Nagpur is a pretty new Test venue. It has hosted three Tests, the first in 2008. India have won two and South Africa won the other by an innings.
South Africa’s win was built on an unbeaten double hundred from Hashim Amla and 7-51 from Dale Steyn. Not sure what England can take from that, other than ‘try and be amazing at cricket’.
The good news for the tourists is that the last two Tests (both in 2010) saw a fair few wickets taken by seam bowlers. Steyn got 10 in the South Africa match and his fellow quicks chipped in too. A few months later, Ishant Sharma took seven in the match as India beat New Zealand by an innings.
The ground’s first Test was rather different. Jason Krejza took 12 wickets for plenty and Harbhajan took seven for nowhere-near-as-many, although he still bowled 37 overs in the first innings. An interesting but irrelevant fact about that match is that Cameron White batted at eight for Australia and was trusted to bowl all of 12 overs. For his part, Krejza bowled 75.
There’s not much history to go off, but there’s a chance of a consolation win/salvage act/heist here for England. Seam bowlers have taken wickets, while first innings scores have been built on obdurate toil – something England can actually do. Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag both have first innings hundreds here, but so too do Simon Katich, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid.
Connoisseurs of the block and the leave might want to don bibs before this match lest they salivate to excess.