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December 5, 2011

Five-wicket hauls in Tests: a look across and deep - part one

Anantha Narayanan
Michael Holding: 14 wickets on a flat track at The Oval in 1976  © Getty Images
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There is a tendency to ignore the bowlers in Test cricket. I myself am guilty of this and do not allocate equal time and effort for these forgotten species. This time I have decided to make amends by doing the article on fifers in Test cricket immediately after I finished the one on Test hundreds.

First, the term used. Let me reproduce the Wikipedia entry below.

Five-wicket haul (also Five-for, five-fer, fifer, or shortened to 5WI or FWI)


Five or more wickets taken by a bowler in an innings, considered a very good performance. The term fifer is an abbreviation of the usual form of writing bowling statistics, e.g. a bowler who takes 5 wickets and concedes 117 runs is said to have figures of "5 for 117" or "5-117". Sometimes called a "Michelle", after actress Michelle Pfeiffer.

I like the term "Fifer". However since that also refers to the foot-soldier who plays the "Fife", the Scottish flute, I am somewhat reluctant. "Pfeiffer" would be injudicious. I am not too comfortable with "Five-for", being slightly contrived and seemingly incomplete. So I will stick with "fifer", a single non-hyphenated (!!!) word and my favourite. Much better than "DLF maximum" or "Karbonn Kamaal Katch".

Some maxims have to be repeated in EVERY article since quite a few readers have a one-track mind and see what only they want to see. This is not a Bowling Ratings article. The ordering is based on an indicated measure and is visible to the reader clearly. Do not draw any unintended inferences and come out with comments based on those. There is no personal discretion involved other than setting up the parameters. In view of the size of the articles and number of tables, I have kept my narratives to a minimum.

Test Bowling is a fascinating subject. It is far more nuanced that Batting when it comes to analysis.

- The number of wickets in an innings is strictly limited to 10.
- Bowling successes are very clearly defined and measurable in terms of wickets (who and when) and accuracy.
- Bowling is three-dimensional: balls, runs and wickets. These three dimension-related values are available for all bowling spells. (Batting is also three-dimensional: runs, time, balls. Unfortunately only runs information is available for all matches.)
- Batsmen win and save matches. Bowlers, almost always, win matches. They rarely draw matches, a la Atherton, Hanif et al. But you will be surprised: wait for the next article !!! A great ODI team can be founded on top-class batting and average bowling, not a great Test team.
- 5 batsmen can score hundreds in an innings, and have done so. Only two bowlers can capture 5 wickets each in an innings.

All these nuances lead to a more exciting analysis of fifers.

It took me nearly a week to think of all possibilities, write the program, prepare the tables and then weave the article around the tables. I did so much work on the keyboard that my legs (yes, you read it correctly) started aching. This turned out to be the longest article I had ever done, barring none. So I decided to release this in two parts. This will also enable me to do some specialized requests and add those tables. At the end of the article, I have indicated the types of analysis which have been included in Part 2. Even now, the current article has been exceeded in size by only one article, the one published last, on Special hundreds.

A note on the tables. I have standardized the presentation to have the first 14 columns common. These are self-explanatory. I have shown Home/Away (H/A), Bowling Type (S for spinners), innings bowled in and Result (W for Win, = for draw and * for loss).

First the basic table. I did not do this for the hundreds. However it is necessary to start with this table in the bowling analysis since many readers may not be familiar with all these performances.

1. 9+ wicket bowling performances in Tests


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

0428 1956 Eng Aus-205/10 H Laker J.C S 3 51.2-23- 53-10 W 1443 1999 Ind Pak-207/10 H Kumble A S 4 26.3- 9- 74-10 W 0048 1896 Eng Saf-151/10 A Lohmann G.A 2 12.0- 6- 28- 9 W 0428 1956 Eng Aus- 84/10 H Laker J.C S 2 16.4- 4- 37- 9 W 1583 2002 Slk Zim-236/10 H Muralitharan M S 1 40.0-19- 51- 9 W 1029 1985 Nzl Aus-179/10 A Hadlee R.J 1 23.4- 4- 52- 9 W 1081 1987 Pak Eng-175/10 H Abdul Qadir S 1 37.0-13- 56- 9 W 1266 1994 Eng Saf-175/10 H Malcolm D.E 3 16.3- 2- 57- 9 W 1423 1998 Slk Eng-181/10 A Muralitharan M S 3 54.2-27- 65- 9 W 0483 1959 Ind Aus-219/10 H Patel J.M S 2 35.5-16- 69- 9 W 0967 1983 Ind Win-201/10 H Kapil Dev N 3 30.3- 6- 83- 9 * 0849 1979 Pak Aus-310/10 A Sarfraz Nawaz 4 47.2- 7- 86- 9 W 0683 1971 Win Ind-352/10 H Noreiga J.M S 2 49.4-16- 95- 9 * 0461 1958 Ind Win-222/10 H Gupte S.P S 1 34.3-11-102- 9 * 0131 1913 Eng Saf-231/10 A Barnes S.F 3 38.4- 7-103- 9 W 0437 1957 Saf Eng-214/10 H Tayfield H.J S 4 49.2-11-113- 9 W 0138 1921 Aus Eng-315/10 H Mailey A.A S 3 47.0- 8-121- 9 W


I have limited this to bowling spells in which the bowler captured 9 or more wickets. Only twice have bowlers captured all 10 wickets. Jim Laker's feat came 79 years and 427 Tests after Alfred Shaw bowled the first ball to Charles Bannerman. Anil Kumble's feat came a further 1015 Tests and 43 years after Laker dismissed Len Maddocks. I wonder how many years would pass before this happens again: let me say, around 2050.

Laker had another 9-wicket haul, in the same match. Muttiah Muralitharan is the only other bowler to capture 9-wkts in an innings twice. Quite surprisingly, the three spinners, Muralitharan, Abdul Qadir and Subhash Gupte, captured 9 wickets on the first day. Another wonderful spinner, Hugh Tayfield's 9 for 113 was adjudged to be the best ever bowling performance in the Wisden-100 analysis. More of this performance later. Kapil Dev, Gupte and Jack Noreiga all captured 9-wickets in an innings, in vain. Surely let us all agree that no one, I repeat no one, in the next 1000 years, if Test cricket survives that far, would capture all 20 wickets in a match.

Now for something I think is very important, performance away from home.

2. Wonderful performances, away from home


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

0048 1896 Eng Saf-151/10 A Lohmann G.A 2 12.0- 6- 28- 9 W 1029 1985 Nzl Aus-179/10 A Hadlee R.J 1 23.4- 4- 52- 9 W 1423 1998 Slk Eng-181/10 A Muralitharan M S 3 54.2-27- 65- 9 W 0849 1979 Pak Aus-310/10 A Sarfraz Nawaz 4 47.2- 7- 86- 9 W 0131 1913 Eng Saf-231/10 A Barnes S.F 3 38.4- 7-103- 9 W 0047 1896 Eng Saf- 30/10 A Lohmann G.A 4 8.1- 5- 7- 8 W 0032 1889 Eng Saf- 43/10 A Briggs J S 3 9.4- 5- 11- 8 W 0104 1909 Aus Eng-119/10 A Laver F 2 18.2- 7- 31- 8 = 0026 1887 Eng Aus- 84/10 A Lohmann G.A 2 16.4-12- 35- 8 W 1370 1997 Aus Eng- 77/10 A McGrath G.D 1 20.3- 8- 38- 8 = 1398 1998 Eng Win-191/10 A Fraser A.R.C 2 16.1- 2- 53- 8 * 0699 1972 Aus Eng-116/10 A Massie R.A.L 3 27.2- 9- 53- 8 W 0131 1913 Eng Saf-160/10 A Barnes S.F 1 26.5- 9- 56- 8 W 0036 1892 Eng Aus-145/10 A Lohmann G.A 1 43.2-18- 58- 8 * 1341 1996 Saf Ind-137/10 A Klusener L 4 21.3- 4- 64- 8 W 0074 1902 Aus Eng-183/10 A Trumble H S 2 31.0-13- 65- 8 * 0079 1904 Eng Aus-111/10 A Rhodes W S 4 15.0- 0- 68- 8 W 0863 1979 Pak Ind-126/10 A Sikander Bakht 2 21.0- 3- 69- 8 = 1804 2006 Slk Eng-190/10 A Muralitharan M S 4 30.0-11- 70- 8 W 1307 1995 Saf Zim-283/10 A Donald A.A 3 33.0-12- 71- 8 W 1258 1994 Eng Win-304/10 A Fraser A.R.C 2 28.5- 7- 75- 8 W 0769 1976 Ind Nzl-215/10 A Prasanna E.A.S S 3 30.4- 5- 76- 8 W 0082 1904 Eng Aus-247/10 A Braund L.C S 1 29.1- 6- 81- 8 * 1027 1985 Slk Pak-259/10 A Ratnayeke J.R 2 23.2- 5- 83- 8 * 0699 1972 Aus Eng-272/10 A Massie R.A.L 1 32.5- 7- 84- 8 W 0947 1983 Ind Pak-323/10 A Kapil Dev N 1 30.5- 7- 85- 8 = 0738 1974 Eng Win-305/10 A Greig A.W 2 36.1-10- 86- 8 W 0781 1976 Win Eng-435/10 A Holding M.A 2 33.0- 9- 92- 8 W 0057 1898 Eng Aus-239/10 A Richardson T 2 36.1- 7- 94- 8 * 0323 1950 Win Eng-312/10 A Valentine A.L S 1 50.0-14-104- 8 * 1032 1985 Ind Aus-381/10 A Kapil Dev N 1 38.0- 6-106- 8 = 1797 2006 Aus Bng-427/10 A MacGill S.C.G S 1 33.3- 2-108- 8 W 0179 1929 Eng Aus-336/10 A White J.C S 4 64.5-21-126- 8 W 1020 1985 Aus Eng-482/ 9 A McDermott C.J 2 36.0- 3-141- 8 = 1680 2004 Ind Aus-474/10 A Kumble A S 2 46.5- 7-141- 8 = 1892 2008 Aus Ind-441/10 A Krejza J.J 1 43.5- 1-215- 8 *


In view of the importance of this classification, I have lowered the cut-off to 8 wicket captures at the risk of going beyond my self-imposed limit of 25 table entries. The table is ordered by the bowling performance.

George Lohmann, on those uncovered pitches of yonder, crossed 8 wickets mark no fewer than four times. Quite a few achieved this twice. Barnes, Fraser, Kapil Dev, Massie (in the same match) and Muralitharan. The 9-wicket captures of Hadlee, Muralitharan and Sarfraz Nawaz are probably the pick of the lot, all resulting in winning matches. Sarfraz, to boot, in the last innings. The last time this was done, was by an off-spinner on a baptism debut of fire in India.

Now for some special selections. The bowlers who captured the top-six batsmen.

