January 5, 2012

Multistats

Multistat: 1

Andy Zaltzman
Michael Clarke walks off unbeaten on 329, Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2012
Should have quit 30 runs before  © Getty Images
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The number of times in the documented history of mankind that a Test team has scored two 250-plus partnerships in the same innings. Until 2012, that total was zero. Now it is one, thanks to some fine batting by Clarke, Ponting and Hussey, and some minimum-intensity cricket by an Indian team that, just a very-long-seeming year ago, was ranked No. 1 in Tests (and about to embark on a victorious World Cup campaign).

All summits must be descended from. Preferably with due care and attention. As a Test team, however, India have tobogganed back to base camp at alarming velocity, like an over-excited Edmund Hillary desperate to get home to tell his mummy about how he had just conquered that really big mountain that she had promised him a new bicycle for climbing.

In their last two away series, in England and Australia, India have been mostly careless and uncertain with the bat, listless with the ball and snoozy in the field. Does their creaking batting line-up of ageing legends have it in them to rouse themselves to greatness again? Can Dhoni bring the toboggan skidding to a controlled halt, turn it around, and cajole his team to start shoving it back uphill? Does the IPL care? As Hussey and Clarke helped themselves to some of the least challenging runs of their long careers on day three, against opponents playing with the fierce and unrelenting intensity of a three-day-old bowl of half-eaten porridge, it was hard to be optimistic.

Also: The number of batsmen who have been left stranded on 299 not out in Tests. That man was Don Bradman (“A useful accumulator of runs” – International Society for Understatements). Clarke, as captain, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join Bradman by declaring when he was one run short of his triple-hundred, in the ultimate cricketing self-prank. It would have been worth it just to see the look on his team-mates’ faces. Bradman was also the only player before Clarke who had scored a Test triple-hundred when batting at No. 5 or lower – he did so in Leeds in 1934.

Also: The number of (a) pairs and (b) scores of more than 201 that Jacques Kallis has scored in his illustrious Test career. These have come in his last two Tests, meaning that Kallis, the very embodiment of cricketing reliability for a decade and a half, has become the most inconsistent cricketer in the universe. With the possible exception of Clarke, whose last 13 Test innings have been 13, 6, 112, 151, 2, 11, 2, 139, 22, 0, 31, 1 and 329 not out. On current form, he is a good man to dismiss early.

Also: The number of Test teams that have conceded two individual scores of 290 or more within a six-month period. Clarke’s mammoth score followed hot on the heels of Alastair Cook plinking India to distraction with 294 last summer. Incidentally, in case any of you want a stat to impress / distract / annoy / confuse a potential employer at a job interview, there have now been as many 290-plus Test innings in the last four years as there were between 1939 and 1989 – seven (by Virender Sehwag, Younis Khan, Sarwan, Sehwag again, Chris Gayle, Cook and Clarke; between Len Hutton’s 364 in 1938 and Graham Gooch’s 333 in 1990, only Hanif Mohammad, Garry Sobers, Bob Simpson, John Edrich, Bob Cowper, Lawrence Rowe and Viv Richards passed 290).

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

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Posted by waterbuffalo on (January 8, 2012, 23:46 GMT)

I also think Dravid should open with Gambhir, he did very well in England as a make-shift opener, a solid start then you can bring in Sachin at three and give Rohit Sharma a chance, keep Kohli and have Sehwag bat at 6, the only guy you drop is Laxman. Change the order to ensure stability at the top.

Posted by Chris on (January 8, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

To all the people saying what about X. Hayden, Inzy and Martin Crowe all scored 290+ outside of the last four years and 1939-1989 and therefore are correctly not mentioned. Do not doubt Zaltor the merciless.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (January 8, 2012, 5:17 GMT)

Here's hoping for India to lose Eight away Tests in a row, then they can forget about Test Cricket and stick to what they do best ODI's and 20/20 cricket at home. I think they've forgotten what a forward short leg looks like, much less a silly point, they looked a far better outfit when Kumble was around, now Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal is actually better than India's best spinner, Ashwin. Why they don't play Ojha is beyond me, I suppose they don't rate left arm orthodox..I wish India would play South Africa next , yet another team better than them, then they could slip to number four, where they belong.

Posted by Mohammad Talha on (January 6, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

Simply brilliant!!!!!!!

Posted by vshan1314 on (January 6, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

I think its time to either change Captain of India Mr. MS Dhoni or BCCI needs to step up and reduce the Test Match format to a 4-day match when ever India plays against any top order opposition except for teams like Bangladesh, Kenya etc.

Its pity that a team which was named No. 1 just an year ago is finding it hard to last for complete five days and also make scores beyond 300 in any inning's. people are furious about Sachin and make stupid statements like let him get his 100 century so that he will International Cricket and make way for youngsters, where as our beloved captain always thinks about breaks, even today after the match he stated "we have 5 days before next match we need to take a break and come back fresh" whereas the old man will put on his pads n go for practice right after he gets up in the morning. So do we want to see a dedicated old man carrying billions of hopes for 2 decades on his shoulders or people who see cricket as just a game and nothing more to them?

Posted by Mohammed Ali Moin on (January 6, 2012, 6:59 GMT)

Team indian proved this once more , they are good at home only. No matter how strong the team india is on paper or on ground still not good enough to win series abroad against the fair competetors. Winning series in West Indies is not good enough to prove this point indians can win the series abroad. I think there is no doubt on the flair and experience of the indian team but big question mark is against the mental strength which is non existent.

Posted by ponnappa payyakumar on (January 6, 2012, 6:47 GMT)

this is bloody funny! hah..hah...indians ponnayo!!!!!

Posted by Deepak Kulkarni on (January 6, 2012, 6:31 GMT)

All these records hardly matter. Men who have real guts, who can outwit their opponents win and the weak minded lose. Its all in the mind. This series has seperated the men from the boys. Good work aussies.

Posted by falam on (January 6, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

i truly believe that indians are way overrated in cricket. they are flat pitch players and make most records on their own grounds.

Posted by James Rattray on (January 6, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

Congratulations to the Australian team on this great performance in Sydney... and Andy Zaltman... you're an idiot to use a throwaway line on a great man in Edmond Hilary... good luck India... you're going to need it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Zaltzman
Andy Zaltzman was born in obscurity in 1974. He has been a sporadically-acclaimed stand-up comedian since 1999, and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4. He is currently one half of TimesOnline's hit satirical podcast The Bugle, alongside John Oliver. Zaltzman's love of cricket outshone his aptitude for the game by a humiliating margin. He once scored 6 in 75 minutes in an Under-15 match, and failed to hit a six between the ages of 9 and 23. He would have been ideally suited to Tests, had not a congenital defect left him unable to play the game to anything above genuine village standard. He writes the Confectionery Stall blog on Cricinfo.

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