With the second Ashes Test nearly upon us is it too much to ask for a pitch that offers something for bowlers as well as batsmen?
The First Test at Cardiff ended in the most thrilling of draws, with England hanging on thanks to their last day heroics. Yet, if they had batted well in their first innings the match would have ended as the tamest of draws and a whimper of a start to the 2009 Ashes.
That they did not and chose to come so close to losing is what makes Test cricket so fascinating. But nothing can disguise the fact that the pitch at Cardiff was another in the seemingly endless line of flat tracks that many Test venues around the world seem to be churning out.
Sadly, Lord's is one of the worst offenders with last year's pitch for the Test against South Africa being one of the flattest ever seen. It would have served for a draw over ten days, let alone the customary five. I fear that the wicket for tomorrow's second Test will be much the same, though I would be very happy to be proved utterly wrong. A pitch like that in 2005 would be most welcome.
We only have to go back to the recent series between West Indies and England in the caribbean to see back to back draws on flat tracks, where the side batting last was able to hold out for relatively easy draws. On those occasions it was England who could not find those vital last wickets.
There are still some pitches around the world offering assistance to bowlers, but more often it is overhead conditions that aid them rather than sideways movement, pace, bounce or turn.
I am not advocating a return to the overly helpful pitches of the 80s, though those low scoring matches were much more exciting than the turgid draws that we experience too often these days. All I ask is for a fairer contest between bat and ball.
Let us hope those English groundsmen are listening and that the Ashes 2009 will see a return to livelier pitches and batsmen being truly tested.