July 22, 2011

They dominated the first day: with the red cherry

An analysis of the best bowling performances on the opening day of a Test match
106

After a series of heavy analytical articles it is time for an anecdotal article or two. However let me assure the readers that this article also, as my other anecdotal articles have been, would be based on solid analysis and not just some subjective selection. This article has been on the anvil for the past two months.

Colin Croft: 8 for 29 in just 18.5 overs against Pakistan Adrian Murrell / © Getty Images

In my previous article, I had looked at the batsmen who had dominated the first day of Test matches. There was a wonderful response from the readers and I was able to create an excellent Readers' list of first day domination by batsmen. Theirs was indeed a more difficult task than mine since the individual scorecards had to be perused thoroughly. My hats are off to the wonderful set of readers who embellished and enriched the previous article.

This time I have had a look at the bowlers who dominated the first day. This is both easier and tougher than the batting analysis. Easier because the cut-offs are rather well-defined and it was easier to implement these. Harder because the bowling performances at the end of the day is not available in the Cricinfo scorecards and there was a need to do some interpretation of what could have been the final analysis based on perusal of individual scorecards. I request the readers to show the same level of enthusiasm and interest in coming out with alternative bowling performances. Since no one moved the world at Lord's today, this article is not affected.

During the past 134 years there have been over 1950 first days in Test cricket. The first day is the most important one in a Test match. The team which wins the first day goes a long way towards winning the Test. Stated in other words, the team which goes behind on the first day would always play catch up.

The basis for selection of outstanding first day bowling performances was not simple. Cricinfo does not store the day-end bowling performances and care has to be exercised in analysing this information, especially in incomplete innings. Each of the following situations is represented differently and has to be analyzed individually.

- Where an innings is incomplete. This is the toughest of all and might form the basis for most of readers' inputs.
- Where one innings has been completed by end of day's play.
- Where one innings has been completed by end of day's play and the other innings has started.
- Where two innings have been completed.

Now for selection of the performances. There have been three 9-wicket hauls on the first day. These get selected automatically, irrespective of the batting team. Anything which occurs once in 650 matches does not require any further vetting. Interestingly there is one instance of a bowler capturing all 9 wickets to fall during the first day. The other two have been in completed innings.

There have been eight 8-wicket hauls on the first day. Interestingly there is no instance of a bowler capturing 8 wickets in an incomplete innings. All 8 instances have been in completed innings. These performances do not get selected automatically. Six are included based on the quantum of top-order wickets captured and the quality of the batting team. So this is a question of checking whether there is sufficient justification for dropping the performance.

There have been 37 instances of 7-wicket captures on the first day. Most of these are in completed innings. Here this is a case of checking these performances if there is sufficient justification for inclusion. Various factors such as quantum of top order wickets captured, quality of the batting team and runs conceded are used to select performances. Ten 7-wicket performances are selected. I am confident that the readers would be able to push the claims of a few 7-wicket performances.

In summary, 2 of the 3x9-wkt captures, 4 of the 8x8-wkt captures and 21 of the 37x7-wkt captures have resulted in wins for the first bowling teams. This makes it 27 out of 48 and a much higher win % than the overall numbers.

It would indeed take an exceptionally good and memorable 6-wicket performance to be selected. Only one is considered worthy of inclusion. Maybe the readers might unearth a few gems.

Two second innings performances have been included in the selected 20. The second innings performance is a Hobson's choice. On the one hand, the bowler's task is difficult since he would be defending a relatively low total. The flip side is that the pitch is almost always a bowler-friendly pitch since there has already been a low-scoring first innings. So no special consideration has been shown for performing in the second innings during the first day.

The Wisden-100 table has also been used as a guideline. The final ordering is purely my own preference. The reader may not agree, but should refrain from overtly criticizing the selection or the order. Again, as normally happens, readers can send their suggestions, but with adequate supporting material. Just a single statement pointing out a certain bowling performance is unlikely to merit serious consideration. You have to take the trouble of a perusal of the Cricinfo (or alternate) scorecard and support your candidate.

1. Muralitharan: 39-18-51-9 (74) vs Zimbabwe 234/9 (30.62). Match 1583 (2002)

There are quite a few reasons why Muralitharan's performance against Zimbabwe is on top. He is the only bowler to capture all the wickets which fell on the first day, in relevant matches (7+ wickets). He went to the second day still with a chance to get the perfect 10. He bowled a maiden over. Then Olonga made sure that this would not happen by losing his wicket to Vaas at the end of the second over. Let me remind the readers that Zimbabwe were a good team, having the Flower brothers and Streak. Sri Lanka won by an innings. This is the only performance selected which is from an incomplete innings.

An explanation on the two numbers shown. The number 74 represents WPI (Wicket position index). This is just a batting-position-based number to measure the value of the wickets captured. This is not used for any analysis. Hence the batting averages are not used. Dismissal of the top six batsmen gets 10 points each, 7-11 are allotted 7, 4, 3, 2 and 2 respectively. Thus 76 is the maximum points. Muralitharan's WQI is 74 (6x10 + 7 + 4 + 3). The number 30.62 indicates the batting quality index, based on ctd values. 50+ is Don-driven, 45+ is outstanding, 40+ is very good, 35+ is good and 30+ is average, 25+ is fair and 20+ is poor.

2. S.P.Gupte: 34-11-102-9 (73) vs West Indies 222 ao (37.62). Match 0461 (1958).

Subash Gupte, that wonderful purest of pure leg-spinners. What magic he wove with the ball. None more than on a wintry evening at Kanpur. Against a strong West Indian team, he captured 9 wickets and helped dismiss the powerful line-up for 222. When compared with Muralitharan, he captured the no.10 batsman rather than no.8. This collection of wickets included Sobers at 4 and Kanhai at 0 and Butcher at 0. That India lost, after tying at 222 in the first innings, was a reflection of the strength of West Indians. Unfortunately Gupte was collared in the second innings.

3. Abdul Qadir: 37-13-56-9 (66) vs England (31.24) 175 ao. Match 1081 (1987).

Abdul Qadir, as much of a classicist as Subash Gupte. He wove a different type of magic, but magic all the same. One laments, where have all the classic spinners gone. At Lahore on a November day during 1987, the English batsmen had no answers. Not a great line-up, and all at sea. Qadir missed out on the wicket of Capel, who batted at no.6. Despite late resistance by Foster and French, who added 57 runs, Qadir captured the last two wickets and finished with an outstanding analysis. Subash Gupte is ahead only because of the quality of West Indian lineup. Pakistan won comfortably.

Three spinners at the top, and all on merit. They are also really the first amongst equals.

3.5. Barnes: 16.1-5-42-6 (112 ao) and 4 for 20 (45 for 5) vs Australia (37.82). Match 0066 (1902).

This is the only instance of a bowler capturing 10 wickets on the first day,. However this was spread over two innings. This excellent performance has been recommended by Arjun (thanks, Arjun). I thought since this was a unique performance I would add it to the main list itself. The second innings performance is an extrapolation. One of the five batsmen dismissed in the second innings was run out. I have not pushed this to the top since these are two very good performances, rather than one.

4. Croft: 18.5-7-29-8 (59) vs Pakistan (36.61) 180 ao. Match 0799 (1977).

Against a strong Pakistani line-up, Garner dismissed Majid Khan early. Then Croft captured the next five and the last three wickets. He was unplayable on that day at Port of Spain, as also evidenced by the few runs he conceded. Roberts went wicket-less and Garner went for plenty. This is the best analysis by a fast bowler on the opening day. It must be remembered that Croft bowled only 28% of the overs.

5. Valentine: 50-14-104-8 (67) vs England (31.98) 312 ao. Match 0323 (1950).

What an amazing day of Test Cricket at Old Trafford. A good England line-up takes the field. Valentine, on his debut, comes quickly as first change and captures the first five wickets to sink England to 88 for 5. Then Bailey and Evans add 161 runs and Evans leaves after scoring 104. Valentine gets two more wickets but the last two wickets are captured by Ramadhin. Note the high wicket-value figure of Valentine. He captured the top eight wickets.

I have done a different method of presenting the bowling performances. I have selected my top-5 already. Now I am going to present the next 5 performances in a group as I cannot identify anything to separate one from the other in a strong manner. Although I must say that there is some preference of mine in the order in which these five are presented. Finally I am going to present the next 10 performances as another group.

6-10. McDermott: 24-2-97-8 (63) vs England (37.08) 244 ao. Match 1163 (1991).

A top-drawer fast bowling performance by an under-rated modern fast bowler. McDermott captured the top 7 wickets before Hughes chipped in with two and McDermott finished off the innings with the last wicket. His performance is one of the best ever by a fast bowler on the first day. Australia won the match, played at WACA, comfortably.

6-10. Doull: 24-7-65-7 (61) vs India (42.35) 208 ao. Match 1435 (1998).

This spell of Simon Doull competes with Croft's as one of the best ever by a fast bowler mainly because he captured the first 7 wickets of a very good Indian line-up. Note the very high value of the WPI, for a 7-wicket haul. It was only the fact that his long spells necessitated replacements by the other bowlers did not let him take more wickets. New Zealand won a close match.

6-10. Ambrose: 18-9-25-7 (53) vs Australia (36.88) 119 ao. Match 1212 (1993).

This is almost a mirror image of the performance of the other giant, Croft. The only reason why this has been moved to the second group is the fact that two of the top three wickets were captured by Bishop and Croft captured 8 wickets. It was still a stunning performance by one of the greats at WACA. West Indies won comfortably, thanks to Bishop's excellent spell in the second innings.

6-10. F.Laver: 18-7-31-8 (54) vs England (36.27) 119 ao. Match 0104 (1910).

The only Laver we all know is the tennis legend. But this was the other Laver. 37 wickets in 15 Tests indicates a journeyman but this day was his 15 seconds of fame. Laver's is one of two second innings bowling performances. As I have already mentioned, this factor should not carry additional weight. Australia, batting first, were dismissed for 147 by Barnes and Blythe, who shared all the 10 wickets, for 147. Then Laver got into the act and finished with the best ever follow-up performance on the first day. After Macartney and Cotter got the first two wickets, Laver captured the next 8 wickets at a very low cost of 31 runs. England were dismissed for 119. The match was, however, drawn.

6-10. SF Barnes: 26-9-56-8 (65) vs South Africa (22.29) 160 ao. Match 0131 (1913).

Playing South Africa at Wanderers, Barnes captured the first six wickets before Hartigan and Ward steadied the innings. Rhodes and Woolley chipped in with a wicket each before Barnes finished off the innings with the last two wickets to finish with 8 for 56. It must be admitted that this was a fairly weak South African batting line-up. England won comfortably.

Now the 11-21 performances, in strict (reverse) chronological order.

11-21. Harmison: 13-7-19-6 (50) vs Pakistan (40.60) 119 ao. Match 1811 (2006).

This is the only 6-wicket haul in this collection. I have selected a modern giant who delivered less than what he promised. However on this day he was devastating. Only one of the six wickets was that of a late order batsman. His performance is one of the best by a fast bowler on the first day. Well supported by Panesar, Harmison helped England win comfortably.

11-21. Muralitharan: 34-9-87-8 (63) vs India 234 ao (32.39). Match 1559 (2002)

Muralitharan again, this time against the Indian team. Although it must be admitted that this team, sans Tendulkar, was a relatively inexperienced team. One reason why this performance, despite being a first day haul of 8 wickets has been moved into the third group. Vaas captured the wickets of Kaif and Harbhajan and Murali captured the rest. Sri Lanka won by an innings.

11-21. McGrath: 21-4-76-7 (63) vs England (31.56) 180 ao. Match 1377 (1997).

McGrath captured the first six wickets of a good English line-up. He finished with 7 for 87, dismissing England for 180. Australia had their dead-rubber blues and somehow managed to lose the Test by 19 runs. That should not take anything away from McGrath's first day effort.

11-21. Warne: 27-8-56-7 (54) vs South Africa (31.10) 169 ao. Match 1243 (1994).

This time it was Warne against his favourite opponents. South Africa were sitting comfortably at 110 for 3 when Warne, starting with Cullinan (who else), captured the next 7 wickets to help dismiss South Africa for 169. Not a surprise considering that this was at SCG. However South Africa, with that famous last day spell of de Villiers, had the last laugh, winning by 5 runs. Warne had a five wicket haul in the second innings also.

11-21. Border: 26-10-46-7 (54) vs West Indies (42.18) 224 ao. Match 1113 (1989).

A very unlikely bowling hero on the first day. A very strong West Indian batting line-up, Border outshone Alderman and Hughes, picking up the batsmen 3-9 for 46 runs. West Indies were dismissed for 224 and Australia duly won the match by 7 wickets. This is undoubtedly the best opening day effort by a non regular bowler.

11-21. Maninder Singh: 18-8-27-7 (52) vs Pakistan (30.93) 116 ao. Match 1073 (1987).

Against an average Pakistani lineup, Maninder bowled one of the best first day spin bowling spells in India. After Kapil Dev prised out the openers, Maninder captured the next 5 wickets and the last two to finish with outstanding figures of 7 for 27. Finally the Pakistani spinners proved more resourceful, despite Gavaskar's legendary 96, and won by 16 runs. This performance pipped Kumble's 7 for 48 against Australia mainly on wicket quality factor.

11-21. Ramadhin: 31-16-49-7 (60) vs England (31.84) 186 ao. Match 0439 (1957).

Lord Beginner's one little pal has already come in. So the other pal would not miss out. This was seven years later. A more experienced Ramadhin, sans Valentine, picked up 6 of the top 7 wickets against a reasonable English lineup. England were dismissed for 186 and looked like losing heavily when May and Cowdrey stepped in with a record match-saving stand. Finally West Indies struggled to save the test.

11-21. Bailey: 16-7-34-7 (53) vs West Indies (45.21) 139 ao. Match 0386 (1954).
11-21. Bailey: 21-8-44-7 (53) vs West Indies (43.06) 127 ao. Match 0440 (1957).

Bailey had two such 7 wicket performances on the opening day against West Indies during the 1950s. First one was the one referred to above. Three top order wickets quickly against a very strong West Indian lineup helped dismiss West Indies for 139 and eventual easy win. Three years later he performed a similar feat, this time taking 7 for 44, again leading to an England win. These two performances have been presented together as one entry since these two performances are virtually identical.

11-21. Faulkner: 27-4-84-7 (54) vs England (40.43) 176 ao. Match 0128 (1912).

This is the other second innings performance. South Africa were dismissed for 95 by Barnes and Woolley. Then Faulkner, bowling unchanged, kept them in the game by capturing 7 for 74, including 4 top order wickets and helped dismiss England for 176. Barnes was unplayable in his 8-wicket spell in the second innings and England won comfortably in the end.

11-21. SF Barnes: 22-6-60-7 (53) vs Australia (42.97) 137 ao. Match 0100 (1908).

This is the other bowling performance of Barnes against a very strong Australian lineup with almost all pre-war greats playing. Australia were dismissed for 137 but won the match in the end through Trumper and Saunders.

Just a final note. The two 8-wicket bowling performances not considered are 8 for 58 by Lohmann (0036) and 8 for 81 by Braund (0082). Lohmann's was against a very weak Australian side. Braund's was against a better team, but not so great a collection of wickets. Anyhow either could have come in.

Unrelated to the above article I am compelled to make a brief comment on the ICC all-time best XI selected by public. The all-time ICC best XI represents a paucity of clear thinking and inability on the part of the voters to consider the greats of the past, predominantly due to lack of knowledge and historic perspective. It would be interesting to see the demographic break-down of the quarter million voters. My guess is 80% from India and 80% of those below-35. I also feel it was somewhat fortuitous that Bradman was selected.

At some time in the future I will try and get a dialog going with the readers on the subject. One thing I do not associate with the readers of this blogspace is myopia, the inability to recognize greatness and lack of historic perspective.

Readers' selections

1. Fazal Mohd: 6/34 in 27 straight overs vs Australia 80 ao (0430/1956) Pawan.
2. Underwood 7/113 vs Aus 304 ao (0754/1975) Ruchir. 2nd day but no play on first.
3. MacGill 7/104 vs West Indies 256 for 9 (1527/2001). Ruchir.
4. C.Pringle 7 for 56 vs Pakistan 102 ao (1153/1990). Arjun.
5. McGrath 5 for 21 vs England 92 for 7 (1756/2005) Arjun. 2nd inns.
6. Blythe 8 for 59 vs South AFrica 110 ao (0094/1907). Alex. 2nd inns.
7. Lawson 7 for 78 vs Australia (incl hat-trick) (1645/2003). Arjun.
8. Ironmonger 7 for 23 vs West Indies (0205/1931). Tom/Alex.
9. Kumble 7 for 48 vs Australia (1714/2004). Pavan.
10. McKenzie 7 for 66 vs India (0625/1968). Arjun.
11. Old 6 for 48 vs Pakistan (0825/1978). Alex.
12. Tattersall 6 for 48 vs India (0346/1952). Ad.
13. Martin 6 for 54 vs Sri Lanka (1748/2005). Arjun.
14. Lance Cairns 7 for 74 vs England (0958/1983) Arjun/Gerry.
15. Garner 6 for 60 vs Australia (0983/1984) Gerry.
16. Ghulam Ahd 7 for 49 vs Australia 177 ao (0433/1956). Arjun/Alex.
17. Motz 6 for 69 vs West Indies 297 ao (0651/1969) Arjun.
18. Spofforth 7 for 46 vs England 101 ao (0009/1882) Ad. 2nd inns.
19. Imran Khan 7 for 52 vs England 272 ao. (0931/1982) Pallab.
20. Lever 6 for 38 vs Australia 152 ao (0755/1975) Arjun.
21. Worrell (6/38 - 82 ao) & Johnston (6/62 - 105 ao) (0343/1951) Arjun.
22. Donald 6 for 53 vs England 122 ao (1471/1999) Venkat/Gerry.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Santosh Sequeira on August 22, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    Ananth

    Great analysis as usual. I wonder if similar analysis can be done for 5th day performances (or the last day in case of timeless tests or the ones that finished inside 5 days) for both batting and bowling.

    best regards

    Santosh [[ This will be tough one since the fourth day close of play situation has to be interpreted very carefully. However it is a good suggestion and will keep this in mind. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish Garg on August 4, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    Shrikanthk: Saying that Andy Flower scored bulk of scoring against India and BD only is a great disservice to this brilliant batsman-keeper. He scored IN INDIA where many oveseas batsmen have struggled. One, he scored IN Pak and SL as well and it sums up his success in Asian wickets. Scored 142 and 199* against SA facing one of the best pace attacks. Succeeded in West Indies and in New Zealand also. Please don’t judge him on the basis of total of 5 matches in England and Australia. Even SRT had struggled in SA with an average in 30s before the last tour, and even Ponting and Mark Waugh had struggled in India and Sri Lanka respectively.

    Andy Flower had been a revelation as a batsman against many good pace attacks in the world; only to cut-short his career on moral grounds (the politics in Zim). I am not saying that he is the best or is comparable to Sanga or Gilli, but what you said too is not definitely true.

  • shrikanthk on August 3, 2011, 2:50 GMT

    Andy flower: The average of 51 tells a lot

    The average conceals a lot as well! Andy Flower played no test matches in Australia. Two in England. One in South Africa. Averaged less than 30 in these 3 games. His average looks damn impressive thanks to his gluttonous run-making against India and B'desh, on slow subcontinental wickets.

    A very good player of spin. But there is no way we can discuss him alongside Gilchrist and Sangakkara. Not an altogether convincing record against strong seam attacks.

  • Boll on August 2, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    @love goel. Yep, Andy Flower was a wonderful player and has continued to impress both as a statesman and a coach. It`s difficult to compare him as a batsman with Gilchrist though - batting at 5 as the only world-class player in a team is a different position entirely to coming in at No.7 in possibly the greatest batting line-up of all-time. They were both world-class batsmen (at No.5 and No.7 respectively), just that Gilly is No1 all-time in his position. Batting aside, if I had to choose a keeper out of Gilly, Sanga and Flower, I would pick Gilchrist every time, no question.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on August 1, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    Love Goel beat me to it, was about to mention Andy Flower. They way Matt Prior is Keeping / batting, might as well throw him in also. The only reason to avoid mentioning them is to try and forget England / anything to do with England, and this nightmare of a test series. I dont think we deserve to be called #1 if we cannot even play a full XI. We might curse Sunny / not even mention Greenidge, but in this Indian line up, I dont think there is anyone who will be thinking of a 4th innings double century and winning. Now the next best thing is to wait for the Australia series, so that if we win, we can praise ourselves a bit more for having beaten the (once) great Australian team.

  • Alex on July 31, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    @Gerry: Sadly, Gilly never faced Chetan Sharma ... much like he rarely ever faced great fast bowlers near their peaks. Anyway, you seem to be a Gilly flag-bearer.

    @love goel: Thanks for Andy Flower ... I never saw him bat and never followed him either. One 'keeper who was really blessed as a batsman but never realized even half its potential was Chandrakant Pandit. Much like Kapil, he used to time and middle the ball from the get go. Yet, his batting average is only 24. Talking about SRT's boyhood, people only mention Kambli. However, Pandit was their senior and had the same coach, Acharekar. Among all his pupils, Acharekar believes Pandit had the most natural talent. I think until Dravid & Ganguly arrived, Indian batsmen (with very few exceptions) never set themselves high goals ... Pandit was a case of that.

  • love goel on July 30, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    Well , when the discussion has moved to best wk-batsmen , I will like to throw one more name in the ring

    Andy flower: The average of 51 tells a lot.

    Tests 63 112 19 4794 232* 51.54 10636 45.07 12 27

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/zimbabwe/content/player/55427.html

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 29, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Alex, I myself now feel like Gilchrist receiving a juicy full toss from Chetan Sharma. In this period, I can remember only 100*, 156* and 192 from Sangakkara. I remember at least 12 centuries from Gilshrist, each a thriller, each striking fear into the opposition. IMO, Ponting and Gilchrist are the best players of fast bowling in the last 20 years. Better than Lara, Inzy, Kallis, Tendulkar. Gilchrist had his own brutal methods against spinners, which did occasionally fail.

    So i am happy to work with the handicap of Gilchrist in WK role as batsman, v/s Sangakkara in pure batsman role. Will still pick Gilchrist, even in my sleep.

  • Alex on July 29, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    @Ananth: By now, as is usually the case, the discussion has gone off track to focus on an individual much like "Kirana" gharana style of Hindustani vocal wherein they find a note and start playing around it. Thankfully, it is Gilly & Sanga now.

    @Ravi: Here are Sanga's stats since May 2006 ... 39 tests, 16 centuries, 4117 runs, ave=70. He averages 125 in Oz, 42 in BD, 33 in Eng, 48 in Ind, 124 in NZ, 80 in Pak, 88 in SL, and 24 in WI. Incidentally, his physical age over this period is the same as that of Gilly's over 1999-2004. I think Mahela is the classier batsman but Sanga too is fantastic. By all means, praise Gilly. But why bash Sanga? As it is, I much fear Sanga's decline has already started.

  • Ravi M on July 29, 2011, 2:09 GMT

    Sanga as keeper:

    48 T, 3117 runs at an ave of 40.48 & S/R of 52.05 (7 100s for a higher order bat)

    Gilchrist in his first 46 Tests, 3053 runs at 61.06 & S/R of 83.62 (9 100s)

    It's only fair that we use more or less same number of Tests as it's bound to take its toll.

    Sanga: 14.25 v Aus, 25.72 v RSA & 30.54 in Eng, 22.00 in NZ (in two most swing-friendly countries)

    Gilchrist: 94.3 v RSA & 68 in Eng, 36 in NZ (he later improved it to 81.2)

    Amongst AWAY matches, only other sub-60 average for Gilly was in India. Well, partly thanks to "brilliant" umpiring of SK Bansal.

    Anyway, I'll just rest my case with this one thing: OUTSIDE THEIR RESPECTIVE CONTINENTS

    Sangakkara: 25 innings, 628 runs at 26.16 & S/R of 46.48 (NO 100)

    Gilchrist: 24 innings, 1341 runs at 67.05 & S/R of 88.28 (5 100s - 4 of which were absolutely breath-taking!)

    If a specialist batsman had such brilliant and WHOLESOME** numbers over almost 5 seasons & 50 Tests, he'd be considered great!

    **keyword: everyhwere

  • Santosh Sequeira on August 22, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    Ananth

    Great analysis as usual. I wonder if similar analysis can be done for 5th day performances (or the last day in case of timeless tests or the ones that finished inside 5 days) for both batting and bowling.

    best regards

    Santosh [[ This will be tough one since the fourth day close of play situation has to be interpreted very carefully. However it is a good suggestion and will keep this in mind. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish Garg on August 4, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    Shrikanthk: Saying that Andy Flower scored bulk of scoring against India and BD only is a great disservice to this brilliant batsman-keeper. He scored IN INDIA where many oveseas batsmen have struggled. One, he scored IN Pak and SL as well and it sums up his success in Asian wickets. Scored 142 and 199* against SA facing one of the best pace attacks. Succeeded in West Indies and in New Zealand also. Please don’t judge him on the basis of total of 5 matches in England and Australia. Even SRT had struggled in SA with an average in 30s before the last tour, and even Ponting and Mark Waugh had struggled in India and Sri Lanka respectively.

    Andy Flower had been a revelation as a batsman against many good pace attacks in the world; only to cut-short his career on moral grounds (the politics in Zim). I am not saying that he is the best or is comparable to Sanga or Gilli, but what you said too is not definitely true.

  • shrikanthk on August 3, 2011, 2:50 GMT

    Andy flower: The average of 51 tells a lot

    The average conceals a lot as well! Andy Flower played no test matches in Australia. Two in England. One in South Africa. Averaged less than 30 in these 3 games. His average looks damn impressive thanks to his gluttonous run-making against India and B'desh, on slow subcontinental wickets.

    A very good player of spin. But there is no way we can discuss him alongside Gilchrist and Sangakkara. Not an altogether convincing record against strong seam attacks.

  • Boll on August 2, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    @love goel. Yep, Andy Flower was a wonderful player and has continued to impress both as a statesman and a coach. It`s difficult to compare him as a batsman with Gilchrist though - batting at 5 as the only world-class player in a team is a different position entirely to coming in at No.7 in possibly the greatest batting line-up of all-time. They were both world-class batsmen (at No.5 and No.7 respectively), just that Gilly is No1 all-time in his position. Batting aside, if I had to choose a keeper out of Gilly, Sanga and Flower, I would pick Gilchrist every time, no question.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on August 1, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    Love Goel beat me to it, was about to mention Andy Flower. They way Matt Prior is Keeping / batting, might as well throw him in also. The only reason to avoid mentioning them is to try and forget England / anything to do with England, and this nightmare of a test series. I dont think we deserve to be called #1 if we cannot even play a full XI. We might curse Sunny / not even mention Greenidge, but in this Indian line up, I dont think there is anyone who will be thinking of a 4th innings double century and winning. Now the next best thing is to wait for the Australia series, so that if we win, we can praise ourselves a bit more for having beaten the (once) great Australian team.

