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The Wankhede Stadium has been India's most result-oriented Test venue, but in the last 13 years it hasn't been kind to the home batsmen
November 12, 2013
Sachin Tendulkar's last Test will be played at a venue which has been a wretched one for Indian batsmen over the last 13 years and more. Since the beginning of 2000, India have a 2-4 win-loss record from seven Tests at the Wankhede Stadium, the worst among all home venues where they've played at least five Tests. In these matches, the batsmen have averaged 24 runs per wicket, easily the lowest among all Indian grounds: at no other ground is the average less than 35.
Four times in these seven Tests, India have been bowled out for less than 300 in their first innings, and their average in the first innings is 29.71 runs per wicket. Last year against England, India scored 327 and still ended up losing by ten wickets, because England replied with 413 and then bowled India out for only 142.
In fact, India' second innings at the Wankhede has been much worse than their first: their last six such innings read as follows - 142, 242 for 9, 100, 205, 219 and 113. The average runs per dismissal in the second innings: 17.30. The only time they didn't have to bat a second time during this period, though, was against West Indies in 2002, when they scored 457 and won by an innings and 112 runs. Their last Test here against West Indies, in 2011, was much tighter, though: India, chasing 243 for victory, finished on 242 for 9, a run away from victory and a wicket away from a tie.
During this period, only four centuries have been scored by Indian batsmen at this venue: 147 by Virender Sehwag and 100 not out by Rahul Dravid against West Indies in 2002, 103 by R Ashwin against the same opponents in 2011, and 135 by Cheteshwar Pujara against England last year. That's an average of 0.57 centuries per Test by an Indian batsman.
In contrast, the average runs per wicket in Kolkata, the venue for the first Test, is 51.62 runs per wicket, with 18 centuries in nine Tests - an average of two per game.
|Venue||Tests||Won/ lost||Ratio||Bat ave||Bowl ave|
Tendulkar has scored one Test century in 18 innings at this ground, but that came way back in 1997, when he scored 148 against Sri Lanka. He has come close on a couple of other occasions, scoring 97 against South Africa in 2000 and 94 against West Indies in 2011 - when he was searching for his 100th international hundred - but the landmark has eluded him for his last 14 Test innings at the Wankhede Stadium.
In fact, his Test career at his home venue can be neatly divided into two compartments of five Tests each. Till 2001, Tendulkar was prolific here, scoring 604 runs in nine innings, including six scores of 50 or more. Since then, runs at his home ground have been far tougher for Tendulkar: in his last five Tests he has scored 243 runs at 27, with only two fifties. In his most recent Test here, against England last year, he scored a total of 16 in two innings, his lowest aggregate from a Test at the Wankhede.
|First 5 Tests (Till 2001)||5||9||604||67.11||1/ 5|
|Last five Tests (2002 onwards)||5||9||243||27.00||0/ 2|
One of the milestones that Tendulkar hasn't achieved in his career so far is scoring 1000 Test runs at a venue: his highest is 970, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, at an average of 88.18. Before the start of the Kolkata Test, Tendulkar had an aggregate of 862 there, but he added only ten runs to that tally. In Mumbai, Tendulkar will need 153 runs to touch 1000 runs at the ground; in the ten Tests he has played here, only once has be aggregated so many in a match.
As it stands, Tendulkar's 847 is the second-highest Test aggregate at the Wankhede Stadium, next only to Sunil Gavaskar's 1122 runs from 11 Tests at an average of 56.10. However, while Gavaskar managed five hundreds in 11 Tests, Tendulkar has only one so far.
|Sunil Gavaskar||11||1122||56.10||5/ 3|
|Sachin Tendulkar||10||847||47.05||1/ 7|
|Dilip Vengsarkar||10||631||48.53||2/ 2|
|Rahul Dravid||7||619||56.27||1/ 4|
|Syed Kirmani||9||477||47.70||2/ 1|
|Ravi Shastri||6||457||57.12||2/ 1|
While this ground hasn't been a favourable one for India over the last decade and more, it hasn't been a favourite for West Indies either: in seven Tests they've won only once, and that was way back in 1975. In their last three Tests they've lost twice - in 1994 and 2002 - and were close to defeat in 2011 as well (though they had a chance to win that one as well).
India's most result-friendly ground
Among Indian venues which have hosted at least five Tests, the draw percentage at the Wankhede Stadium is the least: only seven out of 16 Tests haven't had a decisive result (30%); the next-lowest, among current grounds, is the MA Chidambaram Stadium with 35% draws. Since 2000, only one out of seven Tests have been drawn, and even that match was potentially one ball away from a result, as India finished on 242 for 9 chasing 243 for victory. (Click here for a full list of draw percentages in Indian grounds.)
In these last seven Tests, the Wankhede pitch has been at its best in the first innings of the Test - as is the norm at most grounds - but even there the average scores haven't been too high. The average runs per wicket in the first innings is only 33.02 (which translates into a team score of 330); it's 29.41 in the second innings, 17.02 in the third and 20.11 in the fourth.
The conditions at Wankhede have generally helped both fast bowlers and spinners: in the seven Tests since 2000, pace bowlers have conceded 27.87 runs per wicket, compared to the spinners' average of 24.06. However, in the two Tests - against West Indies and England - since the pitch was relaid, fast bowlers have taken only 15 wickets at 52.60, compared with 52 wickets by the spinners at an average of 29.63. In the most recent Test here, against England last year, spinners accounted for 28 out of 29 wickets that fell to bowlers in the match. Given the composition of the bowling attacks in this match, though, it's highly unlikely spinners will dominate to the same extent over the next five days.
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on TwitterFeeds: S Rajesh
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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