After fighting out a nail-biting draw in the first Test of the summer at Lord's, England and Sri Lanka head north to visit Headingley for the second encounter of their two-match series this week.
In London, little separated the outfits led by Alastair Cook and Angelo Mathews, both teams posting large first-innings totals on a pitch that offered next to nothing for the bowlers.
Yet, traditionally, Headingley is vastly different.
A venue renowned for its large variance in playing conditions depending upon the overhead cloud, the famous old ground in Leeds has routinely been the stage for blow-out results at Test level.
Last year, England cruised past New Zealand by 247 runs, while the last Ashes Test played at Headingley was won by Australia by an innings and 80 runs in 2009.
Examining the complete list of results that have transpired in Leeds since 1993 reveals that lopsided matches have become something of a trend at the venue.
|England's Test Results at Headingley Since 1993|
|1993||Australia||Loss||Innings & 148 runs|
|1995||West Indies||Loss||9 wickets|
|1997||Australia||Loss||Innings & 61 runs|
|1998||South Africa||Won||23 runs|
|2000||West Indies||Won||Innings & 39 runs|
|2002||India||Lost||Innings & 46 runs|
|2003||South Africa||Lost||191 runs|
|2004||New Zealand||Won||9 wickets|
|2007||West Indies||Won||Innings & 283 runs|
|2008||South Africa||Lost||10 wickets|
|2009||Australia||Lost||Innings & 80 runs|
|2013||New Zealand||Won||247 runs|
Simply, matches at Headingley have rarely been close over the last two decades.
England's 23-run victory over South Africa in 1998 stands as the only match—draws excluded—that produced a result within 100 runs or six wickets.
Most notably, there have been six innings victories at the Yorkshire venue in that time, which is a staggeringly high percentage.
In fact, Headingley has the highest percentage of blow-out results of any major ground in England when each and every Test played since 1993 is examined.
Only Edgbaston comes anywhere near Headingley in that regard.
|Innings Victories at Major English Venues Since 1993|
Interestingly, the trend isn't limited to Tests played at the ground over the last 20 years.
For a decade from 1956, Headingley was the site of an unfathomable amount of colossal victories, particularly for England.
Across 10 matches from 1956 to 1966, the home side triumphed seven times, with six of those wins captured by an innings.
However, England were also on the other end of lopsided results during those years, losing the other three by massively wide margins themselves.
|England's Test Results at Headingley 1956-66|
|1956||Australia||Won||Innings & 42 runs|
|1957||West Indies||Won||Innings & 5 runs|
|1958||New Zealand||Won||Innings & 71 runs|
|1959||India||Won||Innings & 173 runs|
|1962||Pakistan||Won||Innings & 117 runs|
|1963||West Indies||Lost||221 runs|
|1965||New Zealand||Won||Innings & 187 runs|
|1966||West Indies||Lost||Innings & 55 runs|
The reason for such a vast array of one-sided victories is rather straightforward: Batting is extremely difficult under cloud at Headingley, meaning that at least one team tends to endure a turbulent innings at some point in the match.
Last year, New Zealand were blown away for 174 in their first innings. Four years earlier, Australian ran through England for 102 on the opening day of the fourth Ashes Test.
In 2008, England were dismissed for 203 on the first afternoon before South Africa piled on 522. The previous season, the West Indies collapsed to just 146 after England's 570-7.
The pattern just keeps going and going.
If you examine the batting statistics for all Tests played in England, it's clear that Headingley presents the greatest challenge for the batsmen, explaining the regular collapses that occur in Leeds.
|Test Batting Records at Major English Venues|
|Venue||Batting Ave.||100s per Test|
So after a tense and slow-moving affair at Lord's in the opening match of the summer, expect something vastly different between England and Sri Lanka at Headingley this week.
Wickets will probably tumble in bunches, batting techniques are likely to be exposed, surprising leads will quickly develop and a collapse or two is almost inevitable.
In short, get ready for a blow-out result, whichever way it goes.
All statistics and match data courtesy of ESPN Cricinfo.
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