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Green Lord's track intrigues skippers ahead of Sunday's final

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By Reuters
Green Lord's track intrigues skippers ahead of Sunday's final
Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup Final - New Zealand Nets - Lord's, London, Britain - July 13, 2019 General view during nets Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers   -   Copyright  ANDREW BOYERS(Reuters)
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By Amlan Chakraborty

LONDON (Reuters) – A green tinge on the Lord’s track intrigued New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and his England counterpart Eoin Morgan on Saturday, although both shied away from making bold predictions for Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final.

The pitch sported a healthy green cover, although it looked dry underneath before being put under cover.

“Perhaps encouraging to seam bowlers on both sides,” Williamson told reporters before the team’s practice session.

“But we don’t know what the wicket has in store. There’s still a bit of time between now and the start of play and I haven’t had a close look at it just yet.”

New Zealand demonstrated their ability to defend below-par totals in their low-scoring semi-final clash against India’s formidable batting lineup.

Bowlers Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson have shown tremendous ability to adjust to conditions, often combining to cover up New Zealand’s batting frailties.

“Usually, it’s a fairly fair surface here but I think at the same time one that guys need to adapt quickly to, like any other surface that we have seen in the World Cup,” Williamson said.

“We have done it on a number of occasions but we will have to be good at doing that tomorrow.”

Asked if teams would be better off trying to make the most of the first 10 overs of Powerplay, Williamson said: “It is impossible to say at this point in time because we just don’t know what the surface has in store and what a good total is for the team batting first or the team bowling first.”

Pundits had predicted a high-scoring tournament and teams even indulged in talk of breaching the 500-run mark but England’s 397-6 against Afghanistan remains this World Cup’s highest score.

In the four matches of the tournament at Lord’s, twice the 300-mark was breached, both times by Pakistan, though bowlers have largely dominated the tournament.

“New Zealand have done it brilliantly and Lord’s isn’t ever a high-scoring ground. So I’d say tomorrow isn’t going to be a high-scoring ground, so it will be a bit of a battle,” Morgan said.

The England captain, however, felt the green cover on the pitch was thinner than it appeared.

“From afar, it looks greener than it is. There isn’t a lot of grass on the wicket. So it probably exaggerates how it will look.

“If the sun comes out for a few hours, it will look different in a few hours. It’ll go whiter and burn it off.”

Asked if he would call it a bowl-first kind of pitch, the home captain said: “Depends on how hard the wicket gets.”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in London; editing by Toby Davis)

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