The wicket at Adelaide Oval used to suit batsmen, but since the retirement of long-time curator Les Burdett in 2010, the strip has been assisting bowlers more
It's hard to single out another overseas venue that has fetched as many runs to Indian batsmen. The Adelaide Oval, Australia's best batting strip, has been a happy hunting ground for the Indians. Vijay Hazare hit two hundreds in two innings in 1947-48. In 1967-68, Farokh Engineer and Rusi Surti took on the likes of Graham McKenzie and Alan Connolly.
Happy Memories: VVS Laxman is congratulated by Rahul Dravid after
completing his century at the Adelaide Oval on December 14, 2003.
In 1977-78, Gundappa Vishwanath smashed 89 and 73, though against an inexperienced attack. In 1980-81, Sandeep Patil blasted 174 with 22 fours and a six. In 1985-86, Sunil Gavaskar hit 166 for his fourth of the five tons in Australia.
In 1991-92, Mohammed Azharuddin's last-day 106 nearly took India past the line while chasing 372. In 1999-00, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar hit fifties but Australia's attack was at its best. In 2003-04, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman added 303 to help India clinch a historic victory. Four years ago, Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag hit memorable hundreds in a drawn contest.
Since the 80s, India have drawn three Tests here, lost two and won one. Since 1985-86, Adelaide is the only venue in Australia where India have exceeded 400 in an innings on four occasions.
The Oval is famous for its 'Burdett Belters', named after Les Burdett, the curator who retired in 2010 after 41 years in the job. The surface favoured batsmen in the late eighties, with six consecutive stalemates. But as Australia's bowling attack grew in the strength in the 90s, the draws went astray.
Since 2010, two Tests have resulted in innings defeats. Last year, James Anderson's four-wicket burst bowled Australia out for 245 on Day One. Only three sides in the last 25 Tests at Adelaide have been shot out on the first day; that indicates the enormity of England's feat.
These are clear signs that, since Burdett's retirement, the strip hasn't favoured batsmen as much as it used to do earlier. Though Indians must be yearning to clear those short square boundaries, they will up against a fired up Australian side that won't shunt till they complete a rare whitewash of the arch-rivals.
Under-fire batsman VVS Laxman was the only one to hit the nets yesterday. Today, the team will assemble at the ground for the first time. They were supposed to begin training on Saturday, but decided to alter their schedule - possibly to avoid another 'still no practice' backlash.
The likes of Laxman and Dravid, feeling hounded by detractors back home, could call it a day after the Adelaide Test. Nine seasons ago, they scripted a famous Indian win at the same venue.