Caption: Barring a few exceptions, Australian mental disintegration starts at The Gabba © Getty Images
Caption: Barring a few exceptions, Australian mental disintegration starts at The Gabba © Getty Images

Though the series did not start at The Gabba, the action will be back. Abhishek Mukherjee digs out numbers from the ground where Australia has been nigh-invincible.

Is it The Gabba that spurs the Australians to step on to the field in armour with swords and maces in their hands? Or is it the season-starter that does it, making The Gabba special? What is it about the excruciating heat, extreme conditions, and rock-hard soil of Brisbane that helps build up the adrenaline in Australians and push oppositions into submission?

As for this millennium, Australia has remained unbeaten at The Gabba, winning nine and drawing four of the 13 Tests. No other country has managed to maintain an unbeaten streak this long at a ground this millennium. South Africa, with four wins in four Tests at New Wanderers, comes a distant second.

Grounds at which a country has remained unbeaten in the 21st century (qualification: two Tests)

Team

Ground

City

M

W

D

Australia

The Gabba

Brisbane

13

9

4

South Africa

New Wanderers

Johannesburg

4

4

West Indies

Kensington Oval

Bridgetown

3

3

Australia

Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Sharjah

2

2

 

Australia

TIO Stadium

Darwin

2

2

Sri Lanka

Galle International Stadium

Galle

2

2

Australia

Cazaly’s Stadium

Cairns

2

1

1

New Zealand

Basin Reserve

Wellington

2

1

1

Sri Lanka

SSC

Colombo

2

1

1

West Indies

Queen’s Park Oval

Port-of-Spain

2

1

1

England

Old Trafford

Manchester

2

2

Red indicates away from home

The Gabba being an Australian fortress is not a new concept. The fourth ground to host a Test in Australia (nearly half a decade after the third, Adelaide Oval), The Gabba has witnessed only eight Australian defeats in 56 Tests; the hosts have won a whopping 34 times, which gave them a win-loss ratio of 4.25. Only Pakistan at Karachi (21 wins, two defeats has a better win-loss ratio).

Best win-loss ratios for countries at grounds (qualification: 20 Tests at that ground)

Team

Ground

City

M

W

L

T

D

W/L

Pakistan

National Stadium

Karachi

41

21

2

0

18

10.500

Australia

The Gabba

Brisbane

56

34

8

1

13

4.250

England

Edgbaston

Birmingham

47

24

8

0

15

3.000

Sri Lanka

SSC

Colombo

38

18

6

0

14

3.000

Sri Lanka

Galle International Stadium

Galle

24

13

5

0

6

2.600

Australia

WACA

Perth

41

24

10

0

7

2.400

West Indies

Antigua Recreation Ground

St John’s

22

7

3

0

12

2.333

Australia

Lord’s

London

37

16

7

0

14

2.285

Australia

Adelaide Oval

Adelaide

73

37

17

0

19

2.176

India

Chepauk

Chennai

31

13

6

1

11

2.166

West Indies

Sabina Park

Kingston

47

23

11

0

13

2.090

Australia

SCG

Sydney

102

57

28

0

17

2.035

Australia

MCG

Melbourne

106

61

30

0

15

2.033

England

The Oval

London

97

40

20

0

37

2.000

India

Feroz Shah Kotla

Delhi

32

12

6

0

14

2.000

India

Green Park

Kanpur

21

6

3

0

12

2.000

Pakistan

Gaddafi Stadium

Lahore

40

12

6

0

22

2.000

West Indies

Kensington Oval

Bridgetown

50

22

11

0

17

2.000

England

Old Trafford

Manchester

75

26

14

0

35

1.857

England

Lord’s

London

127

50

29

0

48

1.724

India

Wankhede Stadium

Mumbai

24

10

7

0

7

1.428

Australia

Trent Bridge

Nottingham

22

7

5

0

10

1.400

South Africa

New Wanderers Stadium

Johannesburg

35

14

10

0

11

1.400

England

Headingley

Leeds

72

31

23

0

18

1.347

New Zealand

Seddon Park

Hamilton

20

8

6

0

6

1.333

England

Trent Bridge

Nottingham

59

21

16

0

22

1.312

India

Eden Gardens

Kolkata

39

11

9

0

19

1.222

Pakistan

Iqbal Stadium

Faisalabad

24

6

5

0

13

1.200

West Indies

Bourda

Georgetown

30

7

6

0

17

1.166

Australia

Old Trafford

Manchester

30

8

7

0

15

1.142

Australia

Headingley

Leeds

25

9

8

0

8

1.125

South Africa

Kingsmead

Durban

40

14

13

0

13

1.076

West Indies

Queen’s Park Oval

Port-of-Spain

59

19

18

0

22

1.055

South Africa

Newlands

Cape Town

51

21

20

0

10

1.050

India

M.Chinnaswamy Stadium

Bangalore

20

6

6

0

8

1.000

South Africa

St George’s Park

Port Elizabeth

25

10

11

0

4

0.909

South Africa

Old Wanderers

Johannesburg

22

7

8

0

7

0.875

England

SCG

Sydney

55

22

26

0

7

0.846

New Zealand

Basin Reserve

Wellington

56

15

18

0

23

0.833

Sri Lanka

Asgiriya Stadium

Kandy

21

7

9

0

5

0.777

England

MCG

Melbourne

55

20

28

0

7

0.714

New Zealand

Eden Park

Auckland

49

10

15

0

24

0.666

England

Adelaide Oval

Adelaide

31

9

17

0

5

0.529

New Zealand

AMI Stadium

Christchurch

40

8

16

0

16

0.500

Zimbabwe

Harare Sports Club

Harare

32

8

16

0

8

0.500

West Indies

Lord’s

London

20

4

9

0

7

0.444

Australia

The Oval

London

36

6

16

0

14

0.375

England

The Gabba

Brisbane

20

4

11

0

5

0.363

Red indicates away from home

Intimidating, is it not? The Gabba is, without a doubt, the ground where Australia has dominated the opposition the most over years. Their decimation of the opposition at WACA has also been impressive (24 wins, 10 defeats), but it is nowhere close to their performance at The Gabba.

Let us now check the Australian grounds where opposition sides have put up decent fights. There are not many, and West Indies is the only side to have won (five) more matches than lost (two) — at WACA. They have also won five and lost five at Adelaide Oval.

Best win-loss ratio at Australian grounds by oppositions (minimum: 5 Tests)

Team

Ground

City

M

W

L

T

D

W/L

West Indies

WACA

Perth

7

5

2

2.500

West Indies

Adelaide Oval

Adelaide

14

5

5

4

1.000

England

SCG

Sydney

55

22

26

7

0.846

England

MCG

Melbourne

55

20

28

7

0.714

South Africa

Adelaide Oval

Adelaide

8

2

3

3

0.667

England

Adelaide Oval

Adelaide

31

9

17

5

0.529

New Zealand

WACA

Perth

6

1

2

3

0.500

Pakistan

SCG

Sydney

7

2

4

1

0.500

West Indies

The Gabba

Brisbane

12

3

6

1

2

0.500

The best performance at The Gabba is also by the men from the Caribbean Islands: they have won three and lost six. Just for the sake of records, England has won four and lost 11; New Zealand has won one and lost seven; the other countries are yet to win a Test at The Gabba.

But what about recency? When did Australia lost their last Test at The Gabba? We need to go back to 1988-89 (a whopping 26 years back to find the instance when Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh had thwarted the hosts by a nine-wicket margin. The hosts have remained undefeated at Brisbane till then.

Last Australian defeats at every ground

Opposition

Ground

City

First day of Test

South Africa

WACA

Perth

November 30, 2012

New Zealand

Bellerive Oval

Hobart

November 9, 2011

England

SCG

Sydney

January 3, 2011

England

MCG

Melbourne

December 26, 2010

England

Adelaide Oval

Adelaide

December 3, 2010

West Indies

The Gabba

Brisbane

November 18, 1988

England

Exhibition Ground

Brisbane

November 30, 1928

Australia have never lost at Cairns or Darwin

Australia would certainly miss Michael Clarke at The Gabba. He has, after all, scored five hundreds from ten Tests at the ground. Of the ones likely to play tomorrow, Brad Haddin has the best numbers, while David Warner has not done too badly either.

Most runs at The Gabba among members of the likely Australian XI

 Player M R Ave 100s
Michael Clarke

10

1,030

103.00

5

Brad Haddin

5

426

60.85

1

David Warner

3

192

48.00

1

Mitchell Johnson

5

146

29.20

 
Shane Watson

5

127

18.14

 
Steven Smith

1

31

15.50

 
Chris Rogers

1

17

8.50

 

Both Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon have been outstanding at The Gabba. While Johnson’s 26 wickets from five Tests have come at a mere 21.07 apiece, Lyon has taken his 15 from three Tests at 21.86. Neither Peter Siddle nor Ryan Harris will play tomorrow, though they have done a decent job at the ground. Mitchell Starc’s only Test has resulted in two wickets for him.

Most wickets at The Gabba among members of the likely Australian XI

 Player M W Ave SR 5WIs
Mitchell Johnson

5

26

21.07

39.4

2

Peter Siddle

5

16

33.31

68.5

1

Nathan Lyon

3

15

21.86

45.0

 
Shane Watson

5

7

35.71

59.1

 
Ryan Harris

1

5

15.40

40.8

 
Mitchell Starc

1

2

61.50

78.0

 

Note: Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, and David Warner have bowled at The Gabba, albeit without wickets.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here)