  • Alex on July 31, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    @Gerry: Sadly, Gilly never faced Chetan Sharma ... much like he rarely ever faced great fast bowlers near their peaks. Anyway, you seem to be a Gilly flag-bearer.

    @love goel: Thanks for Andy Flower ... I never saw him bat and never followed him either. One 'keeper who was really blessed as a batsman but never realized even half its potential was Chandrakant Pandit. Much like Kapil, he used to time and middle the ball from the get go. Yet, his batting average is only 24. Talking about SRT's boyhood, people only mention Kambli. However, Pandit was their senior and had the same coach, Acharekar. Among all his pupils, Acharekar believes Pandit had the most natural talent. I think until Dravid & Ganguly arrived, Indian batsmen (with very few exceptions) never set themselves high goals ... Pandit was a case of that.

  • love goel on July 30, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    Well , when the discussion has moved to best wk-batsmen , I will like to throw one more name in the ring

    Andy flower: The average of 51 tells a lot.

    Tests 63 112 19 4794 232* 51.54 10636 45.07 12 27

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/zimbabwe/content/player/55427.html

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 29, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Alex, I myself now feel like Gilchrist receiving a juicy full toss from Chetan Sharma. In this period, I can remember only 100*, 156* and 192 from Sangakkara. I remember at least 12 centuries from Gilshrist, each a thriller, each striking fear into the opposition. IMO, Ponting and Gilchrist are the best players of fast bowling in the last 20 years. Better than Lara, Inzy, Kallis, Tendulkar. Gilchrist had his own brutal methods against spinners, which did occasionally fail.

    So i am happy to work with the handicap of Gilchrist in WK role as batsman, v/s Sangakkara in pure batsman role. Will still pick Gilchrist, even in my sleep.

  • Alex on July 29, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    @Ananth: By now, as is usually the case, the discussion has gone off track to focus on an individual much like "Kirana" gharana style of Hindustani vocal wherein they find a note and start playing around it. Thankfully, it is Gilly & Sanga now.

    @Ravi: Here are Sanga's stats since May 2006 ... 39 tests, 16 centuries, 4117 runs, ave=70. He averages 125 in Oz, 42 in BD, 33 in Eng, 48 in Ind, 124 in NZ, 80 in Pak, 88 in SL, and 24 in WI. Incidentally, his physical age over this period is the same as that of Gilly's over 1999-2004. I think Mahela is the classier batsman but Sanga too is fantastic. By all means, praise Gilly. But why bash Sanga? As it is, I much fear Sanga's decline has already started.

  • Ravi M on July 29, 2011, 2:09 GMT

    Sanga as keeper:

    48 T, 3117 runs at an ave of 40.48 & S/R of 52.05 (7 100s for a higher order bat)

    Gilchrist in his first 46 Tests, 3053 runs at 61.06 & S/R of 83.62 (9 100s)

    It's only fair that we use more or less same number of Tests as it's bound to take its toll.

    Sanga: 14.25 v Aus, 25.72 v RSA & 30.54 in Eng, 22.00 in NZ (in two most swing-friendly countries)

    Gilchrist: 94.3 v RSA & 68 in Eng, 36 in NZ (he later improved it to 81.2)

    Amongst AWAY matches, only other sub-60 average for Gilly was in India. Well, partly thanks to "brilliant" umpiring of SK Bansal.

    Anyway, I'll just rest my case with this one thing: OUTSIDE THEIR RESPECTIVE CONTINENTS

    Sangakkara: 25 innings, 628 runs at 26.16 & S/R of 46.48 (NO 100)

    Gilchrist: 24 innings, 1341 runs at 67.05 & S/R of 88.28 (5 100s - 4 of which were absolutely breath-taking!)

    If a specialist batsman had such brilliant and WHOLESOME** numbers over almost 5 seasons & 50 Tests, he'd be considered great!

    **keyword: everyhwere

  • Ravi M on July 29, 2011, 1:52 GMT

    Ananth, pardon us for side-tracking; but just would like to add one thing on Gilly's batting after having read that some people actually consider Sangakkara in the same league.

    I'll throw in some numbers for Gilchrist:

    At the completion of the Test during which Gilly reached 3000 Test runs, his average was 61.1 at a strike rate of 83.6! 61 out of his 63 innings were against teams other than BD & Zim.

    Away average of 65 at a strike rate of 88

    4th innings: average of 104.3 & S/R of 90.2!!!!

    Fielding first: average of 76.5 & S/R of 88.9 (matters for a keeper or bowler, having done some real work before hand)

    1st & 2nd Tests: Average of 74.3 & S/R of 85.5 (most series in his days were 3-Test series & considering most of the 3rd Tests involving Australia were dead-rubbers, 1st two Tests were more essential)

    At his usual batting pos. 7: ave 67.6 & S/R of 85 (matters again because when he batted elsewhere, mostly for quick runs)

    Will finish it with some comparing numbers now:

  • shrikanthk on July 29, 2011, 1:34 GMT

    It is happening regularly in ODIs and T20s.

    Maybe. But I wouldn't take that too seriously. Balls hardly go past the bat in ODIs! Keepers don't have a lot of work to do. Also, you do see keepers standing up to the likes of Collingwood or Bopara in ODIs, but that is not quite the same as standing up to an Alec Bedser or Maurice Tate who were probably some 10km/hr quicker and genuine swing bowlers to boot!

  • Alex on July 28, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    @Gerry: First, thanks to Healy, Gilchrist started late at age 28 while Sanga started at age 23. So, much like Trott, he started with a bang. Also, he was playing in arguably the greatest and most well-balanced team of all-time.

    Second, Abhi would have elaborated on his favorite topic, viz., the run making orgies of 2001-06 much better. Let's talk about test batsmen over this period.

    1. Ponting & Kallis averaged 76+, far outpacing Gilchrist. Dravid, Inzy, Hayden, Mahela, and Mohd Yousuf also struck gold. And this was Lara's own high noon. Was Gilly better than them?

    2. Approach-wise, his closest competition was Sehwag & Smith. Sehwag certainly was better & even more destructive.

    3. Run making orgies of 2007-11 are similar. IMO, the list of top 6 of this period must include SRT, Kallis, Sehwag, & VVS. IMO, Sanga might possibly not make it but Mahela might.

  • Boll on July 28, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    cont`d. In any case, my World XI already has 2 all-rounders: Bradman, who statistically was worth 2 exceptional No.3 batsmen; and Sobers, who walks it in as one of the top 6 batsmen of all-time. Only 2 of the men traditionally regarded as all-rounders, Imran and Hadlee, come into consideration, simply because you could argue for their inclusion on their bowling alone.

    Apologies for the tangential comments (Ananth and all) - university holidays began today in Japan, so I`m feeling particularly chatty. Cheers to all - as a neutral fan I can`t wait for Trent Bridge to begin.

  • Boll on July 28, 2011, 11:51 GMT

    re.Gilly vs Sanga - very difficult to compare these 2 guys as batsmen. Sanga`s a better No.3, Gilchrist was a better No.7. I`m not sure much more can be said on the matter. As for keeper/batsmen I think Gilchrist is a good step ahead of any competition.

    However, if I was picking a world XI I would simply pick the best keeper, whoever that is. I dont know enough about keeping to give a considered opinion on who that might be, although, Ian Chappell aside, many people rate Knott as a serious contender. (Unfortunately, statistics provide little help when selecting best keepers/fieldsmen).In fact, if I was choosing a World XI I wouldn`t pick a traditional all-rounder at all; simply the best 6 batsmen, the best keeper, and the best 4 bowlers. Unlike national teams, where all-rounders in the mould of Kallis, Kapil and Botham are like gold, I think they lose some of their relevance when choosing the greatest team of all-time.

  • Boll on July 28, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    @Alex. re. your comment `Akram batted mostly at #8 through #10, same as Gillespie`. Actually, Akram batted most often at No.7 (29inns.), No.8 (63inns), No.9 (31inns), occasionally higher and lower, but basically a quintessential No.8. Gillespie batted most often at No.8 (8inns), No.9 (42inns) and No.10 (34inns) - basically a quintessential No.9/10. Very different types of batsmen as their usual position in the order suggests.

    Wasim was a wonderfully talented, albeit flawed and inconsistent, strokeplayer. Gillespie was a very solid defensive tailender who averaged 60 balls per dismissal in tests.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 28, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    Alex, As a general comment, using the case of Sangakarra, what i am trying to say, is that the purple patch of Sangakarra of 7/06 to 7/11 is not uniquely his only. Most good batsmen thrived. So if we lift Sangakarra's batting stats today and compare with Gilchrist's career stats of 2007, it is not apples-to-apples.

    Hence, even as a batsman, you cannot compare Sangakarra to Gilchrist on numbers. When Gilchrist averaged 58, no one else did. If you watched their batting, and Sangakarra was superior peak-to-peak, that is acceptable as your personal opinion. Analytically, there is no clear case.

    On opinions, even Boycott remarked that we make a big deal of who Tendulkar or Lara can play (pace / spin), but Gilchrist whacks everyone mercilessly. Look at the level at which Gilchrist is being compared. We cannot keep track of each commentator, but BA Richards' was not a stray comment.

  • Alex on July 28, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    @Gerry: With Ananth's permission, I will post this comment. As a batsman in tests, Gilly was great till 2003; thereafter, he was a useful batsman capable of occasional super innings. In 1999-2001, Steve Waugh was the best Aussie batsman. Ponting also had a great 1999-2000 and hit his jaw-dropping purple patch starting 2002. At no stage in 1999-2002 could one seriously call Gilly the best Aussie batsman ... Barry Richards called him the world's best batsman but his comments are as unbiased as Sobers'.

    This is not do downgrade Gilly. He is one of the greatest ever cricketers and took the 'keeper's role to a new level. I myself might choose him in my all-time world XI. It's just that I feel Sanga is the better batsman. Imran became a strong batsman after '87 when he decided to cut down on his bowling. We don't hold it against him. So, why should we hold it against Sanga that his batting stats improved after giving up the gloves? [[ Problem is only if you/anyone chooses Sanga as keeper ahead of Gilchrist. If you can justify Sanga as a batsman that is a different thing. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 28, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    Now I am obsessed with Sangakarra...he has raised his average from July2006 to July2011 from 47 to 57. In this period, 20 (just to make sure, TWENTY) batsmen have averaged 50+ spanning Sangakarra at the very top @72 to K Pietersen @50 at the bottom.

    In this period he has hit 16 centuries, of which 6 are abroad, and include 156* and 192. Others have done more creditably. Even if i were to make a top 6 out of this period for pure batsman (which Sangakarra was), is is debatable if Sangakarra would make the cut.

    We are indeed swayed by impressive averages of modern batsmen. I agree completely about Walcott and LEG Ames with Shrikanthk.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 28, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    Alex, I am surprised... Gilchrist is one of the most devastating batmen of all time, completely keeping his wicketkeeping aside. His first test performances are legendary - Edgbaston 2001, Bombay 2001, 2004, Johannesburg 2002. Cant recollect any other batsman with such a brutal impact in recent times. He was undoubtedly Australia's #1 batsman between 2000 and 2004 (perhaps joint #1 with Ponting towards the end). ALL THIS TIME he was also the WK. How can Sangakarra's 40 average (distributed unevenly as i have pointed out) be even compared with this?

    Also,even as a batsman, look at the quality of Knott's centuries, before deciding that Sangakarra was better (when keeping wickets)...i have already mentioned Sanga averages.

  • shrikanthk on July 28, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    As for those who played before 1970, you can only go by literature and partial high-lights

    Ravi: One area where modern Wicketkeepers are completely untested is in their ability to stand up to medium-fast bowlers! This is something that used to be quite common in the old days (pre 1960s). But you seldom see it happening today. [[ It is happening regularly in ODIs and T20s. Ananth: ]]

    Godfrey Evans used to stand up to Alec Bedser all the time. Bedser once said that he was twice the bowler when the keeper stood up to him. Tallon often stood up to the likes of Toshack if I'm not mistaken. Duckworth stood up to Maurice Tate in the 20s/30s! This is one skill set which is probably lacking in modern keepers.

    The other day in the Lord's game, I wondered whether Praveen Kumar would be more effective with Dhoni standing up. But I wouldn't want that to happen because I am not sure if Dhoni would do a great job.

  • shrikanthk on July 28, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    Here's a purely subjective selection. Ananth : Don't worry...Not asking you to put it in any list :)

    Bill O'Reilly England vs Australia - Leeds 1938 This is the game that Don Bradman later called the greatest test match he ever played in. It was the game that decided the fate of the Ashes for the next 8 years (given the War).

    It was one of the weakest Aussie attacks in their history. The series was 0-0 coming into this test. So, if Aus won at Leeds they'd retain the Ashes regardless of the result at the Oval. A strong English side were bowled out for 223 on the 1st day, with O'Reilly taking 5-66, four of them clean bowled.

    He took another 5-wicket haul in the 2nd innings. History will remember this as O'Reilly's match. He got Hammond out with unplayable deliveries in both innings. And there is no way Aus could've retained the Ashes without Tiger.

    The description of this match can be found in Ralph Barker's Ten Great Bowlers. Must read, I'd say.

  • shrikanthk on July 28, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    Sanga, IMO, is the best ever batsman among all 'keepers (unless we start viewing Kanhai & Dravid as 'keepers)

    If one can consider Sanga, one should seriously consider Clyde Walcott as well! A more destructive, aggressive player than Sangakkara.

    Until the emergence of Gilchrist, the man who used to be regarded as the greatest wicketkeeper batsman of all time was Kent's Les Ames! The only WK batsman to have a 100 first-class centuries to his credit. Averaged 40+ in Tests. However, nobody seems to remember him these days.

    I'll go with Gilchrist. One of the few cricketers of the past 10 years who transcend the era they played in.

  • shrikanthk on July 28, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    It's funny that people actually think that all those wicket-keepers like Alan Knott, Dujon, Marsh & even Healy better than Gilchrist in keeping..

    Interesting observation. I have a theory about this perception of wicketkeepers. Back in the old days, the Wicket-keeper invariably used to be the best fielder in the whole side. No doubt his fielding stood out when compared with the rest of the team. Also, the fact that his fielding was SO much better than the rest of the team meant he could afford to command a place on his WK skills alone!

    Nowadays, the fielding standards of the team as a whole are uniformly higher. Which means that the Keeper is not necessarily the "Fielding star"! Given the reduced limelight commanded by his fielding, it becomes imperative that the Keeper score runs more heavily to justify his place in the side.

    No wonder, our expectations from WK batsmen have skyrocketed over the years. At the same time, our awe for WK feats behind the wicket have diminished!

  • shrikanthk on July 28, 2011, 3:00 GMT

    I have seen Shrikanthk also get swayed by current career aggregates over Sangakarra

    Gerry! I don't really remember ever commenting on Sangakkara on this blog! I admire Sangakkara as a person. But never been a huge fan of his batting or keeping. A very fine batsman no doubt, but one must note that these SL players play a very large proportion of their tests in the subcontinent, which does help the averages.

  • Alex on July 28, 2011, 2:56 GMT

    @Ananth: Perhaps an article on wicket-keepers is due? A lot of people will have a lot to say on it since it is all very subjective ... it is tough to define exactly what is "catchable". Every wicket keeper has dropped catches now and then: Healy dropped Lara in the final 20 minutes of the epic 153*.

    Across tests & ODI's, Gilchrist was a once-in-a-decade type player; Dhoni has taken over that mantle now. I personally feel Healy was a better 'keeper and Sanga was a better batsman (in tests). [[ You have forgotten or have not seen the Wicket-keeper analysis done by me during Oct 2008. Might need a revisit, though. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi M on July 28, 2011, 1:02 GMT

    Keeping the case more modern, one of the most boring 'discussions' of modern times is how Healy was a superior keeper to Gilchrist.

    The catches that Healy couldn't even get his gloves on were taken with so much ease by Gilchrist!

    Who cares about their height! We don't have various divisions like boxing! So, if being taller helped Gilly to pluck those off thin air, so be it!

    I'd pick him any day over Healy for keeping alone! [[ I do not know how people come to the conclusion on wicket-keeping ability on the subjective eveluations of former players. If Ian Chappell said that Knott was the best, that is his subjective evaluation. There is no record of the chances missed. And elegance in keeping is as obscure/important as elegance in batting. Of course Gower/Gangluly can stroke the ball much more elagantly to cover than Border/Chanderpaul. However other than the "pleasing to watch aspect, the runs are 4. Gilchrist's detractors should remember one thing. The instant he realized that he was slipping from his own high standards, the Laxman (I think) miss, he decided to retire. "Very few players have had this level of honesty. If he dropped a catch or do, so have ALL keepers. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi M on July 28, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    Of all those who played since Greg Chappell's debut Test (1st Test with Live telecast of every ball in Australia), there hasn't been a more acrobatic/athletic & more enduring wicket-keeper than Gilchrist.

    No other wicket-keeper covered large 'territories' with such consistency!

    As for those who played before 1970, you can only go by literature and partial high-lights. When you actually read through most of the match reports, you'll find that awfully high number of catches had been dropped in those days!

    The batting in those days were mostly about survival due to the nature of pitches and the presence of genuine out-swing bowlers. Which meant the batsmen offered more half-chances they do these days! Which meant when a keeper took 4 and dropped 2, one would say, he had a good match.

    The fact that they used very 'thin' bats meant the edges often went to the keeper. These days, they often fly to the fence through 3rd & 4th slip.

  • Ravi M on July 28, 2011, 0:44 GMT

    It's funny that people actually think that all those wicket-keepers like Alan Knott, Dujon, Marsh & even Healy better than Gilchrist in keeping alone!

    Totally ignoring their batting, Gilchrist was still as good as any to have ever kept wickets. Has any keeper dove in front of the 1st slip more often than Gilly to take blinders? Has any keeper got a stumping off a bowler who arguably generated more bounce than anybody (perhaps Garner, Ambrose are his equals)!

    The likes of Knott & Marsh dropped more catches per matches than Gilly. It's sad that most aren't aware of it.

    If there ever was one keeper who was perhaps slightly better than Gilly in terms of keeping, it's that incomparable Wally Grout of Australia.

    Gilchrist might not have had the best of techniques, but then neither did Bradman when it came to batting!

    Gilchrist's ratio of taking blinders to dropping a catch is likely to be higher than anybody's. 'Poor' guy's batting was so great, we didn't care much about his keeping!

  • Vinish Garg on July 27, 2011, 16:51 GMT

    Ananth

    I wonder if we can find something *common/coincidental* for day 1 of test cricket, from your last two blog posts. For example, did it happen that a bowling performance that you listed in *this* article happened on the same day as one of the batting performances that you listed in *previous* article? It can be either from your original lists, or from readers’ lists. Interesting it would be indeed!

    BR [[ Great idea. Let me do it as a comment just before my next article which is due on 4/5 Aug. I will close the entries by the week-end and then sift through the 100 or so bowling/batting performances. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 27, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    @Gerry, I completely agree with you on the Sanga vs Gilchrist question. Sanga has played about half of his tests as keeper (ave 40), Gilchrist played every one of his there. If we are talking keeper-batsmen Gilchrist walks it in for mine. I agree with Ian Chappell on this one though; if we are choosing a World XI, we should pick the best keeper. Enough people have told me it was Knott for me to give him the spot.

    Once again, apologies for getting off topic.

  • Alex on July 27, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    @Gerry: Sobers at #6 demands a batting support at #7 & #8. Sanga, IMO, is the best ever batsman among all 'keepers (unless we start viewing Kanhai & Dravid as 'keepers). Ananth's previous article has shown that he batted well vs top attacks. So, Sanga gets my nod ... else, it best to take Marsh/Knott/Healy/Dujon over Gilly.

    Akram batted mostly at #8 through #10, same as Gillespie. IMO, he was a modern day AK Davidson with more venom & variety as a bowler. Mitchell Johnson was supposed to be the next Davidson ... he is good but he is no Davidson.

  • RANGArajan on July 27, 2011, 12:33 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Excellent article - though I do not have any contributions from readers choice, I am happy that there are quite a few people who are so enthusiastic about test cricket and the real art: Bowling . . . The rice and the chaffe are separated when great bowlers bowl. Most importantly, in test cricket under testing conditions. More than the article, I enjoy sensible comments from readers, like Gerry, Alex, Arjun, Shrikanth, Boll and others.

    I know it is extremely difficult but may be in future, one article on the greatest battles (like Ishant v Ponting @ WACA, Gough v/s Aussies in 1994, etc) which probably may not be seen in numbers but the quality . . . after all, these contests make test matches real joy to watch . . . Bat and Ball trying to outwit each other . . . there may be countless, but could pick up a few . . .of course, this would spark countless debates due to subjectivity [[ Ranga While there is no doubt that I can do such an article I think I will leave the subjective conclusions to other able columnists whose forte is that genre of writing. It is true that at times I come out with non-analytical comments on a subject close to my heart. But in general I would prefer to stick to my strengths. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 27, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    Ok, I lost my nerve. I was going to let that comparison sit there for a while, as Ananth was inundated by replies from outraged Pakistani fans (and others).

    However the batting comarisons are valid - Wasim and Johnson were/are both wonderful strikers of the ball, capable of taking attacks apart, scoring important centuries, but leaving most of us thinking they could do so much more. As for the bowling...well they`re both left armers aren`t they?

    Just harking back to the debate about great all-round performances though - Johnson`s effort against SAf in 2008/09 deserves mention. In what was essentially a 6 test series (home and away, Dec-March) Johnson scored 401 runs at 57 and took 33 wickets at 25 against the no.2 team in the world. Brilliant stuff - no wonder his relatively failures annoy so many people.

  • Boll on July 27, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    @Alex. Yes, I doubt whether anyone would compare Wasim to Gillespie in terms of pure batting ability - we are comparing a No.7/8/9 to a No.9/10. There`s a significant difference (particularly in terms of expectation) between a lower order batsman and a tailender after all.

    I was surprised to see Akram`s batting average was only 23 or so though, and that boosted by that massive not out double. Gillespie averaged about 19, boosted even moreso by his 201*. I think a fairer comparison would be between Wasim and Mitchell Johnson - very similar to Wasim in many respects, both as a batsman and a bowler.

  • Arjun on July 27, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    Test # 1274, Mumbai, 1994.

    C Walsh 79/6. (First 4 Sidhu, Tendulkar, Kambli, Prabhakar, then kumble, Raju). leaving India at 99/5 around lunch, but for Manjrekar-mongia partnership India would have lost the test. [[ 4 top wickets, away are the plus points. The inability to finish off the innings on the contra side. The final scores do not indicate a batting-friendly pitch. Let me see. I have left out so many other 6-wicket performances. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 27, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    Alex, the evergreen Sunny basher...your choice of WK is a bit dicey. Would like to point out that Sangakarra cannot be held anywhere in the same league as Gilchrist. Reason being that Gilchrist was a wicketkeeper batsman, full time in both, with a batting average of 58+, and possibly the best batsman in the world at his peak. Sangakarra used to average much less in his days as WK, than he does now.

    To follow up this hunch, i just checked. when he gave up his gloves in 6/2006, he had played 60 matches. Avg 47. But sub-40 averages in Aus, Eng, NZ, SA, India. Great averages in Zim (140).

    I have seen Shrikanthk also get swayed by current career aggregates over Sangakarra. Let us not forget another aspect - he did not face Ambrose / Bishop / Wasim / Waqar etc in their pomp (pre-1996) else his WI / Pak avgs would also have taken a knock.

    No...doesnt make it to my IIIrd world XI also (cant look past Gilly/Marsh/Dujon/Healy among modern greats).

  • Alex on July 26, 2011, 19:00 GMT

    @Ananth and @Boll: For batting prowess at positions 8-10, Wasim Akram is much superior to Gillespie. He has batted at #11 as well ... Gillespie, of course, never got to bat at #11 because McGrath had made that exalted position his own! [[ However, I repeat, if my life depended on it, Gillespie would get the ticket. Wasim Akram is more likely to play an aggressive stroke and cost me dearly. Ananth: ]]

    Gillespie, unlike McDermott, performed well almost everywhere. Super bowlers tend to emerge in a bunch in Oz: @1946-54, @1971-78, @1992-99, etc. Who knows when the next such extended window will occur. Maybe it will start 4-5 yrs down the line.

  • Ad on July 26, 2011, 14:27 GMT

    Don't want to sound like I'm complaining but you seem to have missed some comments! Had suggested both Motz and Worrell/Johnston in separate posts earlier but you looked at them only after they were pointed out again. [[ To the extent possible I try and give credit. However I am not always able to go through all previous comments. Anyhow will add "ÄD" to the said performances. Ananth: ]] Anyway here's another one: Match 1241 DH Brain (Zim) 5/42 vs Pak Its only a 5 wkt haul which included a tailender but then how often do we see Zim bowling out a full test team under 150 on the first day and that too away. [[ And you can add, full-strength Pakistan team. I am tempted to get all three in (Brain/Brandes/Rennie). Let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 26, 2011, 13:14 GMT

    Jason Gillespie cont`d. Unfortunately, his performances are often forgotten amidst the stunning Oz dynasty of that era, particularly because of Warne and McGrath. However, in a career cruelled by injury his statistics remained world class - 260 wickets at 26, with a strike rate of 54. He also played 60% of his tests away from home; most impressively 33 wickets in 7 tests in India (2001/2004) at an average of 21.

    Anyway, he was my favourite bowler of that era, and I think he deserves a mention. [[ I agree that the 5/57 is far more valuable than the 7/37. He missed 3 top wkts in the later effort. However I am afraid something more than either is needed. He was a wonderful bowler and the best late order batsman in history. You probably missed my article on night-watchmen. It was published in two parts during June 2008. There is a glowing reference to Jason there. If my life depended on a 8-11 batsman, I would select Jason 10 times out of 10. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 26, 2011, 13:04 GMT

    OK, I know it doesn`t quite make the cut, but it remains one of the most memorable tests I`ve watched - Aus vs South Africa in Port Elizabeth 1997. Mark Waugh scored that match-winning (series- saving, and eventually series-winning) century in the 4th innings (the only ton of the game, with only 1 other score over 50) and won the man of the match. More pertinently to this article however, the mighty Dizzy Gillespie announced his presence on the world stage. He took 5-54 on the first day off 23 overs, including Kirsten, Kallis and Pollock for ducks, as well as Cullinan and Gibbs. It was a brilliant performance for a man in his 1st year of test cricket.

    His 7-37 at Leeds later that year remains more famous (stretched over the first 2 days due to rain), although the standard of batsmen he dismissed was considerably weaker.

  • Arjun on July 26, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    Test # 343 at Adelaide,1951.

    Can't choose from 2 almost identical performances that happened for different teams on opening day.

    Aus allout for 82 (Worrell 38/6) then WI allout for 105 (WA johnston 52/6)

    If 2 efforts from same team can't get in then these are 2 efforts for different teams. [[ West Indian batting was better by about 12+%. Johnston's wickets were 5 batsman + Atkinson (of the 347 ptship fame). Worrell was 3 + Lindwall (, Johnson+Langley. But Worrell conceded 38 and Johnston, 62. So these two are almost dead-heated. I think, for the novelty, I will get both in. Also this was not one pre-ww1 uncovered pitch. It was Adealide Oval. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 26, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    Ananth, for the same reason as Peter Lever 6/38, Donald 6/53 should get in as a solo. It was a devastating performance, and decided the outcome of the series in the first 30 minutes of the series itself. Pollock was also a terrific bowler, but in that half an hour was just a bystander, when the first 4 wickets fell. So i am not sure if Pollocks was an equal contribution, though important. Donald's was an exceptional opening gambit [[ Lever really captured the first four wickets at 1, 0, 1, 0. Donald dismissed Butcher for 1, Atherton for 0, (Pollock gets Hussain for 0) and Stewart for 0. And then Adams (who !!!) for 16. Although Pollock then got Vaughan and Flintoff, that spell of Donald's is something special. Ok, the lightning gets in, I buy your argument. And that of Venkat who had mentioned this performance earlier. Ananth: ]]

    On Gavaskar attacking / defensive - these are perceptions. Other esteemed commentators have other observations. Interestingly, Ted Dexter, in his book - "Boycott to Bradman, the great batsmen" - classfied Gavaskar, GS Chappell, IM Chappell as "supremos". He defines this as steady accumulators, at a good clip, without letting their hair down and attack fast bowlers, like a Richards. Equally likely to score at their pace against tough / friendly bowling.

    If a weak batting (until 1982) team best batsman is an opening batsman, it is silly to label him defensive

  • Arjun on July 26, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    Is this 5-wkt hual worthy of inculsion ?

    Test # 235.

    O'Reilly 189/7 vs ENG at Manchester on a batting paradise (1307 runs for 20 wkts, rpw-65.35)

    on 1st day(355/5) no other bowler managed to get single wkt, he himself got Top-5, Walters, Suttclife, Hammond, Hendren, Wyatt. [[ I admire O'Reilly for his work at Old Trafford (Wisden: From first to last the sun blazed down, the heat at times being unbearable) and you for your persistence in unclovering special efforts. However I am not sure whether we recognize an effort solely because of the heart factor. Even in a batting paradise, a top quality leg spinner could get 5 wickets in 30 overs or so. Don't ask me why his friend, the little man, did not get the wickets. Tough to decide. O'Reilly captured 3 wickets in 4 balls in a score of 355 for 5. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 26, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    @Ananth: Just so hat-tricks are not ignored, let's note:

    Peter Siddle: 16-3-54-6 vs Eng, 2010 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/the-ashes-2010-11/engine/match/428749.html). The birthday boy had already taken out KP, Cook, and Collingwood. He then jolted England from a healthy 197/4 to 197/7. All this on a batsman's paradise.

    Of course, probably the most telling Day 1 hat-trick is McGrath's vs WI, Nov 2000, in which he removed Campbell, Lara, and Adams to leave WI tottering at 4 for 19. [[ Hat-trick and 7-wkt performanc is already in. Is there a hat-trick and 8 wicket bag. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 26, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    Test # 755

    peter lever(Eng) 38/6(of only 11 overs) vs AUS at MCG [[ If for nothing else Lever should get in for his 4 for 10 spell (dismissing Redpath, McCosker, G.Chappell and Edwards for a combined total of 2 runs). And the fact that England won an away test against a strong Australia, dead rubber notwithstanding. Ananth: ]]

  • Pallab on July 26, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    “As far as I am concerned, Gavaskar is the greatest opener the game has seen...SMG was a very classy batsman who had all the strokes and could tear into attacks if the situation so demanded (Delhi '83, anyone?)” @Ajinkya:Refer to mine and Gerry’s comments about that 121 Delhi knock in 1983 by SMG(for me it was the best attacking , authoritative knock of 80s considering quality of attack followed by 90 of same attacking vintage in Ahmedabad) all across Ananth’s recent blogs and Gavaskar’s class in general. As Gerry mentioned once, in about 2-3 decades, WI pacers of 80s vintage and SMG’s supreme class will become fading memories. I have doubts about what you mentioned about Barry though. If SA had not been banned in 70s, cos of politics he would still not have played India, Pakistan and emerging SL to be truly considered a complete batsman. So in that sense, Kallis,G.Kirsten (maybe de Villiers, Smith in future) deserve kudos. [[ Twice in his career Gavaskar chose to let the world what he had hid from them (and had to hide, because of circumstances). Delhi, 1983 and Nagpur, 1987. Ananth: ]]

  • Pallab on July 26, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    “I daresay Hadlee the bowler was almost as impressive as Lara the batsman.” @Alex: Pleasantly surprised that a Hadlee eulogy is finally mentioned in these blogs. The problem as with batsmen (Gavaskar/Border Vs. Richards, Dravid/Kallis Vs. SRT, ) in Hadlee’s case is that the flamboyance/charisma of Imran/Lillee and their pace, lethality of Marshall/Akram/Holding and prodigious natural swing of Botham/Kapil (and their batting) overshadowed Hadlee. I considered Hadlee the better craftsmen of all the bowlers mentioned above simply because of his lack of pace for a major part of his career. WATCHED every ball he bowled against India in 1988 series as a transfixed teenager. To think that Hadlee’e name did not even come up for discussion in both cricinfo’s First and Second XIs! [[ Amongst the fabulous four, Hadlee was the best bowler, Kapil was the best batsman and Imran the best all-rounder. Botham was invaluable. Ananth: ]]

  • Pallab on July 26, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    Ananth:1.Hadlee’s 5/65 (Boon, Border, Matthews, Lawson, Holland) at Perth,1985 seems OK but was decisive 3rd Test which NZ won and a Test series for 1st time in Aus. It was Hadlee Vs. OZ all thru series also picking up 15 wickets at 1st Test at Gabba.In fact, at Gabba, he picked up all 4 wickets to fall on 1st day but the 1st day’s play ended at 146/4 b4 picking up 9 wickets overall next day (9/52). 2.Waqar 78/6, 1998, Port Elizabeth Test no. 1406 (though he picked up 5 only on 1st Day). Wicket quality seems OK though. [[ Pallab, while I am inclined now to consider the circumstances beyond the first day, I am not going to look at performances beyond the first day. So both do not qualify. Ananth: ]] 3.Imran 52/7, 1982 against Eng, Birmingham Test no. 931 (4 top order wickets), Imran MOM for all-round performance in fantastic see-saw series which Eng won.First real signs of Imran’s all-round talent a decade after his debut! [[ I had looked at this earlier but was waiting for someone to speak up and you did. Although Imran took three top + Miller, I will get this in because it was away. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi M on July 26, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    Sir Garfield might have "only" averaged just over 51 in Australia when BOTH Davidson & Benaud played.

    But, those who grew up in Australia would know about those brilliant 200s he scored at will while playing for South Australia (upon Sir Donald Bradman's request) against New South Wales that had Benaud, Davidson in their attacks. As usual, NSW in those days was pretty much Australia minus a couple of good players.

  • Ravi M on July 26, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    Adding to Gavaskar's chinks:

    Two of the main reasons why I consider Sir Garfield as the 2nd greatest batsman of all-time after the boy from Bowral of course.

    1. He was magnificent in England (best attack, good conditions for pace bowling) and was also awesome in India (very decent spinners on dustbowls).

    2. He was prolific when the best players were playing:

    a) Official** matches involving John Snow:

    Overall, 1083 runs @ an average of 62+. Even better in his prime, in 1 home series and 1 away series, 847 runs at 84.7!!!!

    b) When Fred Trueman played:

    Overall, 1391 runs at 53.4! But, this includes the young Sobers in mid 50s.

    From late 50s, he played 1 home and 1 away series against Trueman. Scored 1031 runs at an average of 68.7!!!!

    ** Rest of World tour of England earned another 588 runs at 73.5 in matches involving BOTH John Snow & Derek Underwood!

    Add these to his flair and ability to hit 145m long 6s off Davidson & Benaud, you have THE FINEST since Bradman!

  • Ravi M on July 26, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    4/ Amongst unofficial Tests: 1970 Eng v Rest of the World a) Sobers' 6 for 21 @ Lord's (1st Test) b) Barlow's 7 for 64 @ Headingley (4th Test)

    5/ From WSC Cricket: a) Ray Bright's 6-52 v WI all out for 163 in 1979 Sydney (victims include: Clive Lloyd, IVA King Richards, Rowe, Greenidge)

    6/ Rest of the World in Australia 71/72 Obviously, the series was famous for Lillee's 8-29 @ WACA and Sir Garfield's mammoth 254 @ MCG. But, talking of day 1 performance:

    I had to mention this, because any bowling list without DK is incomplete: Australia bowled RoW out for 184 before cruising to 1/58 at stumps, Day 1.

    Lillee took 5-48 (5 of the first 7 batsmen were his victims: Gavaskar, Graeme Pollock, Sobers, Engineer & Ackerman*).

    Zaheer Abbas and Tony Greig were the ones who didn't get out to DK. In fact, Tony's late charge of 66 spoiled Lillee's figures.

    *Hylton Ackerman might not have been a famous name; but he was the only other world XI batsman to have scored 300 runs for the series.

  • Ravi M on July 26, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    I guess a number of great 1st innings performances, unfortunately, didn't make the cut because of interrupted play on day 1. The few that crossed my mind were: 9-fers from Hadlee & Qadir, McGrath's 8-fer @ Lord's, Hadlee's 6-fer vs WI in Christchurch in mid 80s, McKenzie's 8-fer at MCG against WI etc.

    Anyway, moving on.

    I'd like to mention a few memorable performances that don't seem to be in the list.

    1/ Neil Hawke's 6-47 v Eng all out for 182 @ Oval 1964 (victims inlcuded: Boycott, Ted Dexter, Barrington). Hawke broke Dexter's bat in the process. Cowdrey saved Eng in the 2nd innings though. [[ Ravi, I can see quite a bit of value in this since the wickets are those of 4 top batsmen + Titmus + Trueman, no mean bats. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

    2/ Peter Loader 6-36 v WI all out for 142 @ Leeds 1957 (victims: Sobers, Worrel, Weekes and a hat-trick. Kanhai & Walcott were out to Jim Laker). Peter Loader was selected only because Statham was injured. Removed Sobers from Pavilion End & then switched to other end and bowled one of the best overs in history. Bowling Worrell with a late inswinger & Weekes with an outswinger. [[ This is like Pathan's. Can get in only because of the hat-trick. The last three batsmen's wickets makes me think a bit. At the same time the top 3 wickets give it a push. Let me see, again. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 25, 2011, 23:58 GMT

    @Ananth: Some excavation revealed the following bowlers whom many have forgotten.

    1. Amar Singh: 44.4-13-86-7 vs Eng, 1934 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62618.html). Took 6 of 7 on Day vs a decent (but not full strength) England side. Hutton called Amar Singh the best bowler in the world in 1936! [[ Only 5 on the first day, including two bowlers, Nichols and Townsend, does not warrant inclusion. Ananth: ]]

    2. Ghulam Ahmed: 20.3-6-49-7 vs Aus, 1956 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62819.html). Aussies were not full strength in batting but Ahmed had a hand in 8 dismissals since he caught a batsman. [[ Arjun has already mentined about this and I am going to include this classic. Ananth: ]]

    I don't insist that these be included. Skimming through the records, it was easier to find a single bowler wreaking havoc after Day 2. Unfortunately, it does not make sense to talk of "bowlers who dominated Day 3 (or 4)" since several innings, however short, might be spread over two adjacent days.

  • Ad on July 25, 2011, 18:12 GMT

    Not sure how everyone missed the Ashes test!

    Match no. 9 FR Spofforth (Aus) 7/46 vs Eng Of course, Spofforth's 7 wickets in the final innings is the more famous effort but this was on the 1st day which allowed Aus to come back after being bowled out for 63. [[ I probably missed this because of this being the second-innings effort similar to Alex's pointer to Blythe's 8-wkt haul. This assumes more significance because this was after Australia were dismissed for 63 and fibnally won. Will get this in immediately. Ananth: ]]

    Another interesting one - 2 bowlers on the 1st day: Match no. 343 Worrell (WI) 6/38 vs Aus (1st innings) - Aus all out for 82 Johnston (Aus) 6/62 vs WI (2nd innings) - WI all out for 105 Very similar efforts though Johnston's quality of wickets may be slightly better. Both teams lasted for about 50 overs in all so the conditions might have played a part. Second innings scores were better for both teams though.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 25, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    Last one for the day - a truly terrifying combination (Donald, Pollock) faced by England. Allan Donald 6/53 - 5 of the top 6; top 4 batsmen making 1 run between them; England bowled out by South Africa in 40 overs. 1st Test at Wanderers, Johannesburg, 1999. [[ I have already responded to this performance. Pollock's 4 for 16 was as important as Donald's 6 for 53. So this can get in only as a joint entry, a la Wasim and Waqar. Problem is that if I get this in as a two-bowler entry, there are twenty such two-bowler performances, especially before WW1. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 25, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Test # 651

    RC Motz(NZ) 69/6 vs WI

    5 out of Top 6 including Sobers, Federicks, Nurse, Butcher. [[ Since I have now also started looking at beyond the first day, this performance is significant. New Zealand defeating the mighty West Indies with an excellent batting index of 41.56. The underdogs won then and now also, by getting in. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 25, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    Ananth, cant resist. OK, I will drop Gavaskar, take Hobbs/Sehwag/Barry Richards/Hutton. Will also take Kevin Petersen, instead of ...

  • Arjun on July 25, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    Test # 433.

    Ghulam Ahmed 49/7 vs AUS. at Kolkata, 1956.

    India babies then, unexpectedly bowled out Mighty Aussies for 177 on opening day. [[ I had looked at this and excluded on the grounds that the Australian batting was average, in fact below India's Now I have second thoughts. Barring Crawford, Ghulam's victims were all Test century-makers. So I will get this in. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 25, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    1) Kapil Dev, 8/85 against an extremely strong Pak team (which thrashed Aus 3-0 in 3 tests and India 3-0 in 6 tests) in the 5th test in 1982-83 in Lahore 2) Kapil Dev 8/106 against Australia at Adelaide, 1985 (though not all on the first day so similar to Hadlee 9/52) [[ Both were spread over 2 days. Ananth: ]] 3) Shaun Pollock 6/30 at Cape Town v/s Sri Lanka, 2001 (he took the first 4 wickets for 10 runs and Sri Lanka failed to reach 100). [[ Again, nothing great. 3 top wickets + ARnold + 2 tail-enders. I have much better 7-wkt performances still being kept out. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 25, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    An irrestible force - Jeff the Ripper 5/62 at the MCG, 1975 v/s WI (Fredericks, Greenidge, Rowe, Kallicharran, Lloyd = 5 of the top 6). [[ Gerry, sorry. By now you should know that just being a good-to-very-good performance will not be sufficient especially if it is a 5-wkt haul. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 25, 2011, 11:49 GMT

    I had looked at Lawson's 112/8 before but he had only taken 4 wkts on the opening day. [[ Yes, WIN were 244/5 on the opening day. I also looked only at the scorecard not the first day end score. Let me remove the entry. Ananth: ]]

    Instead N Ntini bowled much better on opneing day at perth, 2005.

    He had reduced Aus to 199/6 with 5 wkts. (Langer, Hayden, M Hussey, B.Hodge, Gilcrist) This was a High Scoring game so his performance looks much better. [[ This is no more than a very good performance. There are quite a few other instances of top 4/5 wickets being captured. Ananth: ]]

  • Ad on July 25, 2011, 9:35 GMT

    I sent this a few days ago but looks like it was missed somehow!

    Match 346 R Tattersall (Eng) 6/48 vs Ind Got the top five - Roy, Mankad, Umrigar, Hazare, Phadkar. India were bowled out for 121 playing at home. [[ Ad, the first comment was missed out. Did not reach me. That Kanpur was a different pitch, not the batting paradises later. However this was a weakened English side, Indian top order was very good and Tattersall, coming in third change, captures the first 5 wickets and then the last. I think this gets in. Hilton, 4 for 32, gets a mention also. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 25, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    Ananth, what about 1) Imran Khan, 6/100 in Sydney 1976-77? Australia. That was a strong Australian team, and Sydney was not the bowler's paradise (unlike Maninder taking 7/27 in Bangalore v/s Pak). 2) Lance Cairns 7/74 in Headingley, 1983 3) Geoff Lawson 8/112 v/s WI in Adelaide, 1985. 4) Garner 6/50 v/s Australia, Port of Spain, 1984 (first 5 wickets; Border scored 98* and 100*; his 98* should feature in the 1st day with the willow piece). [[ First day at Bangalore surely would not be a bowler's paradise. I think I would expect a little more from a 6-wkt haul rather than 6-102. Marsh and O'Keeffe also. So I would keep this in abeyance. Cairns has already been included (Arjun). How did I (or anyone else for that matter) miss Lawson. 8 for 112 against a top West Indian team. 8 of the first 9 wickets. Blind spots for all. Will get this one in straight. Suddenly all great efforts come in a flood. Garner takes first 5 wickets and finishes off this innings. Will get this in. Gerry you have come out with a set of gems. Thanks a lot. Ananth: ]]

    Must excavate from memory, and i must admit that batting performances feature more prominently than bowling in my memory.

  • Arjun on July 25, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Test # 958

    BL Cairns's 74/7 at leeds (NZ a rare victory in England) [[ That deserves to get in. After Fowler was dismissed, Cairns took the next 6 wickets . And the last. 33 overs on the opening day. Where do you see that now.: ]]

    Also what about CS Martin ag SLK (test # 1748) all 6 batsmen dismissed. [[ I had already responded. I had talked about one more tail-ender's wkt. But that is incidental. I think 6 out of the top 7 deserves to get in. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 25, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    @Ananth: I don't deny your superb work but stated why bowlers are at a disadvantage compared to batsmen. I daresay Hadlee the bowler was almost as impressive as Lara the batsman. Anyway, here is something you might like:

    Chris Old: 22.4-6-50-7 vs Pak (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63211.html). Took 6 of the 9 wickets on Day 1. Importantly, reduced Pak from 125/5 to 126/9 in a 5-ball burst that took 4 wicket for 0 run! [[ Sadiq + Javed plus that 4-wicket burst at the end of the day including the two Wasims gets this in. I have also gone through and added a few others, slightly lowering the bar. Ananth: ]]

    1. The 4 wkt in 5-ball feat has happened only 3 times in test cricket. Allom of NZ managed it on Day 1 in his debut (5 for 38)! Wasim Akram managed it vs full strength WI in '91 but in the 2nd innings of WI.

    2. Cricinfo has a list of 3 wkt in 4-ball performances. I think one of those might be relevant here. URL: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283736.html.

  • Ajinkya on July 25, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    Re. the openers discussion-Len Hutton and Barry Richards are hardly being mentioned here...my top opening pair for any conditions would be Gavaskar and Barry Richards. Richards, if he had been more fortunate, would have gone on to be the best opener of all time and one of the top two or three batsmen of all time...a complete player. Probably the most complete batsman ever, along with Bradman and Tendulkar.

  • Alex on July 25, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    @Ananth: We are interested in bowlers but your criteria are a bit harsh on bowlers.

    E.g., a batsman scoring 112* out of 232/8 on Day 1 made the list for super Day 1 performances but a bowler getting 6 of 8 wickets on Day 1 is not making it ... on the grounds that somebody else took the top 2 wkts or so, etc., etc. Noble's 7 for 17 and McGrath's 6 for 17 are cast aside but SRT's 155 got in. Then, Roberts' 7 for 52 (vs Ind in GRV's 97* test) or Bedser's 7 wicket debut have no hope. [[ You should not worry that the bowler bars are set high. That is one way to unearth trearures. I pushed Blythe's 2nd inns performance recommended by you in a trice. Similarly Fazal's got in immediately. I explained Noble's exclusion also. I also have had a problem with the bowler analysis due to data/program quirks. In batting I had selected 15 myself and 25 were added by readers. That makes it 40 and one-in-50-tests performances. I am comfortable with that. Similarly if I can get in 40 bowlers' efforts I would be happy. I aleady had 22 in (you have to give me credit for getting more bowlers' performances myself) and I will look for around 20 bowlers' entries. But it must be said that the number of bowlers' article comments are less than a half of the batsmen article comments. The probelem is not with the Alexes/Arjuns/Shris/Ruchirs of the world. It is the others. Ananth: ]]

    In a decisive test lasting 5 days, per day 8 wickets will fall, in which a bowler is to take 25%-30% wickets, i.e., 2-2.4. Batsman has it easy: he is to score only 13% runs. Him scoring 25%-30% is like scoring 70-120 runs on Day 1 ... then, a bowler's 6 wkts on Day 1 equals a batsman's 200+ runs on Day 1.

    The asymmetry is because a bowler can't operate all day but a batsman can. So, pl dilute your criterion to give the bowlers a well-deserved break! E.g., look at relative SR, relative RPO, etc.

  • shrikanthk on July 25, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Bob Massie's performance on the 1st dayT of the Lord's test in 1972. That was Massie's match with a 16 wicket haul!

    On the first day, he reduced England to 249-7 with a five wicket haul. [[ I had looked at this and all other 8 wicket hauls carefully. 5 wickets out of 249 for 7 does not seem to be like a once-in-50-tests performance. In fact the much-maligned Venkat took 6 of his 8 wickets on the opening day. Ananth: ]]

    To my mind, an important performance in the context of the series. It was a very close series, with England winning the 1st test. Aus fought back at Lord's thanks to Massie's effort. It was the game which signaled the rise of Australia after what had been a tough few years for them. They'd remain the best side in the world for the next 5 years.

    Javagal Srinath reducing Pak to 26-6 at Kolkata in 1999! He demolished the strong Pak top order in the first hour! [[ I have already talked about this earlier. Srinath might have had a great 2-hour period but afterwards lost the zing and Pakistan recovered to go to a win. I think 5-wicket performances have to be more incisive and effective. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajinkya on July 25, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    As far as I am concerned, Gavaskar is the greatest opener the game has seen...and it's not as if he was a boring stonewaller as most of my generation (born in the 90s) seem to think. He was a very classy batsman who had all the strokes and could tear into attacks if the situation so demanded (Delhi '83, anyone?).

  • shrikanthk on July 24, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Secondly, let us talk about WACA after first finishing up with Supersport Park, Durban and Newlands...take any tour of South Africa - Sehwag has been such a miserable failure on fast tracks that it is preposterous to even think of Sehwag and WACA in the same moment

    All I said was that the idea of picking Sehwag in an all-time XI (much as I dislike the idea of having an all-time XI) is not all that preposterous.

    Also, we pick these imaginary XIs to play tests in all conditions against all comers ...Not to play games at the WACA or Kingsmead all the time. Let us not regard a particular type of opposition or a particular set of conditions as the "toughest".

  • Alex on July 24, 2011, 18:16 GMT

    @Ananth & shrikanthk: I think All-Time XI should be a "team" and not a collection of names.

    1. A wonder is how frequently SMG gets mentioned as a must have. As late as early 90's, he was not uniformly rated as the best opening batsman of even his own generation (BCCI was yet to become a force).

    2. For opening pair, I like Hobbs and Viv Richards. Viv did open a few times and he was the best ever vs fast bowling. This opens up a spot in the middle-order, which now reads "Lara-Don-SRT-Sobers" with Gilly (or, preferably, Sanga) at #7. The 4 bowlers can be chosen situation specific:

    a. spinning track: Marshall, Warne, Murali, O'Reilly (Sobers can open the bowling).

    b. fast bouncy track: Marshall, McGrath, Ambrose, Holding.

    c. swing-seam conditions: Marshall, McGrath, Lillee, & Ambrose/Imran.

    d. subcontinental flat: Marshall, McGrath, Imran, & a spinner. [[ Alex and all others: Let us stick to the topic on hand although I suspect, as I feared, the bowlers seem to get less attention than the batsmen. I will complete the Readers' list by checking out the comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on July 24, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    [[At WACA, who would you want to open against Marshall, Waqar, Lillee, Imran/Sobers (the left-out four). Sehwag/Gavaskar or Hobbs/Gavaskar]]

    Sehwag has played 1 match at WACA and Hobbs never did. So this is not a valid comparison. I see the point you are trying to convey that Hobbs is better than Sehwag in difficult conditions against tough bowling.

    That is an entirely subjective thing. My point was that someone could select hobbs/Gavaskar, Sehwag/hobbs or Sehwag/Gavaskar and effectively argue logically for all 3. There can be no logical argument for Kapil over Imran/Sobers

    [[You should not pick players expecting one spectacular innings every 5 times. If you are picking players for all types of opposition, you should pick players who would do well 3 out of 5 times. That is Hobbs. ]]

    Sehwag 22 100s in 150 innings. Hobbs 15 in 102. Not much to separate them

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 24, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    On another note, the 2000th test is shaping up exactly like the great Barbados test of 1999 (Waugh 199, KP 202; Campbell 105, Dravid 103*). If England are bowled out today, and India have a sub-350 target, Tendulkar will get the biggest chance of his career to silence his doubters, which include me, of course...no stage can be bigger than this. If he does not succeed, then...

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 24, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    Shrikanthk - you should work your math a bit more...

    There is very little likelihood of those 4 bowlers - Marshall / Waqar / Lillee / Imran losing their length, unless someone hits them...on the WACA, surely it wont be Sehwag who disturbs them...!

    Secondly, let us talk about WACA after first finishing up with Supersport Park, Durban and Newlands...take any tour of South Africa - Sehwag has been such a miserable failure on fast tracks that it is preposterous to even think of Sehwag and WACA in the same moment.

    If Murali bowls at the WACA, yes, then I would prefer Sehwag over Gavaskar, but fat chance of Murali getting in ahead of those four, in any line up for Waca.

    I would not even pick Hobbs. Not tested against this material.

    I would pick Gavaskar and Fredericks...

  • shrikanthk on July 24, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Your own comment settles this. You should not pick players expecting one spectacular innings every 5 times

    Well, I was referring to his performances against the attack you mentioned. In a "normal" career which would naturally include games against all comers in varying conditions, he'll do a lot better than 1 in 5. This "all-time XI" is not going to play against Marshall/Lillee at the WACA all the time.

