December 14, 2013

Epic head-to-head confrontations in a Test series

A look at the batsman v bowler duels that lasted across matches in a Test series
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Kumar Sangakkara has held his own against Saeed Ajmal © AFP

After a tumultuous three-week period, I now return to analyses that are not centred on an individual. No one is going to get worked over these tables. Life may be less exciting but also less exacting.

One of the jewels in the database crown of mine is the Test ball-by-ball data, expertly mined by Milind. The reason why I come back to this data every time is my realisation that without Milind's path-breaking work, this important segment of data would have been still-born. I had done an all-encompassing analysis of the 500-odd Tests, I had done a single-Test-based analysis and I had covered a current series or two. But the one major lacuna in my coverage is a look at all the Test series for which we have the ball-by-ball data available. This article fills that gap.

Around 210 Test series have complete ball-by-ball data. Many of these are three-Test series, quite a few are two-Test series, some are longer series with four and five Tests and about ten comprise of one-off Tests. I initially thought that I would restrict the analysis to Test series in which three or more Tests were played. But that would have meant that about 100 series would have been excluded. It clearly seemed wrong to me, especially as there were some notable performances in two-Test series. For instance Amit Mishra bowled 326 balls to Hashim Amla in a two-Test series. So I decided that I would set up stiff cut-off criteria and let this natural process take care of the matter: a decision that has worked very well.

With this simple preamble, let us delve into the tables.

For the "Balls bowled" analysis I have taken 180 balls as the cut-off. This ensures that significant performances in the two-Test series have a chance of getting in. A player-to-player duel with 30 overs of bowling is something very significant. This is justified by the presence of two such contests in the featured table.

Ordered by balls bowled (300+ balls featured)
SeriesNoYear Home Away # Bowler Batsman Balls Runs
4562001 Slk Win 3 M Muralitharan BC Lara 527 286
6392012 Ind Eng 4 R Ashwin AN Cook 510 221
4952003 Aus Ind 4 A Kumble RT Ponting 398 204
6182011 Pak Slk 3 Saeed Ajmal KC Sangakkara 368 141
4952003 Aus Ind 4 SCG MacGill R Dravid 346 218
5162004 Saf Eng 5 SM Pollock AJ Strauss 336 121
4832003 Slk Nzl 2 M Muralitharan SP Fleming 329 131
5162004 Saf Eng 5 M Ntini AJ Strauss 328 156
5952010 Ind Saf 2 A Mishra HM Amla 326 99
5192005 Ind Pak 3 A Kumble Younis Khan 325 170
5592007 Ind Pak 3 A Kumble Misbah-ul-Haq 320 125
6392012 Ind Eng 4 PP Ojha AN Cook 317 147
5952010 Ind Saf 2 Harbhajan Singh HM Amla 316 139
6332012 Slk Pak 3 Saeed Ajmal KC Sangakkara 312 147
4662002 Win Ind 5 Z Khan S Chanderpaul 309 123
5462006 Slk Saf 2 N Boje DPMD Jayawardene 301 183
4662002 Win Ind 5 J Srinath S Chanderpaul 300 110

At the top is what I believe one of the greatest contests in the history of Test matches. A fading team, West Indies, visit Sri Lanka, who are almost invincible at home, with their five-star bowler in great form. Brian Lara gets some support from Ramnaresh Sarwan and from no one else. The inevitable follows: a 3-0 win for Sri Lanka. However, in this gloom for West Indies is a bright star - Lara's 688 runs in the three Tests, made in 1226 balls. Lara faced 36% of the balls faced by West Indies and scored 40% of runs. Nearly half the balls faced by Lara were bowled by the other giant, Muttiah Muralitharan. Lara's strike rate was a healthy 54.3, resulting in an amazing accumulation of runs. How can anyone not get moved by these numbers? Two Goliaths have an almost fight-until-death contest and one emerges a clear winner. However, to give the other genial giant his credit, his team won the series 3-0 and he played no mean part in this win with 24 wickets. The only higher aggregate in a three-Test series has been Graham Gooch's 752 runs in the 1990 home series against the Indian tooth-less attack. There is simply no comparison.

The next highest entry is of recent vintage, but no less valuable. R Ashwin v Alastair Cook during the England tour of India in 2012 had the counter standing at 510, just a few balls short. This was a more even contest since Ashwin dismissed Cook four times. However, we have to say that Cook probably won the contest since the bowler strike rate was a somewhat-high 127 balls. That England won the series 2-1 was in no measure owing to this mastery by their premier batsman over India's premier bowler. Let us not forget that this was also an away contest for Cook. Then after a gap of well over 100 balls comes the Kumble-Ponting contest in Australia. We have to say Ponting was on top in this contest.

Note the presence of 13 spinners in this table of 17 entries. Readers should not forget that these are only featured entries and the complete tables are in the downloadable file.

Ordered by balls per wicket (High-250+ featured)
SeriesNoYear Home Away # Bowler Batsman Balls Wkts BpW
6182011 Pak Slk 3 Saeed Ajmal KC Sangakkara 368 1 368.0
6392012 Ind Eng 4 PP Ojha AN Cook 317 1 317.0
6332012 Slk Pak 3 Saeed Ajmal KC Sangakkara 312 1 312.0
5462006 Slk Saf 2 N Boje DPMD Jayawardene 301 1 301.0
5482006 Aus Eng 5 SK Warne PD Collingwood 287 1 287.0
5592007 Ind Pak 3 Danish Kaneria SC Ganguly 281 1 281.0
6142011 Eng Ind 4 SCJ Broad R Dravid 265 1 265.0
5452006 Eng Pak 4 Danish Kaneria AN Cook 265 1 265.0
4562001 Slk Win 3 M Muralitharan BC Lara 527 2 263.5
6182011 Pak Slk 3 HMRKB Herath Azhar Ali 259 1 259.0
4952003 Aus Ind 4 AB Agarkar RT Ponting 254 1 254.0
5602007 Slk Eng 3 MS Panesar DPMD Jayawardene 252 1 252.0
5262005 Eng Aus 5 B Lee ME Trescothick 250 1 250.0

Since this an analysis of balls bowled, I have also created a table ordered by the bowler strike rate: the high ones. To say that Kumar Sangakkara mastered Saeed Ajmal is an understatement: 368 balls for one wicket clearly tells the story. Pragyan Ojha toiled similarly in the England series. He was the supporting bowler to Ashwin and could not make much of an impression on Cook: 317 balls and a single dismissal. A year later, now at home, Sangakkara repeated his mastery over Ajmal. That makes it 680 balls in two years that Ajmal bowled to Sangakkara and only two of these deliveries resulted in dismissals.

For the Runs scored tables, I have 100 runs as the cut-off.

Ordered by runs scored (160+ runs featured)
SeriesNoYear Home Away # Bowler Batsman Balls Runs
4562001 Slk Win 3 M Muralitharan BC Lara 527 286
6392012 Ind Eng 4 R Ashwin AN Cook 510 221
4952003 Aus Ind 4 SCG MacGill R Dravid 346 218
4952003 Aus Ind 4 A Kumble RT Ponting 398 204
5462006 Slk Saf 2 N Boje DPMD Jayawardene 301 183
4872003 Eng Saf 5 M Ntini ME Trescothick 255 179
5592007 Ind Pak 3 Danish Kaneria SC Ganguly 281 177
6262011 Aus Ind 4 R Ashwin MJ Clarke 249 173
4962003 Saf Win 4 FH Edwards HH Gibbs 230 172
5192005 Ind Pak 3 A Kumble Younis Khan 325 170
6082010 Aus Eng 5 GP Swann MEK Hussey 295 168
6142011 Eng Ind 4 I Sharma KP Pietersen 206 166
6042010 Ind Aus 2 NM Hauritz SR Tendulkar 225 161

Lara leads this table with his historic duel against Murali. He scored 286 runs off Murali. Let us look at this number again. If a batsman scored 286 runs in a three-Test series, we would conclude that he has had a pretty good series, with 96 runs per Test and probably over 50 in average. These runs were scored off a single bowler, that too the best bowler in the side. Cook follows next with his series-winning runs against Ashwin last year. The 221 runs were the important cog in the successful wheel that was England. During the 2003 away series Rahul Dravid scored 218 runs off Stuart MacGill. In this table there are a few pace bowlers off whom quite a few runs were scored, Makhaya Ntini leading the group of three.

