THE CORDON HOME

BLOGS ARCHIVES
SELECT BLOG
August 3, 2013

A look at how the top batsmen and bowlers fared against their opponents in Tests

Head-to-head stats for Lara, Tendulkar, Muralitharan, Warne and eight others

Anantha Narayanan
Rahul Dravid had the measure of most of the bowlers he faced in his career  © AFP
Enlarge

This is the article, the third of a series, using ball-by-ball data, which the readers have repeatedly asked for during the past three years. For an introduction to that work please refer to the first article on contemporary bowlers. I had followed this with another article on contemporary batsmen.

First, let me present a paradox while determining a bowler-batsman confrontation metrics. This relates to the grey area in handling no-balls. The no-ball related runs are charged to the bowlers but not to the batsmen. The ball itself is added to the batsman but not to the bowler. This leads to the following anomaly.

Let us take an over by Mitchell Starc to Alastair Cook, which is the first over of the match.

Ball 1: Dot ball.
Ball 2: 2 runs scored by Cook. 2 runs for team and against Starc.
Ball 3: Wide. 1 run to team and 1 run against Starc.
Ball 3: 2 leg byes. 2 runs to team.
Ball 4: No ball. 1 run scored. 2 runs to team, 2 runs against Starc and 1 run to Cook.
Ball 4: 4 byes. 4 runs to team.
Ball 5: Dot ball.
Ball 6: No ball. 1 run to team, 1 run against Starc.
Ball 6: Dot ball.

At the end of the over the team score is 12 for 0 (9 extras). Starc's analysis reads 1.0-0-6-0 (6 balls and 6 runs (3 to Cook and 3 wide/no-balls)). Cook's score reads 7 balls and 3 runs (2 & 1). No problem about the runs. But the head-to-head confrontation between Starc and Cook has a problem. Do we take six balls or seven balls? I have taken the no ball as a ball for the combination. That is common-sense.

The present article covers the batsmen and bowlers, some who rank amongst the best whoever wielded a bat or held a ball, who have fewer than 75% of ball-by-ball data available. I have changed the format of this article as compared to the previous two. In those I had covered bowlers and batsmen separately and featured four bowlers and batsmen and created a number of tables for each of those. I had also created a downloadable Excel sheet which contained the complete data for the selected batsmen and bowlers.

In this analysis, I have gone about it differently. Since 100% data is not available for these players nothing is gained by doing an elaborate analysis. There would always be that feeling of incomplete data around these tables. Hence I have selected six batsmen and 6 bowlers each from the collection of players who have between 40% and 75% ball-by-ball data available and presented a single table for each player. The comments are thus specific to these players.

I have also uploaded an Excel sheet containing all instances of bowler-batsman combinations with 100 balls or more, extracted from the entire ball-by-ball data. There are 2844 such instances. In addition I have included 110 instances where three or more wickets were captured and fewer than 100 balls bowled. Thus, the data would almost be complete if one downloads all three Excel sheets. A hundred-balls represents a good cut-off. It is of very little relevance to know that Shane Warne bowled ten balls to Dinesh Karthik and 16 runs were scored or that VVS Laxman bowled ten balls to AB de Villiers and 3 runs were scored.

The players selected are given below. The percentage value on the left shows the extent of ball-by-ball data available. Sachin Tendulkar's ball-by-ball percentage is slightly higher since he is still active and each new Test adds to this component. If, as expected, he retires at the end of the South African tour, he is likely to finish at around 60%.

Batsmen: 
    45.1%  Brian Lara
    58.2%  Sachin Tendulkar
    71.3%  Rahul Dravid
    71.9%  Jacques Kallis
    67.4%  Mohammad Yousuf
    72.5%  Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Bowlers:
    54.1%  Muttiah Muralitharan
    40.2%  Shane Warne
    43.0%  Glenn McGrath
    50.2%  Shaun Pollock
    66.7%  Shoaib Akhtar
    53.7%  Anil Kumble

Justification of these players' selections would be akin to gilding the lily. Most of them select themselves. I selected Mohammad Yousuf instead of Inzamam-ul-Haq since there is a lot more data available for him. Shoaib Akhtar is a late selection. Daniel Vettori was an alternative. Similarly, Stephen Fleming for Shivnarine Chanderpaul was another possibility.

I would like to emphasise that the ball-by-ball data availability for these players is around 50%. This has to be remembered when deriving insights. It is also a fact that the 50% mark pertains to the latter half of the concerned player's career. My suggestion is not to extrapolate. Just take the figures at their face value.

Selected 6 Batsmen

1. Summary table for BRIAN LARA
BowlerTypeBowling AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
M Muralitharan rob22.73 9 709 373 3 52.6124.33236.3
Chaminda Vaas LFM29.58 9 372 233 1 62.6233.00372.0
Andre Nel RFM31.8611 341 185 8 54.3 23.12 42.6
Makhaya Ntini RF 28.8311 312 225 1 72.1225.00312.0
Steve Harmison RFM31.8213 303 146 4 48.2 36.50 75.8
Danish Kaneria rlb34.80 8 298 260 3 87.2 86.67 99.3
Andrew Flintoff RF 32.7910 263 109 4 41.4 27.25 65.8
Jacques Kallis RFM32.43 8 251 148 0 59.0148.00251.0
Brett Lee RF 30.8214 243 172 2 70.8 86.00121.5
Stuart MacGill rlb29.03 7 236 174 2 73.7 87.00118.0
Glenn McGrath RFM21.6412 233 90 2 38.6 45.00116.5
Jason Gillespie RF 26.14 8 214 82 0 38.3 82.00214.0
Shaun Pollock RFM23.12 6 192 63 1 32.8 63.00192.0
Shahid Nazir RFM35.33 4 181 88 0 48.6 88.00181.0
Andy Bichel RFM32.24 8 171 112 4 65.5 28.00 42.8
Shane Warne rlb25.42 7 168 105 3 62.5 35.00 56.0
Abdul Razzaq RFM36.93 6 168 110 0 65.5110.00168.0
Thilan Samaraweera rob45.93 7 161 80 1 49.7 80.00161.0
Gareth Batty rob66.64 1 161 130 0 80.7130.00161.0
Matthew Hoggard RFM30.5010 159 137 1 86.2137.00159.0

1. Muttiah Muralitharan bowled millions of balls to Brian Lara, 709 to be precise (for whatever part of the ball-by-data available career of two). But it is safe to say that Lara mastered Muralitharan: and how? Strike rate over 50, average of 124 and a wicket every 40 overs. Not forgetting that most of these balls were bowled in Sri Lanka.
2. On the flip side, a fairly ordinary bowler like Andre Nel had the complete measure of Lara. Eight wickets at a strike rate of 42. Andy Bichel was also quite successful: four wickets, striking every 43 balls. This is difficult to explain considering that he handled much better fast bowlers better.
3. Lara took Danish Kaneria to the cleaners. A scoring rate of more than 87 over nearly 300 balls. He had a scoring rate of over 70 against six bowlers out of these 20.
4. Glenn McGrath, Shaun Pollock and Jason Gillespie kept Lara in check, but with very little success. In fact, Kallis and Gillespie bowled a lot at Lara but did not dismiss him even once. Lara attacked Warne but also lost his wicket often.

2. Summary table for SACHIN TENDULKAR
BowlerTypeBowling AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Mitchell Johnson LF 30.9318 502 250 3 49.8 83.33167.3
Paul Harris lsp37.87 7 441 154 3 34.9 51.33147.0
Brett Lee RF 30.8219 432 242 5 56.0 48.40 86.4
M Muralitharan rob22.7314 366 196 6 53.6 32.67 61.0
James Anderson RFM29.6723 350 208 9 59.4 23.11 38.9
Ashley Giles lsp40.60 5 348 125 1 35.9125.00348.0
Andrew Flintoff RF 32.7917 342 133 2 38.9 66.50171.0
Daniel Vettori lsp34.4212 314 95 3 30.3 31.67104.7
Dale Steyn RF 22.6611 310 149 3 48.1 49.67103.3
Monty Panesar lsp33.7813 304 149 4 49.0 37.25 76.0
Matthew Hoggard RFM30.5013 292 182 3 62.3 60.67 97.3
Mohammad Sami RF 52.74 9 287 127 1 44.3127.00287.0
Mohammad Rafique lsp40.76 5 283 140 1 49.5140.00283.0
Graeme Swann rob28.1414 279 150 4 53.8 37.50 69.8
Danish Kaneria rlb34.80 8 269 151 1 56.1151.00269.0
Mervyn Dillon RFM33.6310 267 163 2 61.0 81.50133.5
Ben Hilfenhaus RFM28.5110 250 161 0 64.4161.00250.0
Nathan Hauritz rob34.98 5 236 179 1 75.8179.00236.0
Shakib Al Hasan lsp32.75 5 234 119 1 50.9119.00234.0
Cameron Cuffy RF 33.67 8 233 107 2 45.9 53.50116.5

1. James Anderson had the complete measure of Tendulkar. He got his wickets nine times at a strike rate of 39 balls.
2. In view of the contest at year-end, it is significant to note that Tendulkar has handled Dale Steyn quite comfortably.
3. Tendulkar has been circumspect against most bowlers. There is only one bowler, Nathan Hauritz, against whom Tendulkar had a scoring rate exceeding 70.
4. Possibly because this pertained to Tendulkar's second half of his career, there seems to be a cautious handling of the bowlers. Most spinners have kept Tendulkar quiet.

3. Summary table for RAHUL DRAVID
BowlerTypeBowling AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
M Muralitharan rob22.7316 688 326 5 47.4 65.20137.6
Daniel Vettori lsp34.4212 609 275 2 45.2137.50304.5
Danish Kaneria rlb34.8013 583 305 5 52.3 61.00116.6
Matthew Hoggard RFM30.5016 531 218 5 41.1 43.60106.2
Andrew Flintoff RF 32.7917 470 154 3 32.8 51.33156.7
Mohammad Sami RF 52.7414 454 205 2 45.2102.50227.0
James Anderson RFM29.6718 432 197 5 45.6 39.40 86.4
Brett Lee RF 30.8216 389 153 5 39.3 30.60 77.8
Stuart MacGill rlb29.03 8 357 225 0 63.0225.00357.0
Makhaya Ntini RF 28.8313 345 149 3 43.2 49.67115.0
Monty Panesar lsp33.7811 343 145 2 42.3 72.50171.5
Pedro Collins LFM34.6211 341 178 0 52.2178.00341.0
Stuart Broad RFM31.1910 340 136 2 40.0 68.00170.0
Devendra Bishoo rlb39.55 9 339 165 2 48.7 82.50169.5
Mitchell Johnson LF 30.9313 324 113 4 34.9 28.25 81.0
Graeme Swann rob28.14 9 318 163 3 51.3 54.33106.0
Ashley Giles lsp40.60 7 313 112 2 35.8 56.00156.5
Jason Gillespie RF 26.1412 300 84 4 28.0 21.00 75.0
Paul Harris lsp37.87 8 300 107 1 35.7107.00300.0
Chris Martin RFM33.8110 297 89 3 30.0 29.67 99.0

1. Rahul Dravid has been quite careful against almost all bowlers. There is only one scoring rate in excess of 60: against Stuart MacGill.
2. No bowler has quite mastered Dravid. The lowest strike rate in this collection is 75, that of Gillespie.
3. Dravid faced Vettori very comfortably: 609 balls and only 2 wickets.

4. Summary table for JACQUES KALLIS
BowlerTypeBowling AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Harbhajan Singh rob32.3818 676 382 6 56.5 63.67112.7
Danish Kaneria rlb34.8013 621 258 4 41.5 64.50155.2
Shane Warne rlb25.4222 550 280 5 50.9 56.00110.0
Brett Lee RF 30.8221 528 199 3 37.7 66.33176.0
Anil Kumble rlb29.6514 494 191 1 38.7191.00494.0
Daniel Vettori lsp34.4210 475 208 0 43.8208.00475.0
Abdur Rehman lsp28.41 8 434 222 0 51.2222.00434.0
James Anderson RFM29.6722 419 177 7 42.2 25.29 59.9
Zaheer Khan LFM32.3614 382 157 2 41.1 78.50191.0
Glenn McGrath RFM21.6416 378 133 3 35.2 44.33126.0
Andrew Flintoff RF 32.7915 372 139 4 37.4 34.75 93.0
Steve Harmison RFM31.8213 346 146 4 42.2 36.50 86.5
S Sreesanth RFM37.6112 328 150 4 45.7 37.50 82.0
Chris Martin RFM33.8115 319 158 4 49.5 39.50 79.8
Umar Gul RFM34.0710 303 165 1 54.5165.00303.0
Peter Siddle RFM28.5815 294 170 2 57.8 85.00147.0
Graeme Swann rob28.14 8 288 147 1 51.0147.00288.0
Ray Price lsp36.06 3 277 143 0 51.6143.00277.0
Mitchell Johnson LF 30.9312 269 88 5 32.7 17.60 53.8
Dwayne Bravo RM 39.70 9 267 132 2 49.4 66.00133.5

1. Anderson has been very successful against Jacques Kallis: 7 wickets at a strike rate of 60. Mitchell Johnson has also been quite successful.
2. Barring a few pace bowlers, Kallis has been quite successful against most bowlers.
3. Kallis vs Anil Kumble is simply amazing. 500 balls and a single dismissal. Similarly Graeme Swann has not been successful against Kallis. A single wicket in the 288 balls bowled.
4. Kallis has handled all bowlers quite well but at relatively low scoring rates: all, barring Steve Harmison, below 60.

5. Summary table for MOHAMMAD YOUSUF
BowlerTypeBowling AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Anil Kumble rlb29.6517 504 287 5 56.9 57.40100.8
Matthew Hoggard RFM30.5011 376 196 1 52.1196.00376.0
Steve Harmison RFM31.82 7 355 235 2 66.2117.50177.5
Daniel Vettori lsp34.42 8 315 110 2 34.9 55.00157.5
Irfan Pathan LM 32.2616 295 141 5 47.8 28.20 59.0
Monty Panesar lsp33.78 7 291 145 3 49.8 48.33 97.0
Harbhajan Singh rob32.3811 263 155 3 58.9 51.67 87.7
Rangana Herath lsp29.52 9 244 112 6 45.9 18.67 40.7
L Balaji RM 37.19 9 233 134 2 57.5 67.00116.5
Dave Mohammed lws51.38 3 228 132 1 57.9132.00228.0
Corey Collymore RFM32.30 5 191 89 1 46.6 89.00191.0
Zaheer Khan LFM32.36 8 174 100 1 57.5100.00174.0
Andrew Flintoff RF 32.79 5 171 64 3 37.4 21.33 57.0
Jerome Taylor RF 35.65 5 169 121 0 71.6121.00169.0
Ray Price lsp36.06 2 158 80 2 50.6 40.00 79.0
Chris Gayle rob42.01 6 154 64 2 41.6 32.00 77.0
Dwayne Bravo RM 39.70 5 148 95 0 64.2 95.00148.0
Iain O'Brien RFM33.27 5 145 73 2 50.3 36.50 72.5
Daren Powell RFM47.99 4 144 82 0 56.9 82.00144.0
Enamul Haque lsp57.11 3 140 89 0 63.6 89.00140.0

1. Mohammad Yousuf against Matthew Hoggard is something. A single wicket in 376 balls.
2. Rangana Herath had the measure of Yousuf. He dismissed him six times in 244 balls. Similarly, Irfan Pathan.
3. Kumble bowled the maximum balls and had only reasonable success. Many bowlers had fair strike rates against Yousuf.
4. Yousuf attacked Harmison and Jerome Taylor.

6. Summary table for S CHANDERPAUL
BowlerTypeBowling AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Harbhajan Singh rob32.3818 790 260 2 32.9130.00395.0
Anil Kumble rlb29.6513 500 232 6 46.4 38.67 83.3
Steve Harmison RFM31.8218 464 239 1 51.5239.00464.0
Andre Nel RFM31.8612 428 185 3 43.2 61.67142.7
Makhaya Ntini RF 28.8316 413 197 5 47.7 39.40 82.6
Danish Kaneria rlb34.8011 403 207 6 51.4 34.50 67.2
Monty Panesar lsp33.78 8 392 179 2 45.7 89.50196.0
Javagal Srinath RFM30.4711 382 139 3 36.4 46.33127.3
Paul Harris lsp37.87 9 359 179 1 49.9179.00359.0
Zaheer Khan LFM32.36 9 355 136 2 38.3 68.00177.5
James Anderson RFM29.6714 339 151 2 44.5 75.50169.5
Jacques Kallis RFM32.4317 334 113 2 33.8 56.50167.0
Graeme Swann rob28.1410 330 122 5 37.0 24.40 66.0
Brett Lee RF 30.8216 329 126 3 38.3 42.00109.7
Ashley Giles lsp40.60 9 310 138 3 44.5 46.00103.3
Stuart MacGill rlb29.03 9 283 210 3 74.2 70.00 94.3
Daniel Vettori lsp34.42 8 277 116 3 41.9 38.67 92.3
Matthew Hoggard RFM30.5014 269 146 4 54.3 36.50 67.2
Stuart Broad RFM31.1910 268 89 5 33.2 17.80 53.6
Ashish Nehra LM 42.41 6 261 108 0 41.4108.00261.0

1. This has already been discussed when looking at Harbhajan Singh. Chanderpaul was dismissed only twice in 790 balls.
2. Still more dominant is Chanderpaul against Harmison. A single dismissal in 464 balls. On a normal day this represents nearly a day's bowling.
3. But look at Chanderpaul's scoring rates. Plenty of instances below 40. He attacked only one bowler: Stuart MacGill.

Selected 6 Bowlers

7. Summary table for M MURALITHARAN
BatsmanTypeBatting AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Brian Lara LHB52.89 9 709 373 3 52.6124.33236.3
Rahul Dravid rhb52.3116 688 326 5 47.4 65.20137.6
Ramnaresh Sarwan rhb40.0113 597 222 7 37.2 31.71 85.3
Mohammad Ashraful rhb24.0117 563 276 7 49.0 39.43 80.4
VVS Laxman rhb45.9715 496 240 2 48.4120.00248.0
Stephen Fleming LHB40.07 5 453 171 0 37.7171.00453.0
Alastair Cook LHB48.45 8 450 152 2 33.8 76.00225.0
Paul Collingwood rhb40.5715 393 136 7 34.6 19.43 56.1
Graham Thorpe LHB44.66 8 387 110 5 28.4 22.00 77.4
Sachin Tendulkar rhb53.8714 366 196 6 53.6 32.67 61.0
Mark Butcher LHB34.58 7 357 106 2 29.7 53.00178.5
Sourav Ganguly LHB42.1813 323 141 8 43.7 17.62 40.4
Michael Vaughan rhb41.4412 320 97 6 30.3 16.17 53.3
Jacob Oram LHB36.3311 296 107 5 36.1 21.40 59.2
Damien Martyn rhb46.38 6 291 122 3 41.9 40.67 97.0
Shoaib Malik rhb33.46 4 288 62 0 21.5 62.00288.0
Gautam Gambhir LHB44.1910 271 137 4 50.6 34.25 67.8
Ashwell Prince LHB41.65 6 267 88 3 33.0 29.33 89.0
Marcus Trescothick LHB43.7611 266 110 8 41.4 13.75 33.2
Daniel Vettori LHB30.1110 263 127 3 48.3 42.33 87.7

1. We have already talked of the dominance Lara had over Muralitharan. VVS Laxman and Cook were equally effective. Dravid suffers only in comparison.
2. The top batsmen seem to have played Muralitharan quite well. Only the English trio of Paul Collingwood, Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick seem to have a fair time, at best, against Muralitharan.
3. However the best against Muralitharan is undoubtedly Fleming. Over 453 balls and no dismissal. Shoaib Malik has been equally good.
4. Tendulkar has attacked Muralitharan but also been dismissed frequently. Lara and Tendulkar have been quite aggressive against Muralitharan.

8. Summary table for SHANE WARNE
BatsmanTypeBatting AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Jacques Kallis rhb56.1022 550 280 5 50.9 56.00110.0
Kevin Pietersen rhb48.3118 521 308 5 59.1 61.60104.2
Ashwell Prince LHB41.6518 466 16411 35.2 14.91 42.4
Mark Boucher rhb30.3022 417 219 9 52.5 24.33 46.3
Andrew Flintoff rhb31.7819 407 225 7 55.3 32.14 58.1
Ian Bell rhb46.5813 396 177 5 44.7 35.40 79.2
Neil McKenzie rhb37.3911 366 153 4 41.8 38.25 91.5
Herschelle Gibbs rhb41.9514 347 166 6 47.8 27.67 57.8
Nathan Astle rhb37.0215 333 141 2 42.3 70.50166.5
Paul Collingwood rhb40.5710 317 165 2 52.1 82.50158.5
Alec Stewart rhb39.5612 294 160 5 54.4 32.00 58.8
Stephen Fleming LHB40.07 8 294 125 2 42.5 62.50147.0
Mark Butcher LHB34.5812 287 151 4 52.6 37.75 71.8
Michael Vaughan rhb41.4410 285 131 3 46.0 43.67 95.0
Nasser Hussain rhb37.1910 278 109 3 39.2 36.33 92.7
Jacques Rudolph LHB35.4310 260 114 4 43.8 28.50 65.0
Shaun Pollock rhb32.3213 252 172 2 68.3 86.00126.0
Andrew Strauss LHB40.9112 241 141 8 58.5 17.62 30.1
Gary Kirsten LHB45.27 5 238 128 1 53.8128.00238.0
Thilan Samaraweera rhb48.77 7 226 78 0 34.5 78.00226.0

1. What do we see with Ashwell Prince? In the earlier article we have already seen Prince's three dismissals by Swann in five balls. Now we see that Warne has dismissed Prince 11 times at a strike rate of 40 balls.
2. Mark Boucher was dismissed nine times at a strike rate of 46, Andrew Flintoff seven times at 58, Alec Stewart five times at 59 and finally Andrew Strauss eight times at 30. Warne seems to have had the measure of all.
3. Kevin Pietersen has attacked Warne and has a high strike rate. Look at the way Shaun Pollock has handled Warne very effectively.
4. Look at how effectively Thilan Samaraweera has handled Warne.

9. Summary table for GLENN MCGRATH
BatsmanTypeBatting AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Herschelle Gibbs rhb41.9517 492 191 3 38.8 63.67164.0
Marcus Trescothick LHB43.7624 438 184 6 42.0 30.67 73.0
Jacques Kallis rhb56.1016 378 133 3 35.2 44.33126.0
Mark Butcher LHB34.5815 365 174 5 47.7 34.80 73.0
Michael Vaughan rhb41.4414 348 193 6 55.5 32.17 58.0
Andrew Strauss LHB40.9115 336 168 3 50.0 56.00112.0
Nathan Astle rhb37.0210 297 189 3 63.6 63.00 99.0
Ian Bell rhb46.5813 293 108 5 36.9 21.60 58.6
Kevin Pietersen rhb48.3113 270 135 5 50.0 27.00 54.0
Brian Lara LHB52.8912 233 90 2 38.6 45.00116.5
Ramnaresh Sarwan rhb40.01 9 232 82 2 35.3 41.00116.0
Graeme Smith LHB48.6312 224 81 5 36.2 16.20 44.8
Stephen Fleming LHB40.0713 222 63 7 28.4 9.00 31.7
Mike Atherton rhb37.7010 210 86 6 41.0 14.33 35.0
Paul Collingwood rhb40.5711 199 54 2 27.1 27.00 99.5
Gary Kirsten LHB45.2710 196 75 4 38.3 18.75 49.0
Mark Richardson LHB44.77 9 193 58 1 30.1 58.00193.0
Nasser Hussain rhb37.1912 192 41 4 21.4 10.25 48.0
Chris Gayle LHB42.46 8 177 63 4 35.6 15.75 44.2
Neil McKenzie rhb37.3910 176 76 2 43.2 38.00 88.0

