Sashay through 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: Tom Parker
Test History: 104 Tests; 57 home wins; 28 away wins; 19 draws
Last 10 Tests: 7 home wins, 1 away win, 2 draws
Last 10 Tosses: 8 batted first (3 wins, 3 defeats, 2 draws), 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 roofs 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

Rain dominated the Test match against the West Indies last year and it would end in a stalemate.

Australia played two spinners in Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe and they took six wickets between them in the only innings the West Indies had.

David Warner smashed an unbeaten hundred before the weather intervened.

They Said

Curator Tom Parker said ahead of the Test: “You’re going to see pretty much a traditional SCG pitch.

“The SCG always traditionally spins. That’s been the nature of the beast here for many years.

“All of our games this season … we’ve seen a fair bit of turn.

“There’s a lot of grass on this pitch but … they (spinners) seem to like the thicker grass – it makes the ball grip and turn a bit more.”

Happy Hunting Ground

Warner cracked a ton here last year and ranks as the best current batsman at the venue which is Steve Smith’s home ground in Shield cricket.

Nathan Lyon has enjoyed the turn at his Shield home ground taking 13 wickets in five Tests at the venue to lead the current crop of players.

Misbah-ul-Haq is the only Pakistan squad member to have played here but he made 11 and a duck here in 2010 when Pakistan ran Australia close.

Weather Forecast

There is some rain around and we could see interruptions just as we have for the last two years.

Conclusion

As has become traditional Australia have opted to play two spinners for the New Year’s Test at the SCG with Steve O’Keefe coming into the XI on the spin friendly wicket.

Before the series started this wicket would have been the one Pakistan would have fancied playing on the most but it remains to be seen what their spectacular collapse in Melbourne has done to them psychologically.

Pakistan have not suggested they would play two spinners unlike the hosts.

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