Ordered by batting average (High-140+ runs featured)
SeriesNoYear Home Away # Bowler Batsman Balls Runs Wkts Avge
5462006 Slk Saf 2 N Boje DPMD Jayawardene 301 183 1 183.0
5592007 Ind Pak 3 Danish Kaneria SC Ganguly 281 177 1 177.0
6142011 Eng Ind 4 I Sharma KP Pietersen 206 166 1 166.0
5812009 Pak Slk 2 Danish Kaneria TT Samaraweera 246 159 1 159.0
4872003 Eng Saf 5 JM Anderson GC Smith 174 157 1 157.0
5262005 Eng Aus 5 B Lee ME Trescothick 250 154 1 154.0
6372012 Aus Saf 3 M Morkel MJ Clarke 164 154 1 154.0
5482006 Aus Eng 5 SK Warne PD Collingwood 287 151 1 151.0
4952003 Aus Ind 4 AB Agarkar RT Ponting 254 148 1 148.0
4562001 Slk Win 3 WPUJC Vaas BC Lara 242 148 1 148.0
6392012 Ind Eng 4 PP Ojha AN Cook 317 147 1 147.0
6332012 Slk Pak 3 Saeed Ajmal KC Sangakkara 312 147 1 147.0
6262011 Aus Ind 4 I Sharma MJ Clarke 186 144 1 144.0
4562001 Slk Win 3 M Muralitharan BC Lara 527 286 2 143.0
5452006 Eng Pak 4 Danish Kaneria KP Pietersen 172 143 1 143.0
5192005 Ind Pak 3 Danish Kaneria V Sehwag 195 142 1 142.0
6182011 Pak Slk 3 Saeed Ajmal KC Sangakkara 368 141 1 141.0

This table is ordered by the batting average. Mahela Jayawardene leads with an average of 183 n his confrontation against Nicky Boje. I have talked about this extensively in the single-Test analysis. Danish Kaneria is in this table quite a few times, indicating his possible lack of penetration against top batsmen. The only appearance of Shane Warne in this table is against the unassuming Paul Collingwood, who, during the historic 0-5 Ashes loss away, scored 151 runs off the master and gave his wicket away only once.

Ordered by strike rate (100 runs minimum)
SeriesNoYear Home Away # Bowler Batsman Balls Runs S/R
4642002 Saf Aus 3 PR Adams AC Gilchrist 74 104 140.5
4962003 Saf Win 4 A Nel CH Gayle 85 111 130.6
4482001 Eng Aus 5 AR Caddick RT Ponting 96 122 127.1
6442013 Ind Aus 4 NM Lyon MS Dhoni 109 127 116.5
4652002 Nzl Eng 3 MJ Hoggard NJ Astle 94 109 116.0
5072004 Eng Win 4 SJ Harmison CH Gayle 93 106 114.0
4482001 Eng Aus 5 D Gough AC Gilchrist 108 118 109.3
5892009 Ind Slk 3 M Muralitharan V Sehwag 122 132 108.2
5892009 Ind Slk 3 HMRKB Herath V Sehwag 100 108 108.0
5712008 Slk Ind 3 WPUJC Vaas V Sehwag 99 104 105.1
5242005 Win Pak 2 Danish Kaneria BC Lara 133 135 101.5
4932003 Zim Win 2 RW Price BC Lara 100 101 101.0
5672008 Ind Saf 3 PL Harris V Sehwag 111 112 100.9
4902003 Aus Zim 2 HH Streak ML Hayden 119 119 100.0
5812009 Pak Slk 2 Yasir Arafat TT Samaraweera 103 103 100.0
...
4942003 Slk Eng 3 AF Giles DPMD Jayawardene 286 114 39.9
4662002 Win Ind 5 Z Khan S Chanderpaul 309 123 39.8
4832003 Slk Nzl 2 M Muralitharan SP Fleming 329 131 39.8
6142011 Eng Ind 4 SCJ Broad R Dravid 265 105 39.6
4662002 Win Ind 5 Z Khan CL Hooper 279 110 39.4
5592007 Ind Pak 3 A Kumble Misbah-ul-Haq 320 125 39.1
5162004 Saf Eng 5 A Flintoff JH Kallis 257 100 38.9
6182011 Pak Slk 3 Saeed Ajmal KC Sangakkara 368 141 38.3
4662002 Win Ind 5 J Srinath S Chanderpaul 300 110 36.7
5162004 Saf Eng 5 SM Pollock AJ Strauss 336 121 36.0

Adam Gilchrist, during the away series against South Africa during 2002, scored 104 runs at the magnificent scoring rate of 140. The next year, Chris Gayle almost did the same against Andre Nel. Ricky Ponting scored at 127 off Andy Caddick during the away tour in 2001. MS Dhoni's clinical dismembering of Nathan Lyon, almost totally done in a single Test, was achieved this year. A very important entry in this table is that of Virender Sehwag against Murali during his magnificent tour in 2008. He had a strike rate of greater than 100. Sehwag has had three such 100-plus series, all against spinners.

At the other end of the table there are a few confrontations at around the 38-mark. Most of these batsmen are the steady type.

For the "Wickets captured" analysis, I have four wickets as the minimum requirement. If a bowler effected all four dismissals of a batsman in a two-Test series, as happened with Chris Martin v Phillip Hughes, well, this confrontation deserves to come in.

Ordered by wickets captured
SeriesNoYear Home Away # Bowler Batsman WktsBallsRunsAvgeBpW
6502013 Eng Aus 5 JM Anderson PM Siddle 6 57 24 4.0 9.5
5262005 Eng Aus 5 SK Warne AF Giles 6 118 34 5.7 19.7
4962003 Saf Win 4 M Ntini D Ganga 6 171 50 8.3 28.5
5392006 Saf Aus 3 M Ntini ML Hayden 6 131 74 12.3 21.8
6502013 Eng Aus 5 GP Swann CJL Rogers 6 230 79 13.2 38.3
4482001 Eng Aus 5 GD McGrath MA Atherton 6 210 86 14.3 35.0
5262005 Eng Aus 5 SK Warne AJ Strauss 6 192124 20.7 32.0
5262005 Eng Aus 5 SK Warne SJ Harmison 5 32 16 3.2 6.4
5862009 Eng Aus 5 BW Hilfenhaus RS Bopara 5 56 16 3.2 11.2
5612007 Aus Ind 4 B Lee W Jaffer 5 93 18 3.6 18.6
4562001 Slk Win 3 M Muralitharan MN Samuels 5 94 20 4.0 18.8
4562001 Slk Win 3 WPUJC Vaas CH Gayle 5 49 23 4.6 9.8
6132011 Win Ind 3 R Rampaul M Vijay 5 75 27 5.4 15.0
4812003 Win Aus 4 JN Gillespie DS Smith 5 109 38 7.6 21.8
5592007 Ind Pak 3 A Kumble Yasir Hameed 5 53 39 7.8 10.6
6442013 Ind Aus 4 R Ashwin PJ Hughes 5 179 39 7.8 35.8
5712008 Slk Ind 3 M Muralitharan SC Ganguly 5 90 51 10.2 18.0
4942003 Slk Eng 3 M Muralitharan GP Thorpe 5 266 51 10.2 53.2
5612007 Aus Ind 4 B Lee VVS Laxman 5 138 52 10.4 27.6
5342005 Aus Saf 3 SK Warne AG Prince 5 225 63 12.6 45.0
6442013 Ind Aus 4 RA Jadeja MJ Clarke 5 190 72 14.4 38.0
4482001 Eng Aus 5 D Gough RT Ponting 5 103 75 15.0 20.6
5712008 Slk Ind 3 BAW Mendis VVS Laxman 5 176 81 16.2 35.2
6502013 Eng Aus 5 SCJ Broad MJ Clarke 5 161 84 16.8 32.2
5602007 Slk Eng 3 M Muralitharan IR Bell 5 238 84 16.8 47.6
5262005 Eng Aus 5 SK Warne ME Trescothick 5 112 85 17.0 22.4

I have shown in this table the list of bowlers who dismissed the specific batsman six times and a few of the economical dismissals of the five-wicket captures. During this period no bowler has dismissed a batsman seven times in a series. Warne and Ntini are the only bowlers to have dismissed a batsman six times on two occasions. Since many of these confrontations are between bowler and bowler, let us look only at the significant combinations. Possibly the most significant one is Ntini's dismissal of Matthew Hayden six times in the 2006 home series, incidentally all six dismissals, making this a very unique one. Similarly Swann's conquering of Chris Rogers during the 2013 Ashes series and Glenn McGrath's six against Mike Atherton during 2001. Warne dismissed Steve Harmison five times in the unforgettable 2005 Ashes series. In the famous Lara series in 2001 in Sri Lanka, Chaminda Vaas dismissed Gayle five times and Murali dismissed Marlon Samuels five times. Look at the number of times Murali has dismissed top batsmen like Samuels, Sourav Ganguly, Graham Thorpe and Ian Bell five times, all occurrences in three-Test series.

Ordered by batting average (4 wkts minimum)
SeriesNoYear Home Away # Bowler BatsmanBallsRuns Wkts Avge
5542007 Slk Bng 3 M Muralitharan Shahadat Hossain24 1 4 0.2
5672008 Ind Saf 3 DW Steyn Harbhajan Singh 9 3 4 0.8
5072004 Eng Win 4 MJ Hoggard RD Jacobs22 4 4 1.0
4662002 Win Ind 5 Harbhajan Singh A Sanford24 5 4 1.2
6432013 Saf Pak 3 DW Steyn Mohammad Hafeez38 5 4 1.2
5622007 Saf Win 3 A Nel FH Edwards20 7 4 1.8
6272012 Pak Eng 3 GP Swann Abdur Rehman15 8 4 2.0
6262011 Aus Ind 4 BW Hilfenhaus Z Khan26 9 4 2.2
5522007 Eng Win 4 MS Panesar CD Collymore33 9 4 2.2
5542007 Slk Bng 3 M Muralitharan Mashrafe Mortaza25 10 4 2.5
5152004 Aus Pak 3 GD McGrath Shoaib Akhtar42 10 4 2.5
5872009 Win Bng 2 Mahmudullah FL Reifer42 10 4 2.5
6142011 Eng Ind 4 SCJ Broad P Kumar19 11 4 2.8
4862003 Aus Bng 2 SCG MacGill Alok Kapali27 11 4 2.8
6232011 Aus Nzl 2 CS Martin PJ Hughes41 11 4 2.8
4562001 Slk Win 3 WPUJC Vaas M Dillon35 12 4 3.0
6262011 Aus Ind 4 BW Hilfenhaus I Sharma56 12 4 3.0
...
5162004 Saf Eng 5 M Ntini ME Trescothick291124 4 31.0
4482001 Eng Aus 5 JN Gillespie ME Trescothick208157 5 31.4
5922009 Saf Eng 4 GP Swann MV Boucher193130 4 32.5
4752002 Aus Eng 5 AR Caddick ML Hayden206130 4 32.5
4752002 Aus Eng 5 GD McGrath MP Vaughan222132 4 33.0
5432006 Eng Slk 3 M Muralitharan KP Pietersen157134 4 33.5
5262005 Eng Aus 5 B Lee KP Pietersen156135 4 33.8
4752002 Aus Eng 5 AR Caddick JL Langer196140 4 35.0
4872003 Eng Saf 5 M Ntini ME Trescothick255179 5 35.8
4992004 Slk Aus 3 M Muralitharan DS Lehmann248148 4 37.0
5262005 Eng Aus 5 SK Warne A Flintoff251156 4 39.0
5162004 Saf Eng 5 M Ntini AJ Strauss328156 4 39.0
6392012 Ind Eng 4 R Ashwin AN Cook510221 4 55.2

These are again based on the batting average. However unlike the earlier table, this has a cut-off of four wickets. As such these are very significant entries. It is obvious that most of these entries are of bowlers v bowlers. So let us look specifically for the genuine batsmen. The most significant one is Dale Steyn destroying Mohammad Hafeez a few weeks back. He dismissed Hafeez four times conceding only five runs, an average of 1.25. Martin's four dismissals of Hughes during 2011 cost a mere 2.75 runs apiece. The only other presence of a recognised batsman is Ridley Jacobs against Matthew Hoggard: four wickets at one run each. Finally let us spare a moment for Murali against Shahadat Hossain: four wickets at 0.25 run per wicket. And for Steyn, who needed just nine balls to dismiss Harbhajan Singh four times.

At the other end, the most expensive four-wicket capture has been that of Ashwin against Cook: at 55 runs apiece.

To download/view the documents containing the seven complete tables, please CLICK HERE. My take is that many of the questions can be answered if you download this 1000-line file and view the contents. Instead of asking me obvious questions for which the answers are already there in the tables, you could download the file and view the tables.

One of Milind's first suggestions was for me to look at the ball-by-ball data from the point of view of the bowler types and batsman types. In other words, how have left-hand batsmen fared against the three types of spinners? Is it really true that legspinners trouble right-handers more? That right-arm pacemen find it easier to bowl against right-hand batsmen, and so on. That will be the next analysis using the ball-by-ball data: some time in the future.

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

  • Rameshkumar_Satyamoorthy on December 18, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Ananth, Another interesting article. A few points: 1.It is natural to see spinners bowl many overs and in many situations, there will be only one spinner. One can see the value of the opening batsmen holding on the first session which would mean more overs for the spinner and in some countries, they are playable. In the current ashes series, England could not make Lyon bowl long spells.
    [[
    Yes I agree. There were early wickets in 5 of the 6 innings. Other than the one innings, the scores have been virtually nothing for 2/3/4.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    2.Two lefties mastered two unorthodox spinners-Lara & Murali and Sanga & Ajmal. Rarely these bowlers were mastered by others. They must be doing something different against these bowlers-must be messing up their lines.
    [[
    And these are two totally effective off-spinners, with a bagful of tricks. Both batsmen did the impossible, Lara's the more difficult task since that was in Sri Lnaka while Sanga's was in UAE and at home.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    3.Is there a case to look at the balls faced % without looking at runs to look at some sheet anchor roles?
    [[
    I could at least add % of Team balls to the downloadable file for you to look at. It is difficult to update the article.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Bonehead_maz on December 16, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    These downloadable files are fast becoming my prime source of data. Thanks Ananth and Milind! Sadly my download contained only 3 tables (not the seven I was somehow expecting, and I havn't yet pasted it into a spreadsheet to play with) so my disbelief that Chris Martin wouldn't appear also on the batting side of low averages remains unconfirmed hehe but I guess lots of competition between bowlers for his scalp (and Short series generally for NZ). My only regret is I can't dive into deep past, to have a peek ( say May's 1958/9 tour - been thinking of that series a lot just recently :) )....... such is life.
    [[
    Murray, there are three tables because these are the basic data: balls, runs and wickets. The other tables have been derived from these. If you and other readers regularly post these tables into spreadsheets and work on those, I have no problems with creating the Excel tables myself. RE the old matches you should keep going back to my 125-year coverage using double extrapolated. I understand that analysis of an older series is impossible to get.
    Today is the D-day. Barring miracles, we do not see often, the small urn must make its way back down under and my guess is that it will stay there for some time. It is more likely that the cracks widen five-fold and cause the abandonment of the match than that the four/five remaining wickets keep Australia at bay. Stokes is one refreshing and free-spirited talent, though.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • shillingsworth on December 16, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    Another excellent article. The table for highest averages isn't surely complete though without those instances where the batsman scored more than 140 runs against a bowler without being dismissed - Clarke (147) vs Swann (0) in the last completed Ashes series for example. I confess that I only know this because I remembered how you highlighted it in your equally good article 'Ashes 2013 battles within the war' and have just looked it up there!
    [[
    Andrew, the problem everyone make is that they think everything is within the article. However when the cut-off is 180 balls you should understand that what is presented in the article is only a featured sub-set, normally the top-15 or 20. That is where you should always download the file mentioned at the end and view the contents. Swann vs Clarke figures were 251 balls/147 runs/0 wkt/sr 58.6. It is in line number 63. It so happens that this one-sided contest just missed all the cut-offs: 300 balls/160 runs/250 s/r (the last one unfairly since I should henceforth take a zero wkt as 1). Thanks for pointing out. I probably missed an important point there. But all these entries are present in the downloadable file.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • vinjoy on December 16, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    Excellent stuff and this analysis really shows when the batsman is in the 'zone'. I started watching cricket in 1985 and a few performances where a batsman single handedly stood apart against the opposition when the whole team struggled and clean swept were: Lara in SL 2001, Dravid in Eng 2011. I know that Draid scored over 600 runs in Eng 2002 too but then he got support also, and hence series result reflected it. That is why Cricket is a team game!
    [[
    Yes, it is virtually impossible for a single player to win a Test., leave alone a Test series. But for Willis (and Dilley), England would have lost. But for Dravid, Australia would have won and but for Harbhajan Australia would have drawn. Cook & Pietersen needed Swann & Panesar to deliver the win. Johnson needs all those Australian centuries to have the cushion. And so on.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Cricket_Mad_Fan on December 15, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Great Analysis but unfortunately, not complete as you dont have the data for some epic battles. The few that I have watched and always remember are the ones between Marshall and Gavaskar (2 hundreds and 1 double when Marshall was at his peak), Holding & Roberts and Gavaskar( 4 hundreds and 1 double with Holding - Roberts did not play in 83' Delhi) and finally, Imran and Gavaskar - used to be often quoted by Imran. I am happy that I watched live a few of them and it was memorable. Most often, if these guys did not get Gavaskar early, he scored big. I can never forget Marshall in 83' Kanpur. As they say, it was pure lliquid pace. Have not seen anything comparable since. Lillee had his number against Gavaskar. Richards held his own against Lillee and gave something back.
    [[
    Venkat, Unfortunately this is a shortfall which can never be made up. The data does not just exist in public domain. I know that there is some extensive 1990s ball-by-ball data, especially for the matches played in England, exists with Wisden Online since I co-ordinated that effort. However that data is in some controlled space. So we have to majke do with what we have. But you could see the pre-2001 analysis, if you have not already done so, by clickinhg on the following link. I used a double extrapolation method for that.
    "The first 125 years, Two gladiators, 22 yards and 5 days"
    http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/682125.html
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • its.rachit on December 15, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    nice work ananth ... there are a lot of head to head matchups which actually happened but do not figure here because of unavailability of data/not meeting the criteria ... sachin and warne in 98, lara and mcgrath in 2000 where mcgrath publicly targeted lara and owned him ... donald and atherton in 98 was absolutely epic ... ambrose ans steve waugh in 95 ... while these confrontations were not very ball heavy, they have left a lasting impact in terms of legacy ... of the ones you have listed in the 1st list, i feel only the lara-murali wud stand the test of time ... rest of them, tho important for the context of the series in question, would fade away from memory gradually ... P.S. this is not to say that you shud not have included them .. this being statistical analysis would be and shuld be based on numbers ...
    [[
    Most of what you have mentioned are epic duels and do not feature here only because of the non-availability of data. Almost all are pre-2001 (pre-#1546). The cutoff is 180 balls or 100 runs for the entire series which is quite low.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on December 15, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Ananth, thank you so much - I love these head to head statistics as I believe they truly capture the essence of cricket as an individual game within a team sport. I have a few questions for you about statistics and cricket. Because cricket is most meaningfully played on an international level, and there are no international stats for county players (obviously), how relevant are statistics in terms of team selection and analysing play. Do you believe that the stats reveal things that are missed by the naked eye? Do you think that stats are predictive in quality, or that stats in cricket are just a measure of where teams and players need to improve. After all, international selection is an open process, whereby everyone is untested on an international level before being selected and playing, whereas in a sport like basketball the fact that you can trade players means that you can compare metrics and statistics to see how good a fit a player is an choose accordingly.
    [[
    On selection, there cannot be a single method across teams. Each team has its own methodology and these vary across the teams a lot.
    The level of county cricket again varies from country to country. The Indian scene is pretty poor. There are triple centuries galore and some of these triple-centurions find it difficult to score a 50 in international cricket. Most of the pitches are batting paradises and the few which are not, are very poor in quality. The Australian/English and South African country scene is better.
    My feeling is that there is a pool of players available and it is difficult for outside players to break into this, at least in India, where their FC performances have to be diluted.
    It is also true that what is available to the team management is a lot more than what is available to the general public. These h-t-h analyses, accompanied by video footage, can do wonders in allowing the coaching staff to suggest corrective actions and the players to correct themselves.
    If you see the first featured comment, I have made a reference to the simulation work I had done and have also provided the links. That simulation was based on the actual data available with me, of course not h-t-h which is available only now. You can see that the results are quite close to the expectations based on the player career numbers. So these analyses can certainly be used in a predicitive mode.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking comment. Ananth
    : ]]

  • fayyaz03 on December 14, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Another great analysis Mr Anantha. You are just rocking. Watching your command and skills in statistics, I just want to request you that can you prepare a chart for imaginary statistics of the battle between the great players of two different era who have never came up head to head. For e.g.What would happen Had Sachin Tendulker faced Charles Turner on Perth Ground for atleast 10 Test matches and both being at their best. Similarly, Don Bradman vs Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Joel Garner, Michael Holding. And Glen Macgrath and Shane Warne vs Hanif Mohammad etc. Is It Possible ??
    [[
    I have done the simulations of 5 Tests between an all-time England XI and a World XI, led by Bradman which had Tendulkar & Lara in. These match results were published in "The Times" of London with commentary by Christopher Martin-Jenkins. This was a very closely fought series, played in 5 grounds across the world. I had come out with two articles covering this series in my blogspace "It Figures" about 3 years back. The links are given below.
    http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par.php
    http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par_1.php
    I am sure you will have great fun reading the reports of these 5 Test matches.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on December 14, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    This is a great assortment of stats that gives the readers a chance to do number-crunching..

    MY attention is drawn to the "Dravid series in England 2011" (sorry, if I missed that there were 11 Indian players)!! And confrontation between Broad & Dravid..

    A young enforcer vs an old legend in his twilight.. Bouncers, out-swing, in-dippers, sledging, DRS howlers against Grit of the Man (class was there in the whole batting line-up) made for a fascinating watch.. 265 balls, 105 runs with 1 dismissal, & the gladiator still lost, why because the other big names meekly surrendered.. The enforcer terrorised others with 24 dismissals, 1 every 26 balls costing mere 10 runs apiece..

    This was the series that made narrow-visioned Indians sit back & realize that, perhaps they always short-changed a Legend!! Memories!!!
    [[
    700 balls, 352 runs and 4 dismissals against the top-three English bowlers when everything around him was crumbling: And he was virtually hounded into retirement because of a poor series in Australia. And we continute to short-change him, to this day. We behave as if one player contributed 100 and the others 25. It is my firm and unassailable feeling that the Indians have never properly recognized Dravid, Kapil Dev, Kumble and to a certain extent, Gavaskar.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Rohan1 on December 25, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Comments by other individuals , though perhaps caustically worded,also ring true. Fleming did as well as Lara in the lions den. Unfortunately we do not have Hth data before 2001. The fact that Fleming completely dominated Murali over not one but 2 series separated by a few years makes his achievement even better and of greater depth- in my opinion. Re. your caustic comment about Tendulkar and an arbitrary 500 runs in a series- Series averages are a better guide given the difference in matches in a series and the number of innings actually played in a series. Other batsmen have had more inn. per series. One may use any arbitrary benchmark to run down any player this way. If you use say 350 or 400 runs you may get some another result. Tendulkar played very few long series or many inn. in a series at his peak.

