Cricket-starved Vizag crowd gears up for a run feast
Visakhapatnam: With sun shining brightly in this coastal Andhra Pradesh city, the second one-day International between India and Australia promises to entertain the cricket-starved crowd, who will witness a match here on Wednesday, after more than three years.
After the first one-dayer in Kochi being a wash-out, all the attention of the three-match ODI series has now been shifted to the picturesque Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy ADA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, known for its run feast.
"The pitch is known for its batting and it will be no different this time," director of cricket operations MSK Prasad told reporters, hinting at a score of around 300.
The former India glovesman further said that `people are eagerly waiting to see an International match here`.
In fact, such has been the response that the Vizag ODI tickets were sold out at the counters in less than an hour after opening.
Political crisis in Andhra Pradesh last year around this time had robbed the scheduled India-Sri Lanka ODI on December 18, 2009, as it was shifted to Nagpur.
"People are really excited about the match. Fortunately, the weather has cleared. India have won the Test series (2-0). Everything is going in the right direction. We all are looking forward to the match. It`s a wonderful batting wicket and we hope to see a total of around 300," Andhra Cricket Association secretary G Gangaraju told reporters.
He, however, added that the 30,000 capacity stadium is yet not full and a few tickets are still available for the first floodlit match.
Both the teams arrived in the city amid tight security vigil this afternoon.
Devoid of an outdoor practice because of the rain in Kochi, the Indians have planned a net session this evening. The Aussies, on the other hand, preferred to stay indoors.
Surrounded by scenic beauty, the ultramodern stadium has a green and even outfield with no brown traces and is prepared by curator Nagamallayya and co.
It was in the very first match in this stadium on April 5, 2005, the five-ODI-old Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced himself at the world stage when he flayed the Pakistani attack with a 123-ball 148 in what would be one of his most memorable knocks.
Playing hard and true unlike typical Indian wickets, the Vizag strip saw a total of 654 runs scored in the India-Pakistan one-dayer that the hosts won without much fuss.
The ACA-VDCA Stadium has been a lucky venue for India with an all-win record from two matches.
In the last match that was played here on February 17 2007, India thrashed Sri Lanka by seven wickets, with Yuvraj Singh shining for the home team with an unbeaten 95 from 83 balls.
Not in his dazzling form in the recent times, the stylish Punjab batsman will be keen to show his real class here in absence of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
The bowling department will also see the absence of speedster Zaheer Khan, spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha as a new look India team will take on Michael Clarke-led Aussies in what is seen as a battle of GenNexts ahead of the ICC World Cup early next year.
Any side taking the lead here would definitely have an edge when the series concludes in Margao and skipper Dhoni would look forward to continue his lucky charm.