x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Five sporting wickets in world cricket

Chitrabhanu R Kadalayil looks at some of the best surfaces across the globe which provide an even contest between bat and ball.

There is an even contest between bat and ball when cricket is played at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Paul Ellis / AFP
There is an even contest between bat and ball when cricket is played at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Paul Ellis / AFP

Edgbaston, Birmingham, England

Warwickshire's Brian Lara hit 501 against Durham in 1994 – the highest individual first-class score – but wickets here have been competitive. Who can forget the tied semi-final between Australia and South Africa in the 1999 World Cup that produced 426 runs and 20 wickets?

Kingsmead, Durban, South Africa

As pitches round the world got more benign during the '90s, the seamer-friendly Kingsmead tossed a challenge to the batsmen. India - bowled out for 100 and 66 in a 1996 Test - certainly did not like it. A myth that high tide affected batting conditions has added to the allure.

P Sara Oval, Colombo, Sri Lanka

This unconventional (read: bouncy) subcontinent pitch has been a delight for spinners and batsmen, too, with Mahela Jayawardene calling it a "result-oriented wicket", the Sri Lanka-India Test of 2010 being a case in point.

Waca Ground, Perth, Australia

The fastest and bounciest wicket has been a fast bowler's haven. Glenn McGrath notably took a hat-trick in 2000 and an eight-wicket haul in 2004. But it has also been a dream surface for batsmen; four of the seven fastest centuries in Tests have been scored on this pitch.

Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India

Fast bowlers get early breakthroughs, batsmen score a few runs and then spinners join in the action. India's most all-round surface has produced classics such as the drawn India-Sri Lanka Test of 1997 and the hosts' unlikely win over Australia in the 2004 dead rubber.

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