    I get a sneaking suspicion that you would replace Gavaskar with Hobbs

    Yep. Hobbs is the only player I know about whom I have not heard anything bad or negative! Be it about Hobbs the batsman or Hobbs the person. He almost appears beyond reproach. It's important we remind ourselves that the man played over 25 of his 61 tests after he turned 40! And yet, ended with a career average of 56! I agree that the mid-late 20s was an era of Aussie decline and the old LBW rule. Nevertheless, it is still quite astonishing.

  • shrikanthk on July 24, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    Ananth: Good work again!

    At WACA, who would you want to open against Marshall, Waqar, Lillee, Imran/Sobers (the left-out four). Sehwag/Gavaskar or Hobbs/Gavaskar.

    It depends. On his day, if those bowlers are off their length a little bit, Sehwag can plunder them! I may be willing to risk 3-4 Sehwag failures for 1 special innings that can seal the course of the test match! Moreover, we pick all time XIs to play against oppositions of all types (not just the pacey ones at the WACA) [[ Your own comment settles this. You should not pick players expecting one spectacular innings every 5 times. If you are picking players for all types of opposition, you should pick players who would do well 3 out of 5 times. That is Hobbs. However I get a sneaking suspicion that you would replace Gavaskar with Hobbs. That is a different thing altogether. Ananth: ]]

    I like Hobbs a lot. Such a wonderful free stroking player, as evidenced by his wonderful performances against the strong Aus attack of '20-21 (Gregory, McDonald and Mailey). Hardly a blocker as some people imagine.

    Hobbs and Sehwag will be a sight to behold. Two self-made working class men excelling in the Gentleman's game! Both of them very uncomplicated, simple individuals.

  • Alex on July 23, 2011, 19:04 GMT

    @Ananth: Do take a look at the following 2nd innings performances on Day 1.

    1. Blythe: 15.5-1-59-8 vs SA, 1907 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62489.html) ... surpassed by only FJ Laver. [[ This is again similar to the Barnes match referred to by Arjun. Where two innings were completed and a third innings started, there was a blindspot in the program. Blythe's is a top class performance, that too in the second innings. Will include it straightaway. Not to forget the 7-wkt effort making it 15 wickets in the match. Ananth: ]]

    2. Noble: 7.4-2-17-7 vs Eng, Test #66 ( http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62461.html). The same test featured Barnes' unique 10-wkt haul from your list. [[ I specifically looked at Noble's 7-wkt haul and excluded it. The top three batsmen, also the best three, MacLaraen, Hayward and Tyldesley were dismissed by Trumble and then Noble took the next 7. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 23, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    @Ananth: Arjun is amazing. How about the following?

    1. Lindwall: 16.1-5-20-6 vs Eng, Aug 1948 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62689.html). He shared the spoils with Miller & Johnston on a wet pitch but these figures read a like a top-drawer McGrath spell. [[ I am not that comfortable with this, Alex. Three top wickets (one is not really top, that of the NPC, Yardley) and three late order. But will keep it in reserve and will look at all later today. Ananth: ]]

    2. Underwood: 11.6-7-12-6 vs NZ, Feb 1971 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63071.html). [[ Almost identical to Lindwall's. Only three top order and three lower level. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 23, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    Ananth,

    I think the most special 5-wkt haul you are looking for is by G Mcgrath at lords, 2005.

    After Aus are dissmised for 190 in 1st innings Mcgrath alone reduced England to 21/5, taking Trescothick, Strauss, Vaughan, bell, Flintoff. England end the day at 92/7.

    His analysis after getting Flontoff were, 8.1-4-7-5 [[ If I do not get this diamond into the list you will take the trouble of travelling to Bangalore and chastise me in person. I have to take the additional step of getting into the commentary to get McGrath's analysis but do I will. It is a very special performance which deserves the honour of the first 5-wicket performance. Thanks a lot., Arjun. This is turning to be your space. And what about Pietersen's 57. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 23, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    Test # 1748

    CS Martin 54/6 (all 6 batsmen)

    Attapatu, Jayasuriya, Sanga, Jayawardene, Dilshan plus kalavitigoda(debut)

    a high scoring match too.(1006 runs 29 wkts) [[ Until tomorrow mornimng will keep it in reserve and then alook at all these performances. How I wish he had got either or both tailenders, picked up by Astle. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 23, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    Test # 1645

    High scoring record-breaking Test Match.

    J Lawson's 78/7 (including hatrick) ag. AUS.

    Although it includes few tailenders AUS were 3-0 up in the series. [[ Lawson's was like Pringle. In my list till the end. But 3 top wkts + the last 4 wickets does not exactly make a lot of noise seeking our attention. The hat-trick was at the end. I think I will pass this. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajinkya on July 23, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    I suggest Malcolm Marshall's spell at Kanpur in 1983. Now I know this was only a 4-wicket haul, but he got the top 4 who were all quality batsmen- Gavaskar, Gaekwad, Amarnath and Vengsarkar. This was a very flat track, and this spell had a psychological impact which went beyond numbers. West Indies won that series 3-0. [[ If we lower the bar there are many such 4-wicket bursts. Because these are first day performances the bar has to be kept high. It is not like the last day defences of 100 level totals where there is a specific and tough target. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 23, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    Test # 1153

    C Pringle 52/7, 4 top order wkts. Pak bowled out for only 102 in 40 overs at faisalabad. [[ In fact Pringle was in my list for quite some time. Finally I had to get him out, I think, to accommodate Faulkner because that was in the second innings. I think Pringle deserves to get in. Ananth: ]]

    Test # 1217

    D Morrison 37/6, a rare NZ test victory over Australia. AUS allout for 139 around tea. [[ Morrison is easily handled (although he was nauseating and awful during IPL). Only 2 top order wkts. All of Watson's 3 wkts were top order. Ananth: ]]

  • Venkat on July 23, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    Hello Ananth. Two performances comes straight to my mind.

    1. A.Donald 6-53 vs ENG @ Johannesburg 1999/2000. Match no : 1471. At one stage ENG were reduced to 4-2 with Donald picking 3 in it. His victims were Butcher, Atherton, Stewart, Hamilton, Adams & Caddick. 3 Batsmen, 2 (1/4 batsmen) and 1 bowler. ENG allout for 122. [[ Pollock's 4 for 16 is equally impressive and makes this a joint effort. Ananth: ]]

    2. I.Pathan 5-61 vs PAK @ Karachi 2005/06. Match no : 1783. I read about 5 wicket hauls but I think this was special. Pathan took a hat-trick in the very first over of the match. Butt, Younus & Yousuf were his hat-trick victims and the other two were Akmal & Akhtar. [[ This can get in ONLY because of the first over hat-trick. Else it was an ordinary performance. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 23, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    Ananth, what about Imran Khan - 6/90 against WI, in Jamaica, 1977. He got Fredericks, Richards, Lloyd, Kallicharran, Murray and Holford, took the first 4 wickets, and WI were bowled out before close(they won in the end). This was a very powerful batting line up indeed, with all top 6 batsmen in great form. [[ This was the same series of the Croft classic. I am not that impressed with the spell. 2 of the top-6 were captured by Sikander Bakht. And dismissing West Indies for 280 at Kingston by an excellent attack of Imran/Sargraz/Bakht is not that great. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 22, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    @Ananth: Sorry, in performances sent earlier, I only checked if the innings folded within 70 overs or not ... it did not occur to me that weather took some of those beyond Day 1; McGrath's 8/38, in fact, concluded on Day 3. A few more bizarre Day 1 spells.

    1. Tom Richardson: 11.3-3-39-6 vs Aus, 1896. Wisden notes that on a true dry pitch, Aussies surprisingly were all-out within 113 deliveries to Richardson & Lohmann. - This is still the record for the shortest 1st innings (112 years later, Ind challenged it vs SA at A'bad in year 2008 but fell short by 7 deliveries). - W&W pulled a similar trick on SL at Kandy, Aug 1994. [[ Lohmann dismissed Giffen and Hill (although on debut). The Australian batting order is baffling. I don't know what to make of this innings. W&W has already been talked about in my earlier response to Kamran. Ananth: ]]

    2. Shaun Pollock: 13.4-6-30-6 vs SL, Jan 2001. Reduced SL to 13/4 by taking 4 wkts for 0 run during his first spell. Possibly the best haul of his test career. [[ Pollock's effort is a funny one. As you say, 4 for 0. Then nothing. Last two wickets in 4 balls. He seems to have done little in between. But a spell worth keeping in mind. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on July 22, 2011, 22:08 GMT

    Hi Anantha This is not in response to the blog but your comments about the ICC World team so you cab choose not to post it

    I agree with you that Kapil should not be in there ahead of either Sobers or Imran purely on the basis of numbers but I find that much harder to argue for Sehwag v/s Hutton/Hobbs/Sutcliffe

    Sehwag's avg of 53 compares well with Hutton and Hobbs in the mid 50s. I agree that Sehwag is not an automatic selection like Tendulkar/Bradman/Warne but i could "stomach" his selection

    You could easily argue that Sehwag has been the best opener in the last decade [[ At WACA, who would you want to open against Marshall, Waqar, Lillee, Imran/Sobers (the left-out four). Sehwag/Gavaskar or Hobbs/Gavaskar. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on July 22, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    This is an interesting one.. Day 1 seems to have been washed out. On day 2, Aus were bowled out with Derek Underwood taking the first 7 wickets including the Chappell brothers, Walters and Rod Marsh. I know technically it cannot be considered but just wanted to throw this one in as Underwood was especially deadly on rain affected pitches [[ Ruchir, your point is a valid one. Because of the difficulty of handling the second day as a true first day, I have ignored all matches where the first day was washed out. Otherwise what do we do if a team was 10 for 0 at the end of first day and went 100 all out next day, a bowler capturing 9 for 30. But you know that I am not the guy who would be shackled by some rules I myself have framed. This was one heck of a performance. Underwood captured the first 7 wickets. I think I will get it in. This is also the opportunity for other readers to come out with such "second day" gems. I also like your idea of giving me a URL. Ananth: ]] http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63140.html

  • Kamran on July 22, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    A very nice analysis, for all of the readers who have been hooting for Pakistani Fast Bowlers, they were Reverse Swingers of the old ball, the business end of a Pakistani bowling starts after the 60th or 70th over hence they were not selected, further i might be wrong but i do not remember a devastating first up spell from A Pakistani Fast Bowler other than Asif's against Australia in 2009 i think it was SCG, there too he also took only 6 wickets. [[ Imran is the only fast bowler to have captured 7 wkts on the opening day, that too twice. I have already mentioned about this. Saqlain took 7. Wasim and Waqar normally shared the spoils. The one temptation is to include the two together as a pair. Look at match 1267 against Sri Lanka. Slk dismissed for 71 (Younis 6 for 34 and Akram 4 for 32). But that will open the door for lots of such double-barrel performances, especially pre-1914. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on July 22, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    Stuart Macgill: 7/104. He took 6 of the top 7 including Lara, Sarwan and Samuels Also got both the openers (ordinary batsmen they may be, Campbell and Hinds) after an opening stand of almost 150 [[ West indies ended the day at 256 for 9 and MacGill had taken 7 already. This was under consideration until the very end. Finally got left out. Barring McGrath's dismissal of Adamns, MacGill claimed the top 7. With your nudge this will get into the list straightaway. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on July 22, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    thanks for including my selection Fazal Mehmood. Here is one more performance that i think deserves a mention Test no 873, Hadlee 5-34, against one of the greatest test teams of all time, victims include Greenidge, Lawrence Rowe,Kalicharan, and Clive Lloyd. No Richards yes, but still formidable line up. Hadlee picks 11 in match, Significance- WI lose the match and would go on to lose the series... only to be undefeated for next 15 years [[ The circumstances make this performance stand out. 4 top order wkts make me think a bit. Flip side 3 top wickets in his first two overs. As I have already mentioned a 5-wicket performance has to be one-in-a-zillion to come in. I won't reject it but kepp it in reserve as I have done a few others. In generael I am very happy at readers' responses to the bowling performances. Normally people are gung-ho on batting but not so on bowling. Let me see whether I get 20+ in the Readers' list. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 22, 2011, 16:40 GMT

    @Ananth: I request you and interested readers to hunt for Day performances in http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283203.html and http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283954.html. Cricinfo should add a column on which innings featured these performances. I found the following Day 1 act in it: [[ Not very useful since I have looked at Day 1 and these two analysis refer to Innings. Ananth: ]]

    Ironmonger: 20-7-23-7 vs WI, Feb 1931. [[ has already been discussed in response to Tom. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 22, 2011, 16:21 GMT

    @Ananth: Great article. It will take a lot of time to find out and add more gems to this collection. I can think of the following:

    1. McGrath: 20.3-8-38-8 vs Eng, June '97 (at Lord's incidentally). [[ Effort was on the second and third days. Ananth: ]] 2. McGrath: 20-12-17-6 vs WI, Nov 2000 ... this was McGrath's peak year, IMO. [[ Has already been discussed. In reserve. Ananth: ]] 3. Hadlee: 23.4-4-52-9 vs Aus, Nov 1985. [[ Aus on first day 146 for 4. Ananth: ]] 4. Imran: 29.3-8-58-8 vs SL, March 1982 ... of course, SL were babies in those days. [[ Slk 167 for 6 (Imran 5). I think you have missed out that the article is on first day and not first innings. Ananth: ]]

  • basab ray on July 22, 2011, 16:07 GMT

    Srinath's spell against Pakistan at Kolkata in lost case. Pl. consider it. [[ The first innings was only 5 for 46, very good, but no more. The second innings was 8 for 86. All in a lost cause. Ananth: ]]

  • Pavan on July 22, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    Ananth,

    After seeing the last 2 articles, how about a similar article on last day batting/bowling efforts? [[ I have already done a series of articles on 3rd/4th innings batting/bowling efforts. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 22, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    Ananth, so in Valentine's innings, he bowled 50 overs on the trot? On debut? Must have been one extraordinary debut. [[ No, not really. West Indies, with 90 overs of 150-second spinners bowled 128.3 overs, yes you read it right, 128.3. And England had time to bowl 7 overs. So we are looking at 135+ overs !!! Ananth: ]]

    Also i was baffled that a World XI at all was selected. I would have expected an Indian XI to be selected and called World XI.

