Winning venue for Australia and Ponting
Already 1-0 down in the three-Test series, Pakistan have left themselves with plenty to do in the first couple of weeks of the new decade. Their first challenge of 2010 will be in Sydney, a venue which has been an Australian stronghold over the last 14 years. Since 1996, they have lost one Test out of 15, and even that was a dead rubber, against England in 2003. The only other team not to lose during this period was India, who drew in 2004. Pakistan won there in 1995, but like England, they managed that result after the series had already been lost. The last overseas team which won a live Test in Sydney was South Africa, when they edged a memorable five-run win in 1994.
Going by recent stats at the venue, it's also highly unlikely the match will end in a draw - in the last 16 Tests, only one match has failed to produce a decisive result.
|Australia - overall||97||53||27||17|
|Pakistan - overall||6||2||3||1|
|Australia - since 2000||12||10||1||1|
|Pakistan - since 1990||3||1||1||1|
In the last decade 11 out of 12 Tests produced a winner, and yet the batsmen have had a pretty good time too, scoring a fair number of runs. The average number of runs in each of the four innings is more than 35, though the last-innings average is propped up by teams chasing down small targets for the loss of very few wickets. Thirty-three centuries have been scored in these matches, an average of just under three per game.
The team winning the toss has batted on each of these 12 instances, but six times the team losing the toss - Australia on each occasion - have gone on to win the match. In fact, Australia haven't been lucky with the toss here recently, winning only four out of 12, but that hasn't diminished their winning percentages in any way.
|1st innings||2nd innings||3rd innings||4th innings|
Most of the current Australian top order has had a fair amount of success at the SCG. Michael Hussey leads the way in terms of averages, with 343 runs at 85.75. He has managed a start in each of his six innings here, scoring at least 30 each time. The leading run-getter at this ground, though, is Ricky Ponting, with 1335 runs at an average of more than 70. In 24 innings he has topped fifty 11 times.
The captain's prolific record here isn't a surprise, but what's rather more unexpected is the vice-captain's ordinary run. The SCG has a reputation for being a spinner's pitch, and Michael Clarke is known for his proficiency against that variety of bowling, but at the SCG Clarke's average is an undistinguished 33.75, with only one 50-plus score in eight innings. On six of those eight instances he has been dismissed by spinners.
|Michael Hussey||4||343||85.75||1/ 0|
|Ricky Ponting||14||1335||70.26||5/ 6|
|Simon Katich||4||364||60.67||1/ 3|
|Michael Clarke||5||270||33.75||1/ 0|
|Shane Watson||2||65||21.67||0/ 0|
Among Pakistan's current crop, Salman Butt will have fond memories of the SCG - he scored a hundred in his only previous Test here, in 2005. Mohammad Yousuf (then Yousuf Youhana) was less successful, scoring 8 and 30 in a match that Pakistan lost by nine wickets. That was also the debut game for Mohammad Asif and Shane Watson, though neither of them had a particularly memorable time.
The SCG is known to help spin, but over the last decade the stats for fast bowlers and spinners were remarkably similar, with both averaging just a shade under 40. Among the slow bowlers, the wristspinners have done much better, with Stuart MacGill taking three five-fors, and Anil Kumble, Danish Kaneria and even Simon Katich taking one each (though Shane Warne didn't manage any).
|Wickets||Average||Strike rate||5WI/ 10WM|
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo