India v South Africa, 3rd Test, Kanpur April 10, 2008

Superb venue for openers

Stats preview to the third Test between India and South Africa in Kanpur

With India in a must-win situation going into the last match of the series, they'll be pleased to find that they haven't lost a Test in Kanpur, the venue for the game, since 1984. What will offer South Africa some hope is the fact that results have been hard to come by here: 12 of the last 16 Tests have been drawn, though two of the last three have produced results, with India winning both. (Click here for a list of all Tests at the Green Park.)

South Africa have played twice at this venue, and while the first one ended in a crushing 280-run defeat, they fared much the second time around: Andrew Hall batted nearly ten hours for his 163, and the match ended in a tame draw.

Tests in Kanpur
Tests Won Lost Draw
India 19 4 3 12
South Africa 2 0 1 1
India since 1985 5 2 0 3

With the low bounce and lack of pace - features that have been a characteristic of the Green Park over the last few years - you'd expect the Indian batsmen to have scored loads of runs here, but that isn't the case. Virender Sehwag scored a magnificent 164 the last time the two teams met at this ground, but the others have struggled. Both Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid average in the 30s, while Sachin Tendulkar - who will miss out due to a groin strain, has only managed 159 runs in three Tests at an average of 39.75.

Sehwag's value to the Indian line-up was glaringly obvious when these two team met in 2004 - till he was at the crease, India scored at 4.2 runs per over (294 in 70.1). Once he fell for a 228-ball 164, the rest of the team dawdled at 2.67 runs per over (172 in 64.3) and were eventually bowled out for 466.

Indian batsmen in Kanpur
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Virender Sehwag 1 164 164.00 1/ 0
Sourav Ganguly 3 137 34.25 0/ 1
Rahul Dravid 3 166 33.20 0/ 2
VVS Laxman 1 9 9.00 0/ 0

As in most Indian venues, the spin duo of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh have been among the wickets here as well. Kumble leads the way, with 21 wickets from three matches at an average of less than 20. One of the ten Man-of-the-Match awards he has won was here as well, against New Zealand in 1999.

Indian bowlers in Kanpur
Bowler Tests Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM
Anil Kumble 3 21 19.76 2/ 1
Harbhajan Singh 2 8 28.62 0/ 0

Most of the pre-match reports suggest the track at Green Park will offer plenty of assistance to the spinners, but in the last five Tests here, fast bowlers and spinners have done equally well. No fast bowler has taken a five-for here since 1980, but they've still managed a reasonable average, and a better strike rate than the spinners. Javagal Srinath, the former Indian fast bowler, enjoyed bowling here, taking nine wickets in two Tests at an average of 17.11

Pace and spin in Kanpur since 1985
Wickets Average Strike rate 5WI/ 10WM
Pace 24 31.75 71.2 0/ 0
Spin 47 31.44 85.6 2/ 1

Neil McKenzie and Sehwag have already amassed plenty of runs through the first two Tests of this series, and if past record here is an indicator, expect them to score more runs in Kanpur. The venue has been an excellent one for openers: in the last five Tests here, there have been four first-wicket stands of more than 150, including a 218-run partnership between Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in the match between these two teams in 2004.

Partnerships in Kanpur in Tests since 1985
Wicket Average stand 100s/ 50s
First 71.62 4/ 5
Second 47.20 1/ 5
Third 37.71 1/ 3
Fourth 44.21 1/ 5
Fifth 33.69 0/ 5
Sixth 66.46 3/ 2
Seventh 31.38 1/ 3
Eighth 24.09 0/ 1
Ninth 15.40 0/ 0
Tenth 9.67 0/ 0

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo