Batsmen v bowlers October 11, 2008

Lara v spin, and other head-to-head stats

The increasing scope of available Test match data in recent years creates new opportunities for cricket statistics
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The increasing scope of available Test match data in recent years creates new opportunities for cricket statistics. One area where we have more information than in previous years is specific player versus player data. Just how well does a batsman do against a specific bowler? This sort of question has long been of interest to commentators, but in the past this could only be answered in general terms by statisticians.

I have extracted a few player vs player extremes from Cricinfo’s data (either in specific player v player form or as ball-by-ball text commentary), supplemented by other sources (hat tip to Andrew Samson) so that the record can be extended back to the 1998-99 Ashes series. The data covers over 450 Tests, and is about 99.5% complete, with a majority of the gaps being in some Zimbabwe Tests. This forms a new class of cricket records.

Most of the records below are based on a qualification minimum, with minimum of either 200 balls bowled, or five dismissals, in encounters between specific bowlers and batsmen. A ‘recognised’ batsman is one with an average batting position of less than 7.1.

Some Player vs Player Records 1998 – 2008

Most balls bowled by one bowler to one batsman: 736 N Boje to DPMD Jayawardene (410 runs). Boje bowled 221 balls to Jayawardene in one innings during Jayawardene’s 374 at Colombo in 2006, a single-innings record.

Most runs by one batsman off one bowler: 441 BC Lara off SCG MacGill (4 dismissals, batting average 110.3).

Most runs by one batsman off one bowler (single innings): 130 in 161 balls by BC Lara (400*) off GJ Batty, St John’s 2004. (Note: Garry Sobers scored 133 of his 365* off Khan Mohammad in 1957-58)

Most balls bowled by one bowler to one batsman without dismissing him: 556 Harbhajan Singh to S Chanderpaul (196 runs), in eight matches.

Most runs scored by one batsman off one bowler without dismissal: 223 by RS Dravid off SCG MacGill (354 balls in five matches)

Highest batting average: 238.0 by JH Kallis off DL Vettori (238 runs for once out).

Lowest batting average (recognised batsman): 1.00 by Matthew Bell (NZ) off J Srinath. This is a remarkable case. Srinath dismissed Bell (an opening batsman) five times in Tests and only conceded five runs in 103 balls bowled.

Most dismissals: 11 by SK Warne bowling to AG Prince (164 runs, batting average 14.5). Greater numbers can be found going further back than 1998. For example, Mike Atherton fell to Glenn McGrath 19 times in Tests, including pre-1998 matches: a full analysis is not yet available. Atherton’s vulnerability to McGrath is well-known; perhaps less well-known is his failure against Chaminda Vaas, against whom he averaged just 6.6 with five dismissals.

Highest batting strike rate 104.3 Runs /100 balls RT Ponting off AR Caddick (batting average 72). This does not include earlier encounters of these two players in 1997, which would take the strike rate down to 91.6. Chris Cairns had a strike rate of 103 against Brett Lee, although his batting average was only 13.4. Shahid Afridi has scored 202 runs at a strike rate of 93.1 against Anil Kumble.

Highest Bowling Strike Rate (recognised batsman) Makhaya Ntini dismissed Nathan Astle six times in just 92 balls bowled to him, conceding 37 runs. Glenn McGrath took Sanath Jayasuriya’s wicket five times in just 76 balls, twice dismissing him with the first ball of an innings, but these figures don’t include the Adelaide Test of 1995-96, where Jayasuriya got the better of McGrath.

Ajit Agarkar faced only two balls from Mark Waugh, and was dismissed both times. Agarkar was also out to his first two balls from Brett Lee, and has been out three times in the five balls faced he has faced from Lee.

A final curiosity: If it needed any confirmation, take a look at Brian Lara’s head-to-head batting averages against some leading spin bowling since 1998: vs M Muralitharan 124.0 vs SK Warne 74.0 vs SCG MacGill 110.3 vs Danish Kaneria 86.7 vs N Boje 212.0 vs A Kumble 22.3

Kudos to Anil Kumble, who seems to have a much stronger record against Lara than other spinners(though data from their encounters in 1994-96 is not available).

Over time, it will be possible to extend this data to earlier Tests. However, chances are that earlier data will be more incomplete, as there are quite a few Test matches even in the 1990s for which complete scorebooks have not yet been located. If any readers, especially in India, Pakistan, and the West Indies, know of the existence of detailed Test match scores (not necessarily official ones) from the 1990s or earlier, please get in touch with me through this blog.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Waspsting on November 2, 2010, 1:26 GMT

    Finally, I will say, that I prefered watching Lara bat to Tendulkar. The style and dash was fabulous.

  • Waspsting on November 2, 2010, 1:25 GMT

    I rate Lara the best player I've ever seen. Not only do the given stats support this... but if you watched him play Warne and Murali, you'd think he was facing part time bowlers like Mark Waugh of Sehwag, so easily did he play them. He is the only player I've seen who didn't necessarily premeditate going down the pitch - if he saw the ball was thrown up, then he'd come down. and i can't ever remember him being stumped when he went down the wicket.

    As for overall, though, I rate Tendulkar a shade ahead, because I think Lara had a bigger weakness against genuine pace and the short ball. That high back-lift made it hard for him to get the bat down in time. Remember him failing to reach 50 in 6 complete innings against Akram and Waqar (and this too, on very flat pitches). Tendulkar was more composed, solid and dependable against pace.

    I think stats would probably verify this too. If Lara's averaging so much against spin, then he must be doing worse against pace to compensate, right?

  • Pankaj on December 23, 2009, 20:24 GMT

    It is amazing how everyone's putting Lara ahead of Tendulkar. This statistic gives a fair idea of how Lara (or others) have faired but not an entire story. All (or most of the bowlers) of our times have rated Tendulkar better than Lara. Wouldnt that be one of the best judgements? Secondly, there has been a thought that with Lara, bowlers always had a change, which was tough to find against Tendulkar. Lastly, if you leave a few dominent innings that Lara played, what else has he achieved? He has (as a captain/team player) won less matches than Tendulkar, couldnt take his team close to winning a world-cup, has won less man of the match/series award than Tendulkar... Sorry for responding so late, but I couldnt stop myself from commenting after reading these naive comments from the users..

  • jonny on April 14, 2009, 17:38 GMT

    Great article, I was looking at this the other day. Has anyone dominated McGrath or Warne as much as Lara did to Murali? I'm sure I read somewhere that Vinod Kambli dismantled Warne in a game or two, but over a long period of time I'm not too sure. I'm suspecting the best combined record against the two is VVS - for Mcgrath he averages 169.4 when he played against him which drops to 82.4 in innings dismissed by him (5 times in 10 matches).

  • sazam on March 19, 2009, 18:52 GMT

    in all reallity if some people think there is a better batsman than brian lara besides donald bradman then i would assume they have to be crazy. lets first talk about TEST CRICKET. brian lara have 34 hundreds 7 behind sachin tendulkar who have played 26 more matches than brian did secondly brian has the second most double hundreds 9. 3 vserses australia 2 verses sri lanka 2 verses england 1 verses palkistan and 1 verses south africa. be aware he has none against bangladesh and zimbabwe where sachin tendulkar has scored 2 of his 4 double centuries against. third brian lara is the second batsman after donald bradman to score 2 triple centuries but lara even went further than bradman for he scored a quadruple and it was scored against an england attack which was the best attack in the world at the time HARMISON FLINTOFF HOGGARD and JONES. fouth lara has the most runs off a single over in test cricket 28 and if that is not enough he has the 3rd most 26

  • eddy on November 3, 2008, 14:55 GMT

    cont.... so statisically and technically Lara's 8 tons in wins out of 131 matches and 232 innings is better than Tendulkar's 13 win tons out of 153 matches and 250 innnings.

  • eddy on November 3, 2008, 14:20 GMT

    following Md. Nayeemuddin(Minhaj) Kohir(Hyderabad) comments and Charles Davis' reply, i myself would like to add something. Charles is right, Lara's match winning knocks did happen some time ago i.e. 153, 213 etc, But what i think Md. Nayeemuddin(Minhaj) Kohir(Hyderabad) felt is that so many of Lara's knocks SHOULD have been match winning i.e if he had played in a better team. His 277, 375, 400 were all draws. And we will never forget 688 runs in 3 tests...all were lost! If fact only 8 of lara's 34 tons were 'match winning'. Tendulakr has 13 out of 39. Simple maths show that Lara and Tendulkar both score a hundred every 3.9 matches. Between Tendulkars 39 tons and Lara's 34 i believe many many of Lara's will be remembered than Tendulkars but that doesnt mean they were match winning!

  • Md. Nayeemuddin(Minhaj) Kohir(Hyderabad) on November 2, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    LARA was the greatest batsman of his time ahead of Ponting, Tendulkar, Inzimam and many others. Lara was the best not only against spin, but also pace, but he played spin far better than other players. Other batsman who was specially outstanding at playing spin was Mohammed Azharuddin. When it comes to match winning capabilities,Inzimam, Ponting, and Pieterson would be there right at the top. One could have gauaged Lara's match winning abilities had he been a part of at least a decent team, but he still won matches singlehandedly. Tendulkar is a genius, but a failure under pressure. Among Indian, Kapil, Azhar, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Kaif played better under pressure. Vivian Richards, Inzimam, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Steve Waugh, Arvinda De Silva, were greater match winners than Tendulkar even though Tendulkar is a genius. But for the pure batsmanship, Lara scores over every other batsmen of his time and may be right there at the top with Viv Richards and Bradman.

  • Md. Nayeemuddin(Minhaj) Kohir(Hyderabad) on November 2, 2008, 14:13 GMT

    BRIAN LARA was a superior batsman than Tendulkar. Players as distinct as Lara, Viv Richards and for that matter Imran Khan are born once in the lifetime of the game. Tendulkar is great player, but not quite a Lara. Tendulkar can be compared to Ponting, Inzimam, Sehwage and the likes. Tendulkar can claim any number of records for his age and ability, but can never bat like Lara. Since 1970's Richards and Lara have been the greatest batsmen. Tendulkar is genius, but cricket has produced many more capable match winners than Tendulkar. Scoring more does never mean winning more matches. Sometimes those runs could have been scored by anyone. In fact if it comes to the match winning capabilities, Richards, Inzimam, Steve Waugh, Javed Miandad, Bevan, Ponting, would outsmart Sachin Tendulkar.Among Indians Azhar played better under pressure. For pure batsmenship, if one has to pick a player in last 16 years, it is LARA. LARA was the best and different from rest of his time.

    [Response: if you are going to argue for Lara, you should avoid areas like "match-winning ability". In Lara's last 33 Tests, West Indies won only twice, and one of those was against Bangladesh. West Indies have actually done a bit better since he retired.]

  • Rishi on October 31, 2008, 21:14 GMT

    I pulled out Sachin's stats from 2001 (after India-Australia series in India). Could not find a way for earlier data in Cricinfo.

    Against spinners BAW Mendis 57.00 (strike rate of 86.36!) Danish Kaneria 151.00 DL Vettori 22.00 GB Hogg 138 runs w/o any dismissal (and at a strike rate of 89.61!) M Muralitharan 16.80 (Most of failures are from the recent Test series in SL) Saqlain Mushtaq 45 runs w/o any dismissal SCG MacGill 114.00 Did not face Warne during this period

    Against Pace bowlers A Flintoff 117.00 B Lee 40.40 DW Steyn 27 runs w/o any dismissal GD McGrath 5.00 (He faced him only during 2004-05 series in India. He scored just 5 runs against him getting dismissed once) M Ntini 23.50 SE Bond 33.00 Shoaib Akhtar 39.50 SM Pollock 28.33 WPUJC Vaas 24.00

    This data is till Mohali test.

  • Waspsting on November 2, 2010, 1:26 GMT

    Finally, I will say, that I prefered watching Lara bat to Tendulkar. The style and dash was fabulous.

  • Waspsting on November 2, 2010, 1:25 GMT

    I rate Lara the best player I've ever seen. Not only do the given stats support this... but if you watched him play Warne and Murali, you'd think he was facing part time bowlers like Mark Waugh of Sehwag, so easily did he play them. He is the only player I've seen who didn't necessarily premeditate going down the pitch - if he saw the ball was thrown up, then he'd come down. and i can't ever remember him being stumped when he went down the wicket.

    As for overall, though, I rate Tendulkar a shade ahead, because I think Lara had a bigger weakness against genuine pace and the short ball. That high back-lift made it hard for him to get the bat down in time. Remember him failing to reach 50 in 6 complete innings against Akram and Waqar (and this too, on very flat pitches). Tendulkar was more composed, solid and dependable against pace.

    I think stats would probably verify this too. If Lara's averaging so much against spin, then he must be doing worse against pace to compensate, right?

  • Pankaj on December 23, 2009, 20:24 GMT

    It is amazing how everyone's putting Lara ahead of Tendulkar. This statistic gives a fair idea of how Lara (or others) have faired but not an entire story. All (or most of the bowlers) of our times have rated Tendulkar better than Lara. Wouldnt that be one of the best judgements? Secondly, there has been a thought that with Lara, bowlers always had a change, which was tough to find against Tendulkar. Lastly, if you leave a few dominent innings that Lara played, what else has he achieved? He has (as a captain/team player) won less matches than Tendulkar, couldnt take his team close to winning a world-cup, has won less man of the match/series award than Tendulkar... Sorry for responding so late, but I couldnt stop myself from commenting after reading these naive comments from the users..

  • jonny on April 14, 2009, 17:38 GMT

    Great article, I was looking at this the other day. Has anyone dominated McGrath or Warne as much as Lara did to Murali? I'm sure I read somewhere that Vinod Kambli dismantled Warne in a game or two, but over a long period of time I'm not too sure. I'm suspecting the best combined record against the two is VVS - for Mcgrath he averages 169.4 when he played against him which drops to 82.4 in innings dismissed by him (5 times in 10 matches).

  • sazam on March 19, 2009, 18:52 GMT

    in all reallity if some people think there is a better batsman than brian lara besides donald bradman then i would assume they have to be crazy. lets first talk about TEST CRICKET. brian lara have 34 hundreds 7 behind sachin tendulkar who have played 26 more matches than brian did secondly brian has the second most double hundreds 9. 3 vserses australia 2 verses sri lanka 2 verses england 1 verses palkistan and 1 verses south africa. be aware he has none against bangladesh and zimbabwe where sachin tendulkar has scored 2 of his 4 double centuries against. third brian lara is the second batsman after donald bradman to score 2 triple centuries but lara even went further than bradman for he scored a quadruple and it was scored against an england attack which was the best attack in the world at the time HARMISON FLINTOFF HOGGARD and JONES. fouth lara has the most runs off a single over in test cricket 28 and if that is not enough he has the 3rd most 26

  • eddy on November 3, 2008, 14:55 GMT

    cont.... so statisically and technically Lara's 8 tons in wins out of 131 matches and 232 innings is better than Tendulkar's 13 win tons out of 153 matches and 250 innnings.

  • eddy on November 3, 2008, 14:20 GMT

    following Md. Nayeemuddin(Minhaj) Kohir(Hyderabad) comments and Charles Davis' reply, i myself would like to add something. Charles is right, Lara's match winning knocks did happen some time ago i.e. 153, 213 etc, But what i think Md. Nayeemuddin(Minhaj) Kohir(Hyderabad) felt is that so many of Lara's knocks SHOULD have been match winning i.e if he had played in a better team. His 277, 375, 400 were all draws. And we will never forget 688 runs in 3 tests...all were lost! If fact only 8 of lara's 34 tons were 'match winning'. Tendulakr has 13 out of 39. Simple maths show that Lara and Tendulkar both score a hundred every 3.9 matches. Between Tendulkars 39 tons and Lara's 34 i believe many many of Lara's will be remembered than Tendulkars but that doesnt mean they were match winning!

  • Md. Nayeemuddin(Minhaj) Kohir(Hyderabad) on November 2, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    LARA was the greatest batsman of his time ahead of Ponting, Tendulkar, Inzimam and many others. Lara was the best not only against spin, but also pace, but he played spin far better than other players. Other batsman who was specially outstanding at playing spin was Mohammed Azharuddin. When it comes to match winning capabilities,Inzimam, Ponting, and Pieterson would be there right at the top. One could have gauaged Lara's match winning abilities had he been a part of at least a decent team, but he still won matches singlehandedly. Tendulkar is a genius, but a failure under pressure. Among Indian, Kapil, Azhar, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Kaif played better under pressure. Vivian Richards, Inzimam, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Steve Waugh, Arvinda De Silva, were greater match winners than Tendulkar even though Tendulkar is a genius. But for the pure batsmanship, Lara scores over every other batsmen of his time and may be right there at the top with Viv Richards and Bradman.

  • Md. Nayeemuddin(Minhaj) Kohir(Hyderabad) on November 2, 2008, 14:13 GMT

    BRIAN LARA was a superior batsman than Tendulkar. Players as distinct as Lara, Viv Richards and for that matter Imran Khan are born once in the lifetime of the game. Tendulkar is great player, but not quite a Lara. Tendulkar can be compared to Ponting, Inzimam, Sehwage and the likes. Tendulkar can claim any number of records for his age and ability, but can never bat like Lara. Since 1970's Richards and Lara have been the greatest batsmen. Tendulkar is genius, but cricket has produced many more capable match winners than Tendulkar. Scoring more does never mean winning more matches. Sometimes those runs could have been scored by anyone. In fact if it comes to the match winning capabilities, Richards, Inzimam, Steve Waugh, Javed Miandad, Bevan, Ponting, would outsmart Sachin Tendulkar.Among Indians Azhar played better under pressure. For pure batsmenship, if one has to pick a player in last 16 years, it is LARA. LARA was the best and different from rest of his time.

    [Response: if you are going to argue for Lara, you should avoid areas like "match-winning ability". In Lara's last 33 Tests, West Indies won only twice, and one of those was against Bangladesh. West Indies have actually done a bit better since he retired.]

  • Rishi on October 31, 2008, 21:14 GMT

    I pulled out Sachin's stats from 2001 (after India-Australia series in India). Could not find a way for earlier data in Cricinfo.

    Against spinners BAW Mendis 57.00 (strike rate of 86.36!) Danish Kaneria 151.00 DL Vettori 22.00 GB Hogg 138 runs w/o any dismissal (and at a strike rate of 89.61!) M Muralitharan 16.80 (Most of failures are from the recent Test series in SL) Saqlain Mushtaq 45 runs w/o any dismissal SCG MacGill 114.00 Did not face Warne during this period

    Against Pace bowlers A Flintoff 117.00 B Lee 40.40 DW Steyn 27 runs w/o any dismissal GD McGrath 5.00 (He faced him only during 2004-05 series in India. He scored just 5 runs against him getting dismissed once) M Ntini 23.50 SE Bond 33.00 Shoaib Akhtar 39.50 SM Pollock 28.33 WPUJC Vaas 24.00

    This data is till Mohali test.

  • Reachmanish on October 29, 2008, 16:34 GMT

    As much as I loved the article, I am surprised to see all the comments around how Lara is better than his contemporaries. Only if we have similar data collation for Tendulkar and Ponting and we might change our opinions. Talking of touch of brilliance, who can forget Tendulkar's six off Qadir in his first tour or his drubbing of Australia in Sharjah or his undisputed mastery over Warne or for that matter he playing with the burden of being the only hope for a country's batting lineup for the number of years that he has. Not to ignore the world records he hold - Highest Runs in Test / One Day's, Highest number of centuries in Test / One Day's.

  • Ansel Hosein on October 25, 2008, 2:26 GMT

    The last post by Mohamedaly Hanware is the plain truth.Brian Charles Lara is the greatest batsman.And, he was getting better before his forced retirement.No one can match his 153* for sheer class under pressure.Just class man.Just class!

  • Rushied on October 24, 2008, 1:53 GMT

    Are we not forgetting Shiv?

  • srini on October 23, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    errol, i read somewhere that lara wasnt selected becos his father had died and he did not make himself available for selection. dunno how true it is but that was as far as i could go in order to find out y lara had to wait till 21 for his debut.