1. With whatever data available, it is clear that McGrath has dominated quite a few batsmen. Fleming has the lowest strike rate: seven wickets at 32. Mike Atherton, six at 35. Pietersen and Ian Bell have similar figures.
2. Only Herschelle Gibbs has really dominated McGrath. To a lesser extent, Kallis and Strauss.
3. The metronome that McGrath was, it is amazing to see Nathan Astle taking him quite comfortably at a very good strike rate. Nasser Hussain found it difficult to get McGrath away.

10. Summary table for SHAUN POLLOCK
BatsmanTypeBatting AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Marcus Trescothick LHB43.7618 381 126 4 33.1 31.50 95.2
Michael Vaughan rhb41.4418 367 91 5 24.8 18.20 73.4
Matthew Hayden LHB50.7411 356 152 2 42.7 76.00178.0
Justin Langer LHB45.2711 352 137 3 38.9 45.67117.3
Andrew Strauss LHB40.91 9 336 121 2 36.0 60.50168.0
Michael Hussey LHB51.53 8 312 122 1 39.1122.00312.0
Ricky Ponting rhb51.8714 291 151 3 51.9 50.33 97.0
Rahul Dravid rhb52.3111 277 69 5 24.9 13.80 55.4
Taufeeq Umar LHB38.72 8 277 72 1 26.0 72.00277.0
Ramnaresh Sarwan rhb40.01 9 241 108 4 44.8 27.00 60.2
Mark Butcher LHB34.5810 233 66 1 28.3 66.00233.0
Chris Gayle LHB42.46 6 224 117 1 52.2117.00224.0
Damien Martyn rhb46.38 8 223 72 2 32.3 36.00111.5
Virender Sehwag rhb49.34 8 206 120 3 58.3 40.00 68.7
Mahela Jayawardene rhb49.57 8 195 58 2 29.7 29.00 97.5
Brian Lara LHB52.89 6 192 63 1 32.8 63.00192.0
Sachin Tendulkar rhb53.8710 186 85 3 45.7 28.33 62.0
Graham Thorpe LHB44.6610 185 69 2 37.3 34.50 92.5
Marvan Atapattu rhb39.02 8 183 55 3 30.1 18.33 61.0
Andrew Flintoff rhb31.7810 177 88 4 49.7 22.00 44.2

1. Shaun Pollock has had the measure of Flintoff and to a lesser extent, Dravid.
2. Mike Hussey has handled Pollock very well. 312 balls and a single dismissal tells the story. A few Australian top order batsmen and Lara have also been quite effective.
3. Chris Gayle has attacked Pollock's bowling with lot of success.

