Ashes: Mike Watkinson expects traditional Old Trafford pitch for third Test
Lancashire's Mike Watkinson thinks the Old Trafford Ashes Test wicket will offer plenty of bounce and will suit spin.
Last Updated: 01/08/13 10:07am
The Manchester venue has traditionally been the most spin-friendly of England's Test grounds.
Watkinson expects good bounce for the fast bowlers early on, but spin to play a prominent role later in the match.
The pitch used to be aligned east-west, and the county made the decision in 2010 to rotate it because the setting sun shone right in the batsman's eyes in the early evening, making it potentially dangerous.
Despite the change Watkinson expects the pitch to turn - welcome news for England spinner Graeme Swann - in the same way as the old pitch did.
Watkinson told Sky Sports News: "It's worked out pretty well. It's quite a big project we took on board. We don't want the sun shining in our eyes at five o'clock every evening. It fits in with the ground, the new pavilion and media facilities.
"But we've maintained part of the old square. It's common to the five pitches in the middle. The Test pitch is one of those five pitches.
"I expect it to show the same characteristics as the Test pitches of old. The five pitches are showing the characteristics now. It's a very hard surface so I expect a bit of bounce in there for the big guys who can crack it in and as the game goes on it will take some turn."
The rotation of the pitch was part of a major redevelopment of Old Trafford, which missed out on an Ashes Test in 2009.
And Watkinson said the county is thrilled to be hosting Australia again.
"It's been a really long time coming this game. Emirates Old Trafford, it looks fantastic now. If you haven't been here for a while hopefully you will say 'wow, this place has changed.' We are really pleased with it and looking forward to a great game this week.
"We talk about 2005 and it's an age away now. We missed out on the last Ashes, but we've worked really hard, it's been a battle along the way and we're really looking forward to the game this week."