3,614. That's the mind boggling number of runs scored by the batsmen of both India and Australia in the last series.

As the Indian team gears up for yet another ODI series at home, this time against West Indies, the big question is whether one will get to see the exaggerated scores again.

The first of the three-match series will be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, Kochi and the focus is on the 22-yard strip laid out for the match. The pitch in Kochi has traditionally favoured batsmen. The very first match played here, way back in 1998, saw India posting a total in excess of 300. That figure has been breached on three more occasions in the seven games played here thereafter.

But of late, the pitch has shown a tendency to slow down as the match progresses and teams batting second have found it difficult to chase.

The last match played here in January earlier this year saw England getting bowled out for 158 while they were chasing 286 set by India.

Dhiraj Parsanna, the West Zone curator of BCCI, here to oversee the pitch preparation, asked the curator PV Ramachandran to reduce the grass on the wicket. And he has obliged by trimming the grass to 3mm from the original 6mm.

However, Ramachandran reckons the pitch will not be a batsman's paradise. "Personally, I prefer wickets which have something in it for both bowlers and batsmen. I think the pitch will be best for batting first. It might not offer great help for fast bowlers, but as the game goes on, it will definitely help the slower bowlers. I think 280 could be a winning score on this wicket," said the curator.

Both the Indian and Australian teams preferred to chase in the recently concluded series as they were not sure what would be a safe total while batting first.

But going by the curator's version, this could be a win the toss and bat first wicket.

The only thing that could prompt the captains to think otherwise would be the weather forecast for Thursday which has suggested the possibility of late evening thundershowers.

If it rains, it would be difficult for bowlers to grip the ball. There is a possibility of teams chasing a revised target if the interruption is long enough and the Duckworth-Lewis method too may come into play.

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Keywords: batsmen , Indian team, ODI series ,Jawaharlal Nehru stadium,Dhiraj Parsanna, BCCI, curator, PV Ramachandran , batsman's paradise, Australian teams , bowlers,cricket news,sports news