3. Bowling spells in which top six wickets are captured - 1


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R BA-T Avge

0235 1934 Aus Eng-627/ 9 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 59.0- 9-189- 7 = 297 49.5 0461 1958 Ind Win-222/10 H Gupte S.P S 1 34.3-11-102- 9 * 262 43.7 1804 2006 Slk Eng-190/10 A Muralitharan M S 4 30.0-11- 70- 8 W 258 43.1 0990 1984 Eng Win-245/10 H Botham I.T 2 27.4- 6-103- 8 * 256 42.6 0754 1975 Eng Aus-304/10 A Underwood D.L S 1 38.4- 3-113- 7 * 254 42.3 1110 1988 Aus Win-349/ 9 H Hughes M.G 3 37.0- 9- 87- 8 * 254 42.3 1443 1999 Ind Pak-207/10 H Kumble A S 4 26.3- 9- 74-10 W 250 41.7 0913 1981 Aus Pak-500/ 8 H Yardley B S 1 66.0-16-187- 7 * 248 41.3 1726 2004 Aus Pak- 72/10 H McGrath G.D 4 16.0- 8- 24- 8 W 244 40.7 1028 1985 Slk Pak-295/10 A de Mel A.L.F 2 22.0- 1-109- 6 * 240 40.0 0765 1975 Win Aus-169/10 A Roberts A.M.E 3 18.4- 3- 54- 7 W 235 39.2 1029 1985 Nzl Aus-179/10 A Hadlee R.J 1 23.4- 4- 52- 9 W 234 39.0 1513 2000 Pak Eng-480/ 8 H Saqlain Mushtaq S 1 74.0-20-164- 8 = 234 39.0 1377 1997 Aus Eng-180/10 A McGrath G.D 1 21.0- 4- 76- 7 * 221 36.8 0428 1956 Eng Aus-205/10 H Laker J.C S 3 51.2-23- 53-10 W 213 35.4 0975 1984 Nzl Eng-463/10 H Cairns B.L 2 45.0-10-143- 7 = 212 35.4 0788 1976 Eng Ind-122/10 A Lever J.K 2 23.0- 6- 46- 7 W 207 34.5 0083 1905 Eng Aus-188/10 H Bosanquet B.J.T S 4 32.4- 2-107- 8 W 197 32.8 1525 2000 Aus Win-109/10 H Gillespie J.N 4 17.0- 5- 40- 6 W 189 31.4 0323 1950 Win Eng-312/10 A Valentine A.L S 1 50.0-14-104- 8 * 185 30.8 1583 2002 Slk Zim-236/10 H Muralitharan M S 1 40.0-19- 51- 9 W 180 30.0 1878 2008 Eng Nzl-123/10 H Anderson J.M 2 21.3- 8- 43- 7 W 165 27.6 0131 1913 Eng Saf-160/10 A Barnes S.F 1 26.5- 9- 56- 8 W 157 26.2 0424 1956 Win Nzl-157/ 9 A Atkinson D.S.t.E S 3 40.0-21- 53- 7 * 145 24.1 0039 1893 Eng Aus-269/10 H Lockwood W.H 2 37.3-11-101- 6 = 133 22.2


This table is ordered by the average of the batting averages of the six batsmen dismissed. O'Reilly dismissed Walters, Sutcliffe, Wyatt, Hammond, Hendren and Leyland, two of these on either side of 60.0. An imposing collection indeed. Gupte accounted for Holt, Hunte, Sobers, Kanhai, OG Smith and Butcher. Muralitharan dismissed Trescothick, Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Collingwood and Flintoff.

One cannot keep these two greats out. Muralitharan and McGrath are the only bowlers to do this twice in their career. Now for another view of the same group.

4. Bowling spells in which top six wickets are captured - 2


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R Runs

1525 2000 Aus Win-109/10 H Gillespie J.N 4 17.0- 5- 40- 6 W 14 1726 2004 Aus Pak- 72/10 H McGrath G.D 4 16.0- 8- 24- 8 W 55 0131 1913 Eng Saf-160/10 A Barnes S.F 1 26.5- 9- 56- 8 W 73 0461 1958 Ind Win-222/10 H Gupte S.P S 1 34.3-11-102- 9 * 86 1878 2008 Eng Nzl-123/10 H Anderson J.M 2 21.3- 8- 43- 7 W 86 0788 1976 Eng Ind-122/10 A Lever J.K 2 23.0- 6- 46- 7 W 94 0424 1956 Win Nzl-157/ 9 A Atkinson D.S.t.E S 3 40.0-21- 53- 7 * 95 1804 2006 Slk Eng-190/10 A Muralitharan M S 4 30.0-11- 70- 8 W 106 0323 1950 Win Eng-312/10 A Valentine A.L S 1 50.0-14-104- 8 * 110 0765 1975 Win Aus-169/10 A Roberts A.M.E 3 18.4- 3- 54- 7 W 115 1377 1997 Aus Eng-180/10 A McGrath G.D 1 21.0- 4- 76- 7 * 115 0039 1893 Eng Aus-269/10 H Lockwood W.H 2 37.3-11-101- 6 = 119 1443 1999 Ind Pak-207/10 H Kumble A S 4 26.3- 9- 74-10 W 119 0754 1975 Eng Aus-304/10 A Underwood D.L S 1 38.4- 3-113- 7 * 122 1583 2002 Slk Zim-236/10 H Muralitharan M S 1 40.0-19- 51- 9 W 130 0083 1905 Eng Aus-188/10 H Bosanquet B.J.T S 4 32.4- 2-107- 8 W 137 0990 1984 Eng Win-245/10 H Botham I.T 2 27.4- 6-103- 8 * 142 1029 1985 Nzl Aus-179/10 A Hadlee R.J 1 23.4- 4- 52- 9 W 144 1028 1985 Slk Pak-295/10 A de Mel A.L.F 2 22.0- 1-109- 6 * 156 0428 1956 Eng Aus-205/10 H Laker J.C S 3 51.2-23- 53-10 W 160 0975 1984 Nzl Eng-463/10 H Cairns B.L 2 45.0-10-143- 7 = 239 1110 1988 Aus Win-349/ 9 H Hughes M.G 3 37.0- 9- 87- 8 * 247 1513 2000 Pak Eng-480/ 8 H Saqlain Mushtaq S 1 74.0-20-164- 8 = 288 0913 1981 Aus Pak-500/ 8 H Yardley B S 1 66.0-16-187- 7 * 388 0235 1934 Aus Eng-627/ 9 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 59.0- 9-189- 7 = 404


This table has been ordered by the aggregate of runs scored by the top six batsmen dismissed by the bowler. This is an indication of the mayhem which was caused by the bowler.

Gillespie's decimation of the West Indian top order, including Brian Lara, reads like this: 6, 0, 4, 0, 4, 0. Looks like a telephone number or a T20 over. See how far ahead Gillespie is of McGrath, whose numbers are 9, 1, 17, 27, 1, 0. Spare a thought for O'Reilly, who was first in the previous classification and is now last. The top six English batsmen scored 52, 63, 0, 4, 132, 153.

Now the bowlers who out-performed their compatriots hundreds of times, okay by more than 12.5 times.

5. Bowling out-performers: many times the rest of the team


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R BAvg TAvg Ratio

1630 2002 Win Bng- 87/10 A Lawson J.J.C 3 6.5- 4- 3- 6 W 0.5 18.2 36.5 1720 2004 Aus Ind-205/10 A Clarke M.J S 3 6.2- 0- 9- 6 * 1.5 48.0 32.0 0290 1947 Aus Ind- 58/10 H Toshack E.R.H 2 3.1- 1- 2- 5 W 0.4 10.8 27.0 0799 1977 Win Pak-180/10 H Croft C.E.H 1 18.5- 7- 29- 8 W 3.6 68.0 18.8 0348 1952 Ind Eng-266/10 H Mankad M.H S 1 38.5-15- 55- 8 W 6.9 100.0 14.5 0527 1962 Win Ind-187/10 H Gibbs L.R S 3 53.3-37- 38- 8 W 4.8 67.5 14.2 1210 1993 Aus Win-146/10 H May T.B.A S 3 6.5- 3- 9- 5 * 1.8 24.6 13.7 0294 1948 Aus Ind-277/10 H Lindwall R.R 3 22.1- 4- 38- 7 W 5.4 72.3 13.3 1899 2008 Aus Saf-281/10 H Johnson M.G 2 24.0- 4- 61- 8 * 7.6 101.5 13.3 0781 1976 Win Eng-435/10 A Holding M.A 2 33.0- 9- 92- 8 W 11.5 151.5 13.2 0047 1896 Eng Saf- 30/10 A Lohmann G.A 4 8.1- 5- 7- 8 W 0.9 11.5 13.1 0823 1978 Win Aus-290/10 H Holder V.A 2 13.0- 4- 28- 6 W 4.7 61.2 13.1 1275 1994 Aus Eng-323/10 H Warne S.K S 4 50.2-22- 71- 8 W 8.9 113.0 12.7 0129 1912 Aus Eng-175/10 A Hazlitt G.R S 3 21.4- 8- 25- 7 * 3.6 45.0 12.6 0743 1974 Eng Pak-226/10 H Underwood D.L S 3 34.5-17- 51- 8 = 6.4 80.0 12.5


Jermaine Lawson's 6 for 3 had an average of 0.5. His fellow bowlers captured 4 for 73 and the out-performance ratio is a whopping 36.5. Clarke's equally amazing 6 for 9 had an out-performer ratio of 32.0 and Ernie Toshack's unbelievable spell of 5 for 2 against India, ended with a ratio of 27.0. These three are bizarre performances.

Colin Croft's is a genuine case of out-performance. 8 for 29 against 2 for 136, resulting in a ratio of 18.8. Mankad, the peerless Indian all-rounder captured 8 for 55 against 2 for 200. Shane Warne's 8 for 71 against 2 for 226 is an all-time classic. One would have expected Muralitharan present in this table. However he appears quite a few times in earlier tables but not in this one.

Please note that this table should be looked in conjunction with the 17 bowlers in Table 1. Those 14 bowlers who capture 10 and 9 wickets almost always become out-performers.

Next is an important variation of the top order wicket captures.

6. Based on difference between batting average and runs scored


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R T7W Diff Avg

1906 2009 Win Eng- 51/10 H Taylor J.E 3 9.0- 4- 11- 5 W 5 216 43.3 1756 2005 Aus Eng-155/10 A McGrath G.D 2 18.0- 5- 53- 5 W 5 193 38.6 1971 2010 Pak Eng-446/10 A Mohammad Aamer 1 28.0- 6- 84- 6 * 5 190 38.0 1974 2010 Nzl Ind-266/10 A Martin C.S 3 27.0- 8- 63- 5 = 5 190 38.0 2016 2011 Aus Saf- 96/10 A Watson S.R 2 5.0- 2- 17- 5 * 5 183 36.6 1931 2009 Eng Aus-160/10 H Broad S.C.J 2 12.0- 1- 37- 5 W 5 179 35.8 0652 1969 Nzl Win-417/10 H Motz R.C 1 36.0- 3-113- 5 = 5 177 35.3 1615 2002 Pak Aus-127/10 A Shoaib Akhtar 3 8.0- 2- 21- 5 * 4 181 45.3 0755 1975 Eng Aus-152/10 A Lever P 1 14.4- 2- 38- 6 W 4 175 43.8 1278 1994 Win Ind-114/10 A Benjamin K.C.G 4 17.0- 3- 65- 5 W 4 171 42.8 1104 1988 Pak Aus-165/10 H Iqbal Qasim S 2 39.0-24- 35- 5 W 4 166 41.6 0303 1948 Eng Aus-389/10 H Hollies W.E S 2 56.0-14-131- 5 * 4 165 41.3 0255 1936 Eng Aus- 58/10 A Allen G.O.B 4 8.0- 0- 36- 5 W 4 164 41.0 1823 2006 Ind Saf- 84/10 A Sreesanth S 2 10.0- 3- 40- 5 W 4 163 40.7


This is based on the dismissals of top-7 batsmen. The bowlers who captured at least 4 wickets are considered. For each such bowler, I have compiled the sum of the difference between the batting average and the runs scored by the batsman. This has been averaged and we get the notional runs saved. This table lists the bowlers whose average runs saved value is greater than 35/40 depending on whether the bowler captured 5/4 wickets.

Jerome Taylor's once-in-a-lifetime effort of 5 for 15 is on top. He dismissed Strauss (9), Cook (0), Pietersen (1), Collingwood (1) and Prior (0). The total batting average of these five batsmen was 227.5 and the saved runs average worked out to 43.3.

McGrath captured the wickets of Trescothick (4), Strauss (2), Vaughan (3), Bell (6) and Flintoff (0). The total of batting averages for these five comes to 208, leading to a runs saved value of 38.6. Shoaib Akhtar dismissed Ponting (7), M.Waugh( (0), S.Waugh (0) and Gilchrist (5). The total batting average was 192.5, leading to a runs saved value of 45.3. Shoaib Akhtar's and McGrath's performances were also away.

Martin's was during the 15 for 5 debacle of India and Watson's was on that manic November Thursday at Newlands.

Let us now look at bowling performances in bat-fests. The match RpW value here applies to the top-7 batsmen only.

7. Bowling performances in matches with high RpW values: > 50.0


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R MatRpW

0781 1976 Win Eng-435/10 A Holding M.A 2 33.0- 9- 92- 8 W 50.2 1680 2004 Ind Aus-474/10 A Kumble A S 2 46.5- 7-141- 8 = 60.2 0416 1955 Ind Nzl-326/10 H Gupte S.P S 2 76.4-35-128- 7 = 54.5 0564 1964 Aus Eng-611/10 A McKenzie G.D 2 60.0-15-153- 7 = 66.9 0235 1934 Aus Eng-627/ 9 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 59.0- 9-189- 7 = 54.5 1981 2010 Aus Eng-260/10 H Siddle P.M S 1 16.0- 3- 54- 6 = 52.5 0781 1976 Win Eng-203/10 A Holding M.A 4 20.4- 6- 57- 6 W 50.2 0404 1955 Aus Win-382/10 A Lindwall R.R 1 24.5- 3- 95- 6 = 52.3 1981 2010 Eng Aus-481/10 A Finn S.T 2 33.4- 1-125- 6 = 52.5 1831 2007 Eng Win-437/10 H Panesar M.S S 2 36.1- 3-129- 6 = 50.5 1810 2006 Slk Saf-434/10 H Muralitharan M S 3 64.0-11-131- 6 W 52.3 1912 2009 Pak Slk-606/10 H Umar Gul 1 37.0- 2-135- 6 = 59.7 0450 1958 Win Pak-328/10 H Atkinson E.S.t.E 1 21.0- 7- 42- 5 W 56.2 0274 1939 Win Eng-352/10 A Constantine L.N 1 23.1- 2- 75- 5 = 50.7 1681 2004 Saf Win-427/10 H Nel A 2 28.1- 8- 87- 5 = 53.2 1816 2006 Win Pak-357/10 A Taylor J.E 1 26.0- 6- 91- 5 = 50.3 1303 1995 Win Eng-454/10 A Ambrose C.E.L 1 42.0-10- 96- 5 = 59.5 1034 1986 Ind Aus-396/10 A Yadav N.S S 2 62.3-21- 99- 5 = 53.1 0271 1939 Eng Saf-530/10 A Perks R.T.D 1 54.4- 5-100- 5 = 56.6 1891 2008 Ind Aus-577/10 H Sehwag V S 2 40.0- 9-104- 5 = 52.9 1148 1990 Eng Ind-454/10 H Fraser A.R.C 2 39.1- 9-104- 5 W 51.7 1614 2002 Ind Eng-515/10 A Harbhajan Singh S 1 38.4- 6-115- 5 = 51.7 0744 1974 Pak Eng-545/10 A Intikhab Alam S 2 51.4-14-116- 5 = 53.9 1850 2007 Ind Pak-456/10 H Harbhajan Singh S 2 45.5- 9-122- 5 = 54.4 1911 2009 Eng Win-749/ 9 A Swann G.P 2 50.4- 8-165- 5 = 81.4


These are heart-breakers. However most of these performances have been in drawn matches, as the qualification criteria suggests. The stand-out performance is Michael Holding's 8 for 92 and 6 for 57 on an Oval shirt-front pitch, possibly the greatest match bowling performance ever. He, almost certainly more than Viv Richards, was responsible for the fine West Indian win. Harbhajan Singh has held his own on the flat wickets twice, the only bowler to do so, other than Holding. Virender Sehwag is an unlikely name in this table.

Now for a unique table. I would not spoil the fun. Pl see the table.

8. They captured 5 and only 5 wickets: but nos 7 to 11


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

1508 2000 Eng Win- 61/10 H Caddick A.R 3 11.2- 5- 14- 5 W 1432 1998 Pak Zim-183/10 H Saqlain Mushtaq S 1 13.5- 3- 32- 5 = 1431 1998 Aus Eng-191/10 H Gillespie J.N 3 15.2- 2- 88- 5 W 0949 1983 Win Ind-174/10 H Roberts A.M.E 3 24.3- 9- 39- 5 W 0608 1966 Win Eng-240/10 A Sobers G.St.A 2 19.3- 4- 41- 5 W Other fifers 1755 2005 Slk Win-113/10 H Muralitharan M S 3 21.0- 8- 36- 6 W 1504 2000 Slk Saf-269/10 H Muralitharan M S 3 35.0- 5- 84- 7 W 1423 1998 Slk Eng-445/10 A Muralitharan M S 1 59.3-14-155- 7 W 1175 1991 Eng Win-176/10 H Tufnell P.C.R S 2 14.3- 3- 25- 6 W 1058 1986 Pak Win-211/10 H Imran Khan 3 22.3- 2- 46- 6 = 1040 1986 Nzl Aus-103/10 H Bracewell J.G S 3 22.0- 8- 32- 6 W 0986 1984 Aus Win-509/10 A Hogg R.M 2 32.4- 4- 77- 6 * 0947 1983 Ind Pak-323/10 A Kapil Dev N 1 30.5- 7- 85- 8 = 0877 1980 Win Nzl-305/10 A Garner J 2 36.2-15- 56- 6 = 0725 1973 Win Eng-255/10 A Boyce K.D 4 21.1- 4- 77- 6 W 0703 1972 Ind Eng-200/10 H Chandrasekhar B. S 2 41.5-18- 79- 8 * 0463 1959 Win Ind-154/10 A Gilchrist R 3 21.0- 7- 55- 6 W 0436 1957 Saf Eng-254/10 H Tayfield H.J S 3 50.3-14- 69- 8 = 0250 1936 Aus Saf- 98/10 A Grimmett C.V S 3 19.5- 9- 40- 7 W 0075 1902 Saf Aus-296/10 H Llewellyn C.B 2 22.0- 3- 92- 6 =


These bowlers captured fifers, no doubt. But they also captured the LAST five wickets. And, to boot, these were the ONLY 5 wickets captured by the first five them. Don't think it is easy to do that. Some other bowler could spoil the fun. One batsman could remain not out. Everything has to work. This leaves us with just 5 bowlers, almost all of recent vintage. It is ironic that Gillespie appears at the top of the top-6 wickets list and also here.