  • MOHAMEDALY HANWARE on October 20, 2008, 16:10 GMT

    I am not sure if the guys that draw compariosons to between other batsmen and Lara are so biased that they cannot make a fair judgment. I am a cricket fan and i rate all batsmen without any bias, with Lara it is very simple no other batsmen had the style the dazzling dancing footwork or the charisma as Lara, and he did for batsmenship what Mozart or Beethoven did for music.Throw in the 501 and 400 ( both of which most scoolboys wont even dare imagine ) I dare say we have the greatest batsmen of our era.....

  • errol on October 20, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    I've been lucky to see Sir Viv at his best and most of his career, and Brian growing up in Trinidad. Sir Viv was the batsman who clearly intimidated bowlers by his sheer presence, but like Tendulkar, he had other great batsmen around him and usually played in a great team. Many opposing quick bowlers were also hesitant with aggression to WI batsmen for fear of retribution. Lara has had little or none of that protection (except his early career when Amby, Bish and Courtney were around). Many may recall Narendra Hirwani dismantling the great WI line up in 1988 and he was touted as the next great bowler on the world scene. Not many will remember when he came up against Brian playing in Trinidad vs India soon after. Lara scored a phenomenal 190 odd and tore Hirwani apart. Trust me man, there were no shots in the air (except when he hit a six near the end). Hirwani was not the same. Lara was shockingly left out of WI team when he should have made his debut. We'll never know what we missed.

  • sushant singh on October 18, 2008, 4:47 GMT

    ya man lara is by far the greatest modern day batsman & after him comes the like of s. waugh, tendulkar,pointing, kallis,a. flower.he is superior to them all

  • Jason on October 18, 2008, 4:04 GMT

    Very interesting. I have just finished my own India v Aus head to head matchups from the 2007/08 summer in Australia and the first test in Bangalore of the current series to see who might have any advantages. For example, Harbhajan to Ponting - 4 dismissals, 97 runs, 166 balls. Not as bad as Indians make out, although the Bangalore Test helped him out a bit. Other notable matchups were Brett Lee to VVS Laxman: 5 dismissals, 58 runs, 166 balls. Stuart Clark to MS Dhoni: 2 dismissals, 6 runs, 50 balls(!!). Ishant Sharma to Michael Clarke: 3 dismissals, 39 runs, 73 balls. And some where the batsmen are winning...Brett Lee to Virender Sehwag: 1 dismissal, 98 runs, 161 balls. Mitch Johnson to VVS Laxman: 1 dismissal, 108 runs, 156 balls. Anil Kumble to Mike Hussey: 1 dismissal, 170 runs, 276 balls.

    I'd be very interested to find a concise database of these figures rather than going through the ball by ball accounts of all the scorecards if anyone knows of such a thing :D

    [Cricinfo has produced player vs player stats for most Tests in recent years.]

  • Debmalya Mukherjee on October 17, 2008, 0:15 GMT

    Lara averages only 33 vs India in India. He averages 34.55 vs India in all grounds. So he did not really play Kumble, Harbhajan and Raju well.

  • traugustin on October 16, 2008, 19:34 GMT

    a fundamental variable ommitted in the debate of Viv vs the more current era of batsmen is that Viv never wore a helmet in his whole career and wickets were not covered.Viv's remarkable courage places him head over heels superior to any modern day batsman

  • mitch on October 16, 2008, 12:28 GMT

    This is another example where lara has demonstrated he was one of or the best batsman in cricket history.i agree that u cannot compare cricketers of the past etc.but when you look at the oppositio lara and sachin have faced they must be admired foir their level of play..vs warne and murali- mcgrath donald ambrose etc. Many agree lara was not as consistant as tendulkar but look at the total test runs in matches and inning played.....Lara 131 tests vs Tendulkar 150* test and still going. also look Ponting dominance vs all attacks in this modern era......he definitely hold all batting records when he is ready to retire in 3-5yrs But lara was the best of the contemporary players

  • Zeeshan Ahmed on October 16, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    Quality to dominate Murlitharan easily as he was the best one against him throughout his career like his 688 runs (42% of his team) out of 1625 runs in six innings in 2001 in Sri Lanka while Murlitharan took 24 wickets in series. Crushing Australian bowling attack at his own home grounds very easily remember his innings of 153 not out and 213. His batting average is 66.04 at home against them including Shane Warne and MacGill, both are leg break bowler. Against Shane Warne his batting average is 54.57. Against Murlitharan batting average is 56.80 and against MacGill batting average is 58.5 while against Anil Kumble, batting average is 25.4 and against Kaneria batting average is 115.33.

