A stroll around Sir Viv’s venue

Promo

Established: 2007
Capacity: 10 000
Floodlights: Yes
Ends: Media Centre End, Pavilion End
Home Team: Antigua and Barbuda, Leeward Islands
Test History: 4 Tests; 1 home win, 3 draws
Last 3 tosses: 2 bat first (1 draw, 1 loss), 2 field first (2 draws)

Overview

The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium is on North Sound, Antigua, and is half way between the airport and the capital of St Johns. It was built ahead of the 2007 World Cup, amid much protest as it replaced the Antigua Recreation Ground as the premier venue.

There have only been four Tests here, and only two in this decade, as it's a bit out of the way and fans don't tend to travel to it. Access is not very good either, causing traffic problems, while the outfield was problematic for a while.

The most famous, and embarrassing, moment for the ground came in 2009 when England visited. There were only 10 balls bowled before the match was abandoned, as the outfield was essentially a sand dune and made bowling run ups impossible.

Last Time Out

The most recent Test here was in April last year, when England came to town and played out a draw across five full days. The Windies were set 438 runs to win, and while that's gettable in an ODI, not so much on this ground.

The Windies won the toss and opted to bowl, and soon reduced England to 34 for three. It looked like the deck would be very helpful, but it was no match for batsmen with concentration, as Ian Bell, Joe Root, and Ben Stokes rescued the knock.

Bell made 143, which was one of four centuries in the match. A batsman made a ton in each innings, with Jermaine Blackwood, Gary Ballance, and Jason Holder also bagging tons. Holder's 103 not out ensured the draw.

Paceman Kemar Roach and spinner James Tredwell were the best bowlers for the hosts and visitors respectively, taking four wickets in an innings each. The deck slowed down appreciably as the game went on, and each side's second innings saw seven wickets fall instead of 10.

They Said

England captain Alastair Cook on the flat, hard deck: "You could start another Test on that wicket and it would last another five days."

He added:  "I honestly don't think there was much we could have done different. We tried everything. We tried different tactics. We tried getting it to reverse. We bowled pretty good areas all day. We threw everything we had at the West Indies."

Then-West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin: "This is a fantastic boost. The draw feels good. Our confidence is up and we've continued that tradition of not losing a Test in Antigua."

India's Ajinkya Rahane this week: "It is not easy to take 20 wickets on this kind of pitches, especially on the slower tracks. As a batting unit, we will have to take responsibility."

India spinner Ravi Ashwin this week: "I'm sure I'll have to be as boring as possible in terms of trying to plug away all day long."

Happy Hunting Ground

There have been two double tons scored at this ground the four Tests played, but neither batsman is here this time, with Shiv Chanderpaul forced into retirement and Chris Gayle absent. As such, Jermaine Blackwood is actually their best batsman here as it stands, with 143 runs in two innings.

Bowling-wise, neither Kemar Roach (dropped) nor Jerome Taylor (retired) are here so that leaves Holder as the person with the most wickets of the current lot. He only has three…

India have not played a Test here yet.

Weather Forecast

Hot. Above 30 degrees every day, and humid, with chances of thunder showers on days one and four. But it's unlikely to have much of an impact, and we should get a full match in.

Conclusion

This deck appears to be pretty hard work to bowl on, so the side with the better attack with the ball will need to make sure they strike early and stay patient, while the batsmen should be able to rack up some good scores if they get settled. This could either be over in three days, or a late on day five draw.

Latest