India's batting prowess and their spin strength make them favourites in the four-Test series against Australia, but the visitors will like the fact that the venue for the opener is the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, a ground that has brought Australia plenty of success and the home team lots of disappointments. Australia have an unblemished record here, winning their last two Tests - in 1998 and 2004 - and drawing the first. India, on the other hand, haven't won here in more than ten years. In their last six Tests, they've lost four and drawn two. India's last win in Bangalore was 13 years back, in October 1995, when they beat New Zealand by eight wickets. Among the current Indian players, only Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble have experienced a Test win in Bangalore. (Click here for all results in Bangalore.)
India in Tests in Bangalore
Period/ Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn
Overall 17 4 6 7
Versus Australia 3 0 2 1
Since 1998 6 0 4 2
Among all home venues which have hosted at least ten Tests, Bangalore is easily the most unfriendly for India, and it's the only ground where they've lost more games than they've won. Out of the four venues for this series, too, the Chinnaswamy has the poorest record for the home team: India's win-loss in Mohali is 2 (four wins, two losses), it's 1.67 in Delhi and 1 in Nagpur (2 wins and losses).
India's win-loss ratio at home venues (Qual: at least 10 Tests)
Venue Tests Won Loss Ratio
Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai 17 4 2 2.00
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai 29 11 6 1.83
Green Park, Kanpur 20 5 3 1.67
Feroz Shah Kotla 29 10 6 1.67
Wankhede Stadium 21 9 6 1.50
Eden Gardens, Kolkata 35 8 8 1.00
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore 17 4 6 0.67
India's famed batting line-up has done well at most home grounds, but in Bangalore the record is decidedly patchy. Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar have got the runs, but the others have been below par. Rahul Dravid, the home boy, and VVS Laxman have been particularly disappointing. Dravid has only scored 226 runs in 11 innings, with one half-century. In fact, Anil Kumble has done better with the bat here than Laxman and Dravid, averaging 27.87 in eight Tests.
Indian batsmen in Tests in Bangalore
Batsmen Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Virender Sehwag 3 344 68.80 1/ 1
Sachin Tendulkar 6 496 55.11 1/ 2
Sourav Ganguly 6 430 39.09 1/ 1
Anil Kumble 8 223 27.87 0/ 0
VVS Laxman 5 170 24.28 0/ 1
Gautam Gambhir 2 84 21.00 0/ 1
Rahul Dravid 6 226 20.54 0/ 1
The two spinners haven't found Bangalore to their liking either: Kumble averages 30.63 in his home town, much higher than his average of 24.27 in India, while Harbhajan Singh's Bangalore average is 36.47, more than ten higher than his overall bowling average in India of 26.26.
Kumble and Harbhajan in Bangalore
Bowler Tests Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM
Anil Kumble 8 41 30.63 4/ 0
Harbhajan Singh 5 21 36.47 3/ 1
Over the last ten years, fast bowlers have done reasonably well here, with Michael Kasprowicz, Ishant Sharma and Yasir Arafat taking five-fors. Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie were outstanding in their only match here, returning combined figures of 11 for 190 in 2004. Spinners have taken more wickets, but at a higher average. The only ten-wicket haul in a match belongs to Harbhajan, but he conceded 224 runs in the process, against Australia in 2004.
Pace and spin in the last six Tests in Bangalore
Bowler type Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM
Pace 79 35.08 3/ 0
Spin 99 38.04 8/ 1
With the pitch likely to offer uneven bounce and aid spin late, batting first is definitely to way to go here. As the table below illustrates, the average runs per wicket comes down quite substantially over the four innings.
Innings-wise average runs per wicket in last six Tests in Bangalore
1st innings 2nd innings 3rd innings 4th innings
43.13 39.15 33.10 27.93

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo