Australia v India, 1st Test, Brisbane, 4th day December 7, 2003

Rediscovering the touch

Sourav Ganguly has copped plenty of flak for his inability to score runs against quality opposition in testing conditions, but his 144 was as emphatic a riposte as it gets. Not only did Ganguly score a hundred, he also rediscovered the fluency which had earned him so many accolades early in his career.

Of the 144 runs he scored, 89 came on the off side, not surprising considering that the Australians bowled mainly on that side of the wicket. What is revealing is that 53 of those runs were scored in front of square. On a fairly quick pitch, one would have expected the region behind square to be more profitable for run-scoring, but Ganguly scored 49 through the covers, including nine fours - mostly delectably timed drives off either foot - which highlights how well he drove through the line of the ball.

Where Ganguly scored his runs
Runs
% Runs
Behind wkt - off side
19
13.19
Square of wkt - off side
17
11.81
Cover
49
34.03
Front of wkt - off side
4
2.78
Front of wkt - on side
15
10.42
Midwicket
22
15.28
Square of wkt - on side
13
9.03
Behind wkt - on side
5
3.47

Ganguly also played with equal felicity off either foot, and was seldom indecisive: out of the 196 balls he faced, only nine times did he play from the crease. His scoring rate when playing back and forward was both greater than 75.

Splendid off front and back foot
Runs
Balls
Strike-rate
Front foot
83
109
76.15
Back foot
61
77
79.22
Minimal footwork
0
9
-
Stepped out
0
1
-

Did the Australians miss a trick while bowling to him? Perhaps they did. For all the pre-match talk of chin-music, there was hardly any short stuff dished out: the Australians bowled just six bouncers to Ganguly, including one by Steve Waugh. A point to mull over for John Buchanan?

S Rajesh is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.