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Hobart curator defies statistics

By Kim Hagdorn
13 December 2012 02:58PM EST

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HOBART Test curator Marcus Pamplin wants to defy recent history with his call for Australian captain Michael Clarke to bat first on the opening morning of the First Test against Sri Lanka.

Pamplin maintains that his pitch will be more batting friendly, than damning statistics from first-class matches played so far this summer on his newly-laid lush and green pitch.

Domestic interstate teams have managed mediocre first-innings totals, despite the curator's confidence of a solid Test first-up batting effort.

Senior Cricket Australia authorities have closely monitored the newly-laid Bellerive Test pitch for several weeks, before clearing the totally refurbished ground and pitch surface for the opening Test of the three-match series against Sri Lanka.

Four first-innings totals from domestic matches have averaged just 103, although the struggling West Australian batting line-up was skittled for just 67 in their clash with Tasmania last month.

The other three first-innings totals were 112, 138 and 95.

Australia resisted the temptation to go with four specialist pace bowlers, leaving left-arm speedster Mitchell Johnson out of the starting line-up and the home side will rely heavily on in-form batting guns Clarke and Mike Hussey on the potentially difficult and seaming grassy strip.

But Pamplin insists the contoversial Hobart pitch will be batting friendly, even declaring Clarke should elect to bat first if he wins the toss on Friday morning.

"I think it's slightly leaning towards a batting deck," Pamplin said.

"Depending on the overhead conditions, it will probably swing more than seam.

"We've done an amazing job to get this up and going from August."

SHEFFIELD SHIELD SCORES AT BELLERIVE THIS SEASON:

Tasmania v South Australia, Nov 1-3
SA 112 & 237
Tas 138 & 196
Tasmania v Queensland, Nov 9-11
Tas 95 & 142
Qld 360
Tasmania v Western Australia, Nov 25-27
WA 67 & 263
Tas 448

*First-class scores at Bellerive so far this summer

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