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December 3, 2012

The best bowling trios in Test cricket

Anantha Narayanan
Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath were the common factors in two great bowling trios in Test cricket  © Getty Images
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Since three bowlers generally represent the entire bowling strength of a team, I have extended the logic used in my earlier Test Bowling Pairs article, based on the important requests made at that time. The fourth bowler, barring the West Indian teams of the 1980s, typically plays a supporting role only. It was a very sensible request so I have completed the analysis in this article.

The bowling trios have been selected after a lot of preliminary analysis. Some of the wonderful bowling pairs did not have a third bowler to match their skills, while a few of the other bowling pairs had two high-quality third bowlers. I have selected 14 bowling trios and presented their numeric summaries only. My custom graphs have been well received but those will have to wait for the new year under a different article. I have made brief comments after every table and presented a concluding summary at the end.

Initially a brief list of the bowler trios which were considered but not included. It is unlikely that significant bowler trios beyond this list exist. I would not be doing any work on a reader-suggested bowler trio unless it is a genuine oversight on my part.

Bowling trio           Tests    Wkts

Lillee/Walker/Thomson 12 154 Willis/Botham/Dilley 11 113 Willis/Botham/Emburey 15 160 Willis/Botham/Edmunds 18 124 Willis/Botham/Old 9 127 Donald/Pollock/Ntini 9 107 Wasim/Waqar/Shoaib 5 40 Roberts/Holding/Marshall 9 105 Roberts/Holding/Garner 17 193 Sarfraz/Imran/Qadir 9 91 Imran/Qadir/Qasim 10 87 Murali/Vaas/Jayasuriya 68 753 -Ignored due to the limited impact by third bowler.

Warne, McGrath & Lee

P01.  Total: 519 @ 25.53
Warne 202 @ 25.27, McGrath 170 @ 21.64, Lee 147 @ 30.37
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Warne       : 1181(1992)-1826(2007) 202 @ 25.27 (506 @ 25.47)  99.2%
McGrath     : 1235(1993)-1826(2007) 170 @ 21.64 (393 @ 21.65) 100.0%
Lee         : 1479(1999)-1902(2008) 147 @ 30.37 ( 84 @ 33.74)  90.0%
Trio Career:  1479(1999) to 1826(2007)
All matches:           177 Wins: 111 (62.7%)
Trio matches:           38 Wins:  30 (78.9%)
Trio Home matches:      21 Wins:  17 (81.0%)
Trio Away matches:      17 Wins:  13 (76.5%)
Non-Trio matches:      139 Wins:  81 (58.3%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  69 Wins:  46 (66.7%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  70 Wins:  35 (50.0%)
Team Wkts:  680 @ 26.56  Team WpT: 17.89   Trio WpT: 13.66 (76.3%)
Balls: 36518 Trio %: 74.1
Warne %: 28.9 McGrath %: 24.4 Lee %: 20.9
Wkts:    680 Trio %: 76.3
Warne %: 29.7 McGrath %: 25.0 Lee %: 21.6
S/R:    53.7 Trio :  52.2
Warne :  52.2 McGrath :  52.4 Lee :  51.9

Lee brought in a much higher match-winning quality and raised the Warne/McGrath win % by well over 10% to an incredible 79%. That is 4 out of 5 Tests. Lee had the best strike rate amongst all three. These three captured over 75% of all team wickets.

Warne, McGrath & Gillespie

P02.  Total: 625 @ 24.38
Warne 222 @ 26.81, McGrath 247 @ 19.34, Gillespie 156 @ 28.90
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Warne       : 1181(1992)-1826(2007) 222 @ 26.81 (463 @ 24.50) 109.4%
McGrath     : 1235(1993)-1826(2007) 247 @ 19.34 (295 @ 23.42)  82.6%
Gillespie   : 1343(1996)-1799(2006) 156 @ 28.90 (103 @ 21.96) 131.6%
Trio Career:  1343(1996) to 1760(2005)
All matches:           172 Wins: 106 (61.6%)
Trio matches:           47 Wins:  30 (63.8%)
Trio Home matches:      16 Wins:  11 (68.8%)
Trio Away matches:      31 Wins:  19 (61.3%)
Non-Trio matches:      125 Wins:  76 (60.8%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  69 Wins:  47 (68.1%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  56 Wins:  29 (51.8%)
Team Wkts:  803 @ 26.81  Team WpT: 17.09   Trio WpT: 13.30 (77.8%)
Balls: 43993 Trio %: 74.6
Warne %: 28.3 McGrath %: 25.6 Gillespie %: 20.7
Wkts:    803 Trio %: 77.8
Warne %: 27.6 McGrath %: 30.8 Gillespie %: 19.4
S/R:    54.8 Trio :  52.5
Warne :  56.0 McGrath :  45.6 Gillespie :  58.2

The combination of Warne, McGrath and Gillespie gathered the most wickets by any bowling trio. Gillespie under-performed when bowling with the other two greats. McGrath raised his game significantly.

Miller, Lindwall & Johnston

P03.  Total: 391 @ 22.96
Miller 107 @ 22.98, Lindwall 144 @ 22.12, Johnston 140 @ 23.80
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Miller      : 0275(1946)-0430(1956) 107 @ 22.98 ( 40 @ 23.05)  99.7%
Lindwall    : 0275(1946)-0487(1960) 144 @ 22.12 ( 48 @ 21.06) 105.0%
Johnston    : 0290(1947)-0408(1955) 140 @ 23.80 ( 20 @ 24.70)  96.4%
Trio Career:  0290(1947) to 0408(1955)
All matches:            51 Wins:  30 (58.8%)
Trio matches:           36 Wins:  24 (66.7%)
Trio Home matches:      20 Wins:  14 (70.0%)
Trio Away matches:      16 Wins:  10 (62.5%)
Non-Trio matches:       15 Wins:   6 (40.0%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  10 Wins:   4 (40.0%)
Non-Trio Away matches:   5 Wins:   2 (40.0%)
Team Wkts:  627 @ 24.63  Team WpT: 17.42   Trio WpT: 10.86 (62.4%)
Balls: 41201 Trio %: 59.0
Miller %: 16.0 Lindwall %: 19.3 Johnston %: 23.7
Wkts:    627 Trio %: 62.4
Miller %: 17.1 Lindwall %: 23.0 Johnston %: 22.3
S/R:    65.7 Trio :  62.1
Miller :  61.5 Lindwall :  55.2 Johnston :  69.7

This trio of the 1950s has a very good winning percentage for that era.

Walsh, Ambrose & Bishop

P04.  Total: 412 @ 23.92
Walsh 135 @ 25.27, Ambrose 139 @ 22.26, Bishop 138 @ 24.26
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Walsh       : 0997(1984)-1544(2001) 135 @ 25.27 (384 @ 24.25) 104.2%
Ambrose     : 1095(1988)-1509(2000) 139 @ 22.26 (267 @ 20.43) 109.0%
Bishop      : 1117(1989)-1407(1998) 138 @ 24.26 ( 25 @ 24.56)  98.8%
Trio Career:  1117(1989) to 1407(1998)
All matches:           110 Wins:  51 (46.4%)
Trio matches:           37 Wins:  16 (43.2%)
Trio Home matches:      18 Wins:   9 (50.0%)
Trio Away matches:      19 Wins:   7 (36.8%)
Non-Trio matches:       73 Wins:  35 (47.9%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  34 Wins:  18 (52.9%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  39 Wins:  17 (43.6%)
Team Wkts:  561 @ 27.40  Team WpT: 15.16   Trio WpT: 11.14 (73.4%)
Balls: 34147 Trio %: 65.5
Walsh %: 22.3 Ambrose %: 22.4 Bishop %: 20.8
Wkts:    561 Trio %: 73.4
Walsh %: 24.1 Ambrose %: 24.8 Bishop %: 24.6
S/R:    60.9 Trio :  54.3
Walsh :  56.5 Ambrose :  54.9 Bishop :  51.4

A very even distribution of the spoils. But the win % dropped due to the general decline in West Indian cricket.

Holding, Garner & Marshall

P05.  Total: 331 @ 22.51
Holding  98 @ 25.63, Garner 110 @ 21.04, Marshall 123 @ 21.33
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Holding     : 0764(1975)-1068(1987)  98 @ 25.63 (151 @ 22.85) 112.2%
Garner      : 0797(1977)-1072(1987) 110 @ 21.04 (151 @ 21.13)  99.5%
Marshall    : 0837(1978)-1175(1991) 123 @ 21.33 (253 @ 20.93) 101.9%
Trio Career:  0880(1980) to 1068(1987)
All matches:            92 Wins:  42 (45.7%)
Trio matches:           26 Wins:  16 (61.5%)
Trio Home matches:      15 Wins:  10 (66.7%)
Trio Away matches:      11 Wins:   6 (54.5%)
Non-Trio matches:       66 Wins:  26 (39.4%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  22 Wins:  11 (50.0%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  44 Wins:  15 (34.1%)
Team Wkts:  444 @ 24.18  Team WpT: 17.08   Trio WpT: 12.73 (74.5%)
Balls: 24588 Trio %: 67.5
Holding %: 21.3 Garner %: 22.9 Marshall %: 23.4
Wkts:    444 Trio %: 74.5
Holding %: 22.1 Garner %: 24.8 Marshall %: 27.7
S/R:    55.4 Trio :  50.2
Holding :  53.4 Garner :  51.1 Marshall :  46.8

Good win % and share of team wickets.

Sobers, Gibbs & Hall

P06.  Total: 421 @ 27.75
Sobers 124 @ 30.73, Gibbs 161 @ 25.93, Hall 136 @ 27.18
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Sobers      : 0386(1954)-0738(1974) 124 @ 30.73 (112 @ 38.10)  80.7%
Gibbs       : 0448(1958)-0770(1976) 161 @ 25.93 (149 @ 32.78)  79.1%
Hall        : 0459(1958)-0648(1969) 136 @ 27.18 ( 56 @ 24.59) 110.6%
Trio Career:  0461(1958) to 0648(1969)
All matches:            72 Wins:  28 (38.9%)
Trio matches:           37 Wins:  19 (51.4%)
Trio Home matches:      14 Wins:   7 (50.0%)
Trio Away matches:      23 Wins:  12 (52.2%)
Non-Trio matches:       35 Wins:   9 (25.7%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  17 Wins:   3 (17.6%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  18 Wins:   6 (33.3%)
Team Wkts:  620 @ 28.79  Team WpT: 16.76   Trio WpT: 11.38 (67.9%)
Balls: 45323 Trio %: 67.3
Sobers %: 22.6 Gibbs %: 28.1 Hall %: 16.5
Wkts:    620 Trio %: 67.9
Sobers %: 20.0 Gibbs %: 26.0 Hall %: 21.9
S/R:    73.1 Trio :  72.4
Sobers :  82.7 Gibbs :  79.2 Hall :  55.1

Both Sobers and Gibbs prospered in the company of each other and Hall.

Willis, Hendrick & Botham

P07.  Total: 204 @ 22.27
Willis  65 @ 24.02, Hendrick  54 @ 21.37, Botham  85 @ 21.51
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Willis      : 0676(1971)-0991(1984)  65 @ 24.02 (260 @ 25.65)  93.6%
Hendrick    : 0739(1974)-0908(1981)  54 @ 21.37 ( 37 @ 31.78)  67.2%
Botham      : 0806(1977)-1190(1992)  85 @ 21.51 (302 @ 30.39)  70.8%
Trio Career:  0806(1977) to 0908(1981)
All matches:           112 Wins:  37 (33.0%)
Trio matches:           17 Wins:   9 (52.9%)
Trio Home matches:      11 Wins:   5 (45.5%)
Trio Away matches:       6 Wins:   4 (66.7%)
Non-Trio matches:       95 Wins:  28 (29.5%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  48 Wins:  15 (31.2%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  47 Wins:  13 (27.7%)
Team Wkts:  290 @ 23.30  Team WpT: 17.06   Trio WpT: 12.00 (70.3%)
Balls: 17897 Trio %: 62.7
Willis %: 19.2 Hendrick %: 20.7 Botham %: 22.8
Wkts:    290 Trio %: 70.3
Willis %: 22.4 Hendrick %: 18.6 Botham %: 29.3
S/R:    61.7 Trio :  55.0
Willis :  53.0 Hendrick :  68.6 Botham :  47.9

All three of the English trio performed better in each other's company.