  • Tom on July 22, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    I notice that Herbert Ironmonger hasn't been mentioned for his 7-23 at Melbourne in 1931. Fairly indifferent batsmen (albeit including Headley) but it was the same lineup that beat Australia at Sydney a Test later. Ironmonger took four of the top six wickets. The surface is difficult to judge: Australia declared at 328-8 against decent bowlers, but they had much stronger batsmen. [[ Tom, I looked at this but did nott include it because of the quality of West Indian batting, no more than fair at that time. Will keep it in reserve. Ananth: ]] My other nomination would be McGrath's 6-17 against West Indies at Brisbane in 2000, including Chanderpaul and Lara for a duck (although the rest were mostly tailenders). The Aussie bowlers made it look a helpful surface, but the West Indies quicks struggled. [[ Wicket quality is a problem although the performance by itself deserves a second look. Again will keep in reserve. Lara for 0 but C'paul made 18. Ananth: ]]

  • Ad on July 22, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Few other performances worth consideration: Match 1695 Umar Gul (Pak) 5/31 vs Ind Only a 5 wicket haul but look at the victims - Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Patel. Pak won comfortably in the end. [[ Pl refer to the previous comment on 5-wkt hauls. Ananth: ]]

    Match 1133 RJ Ratnayake (SL) 6/66 vs Aus Victims included the top 5 - Boon, Taylor, Moody, Border, Jones. SL couldn't maintain the intensity though and lost comfortably. [[ Similar argument to 5-wkt efforts. Something more is needed, like Fazal's. Ananth: ]]

    Match 651 RC Motz (NZ) 6/69 vs WI Included 5 of the top 6. NZ won in the end

    Match 1217 DK Morrison (NZ) 6/37 (5 on the 1st day) vs Aus Decent collection of victims - Taylor, Langer, Border, Healy and Reiffel (Reiffel was primarily a bowler but he did end up with a batting avg. of 26). Aus were bowled out for 139 and NZ won the match.

  • Pavan on July 22, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    Ananth,

    What about McGrath's performance at Lords 2005 13-5-21-5.Removed 5 top order wickets after Aussies got all out for 190. [[ Pavan A 5-wkt haul has to be a very very special performance. This is something special, no more. Ananth: ]]

    Another one Anil Kumble's 7-48 at Chepauk 2004 vs Australia [[ You will see that I have referred to this while discussing Maninder's performance. Maninder's won comfortably. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 22, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    A unique performance.

    Test # 66, year 1902.

    SF Barnes took 11 wkts on 1st day.(for approx. 60 runs) 42/6 in 1st innings 5/18-20 runs in 3rd innings

    Aus were 48/5 in 3rd innings at the close of play on 1st day. Barnes took all the 5 wkts.

    can't judge pitch quality since AUS scored 353 runs in 3rd innings.

    Irony- 25 wkts fell on 1st day in a timeless test.

    I know it was pre-war test but two 5-wkt hauls on 1st day itself must be unique. [[ Arjun, that is a gem. Unfortunately the data is so tricky that I looked only at the two innings and could not look at the third innings. Let me look at this more carefully. It has every chance of getting into the main list. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 22, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    India were 47/6 before lunch on 1st day, all the 6 wkts captured by Mckenzie. This is perhaps best bowling analyis by bowler before lunch on 1st day. [[ Yes I agree that this needs a further look for the Readers' list. Pre-WW1, we might find a few 7 wicket hauls by lunch. Ananth: ]]

  • hamza on July 22, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    where are the pakistani fast bowlers wasim and waqar, they picked up so many 5 wicket hauls , could not find any of pakistani fast bowlers in list. [[ Will be adding Fazal to the Reader's list soon. Pls aLalso try to understand the article. ONE bowler has to do something extraordinary. Imran is the only fast bowler who came into consideration, 7 for 80 and 7 for 52. Look at these two performances and come back. Also Saqlain. Why have you not seen the no.3 in the table and the eloquent appreciation expressed therein. Ananth: ]]

  • Sreekanth on July 22, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    Good work ! Not too many quibbles here. But going off on a tangent while considering Barnes' performance against SA in 1913, what is the lowest ever batting quality index by your measure? Am sure I have overlooked it in one of your earlier articles. [[ Have to do a table. I think it is the first test of this specific series. South Africa had no one who had done anything or would go on to do anything. Nourse at 29.93 was supported by 10 non-entities. The Batting index just crossed 10.0. However Barnes' performance was in the next test. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on July 22, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Test No 430, Fazal Mahmood blows Australia for 80 at Karachi, figures 6-34, victims include Neil Harvey, Keith Miller and Richie Benaud. deserves to be included. [[ 6 of the top 7 wickets for 34. Bowls unchanged for 27 overs (look at the modern bowlers. 5 overs and they go to the pavilion or get a drink). Decent Australian lineup. This sure gets in. Many thanks for a gem, that too a 6-wicket effort. Ananth: ]]

    As far your comments on ICC world xi, i fully endorse it. I myself am about 3o and have only seen some yester year greats like Sobers and RIchards on television highlight or read about the likes of Hobbes and Hutton through cricket books. But from whatever sources i have known about the greats, their non inclusion is baffling. Its like selecting a fifa world XI without Pele, Maradona, and Puskas. Yes, the selection of kapil over Sobers and Sehwag over Hutton/hobbs shows a clear lack of understanding of history. I also predict that wait for one-two years more ( if India somehow manages to hang on its no 1 test position), then these votrs will start voting for Dhoni over GIlchrist. [[ I myself can accept Gavaskar over Sutcliffe/Hutton. But Sehwag and Kapil Dev. Sorry, cannot stomach it. But then who am I Just a writer who did not even bother to send a vote (I was travelling). Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 22, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    Test # 625

    G Mckenzie's 66/7 ag.India [[ I had looked at all the 7-wicket performances and this was one. Only 4 top order wickets against a fairly average Indian side. Even among 7-wkt performances not included, there are better ones. Ananth: ]]

    took 6 wkts before lunch

    Also steyn's 23/5 before lunch ag. india( India ao for 76 before lunch on 1st day) [[ Nowhere near consideration, Arjun. He claimed Sehwag and Dravid. Then H Singh, RP Singh and Sreesanth. Would not even get into the fifth list. Ananth: ]]

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Arjun on July 22, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    Test # 625

    G Mckenzie's 66/7 ag.India [[ I had looked at all the 7-wicket performances and this was one. Only 4 top order wickets against a fairly average Indian side. Even among 7-wkt performances not included, there are better ones. Ananth: ]]

    took 6 wkts before lunch

    Also steyn's 23/5 before lunch ag. india( India ao for 76 before lunch on 1st day) [[ Nowhere near consideration, Arjun. He claimed Sehwag and Dravid. Then H Singh, RP Singh and Sreesanth. Would not even get into the fifth list. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on July 22, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Test No 430, Fazal Mahmood blows Australia for 80 at Karachi, figures 6-34, victims include Neil Harvey, Keith Miller and Richie Benaud. deserves to be included. [[ 6 of the top 7 wickets for 34. Bowls unchanged for 27 overs (look at the modern bowlers. 5 overs and they go to the pavilion or get a drink). Decent Australian lineup. This sure gets in. Many thanks for a gem, that too a 6-wicket effort. Ananth: ]]

    As far your comments on ICC world xi, i fully endorse it. I myself am about 3o and have only seen some yester year greats like Sobers and RIchards on television highlight or read about the likes of Hobbes and Hutton through cricket books. But from whatever sources i have known about the greats, their non inclusion is baffling. Its like selecting a fifa world XI without Pele, Maradona, and Puskas. Yes, the selection of kapil over Sobers and Sehwag over Hutton/hobbs shows a clear lack of understanding of history. I also predict that wait for one-two years more ( if India somehow manages to hang on its no 1 test position), then these votrs will start voting for Dhoni over GIlchrist. [[ I myself can accept Gavaskar over Sutcliffe/Hutton. But Sehwag and Kapil Dev. Sorry, cannot stomach it. But then who am I Just a writer who did not even bother to send a vote (I was travelling). Ananth: ]]

  • Sreekanth on July 22, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    Good work ! Not too many quibbles here. But going off on a tangent while considering Barnes' performance against SA in 1913, what is the lowest ever batting quality index by your measure? Am sure I have overlooked it in one of your earlier articles. [[ Have to do a table. I think it is the first test of this specific series. South Africa had no one who had done anything or would go on to do anything. Nourse at 29.93 was supported by 10 non-entities. The Batting index just crossed 10.0. However Barnes' performance was in the next test. Ananth: ]]

  • hamza on July 22, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    where are the pakistani fast bowlers wasim and waqar, they picked up so many 5 wicket hauls , could not find any of pakistani fast bowlers in list. [[ Will be adding Fazal to the Reader's list soon. Pls aLalso try to understand the article. ONE bowler has to do something extraordinary. Imran is the only fast bowler who came into consideration, 7 for 80 and 7 for 52. Look at these two performances and come back. Also Saqlain. Why have you not seen the no.3 in the table and the eloquent appreciation expressed therein. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 22, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    India were 47/6 before lunch on 1st day, all the 6 wkts captured by Mckenzie. This is perhaps best bowling analyis by bowler before lunch on 1st day. [[ Yes I agree that this needs a further look for the Readers' list. Pre-WW1, we might find a few 7 wicket hauls by lunch. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 22, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    A unique performance.

    Test # 66, year 1902.

    SF Barnes took 11 wkts on 1st day.(for approx. 60 runs) 42/6 in 1st innings 5/18-20 runs in 3rd innings

    Aus were 48/5 in 3rd innings at the close of play on 1st day. Barnes took all the 5 wkts.

    can't judge pitch quality since AUS scored 353 runs in 3rd innings.

    Irony- 25 wkts fell on 1st day in a timeless test.

    I know it was pre-war test but two 5-wkt hauls on 1st day itself must be unique. [[ Arjun, that is a gem. Unfortunately the data is so tricky that I looked only at the two innings and could not look at the third innings. Let me look at this more carefully. It has every chance of getting into the main list. Ananth: ]]

  • Pavan on July 22, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    Ananth,

    What about McGrath's performance at Lords 2005 13-5-21-5.Removed 5 top order wickets after Aussies got all out for 190. [[ Pavan A 5-wkt haul has to be a very very special performance. This is something special, no more. Ananth: ]]

    Another one Anil Kumble's 7-48 at Chepauk 2004 vs Australia [[ You will see that I have referred to this while discussing Maninder's performance. Maninder's won comfortably. Ananth: ]]

  • Ad on July 22, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Few other performances worth consideration: Match 1695 Umar Gul (Pak) 5/31 vs Ind Only a 5 wicket haul but look at the victims - Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Patel. Pak won comfortably in the end. [[ Pl refer to the previous comment on 5-wkt hauls. Ananth: ]]

    Match 1133 RJ Ratnayake (SL) 6/66 vs Aus Victims included the top 5 - Boon, Taylor, Moody, Border, Jones. SL couldn't maintain the intensity though and lost comfortably. [[ Similar argument to 5-wkt efforts. Something more is needed, like Fazal's. Ananth: ]]

    Match 651 RC Motz (NZ) 6/69 vs WI Included 5 of the top 6. NZ won in the end

    Match 1217 DK Morrison (NZ) 6/37 (5 on the 1st day) vs Aus Decent collection of victims - Taylor, Langer, Border, Healy and Reiffel (Reiffel was primarily a bowler but he did end up with a batting avg. of 26). Aus were bowled out for 139 and NZ won the match.

  • Tom on July 22, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    I notice that Herbert Ironmonger hasn't been mentioned for his 7-23 at Melbourne in 1931. Fairly indifferent batsmen (albeit including Headley) but it was the same lineup that beat Australia at Sydney a Test later. Ironmonger took four of the top six wickets. The surface is difficult to judge: Australia declared at 328-8 against decent bowlers, but they had much stronger batsmen. [[ Tom, I looked at this but did nott include it because of the quality of West Indian batting, no more than fair at that time. Will keep it in reserve. Ananth: ]] My other nomination would be McGrath's 6-17 against West Indies at Brisbane in 2000, including Chanderpaul and Lara for a duck (although the rest were mostly tailenders). The Aussie bowlers made it look a helpful surface, but the West Indies quicks struggled. [[ Wicket quality is a problem although the performance by itself deserves a second look. Again will keep in reserve. Lara for 0 but C'paul made 18. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 22, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    Ananth, so in Valentine's innings, he bowled 50 overs on the trot? On debut? Must have been one extraordinary debut. [[ No, not really. West Indies, with 90 overs of 150-second spinners bowled 128.3 overs, yes you read it right, 128.3. And England had time to bowl 7 overs. So we are looking at 135+ overs !!! Ananth: ]]

    Also i was baffled that a World XI at all was selected. I would have expected an Indian XI to be selected and called World XI.