Stats: Analysis of the Galle International Stadium
Sri Lanka are all set to host India in the first of the three Test matches beginning tomorrow at the picturesque Galle International Stadium. The 35000 capacity stadium is the designated venue for the opening match of Sri Lanka’s home Test series usually, and it is no different this time either as Virat Kohli embarks on his first full-fledged tour as Indian skipper in the longer format.
Not only is Galle one of Sri Lanka’s most famous stadiums, it is one of their luckiest ones too. It hosted a Test match for the first time in 1998 as Sri Lanka defeated New Zealand by an innings and 16 runs. Another 24 matches have been held here since then and the Sri Lankans have won more than 50% of the matches here overall – 13 to be precise. 6 times the matches have been won by the touring side and the other six times the match ended in a stalemate.
It is considered as a spinners’ paradise and staged two notable landmarks by two of the greatest spinners of all time. Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan is the most successful bowler at the venue having picked up 111 wickets, also having finished his international career here against India after picking up his 800th Test wicket. Australian legend Shane Warne picked up his 500th Test wicket here and was instrumental in rebuilding the stadium after it was devastated in the 2004 tsunami.
The batsmen can also look forward to making some good scores on this venue as it has an overall first innings average of 379 and it drops slightly to 320 in the second innings. The highest team score recorded here was by Bangladesh who piled up 638 against the hosts in 2013.
12 times the team batting first has won the match while on 7 occasions it was the team chasing who came out on top.
Let’s take a detailed look at the numbers from the past five Test matches at The Galle.
Last five Test matches at The Galle – Match statistics
|1||Nov 2012||New Zealand||NZ – Bat||SL won|| |
NZ – 221 &118
SL – 247 & 93/0
|10 wickets||Rangana |
|2||Mar 2013||Bangaldesh||SL – Bat||Match drawn|| |
SL – 570/4 d & 335/4 d
BAN – 638 & 70/1
|3||Jul 2014||South Africa||SA – Bat||SA won|| |
SA – 455/9 d & 206/6 d
SL – 292 & 216
|153 runs||Dale |
|4||Aug 2014||Pakistan||PAK – Bat||SL won|| |
PAK – 451 & 180
SL – 533/9 & 99/3
|7 wickets||Rangana |
|Pakistan||Pak – Bowl||Pak won|| |
SL – 300 & 206
PAK – 417 & 92/0
|10 wickets||Sarfraz |
As has been the case overall, the Galle has more often than not produced results. A single draw in five matches raises hopes of the match ending in favour of one team or the other, rather than a boring stalemate.
A quick look at the results reveals that the hosts have not been having everything their way off late at Galle. In their last match at the venue, Pakistan inflicted a crushing 10 wicket victory over Sri Lanka just over a month ago while South Africa enjoyed a similar crushing victory by over 150 runs in 2014.
Bangladesh grinded out a draw against the hosts in a high scoring match in 2013 while Sri Lanka got the better of Pakistan and New Zealand in the other two matches.
The recent matches have seen some heavy scoring from both sides and the stats below is proof of that.
Avg 1st innings score – 399
Avg 2nd innings score – 425
The team winning the toss have opted to bat on four occasions, but it has yielded a positive result only once. It ended in defeat on two occasions while the other was a draw. Pakistan chose to field in the June Test and won convincingly.
So batting in the fourth innings here is not such a bad option after all.
Kumar Sangakkara is the overall second leading run-getter at this venue, and his recent form is also impressive. 662 runs from his last 9 innings at an average of 73.55 makes him the undoubted danger man as far as India is concerned.
Another man to watch out will be Sri Lankan opener Kaushal Silva who has a healthy average of 48 in his five innings at the venue, including a century last time out against Pakistan.
Rangana Herath, who for long had been kept out of the side by Muralitharan, lags behind only the legend in terms of maximum wickets at the venue (Herath has 61 wickets in 12 Tests here). With two MoM performances in his last five Test here, it is safe to assume that The Galle is one of his favourite venues.
Yasir Shah bamboozled the hosts in their last match here picking up 9 wickets in the match but the pacers have also enjoyed some assistance with a similar performance to the one by the Pakistan leggie earned him the MoM award in The Proteas victory.
So who dominates in the Pace vs Spin battle in the last five matches at The Galle? Let’s have a look.
No prizes for guessing what Sri Lanka’s main bowling weapon will be heading into the first Test. Herath has picked up 26 wickets from 5 matches while Dilruwan Perera has 18 wickets from 3 matches. Both of them will be crucial if the hosts are to get to a winning start in the series.
As for India, they are also well stocked in the spin department with Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh expected to trouble the Sri Lankan batsmen with their off spin variations. Yasir Shah’s exploits in the 10-wicket victory might tempt the visitors to include a third spinner in Amit Sharma as well.