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Warne's playground

What the numbers say about Old Trafford

S Rajesh
S Rajesh

Shane Warne: ready to add to his tally of 17 wickets from two Tests at Old Trafford © Getty Images
  • At Edgbaston, Ricky Ponting's decision to insert England after winning the toss might have been influenced by the recent trend at that venue - teams fielding first had won nine of the 14 previous Tests - but he is unlikely to make that mistake at Old Trafford should the coin roll his way on the morning of the third Test. In 69 Tests at Manchester since 1884, only eight times has the captain won the toss and opted to field first. Seven of those matches were drawn; the only decisive result in those games was in 1993, when Graham Gooch bravely put Australia in to bat and suffered the consequences, as England went down by 179 runs. Considering that no team has won a Test here after putting the opposition in to bat, and given all the pre-match talk about another turner at Manchester, the decision at the toss should be a no-brainer.
  • Old Trafford also has a high propensity for drawn games - 33 out of 69 (48%) have ended in a stalemate. Of the remaining 36 Tests which did produce a result, 25 went in favour of the team batting first, another reason for the captain to do just that after winning the toss. England have a 21-14 win-loss record here, and while Australia's is only a modest 7-7 against England, they have won the last three matches, and haven't lost a Test here since 1981. (Click here for all England-Australia Tests at Old Trafford.)
  • You'd expect the pitch to get far more difficult for batting as the game goes on, but that isn't necessarily so, as the table below indicates. Since 1995, the average runs per wicket is highest in the third innings, while the fourth-innings figure is a respectable 32.7. (Click here for the Test records - highest and lowest totals, best batting and bowling performances etc - at this ground.)
  • 1st innings 2nd innings 3rd innings 4th innings
    36.0 32.3 37.7 32.7
  • The track for Thursday's match is expected to assist the spinners, but over the last ten years, fast bowlers have done pretty well here, as the table below suggests. The last time a spinner turned a match around here was in 2001, when Saqlain Mushtaq, aided by umpire David Shepherd's generosity in ignoring no-balls, took four wickets as England slumped to 261 all out in their second innings.
  • Pace - wickets Average Spin - wickets Average
    186 32.69 51 40.22
  • The most famous bowling performance at this ground is of course Jim Laker's 19 for 90 against Australia in 1956, but in their current squad the Australians have one spinner who has been tormenting England for a while now. He answers to the name Shane Warne, and he has especially enjoyed the conditions at Old Trafford, taking 17 wickets in two Tests at less than 15 apiece. Only one short of reaching the 600-wicket milestone, chances are he'll go well beyond that figure by the time this Test is done. Add a batting average of 35.50, and Australia have an outstanding allrounder in their midst, at least at this ground.
  • Warne at each venue
    in England
    Tests Bowling average Batting average
    Old Trafford 2 14.59 35.50
    Trent Bridge 3 18.14 18.33
    Lord's 4 19.58 8.75
    Edgbaston 4 21.76 24.50
    The Oval 3 23.30 21.50
    Headingley 3 89.33 0.00
  • Among England's current lot of players, only Michael Vaughan, Marcus Trescothick, Matthew Hoggard and Ashley Giles have played more than one Test at Old Trafford. The first three have done pretty well (click on the player names for Vaughan, Trescothick and Hoggard stats at this ground), but Giles's nine wickets have cost him more than 38 apiece.
  • S Rajesh is assistant editor of Cricinfo. For some of the stats he was assisted by Arun Gopalakrishnan from Cricinfo's Chennai office.