December 3, 2012

The best bowling trios in Test cricket

Determining the best bowling trios in Test matches by analysing various performance aspects of a bowling attack
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Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath were the common factors in two great bowling trios in Test cricket © Getty Images

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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: ]]

  • 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: ]]

  • Taqi on December 16, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry

    seems like a match of 8 ball over

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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. )

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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: ]]

  • 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: ]]

  • Taqi on December 16, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry

    seems like a match of 8 ball over

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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. )

  • shrikanthk on December 12, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    Prasanna was magic.

    Mr Archer, Ananth : Would it be fair to regard Prasanna's efforts in Aus in 1967 as the finest bowling by a finger spinner in Australia ever!? (atleast since WWI).

    I know he will have competition from Rhodes in 1903-04 and Bedi in 1977-78. But Bedi's efforts were against a very weak Aus side. Pras on the other hand bowled against a much stronger Aus outfit.

    A seriously underrated bowler Prasanna. No hesitation in picking him in my all time Indian XI.

    Probably yes. Ananth

  • Tushar on December 11, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Kumble+Raju+Chauhan: 14 matches, 176 wickets @24.91, 10 Wins

    better than the other two trios from India? [[ Chauhan's career haul is 47 wickets. So here he is going to be around 40. Not really a trio. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 10, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    @ Anath

    Yes that's the match ! Later that series, remembering now, reminds me how much I miss seeing every second over from behind the keeper, when watching TV !!!

    To say Bedi and Chandra did little in that match is historically correct. Yet in one primary school age, right hand batsmen's mind:- Those two, changed EVERYTHING about what I should expect!

    Prasanna just upped (HUGE time)thoughts about necessity to watch the ball extra carefully ( lol never did really)

    The range in that spin based attack, and more particularly how each bowled....(not what (official style) each bowled); It was just magic ! Anyone else lucky enough to have seen it would surely agree.

  • Murray Archer on December 10, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    @ Pawan

    (Comment limited to test matches...)

    That would be a tragedy ! Although I hope you are not correct, I fear you probably are. Very good attacks have many times existed in average sides. Similarly of course, average attacks have been in very good sides.

    The very first Test Match I sat in the stand every day of, was "Tiger Pataudi's" Indian side in Australia. There's lot's of things about that side I've never seen the likes of since..... most especially those spinners !

    The Indian side lost that series. It was the batting, "skipper" aside, that was the reason for a loss. (from memory, no numbers looked at). [[ Some brave batting by Pataudi: 339 runs in 6 innings. A memorable Brisbane Test where India, set just short of 400 to win scored 355. Prasanna was magic. Unfortunately the other two spinners, Bedi and Chandra did very little. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on December 9, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    One observation from my analysis of trio's losses figures is that India lost 50% of the matches in which spin trio played. My concern is that in near future critic, relying on pure figures may dismiss spin trio as a myth, just an ordinary bowling attack.Perhaps you will agree with me that subjective knowledge of the game needs to be preserved. One instance of people passing judgements on mere figures that irks me is the 'myth" of pinch hittingRomesh kaluwitharna( even a cricinfo article on him used this word myth. While he did not have the big scores to boast of,I remember watching him on TV in the B&H series in 1995-96 trying to smash every ball to the boundary from ball 1 and thus the the pace was set by kalu. It was not the stats here but the manner of his free play that defined pinch hitting. Let me make it clear that I am not against use of stats, but rather the usage stats to deny reality.

  • swarzi on December 9, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    Ananth, Don't you think it would be difficult to make these bowling trio comparisons based on the quality of bowling that existed during specific periods? For example, how does one deal with the period 2008 to 2010 with other periods, when no team in the world had a genuine world class attack between 2008 and 2010? Around that time the best bowlers in the world had either just retired; or within one season or so of retirement; and we only had a set of inexperience individuals or pairs just learning their trade. That is after decades of some of the best bowling attacks the world has ever seen.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 9, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Ananth, when your innings rating comes, will we see differentiation based on the stage of the innings when wickets fell? For instance, keeping aside tests and one dayer distinctions aside, I cannot rate Saeed Anwar's 188* from 316 allout against India in Calcutta in 1998 on the same plane as Clem Hill's 188 from 323. The reason is that Pakistan were around 94/2, and 262/4, and then suddenly there was a collapse but Anwar stayed not out. So he did not steer the innings with the help of the tail. Clem Hill rescued his team from 58/6. So while the end scorecard looks similar, the degree of difficulty the batsmen overcame with their solo efforts was vastly different. [[ Of course, goes without saying. Even now, I take in the stage of coming in., the way the innings moved after coming in and the runs added with late order batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 9, 2012, 0:46 GMT

    Thanks very much Pawan :) Interesting stuff !

    After many hours I have amazingly not found the 1950's English trio. From Bedser, Statham, Tueman, Tyson, Wardle, Laker, Lock (and a few others) no 3 seems to stand out as a dominant threesome. Amazing......

    lol they must have silently pre-introduced "rotation" ?

    The depth of attack may make this period from England perhaps even greater than the 1980's WI's ? * Certainly some great bowlers!

  • Pawan Mathur on December 7, 2012, 20:23 GMT

    Murali, Vaas,Fernando Loss: 9/23 Murali: 15,35@37.62 Vaas: 15, 23@40.56 Fernando: 15,19@ 52.36

    Flintoff,Harmison,Hoggard Loss: 9/33 Flintoff: 16,33@33.24 Harminson: 16, 26@41.07 Hoggard: 16, 28@37.00

    [[ Amazing, Pawan. That is some effort. Shows the players/trios in a new light. Tht puts Warne, Lee, McGrath and Holding, Garner, Marshall at the pedestal. Thanks a lot for the idea and execution. It never seemed to me, when I did the Pairs article, to look at losses and the player-under performance. And that program was modified for the Trios article. I did not have the strength to add anything more. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on December 7, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    Walsh, Ambrose, and Bishop Loss: 8/37 Walsh: 14,38@25.92 Ambrose: 14,21@41.71 Bishop: 14, 31@27.74

    Holding,Garner,Marshall Loss: 1/26 Holding: 1, 3@24.66 Garner: 1, 2@50.50 Marshall: 1, 0 (111 runs)

