Some Ashes theories hold more water than others. Australian supremacy in Brisbane has been all but reinforced after their dominant Day 4, but some of the stereotypes about Second Test venue Adelaide being slow and favouring spin bowling have been challenged in recent years. The Stats Zone gives you the inside track.
It’s worth mentioning that the Aussies have lost only two of their last 21 Tests in South Australia, which has become Cricket Australia’s venue of choice for day-night matches in cricket’s longest format. If anything, they have become even stronger at the venue since being turned over from the first over onwards by England in 2010, winning five and only being denied a clean sweep by Faf du Plessis’ defiant unbeaten hundred in 2012.
The switch to day-night matches has certainly helped the bowling equilibrium, with the main threat to visiting teams having come from Josh Hazlewood rather than Nathan Lyon over the past two seasons. His mastery of the new pink ball was enough to earn him the Man of the Match award last year against South Africa, with match figures of 9-136 leading the hosts to victory. That was one step above his six wickets the previous season against New Zealand, with his wickets coming at a miserly cost of just 16.33 runs each on this ground, marking him as the main threat.
Lyon’s development has been clear for all to see in Brisbane and he’ll get more support from Australia’s pace trio than in years gone by, when some teams have even toyed with playing two twirlers at the Adelaide Oval. Coming on to bowl regularly to the middle, rather than the top order, Lyon has seven wickets at 26.14 in the last two day-night Tests there, but came into his own in the last traditional Test on the ground when taking 12 in the match against the strong spin neutralising batting of India in 2014.
The naysayers were quick to blurt out that pink ball Tests would become a lottery, dictated by the winner of the toss, but the flick of the coin has been a bad one to win over the last two years. In each case, the tourists have had first use of the track and made 208 and 259 respectively, so whichever captain wins the spin, their teams will have to execute their skills with mastery and expertise to force a winning position under the lights.