A slow stroll around the SCG

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Established: 1848
Capacity: 44,000
Floodlights: Yes
Ends: Paddington End, Randwick End
Home Team: New South Wales
Head Groundsman: Damian Hough
Test History: 103 Tests; 57 home wins; 28 away wins; 18 draws
Last 10 Tests: 8 home wins, 1 away win, 1 draw
Last 10 Tosses: 8 batted first (4 wins, 3 defeats, 1 draw), 2 bowled first (1 win, 1 loss)

Overview

The Sydney Cricket Ground is situated in Moore Park and is the home of the New South Wales Cricket Association. Formerly known as the Garrison Ground, the first recorded cricket match was played there in 1854 but the venue was rebuilt in 1877.

Just five years later it welcomed Test cricket, by which time it boasted two grandstands. The rebuilding continued, including the removal of a cycling track in the 1920s, with the Bradman Stand completed in 1973.

Renovations continued into 2014, with the Bradman and MA Noble stands rebuilt, though the rooves were not finished in time for the New Year's Test between Australia and England.

It has long been used as the venue for Australia's New Year Test and although not huge by Australian standards, can create an intense atmosphere with the spectators so close to the players.

The SCG is also the home of the AFL's Sydney Swans and has staged tennis, both codes of rugby, and even motor racing. In 1938 it hosted the British Empire Games.

The 2012 New Year's match between Australia and India brought the Sydney Cricket Ground's its 100th Test, making it only the third venue after Lord's and the Melbourne Cricket Ground to reach the milestone.

Last Time Out

The most recent match here was a year ago, when India and Australia played a to a draw, the first such result in more than a decade. Australia won the toss and did the usual, opting to bat.

Centuries from David Warner and Steve Smith, with half tons from Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, and Joe Burns, saw the Aussies post 572 for seven declared in nearly two days. Mohammad Shami took five of those wickets.

India responded well, with centuries from Lokesh Rahul and Virat Kohli taking them to 475 all out, and eating up valuable time in the middle. A deficit of less than 100 was not a bad result, considering.

The Aussies then added 251 for six declared, with Ravi Ashwin taking four, leaving India needing 349 to win on the last day, but more realistically needing to survive the day. They did so, despite late wickets, thanks to Ajinkya Rahane's steady 38 not out.

They Said

Australia skipper Steve Smith on day five: "Tough day in the office for us. We did not get the variable bounce we were expecting on a day five pitch."

Smith on the pitches in that series: "It has been tough to get 20 wickets in this Test series. The wickets haven't broken up quite as we thought they might have, I don't know the reasons for that."

India captain Virat Kohli: "This wicket was surprisingly slow. Sydney the last time around was much quicker as far as I remember."

Happy Hunting Ground

Not surprisingly, given the relative inexperience of the squad, none of the current Aussies are anywhere near the top of the run-scoring list at this storied ground. But most of the top order have bagged runs here in recent years.

With Mitchell Johnson retired and Peter Siddle injured, none of the current bowlers have much of a record here either. Of the side that played here last year, only Lyon is worth noting, as he took four wickets.

The Windies last played here in 2001, and only Marlon Samuels remains of that side. He made 28 runs and took one wicket.

Weather Forecast

If the Bureau of Meteorology is to be believed, we could see rain on all five days here, with days two and three the most affected at nearly 90 percent chance. It's not set to be heavy or enduring rain though, so here's hoping for passing thundershowers.

Conclusion

Aw look, does it really matter, at this stage? Australia are by far the superior side, with by far the better bowling attack, and should boss this match no matter who wins the toss.

But batting first is usually a good idea, especially as the pitch tends to slow down as the game progresses and the spinners get more involved.

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