    Hall, Gibbs, Sobers Loss: 8/37 Hall:15,25@33.24 Gibbs: 14,24@39.66 Sobers, 14, 21@40.76

    Willis,Hendrick, Botham Loss: 4/17 Willis: 8, 20@19.35 Hendrick: 8, 10@32.20 Botham: 8, 17@18.52

    Anderson, Broad, Swann Loss: 10/37 Anderson: 17, 25@40.60 Broad: 16, 29@35.17 Swann: 16, 38@33.50

    Prasanna, Chandra, Bedi Loss: 12/24 Prasanna: 19,22@60.40 Chandra: 17,39@36.23 Bedi: 19, 42@35.28

    Kumble, Harbhajan, Zaheer Loss: 4/25 Kumble: 7,15@45.66 Harbhajan: 7,20@34.15 Zaheer:7, 12@47.91

    Wasim,Waqar. Mushtaq Ahmed Loss: 9/33 Wasim: 18, 50@18.32 Waqar: 18, 39@25.07 Mushtaq: 18, 31@28.19

    Hadlee, Cairns,Chattfield Loss: 3/17 Hadlee: 6,18@24.72 Cairns: 5,5@54.60 Chattfield: 6,9@43.66

    Donald,Pollock,Kallis Loss: 9/40 Donald: 16,35@29.57 Pollock: 15,42@22.21 Kallis: 13, 10@60.20

    (contd)

  • Pawan. Mathur on December 7, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    I have done a statsguru analysis of the 15 trios figure in losses to check whether the losses their teams incurred were due to their under- performance or was it mostly because of failure of their team batsmen. Only the figures for Pakistani trio corroborate secod hypothesis. In some cases, all three have underperformed (Spin trio: Prasanna avg 60!) In most cases, it is usually due to underperformance of third (kallis) or both bowlers. Only in the case of Pakistan can it be said that losses occurred due to underperformance of batsmen. Garner,Holding, Marshall: just 1 defeat! Performances of Trios in Losses (Player: innings,wkts@avg) Warne, Lee, and Mcgrath Loss: 2/38 Warne: 4, 7@35.42 Lee: 4, 6 @54.16 Mcgrath; 4, 9@24.11

    Warne, Gillespie, and Mcgrath Loss: 10/47 Warne: 18, 23@54.95 Gillespie, 16, 23@40.47 Mcgrath: 19, 53@21.90 Miller, Lindwall and Johnston Loss: 5/51 Miller: 10, 18@19.83 Lindwall:10,14@35 Johnston:10,19@30.21 (contd)

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 7, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    I am frankly not so worried about Indian cricket. It is in good shape. If Sachin retires, Murali Vijay and Badrinath should easily fill his gap. After all they have played in IPL. Then we have Dhoni, who has also played IPL, and has actually led his team to victory more than once. So what if he likes once in a while to take his gloves off and bowl? Which country can boast of the maximum players in the IPL? Definitely not Pakistan, or England. How can they therefore compete with India in tests? I dont even know if any team has bid for Cook in IPL. Perhaps none has. We the disgruntled fans must learn to look past short term dips in the Indian team's fortunes.

  • Ananth on December 7, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    All the Marx brothers morphed into a single person today, by name Joe Dawes, the Indian bowling coach. Granted that his continued stay in the job depends not on producing a new collection of exciting bowling talent for India but making sure that his voice is in sync with His Master's Voice. However to say that Zaheer Khan is amongst the top six bowlers in the world today must be the joke of the month, nay, year, no, not really, millennium. What do we do. Let us look at the 5 bowlers ahead of Zaheer. Morkel, Steyn, Philander, Anderson, Best, Edwards, Roach, Bracewell, Southee, Pattinson, Siddle, Umar Gul and the list goes on. Mind you, Joe Marx said "bowlers" not "pace bowlers". That was today's entertainment from Eden Gardens, Calcutta. Tomorrow's press handler will be the team masseur and day after tomorrow's, the team chef. Maybe they will talk more sense. Ananth

  • Murray Archer on December 7, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    Stop it Gerry ! lol You may give me hope of Aussies somehow winning in India before being thrashed in England ROFL :)

    Phillip Hughes to replace Ponting, and Maxwell's bowling is trash again ... deep breath. :)

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 7, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    I find it surprising that the stellar trio of Zaheer, Ojha and Ashwin have not been considered. Definitely the win ratio (for the opposition) has gone up since this trio came together. [[ Why not Ishant/Ashwin/Ojha. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 7, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    @ talha

    Thanks for great insight to both Imran (stuff I didn't see about him ... well in a way I guess ?) and especially Qadir! Qadir is my favorite ever seen live legspinner........ before the whole legspin deal changed.

  • Waspsting on December 7, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    @Dr.talha - i've read both of Imran's autobiographies, and was struck by the -ve way in which he saw Pak players - he always finds something to fault (sometimes irrationally, or pettily - e.g. Miandad's fielding, Zaheer's supposed selfishness)

    within that context, someone he has nothing bad to say about is special. Qudair and Wasim were the only two - for Qudair there was VERY uncharacteristic, human admiration for the way he grew up as well, as his skill.

    Given Imran's -ve and unsentimental style, I assessed Imran was particularly fond of Qudair.

    re: umpiring - I fully agree it was a global issue at the time.

    Qudair, as the only class leggie, probably suffered more than anyone though - for all the reasons you've said.

    Pakistan got UNFAIRLY signaled out for bad umpiring around the world - everyone was bad, Pak was probably better than most - but Pakistan was ALWAYS blamed for poor umpiring. ---

    Gooch thought Qudair a better bowler than Warne. Lara thought Musthaq the same [[ I corrected Qudair to Qadir once. Now I am letting go. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr.talha on December 7, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    @Wapsting. As far as umpiring is concerned, i agree that Qadir had to face some real poor umpiring. In 1988 WI tour, umpire didnt even knew that a flipper goes on straight, so a number of LBW decisions went against him. Another example was the 1982 & 87 Eng tours. Pak objected against couple of umpires after the 82 tour. But they were given the same umpires, on the 87 tour, not in one test, but 2 tests. But u should also consider the fact that, Qadir had the advantage of home umpires. In the 1987 Eng tour to Pak, Qadir got 30 wickets, and some those were due to poor umpiring. I believe umpiring was a global issue at that time.

  • Dr.talha on December 7, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    @Wapsting. I will share one incident with u. I was at national stadium karachi. 1989 indian tour to Pak. Pak were having nets. One of the pak fast bowlers (wont name him),came with the wrong shoes on. The way Imran scolded him, for wearing the wrong shoes was unbelievable. One thing is for sure, whenever Imran found a youngster of the same speciality (e.g leg spin), who looked a good prospect, than Imran's interest in the senior player diminished. After 1988, Imran started taking more interest in Mushtaq. Another example of this was the surprise exclusion of saleem yousuf (Imran's favourite at one stage),and in came Moin Khan.

  • Dr.talha on December 7, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    @Wapsting. I said there were stories about that the bangalore test, circulating in Pak. Not confirm reports. I agree with u that finger spinners were the best option for that match. Imran didnt had excellent relations with anyone, except may be Akram. He was too dominating, which probably was the right approach for that team. Because we know what happened immediately after he retired. Pak had 8 captains in the next 8 years.

  • dale on December 7, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    Anath has presented an excellent method which isolates the contribution and by default the value of the bowlers. As far as batting is concerned that another matter. Example - Charlie Davis has an average of 54.2 but only scored at a rate of 44.8 RPI. Anyway I am intrigued by Ananth's RpAI in reply to Murray Archer. I have done something quite similar and found out that the list of 50 plus averages dwindled quite a bit. [[ I intend doing a comprehensive Avge/RpI/RpAI analysis sometime later. While my figure of 20 is arbitrary this cut-off could easily be made dynamic and batsman-dependant. It is correct that some averages would fall below 50. Maybe the 50 would acquire a little bit more lustre then. Instead of 32 batsmen (gt 3000 runs) with 50+ we might have 25, slightly more elitist. Ananth: ]]

  • Atlantic252 on December 7, 2012, 0:05 GMT

    Another brilliant piece of forensic research. As always very persuasively argued. Reading the comments, you are right to defend Abdul Qadir, who was an excellent bowler when touring England. Between Chandra's and Warne's careers, I think he alone was a world class leg spinner. We love Mushtaq here in England but Qadir just edges it for me. What I would like to know is how well England's great bowlers of the '50's fare: Trueman, Statham, Laker (or Lock). Perhaps with the Windies, these are the best quartet ever...? [[ Quartet??? Good thing is that I have separate pairs analysis and trio analysis programs. So upping the ante to a quartet analysis may not be tough. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 6, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    Just a question about methodology in stats because have found some interesting stuff I gathered up in the past. I personally like the wickets per match and percentages used partially here to assess bowlers more than just their bowling average. Does anyone here analyse batting by using Runs per innings rather than average ? When I played with some databases a bit, a few years back, found that RPI made for better lognormal distribution.

    Off topic I know and apologise. [[ I have done a lot of work on this. I think RpI penalizes the middle order batsmen a lot just as Average penalizes the top order. I have found an excellent in-between. I use what I call RpAI (Runs per adjusted innings). I consider a not out as a not out only when the runs are below a certain number, say 20. Thus the 400* or 270* or 37* will be taken as completed innings while a 15* or 0* or 5rtd will be taken as not out. Works very well. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on December 6, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    @Dr.T - i didn't see much of Qadir, but have always rated him highly. Would like to discuss with you - if you saw him more, maybe you can put me right because many of my impressions of him are different from yours.

    my impressions-

    -his away record was poor because of poor umpiring. Qudair was the classic leggie - off-stump line, and if you misread him, you were in trouble (unlike Warne).

    Batsmen would just pad him away clueless, they should have been LBW to the googly, but weren't given. I believe Qudair even started telling umpires beforehand that the next ball would be a googly to try and get the decision if the batsman padded up.

    - he had excellent relations with Imran. Imran made him, kept faith with him, set attacking fields for him. Imran writes more admiringly of him than he does of any of his teamates.

    He named his son Imran.

    the Bangalore dropping was just Imran being shrewd - with pitch turning square for any spinner, better to go with more accurate finger spinners

  • dale on December 6, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    Kallis' light workload of 12.7% deliveries and low production of 11.8% of the WPT indicates that the SA attack had two other full time bowlers. This observation is not meant to detract anything from Kallis as a great player - just an observation of his role. Wasim Akram dominates his trio with 26.3% of the deliveries and a remarkable 32% of the WPT. He was the bowler who could always give you long spells,even longer than the featured spinner. Among the featured bowlers his % of WPT is beaten only by Murali 38.2 and Hadlee 32.1 and these two did not have another super world class bowler in their attacks. Once again more than any other bowling measure I think these really show exactly what the bowler contributed to his team.

  • Boll on December 6, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    @pawan - thanks for the link mate, fantastic stuff. Unfortunately it inspired me to watch the full Fire in Babylon doco, get to bed at about 3am, almost miss the train this morning, and spend most of the day in a daze. Well worth it!

    Michael Holding! what an action, what a bowler. no wonder we all loved the Windies.

  • Waspsting on December 6, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    "As I suspected, this attack asks questions as to whether the current is SA's best ? Certainly had a bit of aggression about it too"

    @Murray - i imagine if you look at Tayfield's strike rate, that'd clear up part of the reason why this team didn't win too often. given he's taken the most wickets comfortably - Adcock & Heine's lack of stamina might be another factor(?)

    How bad can SA's batting be that 4 bowlers doing that well didn't win much?

    Tayfield, IMO, was particularly suited to his era - slow batting, safety first dominating to a crazy extent.

    He was a flighty bowler who hardly turned the ball at all but pitched it up tempting a drive. Great accuracy, not particularly noted for 'bamboozling' flight (like say, Prasanna)

    I think his bowling would be pulverized today! (unlike say, Laker) ---

  • Dr.talha on December 6, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    @Ananth. Relationship between Imran & Qadir has always been controversial. As we know, a lot of stories surrond the decision of Imran, dropping Qadir form the famous test in banglore in 1987. The great Gavaskar's last match.

    Though Qasim & Tauseef won the match for Pak, and Imran's decision proved to be right. But still there was something fishy.

    And offcourse since the emergence of Waqar, Imran relied a lot more on his two young quickies, the 2 W's.

  • Dr.talha on December 6, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    @Boll. Thanks brother for pointing out my mistake. I misread.

    Surely Mcgrath/Warne/Lee has a very good away win %age. But i believe that Mcgrath/Gillespie/Warne was a much deadlier trio. Probably the best ever.

    For Pak Wasim/Waqar/Mushtaq was the best ever.

    Qadir is surely over-rated. Much of his fame is because, no other leg spinner was playing during his time (unlike Mushtaq who had some real competitors) And offcourse because of his bowling action & hairstyle. As a bowler he was just a good leg spinner. Nothing beyond that. His away record is very very ordinary. Take a look at his stats to have a better idea.

    Mushtaq on the other hand from 1995 to 98 took 118 wickets in 18 consecutive matches. With match winning overseas performances in Sydney, Christchrch Lords, Oval & Durban. [[ Yes, I agree that Mushtaq does not always get his due. I am not sure whether Imran himself has supported Qadir more. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 6, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    @ Anath. No doubt Tayfield is one of the 3 best performing offspinners to grace our (Australian) shores (along with Laker and Prasanna).

    My point was not so much to you (and certainly these 3 should not rank in your analysis) as those raving about current SA attack. In my opinion current are maybe 3rd best in their history. [[ With bowlers like Adcock, Heine, Donald, Pollock around, the current trio has to double their number of Tests at similar strike/win rates to be classified amongst the greats. Ananth: ]]

  • Vikram on December 6, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    @Ananth: did some analysis based on the figures. 1. check % wkt/% balls to see their strike ability: ranges between 1.03 to 1.13, the highest 3 being 1. Donald, Pollock, Kallis, 2. Willis, Hendricks, Botham and 3. Walsh, Ambrose, Bishop. 2. Look at increase in % win - highest increase in overall win with Hadlee, Cairns and Chatfield followed by Kumble, Harbhajan and Zaheer. Surprisingly, Anderson, Broad, Swann and Walsh, Ambrose, Bishop led to a decrease in % win. 3. Look at increase in % away win - Here KHZ are outright winners followed by HCC. 5 pairs lead to decrease in away win % 4. Multiply these 3 factors to see importance to team - HCC are closely followed by KHZ. Trios which are less than 1 - MVF, ABS, PCB, DPK and WAB. Definitely shows the value of Kumble to Indian cricket team. He has to be the MVP for India. [[ Very good sub-analysis. There is so much data available that it is possible to derive many insights. I have held my firm view, over the past 10 years, that Kumble's contribution to Indian cricket is NO LESS than anyone else, Tendul;kar and Kapil included. Ananth: ]]

  • Murray Archer on December 5, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    An interesting group (at least to me) is Adcock, Heine and Tayfield.

    They only played 12 matches together and won only 4 of those. Yet is interesting to compare to say current SA attack (who play with a MUCH better batting side and therefore don't lose as often)

    Adcock 42 @ 19.84 Heine 53 @ 23.59 Tayfield 65 @ 23.96

    Overall 160 @ 22.76

    Team took 207 wickets @ 25.48 the 4th Bowler was Goddard who took 38 @ 29.92 in those 12 matches. [[ The top quality of Tayfield against the third pace bowler. Ananth: ]] As I suspected, this attack asks questions as to whether the current is SA's best ? Certainly had a bit of aggression about it too !

    Thanks again Bol - slowly getting the hang of it :)

  • Murray Archer on December 5, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    @ Bol Thanks very much. I'll probably be buried there (Stats Guru)for a while now ! :)

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    All 16 tests won? Where did that come from? I think it was 16 tests/ 8 wins/6 draws/2 losses. Certainly lost once to Oz and Pakistan [[ My mistake and apologies. I did not see the "8/". Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on December 5, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    Thanks a lot @Boll for the statistics, I did try statsguru advanced filter, but some could not get the input commands correctly so desired results did not come.So, thanks again. Indeed,Bishop,Walsh, Ambrose was a deadly combination. One of Bishop's and Walsh hostile spells can be viewed on youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjgGBuRzI_8 and yes, as you pointed out it is scary, and cant disagree Tony Greig's description of it as "pace like fire". Also, for me the significant part about this spell is that Fire in Babylon opened with this clip, setting the tone of the film.

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    8/16 wins I think Ananth. Not exceptional I suppose. [[ From your mail ""1993 cut-off, Walsh/Ambrose/Bishop played 16 tests together"". All 16 Tests won: That is 100%. I am not sure and do not have the energy to check. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    @Pawan Mathur. Must admit you got me interested.

    1993 cut-off, Walsh/Ambrose/Bishop played 16 tests together

    Bishop: 74 @ 20.25 Walsh: 56 @ 22.66 Ambrose: 70 @ 20.02

    Overall: 200 @ 20.85

    Scary stuff, and pre-injuries Bishop was an absolute class act and pretty frightening (as you perhaps alluded to). cheers [[ Very impressive figures. Still 12.5 WpT and the Win %. Ananth: ]]

  • Jeff Grimshaw on December 5, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    Ananth,

    In your intro you mention that 3 bowlers generally make up the entire bowling strength of a team and the 4th bowler only plays a supporting role. I’m not sure this is the case.

    In fact, if you look at the case of your top ranked trio (Warne, McGrath, Lee), they took 76% of wickets over 38 tests – so who took the other 24%? [[ Jeff, probably my mistake in not mentioning that these are Team wickets and not Bowler wickets. These include Run outs. I had dome an earlier analysis in which I had worked out the Run out & as 4%. So we are looking at 20%. I agree these three form the core of the bowling attack. Ananth: ]] Well, the 4th bowler took 20% of them. A variety of players made up the 4th bowler: Gillespie (16 tests), MacGill (6), Clark (5), Bichel (3), Miler (3), Bracken (2), Fleming (2), Tait (1).

    They are all good bowlers and, combined, they have very similar figures to the 3rd bowler in the trio (Lee)

    Lee accounted for 20.9% of balls and 21.6% of wkts & the 4th bowler accounted for 20.5% of balls and 20.3% of wkts.

    Given the fact that the 4th bowler has almost identical figures to the 3rd, I think he was somewhat more than just a support bowler.

    I don't dispute you have the best trios in your list, just that the 4th bowler can be as important.

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    stats guru is the answer @Pawan (choose player/advanced filter/matches including certain other players/select all) and the world`s your oyster.

  • Pawan Mathur on December 5, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    @Boll,(and other readers too) Can you work out the split figures of Walsh, Bishop and Ambrose taking the injury to Bishop as a split point (infact i am not sure what should be the cut off date as he had two breaks from injury- first cut off-11 Dec 1991, or either second cut off date- 27 April 19930. They were a fearsome trio in the period probably 1989-89 - 1991-92. However, Bishop lost the pace after his injury.I remember he had a decent comeback in England in 1995. But still, i do believe that there will be some gap in the trio's first half figure and later half figures.

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    @mian haseeb gul.

    For instance, in the 19 matches Murali/Vaas/Dharmasena played together, Dharmasena took 32 wickets at 54...

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    @mian haseeb gul. I presume you didn`t see Paul`s recent comment!?

    McGrath, MacGill, Lee not a bad little grouping.

    13 matches

    McGrath: 47 @ 22.51 Lee: 53 @ 28.00 MacGill: 71 @ 22.56

    Overall: 171 @ 24.23

  • mian haseeb gul on December 5, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    murli/dharmasena/vaas prasad/srinath/kumble kumble/harbhajan/zaheer darren gough/andy caddick/flintoff waseem/waqar/saqlain

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    @Murray Archer, need to use advanced filter, matches played with both players, then select all - a little time consuming.

    For Mailey, McDonald, Gregory, I get;

    9 matches

    Mailey, 55 @ 28.49 Gregory, 34 @ 28.91 McDonald, 35 @ 35.57

    Overall, 124 @ 29.80

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 10:59 GMT

    @Gerry/Harsh. Yes, for Imran, Wasim, Qadir; I get

    23 matches

    Imran: 105 @ 21.52 Wasim: 84 @ 26.11 Qadir: 62 @ 38.24

    251 wickets @ 27.19

  • Boll on December 5, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    For those who are interested, the figures I have for Steyn/Morkel/Philander are as follows;

    12 matches

    Philander, 67 wickets @ 17.98 Steyn, 52 wickets @ 25.46 Morkel, 39 wickets @ 31.66

    Overall, 158 wickets @ 23.82. Pretty good start at the very least (7 wins out of 12 I think) l Thanks, boll. Ananth

    @Dr.talha. I think you`ve misread those figures slightly - Wasim, Waqar and Mushtaq played away together 24 times (won 12). pretty sure Warne, McGrath, Lee have the best percentage of away wins - 77%.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 5, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Harsh Thakor, I had already checked this but this was from 1985-90, with Imran taking the bulk of the wickets @21, Akram winding up for a long career but taking wickets @26 during this period, well above his career average, and Qadir fading away, making for a decent but not spectacular wickets / match for the trio There was however a very brief period in 1986-88 where they were a devastating combination, with West Indies facing the maximum heat, and it made for 6 of the greatest tests ever played, and all batsmen suffered due to extremely bowler friendly wickets made in Pakistan.

  • Dr.talha on December 5, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    The trio of Wsaim/Waqar & Mushtaq had 24 away wins out of 33 total wins. Probably the best percentage of away wins amongst all trios.

    Shows you the versatality of that Pak bowling attack, and their ability to take wickets on any surface.

  • Harsh Thakor on December 5, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    My favourite Ananth was the combination of Imran Khan,Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir of Pakistan.To me this pace-spin combination was devastating,particularly with the inclusion of left -arm bowling.I am surpised it is not included.Remember Pakistan's ascendancy in 1987-88 with this combination.Very close would be Waqar,Wasim and Saqlain Mushtaq.For pure pace I would choose Marshall-Holding-Garner,each unique in their own way.

  • Paul on December 5, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    I find it hilarious that most of the combinations suggested are basically "3 random subcontinent bowlers...oh, and I haven't run any numbers on this, but everyone knows all the best bowlers come from (insert my home country here) so why don't you rustle up some numbers for me..."

    It's a very interesting article, and I think you have definitely arrived at the best trios.

  • al on December 5, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    Ananth, your ability to take feedback from comment-ors sets you apart from other "journalists" who sit on a pedestal and think readers are beneath them. Thank you for your attitude.

  • ABC on December 4, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    More than trio, statistics of duals may be more interesting.

  • Murray Archer on December 4, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    Very interesting read Anath - thanks.

    I need to give myself a crash course in using Stats Guru :).Can't seem to find the groupings I'm looking for there. The groups I was looking for were Mcdonald, Gregory & Mailey & the appropriate 3 Englishmen of 1950's.

    Will send in some numbers when I find them.

    GREAT WORK !

  • dale on December 4, 2012, 20:23 GMT

    The use of the WPT and various percentages are excellent measures to go by.Many averages can be misleading but the bottom line is WPT plus percentages regarding deliveries/wickets taken are more indicative of the bowlers' production and value to the team. Congrats on another great presentation. Miller,Lindwall,Johnston numbers are low because they performed with a genuine 5 man attack. They were mainly supplemented by Johnson (spin) and any one of the following at various times Toshack (medium)McCool and Benaud (leg spin) Ron Archer (fast medium). Miller's 16% deliveries and 17.1% WPT reveals that he was clearly the #3 bowler behind Lindwall and Johnston. The value of Johnston with his mixture of pace and spin is also brought to the fore. Finally their 58.8% in wins trails only the two Warne/McGrath combinations.

  • Ross on December 4, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    Nice analysis...thanks for the hard work. Interesting to see Kallis there. He was usually thought of as the 4th bowler. But the wickets in SA, the insistance on all-rounders and the lack of decent attacking spinners meant Kallis usually had more impact. His figures would probably have been better of he had actually been a 3rd bowler, although it would have upped his workload.

  • akhter786 on December 4, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    @author

    what about Ajmal/Rehman/umar gul trio

    i think u missed out them completely

    just check their stats and let me know

  • ashraf on December 4, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    @author

    what about Ajmal/Rehman/umar gul trio

    i think u missed out them completely

    just check their stats and let me know

  • Herman on December 4, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    How about -the Larry Contantine, Alf Valentine and Sonny Ramdin trio?

  • Herman on December 4, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    You did not mention -the Hall, Griffith and Lance Gibbs trio

  • George on December 4, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    Great article, however growing up in the West Indies in the 70's my trio will always be Lillie, Thompson and Max Walker.

  • ruudraza on December 4, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    I always thought warne, mcgrath, gillespie and brett lee together were the best and most complete bowling line up. when i did a statsguru search i found that Aus only won 10 of the 16 matches they played together. Also Aus won 20 of the 21 tests in which warne, mcgrath and brett lee played but gillespie did not play. So statswise Aus did better with brett lee and without gillespie which is incredible given the aussies often dropped brett lee while gillespie was indispensable uptil the 2005 ashes. It's amazing how team form and timing can make things appear so different from reality. Brett lee started out( with mcgrath and waarne) during the first run of 16 consecutive wins and finshed up during the second while gillespie was injured during most of there first run of consecuitive wins and dropped just before the second and hence despite being superior to lee during his entire career appears weak.

  • Ananth on December 4, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    Raghav The problem has been corrected and the tables re-loaded. The problem was that this segment was nicely sitting inside the player loop and was executed 11 times. The final numbers were exactly 11 times the correct numbers. Thanks

  • shmulik zulik on December 4, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    Thanks Ananth: Hoping for Steyn/Morkel/Philander to come good soon,I think they have the potential to be the best! a few other trios to watch for the future(in order of how much potential they have): Starc/Pattinson/Cummins of Aus: Boult/Southee/Bracewell of NZ: Ashwin/Ojha/Umesh of India: Hassan/Shapoor/Dawlat of Afghanistan(if they get the big stage): Pleasereply if you like these and for other sugesstions thanks again shmulik

  • shaun on December 4, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Warne McGrath and Clark may have been worth a mention and for a duo just leave out McGrath Don't think you will find many defeats . Other than that excellent column and good work as always . [[ Can we get some numbers. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on December 4, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    I am forced to come out with some instrutions. I am working with severe limitations. Please do not come out with umpteen number of combinations with no base whatsoever. Like Waspsting and Chinar, please do some spadework using Statsguru and let me know the numbers. If these are good I will include the trio and post the tables. Else I will just ignore the comments. All you guys pushing Steyn/Morkel/Philander, find out how many Tests they have played together and how many wickets they have captured. Waspsting: Thank you. I will replace W/W/Sm with W/W/Ma. I think I had considered Mushtaq and landed with the wrong Mushtaq. Apologies to the English bowling coach. Chinar: No way can Kumble/Srinath/Prasad replace either Prasanna/Chandra/Bedi or Kumble/Zaheer/Harbhajan. And I cannot justify a third trio for India.

  • Ben on December 4, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Great analysis - begs the question though.... how good are the statistics (and win %) when Warne, McGrath, Lee and Gillespie played as a quartet?

    My guess is that this defines the period when Australia were at their most dominant around the start of the millenium. But would love to see the stats.

  • Waspsting on December 4, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    @Dinesh - Waqar after his back injury (about 200 wickets at the time), was a different bowler. His S.R was 36(!) when he hit 200 wickets.

    after injury, he lost pace but kept trying to bowl batsman with pace and swing - only with pace reduced, batsmen kept him out better. the same method had been irristible before - he just didn't have the brains to adjust.

    Waqar pre-injury is the most lethal bowler i've seen. I think his poor stats in the given trio says more about where he was at in his career than anything else

    ----

    re: Warne & McGrath w/ Lee vs Gillispe... Lee wasn't a match winning bowler for most of his matches with the two greats. He only came into that role at McGrath/Warne's tail end

    IMO, the Gillispe trio is more potent.

    Think the Aus selectors missed a trick in not grooming Lee - who always had potential to be a match winner - more under the Gillispe/Warne/McGrath trio.

    Kasprowicz, decent but no potential for great, often got the 4th bowlers slot over Lee

  • Arun on December 4, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Sorry, i missed noticing that you have them under the excluded list.

  • Arun on December 4, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    Ananth, as always...great analysis. Any merits of considering Imran,Sarfraz & Qadir ? Not sure if they caused sufficient damage in tandem to qualify !

  • Huma on December 4, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    For Pakistan, you missed out the trio of Imran, Wasim and Aqib Javed (dont remember if Aqib performed with Waqar and Wasim as a trio) and then there was Aqib, Wasim and Mushtaq Ahmed, and of course the quartet of Aqib, Wasim, Mushtaq and Imran, which won us the world cup!

  • Waspsting on December 4, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    Wasim, Waqar and Mushtaq Ahmed were far more potent than W, W and Saqlain.

    Wasim, Waqar and Mushtaq - 33 matches, 431 wickets, Ave. 23.69, S.R 49.20. All of them with over a 100 wickets in the period (Wasim 173, Waqar 150 and Mushtaq 108).

    Gregory, McDonald, Mailey might be interesting too (probably not too many matches)

    Will look more closely and come back to this,

  • Dr. talha on December 4, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    @Ananth. I think u will find better results if include Wasim/Waqar/Mushtaq compared to Wasim/Waqar/Saqlain.

    Because when saqlain started playing test matches, waqar was not a regular memeber of the team. Due to tough competition from Akhtar as well as, due to his "issues" with wasim.

    The 2 WI trios Marshall/Holding/Garner & Ambrose/Walsh/Bishop clearly look the most threatening.

  • Saleem Basit on December 4, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    I think you should look at Wasim/Waqar/Mushtaq Ahmed as well.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 4, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    Flintoff, Harmison and Hoggard is a good addition. No single batsman ever got to terms with them. Even Ricky Ponting averaged only 39 in the 2005 ashes. However Kallis made more than 600 runs including a brilliant century in Durban when he was the last man out in 2004 against this attack, which in that series also included Simon Jones, who caused so many problems to Ponting in the 2005 Ashes. This attack also came to India in 2006 and was quite successful.

