It’s a common misconception that the Wankhede Stadium was named after Matthew Hayden. It actually takes its name from SK Wankhede, who was secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association in the Seventies.
Recent Tests at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai
India last won a Test at Wankhede Stadium in 2004. This was another aberration of a Test to which England should pay no attention. You start scrutinising Tests where Michael Clarke took six wickets for nine runs and where does it end? Sometimes you just have to draw a line and say ‘if that kind of thing happens, we’ll wing it’.
Since then, there have been two further Tests and England actually won one of them. It was the ‘Ring of Fire’ Test in 2006 – so named because of Andrew Flintoff’s odd tactic of psyching his team up with Johnny Cash songs. He and Shaun Udal skittled India for 100 in the second innings. It was a right robbery.
The other match was last year. West Indies drew. The match ended with India nine wickets down and one run from victory. It was a great draw.
The last two Tests both saw significantly lower second innings scores than first innings scores. There were also a lot of wickets to spinners. England are lucky enough to have two good ones and should definitely think about picking Monty Panesar as well as Graeme Swann. That said, Jimmy Anderson was very effective when he played here, taking 4-40 in the first innings, despite two dropped catches.
It seems like Wankhede could see a fairly typical Indian-style match where English journalists predict a draw after three days and are then shocked to find that everything’s gone crazy-mental on days four and five. India will be comfortable with this kind of cricket, so we have them down as pretty strong favourites for the second Test.