    Re. Murali. As far as fast scoring is concerned Sehwag merits a special mention - 132 in 122 balls in 2009 with 2 dismissals . Perhaps the worst battering Murali ever received.

  • Rameshkumar_Satyamoorthy on December 18, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Ananth, Another interesting article. A few points: 1.It is natural to see spinners bowl many overs and in many situations, there will be only one spinner. One can see the value of the opening batsmen holding on the first session which would mean more overs for the spinner and in some countries, they are playable. In the current ashes series, England could not make Lyon bowl long spells.
    [[
    Yes I agree. There were early wickets in 5 of the 6 innings. Other than the one innings, the scores have been virtually nothing for 2/3/4.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    2.Two lefties mastered two unorthodox spinners-Lara & Murali and Sanga & Ajmal. Rarely these bowlers were mastered by others. They must be doing something different against these bowlers-must be messing up their lines.
    [[
    And these are two totally effective off-spinners, with a bagful of tricks. Both batsmen did the impossible, Lara's the more difficult task since that was in Sri Lnaka while Sanga's was in UAE and at home.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    3.Is there a case to look at the balls faced % without looking at runs to look at some sheet anchor roles?
    [[
    I could at least add % of Team balls to the downloadable file for you to look at. It is difficult to update the article.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Bonehead_maz on December 16, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    These downloadable files are fast becoming my prime source of data. Thanks Ananth and Milind! Sadly my download contained only 3 tables (not the seven I was somehow expecting, and I havn't yet pasted it into a spreadsheet to play with) so my disbelief that Chris Martin wouldn't appear also on the batting side of low averages remains unconfirmed hehe but I guess lots of competition between bowlers for his scalp (and Short series generally for NZ). My only regret is I can't dive into deep past, to have a peek ( say May's 1958/9 tour - been thinking of that series a lot just recently :) )....... such is life.
    [[
    Murray, there are three tables because these are the basic data: balls, runs and wickets. The other tables have been derived from these. If you and other readers regularly post these tables into spreadsheets and work on those, I have no problems with creating the Excel tables myself. RE the old matches you should keep going back to my 125-year coverage using double extrapolated. I understand that analysis of an older series is impossible to get.
    Today is the D-day. Barring miracles, we do not see often, the small urn must make its way back down under and my guess is that it will stay there for some time. It is more likely that the cracks widen five-fold and cause the abandonment of the match than that the four/five remaining wickets keep Australia at bay. Stokes is one refreshing and free-spirited talent, though.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • shillingsworth on December 16, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    Another excellent article. The table for highest averages isn't surely complete though without those instances where the batsman scored more than 140 runs against a bowler without being dismissed - Clarke (147) vs Swann (0) in the last completed Ashes series for example. I confess that I only know this because I remembered how you highlighted it in your equally good article 'Ashes 2013 battles within the war' and have just looked it up there!
    [[
    Andrew, the problem everyone make is that they think everything is within the article. However when the cut-off is 180 balls you should understand that what is presented in the article is only a featured sub-set, normally the top-15 or 20. That is where you should always download the file mentioned at the end and view the contents. Swann vs Clarke figures were 251 balls/147 runs/0 wkt/sr 58.6. It is in line number 63. It so happens that this one-sided contest just missed all the cut-offs: 300 balls/160 runs/250 s/r (the last one unfairly since I should henceforth take a zero wkt as 1). Thanks for pointing out. I probably missed an important point there. But all these entries are present in the downloadable file.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • vinjoy on December 16, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    Excellent stuff and this analysis really shows when the batsman is in the 'zone'. I started watching cricket in 1985 and a few performances where a batsman single handedly stood apart against the opposition when the whole team struggled and clean swept were: Lara in SL 2001, Dravid in Eng 2011. I know that Draid scored over 600 runs in Eng 2002 too but then he got support also, and hence series result reflected it. That is why Cricket is a team game!
    [[
    Yes, it is virtually impossible for a single player to win a Test., leave alone a Test series. But for Willis (and Dilley), England would have lost. But for Dravid, Australia would have won and but for Harbhajan Australia would have drawn. Cook & Pietersen needed Swann & Panesar to deliver the win. Johnson needs all those Australian centuries to have the cushion. And so on.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Cricket_Mad_Fan on December 15, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Great Analysis but unfortunately, not complete as you dont have the data for some epic battles. The few that I have watched and always remember are the ones between Marshall and Gavaskar (2 hundreds and 1 double when Marshall was at his peak), Holding & Roberts and Gavaskar( 4 hundreds and 1 double with Holding - Roberts did not play in 83' Delhi) and finally, Imran and Gavaskar - used to be often quoted by Imran. I am happy that I watched live a few of them and it was memorable. Most often, if these guys did not get Gavaskar early, he scored big. I can never forget Marshall in 83' Kanpur. As they say, it was pure lliquid pace. Have not seen anything comparable since. Lillee had his number against Gavaskar. Richards held his own against Lillee and gave something back.
    [[
    Venkat, Unfortunately this is a shortfall which can never be made up. The data does not just exist in public domain. I know that there is some extensive 1990s ball-by-ball data, especially for the matches played in England, exists with Wisden Online since I co-ordinated that effort. However that data is in some controlled space. So we have to majke do with what we have. But you could see the pre-2001 analysis, if you have not already done so, by clickinhg on the following link. I used a double extrapolation method for that.
    "The first 125 years, Two gladiators, 22 yards and 5 days"
    http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/682125.html
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • its.rachit on December 15, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    nice work ananth ... there are a lot of head to head matchups which actually happened but do not figure here because of unavailability of data/not meeting the criteria ... sachin and warne in 98, lara and mcgrath in 2000 where mcgrath publicly targeted lara and owned him ... donald and atherton in 98 was absolutely epic ... ambrose ans steve waugh in 95 ... while these confrontations were not very ball heavy, they have left a lasting impact in terms of legacy ... of the ones you have listed in the 1st list, i feel only the lara-murali wud stand the test of time ... rest of them, tho important for the context of the series in question, would fade away from memory gradually ... P.S. this is not to say that you shud not have included them .. this being statistical analysis would be and shuld be based on numbers ...
    [[
    Most of what you have mentioned are epic duels and do not feature here only because of the non-availability of data. Almost all are pre-2001 (pre-#1546). The cutoff is 180 balls or 100 runs for the entire series which is quite low.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on December 15, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Ananth, thank you so much - I love these head to head statistics as I believe they truly capture the essence of cricket as an individual game within a team sport. I have a few questions for you about statistics and cricket. Because cricket is most meaningfully played on an international level, and there are no international stats for county players (obviously), how relevant are statistics in terms of team selection and analysing play. Do you believe that the stats reveal things that are missed by the naked eye? Do you think that stats are predictive in quality, or that stats in cricket are just a measure of where teams and players need to improve. After all, international selection is an open process, whereby everyone is untested on an international level before being selected and playing, whereas in a sport like basketball the fact that you can trade players means that you can compare metrics and statistics to see how good a fit a player is an choose accordingly.
    [[
    On selection, there cannot be a single method across teams. Each team has its own methodology and these vary across the teams a lot.
    The level of county cricket again varies from country to country. The Indian scene is pretty poor. There are triple centuries galore and some of these triple-centurions find it difficult to score a 50 in international cricket. Most of the pitches are batting paradises and the few which are not, are very poor in quality. The Australian/English and South African country scene is better.
    My feeling is that there is a pool of players available and it is difficult for outside players to break into this, at least in India, where their FC performances have to be diluted.
    It is also true that what is available to the team management is a lot more than what is available to the general public. These h-t-h analyses, accompanied by video footage, can do wonders in allowing the coaching staff to suggest corrective actions and the players to correct themselves.
    If you see the first featured comment, I have made a reference to the simulation work I had done and have also provided the links. That simulation was based on the actual data available with me, of course not h-t-h which is available only now. You can see that the results are quite close to the expectations based on the player career numbers. So these analyses can certainly be used in a predicitive mode.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking comment. Ananth
    : ]]

  • fayyaz03 on December 14, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Another great analysis Mr Anantha. You are just rocking. Watching your command and skills in statistics, I just want to request you that can you prepare a chart for imaginary statistics of the battle between the great players of two different era who have never came up head to head. For e.g.What would happen Had Sachin Tendulker faced Charles Turner on Perth Ground for atleast 10 Test matches and both being at their best. Similarly, Don Bradman vs Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Joel Garner, Michael Holding. And Glen Macgrath and Shane Warne vs Hanif Mohammad etc. Is It Possible ??
    [[
    I have done the simulations of 5 Tests between an all-time England XI and a World XI, led by Bradman which had Tendulkar & Lara in. These match results were published in "The Times" of London with commentary by Christopher Martin-Jenkins. This was a very closely fought series, played in 5 grounds across the world. I had come out with two articles covering this series in my blogspace "It Figures" about 3 years back. The links are given below.
    http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par.php
    http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par_1.php
    I am sure you will have great fun reading the reports of these 5 Test matches.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on December 14, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    This is a great assortment of stats that gives the readers a chance to do number-crunching..

    MY attention is drawn to the "Dravid series in England 2011" (sorry, if I missed that there were 11 Indian players)!! And confrontation between Broad & Dravid..

    A young enforcer vs an old legend in his twilight.. Bouncers, out-swing, in-dippers, sledging, DRS howlers against Grit of the Man (class was there in the whole batting line-up) made for a fascinating watch.. 265 balls, 105 runs with 1 dismissal, & the gladiator still lost, why because the other big names meekly surrendered.. The enforcer terrorised others with 24 dismissals, 1 every 26 balls costing mere 10 runs apiece..

    This was the series that made narrow-visioned Indians sit back & realize that, perhaps they always short-changed a Legend!! Memories!!!
    [[
    700 balls, 352 runs and 4 dismissals against the top-three English bowlers when everything around him was crumbling: And he was virtually hounded into retirement because of a poor series in Australia. And we continute to short-change him, to this day. We behave as if one player contributed 100 and the others 25. It is my firm and unassailable feeling that the Indians have never properly recognized Dravid, Kapil Dev, Kumble and to a certain extent, Gavaskar.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Rohan1 on December 25, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Comments by other individuals , though perhaps caustically worded,also ring true. Fleming did as well as Lara in the lions den. Unfortunately we do not have Hth data before 2001. The fact that Fleming completely dominated Murali over not one but 2 series separated by a few years makes his achievement even better and of greater depth- in my opinion. Re. your caustic comment about Tendulkar and an arbitrary 500 runs in a series- Series averages are a better guide given the difference in matches in a series and the number of innings actually played in a series. Other batsmen have had more inn. per series. One may use any arbitrary benchmark to run down any player this way. If you use say 350 or 400 runs you may get some another result. Tendulkar played very few long series or many inn. in a series at his peak.

    Re. Murali. As far as fast scoring is concerned Sehwag merits a special mention - 132 in 122 balls in 2009 with 2 dismissals . Perhaps the worst battering Murali ever received.

  • Rohan1 on December 25, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    From Jul 2006 to retirement Dravid avg. 42.4, i.e over more than 5 1/2 years of his 15 1/2 yr career. Minus his great last hurrah in England he avg. 40 over the 5 1/2 yrs. Till the Eng. Tour he avg. 40.3 for 5 years. When Dravid retired he was pushing 40. So the slump wasn't a mid-career sort of slump which he may be expected to recover from. Dravid has indeed provided stellar and yeoman service to the Indian cricket team - but trying to make out as though he was "hounded" into retirement because of one poor Aus series is a serious distortion of fact and stat, contextual and otherwise,

  • Indiana_jones99 on December 23, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    Bats No. wkts % man of wkts 1) 60 7.5 2) 72 9 3) 73 9.125 4) 76 9.5 5) 76 9.5 6) 83 10.375 7) 100 12.5 8) 72 9 9) 75 9.375 10) 72 9 11) 41 5.125 800 Total

    The number of times Muralitharan havd taken for each position. The first column is the No. of batting position of the batsmen. For example he has dimissed a No.1 batsmen 60 times. 7.5 % of the total wickets taken. The rest follows in similar fashion.

    I have summed up the total % for Top 5 batsmen (batsmen batting at numbers 1 to 5). Similarlt for Top 6 and Top 7. So for example the top 6 batsmen account for 55 % of his wicket total.

    Top 5 batsmen 44.6 Top 6 batsmen 55.0 Top 7 batsmen 67.5 8-to-11 batsmen 32.5

    In this database the columns were the matches Murali had played in year order. The rows consist of batsmen from each country. An entry indicates that a player's wkt.. This would be an effective way of comparing bowlers.

  • Indiana_jones99 on December 23, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Very Impressive all these stats. Tribute to the hard work in preparing all these. It is a boon for cricket fans. Congratulations. However I have a slight issue not directly related to the above article. But the Head to Head Lara, Tendukar, Muralithran article published on August 3rd 2013. In that article Muralitharan was supposed to have dismissed Brian Lara and Tendulkar 3 and 6 times respectively. However I was compiling a database on Muralitharan and wanted to check my results. I found Lara was dismissed by Murali on 5 occasions (Matches numered 1649 (L) 1570(L)1567(C)1369(c)1239(C) . Similarly SRT was dismissed 8 times : 1374(C), 1376(C),1774(L),1776(L),1778(C),1882(B,C),1964(L). Where the test match nos are given. The abbreviations in brackets represent mode of dismissal. C-caught,L-LBW,B-Bowled. can you please confirm. Apologies if I got the details. I am writing here as the comments on the original articles has expired.
    [[
    The article covered only the H-t-h data available from Test 1546 onwards. If you check your Test numbers two of Lara dismissals (1369/1239) and two of SRT dismisals (1374/1376) are pre-1546.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Mainak_Sen on December 20, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    dear anantha, I am writing thru this forum as I am unaware of any other means to communicate. my name is mainak sen, and I am from Kolkata, India. I have been a regular reader of your blogs for many years, though i do not comment much. I remember only commenting only once or twice perhaps before. I have always been deeply impressed with your work. I have interests in sports analytics, particularly in cricket, and shall like to seek your sage advice sometimes. Obviously I can apprehend that your time is at a premium, so may be we can exchange a few emails, outside of this forum. if you are willing. I shall much appreciate if you can send me your contact email address where i can reach you outside of this forum. my email is *******************. Thank you very much!
    [[
    I will mail you directly. I will publish this mail, after blanking out your mailid since I do not like to junk any mail.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • suraagnerella on December 17, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    I am following cricket since last 26 years, I have seen different types of fans, die hard fans, fanatics etc. but have never seen a cricket fan like you who uses his intelligece and experience to come up with an article at regular intervals to show your favourite cricketer's(I think its easy for anyone if they read most of your articles to identify your hero) achievements. I think people should learn from you how you can project your hero and degrade the others more intelligently like you do in your posts.
    [[
    Thanks my dear friend, for the left-handed compliment. I think you do not know what is "degrading". You should read some of the other articles.
    The problem for many people is what Mr. BCL has achieved: going to the Lion's den, with a weak team, facing the toughest bowler anyone can face in his back-yard, losing all Tests but scoring 688 runs in 3 Tests. The inability to digest a performance of this magnitude leads to such comments.
    But, my friend, I have no problem. If, in the next article, I have to put Tendulkar at the top of the ODI neutral location performances table, I will gladly do so. If I have to compliment him on his stellar performances in matches lost by India, I will again gladly laud him. Because I have no hang-ups, unlike people like you.
    A better idea is to understand and appreciate the Test Series head-to-head analysis, which is what has been presented. Make a comment that Tendulkar's best performances were, unfortunately, before the availability of the h-t-h data, that is perfect. That would show that you have understood the article in an objective manner. If not, better to stay away.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • red_forever on December 17, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    Its back to the drawing board now for Eng.Cook is out of Form, only KP knows what is in his Head now.Trott destroyed by 'Good' Mitch.Anderson looked out of Gas and not of ideas. He took 7 at 59 at Sr 105. Only positives are Root, Carberry and Stokes( WhaddaPlaya) I liked stokes the moment he pulled Johnson when he was on 10 yesterday which all other players did half heartedly and perished. Finally Mitch.What can one say. He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right they said but He bowls at your Throat they never said. Its so so good to see a fast bowler steaming into to aim at your throat at 150+ is one of the all time great sights in any sport.Hope Mitch gets his bed attached to the wall so that doesnt get up from the wrong side of the bed again. Irrespective of all its negatives,i think IPL seems to have done the Current aussie team a lot of Good.Watson and Mitch tried the IPL route to get back to rhythm and boy how good were they in doing that.
    [[
    I think the 7 for 40 was probably the best spell of fast bowling during 2013. Ha! I am pre-empting my next month's article. Stokes is a guy who any team would love to have. A fast bowling all-rounder who consistently bowls at 135+ and bats with a lot of common sense.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • red_forever on December 17, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    I would be a lot happier than i am now if Ind vs SA match half the entertainment that this Ashes series has provided. In every test there was an opening for Eng to bulldoze through and keep the Urn, but that Aussie Spirit prevailed.I feel Eng were a bit stunned by the aggression of Aussies as they felt the hosts will roll over and lay a red carpet which wasnt the case. I think the point where eng lost was the 3-0 scoreline in July-Aug.That series was i my opinion a 2-2 for me. Eng celebrated that win and they tried to paper over the cracks in their batting but aussies took home the inspiration that a not so Good aussie side could push Eng to the limit then with a added bit of self belief they could push them all the way at Home.
    [[
    Australia batted well in the second half of the Ashes series. And they would have done much better in India but for Dhoni's century and silly internal wrangles.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Bonehead_maz on December 17, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    Stokes has been wonderful and you are surely correct in him muddling England's selection (as if not muddled enough !). Despite Henriques ( a very good cricketer). James Faulkner (much as I adore his cricket) isn't ready (despite broken finger) to bat at No.6 in a test cricket side (more a bowler) .I could say Hopes, but he's never been outstanding- just very good). Reason I mentioned Mitchell Marsh is he looks outstanding. Has been so for several years, but hasn't converted (seemed starting to now and grrr at BBL). If he's for real to play cricket ? He's something really special. I also like the look in newbie bowling allrounder terms of Sean Abbott. Cheers
    [[
    Test no.6 is not a cheap position unlike the ODI no.6. You could have a basher there and get away with it. We are talking of a position occupied by all-time greats like Steve Waugh, Laxman, Lloyd, Sobers et al. All these have avge BatPos of greater than 5.0. Bailey should grasp his chance with both hands.
    As I write this I can see that the urn has been finally handed back. A very well-deserved, possibly a little bit surprising, win and professional performances over 3 weeks. Not one Australian player has failed.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Bonehead_maz on December 17, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    @ Ananth - you are a gem and " If you and other readers regularly post these tables into spreadsheets and work on those, I have no problems with creating the Excel tables myself." can only hope now to secure a positive vote ? Come on readers !
    [[
    Why "votes". One vote would be enough.
    Ananth
    : ]]

    "RE the old matches you should keep going back to my 125-year coverage using double extrapolated." I Do, but these are career not single series based ? "It is more likely that the cracks widen five-fold and cause the abandonment of the match" The only worry I have , and if it's hot again and gets to tea, a real possibility (although they thankfully are not in the most likely areas). Agree with Ben Stokes. Thought he the best English bowler in Adelaide, has never backed down, and batting well here (although somewhat gifted by our first time this series, bowling hunger Vs bowling with hunger for the plan set - even perhaps (maybe especially) Harris was guilty. I only hope Mitchell Marsh is watching Stokes closely !
    [[
    There are a few middle-order Australian batting all-rounders who are jostling for a place at 6: Faulkner, Henriques, M Marsh. Since Bailey does not bowl, that place is up for grabs. Anyone who gets a chance should do what Stokes hads done. If he continues to do what he has been doing England would find it difficult to get an older established batsman there or earlier.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Drifting on December 16, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    Cool stuff, always enjoy these columns with the math. Just wondering, how did the Ambrose-Steve Waugh numbers look? I did a quick scan of the file but I only found Caddick-Waugh. Curious about this one because it was in a sense the most seismic face-off in a decade.
    [[
    I have repeated this many times but do not mind doing it one more time (or probably a few more times). The ball-by-ball data is available only from Test no 1546 (year 2001) onwards. This is available 100% for the 560 Tests which have been played after this. But nothing is available before. So Ambrose-SWaugh confrontation falls under the earlier domain.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Rufus_Fuddleduck on December 16, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    Thanks again Ananth, for a good piece of rational analysis and for being honest that neither is all data available, nor can all epic duels be understood from data. A request - is it possible to compile a face-off for just the top say 20 batsmen and 20 bowlers of the past two decades (whatever time frame data available)?
    [[
    Isn't that already available. The featured tables cover the highs and lows of virtually everything: RpW, RpB, Avge et al. If you want to look past these, the downloadable file contains all these tables in their entirety. You should be able to get at the top-20 of whichever measure you are looking at.
    Or am I missing something. Something specific. Then those are covered in my earlier catch-all analyses. Links are given below.
    "The first 125 years, Two gladiators, 22 yards and 5 days"
    http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/682125.html
    "Two gladiators, 22 yards and 5 days"
    http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/678685.html
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • swarzi on December 15, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    Ananth, great work! Two things: (i) The Muri vs Lara epic is arguably the most exciting bat vs ball dual ever in test cricket! Why? We're talking about the best bowler ever in test cricket vs the best batsman, since Bradman! I don't bother with the few who try to dispute this truism in test cricket. They were never BLUE EYE BOYS of the media - hence? Their records speak loudly. It's recently someone was saying how Lara burst on the scene in 1990 and decided to remove every DUMB FOUNDED RECORD that was set by EPIC INDIVIDUAL BATTING - The only one of the 51 records that he did not remove is 100 (tnr) in 80 inngs, by Bradman! Otherwise he decimated Sobers' 365; Haniff Mohammed's 500*; the English county record for annual runs - all within 4 yrs! Then when Hayden beat up Zimb, Lara took only 5 months to regain his record, SCORING ALL OF 400* RUNS. Hence, the GREAT Lara. (ii) The AGGREGATE TENDULKAR non feature in the tables shows a lack of his individual dominance in any 3+ match series!

  • on December 15, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    By the absence of abusive comments,I see people have become much more tolerant to other people's views or it may be just because this article is not about Sachin. I have nearly had my ears ripped off by the crowd when I opined that Shane Warne was a better legspinner than Sachin.Poor Ponting was hounded by the Indian media for saying that he thought Lara was a better batsman than Sachin.Its like we don't even allow people to prefer someone other than Sachin. Anyway it is good to see contributory comments coming through.
    [[
    Roshan, I am so used to getting hundreds of comments for a SRT article followed by 30 comments for a far more important and insightful article that I would faint if any sanity ever appeared in these patterns. But I have no problem. The genuine cricket follower would appreciate the analyses, whether these relate to Tendulkar or 135 years of Test cricket. And there are many genuine cricket followers who also appreciate Tendulkar.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Lion83 on December 15, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    I still remember the series between Sri Lanka vs West indies. Lara was superb and unstopable. He cuts Murali when he bowl short and drive him when he bowl fuller. facinating contest lara won it but he could not win it for WI.

