A fine venue for pace, and for Vettori the batsman
The limited-overs stuff is done, and it's time to concentrate on the five-day game, with the first of three Tests getting underway in Hamilton on March 18. In the ODIs, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team did something no Indian side had achieved in New Zealand - win a limited-overs series in the country. In the Tests, Dhoni's team will try to emulate a feat which was last achieved by an Indian side more than 40 years back. When MAK Pataudi led them to a 3-1 win, it was India's first overseas Test series victory. Since then, India have toured New Zealand six times and haven't won a single series. In fact, the last time they won a Test in the country was way back in 1976. Since then, they've lost four series, the last by a 2-0 margin in 2002-03.
|Played||NZ won||Ind won||Draw|
|In New Zealand||18||7||4||7|
|In New Zealand since 1980||11||5||0||6|
In the last four series, New Zealand have clearly been the superior team, winning four out of eight Tests. India have had some fine individual performances in those series - they've scored as many hundreds as the home team - but collectively they've clearly come out second-best.
|NZ - runs per wkt||100s/ 50s||India - runs per wkt||100s/ 50s|
|38.85||6/ 21||29.56||6/ 15|
None of the batsmen who played in 2002 got many runs in the Tests, but those who toured in the earlier years got a few. Rahul Dravid has had a fair amount of success here, including hundreds in each innings in Hamilton in 1998-99. Sachin Tendulkar's numbers are fairly modest by his standards, with an average of less than 42 in eight Tests. That's still a lot better than the stats for Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman, who, like most batsmen from both sides who played in 2002-03, were completely clueless in conditions which were a dream-come-true for fast bowlers.
Among the bowlers, Zaheer Khan had plenty of success last time, taking five-wicket hauls in each of the two Tests, and averaging 13.72 runs per wicket.
|Rahul Dravid||4||452||64.57||2/ 1|
|Sachin Tendulkar||8||498||41.50||1/ 3|
|Virender Sehwag||2||40||10.00||0/ 0|
|VVS Laxman||2||27||6.75||0/ 0|
India may have won the ODI series comprehensively, but the venue for the first Test is one which the home team's favourite. At Seddon Park, New Zealand have won six matches and lost just two. India, on the other hand, are still searching for their first Test win here - they drew in 1994 and 1999, and lost by four wickets in 2002.
New Zealand haven't lost here in nine years. In six Tests during this period, they've won four - including two by an innings - and drawn two. The last team to beat them was the formidable Australians, who inflicted a six-wicket defeat on the home team in 2000. (Click here for the list of results in Hamilton.)
In terms of win-loss ratio, Seddon Park is easily the best home venue for New Zealand. It's the only the ground where they've won more than they've lost. The Basin Reserve in Wellington is next best, with 14 wins and 16 losses.
|Seddon Park, Hamilton||14||6||2||3.00|
|Basin Reserve, Wellington||48||14||16||0.87|
|Eden Park, Auckland||47||9||15||0.60|
|AMI Stadium, Christchurch||40||8||16||0.50|
|McLean Park, Napier||7||0||2||0.00|
In 1999, Dravid scored 190 and 103 not out in the Hamilton Test, the only instance of an Indian getting hundreds in each innings in New Zealand. Tendulkar is the only Indian to play three Tests here, but he has only scored one half-century in five innings.
|Rahul Dravid||2||341||113.66||2/ 0|
|Sachin Tendulkar||3||162||40.50||0/ 1|
|VVS Laxman||1||27||13.50||0/ 0|
|Virender Sehwag||1||26||13.00||0/ 0|
Among the New Zealanders, only two batsmen have scored more runs at this ground than their current captain. Daniel Vettori has scored one century and two fifties in 12 innings, and averages an impressive 44.50. In his last three Tests, his scores read 137 not out, 20, 53, 88 and 35.
|Ross Taylor||1||126||63.00||1/ 0|
|Daniel Vettori||8||445||44.50||1/ 2|
|Brendon McCullum||2||127||42.33||0/ 2|
The pitch and overhead conditions have usually favoured fast bowlers here. In Tests since 2000, pace has accounted for 171 wickets at an average of 26, with eight five-wicket hauls; during this period, spinners have only taken 35 wickets at a much poorer average and strike rate. In fact, the only spinner to take five in an innings here is Vettori, in his first Test here in 1997. He had match figures of 9 for 130 in that game against Sri Lanka, and in his first three Tests here he'd taken 14 wickets at an average of 21.71. In his last five games, though, wickets have been much harder to come by: ten wickets during this period have cost him 50 each.
|Type||Wickets||Average||Strike rate||5WI/ 10WM|
|Wickets||Average||Strike rate||5WI/ 10WM|
|First three Tests||14||21.71||53.7||1/ 0|
|Last 5 Tests||10||50.00||122.0||0/ 0|
Among the New Zealand bowlers in the current squad, the three fast men who have played here have all performed well. The spinners have leaked far more runs per wicket.
|Bowler||Tests||Wickets||Average||Strike rate||5WI/ 10WM|
|James Franklin||1||5||7.20||19.0||0/ 0|
|Kyle Mills||1||6||12.83||34.1||0/ 0|
|Chris Martin||3||13||18.23||39.2||0/ 0|
|Daniel Vettori||8||24||33.50||82.2||1/ 0|
|Jeetan Patel||1||4||36.50||81.0||0/ 0|
With conditions good for fast bowling, it's hardly surprising that captains winning the toss have favoured putting the opposition in to bat: since 2000 this has happened five times out of seven, though in the two most recent Tests teams chose to bat first. The innings-wise average, too, shows that the second innings is the best one for batting.
|1st innings||2nd innings||3rd innings||4th innings|
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo