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Curator reckons pitch will be a big hit

IT'S THE kind of pitch that batsmen salivate over and forces bowlers into premature retirement.

But Manuka Oval curator Brad Van Dam makes no apologies about the flat deck which will greet the Australian cricket team for its inaugural visit to Canberra.

After the Prime Minister's XI and the West Indies combined for more than 600 runs in an entertaining 50-0ver contest last week, another run feast is on the cards for Wednesday's sold-out one-day international.

The placid surface will be in stark contrast to the extra bounce which played a part in the Windies being bowled out for a paltry 70 in last Friday's series opener at the WACA Ground.

Van Dam has bad news for the pacemen if they are expecting similar favours this time around.

''Bowlers have had their time in the sun in Perth,'' he said. ''One-day cricket revolves around batting and bowlers have two new balls to play with, not like it used to be where there was only one.


''Spectators and crowd alike want to see, not super-duper massive-scoring games, but par scores of about 300 are good.

''It [the PM's XI pitch] was a bit flat, but I think one-day and Twenty20 cricket is about that - the big sixes and the big hitting.''

The pitch will be the same one used in the PM's XI game.

Ground staff have worked feverishly for the past eight days to get plenty of water into the surface while ensuring conditions are conducive to attacking stroke-play.

The PM's XI made the most of the daylight conditions with an imposing 6-333, before the Windies responded with a valiant 310.

With Wednesday's game being beamed live around the world, this is the chance for Canberra to press its claims to become a regular on the international circuit.

It'll be just the second match under lights at Manuka Oval after last week's smooth debut.

''I just want commentators and reporters alike to be saying, 'why haven't we been playing at Manuka for decades','' Van Dam said. '''Look at the facilities, look at the ground, look at the pitch … we should have been playing here years ago.' That's the only comment I want to have.''