  • Taqi on December 4, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    @Dinesh,

    Waqar's peak was over when he had an elbow injury in 1998 against Zimbabwe, which was Saqlain's peak. When he came back he played 2 matches against India taking only 2 wickets (in which Saqlain took 20 wickets), 1 against Australia taking 2 wickets , 3 match series against West Indies taking 4 wickets.

    Originally he was a Genuine fast bowler and when he returned he was a medium pacer.

    So, returning from injury, not having the same pace what he used to have and being involved in politics with Wasim Akram (Captain) is a lot of reasons not to have good stats.

    Believe me those who have seen Waqar bowling at his peak will agree with me that his every ball was unplayable during the time on 1989 to 1994. Wasim did complement Waqar in taking wickets but Waqar has broken stumps of many quality batsman infact more than wasim during his time.

    He was a great bowler and probably the best if it comes to bowling at their peak.

  • Chinar on December 4, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    How about Kumble, Srinath and Prasad? Just checked Statguru; they have 238 wickets as a trio in 20 tests. What came as a surprise to me is that Kumble has the worst figures

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 4, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Ananth, is your work on bowler rating complete? Something which is the equivalent of BQI for batsmen? It would be interesting to see the averages of batsmen dismissed by the bowlers. I remember that while McGrath / Gillespie / Lee / Warne had tremendous successes against India, South Africa and England, richly deserved, they also smashed weak West Indies and Zimbabwe teams from time to time. Any way in which we can see average batting opposition quality as a parameter for the 16 trios and also some of the good ones excluded but mentioned on top?

  • Taqi on December 4, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    What about the following,

    Wasim/Waqar/Mushtaq-Ahmed Donald/Pollock/Fanie-de-Villiers Trueman/Statham/Laker Srinath/Kumble/Prasad

  • Karthik on December 4, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    Ananth- In the early 90s, Kumble, Raju and Rajesh Chauhan were quite hot to handle in the Indian conditions. Could they be considered?

  • salman on December 4, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    what about steyn/morkel/philander::::isnt it far better than current anderson/broad/swann????????/

  • Raghav Bihani on December 4, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    @Anantha: The data for Non trio matches (Total Home and Away) has gone awry. It is correct for the first 3 trios and then there is some error in pasting .

    Example for Bishop Ambrose and Walsh. Non-Trio matches: 803 Wins: 385 (47.9%) Non-Trio Home matches: 374 Wins: 198 (52.9%) Non-Trio Away matches: 429 Wins: 187 (43.6%)

    I think it is all matches played till they arrived. [[ Will look into this and correct. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 4, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    The best of the lot is (going by average, and reputation) - Garner, Marshall, Holding. They are matched by Donald / Pollock / Kallis in averages but Kallis was not in the same league as the other two in productivity, going by wickets per test (a measure by which Lillee swears, as seen by his interview when he took his 310th wicket against West Indies at MCG). [[ The averages are bound to be lower for the fast bowlers. But by the very important and inarguable measure of win %, it is Warne, McGrath and Lee. 4 in 5 Tests won. Ananth: ]] Ananth, the order in which you have put them is Holding, Garner and Marshall. If one were to do it by the order in which the bowlers got the ball, it would be Garner, Marshall and Holding. Holding stopped taking the new ball after the 1983-84 series against India. In the World Cup '83, it was Roberts and Garner. Then in the 6 test series in India which Garner passed, it was Holding and Marshall that took the new ball. From this point Garner made a spectacular comeback (he was dropped in 1982-83 against India) and formed perhaps the most devastating new ball pairing in history, and Holding assumed #3 bowler role. [[ The order is strictly chronological. Ananth: ]]

  • Arvind on December 4, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    also check out STEYN/MORKEL/PHILANDER

  • Paul S on December 4, 2012, 2:15 GMT

    Another great article Ananth . I must admit I was wondering about the merits of the Flintoff ,Harmison ,Hoggard trio myself and that got me thinking about other potential English candidates .There is the well established partnership of Trueman & Statham , did enough of their matches overlap with Laker or Lock and yield enough wickets to be classed as a deadly enough triumvirate for this analysis? [[ FHH seem quite good and balanced so much so I have decided to add them to the main article. Let me check on the other trios later. Ananth: ]]

  • Sifter on December 3, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    Just thinking out loud of some combinations that may have been overlooked. Nothing major I think, you've hit the main ones for sure! Alderman/McDermott/Hughes - did they play together enough? I can't remember them being fit at the same time...but they were 3 good bowlers of the same era. What about putting Ashley Mallett with Lillee and Thomson instead of Max Walker? Or Colin Croft as the 3rd man in some kind of WI pace combination? Did Underwood and Snow play enough with Willis? Or Ken Higgs with Underwood and Snow? Trueman & Statham and Laker/Tyson/Lock? There has to be some combination with those 5. Bedser and Wardle would be hanging around in that time too.

    Great analysis as usual!

  • Dinesh on December 3, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    I think another trio which might have come into the picture had one of the players played for some more time was Fanie de Villiers/Donald/POllock. They played just two matches together and took 31 of the 40 to fall. I am just imagining. They might have fared worse as well.

    Coming to Waqar's underperformance, i think one of the reason's can be that Saqlain came along to poach some of the wickets that were created in the 1st Place by Wasim. Wasim on any day would bowl more unplayable deliveries than Waqar and rough them up. Initially it was Waqar who was the go to Guy for the captain and then would poach on to the oppurtunities created by Wasim.

    When saqlain came along, Pak had a another option in him and he went about taking Waqar's share of wickets. I think this was what that might have happened. I might be wrong

  • vivek on December 3, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    hw abt mohammad asif mohammad aamer umar gul they may not play too much matches but still fatal na

  • shmulik zulik on December 3, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    What about the trio of Steyn,Morkel and Philander? [[ Pl see response to Pawan. Ananth: ]] or of Chandra,Bedi and Venkat/Prassana? [[ Venkat was the support bowler and really cannot come into this trio. Ananth: ]] or of Flintoff,Harmison and Hoggard? [[ I think Anderson/Broad/Swann are far ahead of F/H/M. Ananth: ]] thats all that comes to my head right now,I am sure others will think of many more!