If I did not have the ONLY 5 wickets criteria, there are quite a few, 20 in all, who fit in. However these other 13 bowlers have had the satisfaction of capturing one or more top order wickets. Muralitharan appears thrice here indicating the way he dominated the late order batting.

Now for those who toiled for hours on end. These are fifers in innings of 600+ runs.

9. Bowling on and on and on ... in 600+ innings


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

0193 1930 Win Eng-849/10 H Scott O.C S 1 80.2-13-266- 5 = 0198 1930 Eng Aus-695/10 H Peebles I.A.R S 2 71.0- 8-204- 6 * 0740 1974 Ind Eng-629/10 A Bedi B.S S 1 64.2- 8-226- 6 * 0564 1964 Aus Eng-611/10 A McKenzie G.D 2 60.0-15-153- 7 = 0235 1934 Aus Eng-627/ 9 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 59.0- 9-189- 7 = 0279 1946 Eng Aus-645/10 A Wright D.V.P S 1 58.2- 4-167- 5 * 1911 2009 Eng Win-749/ 9 A Swann G.P 2 50.4- 8-165- 5 = 0970 1983 Aus Pak-624/10 H Lillee D.K 2 50.2- 8-171- 6 = 0851 1979 Ind Eng-633/ 5 A Kapil Dev N 1 48.0-15-146- 5 * 1079 1987 Eng Pak-708/10 H Dilley G.R 1 47.3-10-154- 6 = 0645 1969 Aus Win-616/10 H Connolly A.N 3 45.2- 7-122- 5 = 1852 2007 Pak Ind-626/10 A Yasir Arafat 1 39.0- 5-161- 5 = 0945 1983 Ind Pak-652/10 A Kapil Dev N 2 38.4- 3-220- 7 * 0259 1937 Eng Aus-604/10 A Farnes K 1 38.1- 5- 96- 6 * 1912 2009 Pak Slk-606/10 H Umar Gul 1 37.0- 2-135- 6 = 1935 2009 Slk Ind-642/10 A Herath HMRKB S 1 33.0- 2-121- 5 * 0989 1984 Eng Win-606/10 H Pringle D.R 2 31.0- 5-108- 5 * 0304 1948 Ind Win-631/10 H Rangachari C.R 1 29.4- 4-107- 5 =


This table is ordered by balls bowled. Scott bowled a third of the team overs. Lucky he got a couple of wickets in the end. Peculiar match. A timeless Test, which was drawn, by agreement. West Indies fall behind by 577 runs and England bat again. Then Headley's famous 223 saves the match. 9 days, and no result. A follow-on and they might very well have won by an innings. I know Shri might have something to say: but strange captaincy by Hon.FSG Calthorpe, the lone "gentleman" in the team. Over 9 days, he scored 13, bowled 4 overs and batted when he should have bowled.

Commendable are McKenzie and Kapil Dev who captured 7 wickets amongst the batting mayhem although Kapil went for nearly 6 runs per over, thanks to four Pakistani centuries. Also noteworthy is Farnes' capturing 6 for 96 out of a 600+ total.

Now for some nice alternate tables. First is the one where the bowlers have been very economical.

10. 5-wkt bowling performances with RpO less than 1.0


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R  RpO

0527 1962 Win Ind-187/10 H Gibbs L.R S 3 53.3-37- 38- 8 W 0.71 0212 1931 Aus Saf-170/10 H Ironmonger H 2 47.0-29- 42- 5 W 0.89 0413 1955 Pak Nzl-124/10 H Zulfiqar Ahmed S 3 46.3-21- 42- 6 W 0.90 0479 1959 Aus Pak-134/10 A Mackay K.D 3 45.0-27- 42- 6 W 0.93 1104 1988 Pak Aus-165/10 H Iqbal Qasim S 2 39.0-24- 35- 5 W 0.90 0413 1955 Pak Nzl-164/10 H Zulfiqar Ahmed S 1 37.2-19- 37- 5 W 0.99 0785 1976 Ind Nzl-141/10 H Bedi B.S S 4 33.0-18- 27- 5 W 0.82 1113 1989 Win Aus-401/10 A Marshall M.D 2 31.0-16- 29- 5 * 0.94 0025 1887 Eng Aus- 97/10 A Barnes W 4 30.4-29- 28- 6 W 0.91 1394 1998 Slk Zim-140/10 H Muralitharan M S 2 29.0-18- 23- 5 W 0.79 0277 1946 Eng Ind-170/10 H Pollard R 2 27.0-16- 24- 5 = 0.89 0593 1965 Eng Nzl-166/10 H Titmus F.J S 3 26.0-17- 19- 5 W 0.73 0456 1958 Eng Nzl- 67/10 H Laker J.C S 1 22.0-11- 17- 5 W 0.77 0707 1973 Aus Pak-106/10 H Walker M.H.N 4 21.2- 8- 15- 6 W 0.70 0250 1936 Aus Saf-157/10 A O'Reilly W.J S 1 21.0-11- 20- 5 W 0.95 0434 1956 Eng Saf- 72/10 A Bailey T.E 4 20.4- 6- 20- 5 W 0.97 0009 1882 Eng Aus- 63/10 H Barlow R.G 1 20.4-22- 19- 5 * 0.92 1516 2000 Aus Win- 82/10 H McGrath G.D 1 20.0-12- 17- 6 W 0.85 0381 1954 Saf Nzl- 79/10 H Tayfield H.J S 2 18.4- 7- 13- 6 W 0.70 1156 1990 Ind Slk- 82/10 H Raju S.L.V S 2 17.5-13- 12- 6 W 0.67 0681 1971 Eng Nzl- 65/10 A Underwood D.L S 1 15.4- 7- 12- 6 W 0.77 0212 1931 Aus Saf-117/10 H Wall T.W 3 15.1- 7- 14- 5 W 0.92 0906 1981 Eng Aus-121/10 H Botham I.T 4 14.0- 9- 11- 5 W 0.79 1687 2004 Eng Win- 47/10 A Harmison S.J 3 12.3- 8- 12- 7 W 0.96 0047 1896 Eng Saf- 30/10 A Lohmann G.A 4 8.1- 5- 7- 8 W 0.86 0216 1932 Aus Saf- 36/10 H Ironmonger H 1 7.2- 5- 6- 5 W 0.82 1630 2002 Win Bng- 87/10 A Lawson J.J.C 3 6.5- 4- 3- 6 W 0.44 0290 1947 Aus Ind- 58/10 H Toshack E.R.H 2 3.1- 1- 2- 5 W 0.63


