Saunter around the Hagley Oval
Home Team: Canterbury
Test History: 2 (1 home win 1 away win)
Last 2 Tests: 1 home win, 1 away win
Last 2 tosses: 2 bowled first (1 win,1 defeat)
While the first recorded match at the Hagley oval in Christchurch was in 1887, the historic venue had never hosted a Test until Boxing Day 2014, where the Black Caps took on Sri Lanka.
The ground’s international debut was nearly a year earlier, when it hosted Scotland and Canada in a World Cup qualifier. A week later, Scotland defeated Kenya here too, and until 26 December 2014, that was the only international mens’ game the venue saw.
The venue was badly damaged by the earthquake in 2011, when it was Lancaster Park, and it had to be rebuilt to its current form. There had actually been no Test cricket in Christchurch since 2006, at AMI Stadium, until 2014.
Getting the ground accredited as a Test venue was actually quite controversial and required a court case, as some felt the historic nature would be lost, and there are still no permanent floodlights at the ground.
It was approved as a venue for the 2015 World Cup too, where temporary seating and light towers were added. They had to be removed after the World Cup, according to the ruling by the environmental court.
Another earthquake struck the venue in the build up to this Test but the ground has been given the all clear to host the match.
Last Time Out
The pitch provided for the Test against Australia in February was an absolute cracker.
Put in to bat New Zealand scored 370 all out in just 65.4 overs with the highlight of the innings and indeed the match being Brendon McCullum’s remarkable 145 off 79 balls.
Nathan Lyon was spanked for 61 runs in his ten overs but picked up three wickets to end as the pick of the Aussie bowlers in the first Innings.
In response Australia posted 505 with Joe Burns and Steve Smith scoring centuries.
Neil Wagner took 6 for 106 in 32.1 overs.
The Black Caps could only post 335 in their second innings with Kane Williamson falling three short of a ton and Jackson Bird picking up a five for.
Australia would easily chase down the target to move to the number one spot on the Test rankings.
In the build up to this Test New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said: “The pitch has good pace and bounce, which stays throughout.
“And I think it turns into a pretty flat surface. It’s one of those surfaces where you are going to need to have resources to bowl a lot of overs, rather than think you’re going to bowl them out in a session and a half. I don’t think it’s going to be like that.”
Happy Hunting Ground
Kane Williamson averages 63.00 in four Test innings at the ground with his highest score the 97 he hit against Australia in February.
Trent Boult and Wagner have both taken ten wickets over the course of two Tests at the ground with the latter the only current Black Caps bowler to have picked up a five for in a Test there.
Pakistan have never played a Test at the Hagley Oval.
Day one looks set to be a gloomy affair with plenty of rain around but the weather should clear up from day two onwards.
There should be a little something for everyone in this pitch, quality pace bowling could prove hard to handle but the bounce should be true making run scoring pretty straight forward once batsman are settled.
Unlike some of the other Asian sides Pakistan possess a fearsome pace attack that has the ability to trouble a Black Caps batting unit that lacks confidence.
Misbah-ul-Haq’s men are full of confidence and a victory in Christchurch would not go down as an upset but it will only be possible if the top order deal with the threat posed by the Black Caps bowlers.
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