Ashes / Features

Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day

Warne hits back

Shane Warne hit back quite magnificently on the last day after being clobbered in the first innings

S Rajesh

December 5, 2006

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Warne versus right-handers in the first innings (enlarged image) © Hawk-Eye
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When he disappeared for 167 and managed only one wicket in the first innings, England might have reason to believe they had finally nailed the puzzle called Shane Warne. On a fifth-day pitch, against a batting line-up intent on exclusively on defence - in the morning session 30 runs were scored in 28 overs - Warne came into his own again.

A comparison of his pitch map over the two innings offers an interesting comparison: in the first innings, with Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood scoring comfortably, Warne was forced to play a defensive role, consistently pitching it outside leg - one of which landed at the very edge of the pitch.



Warne versus right-handers in the second innings (enlarged image) © Hawk-Eye
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On the last day, though, he needed to experiment much lesser. With the pitch a lot more turn, Warne concentrated on accuracy, knowing that if he landed at the spot often enough, the batsmen - already so intent on defence - would finally make errors. Warne bowled 32 overs on the trot - broken only the close of play on the fourth day and by the lunch interval on the fifth - and sent down an incredible 161 deliveries from which no runs were scored, that's one ball short of 27 maiden overs. Among his victims was Andrew Strauss, who fell to him for the seventh time - no other bowler has dismissed Strauss more than four times.

Warne's 56 wickets at Adelaide have cost him more than 30 each, but he has been lethal on this track towards the end of the game - in the first innings here he averages 41.83 per wicket, but in the second it comes down to 21.90. Pietersen, who had taken Warne for 59 from 106 balls in the first innings, was bowled off the first ball he faced from Warne this time. The graphic shows just how much that ball turned.



The ball which nailed Pietersen (enlarged image) © Hawk-Eye
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England, meanwhile, suffered the ignominy of becoming only the second team to lose after declaring for the 500-plus total in the first innings of a Test. The only other team which managed that was West Indies at Port-of-Spain - ironically against England - when Garry Sobers very magnanimously declared their second innings at 92 for 2, after having called them in at 526 for 7 in the first. England ultimately won by seven wickets.

Other highlights

2 - The number of times Michael Hussey has been dismissed for less than 20 in his 13-Test career. In his last nine innings he has seven fifty-plus scores

6 - The number of times teams have lost after scoring more than 500 in the first innings of a Test. The only other time this happened after a 500-plus declaration was in 1968, when West Indies made 526 for 7 at Port-of-Spain and ultimately lost to England by seven wickets

9 - The number of successive Tests at Adelaide that have produced a result. The last draw was in 1997-98.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.

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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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