With the home Test matches complete, the highly-anticipated Border-Gavaskar Trophy is the next assignment for Australia’s men’s cricket team.
Australia have selected their touring party which they hope will bring them their first series win on Indian soil since 2004 when Adam Gilchrist led the Aussies to a 2-1 victory across four-Tests in Bangalore, Chennai, Nagpur and Mumbai.
As India contains 24 active international venues, it’s no surprise that the four Tests in this upcoming series will be different to past tours.
We have looked at the stats and the history of each Test venue so you can find out not only where Australia will play but what to expect ahead of each crunch clash as well.
Popular and well-known stadiums like Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium and the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai have missed out on hosting Test matches, although the latter two will host an ODI in the series to follow the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Australia selected four spinners in their 18-player squad and are expecting the pitches they will face to favor the slower bowlers.
“We do think we’ll probably get the heavier spin conditions in Nagpur, that’s probably what we’re planning for,” Australia’s selection chair George Bailey told reporters after announcing the Test squad.
“But we’re aware that they can be created in almost any venue over there.
“I like the fact that we’ve had the opportunity to tour Pakistan and Sri Lanka recently, so that holds us in good stead … I know that conditions are never quite the same in any two spots that you go to, but there will be some similarities.
“Andrew (McDonald) and Pat (Cummins) are really clear on how they want the team to play.”
The breakdown of each venue’s spin and pace records are from Tests played in the last decade, or since 2013 for simplicity.
First Test: Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur
Since 2013: 2 Tests
Spin bowlers: 50 wickets @ 19.60
Pace bowlers: 16 wickets @ 37.18
Australia’s overall record: 1 loss
Most recent: November 2008, lost by 172 runs
If recent history is anything to go by, Nagpur will spin a lot from the start of day one. All 20 South African wickets fell to spin in 2015 and in the most recent match there, between India and Sri Lanka in 2017, Ravichandran Ashwin took eight in the game and Ravindra Jadeja five.
Australia’s only venture to Nagpur for a Test was for the ground’s inaugural fixture in 2008, which will forever be known as ‘the Krejza match’. The Aussies threw a debut to off-spinner Jason Krejza who took 12 wickets for the match but conceded a world record 358 runs in the process. While Krezja did take some wickets with sharply-turning deliveries, most notably VVS Laxman, Australia’s target of 382 proved to be far too many.
While the VCA Stadium isn’t the country’s largest in terms of capacity (it holds around 45,000 spectators), it is the largest in terms of ground size, with the square boundaries among the biggest in the world.
Confusingly, one of Australia’s two crucial victories in the triumphant 2004 series was in Nagpur, but it was at the old VCA Ground. Interestingly, that pitch suited fast bowlers but it hasn’t been used for international cricket since the new stadium’s introduction in 2008.
Second Test: Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi
Since 2013: 3 Tests
Spin bowlers: 66 wickets @ 29.80
Pace bowlers: 30 wickets @ 36.53
Australia’s overall record: 1 win, 3 losses, 3 draws
Most recent: March 2013, lost by six wickets
Australia’s only win in Delhi came in 1959 when Richie Benaud’s men knocked over the hosts by an innings and 127 runs but since then, it’s been slim pickings for the visitors.
Also known as the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, it first hosted a Test match in 1948 and can today hold a touch over 40,000 fans.
Delhi has traditionally been a ground where batting sides can cash in during the first innings and India have exploited those conditions better than their opposition averaging 44 runs per wicket in the last decade to their opponents’ 25.
In fact, it’s a happy hunting ground for India, who have gone undefeated at the venue since 1987, with 10 wins and two draws.
Nathan Lyon will have fond memories of the venue as he took 7-94 in 2013 as Australia lost by six wickets after trailing on the first innings by only 10 runs.
Third Test: Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala
Since 2013: 1 Tests
Spin bowlers: 18 wickets @ 26.00
Pace Bowlers: 12 wickets @ 30.58
Australia’s record: 1 loss
Most recent: March 2017, lost by eight wickets
You simply cannot mention Dharamsala with mentioning the stunning snow-capped mountains that sit peacefully in the ground’s backdrop. Located 1,500m above sea level on the edge of the Himalayas, this iconic venue has only hosted one Test match to date – the fourth Test between India and Australia in 2017. It is the only venue from that tour, Australia’s most recent Test series in the country, to be repeated for this edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
A couple of the current Australian squad performed well there; Steve Smith has the ground’s only Test century after he peeled off 111 in the first innings, Nathan Lyon the ground’s only five-wicket haul after he took 5-92 and Pat Cummins chimed in with four wickets of his own.
While the sample size of one match is small for Tests, the numbers in ODI cricket in Dharamsala suggest it may be the most pace-friendly pitch of the series with fast bowlers averaging three fewer runs conceded per wicket at the ground.
Fourth Test: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Since 2013: 2 Tests
Spin bowlers: 48 wickets @ 14.64
Pace bowlers: 11 wickets @ 30.63
Australia’s record: N/A
Thanks to a recent redevelopment, the Narendra Modi Stadium’s capacity went from 54,000 to an astonishing 132,000, making it the largest cricket stadium in the world.
Named in honor of the current Prime Minister of India, the Ahmedabad super structure has only hosted two Test matches to date. Both were India v England in 2021 and as they were held as Covid gripped the world, the matches were held back-to-back.
India won both matches convincingly; the first (a day-night match) inside two days and the second inside three. Astonishingly, of the 40 wickets England lost, 37 fell to spin with Axar Patel doing the bulk of the damage with an absurd 20 wickets.
The ground’s current record capacity is 101,566 for the 2022 IPL Final, and that number could be nudged if the series is on the line heading into the fourth and final Test in mid-March.
All matches will be broadcast on Foxtel and Kayo Sports.
Main image credit: BCCI/Sportzpics
Qantas Border-Gavaskar Tour of India 2023
February 9-13: First Test, Nagpur3pm AEDT
February 17-21: Second Test, Delhi3pm AEDT
March 1-5: Third Test, Dharamsala3pm AEDT
March 9-13: Fourth Test, Ahmedabad3pm AEDT
March 17: First ODI, Mumbai7pm AEDT
March 19: Second ODI, Vizag7pm AEDT
March 22: Third ODI, Chennai7pm AEDT