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Advantage or not, India at home

All those who thought India's chances of beating Australia diminished as they moved from 'spin-friendly- Bangalore to 'seam-friendly' Mohali, might want to think again, reports Subhash Rajta.

cricket Updated: Oct 17, 2008 00:42 IST
Subhash Rajta

All those who thought India's chances of beating Australia diminished as they moved from 'spin-friendly- Bangalore to 'seam-friendly' Mohali, might want to think again. India have not lost a Test in Mohali since 1994, while Bangalore hasn't seen an India win in 13 years.

That's quite interesting, considering that Bangalore has traditionally been a spin-friendly track, offering the home team a critical advantage. Mohali, on the other hand, has generally been more favourable to seam bowlers, a characteristic which considerably tones down the 'home advantage'.

The statistics, however, put a question mark on the much-talked about home advantage. If having turners is so crucial to India's success at home, how do you explain India's failure in Bangalore and success in Mohali in the last decade and a half?

The answer perhaps lies in the 'bounce' and 'carry' that the Mohali track offers. Unlike Bangalore, which has produced two draws on the trot and has been pretty low and slow in recent times, the Mohali track has been more sporting (with the exception of a couple of years when it also lost its zing and produced listless draws against New Zealand and Pakistan), offering help to spinners as well.

Perhaps that explains why Anil Kumble - who may or may not take the field on Friday - leads the wicket-takers list in Mohali and has been man of the match twice. Ask any quality spinner and he will tell you he prefers a pitch with a bit of bounce over one that turns plenty, but slowly.

Besides, the need to prepare dust bowls to press home the advantage is long gone with quick bowlers no longer in short supply in India.