Australia v India, 1st Test, Brisbane, 1st day

Langer laps it up

S Rajesh

December 4, 2003

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For much of the day, Justin Langer played second fiddle to the batsmen at the other end, but he came into his own later in the day. Especially impressive was the manner in which he handled Harbhajan Singh. Of the 68 runs that Harbhajan conceded, 47 came from the bat of Langer, most of them through sweeps - Langer attempted that stroke 19 times, and it fetched him 26 runs.

Langer v Indian bowlers
Balls
Runs
Strike rate
In-control %
Zaheer
47
16
34.04
72.34
Nehra
44
24
54.54
84.09
Agarkar
25
27
108.00
68.00
Harbhajan
56
47
83.93
78.57

Harbhajan seldom looked threatening, but on a first-day pitch, the onus of taking wickets clearly lay on the three seamers. Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Ajit Agarkar bowled a few good deliveries, but it was largely a case of serving up far too many four-balls - the three seamers bowled 28 half-volleys, which were creamed away for 45 runs. Agarkar was the worst offender, bowling 15 of those.

The length bowled by the Indian seamers
Balls
Runs
Half-volleys
28
45
Good length
143
39
Just short
98
50
Short
22
28

If Agarkar bowled plenty of tripe, he also came up with an extremely incisive second spell of seven overs - most of which he bowled to Ponting - in which he conceded just 19 runs, quite a contrast from his first spell of five overs for 40, including one over when he was smashed for three fours by Ponting. During his second spell Agarkar beat the bat seven times, and achieved a not-in-control percentage of almost 29 - that's nearly three times in ten deliveries. The Australians survived that spell, though, and are now in a position to force the issue on the second day.

Agarkar v Ponting in the second spell
Balls
Runs
Beat the bat
In-control %
40
18
6
75%

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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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