  • Riverlime on October 16, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    I wonder which would have been more entertaining, Viv vs. Murali or Lara vs. Thommo?

  • eddy on October 14, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    Many people regard Viv to be the greatest modern test player, hence Lara's and Tendulkar's omission from the Wisden players of the century. Some go as far to say that he was the greatest, having not seen Bradman play, or the bowlers he faced it's a moot point. It is also well known that Lara has played some of the greatest innings ever i.e. 153*, 277, and breakin the high score record twice.

    Viv played against Bedi and Qadir, Lara against Warne and Murli. Viv played against Thommo, Lillie, Haddle, Khan, Willis... Lara played against McGrath, Wasim & Waqar, Donald, pollock..

    i would suggest that Lara (and Tendulkar who also played against Amby and walsh) played against better spin and seamers!

  • Eddy on October 14, 2008, 9:33 GMT

    @ Vidhya....I wasnt really looking at contemporary players such as Tenders, Ponting ,Lara...it was more about the two great WI players. I have spoken to amateur and professional players that say VIV was the greatest ever and likewise, Lara has played some of the greatest innings ever. Viv played against Bedi and Qadir but thats not the same as Warne or Murli. I would argue that Lara (and tendulkar, who also faced Ambrose&Walsh ) not only played against superior spinners they faced greater seamer/quicks i.e. Wasim, Waqar, Donald, McGrath, which i would rate slightly higher than Lillie, Khan, Willis, Hadlee.

  • Vidhya on October 13, 2008, 13:15 GMT

    Edyy's comment makes me wonder. Lara has a huge average against spinners. Does that also imply that his average against faster bowlers is significantly inferior to other batsmen with comparable overall batting average - like Tendulkar, Dravid or Ponting ?

    [Response: I haven't looked in detail, but in general most top batsmen do much better against spin than against pace. Since 1998, Tendulkar averages almost 70 against spin, Dravid over 70, Ponting almost 80, and Kallis over 80.]

  • eddy on October 13, 2008, 10:01 GMT

    You have highlighted something i have witnessed for years and years and years. I didnt think anyone could compare to the mighty VIV until Lara broke onto the scene. It has been something my father and i have argued over for sometime. He states that Lara wouldnt have faired well against Thommo and Lillie and Khan etc especally without a helmet. I point to Lara playing against that two greatest spinners of alltime (and mastering them)and wonder how VIV would have coped against Murli and Warne?

  • Ashwin on October 13, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    What of Andy Flower's average against spinners? He was one of the world's best against spin after all.

    [Response: The analysis only goes back to 1999 for Zimbabwe, but after that Flower averaged 95 against spin bowling.]

  • Vidhya on October 13, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    In addition to those Tushar mentioned above, stats on Ponting v Harbhajan will also be interesting.

  • Simrat Singh on October 11, 2008, 17:32 GMT

    Interesting article, I must say.You haven't though mentioned Lara's average against Kumble ( though you have praised him for it)

    [Response: Sorry. Lara's average against Kumble is 22.3.]

  • hammad on October 11, 2008, 16:30 GMT

    lara is the greatest batsman in test matches against spinners. may he live long

  • Tushar Mahawar on October 11, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    Interesting analysis.One thing to notice is that Sachin Tendulkar doesn't feature in any of the above analysis.Would like to see how he has fared against different bowlers, particularly McGrath,Donald,Akram and other leading bowlers. Its amazing to see Lara's dominance over the spinners which goes to show what a complete player he was. Even though hailing from the place where batsman sometimes comes to know that there is an different kind of bowling other than pace when he comes to international cricket , he still plays the spinners better than any.

  • Elayaraja Muthuswamy on October 11, 2008, 13:54 GMT

    Most of the cricket lovers around the world would agree that Brian Lara has been the greatest player of spin bowling during his tenure. I would have to loved to see how he tackled Ajantha Mendis but due to unfortunate circumstances he had to leave Test Cricket also.

