England v Pakistan, 3rd npower Test, The Oval

Best chance for Pakistan's batsmen

The conditions at The Oval represent the best opportunity for Pakistan's beleaguered batsmen to regain their form and confidence

S Rajesh

August 17, 2010

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The conditions at The Oval represent the best opportunity for Pakistan's beleaguered batsmen to get their form and confidence back after what's been a wretched series so far. In the two Tests so far, Pakistan have averaged 15.75 runs per dismissal (compared to England's 32.83), while their top six have collectively averaged 10.20, with a top score of 38 in 24 innings.

All that could change, though, at a venue which has traditionally been the best one for batting in England. In the ten Tests played here since 2000, teams have averaged almost 38, with 21 centuries - an average of more than two hundreds per game.

Averages at each venue in England since 2000 (Qual: 2 Tests)
Venue Tests Draws Average 100s/ 50s
The Oval 10 3 37.92 21/ 54
Lord's 22 7 35.79 52/ 101
Old Trafford 9 2 33.28 21/ 32
Chester-le-Street 4 0 33.08 7/ 17
Headingley 10 0 32.96 20/ 40
Edgbaston 10 2 32.68 17/ 44
Trent Bridge 10 2 29.53 15/ 45

Pakistan's batsmen have historically feasted on the conditions here: in five Tests played by the team here since 1970, they have averaged more than 57, which is a 72% improvement over their average at the second-best venue in England. In these five matches, they've scored more than 500 in their first innings on four occasions. Seven hundreds have been scored in these games, which is more than the number they've managed in any other venue in England.

Venue-wise batting stats for Pakistan in England in Tests since 1970
Venue Tests W/L/D Average 100s/ 50s
The Oval 5 2/1/2 57.20 7/ 12
Old Trafford 4 1/1/2 33.06 2/ 9
Edgbaston 6 0/3/3 32.34 6/ 8
Headingley 9 2/4/3 27.83 4/ 22
Lord's 10 3/3/4 26.97 3/ 18
Trent Bridge 1 0/0/1 13.10 0/ 1

Javed Miandad leads the averages table for Pakistan's batsmen at The Oval, with scores of 260 and 59 in his two innings there, for an average of 159.50. In 22 innings in other grounds in England, he managed only one century and averaged less than 35. Mohammad Yousuf, Zaheer Abbas and Saleem Malik all hundreds here, though they also performed well at other grounds in England.

The same can't be said of Pakistan's current opener, Imran Farhat. In his only innings at The Oval, in 2006, Farhat scored 91; in 12 innings in other venues in England, he has scored more than 50 exactly once. Inzamam-ul-Haq is one of the few batsmen to average more at other England grounds than The Oval.

Pakistan batsmen at The Oval and at other England grounds since 1970
Batsman The Oval - Tests Average 100s/ 50s Other grounds - Tests Average 100s/ 50s
Javed Miandad 2 159.50 1/ 1 14 34.73 1/ 4
Mohammad Yousuf 1 128.00 1/ 0 5 58.80 2/ 0
Zaheer Abbas 1 127.50 1/ 0 8 45.07 1/ 2
Saleem Malik 3 121.00 2/ 0 10 57.41 1/ 5
Imran Farhat 1 91.00 0/ 1 6 23.83 0/ 1
Inzamam-ul-Haq 2 33.00 0/ 0 11 43.55 2/ 5

Pakistan will surely be encouraged by these numbers, but England will fancy their chances of sealing the series at a venue where they haven't lost any of their last eight Tests, and have won five of them. A win against Pakistan will give them a hattrick of wins here, following the defeats of South Africa and Australia in the last two seasons. The last team to beat England at this venue was Australia, way back in 2001. Pakistan's most recent memory, on the other hand, was much more unpleasant, with the forfeiture in 2006 handing England victory after they trailed by 331 in the first innings.

England's current batsmen, though, don't have such a great record at The Oval. Kevin Pietersen has scored three hundreds, and has topped 90 in each Test that he has played here, but Paul Collingwood only averages 32.62, with no century in ten innings.

England batsmen at The Oval
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Jonathan Trott 1 160 80.00 1/ 0
Kevin Pietersen 4 523 69.08 3/ 1
Andrew Strauss 6 468 42.54 1/ 4
Alastair Cook 4 352 44.00 0/ 3
Paul Collingwood 5 261 32.62 0/ 2

In the last five Tests here, fast bowlers and spinners have achieved similar numbers: pace has accounted for 111 wickets at an average of 36.02, while spinners average 37.48 for their 43 wickets.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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