Established: 1845
Capacity: 23,500
Floodlights: Yes
Ends: Pavilion End, Vauxhall End
Home Team: Surrey
Test History: 93 Tests; 38 home wins; 19 away wins; 36 draws
England v India 10 Tests; 2 home wins; 1 away win; 7 draws
Last 10 Tests:
5 home wins; 2 away wins; 3 draws
Last 10 tosses: 9 batted first (3 win, 3 draw, 3 defeats); 1 bowled first (1 defeat)

Overview

The Oval is a venue blessed with a rich sporting history, which includes playing host to the first Test match on English soil, a game in which WG Grace scored a century in England's win against Australia in 1880.

Significantly it was at The Oval that the legend of the Ashes was born and the great Sir Donald Bradman played his final Test innings at the ground.

Apart from cricket the venue was also host to the first official international football match as well as the first rugby international in England in the early 1870s. Another notable fixture was the first ever FA Cup final in 1872.

The Oval now traditionally plays host to the final Test of the English summer and has therefore seen some dramatic finishes in its time.

From the 1968 Ashes Test when supporters pitched in to mop a sodden ground in time for Derek Underwood to bowl the Australians out to square the series, to Kevin Pietersen's match-saving - and series-winning - 158 in 2005 against the same opposition, The Oval's history is sparkled with magical moments and memories. It too was the scene of Inzamam-ul-Haq and company's defiant walk-off in 2006 after umpire Darrell Hair's accusations broke the proverbial camel's back.

A spectacular new stand to complement the huge pavilion has made for a more pleasant viewing experience, and the famous old ground continues to be developed with floodlights the latest new arrival in South London. The most well known feature of The Oval is, of course, the gasometers to the east of the ground.

Last Time Out

Two-nil up in a series they would eventually win three-one, England were admittedly complacent in conditions ripe for an unpredictable Pakistan unit to bite back.

The tourists did just that, skittling the home side's choice to bat first for just 233 all out as debutant seamer Wahab Riaz clinched a five-for. Mohammads Amir and Asif shared four wickets and there was almost no need for spinner Saeed Ajmal to turn his arm over.

In response, a string of visiting batsmen got going only to fall when it mattered the most. Mohammad Yousuf's return to the starting XI brought an air of calm to an oft-brittle middle order, while Azhar Ali dug deep for his 92 not out in a total of 308 all out.

England's seamers did their bit, but it was Graeme Swann who showed their was a lot more in the track - bounce, if not turn - for the spinners than initially anticipated.

By stumps on day three the hosts were up against it. Centurion Alastair Cook had stood firm in the face of Amir, who produced arguably the best spell of his brief career. The left-armer exploited the conditions to perfection and bagged a fine five-for his efforts. Ajmal, meanwhile, took example from Swann and snapped up a complementary four-for across a good track for an even contest between bat and ball.

Pakistan's victory charge was momentarily put off kilter by three more scalps from Swann, but a target of under 150 wasn't ever really going to have them in trouble as they brought on a four-wicket win before tea on day four.

They Said

"Any time you win the toss on what looks like a good batting deck, it's not the ideal position you'd want to be in. By the end of the day it looked a good wicket. But we've seen that the minute the clouds come over it seems a different proposition altogether - seaming around, and nipping a bit quicker." - England wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior laments the hosts' failure against Pakistan last year.

"It's still a cracking batting track." - short and sweet from England spinner Graeme Swann in 2010.

"Historically it's a drier surface that does bounce and carry a bit and those sort of conditions can help the ball get scuffed up, which everyone knows helps it reverse." - Australia coach Tim Nielsen gives his take on the history of The Oval pitch before the 2009 Ashes Test.

Happy Hunting Ground

Kevin Pietersen is top of the pops for current England batsmen at this ground, with his 552 runs across 10 knocks affording the right-hander a healthy ground average of 55.20.

Alastair Cook (468 runs from 10 knocks) and Andrew Strauss (487 runs, 37.46 average) are next in line, while Ian Bell has managed a substandard average of 32.50 here.

James Anderson's six Tests at The Oval have brought him 22 scalps at 34.77 apiece - considerably poorer than his career average of 30.52. Graeme Swann's ground record makes for impressive reading, with the spinner bagging 15 victims in just two Tests here at 18.40 each.

Mahendra Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, meanwhile, both landed big half-centuries in India's 2007 visit, while Shantha Sreesanth enjoyed a tidy five-wicket haul for the match.

Weather Forecast

A 60 percent chance of rain might mar the opening day, after which partly cloudy conditions void of much, if any, precipitation take over for the duration of the game, with Friday and Saturday likely to be the most dry.

Temperatures are likely to hang around 19 degrees Celsius, with a slight dip toward the weekend sure to have the England and Indian jerseys donned. South-westerly winds, yes, but not enough to have a definitive effect on the state of play.

Conclusion

The pitch is one which provides interest for all. Runs are not hard to come by, while seamers have the encouragement of pace and bounce on a dry surface.

That will also keep the spinners interested and, as at all English venues, the ball should swing.

History says that batting first is the obvious choice, even for an Indian batting line-up short on confidence.

England, thrown off only by last year's loss, have made The Oval into something of a stronghold with nine of their last 10 games at the ground unbeaten against sturdy opposition (the 2006 Pakistan result thrown in as a bonus).

As is the norm, this is the last Test of England's triumphant summer and an in-form unit are again strong favourites to complete the whitewash.