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    Cazalys keen to make perfect pitch for future cricket

    Pakistan’s tour match is an audition for more cricket in Cairns and a chance to flaunt Cazalys stadium to an international audience.

    The delicate art of procuring a world class cricket pitch at a ground traditionally used to host AFL matches is no easy task.

    But with the football posts long since removed at Cazalys Stadium, facilities manager Mick Cornish says he is confident Cairns’ showcase sports venue is in ‘pretty good nick’. 

    “We don’t have a lot of cricket here so there’s a lot of infrastructure that has to go in,” Cornish says.

    “The sight screens have been put up and we’ve dropped the height of the grass which has to happen over time.

    “There have been some long days for the half dozen staff we have but it’s coming together.”

    The all-important pitch has been produced in consultation with legendary Queensland curator Kevin Mitchell Jr. over several months.

    Cornish says he expects an even contest between bat and ball on a firm deck likely to produce consistent bounce throughout the three days.

    “It’s been a three-way collaboration on the pitch between Kevin, an ex-curator and our boys to get it up and going,” Cornish says.

    “We’ve done a little bit of light rolling so far. We expect it will be a nice, hard and fast wicket.” 

    In anticipation of the day-night pink ball tour match between Pakistan and a Cricket Australia XI, Cornish has expertly manicured the playing field’s grass to 12 millimetres, almost half its normal length during the dry season.

    “The ball’s running across the ground nice and quick now,” he says. “We’re pretty pleased with it and it’s fun to watch.”

    Cornish says Cazalys’ typically grassier wickets are suited to day-night matches with a pink ball making it an ideal venue for future fixtures.

    “There will definitely be a little bit of grass on it which should protect the ball,” he says.

    “We get extra bounce on the grassier wickets anyway so it works well for us.

    “I’d like to see a few runs and for the match to go the distance. We just want to see some good cricket.”

    The pink-ball day-night game starts this Thursday. 

    CA XI squad

    Will Bosisto (captain) WA, Jake Carder WA, Alex Gregory SA, Josh Inglis WA, Ryan Lees TAS, Arjun Nair NSW, Jimmy Peirson QLD, Matthew Short VIC, Mark Steketee QLD, Cameron Valente SA, Cameron Wheatley TAS, Jake Winter SA

    Pakistan squad

    Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Sharjeel Khan, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan