Gabba curator David Sandurski confident ahead of first Ashes Test after dry weather allows time to prepare pitch

Brisbane’s big wet has caused some sleepless nights but Gabba ground staff believe a break in the weather has them well-placed to deliver a high-quality wicket for the first Ashes Test.

Rainfall records tumbled across Queensland in November as the La Nina weather system created havoc with pre-Test preparations.

While Australia and England have had limited opportunity to practice on the field in the build-up to Wednesday’s first day of the series, it also had Gabba head curator David Sandurski nervously watching the skies.

Fortunately, a break in the rain over the weekend has allowed some much-needed sunshine to bake the pitch, with Sandurski confident he and his team will hand over the wicket they want to for the opening Test.

“Rolling is a key indicator of how to get a good wicket but you also need the wind and the sun to finish it off, to bake it and get it rock hard,” Sandurski said.

“Without that wind and sun, you can’t get a rock-hard wicket.

“It’s definitely tricky with that weather.

A view across the ground at the Gabba with light towers visible and a buildup of clouds overhead.
As the Gabba prepares to host the first Ashes Test, curator David Sandurski thinks overhead conditions will play a bigger part than the pitch itself.(ABC News: Michael Lloyd)

Sandurski believed overhead conditions will have more of a say in how the pitch plays than the pitch itself, with overcast and humid weather likely to favour bowlers while a clear sky could be encouragement for batsmen.

He wasn’t, however, in a position to offer advice to new Australian captain Pat Cummins about what would be the correct option at Wednesday’s toss.

Scattered thunderstorms are forecast for the first three days of the Test, with conditions to improve on Saturday before another patchy outlook for Sunday.

“A little bit of rain can freshen it up. It all adds spice to the game,” Sandurski said.

“I suppose that’s the beauty of playing on turf wickets, that’s what makes the game so exciting.”

AAP

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