Pitch Report: Headingley
Ends: Kirkstall Lane End, Football Stand End
Home Team: Yorkshire
Test History: 75 Tests; 32 home wins; 24 away wins; 1 neutral win; 18 draws
Last 10 Tests: 4 home wins; 4 away wins; 1 neutral win, 1 draw
Last 10 tosses: 7 batted first (5 wins, 2 defeats); 3 bowled first (1 win, 1 draw, 1 defeat)
Odds: ladbrokes 2018
Headingley is a ground with almost unrivalled tradition and history, but was in need of significant redevelopment for some time. Late last decade, the venue finally got a deserved makeover – and is set for more before 2019.
With the £21m development at the Kirkstall Lane end complete, the new Carnegie Pavilion contains new player changing rooms, world-class media facilities, the provision of teaching amenities – the pavilion is a joint-venture with Leeds Metropolitan University – and corporate hospitality areas.
Yorkshire, too, have honoured one of their great fast bowlers, Fred Trueman, by naming the members’ enclosure in the pavilion after the man who took 307 Test wickets for England at an average of just 21.57.
The pitch has not been affected by the redevelopment, and Headingley can usually be relied on for a result. Indeed, there hadn’t been a draw in Leeds since a rain-affected Test against Pakistan in 1996, until South Africa forced a stalemate in 2012. In 1981, Ian Botham and Bob Willis combined to see England to an astonishing Ashes victory after being forced to follow on by the Australians as the home side went on to win the urn in a series known ever after as Botham’s Ashes.
The club, meanwhile, have unveiled an ambitious development plan to ensure Headingley remains a viable international venue, which will eventually bring a new pavilion, permanent floodlights and an increased capacity to 20,000. This could cost as much as £50m but, despite the Yorkshire’s fragile fiscal standing, is important to the ground’s international future.
Last Time Out
Sri Lanka put in a pitiful performance in the face of some quality fast bowling from England losing by an innings and 88 runs.
It may have been very different if not for a gritty 86 from under-fire opener Alex Hales and a counterattacking 140 from Jonny Bairstow helped lift England from 83 for 5 to 298 all out.
James Anderson claimed five wicket hauls in both innings as Sri Lanka failed to eclipse England’s 298 in two innings slumping to 91 and 119 all out.
Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath said ahead of the Test last year: “I have lots of faith that we can take 20 wickets here. Last time we didn’t have Dushmantha Chameera. He is an extra quick option for us. When the quicks are attacking, I have to slip into that supporting role and keep it tight from my side. On the fourth or fifth day, I will get some opportunities as well.”
England paceman Steve Finn says it’s “hard to find your rhythm” here because of the sloping run ups.
Happy Hunting Ground
Alastair Cook has scored 638 runs here in nine Tests and sixteen innings making him the leading scorer at the ground in Test cricket among the current squad.
None of the West Indies batsmen or bowlers have any record to speak of at this venue with their last visit coming in 2007.
Bowling-wise, Anderson and Broad are top of the pops by virtue of sheer number of appearances. Broad has 34 wickets in seven games, while Anderson has 29 in seven with his best return in his most recent visit.
The weather is set to be cool but mercifully there doesn’t seem to be too much rain or cloud cover around.
Headingley is usually a result wicket and it generally pays to bat first with neither side likely to buck that trend should the coin fall in their favour.
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