11. Summary table for ANIL KUMBLE
BatsmanTypeBatting AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Younis Khan rhb50.7413 661 332 5 50.2 66.40132.2
Ricky Ponting rhb51.8713 579 295 4 50.9 73.75144.8
Mohammad Yousuf rhb52.2917 504 287 5 56.9 57.40100.8
S Chanderpaul LHB51.8213 500 232 6 46.4 38.67 83.3
Jacques Kallis rhb56.1014 494 191 1 38.7191.00494.0
Michael Clarke rhb51.5914 469 276 6 58.8 46.00 78.2
Michael Vaughan rhb41.4411 459 272 2 59.3136.00229.5
Simon Katich LHB45.0315 439 265 6 60.4 44.17 73.2
Matthew Hayden LHB50.7415 399 256 5 64.2 51.20 79.8
Ramnaresh Sarwan rhb40.0112 394 151 3 38.3 50.33131.3
Kamran Akmal rhb30.7915 379 201 5 53.0 40.20 75.8
Mahela Jayawardene rhb49.57 8 370 161 3 43.5 53.67123.3
Inzamam-ul-Haq rhb49.6110 352 234 5 66.5 46.80 70.4
Paul Collingwood rhb40.5710 324 146 3 45.1 48.67108.0
Misbah-ul-Haq rhb43.20 6 320 125 0 39.1125.00320.0
Damien Martyn rhb46.3812 317 178 5 56.2 35.60 63.4
Kevin Pietersen rhb48.3111 310 176 2 56.8 88.00155.0
Nasser Hussain rhb37.19 9 288 147 4 51.0 36.75 72.0
Michael Hussey LHB51.53 7 276 170 1 61.6170.00276.0
Mohammad Sami rhb11.6013 272 67 5 24.6 13.40 54.4

1. Many of the batsmen who faced Kumble have played him quite well. We have already seen Kallis' 494 balls per wicket.
2. For all the accurate bowling Kumble was famous for, quite a few batsmen have very good scoring rates, led by Inzamam.
3. Look at how comfortably Hussey and Misbah-ul-Haq have handled Kumble.
4. Damien Martyn is the one Kumble had some measure of.

12. Summary table for SHOAIB AKHTAR
BatsmanTypeBatting AvgeInnsBallsRunsWicketsBatsman Scoring RateHtH AverageBowler Strike Rate
Rahul Dravid rhb52.3112 283 91 2 32.2 45.50141.5
Virender Sehwag rhb49.34 8 212 177 3 83.5 59.00 70.7
Justin Langer LHB45.27 8 174 127 0 73.0127.00174.0
Marcus Trescothick LHB43.76 7 165 73 2 44.2 36.50 82.5
Sourav Ganguly LHB42.18 9 164 100 2 61.0 50.00 82.0
VVS Laxman rhb45.9710 154 80 1 51.9 80.00154.0
Sachin Tendulkar rhb53.87 8 140 79 2 56.4 39.50 70.0
Sanath Jayasuriya LHB40.07 4 137 103 1 75.2103.00137.0
Ian Bell rhb46.58 6 129 84 2 65.1 42.00 64.5
Matthew Hayden LHB50.74 7 115 55 3 47.8 18.33 38.3
Ricky Ponting rhb51.87 8 111 65 2 58.6 32.50 55.5
Wasim Jaffer rhb34.11 6 109 47 2 43.1 23.50 54.5
Habibul Bashar rhb30.88 5 102 95 1 93.1 95.00102.0

1. Shoaib Akhtar has been quite effectively handled by the Indian batsmen, led by Dravid and Laxman. Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag have had mixed time against Akhtar.
2. Matthew Hayden is the batsmen against whom Akhtar has had some success.

One final reminder that we are looking at ball-by-ball data of around 50% for the players concerned. However, it should be noted that in certain cases, because one part of the concerned bowler-batsman pair could as well have complete data, the data presented is complete for this combination. Examples are Steyn vs Tendulkar and Warne vs Pietersen.

These are just samples of the type of insights which can be drawn. I have created an Excel sheet with 2954 instances of ball-by-ball data where the number of balls exceeds 100 or number of dismissals exceed 3. To download/view the document, a veritable treasure-trove of information, please CLICK HERE.

These three articles complete the first phase of analysis using the ball-by-ball data which has been extracted by Milind. After a break of an article or two I will look at some special analysis using this priceless data. Any suggestions from readers will be welcome. To start with, I may start with a single-Test based analysis.

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

RSS Feeds: Anantha Narayanan

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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.

All articles by this writer