Bizarre pitch preparation for one-dayer
FOUR elderly women spent Thursday morning on their hands and knees vigorously scrubbing grass clippings off the pitch at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
The women used large hand-held brushes and collected the trimmings in dustpans as they slowly made their way down the pitch before it was rolled sideways by curators.
The new Rajkot venue appears to have borrowed signature items from famous grounds around the world.
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The media centre that hangs at one end looks exactly like the famous UFO-style box at Lord's in England, while the grandstands look remarkably like the modern seating at Dubai's venue in the UAE.
Even the dressing rooms have a strong MCG flavour, boasting plush chairs and plenty of space.
The venue, which opened in 2008 and first hosted international cricket in 2013, is a significant upgrade on the run-down Wankhede Stadium, where Australia crushed India on Tuesday.
Australia and India players shared a plane from Mumbai to Rajkot on Wednesday, sitting on the opposite sides of the chartered flight, along with ICC officials.
A batting paradise and sellout crowd of 28,000 is expected at the small town in Western India that specialises in manufacturing.
India thrashed Bangladesh by eight wickets in a T20 last November, chasing down the target of 154 in just 15.4 overs as Rohit Sharma smashed 85 (43).
Australia has played at the venue just once, losing to India in a T20 in 2013.
Captain Aaron Finch - who also called the ground home for two IPL seasons at Gujarat Lions - was the only member of tonight's team to play in that match, smashing 89 (52).
Friday night will be just the third ODI the venue has hosted.