Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Adelaide November 27, 2008

The Adelaide mantra: win toss and bat first

A statistical preview to the second Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide
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The batsmen let New Zealand down in the first Test in Brisbane, but a better performance would be expected at the Adelaide Oval, an Australian ground where overseas batsmen have traditionally done well in recent years. Since 2000, visiting batsmen have averaged over 30 in Adelaide, and the only venue where they have averaged higher is the Sydney Cricket Ground - 31.46 - while the average at the Gabba is 21.64. However, the conditions in Adelaide have also been exploited by the Australian batsmen - they average 49.47 - and the combined average of 39.56 makes the ground the second-best venue for batsmen since 2002 (among those that have hosted five Tests).

While the Gabba has been a ground where Australia have been undefeated in nearly 20 years, their record is also formidable in Adelaide, with only one loss - to India - since 2000.

Record at the Adelaide Oval
Team Matches won Lost Drawn
Australia 33 16 17
New Zealand 0 2 1
Australia since 2000 6 1 1

The Test will be Matthew Hayden's 100, and he and the other batsmen in Australia's line-up have enjoyed playing at the Adelaide Oval: Ricky Ponting has over 1000 runs at the ground, Michael Hussey averages over 300 and Michael Clarke has two centuries in four innings. The only home batsman in the current line-up who has failed to cash in is Andrew Symonds.

Australia's batsmen at the Adelaide Oval
Player Tests Innings Runs Average 100s/50s
Ricky Ponting 12 22 1298 61.80 5/4
Matthew Hayden 9 15 825 58.923/4
Michael Hussey 3 5 337 168.50 1/2
Michael Clarke 3 4 270 90.00 2/0
Simon Katich 1 2 106 53.00 0/1
Andrew Symonds 2 2 39 19.50 -

Australia dropped allrounder Shane Watson from the squad for the second Test, and they would be mulling the use of a specialist spinner - either Jason Krejza, who is struggling with an ankle injury, or Nathan Hauritz, drafted in as cover. New Zealand, too, have called up Jeetan Patel to their squad. Peter Siddle comes in place of Watson, and he could be a handy back-up in case the team management decide to drop Stuart Clark, who has struggled in his past appearances at the Adelaide Oval.

Australia's bowlers at the Adelaide Oval
Player Tests Wickets Average Economy-rate Strike-rate
Brett Lee 4 17 36.23 3.22 67.4
Mitchell Johnson 1 6 26.50 2.9553.8
Stuart Clark 2 4 56.50 2.51 135.0
Simon Katich 1 4 20.25 3.37 36.0
Andrew Symonds 2 3 41.66 2.65 94.0
Michael Clarke 3 1 94.00 3.35 168.0

In matches since 1990, spinners have done well in the third innings in Adelaide. Both spin and pace bowlers, though, have struggled in the first innings of a game. Fast bowlers average below 20 in the third and fourth innings of a Test since 2000.

Pace v Spin at the Adelaide Oval - 1990 onwards
Innings Overs for pace bowlers Wickets Average Overs for spinners Wickets Average
1st 724.4 58 37.27 451.3 36 40.27
2nd 615.3 65 26.55 348.0 21 42.80
3rd 420.1 40 29.15 343.1 50 18.36
4th 421.4 55 20.43 326.0 25 31.60
Overall 2182.0 218 28.33 1468.4 132 30.73

In the last 19 Tests in Adelaide, only once has the team winning the toss chosen to field. Of the 19, Australia have won six of the eight Tests in which they have won the toss and batted first - the 2003 Test against India being the only loss. Opposition teams winning the toss in the same period have won two, lost six and drawn three.

Importance of toss at the Adelaide Oval
Situation Matches won Lost Drawn
Australia winning the toss 19 8 7
Australia losing the toss 8 14 10
Australia winning the toss and batting 19 6 7

Mathew Varghese is sub-editor (stats) at Cricinfo