These are matches in which the number of overs bowled are greater than the number of runs conceded. This is ordered by the number of overs bowled. The table is led by Gibbs who had a RpO value of 0.71 while bowling 53 overs and capturing 8 wickets. Is it is possible today ? Look at Marshall's performance, the stand-out one amongst this lot. Out of an Australian total of 401, he captures 5 for 29, at an RpO of 0.94, while his compatriots capture 5 for 338, at an RpO figure of 2.1. In fact he just misses out on the out-performer table, with a ratio of 11.7. Lohmann's 8 for 7 has appeared in various tables. Only point of question would be the dicey quality of South African batting and the minefields he bowled on.

Now for the final table in this first part article. The two extreme sets of fifers.

11. The two extremes of 5-wkt bowling performances


MtId Year For Vs  Score HA Bowler          BT I <--Analysis--> R

0193 1930 Win Eng-849/10 H Scott O.C S 1 80.2-13-266- 5 = 0371 1953 Ind Win-576/10 A Mankad M.H S 2 82.0-17-228- 5 = 0740 1974 Ind Eng-629/10 A Bedi B.S S 1 64.2- 8-226- 6 * 0945 1983 Ind Pak-652/10 A Kapil Dev N 2 38.4- 3-220- 7 * 1892 2008 Aus Ind-441/10 A Krejza J.J 1 43.5- 1-215- 8 * 1336 1996 Zim Pak-553/10 A Strang P.A S 2 69.0-12-212- 5 = 0198 1930 Eng Aus-695/10 H Peebles I.A.R S 2 71.0- 8-204- 6 * 0503 1961 Pak Ind-539/ 9 A Haseeb Ahsan S 2 84.0-19-202- 6 = ... ... ... 1720 2004 Aus Ind-205/10 A Clarke M.J S 3 6.2- 0- 9- 6 * 1210 1993 Aus Win-146/10 H May T.B.A S 3 6.5- 3- 9- 5 * 0047 1896 Eng Saf- 30/10 A Lohmann G.A 4 8.1- 5- 7- 8 W 0153 1924 Eng Saf- 30/10 H Gilligan A.E.R 2 6.3- 4- 7- 6 W 0216 1932 Aus Saf- 36/10 H Ironmonger H 1 7.2- 5- 6- 5 W 1630 2002 Win Bng- 87/10 A Lawson J.J.C 3 6.5- 4- 3- 6 W 0290 1947 Aus Ind- 58/10 H Toshack E.R.H 2 3.1- 1- 2- 5 W


This is the one table which contains the two ends of the bowling spectrum. Fifers for 200 runs and above and fifers for 10 runs and below. Most of these bowlers have already appeared in the earlier tables and this is just a different classification. Spare a thought for poor Krejza. On debut he toils hard with a 8-for-million performance and then is forgotten.

Barring table 8, which points to a slightly negative aspect of bowlers, in which Muralitharan appears three times, he has appeared 10 times in the other 11 tables. This may not be conclusive but is a pointer to the range and depth of his bowling achievements. Lohmann, no surprise, appears 8 times. Signs of the times he bowled in. Two bowlers, contrasting in their teams' strengths, McGrath and Kapil, appear 7 times each. Wasim and Waqar appear very few times. That is a sign of the way they shared the spoils.

Let me give a preview of what is covered in Part 2. To these will be added analysis based any readers' good ideas. The Readers' selection will appear there since the analysis is still incomplete.

1. Fifers instrumental in dismissing teams for sub-100 scores in first innings.
2. Fifers instrumental in dismissing teams for low scores in second innings, while defending similar low scores.
3. Match-winning fifers dismissing teams for low scores in third innings, with the team in substantial arrears.
4. Fifers in fourth innings, responsible for winning matches by low-run margins.
and surprisingly, 5. Fifers in fourth innings, responsible for drawing matches narrowly.
6. Fifers in lost matches, with suitable cut-offs.
7. Two fifers in matches by bowlers
8. Two bowlers running through sides with a fifer each and
9. Types of dismissals - all bowled/lbw.

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

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Posted by Aniruddha on (December 15, 2011, 16:29 GMT)

@Ranga, Thanks, Yes I did and enjoyed it thoroughly. Right now I am struggling to think of 5 most memorable bowling performances that I have watched live for Anantha's second part. Maybe since the time I started watching live cricket (1987) there haven't been too many or I might have a fresher mind around the weekend.

Posted by Ranga on (December 15, 2011, 6:37 GMT)

@ Aniruddha: I hope you would have done it already, but if you havent, by any chance, I urge that you go through Rahul Dravid's speech in the War Memorial.

Like his innings, this was top class, politically correct, empathetic to a fault and of course, conveyed the right message, not missing any point. He was talking what we spoke, in different verbiage and without raising the eyebrows. In a way, he had summarized that BCCI has a lot to achieve, but he was a bit more subtle in his emphasis. [[ In fact almost all the points Dravid has made are ones which we have discussed often in these columns recently. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Aniruddha on (December 14, 2011, 14:23 GMT)

Thanks Ananth for allowing us to continue our "pow-wow". @Ranga - Since the second part is already out, let us take our discussion to that forum. Overall, yes I totally agree with you. BCCI is nothing more than an opportunist group of corporate bigwigs and politicians. They hardly have any interest for the betterment of the game or the country as a whole. Why else would Kumble not be able to survive there as the head of NCA. I cannot stop myself from making one final point though - Politicians/BCCI are known/expected to look after just their own well being. After all they haven't played the game - so what else can we expect. BUT what about Gavaskar and Shastri? BCCI mouth piece? I loved to hear them both and even still do, but it is no longer the same. To blindly proclaim BCCI is the "best" blah blah blah. Now BCCI won't pay Gavaskar 5 crore - at least I have got some sadistic pleasure out of it.

