Australia v West Indies, 2nd Test, Hobart
November 16, 2005
A good venue for spin
Hobart has been a good ground for Australia, who have never lost a Test here
Shane Warne: 24 wickets in five Tests at Hobart
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West Indies haven't had too much fun on their tour to Australia so far, and they won't be very pleased to find out that the home side have never lost in six Tests at Hobart, the venue of the second Test. In fact, apart from New Zealand - who have managed to draw twice, in 1997-98 and in 2001-02 - no other team have come away from a Test at Hobart with anything other than a defeat.
The average runs per wicket in the first innings here is 41, while for the next three innings they are 24.8, 41.9 and 33.1. That might suggest that it's a good wicket to bat first, and while that might not be incorrect, the numbers look the way they do also because Australia have batted first five times out of six - thrice after winning the toss, twice after being put in. The only match in which Australia didn't bat first here was against Pakistan in 1999-2000, when Steve Waugh chose to field and then watched as his bowlers bundled them out for 222.
That match, of course, was the one in which Adam Gilchrist announced himself to the world for his special batting abilities. Chasing 369 for victory, Australia were tottering at 126 for 5 when Gilchrist, playing only his second Test, walked in and with Justin Langer put together an extraordinary partnership of 238 as Australia stole a four-wicket victory.
Thanks to that magnificent unbeaten 149 he scored in that Test, Gilchrist averages 97 at the Bellerive Oval. For Ricky Ponting, though, it's been a mixed bag here - in his first three innings, he only managed four runs, including two ducks, but he set that record straight with an unbeaten 157 against New Zealand in 2001-02. The dominance of the Australian batsmen at this venue can be gleaned from the fact that out of 14 hundreds here, 12 have been scored by the home team. (Click here for the Test match stats at this ground.)
Among the Australian bowlers, Shane Warne's stats stand out - 24 wickets in five matches at 19. The 179 overs he has bowled here is almost 9% of all deliveries bowled in Tests at this ground, and 18% of all balls bowled by Australian bowlers. Glenn McGrath's stats are as usual impeccable - 13 wickets at 21.
Hobart is clearly a good venue for spin bowling - they've taken 64 wickets at 24, while the fast bowlers' 100 wickets have come at a rather costly 41.81 apiece. Even if you take Warne out of the equation, the rest of the spinners have taken 40 wickets at 26.88. Stuart MacGill hasn't yet played a Test here but expect him to get a bagful over the next five days.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.
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