings, Dhoni said: "Stumpings are quite a rarity in ODI format. Maybe the wickets are too placid or the spinners not good enough. In my reading, the wickets are too placid and it's an indication that the spinners have bowled well."


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