Thursday, December 2, 2010

Around the Grounds "Adelaide Oval, Heaven in the City of Churches"

Established 1873
Capacity 31000 (approx)
End names City End, Cathedral End
Home team South Australia

The city of churches as its known holds what I feel, and many agree is the most beautiful test cricket venues in Australia if not the world. Long have I remembered Adelaide for ‘the hill’ and the Edwardian style scoreboard that is heritage listed in South Australia. Most recently the Western stand has under gone some renovation to update it the facilities to a modern standard, but still with St Peter’s cathedral as a backdrop gives this Australian ground a very English Village green feel.

The ground opened in 1873 amid bitter local disputes over boundaries and money, and in its early years the pitches were often dreadful. Things gradually improved, although Adelaide's tendency to attract controversy remained. In 1884-85 it staged its first Test, but that was dogged by arguments with the English tourists over appearance money and who would umpire. In 1932-33, the Bodyline affair reached its nadir at The Oval when Bill Woodfull and Bert Oldfield were struck, and on the third day mounted police patrolled to keep the 50, 962 spectators in order. But these days the pitches are true and disputes rarer.

Known as one of the smaller grounds in Australia, being a true oval it makes shots played square of the wicket hard to defend from a fielding point of view. Before the far ends in front of and behind the wicket were roped off, making the playing area shorter, it was not uncommon for batsmen to hit an all-run five. The pitch itself is generally very good for batting, and offers little assistance to bowlers until the last day of a match.

The first test match was played in 1884 against England in which they won by 8 wickets, where William ‘Billy’ Barnes scored 134 & 28* along with Bobby Peel taking 8 wickets for the match. This was in the days where the 3rd Day was a rest day, and 4 balls per an over. 674 was the highest total placed on this ground by Australia against India in 1948, the most recent high score was Australia’s 575 against New Zealand which included a 215 runs by Justin Langer in the first innings. S.K Warne has always enjoyed bowling Adelaide on the 5th Day taking 56 wickets in total.
Memorable Moments:
• In 1932–33, the Bodyline affair reached its lowest point at the ground when Bill Woodfull and Bert Oldfield were struck, and on the third day mounted police patrolled to keep the 50,962 spectators in order (a record crowd for cricket at the ground). The total attendance for the match was 174,351.

• In 1931–32 Donald Bradman scored the highest score ever at the ground in Test Cricket, compiling 299* against South Africa.

• In October 1982, vs Victoria, David Hookes hit a 43 minute, 34 ball century - in some respects the fastest hundred in history.

• In 1989–90 Dean Jones scored twin Test hundreds against Pakistan.

• South Australia compiled the highest fourth innings winning total in Sheffield Shield history, reaching 6/506 (set 506 to win) against Queensland in 1991–92.

• In 1999, Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was called for throwing by umpire Ross Emerson in a One Day International against England. The Sri Lankan team almost abandoned the match.

• Lights were constructed at the ground in 1997, allowing sport to be held at night. This was the subject of a lengthy dispute with the Adelaide City Council, due to environmental issues relating to the parklands area. The first towers erected were designed to retract into the ground; however one collapsed and they were replaced with permanent towers.