Anderson, Broad & Swann

P08.  Total: 428 @ 29.02
Anderson 140 @ 29.19, Broad 127 @ 29.69, Swann 161 @ 28.35
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Anderson    : 1646(2003)-2062(2012) 140 @ 29.19 (138 @ 32.38)  90.2%
Broad       : 1853(2007)-2062(2012) 127 @ 29.69 ( 45 @ 38.27)  77.6%
Swann       : 1898(2008)-2062(2012) 161 @ 28.35 ( 49 @ 29.86)  94.9%
Trio Career:  1901(2008) to 2062(2012)
All matches:           124 Wins:  59 (47.6%)
Trio matches:           37 Wins:  17 (45.9%)
Trio Home matches:      21 Wins:  14 (66.7%)
Trio Away matches:      16 Wins:   3 (18.8%)
Non-Trio matches:       86 Wins:  42 (48.8%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  47 Wins:  27 (57.4%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  39 Wins:  15 (38.5%)
Team Wkts:  598 @ 31.43  Team WpT: 16.16   Trio WpT: 11.57 (71.6%)
Balls: 37399 Trio %: 68.5
Anderson %: 23.0 Broad %: 20.6 Swann %: 25.0
Wkts:    598 Trio %: 71.6
Anderson %: 23.4 Broad %: 21.2 Swann %: 26.9
S/R:    62.5 Trio :  59.9
Anderson :  61.4 Broad :  60.6 Swann :  58.0

Again all three of the English trio performed better together. Swann is slightly better than the others while Broad is the most improved. This is the only currently-playing trio.

Prasanna, ChandraSekar & Bedi

P09.  Total: 266 @ 30.82
Prasanna  61 @ 40.02, ChandraSekar 103 @ 27.82, Bedi 102 @ 28.34
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Prasanna    : 0520(1962)-0832(1978)  61 @ 40.02 (128 @ 25.79) 155.2%
ChandraSekar: 0552(1964)-0851(1979) 103 @ 27.82 (139 @ 31.18)  89.2%
Bedi        : 0612(1967)-0854(1979) 102 @ 28.34 (164 @ 28.94)  97.9%
Trio Career:  0614(1967) to 0832(1978)
All matches:            83 Wins:  21 (25.3%)
Trio matches:           24 Wins:   7 (29.2%)
Trio Home matches:      11 Wins:   5 (45.5%)
Trio Away matches:      13 Wins:   2 (15.4%)
Non-Trio matches:       59 Wins:  14 (23.7%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  31 Wins:   7 (22.6%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  28 Wins:   7 (25.0%)
Team Wkts:  346 @ 32.84  Team WpT: 14.42   Trio WpT: 11.08 (76.9%)
Balls: 26287 Trio %: 75.1
Prasanna %: 23.6 ChandraSekar %: 23.6 Bedi %: 27.9
Wkts:    346 Trio %: 76.9
Prasanna %: 17.6 ChandraSekar %: 29.8 Bedi %: 29.5
S/R:    76.0 Trio :  74.2
Prasanna :  101.9 ChandraSekar :  60.2 Bedi :  71.8

It is amazing how much Prasanna faltered when playing in the company of the other two. It could be Prasanna's own insecurity while playing together or the way captains used them, Perhaps a mixture of both.

Kumble, Harbhajan & Zaheer

P10.  Total: 316 @ 30.32
Kumble 125 @ 28.93, Harbhajan 116 @ 29.35, Zaheer  75 @ 34.15
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Kumble      : 1149(1990)-1891(2008) 125 @ 28.93 (494 @ 29.83)  97.0%
Harbhajan   : 1413(1998)-2062(2012) 116 @ 29.35 (292 @ 33.43)  87.8%
Zaheer      : 1512(2000)-2062(2012)  75 @ 34.15 (219 @ 31.47) 108.5%
Trio Career:  1589(2002) to 1887(2008)
All matches:           159 Wins:  53 (33.3%)
Trio matches:           25 Wins:  13 (52.0%)
Trio Home matches:      14 Wins:   7 (50.0%)
Trio Away matches:      11 Wins:   6 (54.5%)
Non-Trio matches:      132 Wins:  40 (30.3%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  55 Wins:  27 (49.1%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  77 Wins:  13 (16.9%)
Team Wkts:  417 @ 31.34  Team WpT: 16.68   Trio WpT: 12.64 (75.8%)
Balls: 26758 Trio %: 74.8
Kumble %: 29.1 Harbhajan %: 28.2 Zaheer %: 17.5
Wkts:    417 Trio %: 75.8
Kumble %: 30.0 Harbhajan %: 27.8 Zaheer %: 18.0
S/R:    64.2 Trio :  63.3
Kumble :  62.3 Harbhajan :  65.0 Zaheer :  62.6

