After weeks and weeks of build-up, it’s almost time for the first Test between India and Australia, Down Under. The Adelaide Oval is all set to welcome Virat Kohli and Co as the Aussie summer of Test cricket begins.
Unlike what we are used to, the first Test is not being played at the fortress that is the Gabba, Brisbane, for Australia. And unlike the trend in the recent past, it is a day match in Adelaide and not a day-night affair as the BCCI said earlier this year they are not ready to jump in on the pink-ball bandwagon yet.
Australia, for the record, have won five out of the five matches at this venue since 2013. That includes a thrilling game against India in 2014, when Kohli and Vijay were on the verge of pulling off an epic fourth-innings heist, before the chase unravelled.
(Read: There is nothing quite like watching India play Test cricket in Australia)
India and Australia’s record at Adelaide Oval
For many Indian cricket followers, the first (and most prominent) memory of Adelaide Oval is the sight of Rahul Dravid playing a cut shot of Stuart MacGill for a four, taking his cap off and running in celebration, as Sourav Ganguly walks on to the pitch calmly, applauding.
Despite what will always be one of Indian cricket’s most famous overseas wins, Adelaide has not been an happy hunting ground for India. Well, that could be true for all venues in Australia, but this venue is the worst among a set of bad apples.
Adelaide is the second best ground for Australia in terms of win/loss ratio, after the Gabba (minimum 15 matches). For India, it’s the reverse. At no other ground do India have a worse W/L ratio than Adelaide, among the venues for this series. Gabba, among all venues, is the worst for India. (Perhaps, that’s why it’s a great chance to start well in this series as the Gabba is not hosting the first Test as is the norm usually in Australia)
Win/Loss records for Australia and India
|Adelaide Oval|| 76 matches|
Won: 40, Lost: 17, Draw: 19 (W/L: 2.352)
| 11 matches|
Won: 1, Lost: 7, Draw: 3 (W/L: 0.142)
|Perth (Old stadium, Waca)|| 44 matches |
Won: 25, Lost: 11, Draw: 8 (W/L: 2.272)
| 4 matches|
Won: 1, Lost: 3, Draw: 0 (W/L: 0.333)
|Melbourne Cricket Ground|| 110 matches|
Won: 63, Lost: 30, Draw: 17 (W/L: 2.100)
| 12 matches |
Won: 2, Lost: 8, Draw: 5 (W/L: 0.250)
|Sydney Cricket Ground|| 106 matches|
Won: 59, Lost: 28, Draw: 19 (W/L: 2.107)
| 11 matches|
Won: 1, Lost: 5, Draw: 5 (W/L: 0.200)
Virat Kohli’s love affair with Adelaide
For Kohli, Adelaide is a special venue. In the four innings Kohli has batted at Adelaide Oval, he has scored score three centuries. His tally is 394 runs at an average of 98.50, with a highest score of 141. He made a century in both innings the last time India were at this ground, which was also his first match as Indian captain.
Kohli also made his first Test century at this venue, back in January, 2012. That knock came at a point of time when his place in the longest format was being questioned, while his then-captain MS Dhoni continued to back the prodigiously talented white-ball cricketer who was yet to make a mark in the Test arena.
Kohli's numbers in Adelaide
|1st innings, 2011||116 off 213 balls (11 fours, 1 six)|
|2nd innings, 2011||22 off 62 (2 fours)|
|1st innings, 2014||115 off 184 (12 fours)|
|2nd innings, 2014||141 off 175 (16 fours, 1 six)|
|Overall||394 runs at an average of 98.50|
No wonder he calls it his favourite venue outside India.
“I love coming to this ground and Adelaide, in general. I don’t [exactly] know what the connection is but I just feel really good here. Not to say that performances are always guaranteed in a certain place, but yeah, coming to Adelaide I feel different from any other place I have gone in the world.
“It happens to every cricketer, where they have a favourite venue away from home and for me Adelaide has always been special, because I scored my first Test ton here. From then on, the connection started. It’s a great place to play cricket, the stadium is been redone, the pitch has always been good. There are no givens on this pitch. I have enjoyed my cricket here.”
Whether that continues in 2018 and if he can end up on the winning side to go with it, remains to be seen.