Australia v India, 1st Test, MCG, 3rd day

Laxman's MCG jinx continues

India's fourth-innings mettle will be tested again in Melbourne, while Michael Hussey showed he isn't finished just yet

S Rajesh

December 28, 2011

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Stats highlights from a riveting day's cricket at the MCG, when 15 wickets fell for 247 runs.


Peter Siddle had VVS Laxman caught behind cheaply, Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 3rd day, December 28, 2011
VVS Laxman, who was dismissed by Peter Siddle for 2, has scored only 113 runs in seven Test innings in Melbourne © Getty Images
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  • The highest fourth-innings total in a winning cause at the MCG is England's 332 for 7, way back in 1928. However, all winning scores of more than 230 came before 1963. In the last 49 years, no team has chased down a 200-plus target to win a Test at this ground.

  • Over the last four years, though, India have successfully chased 200-plus fourth-innings targets five times, and were a run away from another. However, none of them have been outside the subcontinent.

  • Australia's second-innings collapse once again highlighted the problems they've had with the bat in 2011: for the third time this year, they were four down for less than 50; ten times, they've been four down for under 150. Australia's average partnership for the first four wickets this year has been 35.83. Only three teams - Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Bangladesh - have done worse.

  • Michael Hussey's unbeaten 79 is the highest score of the match, while Hussey is also the highest scorer for Australia in Tests in 2011, with 670 runs at 44.66.

  • Ricky Ponting's 60 is his 19th fifty-plus score in 32 Tests since the beginning of 2009, but only two of those have been converted into hundreds. Before 2009, he had 37 hundreds and 43 fifties.

  • India's batting was characterised by a terrible collapse too. At the fall of the third wicket, they had scored 214; when their ninth fell, they were 259, which means six partnerships, from the fourth to the ninth wickets, had added 45. That's the lowest that these six wickets have added for India in almost 20 years. The last time they fared worse was also in Australia, on the tour in 1991-92, when they collapsed from 97 for 3 to 134 for 9 in Perth.

  • The failures for VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni continued a couple of jinxes for them. Laxman has scored 113 runs in seven Test innings at the MCG, at an average of 16.14. At the other Australian venues, he averages 69.28. The venue for the next Test, the SCG, has been Laxman's best, though: 481 runs in five innings at 96.20. For Dhoni, Test cricket anywhere over the last 18 months has been a problem: in 22 Tests since July 2010, he averages 29.84. In his previous 28 Tests, his average had been 50.64.

  • Ben Hilfenhaus had taken four wickets in an innings four times in Tests before this game, but he managed a fifth wicket for the first time.

  • R Ashwin has been pretty effective against the tail in this match, but he has struggled a bit against the top order. Against the last four batsmen in this match, Ashwin has figures of 3 for 22 from 68 balls; against the top seven, it's 1 for 103 off 220. That would've looked slightly better, though, had Rahul Dravid taken the catch Hussey offered him at slip.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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