Sri Lanka v India, Compaq Cup final, Colombo

Win the toss, win the match

The toss has played a huge role in deciding the fate of ODIs at the Premadasa Stadium

Siddhartha Talya

September 14, 2009

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Rahul Dravid tosses the coin as Mahela Jayawardene looks on, India v Sri Lanka, Group B, Trinidad, March 23, 2007
Different captains and a different venue but the same ritual may play a decisive role in the outcome © Getty Images
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India's six-wicket win over New Zealand in the Compaq Cup was an aberration; their 139-run defeat in the next game against Sri Lanka restored normalcy. It's not that India are a poor team - they are ranked No.3 in ODIs - but the result was consistent with the trend at the Premadasa Stadium.

  • Sri Lanka won the toss and batted; 17 out of 23 times have teams done that at the Premadasa since 2005.
  • They went on to amass a big score; in the same duration, the average runs-per-wicket of 30.71 in the first innings at the Premadasa is higher than any other venue in the country that has hosted more than one ODI.
  • They bowled India out cheaply; the Premadasa has the lowest average runs-per-wicket - 20.97 - in the second innings among all venues in that span of time. (Minimum of eight matches at the venue)

  • Sri Lanka won the toss, and they won the match; the win-loss ratio of 8.00 for teams (matches involving the top eight sides only) doing exactly that at the Premadasa is significantly higher than anywhere else.

Among international venues, the result of the toss has influenced the outcome of the game most at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore and the Premadasa. If one were to consider the top eight teams, 84% of the matches at the Premadasa since 2005 have been won by the side winning the toss, while in Lahore, it's 87%. If one were to narrow it down to teams winning the toss and batting, the figure for Premadasa rises to 88%.

Apart from the conditions at the Premadasa, which favour batting early on and deteriorate later in the day, the captains would be prompted to bat by the sizeable margin of victories for the side batting first at the venue. India's comprehensive loss in the dead rubber is a case in point, as they collapsed to their biggest defeat, in terms of runs, on Sri Lankan soil. The difference in the average runs-per-wicket between the side batting first and the side chasing, since 2005, is the biggest at the Premadasa, and by a fair margin (considering the top eight teams). The team batting first has a 12.08 run advantage here, while Newlands in Cape Town takes second place with 9.06. (Click here for average runs-per-wicket for each venue in the first innings and here in the second. Qualification of a minimum of eight matches since 2005.)

Difference in average runs-per-wicket (Qual- Top eight teams and minimum of 8 completed ODIs since '05)
Venue First innings Second innings Difference
Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka 33.05 20.97 12.08
Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa 31.86 22.80 9.06
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Pakistan 37.77 29.22 8.55
AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand 37.70 31.10 6.60
Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand 35.80 29.23 6.57
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia 34.17 28.17 6
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, UAE 31.29 30.30 0.99

The Premadasa boasts a turning track, but overall, it's the seamers who've done better here. Angelo Mathews' 6 for 20 underscored the assistance bowlers like him, with sly variations in pace and the ability to cut the ball both ways, can derive from the track. In the first innings, seamers outdo spinners comfortably, averaging 32.62 as opposed to 47.42. But in the second innings, the slow bowlers improve their stats remarkably. The difference in the bowling averages is reduced to 3.13 runs. (Click for overall stats for seamers and spinners, and for seamers in the second innings.)

Pace and Spin at the Premadasa since 2005 (Top eight teams)
Span Pace (Wickets and average) Economy rate Strike rate 4w/5w Spin (Wickets and Average) Economy rate Strike rate 4w/5w
Overall 184 at 26.39 4.84 32.7 5/5 94 at 34 4.58 44.5 2/0
1st innings 86 at 32.62 5.05 38.6 0/2 40 at 47.42 4.94 57.6 0/0
2nd innings 98 at 20.92 4.57 27.4 5/3 54 at 24.05 4.14 34.8 2/0

Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

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