The Oval Cricket Ground is set to take center stage as the designated neutral venue for the final match of the ICC World Test Championship 2023 between Australia and India, starting tomorrow. After a hiatus of nine months since its last international match, an England-South Africa Test, the venue will witness top-level cricket action for the first time this year. In this article, we'll delve into the Oval and Oval records to gauge the pitch and ground.
With a capacity of 27,500 spectators, the iconic cricket ground known as The Oval was established back in 1845. It holds the prestigious title of being the first venue in England to host an international Test match, which took place in September 1880 between England and Australia. Additionally, The Oval is traditionally chosen to host the final Test match of the English cricket season.
This historic stadium not only has a rich cricketing legacy but has also showcased its versatility by hosting other sports such as football, hockey, and rugby. It even had the honor of hosting the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. Furthermore, The Oval has witnessed remarkable events, including an FA Cup final.
Serving as the home ground for the Surrey County Cricket Club, The Oval has been a witness to numerous cricketing milestones. Notably, it witnessed the first double Test century, leaving an indelible mark in the history of the sport.
The Kennington Oval holds the distinction of hosting the highest number of Test matches, making it a historic venue in the cricketing world. Despite being known for high-scoring encounters, there is still ample enjoyment for bowlers, as the pitch offers a fair balance between batting and bowling. England's ever-changing and unpredictable weather adds an element of uncertainty, making it difficult to predict whether the ball or the bat will dominate.
The toss outcome becomes crucial in such conditions, as the pitch provides assistance to both bowlers and batsmen. Observations from past matches indicate that spinners particularly benefit from the dryness on the final two days of the match. Consequently, most teams opt to bat first, knowing that surviving the sharp turn can be a challenge for the batsmen. Unlike other English stadiums, the Kennington Oval lacks the green surface typically found, resulting in fast bowlers not having outstanding records at this venue.
The Oval Records: Test Match
The Oval Cricket Ground has seen a total of 104 matches played on its historic turf. Among these matches, the home team, England, emerged victorious in 43 encounters, showcasing their dominance on their own soil. On the other hand, visiting teams managed to secure 23 wins, demonstrating their ability to triumph in challenging conditions. In this case, The Oval being a neutral venue, the home away record should not really matter.
Interestingly, a significant number of matches, 37 to be precise, concluded in a draw, highlighting the competitive nature of the games played at The Oval. This suggests that both teams fought hard, resulting in balanced outcomes where neither side could claim outright victory.
When it comes to matches won by batting first, 37 matches fall into this category, indicating the advantage of setting a target for the opposition. Conversely, 29 matches were won by teams batting second, highlighting the importance of chasing down a total and the potential advantage of having the last innings.
The Oval Records: Australia and India
The Oval holds a significant place for hosting numerous matches of this traditional format. This will mark Australia's first Test appearance at this ground since the Ashes in 2019. Furthermore, they are scheduled to play an additional Test here during the upcoming Ashes in 2023. In the 38 Tests played at The Oval so far, Australia has achieved seven victories but suffered 17 defeats over the years.
For India, it has been a couple of years since their last visit to Kennington Oval. Out of the 14 Tests they have played at this venue, they have won two and lost five. Unlike Australia, India emerged victorious in their previous match at The Oval a couple of years ago. It is worth noting that Australia's last Test triumph at this iconic stadium occurred eight years ago.
— ICC (@ICC) June 5, 2023
The Oval Records: Highest Innings Total
In the 21st century, only four out of the 12 Test innings at The Oval have surpassed the 600-run mark. As mentioned in the previous information, Australia's highest innings total at this venue can be found in the table. However, it is worth noting that India achieved a remarkable score of 664 runs in 170 overs 16 years ago.
Out of the 104 Tests played at The Oval, teams have successfully chased down targets on only 26 occasions. England, the host nation, holds the record for the highest successful run-chase at this ground. They achieved this feat by scoring 263/9 in 66.5 overs in a tense finish that took place 121 years ago.
Both Australia and India have managed to successfully chase down a target once at Kennington Oval. Australia achieved a 242-run chase with 5 wickets in hand in 1972, while India secured a victory by chasing a target of 173 runs with 4 wickets remaining in 1971.
The top 5 highest Innings Scores at The Oval are given below in the following table:
The Oval Records: Highest Run-scorers
Leonard Hutton of England holds the record for the highest number of runs scored at The Oval. In his 19 innings, he accumulated an impressive total of 1521 runs, including three double centuries. Hutton's remarkable performance also includes the best individual batting figure at this venue. His score of 364 against Australia, achieved back in 1938, remains the highest individual score by any batter at The Oval.
Among the current Australia and India cricketers, the highest run-scorer in Test matches at The Oval is Steven Smith with a total of 391 runs. On the Indian side, the leading run-scorer is KL Rahul with 249 runs, followed by Rishabh Pant with 178 runs. Virat Kohli has accumulated 169 runs, while Rohit Sharma has scored 138 runs at this prestigious venue.
The following table includes the batting figures of the Australia and India Players in the World Test Championship 2023 squads:
The Oval Records: Highest Wicket-takers
The iconic all-rounder of England, Ian Botham, holds the record for the highest number of wickets taken in Test matches at The Oval. Over the course of 11 matches, Botham claimed an impressive tally of 52 Test wickets at an average of 26.51.Throughout his career, Botham showcased his bowling prowess at this venue, securing three four-wicket hauls and two five-wicket hauls. Additionally, he achieved the remarkable feat of claiming 10 wickets in a single Test match on this ground, further solidifying his status as a legendary figure in English cricket history.
Among the current squads of Australia and India, the highest wicket-takers in Test matches played at The Oval include Ravindra Jadeja with 11 wickets, Nathan Lyon with 9 wickets, Ishant Sharma with 8 wickets, Jasprit Bumrah with 7 wickets, and Umesh Yadav with 6 wickets. These active bowlers have made significant contributions to their teams' bowling performances at this historic venue.
The following table includes the bowling figures of the Australia and India Players in the World Test Championship 2023 squads: