West Indies v India, 4th Test, Jamaica
June 29, 2006
Where the fast men rule
Stats preview of the fourth Test between West Indiesand India
Corey Collymore knows quite a bit about running through sides at Sabina Park
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As the teams head to Jamaica still searching for a win that has eluded them after three consecutive draws, West Indies will be hoping to seal the issue in one of their luckier home venues. Amid their recent home defeats, their record at Jamaica is quite remarkable - six wins in the last ten matches, including victories against Australia, India and Sri Lanka. India, on the other hand will be looking to erase their woeful record there, having lost six out of nine matches since 1952-53. If India win, it will be their first in the West Indies at a venue other than Trinidad, as well as their first series win in the West Indies since 1971.
The one bowler who has used the conditions at Sabina Park to his advantage is Corey Collymore. In just three Tests, he has taken two seven-wicket hauls in an innings, and his average of 13.70 is a far cry from his career average of 31.67. Incidentally, his career-best innings figures of 7 for 57 against Sri Lanka
in 2003 is the best by a West Indian in Jamaica. The table compares Collymore's record with a few of the current crop, proving that his consistent line-and-length bowling has troubled the batsmen more than the raw pace of the other faster bowlers.
Current West Indies fast bowlers at Jamaica
With a reputation for being one of the faster pitches in the West Indies, the track in Jamaica could well be a welcome respite for the fast bowlers of both sides, especially after the last two Tests. Historically, the pace bowlers have ruled, and in the last ten Tests, they have accounted for 252 wickets as opposed to only 67 by the spinners. While India ponder over their pace-spin combination, West Indies have their pace attack worked out. However, India might want to retain Harbhajan Singh, who bagged a five-wicket haul in 2002. Incidentally, it was a spinner, Danish Kaneria, who ran through West Indies' lineup with figures of 5 for 46
and led his team to victory in the last match played there, in 2005.
Here is further confirmation of the fact that Sabina Park is the most bowler-friendly among all West Indian venues: taking the last ten Tests played at each ground, this is the only one where the number of five-wicket hauls is more than the number of centuries. The table below lists the most and least sporting venues in the West Indies.
Comparison of centuries and five-wicket hauls (last 10 Tests)
The captain winning the toss might want to put the opposition in, for the records show that in 41 matches, teams batting second have enjoyed greater success - 18 wins as opposed to ten for the team batting first. The trend has remained so in the last ten matches, with only two wins credited to the team opting to bat first, the most recent being the Test against Pakistan last year.
Sabina Park is a happy hunting ground for Lara, with 1075 runs in 11 matches at an average of 63.23. His three centuries include a brilliant double-hundred against Australia in 1999, a knock which had a huge effect on the series.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is editorial assistant of Cricinfo. For some stats he was helped by Arun Gopalakrishnan and Satish Kumar
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.