“I don’t think anybody noticed!”
Australia have gone 1-0 up in the series, and most would agree that the upcoming day/night Test in Adelaide is their best chance of netting a victory.
For the sake of the series, England need to win here, because another home team victory would see the series all but slip from their reach. Again I have decided to take a look at some of the quirky stats and figures that make up this match; which has become more of an event than ever before recently with the introduction of the pink ball, and Test cricket under lights.
1 – This second Test will be the first instalment of men’s day-night Ashes cricket. The first Ashes Test played with the pink ball was only a couple of weeks ago, where the Australian and English women’s sides played out an intriguing draw.
It is however, not the first time we have seen Test cricket with the pink ball in operation in Australia.
2 – There have been two day/night Tests played at the Adelaide Oval, as the event looks to become an annual tradition. New Zealand were up against Australia in the very first chapter, two years ago, and last season saw Australia taking on South Africa in the final Test of the series.
3 – The number of debutants Australia fielded in that victory over South Africa. As a consequence of the debacle in Hobart prior, Australia looked to youth by capping three new batsmen in last year’s pink ball Test. Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson were all vaulted into the national side, with only Handscomb currently in the XI a year on.
4 – The number of runs scored for the match by then England captain Alastair Cook, last time England came to the ground.
The former captain struggled tremendously in the corresponding Test match four years ago, very much a reflection of the disappointing performance by his team, which saw them slump to another heavy defeat to go 0-2 down. If England are to stand any chance at winning this one, the veteran left-hander will need to compile some scores.
148 – Compare this to the 2010-11 series, the last time England won at the venue, where Cook scored a terrific 148 to help England to an innings win. In Australia’s most recent Ashes win at Adelaide in 2013-14, it was instead Michael Clarke who went on to score 148 in Australia’s first innings.
Clarke’s extended partnership with the in-form Brad Haddin helped the side post a large total. It appears that if a batsman scores 148 in this match, his side is likely to win!
Interestingly, it was South Africa in the famous 2012 Test match at Adelaide where the tourists survived 148 overs to salvage a draw in tense circumstances. One that will be remembered as the debut for current captain Faf du Plessis, who was also the man of the match.
Little did he know just four years on, he would receive a less than pleasant reception when striding out to the middle at Adelaide, following ball tampering allegations leading up to the match.
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9 – It has been some time now since the previously mentioned match where Alastair Cook’s dominance helped his side to a win. He will be hungry to perform far better this time around, after scoring just nine runs across both innings at the Gabba. 9 is also the number of times an England side has won at this ground.
Most of these wins have been unevenly spread since the first ever Test at the ground some 133 years ago. Strangely, these wins have fallen under nine separate English captains too. From Arthur Shrewsbury in 1884 to Andrew Strauss in 2010, Joe Root will have a burning desire to add his name to a very exclusive list.
7 – It will be a difficult task for Root and his team however, as the Australians have not lost a Test match at the Adelaide Oval for seven years; the victory by Andrew Strauss’ side.
Prior to this, they were unbeaten at the ground for 15 years.
52 – Highlighting Australia’s dominance at Adelaide, their overall winning percentage is 52 per cent in Test matches there. While this may not be as high as Brisbane, the fact Australia win more times than not would play on the mind of the tourists. Australia have won 39 out of 75 Tests at the ground. England’s overall record at the ground is hardly inspiring, on the other hand.
17 – Both Australia and England have lost 17 Test matches at Adelaide. This statistic is all the more startling given England only visit the city every few years. They don’t have to look back too far either to remember their last defeat at the ground, as it was just four years ago in their most recent visit.
8 – The memories England have from that match are probably more like scars. In the midst of one of the best individual Ashes series ever, Mitchell Johnson claimed eight wickets in a man of the match performance, including 7/40 in England’s first innings. Who could forget his destruction on the third afternoon, as England crumbled at the crease, ensuring the series was as all but gone.
34 – Neither Mitchell Starc or Josh Hazlewood played a part in that series, but times change quickly as they have become Australia’s new ball duo, and both boast quite exceptional records with the pink ball so far.
Without even looking at Mitchell Starc’s penchant for pink ball wickets in the Sheffield Shield arena, the pair have claimed 34 wickets between them across three pink ball Tests.
Hazlewood has the title of taking the first ever wicket in a day/night Test match, having dismissed New Zealand’s Martin Guptill in the 2015 contest. But it won’t just be the Australian quicks excited about the upcoming Test, as James Anderson and Stuart Broad loom very dangerous in the conditions on offer.
16.33 – The bowling average of Hazlewood at Adelaide so far. The right-arm quick has the best bowling average at Adelaide of any current player.
81.8 – While we’re talking averages, England won’t like to hear Steve Smith’s average in Tests at the Adelaide Oval is a staggering 81.8. Given his form, determination to win the series and record at the ground, one would expect him to enjoy his time in the middle next week.
56 – Perhaps almost as much as Shane Warne did. Nobody has taken more wickets than Warne at the venue, having claimed 56 across his career. Of the current bowlers, Nathan Lyon leads the way with 31 to his name from six matches.