Amble around the Adelaide Oval
Ends: City End, Cathedral End
Home Team: South Australia
Head Groundsman: Damian Hough
Test History: 74 Tests: 38 home wins, 17 away wins, 19 draws
Last 10 Tests: 6 home wins, 1 away win, 3 draws
Last 10 Tosses: 10 batted first (3 wins, 3 draws, 4 defeats)
Set among gardens and trees and with the spire of St Peter’s Cathedral peeking over the grandstands, the Adelaide Oval has a strangely English feel for an Australian cricket ground.
Upgrades to the Oval this decade, including a large grandstand which boosted capacity to 50,000, were carried out with due respect for the famous scoreboard – and it remains one of cricket’s most picturesque grounds.
Adelaide has played host to the first ever day-night Test, between Australia and New Zealand in November 2015.
The ground also hosts Australian Rules Football, archery, athletics, baseball, cycling, hockey, lacrosse and soccer, among other smaller sports.
Last time out
Australia and New Zealand contested the first ever day/night Test last November and with extra grass left on the pitch the match was over inside three days.
New Zealand won the toss and had a bat only to be bowled out shortly after the dinner break on day one having just crept over 200, in reply Australia managed just 22 runs more.
New Zealand’s second innings was much the same as the first and they posted 208 all out to set Australia a target of 187 to win.
Australia lost seven wickets in pursuit of the total in a match that was short but fairly evenly contested.
Josh Hazlewood proved to be lethal with the pink ball claiming nine in the match.
The hero of the first day/night Test Josh Hazlewood said during the lead up to this Test: “I think there’ll still be some grass on it, but I don’t think there will be as much as last year.
“I think the pink ball holds up a little bit better now.
“It was a good trial last year and I think he (Adelaide Oval Head Curator Damian Hough) will take a little more off it.
“I still think there will be plenty in it, especially at night and that twilight period.”
After the Proteas warm up game in Adelaide at the beginning of this tour Proteas seamer Kyle Abbott said: “It seems to nip around a bit when the lights come on, not so much during the day.
“But there’s a bit of grass on this wicket so there has been a bit of assistance if you hit the deck hard and get it in the right areas.
“Not a huge amount of swing, just a bit more nip off the surface.”
Happy Hunting Ground
Of Australia’s current crop of players David Warner is the leading runscorer in Adelaide tallying 591 runs at an average a touch over 65 including three centuries.
Nathan Lyon leads the wicket taking standings for players currently active having taken 27 wickets at the ground but Josh Hazlewood will have fond memories of last year’s day/night Test especially the Black Caps second innings where he took 6 for 70.
For South Africa Faf du Plessis starred the last time his team visited Adelaide, scoring his maiden Test century in extraordinary circumstances to help South Africa save the game, he also made 78 in the first innings.
The only Proteas bowling attack member who featured in the 2012 Test was Morne Morkel, picking up five in the first innings but it would seem that he is unlikely to play.
Sunny and clear for all five days according to weather.com
The team that wins the toss are likely to bat first despite history telling us that choice has only resulted in three wins out of the last eleven Tests.
There may be less grass on the pitch than last year but the ball is still expected to do a lot through the air and off the surface which will likely suit the Proteas more settled batting lineup and potent quick bowling options.
As the grass fades throughout the Test Lyon and whichever Proteas spinner is picked will come into the game more and more.
This Test match has been lent an edge due to off the field incidents but as the Proteas prepare for their first ever day/night Test the on-field action is a mouth-watering prospect.
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