Kumble, Harbhajan and Zaheer secured over 12 wickets per Test, amongst the highest among non-Australian trio of bowlers. The overall results seem to be slightly below-par.

Wasim, Waqar & Mushtaq Ahd

P11.  Total: 431 @ 23.69
Wasim 173 @ 18.97, Waqar 150 @ 23.18, MushtaqAhmed 108 @ 31.96
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Wasim       : 1010(1985)-1584(2002) 173 @ 18.97 (241 @ 26.96)  70.3%
Waqar       : 1127(1989)-1637(2003) 150 @ 23.18 (223 @ 23.82)  97.3%
MushtaqAhmed: 1135(1990)-1666(2003) 108 @ 31.96 ( 77 @ 34.39)  92.9%
Trio Career:  1135(1990) to 1502(2000)
All matches:           131 Wins:  48 (36.6%)
Trio matches:           33 Wins:  16 (48.5%)
Trio Home matches:       9 Wins:   4 (44.4%)
Trio Away matches:      24 Wins:  12 (50.0%)
Non-Trio matches:       97 Wins:  32 (33.0%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  46 Wins:  16 (34.8%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  51 Wins:  16 (31.4%)
Team Wkts:  541 @ 26.00  Team WpT: 16.39   Trio WpT: 13.06 (79.7%)
Balls: 29525 Trio %: 71.9
Wasim %: 26.3 Waqar %: 21.6 MushtaqAhmed %: 23.9
Wkts:    541 Trio %: 79.7
Wasim %: 32.0 Waqar %: 27.7 MushtaqAhmed %: 20.0
S/R:    54.6 Trio :  49.2
Wasim :  44.9 Waqar :  42.5 MushtaqAhmed :  65.4

The best third bowler for the Wasim/Waqar duo was Mushtaq Ahmed. He supported them well and these three raked in 431 wickets. All of them, especially Wasim performed very well in this combination.

Hadlee, Cairns & Chatfield

P12.  Total: 197 @ 25.53
Hadlee  80 @ 21.54, Cairns  57 @ 29.82, Chatfield  60 @ 26.78
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Hadlee      : 0710(1973)-1147(1990)  80 @ 21.54 (357 @ 22.35)  96.4%
Cairns      : 0730(1974)-1031(1985)  57 @ 29.82 ( 73 @ 36.15)  82.5%
Chatfield   : 0757(1975)-1116(1989)  60 @ 26.78 ( 64 @ 37.47)  71.5%
Trio Career:  0798(1977) to 1031(1985)
All matches:            71 Wins:  16 (22.5%)
Trio matches:           17 Wins:   7 (41.2%)
Trio Home matches:      10 Wins:   5 (50.0%)
Trio Away matches:       7 Wins:   2 (28.6%)
Non-Trio matches:       54 Wins:   9 (16.7%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  26 Wins:   6 (23.1%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  28 Wins:   3 (10.7%)
Team Wkts:  249 @ 28.09  Team WpT: 14.65   Trio WpT: 11.59 (79.1%)
Balls: 17343 Trio %: 71.0
Hadlee %: 25.2 Cairns %: 22.7 Chatfield %: 23.1
Wkts:    249 Trio %: 79.1
Hadlee %: 32.1 Cairns %: 22.9 Chatfield %: 24.1
S/R:    69.7 Trio :  62.5
Hadlee :  54.6 Cairns :  69.0 Chatfield :  66.7

Like the England trios, the Kiwis seem to have bowled very well together. Nearly 80% of the team wickets too.

Donald, Pollock & Kallis

P13.  Total: 415 @ 22.80
Donald 175 @ 21.85, Pollock 163 @ 21.36, Kallis  77 @ 28.04
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Donald      : 1188(1992)-1590(2002) 175 @ 21.85 (155 @ 22.72)  96.2%
Pollock     : 1312(1995)-1860(2008) 163 @ 21.36 (258 @ 24.23)  88.1%
Kallis      : 1318(1995)-2061(2012)  77 @ 28.04 (205 @ 34.28)  81.8%
Trio Career:  1318(1995) to 1582(2002)
All matches:            92 Wins:  41 (44.6%)
Trio matches:           40 Wins:  20 (50.0%)
Trio Home matches:      22 Wins:  15 (68.2%)
Trio Away matches:      18 Wins:   5 (27.8%)
Non-Trio matches:       51 Wins:  21 (41.2%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  24 Wins:  10 (41.7%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  27 Wins:  11 (40.7%)
Team Wkts:  652 @ 26.23  Team WpT: 16.30   Trio WpT: 10.38 (63.7%)
Balls: 39954 Trio %: 56.1
Donald %: 20.4 Pollock %: 23.1 Kallis %: 12.7
Wkts:    652 Trio %: 63.7
Donald %: 26.8 Pollock %: 25.0 Kallis %: 11.8
S/R:    61.3 Trio :  54.0
Donald :  46.5 Pollock :  56.6 Kallis :  65.7

It is Kallis who has given a good support to Donald and Pollock instead of Ntini. But the somewhat low win % is surprising.

Muralitharan, Vaas & Fernando

P14.  Total: 248 @ 28.81
Muralitharan 128 @ 23.32, Vaas  60 @ 33.75, Fernando  60 @ 35.60
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Muralitharan: 1195(1992)-1964(2010) 128 @ 23.32 (672 @ 22.61) 103.1%
Vaas        : 1267(1994)-1927(2009)  60 @ 33.75 (295 @ 28.73) 117.5%
Fernando    : 1499(2000)-2048(2012)  60 @ 35.60 ( 40 @ 41.20)  86.4%
Trio Career:  1499(2000) to 1909(2009)
All matches:           149 Wins:  56 (37.6%)
Trio matches:           23 Wins:  10 (43.5%)
Trio Home matches:      13 Wins:   9 (69.2%)
Trio Away matches:      10 Wins:   1 (10.0%)
Non-Trio matches:      124 Wins:  46 (37.1%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  65 Wins:  29 (44.6%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  59 Wins:  17 (28.8%)
Team Wkts:  335 @ 30.34  Team WpT: 14.57   Trio WpT: 10.78 (74.0%)
Balls: 21783 Trio %: 71.8
Muralitharan %: 34.5 Vaas %: 20.5 Fernando %: 16.9
Wkts:    335 Trio %: 74.0
Muralitharan %: 38.2 Vaas %: 17.9 Fernando %: 17.9
S/R:    65.0 Trio :  63.1
Muralitharan :  58.7 Vaas :  74.3 Fernando :  61.2

Murali and Vaas achieved so much that the the third bowler was just a support bowler. However it must be said that these three bowlers played together in 23 Tests only and Fernando Fernando kept pace with Vaas.

Flintoff, Hoggard & Harmison

P15.  Total: 383 @ 29.38
Flintoff 123 @ 28.62, Hoggard 133 @ 28.51, Harmison 127 @ 31.02
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Flintoff    : 1421(1998)-1931(2009) 123 @ 28.62 (103 @ 37.77)  75.8%
Hoggard     : 1503(2000)-1866(2008) 133 @ 28.51 (115 @ 32.80)  86.9%
Harmison    : 1612(2002)-1931(2009) 127 @ 31.02 ( 99 @ 32.85)  94.4%
Trio Career:  1612(2002) to 1824(2006)
All matches:           119 Wins:  49 (41.2%)
Trio matches:           33 Wins:  16 (48.5%)
Trio Home matches:      15 Wins:  11 (73.3%)
Trio Away matches:      18 Wins:   5 (27.8%)
Non-Trio matches:       86 Wins:  33 (38.4%)
Non-Trio Home matches:  48 Wins:  23 (47.9%)
Non-Trio Away matches:  38 Wins:  10 (26.3%)
Team Wkts:  545 @ 33.66  Team WpT: 16.52   Trio WpT: 11.61 (70.3%)
Balls: 32762 Trio %: 63.1
Flintoff %: 20.3 Hoggard %: 20.1 Harmison %: 22.7
Wkts:    545 Trio %: 70.3
Flintoff %: 22.6 Hoggard %: 24.4 Harmison %: 23.3
S/R:    60.1 Trio :  53.9
Flintoff :  54.1 Hoggard :  49.5 Harmison :  58.4
A worthwhile new addition. The numbers are very balanced and good. These three are also like the current English trio, excelling together. Thanks to Zulik and Paul.

The most successful trio of all time is the one of Warne, McGrath and Lee, even if the other trio of Warne, McGrath and Gillespie gathered more wickets. Probably the next best bowling trio honour should be given to the current English trio of Anderson, Broad and Swann. I would rate Holding, Garner and Marshall next. Wasim, Waqar and Mushtaq would be competing for these two places.

Let me remind the readers that I would be closing the entries for the all-time XV around 10 December. Click here to view the article. The wrap up article will appear around 17 December. I will not be doing any articles in January to get my shoulders back in shape.

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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 Waspsting on (December 18, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

I doubt changing captaincy will change Indian teams fortunes.

I don't blame Dhoni for the loss, just as I didn't credit him for India's rise to world #1

Tendulkar is well passed it, but i'd still back him to top the averages in a series in SA, Eng or Aus (and i'd also back India to get whitewashed in those series' - so not saying much)

Though its normal to fix blame - and India played poorly enough that many deserve it - frankly i think the biggest factor in the series was how well England batted - NOT how badly India batted or bowled (though they didn't do either overly well)

Cook was superb and Pietersen's 100 was one of the best I've ever seen - a genuine "looked like he was batting on a different pitch from everyone else" performance.

India's inability to negotiate Panesar and Swann was most eye catching to me as Ind 'faults' go- they bowled very well, but its hard to see them taking out a Sidhu, SRT, Dravid, Laxman, Azhar line up from late 90s

Posted by Dinesh on (December 18, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

Contd. We may or may not get a good captain and the Captaincy can spur him on to win but his attitude of saying we are the best Openers, inability to face upto his own Form,and statements like We will see when they come to India kind of dont do any Good.I might not bet on him. Kohli: As much as everyone wants him to be made Captain, he is too inexperienced and inconsistent(atleast at the Test level) to be made captain. People may give the example of Graeme Smith and say he was 22 when he was made the captain,but he Had Kallis,Pollock, Ntini to fall back on and had a good enough team to get the results,but that isnt the case here.We have a Bowling lineup which is among the worst,a batting lineup in which none are in form bar One.We may lose him permanently lose Kohli the batsman or may have a new and responsible Captain which will do him world of Good.

We have options, but none ready.These are not good signs for the future as if all that happened till now wasn't Enough.

Posted by Dinesh on (December 18, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

@Ananth: Absolutely agree on all your statements. I would rather remember a tendulkar of 2009-10 than that of 11-12. It is very tough to see him struggle.

And coming to Dhoni, everyone wants him out and they are not without any reason. Indian cricket is at its lowest ebb post match fixing scenario. If we do want to replace Dhoni, we have three contenders, Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli.

Sehwag: I would any day bet on having a Dhoni as a captain thaa sehwag. Viru was never and probably never will be a Captaincy material. I still remember his 2009 series against New zealand where he was the captain and played his shots like a Tailender. Even Dravid said publicly that you need to take responsibility during that series.

Gambhir: He is a good leader and a fighter to the core, but at this point he is struggling as bad as he ever was. If we make him captain, COntd...

Posted by Vikram on (December 18, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

