India v England, 2nd Test, Mohali
March 8, 2006
A favourite venue for Indian batsmen
England will be upbeat after having the better of the exchanges in the drawn game at Nagpur, but they won't have pleasant memories of Mohali, the venue of the second Test
VVS Laxman: an average of 128.50 in three Tests at Mohali
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England will be upbeat after having the better of the exchanges in the drawn game at Nagpur, but they won't have pleasant memories of Mohali, the venue of the second Test. The only time they played a Test here, in 2001-02, they were thrashed by ten wickets. Among the current squad, though, only two players were around then, both of whom are key figures this time: Andrew Flintoff, captain under dire circumstances, scored 22 in two innings and returned wicketless in 34 overs, while Matthew Hoggard, Man of the Match at Nagpur, finished with creditable match figures of 3 for 103.
The pitch at Mohali is expected to be more bowler-friendly, but past results suggest we might in for another stalemate: four out of six Tests here have ended in draws. Apart from the match against England, the only other result game was Mohali's debut game in 1994-95, when West Indies triumphed by 243 runs. (Click here for other ground stats.)
India's top-order batsmen all have a splendid record here: VVS Laxman, his place in threat after a duck at Nagpur, has scored a hundred and two fifties in his three matches, and averages 128.50; Virender Sehwag isn't far behind, with 340 runs at 85; Sachin Tendulkar, who along with Anil Kumble, has played all Tests at the PCA Stadium, has accumulated 455 runs at 56.87. Rahul Dravid's stats pale a bit, but only in comparison - 333 runs at 47.57.
As in most other Indian venues, batting last at Mohali isn't such an inviting prospect - in the first three innings, teams average 37, 42.8 and 54.9 runs per wicket, but in the fourth, it drops down quite dramatically to 26.7.
Fast bowlers have a better track record here, but the difference is only marginal. As against 71 wickets at 42.35 by the spinners, the pace bowlers average 39.06 for their 92 wickets. The Indian spinners, though, have done slightly better, taking 48 wickets at 36.92; the overseas ones have struggled - each of their 23 victims has cost an exorbitant 53.70.
Kumble is now just four short of the 500 mark, and going by his stats at Mohali, he should achieve the feat here: in six matches, Kumble has 27 wickets - that's 4.5 per Test - at a relatively undistinguished 34.59. What might not be such good news for England is the fact that his only five-for at this venue came against them in 2001-02. That's exactly the case for Harbhajan Singh too, whose nine wickets here have cost him 28.77 apiece.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo. For some of the stats he was helped by Arun Gopalakrishnan.
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