  • Paul on October 11, 2008, 13:01 GMT

    Need I say more King Lara is the greatest batsman of pace and spin since the Don - avg 124 against Murali, 74 against Warne.

  • FISH on October 11, 2008, 12:13 GMT

    Fantastic Statistics

  • Abdullah on October 11, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    "The Cricketer" magazine (referred in a recent article by Osman Samiuddin) can provide you with this data for test matches involving Pakistan

    [Response: thank you. Do you have a specific reference?]

  • Ganesh Narine on October 11, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    Brian Lara is an extraordinary cricket talent. The only other batsman in contemporary times who can be compared to him is Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar is certainly more reliable than Lara but definitely not able to match the West Indian in batting high points. Lara is just phenominal as a batsman capable of making very high cricket scores against the best and at critical times. Outside of Sachin and Lara, Inzamam, Mark and Steve Waugh, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly as well as Pontin would be the batsmen capable of blazing a trail of fire in world cricket. There is also Sewag and Afridi who were more explosive than both Lara and Tendulkar. I just wonder if either Lara or Tendulkar enjoyed as good a patch as Chanderpaul has of late.

  • keyur on October 11, 2008, 11:26 GMT

    Is this a mere coincidence or is it that you picked up my idea regarding comparing batsman vs. bowler duels which i submitted earlier?

  • Prasad on October 11, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    Phenomenal work taking place! That's how i put it for showing the passion for little but heartening nuances on the game and the players who have graced it by their performances. Keep up the good work! Cheers

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  • Prasad on October 11, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    Phenomenal work taking place! That's how i put it for showing the passion for little but heartening nuances on the game and the players who have graced it by their performances. Keep up the good work! Cheers

  • keyur on October 11, 2008, 11:26 GMT

    Is this a mere coincidence or is it that you picked up my idea regarding comparing batsman vs. bowler duels which i submitted earlier?

  • Ganesh Narine on October 11, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    Brian Lara is an extraordinary cricket talent. The only other batsman in contemporary times who can be compared to him is Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar is certainly more reliable than Lara but definitely not able to match the West Indian in batting high points. Lara is just phenominal as a batsman capable of making very high cricket scores against the best and at critical times. Outside of Sachin and Lara, Inzamam, Mark and Steve Waugh, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly as well as Pontin would be the batsmen capable of blazing a trail of fire in world cricket. There is also Sewag and Afridi who were more explosive than both Lara and Tendulkar. I just wonder if either Lara or Tendulkar enjoyed as good a patch as Chanderpaul has of late.

  • Abdullah on October 11, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    "The Cricketer" magazine (referred in a recent article by Osman Samiuddin) can provide you with this data for test matches involving Pakistan

    [Response: thank you. Do you have a specific reference?]

  • FISH on October 11, 2008, 12:13 GMT

    Fantastic Statistics

  • Paul on October 11, 2008, 13:01 GMT

    Need I say more King Lara is the greatest batsman of pace and spin since the Don - avg 124 against Murali, 74 against Warne.

  • Elayaraja Muthuswamy on October 11, 2008, 13:54 GMT

    Most of the cricket lovers around the world would agree that Brian Lara has been the greatest player of spin bowling during his tenure. I would have to loved to see how he tackled Ajantha Mendis but due to unfortunate circumstances he had to leave Test Cricket also.

  • Tushar Mahawar on October 11, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    Interesting analysis.One thing to notice is that Sachin Tendulkar doesn't feature in any of the above analysis.Would like to see how he has fared against different bowlers, particularly McGrath,Donald,Akram and other leading bowlers. Its amazing to see Lara's dominance over the spinners which goes to show what a complete player he was. Even though hailing from the place where batsman sometimes comes to know that there is an different kind of bowling other than pace when he comes to international cricket , he still plays the spinners better than any.

  • hammad on October 11, 2008, 16:30 GMT

    lara is the greatest batsman in test matches against spinners. may he live long

  • Simrat Singh on October 11, 2008, 17:32 GMT

    Interesting article, I must say.You haven't though mentioned Lara's average against Kumble ( though you have praised him for it)

    [Response: Sorry. Lara's average against Kumble is 22.3.]