@Ananth: totally agree - SRT should have retired and as I said after WC. even if he hits a semi-purple patch, it will still be a let down, and for all he has done for Indian cricket, he deserved going out on a high. All I am saying is that while SRT's not-retirement is an error, so is RD's and VVS' retirement. They should still have been in the team, sensitive or not. Also, as you said, I think SRT is putting the team before himself (as per his thinking) and not the couple of millions he will earn by extending his career. My thought is that both the decisions (SRT and RD/VVS) are wrong. I am not blaming them, they reacted to what they heard/read - just that the ideal situation would have been different. As for Indian cricket team, just read MDS's comment that the WC'2007 was a worse performance. With an aggregate score of 1-10 in terms of tests, how can he even think that. I see a '94-'99 period coming up. Who will be the SRT, AK, SG, RD, VVS to revive this team? And when? [[ When Dhoni says that a 3-series record, extended over 18 months and 60 days of Test cricket, of 12-1-1-10 hurts less than a WC in which India did not qualify because of a single bad day in the office, it is time to replace hm, at least as a Test captain . I don't think Dhoni gives Test cricket the respect it deserves. Would Gambhi (failing as batsman) or Kohli (abrasive and yet to be consistent) fare better, I would not bet on it. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Vikram on (December 17, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

@Ananth: as this aeries ends with a loss and there is a lot of discussion about whether SRT should have retired earlier, I also ask whether RD should have retired when he did. My preferred scenario, SRT retired after WF, but RD and VVS still in the team. This is why I had questioed whether RD retiring was correct, yes Pujara has gained experience but India lost the series. As you can see, my POVis secure the present before you plan for the future. obviously this assumes that RD could have played better than the lot we had, but given his form when he retired, I think he would have, [[ Vikram It is very difficult for anyone, especially the player himeself, to plan his retirement perfectly. Dravid and Laxman, quite proud and sensitive individuals and with close friends and advisors to turn to, did what they felt right. It is possible that both had a series or two left in them. But they did not want to go through a lean patch since they could hear the knives being sharpened. Tendulkar has a unique status in indian cricket. He is beyond what the normal players go through. Today this is proving detrimental to Indian cricket. It is quite possible, why probable, that Tendulkar believes that too many top players have left and he should not do that lest the team suffers. He is willing to go through an extended lean patch hoping that he would find at least a semi-purple patch. But time has come for the hard decisions to be taken. When Gavaskar, an ardent supporter, goes public with his advice, Tendulkar must stop and listen. Before any Tendulkar supporter tears into me, let me ask them "How do you want to remember Tendulkar? How he played in 2011-12 or how he played during 2009-10? Ask yourself the question and look for the answer." Finally, a series loss should give a wake-up call. But in India that never happens. England's UAE loss was the catalyst for months of planning and hard work. In India everything will disppear during the revenge series against Pakistan and IPL auctions. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Taqi on (December 16, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

@Gerry_the_Merry

seems like a match of 8 ball over

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (December 14, 2012, 3:28 GMT)

Ananth, see this link - all economy rates are wrong... lot of problems in cricinfo database

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63200.html Gerry Who am I to complain to. My tenuous link with cricinfo is as a writer.

Posted by Murray Archer on (December 14, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

Speaking of finger spinners, both Mallett and Chopra have written articles in last couple of days on cricinfo..... both well worth a read in my opinion. (to anyone interested who hasn't already).

Posted by Boll on (December 13, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

@shrikanthk. I`ve often heard people talk about Lance Gibbs and of course Bedi`s performances in Aus, rarely Prasanna`s - 25 wickets in 4 tests at 27 speaks for itself though. Perhaps people tend to remember the `77/78 series when Bedi bowled so well and Prasanna was largely ineffective. Geoff Miller also had good success around the same time.

I`m not sure I`d limit it to finger spinners in Aus either. The only wrist spinner I can recall who had any sort of success was Kumble, (and Chandra in that 77/78 series). As you mention, a common thread (apart from Prasanna, Gibbs, Kumble) was a seriously weakened Packer-era team.

Posted by Murray Archer on (December 12, 2012, 23:05 GMT)

@ Shri

Having learned to NOT trust just my memory after writing above, (fancy forgetting who the bowlers were - particularly as Surti playing for QLD was a favourite of mine) I can safely say that the memory is ok, in saying Pras was much better than Gibbs the following year ! (similar opposition and conditions).

Certainly the best series in Aus by a finger spinner I've personally seen.

Only others that sprung to mind as having done well are Gibbs '60/61 ( 3 games out of 5) Laker '58/9(way less overs) and Tayfield '52/3(way more overs). Ashley Mallet also had a couple of good seasons, particularly '74/5 when terrified Englishmen were gifting him before a new ball could be taken.

(feel that there must have been a leftie sometime? ... but it wasn't Verity or Valentine as I'd part expected. )

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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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