Fans on the hill in front of the iconic Adelaide scoreboard during the 1981 Test between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval.
Fans on the hill in front of the iconic Adelaide scoreboard during the 1981 Test between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval.

Why history is against India in Adelaide

The bouncy, seam-friendly pitch at the Gabba in Brisbane has long been an unwelcome green carpet rolled out by Cricket Australia to greet touring teams to the country.

A venue well loved by fast bowlers thanks to the sharp bounce generated off the pitch, the ground is a tough first up assignment for any team struggling to adapt to Aussie conditions.

So tough that the Australian men have not lost a Test at the ground for 30 years.

However, strap yourselves in cricket fans, the Australian team will not be playing the first Test of the summer in Brisbane this year.

The Gabba venue is ageing, and while it will host a Test in 2018/19, that Test falls later in the schedule and is against 'lesser' opponents Sri Lanka.

Brisbane's loss is the nation's loss, as Australia will lose a significant psychological advantage when it opens its summer of Test cricket in Adelaide on 6 December.

Adelaide is a batsman's paradise and a ground more accommodating to Indian players brought up on the flatter wickets of the subcontinent.

Right?

Well maybe, then again, maybe not …

 

Mitchell Johnson celebrates the wicket of Shikar Dhawan on Day 5 of the 2014 Test against India. Picture: Simon Cross
Mitchell Johnson celebrates the wicket of Shikar Dhawan on Day 5 of the 2014 Test against India. Picture: Simon Cross

 

 

 

A BATSMAN'S PARADISE?

Let's take a quick look at the two venues by number over the past 28 years

Since 1990 there have been 29 Tests played at the Adelaide Oval with 34,268 runs scored and 976 wickets taken at an average of 35.11. Australia has won 19 - including the last five on the trot - lost four and drawn six.

Over the same time span, the Gabba has hosted 28 Tests with 30,079 runs scored and 857 wickets taken at an average of 35.09.

The 'Gabbatoir' lived up to its fearsome reputation over that period with Australia recording 22 wins and six draws from the 28 matches.

 

Ishant Sharma has a chat with Steve Smith and Michael Clarke during the 2014 Test. Picture: Simon Cross
Ishant Sharma has a chat with Steve Smith and Michael Clarke during the 2014 Test. Picture: Simon Cross

 

 

There were certainly a lot more runs scored in Adelaide than Brisbane in the past thirty odd years, but more wickets fell too, and as a result batsmen at both venues have averaged almost exactly the same over the period.

The differential in runs/wickets between the venues can be explained by the number of thumping victories recorded in Brisbane. Brisbane has seen four 10 wicket wins (and one 9 wicket), and six wins by over an innings while Adelaide has had zero 10 wicket wins and four wins by an innings or more.

 

INDIA'S RECORD IN ADELAIDE

So if Adelaide's not the batsman's paradise it is often portrayed as; the question remains, is India on a winner starting the 2018/19 Test season at the venue?

Probably not.

Sure, the Adelaide Oval's no touring 'slaughterhouse - after all teams have at least won some Tests in Adelaide in recent memory - but not many.

Since 1990, tourists have won just four of the 29 Tests played in Adelaide.

One of those wins was by the slimmest of margins when the West Indies claimed victory by a single run in 1993, another a four wicket victory by India a decade later.

 

The famous green carpet of the Gabba will be missed by Australia’s bowlers to start the summer. Picture: AAP Image
The famous green carpet of the Gabba will be missed by Australia’s bowlers to start the summer. Picture: AAP Image

 

India's famous 2003 victory was built off the back of two superb knocks by the indomitable Rahul Dravid and came despite Ricky Ponting scoring 242 runs in the first innings for Australia (a score 'Punter' surpassed in the very next Test when he recorded his highest ever Test score of 257 in Melbourne).

Few batsmen have ever occupied the crease like Dravid, and 'The Wall' ground a depleted Australian bowling attack into the Adelaide dust, batting for an unbelievable 835 minutes scoring 233 runs in the first innings and an unbeaten 72 in the second.

If Brisbane is a nightmare for visiting teams then Adelaide is at best a deeply disturbed sleep for touring teams in general and India in particular.

On current form the Australian team will need all the help they can get from local conditions if they are to win, or at worst salvage a draw from the Test in Adelaide.

History suggests the assistance will be there, now it is over to the Aussies to make the most of it.

 

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News Corp Australia


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