Posted by Ranga on (December 14, 2011, 12:16 GMT)

Guess Ananth would have been exhausted to read these fans clash over administration in a cricket centric blog!!! [[ No problems, Ranga. It is a great pow-wow. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Ranga on (December 14, 2011, 12:14 GMT)

@ Aniruddha: Thanks for bringing IPL Into this discussion :) IPL, though condemned by many, is not a bad thing at all. It has done a lot of good to our cricket. It has gotten us fielders who are on par with some of the best fielders across the globe. It has helped India to stamp its authority in world cricket. But if someone tells me IPL was done to achieve all this, I wouldnt take it seriously. IPL encashed our cricket craze. It made hay while the sun shone. That it was beneficial was a by-product. I am a passionate Indian cricket fan who wants India to do well. And if I read your "perspective", I echo the same sentiments that you have, when I read cricinfo fans put down some of our legends. But as I see it, the problem in the system is "allowed" to continue for 80+ years now. The system wasnt perfect. Now we have a chance to redeem. We havent, sadly made efforts. [[ I am not a great fan of IPL. However I must accept that what IPL has done is to give us Ashwins and Rahul Sharmas and strengthened Jadejas amd Tiwaris. It has also given quality players like Badrinath and Jakati a very good break, at least in monetary terms. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Ranga on (December 14, 2011, 12:03 GMT)

@ Aniruddha: As you rightly said, it is not an ideal word. But my only worry is constructive work is not going in the direction of equipping India to be a world beater. England or Aus may have been high handed in the past (may be they are jealous of India now). It doesnt matter. Saying Eng/Oz were ugly in the past is no excuse for me being so today. Ultimately, someone else would become more powerful tomorrow to upstage you. Like India did to Eng/Oz. Fine. Being powerful is no problem. I am happy that we are a powerful board. But what we do with that? To me, power game is not helping cricket in India. That saying someone else is worse may not be an answer. Yes - Ch9 is partisan. Boycott is Partisan. But I am not worried about that. I am more worried about the state of cricket in my country. The world is not perfect. But the situation is not getting remarkably better. And IMHO, at this age of technological advancements, I cant say I am better than my past generation. I am bound to be.

Posted by Ranga on (December 14, 2011, 11:43 GMT)

@ Anirudha: "How many Indian teams of the past won even "matches" overseas?" . . . So should we be just satisfied with winning matches? We all know Indians were poor travellers in the past. It was the past. How much was paid Gavaskar when he played for his country at Port of Spain? How much were Indian teams who lost in the past were trained? what were the facilities? What was the academy that trained them? Who was the mental conditioning coach? WHo was the fielding trainer? Who was the technical analyst? Who was the media relations manager? Who was the support staff? Yes - That Indians were losing is past. But with all the infrastructure that is supporting India, facilities that given to them, we still are having a situation where we are not taken seriously as a sporting entity. Again, Losing is not bad. It is a part of the game. I agree. I dont want a winning Indian side. My worry is that we are NOT doing what we have with our resources.

Posted by Ranga on (December 14, 2011, 11:34 GMT)

@ Aniruddha: BCCI CLout: Yes in the past Eng & Aus had clout and they exercised it badly. Does that answer what BCCI is doing to Indian cricket today? What is the fun in saying, Oz is bad, Eng is bad, so I will be bad. We have a chance to be better. Ultimately, I am not sure if Indian cricket benefitted from any of BCCI's moves. I still feel it is good that BCCI has the clout, it has to be used in the right direction.

"The out of form Hughes cant even find a first class game to play right now (all BBL), so what chance does a foreign board have to conduct such tours?" - That is where again, BCCI Can come into picture. You would be aware that VVS, Dravid were all parts of India U-19 and A Teams that faced similar emerging talents from Oz, Eng, etc. Yes, I agree that getting the right mix is a challenge, but that is where we have to get a solution. If it wasnt a challenge, it would have been happening now, which is not.

Posted by Ranga on (December 14, 2011, 11:28 GMT)

@ Anirudha: I agree to most things that you told, of course to your fact but not perspective. Grooming: Yes Pitches are not the entire solution but it is the first step. My view is that when we have the resources, we have to use it for OUR good. We havent made efforts in that. Tell me Aniruddha one effort made to take the first step? I am not saying bouncy pitches are the only pitches. I am saying in India, with the amount of grounds and climatic expanse that we have, we can prepare conditions that are decent representation of the global cricketing conditions - pitches, outfields, climates, etc.

And I wasnt blaming BCCI - It was a pointer to them . . . (cotd) . .

Posted by Aniruddha on (December 14, 2011, 9:39 GMT)

Continued - @Ranga "BCCI meddling with rules" Which country introduced colored clothing, 15 overs powerplay rule and 12 players a side? Not BCCI. "SRT is the best, why not others" - Just switch on to channel 9 and you will hear the alternative. Yes Indian commentators are biased but so are the rest. Mark Nicholas, Tony Greig and Bill Lawry - are they not biased? Finally - If IPL was invented by ENG/AUS criket board would there still be the same level of criticism and vile? England had T20 since 2004, then why has suddenly T20 become the ugly cousin? If IPL is such a negative influence, why is the Aus board promoting BBL as the next best thing? For them is it justified to be part of the capitalist world but not for India? All said and done this is not an ideal world. My point is - it never WAS either. Hence if the current system/BCCI/SRT stink for whatever reasons, the past was not as golden as is being made out to be.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anantha Narayanan
Anantha spent the first half of his four-decade working career with corporates like IBM, Shaw Wallace, NCR, Sime Darby and the Spinneys group in IT-related positions. In the second half, he has worked on cricket simulation, ratings, data mining, analysis and writing, amongst other things. He was the creator of the Wisden 100 lists, released in 2001. He has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket, and worked extensively with Maruti Motors, Idea Cellular and Castrol on their performance ratings-related systems. He is an armchair connoisseur of most sports. His other passion is tennis, and he thinks Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman to have walked on earth.

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