  • Pawan Mathur on December 3, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    Do Steyn,Morkel,Philander qualify for the consideration in this list.Perhaps, their relatively short career as a trio has ruled them out. Also,Truemen,Bedser and Laker can be considered. [[ There is no qualifiation criteria. But seems to be too soon for this trio. Ananth: ]] The Indian spin quartet of the 70s is a great story. Infact just got hold of Bishan Singh Bedi's biography by Suresh Menon a few days ago (I assume most of readers of this blog would have read that). I do not think the spin quartet can be described better than these words in the book: " Somehow, the whole was greater than the sum of its part. Together, they scripted one of the most exciting chapters in the history of Indian cricket. Later bowlers claimed more wickets;had a hand in more victories, were statistically more impressive. But none had the charm, the technical mastery, the charisma and mischief" of Prasanna, Bedi, Chandra, and Bedi. [[ Bedi and Prasanna were the artists, Chandra was the magician and Venkat was the ever-ready support bowler. The only equal would be the West indian pacemen of the 80s. Ananth: ]]

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  • Pawan Mathur on December 3, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    Do Steyn,Morkel,Philander qualify for the consideration in this list.Perhaps, their relatively short career as a trio has ruled them out. Also,Truemen,Bedser and Laker can be considered. [[ There is no qualifiation criteria. But seems to be too soon for this trio. Ananth: ]] The Indian spin quartet of the 70s is a great story. Infact just got hold of Bishan Singh Bedi's biography by Suresh Menon a few days ago (I assume most of readers of this blog would have read that). I do not think the spin quartet can be described better than these words in the book: " Somehow, the whole was greater than the sum of its part. Together, they scripted one of the most exciting chapters in the history of Indian cricket. Later bowlers claimed more wickets;had a hand in more victories, were statistically more impressive. But none had the charm, the technical mastery, the charisma and mischief" of Prasanna, Bedi, Chandra, and Bedi. [[ Bedi and Prasanna were the artists, Chandra was the magician and Venkat was the ever-ready support bowler. The only equal would be the West indian pacemen of the 80s. Ananth: ]]

  • shmulik zulik on December 3, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    What about the trio of Steyn,Morkel and Philander? [[ Pl see response to Pawan. Ananth: ]] or of Chandra,Bedi and Venkat/Prassana? [[ Venkat was the support bowler and really cannot come into this trio. Ananth: ]] or of Flintoff,Harmison and Hoggard? [[ I think Anderson/Broad/Swann are far ahead of F/H/M. Ananth: ]] thats all that comes to my head right now,I am sure others will think of many more!

  • vivek on December 3, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    hw abt mohammad asif mohammad aamer umar gul they may not play too much matches but still fatal na

  • Dinesh on December 3, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    I think another trio which might have come into the picture had one of the players played for some more time was Fanie de Villiers/Donald/POllock. They played just two matches together and took 31 of the 40 to fall. I am just imagining. They might have fared worse as well.

    Coming to Waqar's underperformance, i think one of the reason's can be that Saqlain came along to poach some of the wickets that were created in the 1st Place by Wasim. Wasim on any day would bowl more unplayable deliveries than Waqar and rough them up. Initially it was Waqar who was the go to Guy for the captain and then would poach on to the oppurtunities created by Wasim.

    When saqlain came along, Pak had a another option in him and he went about taking Waqar's share of wickets. I think this was what that might have happened. I might be wrong

  • Sifter on December 3, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    Just thinking out loud of some combinations that may have been overlooked. Nothing major I think, you've hit the main ones for sure! Alderman/McDermott/Hughes - did they play together enough? I can't remember them being fit at the same time...but they were 3 good bowlers of the same era. What about putting Ashley Mallett with Lillee and Thomson instead of Max Walker? Or Colin Croft as the 3rd man in some kind of WI pace combination? Did Underwood and Snow play enough with Willis? Or Ken Higgs with Underwood and Snow? Trueman & Statham and Laker/Tyson/Lock? There has to be some combination with those 5. Bedser and Wardle would be hanging around in that time too.

    Great analysis as usual!

  • Paul S on December 4, 2012, 2:15 GMT

    Another great article Ananth . I must admit I was wondering about the merits of the Flintoff ,Harmison ,Hoggard trio myself and that got me thinking about other potential English candidates .There is the well established partnership of Trueman & Statham , did enough of their matches overlap with Laker or Lock and yield enough wickets to be classed as a deadly enough triumvirate for this analysis? [[ FHH seem quite good and balanced so much so I have decided to add them to the main article. Let me check on the other trios later. Ananth: ]]

  • Arvind on December 4, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    also check out STEYN/MORKEL/PHILANDER

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 4, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    The best of the lot is (going by average, and reputation) - Garner, Marshall, Holding. They are matched by Donald / Pollock / Kallis in averages but Kallis was not in the same league as the other two in productivity, going by wickets per test (a measure by which Lillee swears, as seen by his interview when he took his 310th wicket against West Indies at MCG). [[ The averages are bound to be lower for the fast bowlers. But by the very important and inarguable measure of win %, it is Warne, McGrath and Lee. 4 in 5 Tests won. Ananth: ]] Ananth, the order in which you have put them is Holding, Garner and Marshall. If one were to do it by the order in which the bowlers got the ball, it would be Garner, Marshall and Holding. Holding stopped taking the new ball after the 1983-84 series against India. In the World Cup '83, it was Roberts and Garner. Then in the 6 test series in India which Garner passed, it was Holding and Marshall that took the new ball. From this point Garner made a spectacular comeback (he was dropped in 1982-83 against India) and formed perhaps the most devastating new ball pairing in history, and Holding assumed #3 bowler role. [[ The order is strictly chronological. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on December 4, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    @Anantha: The data for Non trio matches (Total Home and Away) has gone awry. It is correct for the first 3 trios and then there is some error in pasting .

    Example for Bishop Ambrose and Walsh. Non-Trio matches: 803 Wins: 385 (47.9%) Non-Trio Home matches: 374 Wins: 198 (52.9%) Non-Trio Away matches: 429 Wins: 187 (43.6%)

    I think it is all matches played till they arrived. [[ Will look into this and correct. Ananth: ]]

  • salman on December 4, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    what about steyn/morkel/philander::::isnt it far better than current anderson/broad/swann????????/