Australia to check out pitch at Cardiff

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Worcester (UK), June 30 (ANI): Australian captain Ricky Ponting appears to be quite desperate to get as much information about the pitch at Cardiff, the venue for the first Ashes Test against England, that he is preparing to send a spy to unravel the confusion surrounding the controversial Sophia Gardens pitch.

Reports about how the new strip will play in the first Test, beginning Wednesday week, have been so contradictory that Ponting is desperate for more information.

"We've been talking about trying to send someone down to Cardiff this week so we can have a look at what the wicket preparation looks like," the Herald Sun quoted Ponting, as saying.

"Since we've been here (in England) we've heard lots of stories about how dry it's going to be and how much it's going to spin. There was even talk a month ago about the Test not going ahead there because of problems with the pitch. But we had a closer look at some stats last week and found that something like only 14 of the 69 wickets taken there in the last three county matches have been taken with spin," he added.

Ponting's concerns were magnified when he spoke to umpire George Sharp, who officiated in Australia's opening tour match in Hove and umpired a one-day match in Cardiff on May 12.

"George Sharp said that Kaneria was unplayable. He was turning them square," Ponting said.

"We need to get a closer look at it to make informed judgments for the way we pick our side for this Worcester game," Ponting said. (ANI)

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