  • on December 15, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    Ananth, Are ball by ball data not available for 2001 ind vs australia. Harbahajan's dominance of Ponting deserves a mention. 5 dismissal. Although exact balls and runs are unknown but if somebody can work out using this as a start. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i95do6C47Og. at 35.21 in the video before the start of 5th innings, the figures are 18 balls,4 runs, 4 dismissal. Considering Ponting scored 11 of 25 balls and assuming he scored 70% of the runs (a six off Harbhajan is there in the video) and faced around 15 balls of Harbhajan, the figures would still be at the top half in table 6.
    [[
    Pawan, For the across-the-board analysis, I was ready to pre-1546 and post-1546 analyses, using double extrapolation. For this analysis I think it is too much work and will wait for enthusiuasts like you to provide these silver and golden nuggets. Thanks
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on December 15, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    Kudos Ananth! you are fantastic! you have done a great job. How is that Sachin is missing everywhere?
    [[
    Tendulkar's name appears in the downloadable file 16 times. May also be the small fact that Tendulkar never scored 500 runs in a single Test series.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • CaptainMurugan on December 14, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    I'd like to know, on an average, how many readers visit Mr. Ananth's articles compared to other cricinfo articles. Are there any statistics for that? Mr. Ananth, could you publish that in your next post or have a downloadable file for that ? My point being that you might find that Mr.Ananth articles rank very low in popularity. I might be wrong but live and die by the numbers, please !
    [[
    If you had not unnecessarily visited the site you could have avoiding inflating the site visitors count by one. Isn't it a sad thing. A reason might be the fact that these article do not follow the common refrain: of saying that there is only one cricketer who is God and all others are nobodies.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • arajeshn on December 14, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    Ananth, Hope the low number of comments is because the readers are still digesting the stats instead of it being a SRT-centred blog! There is a lot of data in there and people can draw a number of conclusions from the information you have presented. One thing that I have noticed is the number of times Kumbe has appeared in the list. The sheer amount of bowling he has done, the number of matchwinning efforts and the way he led a 'slightly-better-than-toothless' attack merits far more praise than what he got. Along with Dravid & VVS, Kumble is another Shashi Kapoor to SRT's Amitabh.

  • on December 14, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    One more thing sir. During the recent SA-Pak test series in UAE, the commentators mentioned that AB de Villiers has never been dismissed by Saeed Ajmal in tests, while scoring a good number of runs.
    [[
    If you see the downloadable file you will see that in series 643, de Villiers has faced 227 balls from Ajmal and not been dismissed by him.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on December 14, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Hats off to you Mr. Ananth...i have been reading your stat analysis from a long time ..and have really liked it...and this is in continuum of your great work... Lara against Murali was legendary stuff and i think both came out to be winners.. Cook was also phenomenal against India.. as Viru against Sl...thanks for reinvigorating fond memories

  • ArjunHemnani on December 14, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Ananth, Some information from previous years... Don Bradman scored 243 runs off Vinoo Mankad in 1948 series without being dismissed by him. In 1991-92 series, Tendulkar scored 115 runs off Merv Huges of 208 balls without being dismissed. In 1993 Ashes in England, Tim May bowled 54 balls to Mark Illott without conceding a run, dismissing him thrice. In 1936 sereis beteween SAF and Aus in SAF, Grimmett dismissed X.Balaskas 5 times while conceding 2 runs.
    [[
    Arjun, I would like to know what is the source. Let me hasten, to my own enlightenment, not for anything else.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • ArjunHemnani on December 14, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Ananth, Some information from previous years... Don Bradman scored 243 runs off Vinoo Mankad in 1948 series without being dismissed by him. In 1991-92 series, Tendulkar scored 115 runs off Merv Huges of 208 balls without being dismissed. In 1993 Ashes in England, Tim May bowled 54 balls to Mark Illott without conceding a run, dismissing him thrice. In 1936 sereis beteween SAF and Aus in SAF, Grimmett dismissed X.Balaskas 5 times while conceding 2 runs.
    [[
    Arjun, I would like to know what is the source. Let me hasten, to my own enlightenment, not for anything else.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on December 14, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Hats off to you Mr. Ananth...i have been reading your stat analysis from a long time ..and have really liked it...and this is in continuum of your great work... Lara against Murali was legendary stuff and i think both came out to be winners.. Cook was also phenomenal against India.. as Viru against Sl...thanks for reinvigorating fond memories

  • on December 14, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    One more thing sir. During the recent SA-Pak test series in UAE, the commentators mentioned that AB de Villiers has never been dismissed by Saeed Ajmal in tests, while scoring a good number of runs.
    [[
    If you see the downloadable file you will see that in series 643, de Villiers has faced 227 balls from Ajmal and not been dismissed by him.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • arajeshn on December 14, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    Ananth, Hope the low number of comments is because the readers are still digesting the stats instead of it being a SRT-centred blog! There is a lot of data in there and people can draw a number of conclusions from the information you have presented. One thing that I have noticed is the number of times Kumbe has appeared in the list. The sheer amount of bowling he has done, the number of matchwinning efforts and the way he led a 'slightly-better-than-toothless' attack merits far more praise than what he got. Along with Dravid & VVS, Kumble is another Shashi Kapoor to SRT's Amitabh.

  • CaptainMurugan on December 14, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    I'd like to know, on an average, how many readers visit Mr. Ananth's articles compared to other cricinfo articles. Are there any statistics for that? Mr. Ananth, could you publish that in your next post or have a downloadable file for that ? My point being that you might find that Mr.Ananth articles rank very low in popularity. I might be wrong but live and die by the numbers, please !
    [[
    If you had not unnecessarily visited the site you could have avoiding inflating the site visitors count by one. Isn't it a sad thing. A reason might be the fact that these article do not follow the common refrain: of saying that there is only one cricketer who is God and all others are nobodies.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on December 15, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    Kudos Ananth! you are fantastic! you have done a great job. How is that Sachin is missing everywhere?
    [[
    Tendulkar's name appears in the downloadable file 16 times. May also be the small fact that Tendulkar never scored 500 runs in a single Test series.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • on December 15, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    Ananth, Are ball by ball data not available for 2001 ind vs australia. Harbahajan's dominance of Ponting deserves a mention. 5 dismissal. Although exact balls and runs are unknown but if somebody can work out using this as a start. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i95do6C47Og. at 35.21 in the video before the start of 5th innings, the figures are 18 balls,4 runs, 4 dismissal. Considering Ponting scored 11 of 25 balls and assuming he scored 70% of the runs (a six off Harbhajan is there in the video) and faced around 15 balls of Harbhajan, the figures would still be at the top half in table 6.
    [[
    Pawan, For the across-the-board analysis, I was ready to pre-1546 and post-1546 analyses, using double extrapolation. For this analysis I think it is too much work and will wait for enthusiuasts like you to provide these silver and golden nuggets. Thanks
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • Lion83 on December 15, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    I still remember the series between Sri Lanka vs West indies. Lara was superb and unstopable. He cuts Murali when he bowl short and drive him when he bowl fuller. facinating contest lara won it but he could not win it for WI.

  • on December 15, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    By the absence of abusive comments,I see people have become much more tolerant to other people's views or it may be just because this article is not about Sachin. I have nearly had my ears ripped off by the crowd when I opined that Shane Warne was a better legspinner than Sachin.Poor Ponting was hounded by the Indian media for saying that he thought Lara was a better batsman than Sachin.Its like we don't even allow people to prefer someone other than Sachin. Anyway it is good to see contributory comments coming through.
    [[
    Roshan, I am so used to getting hundreds of comments for a SRT article followed by 30 comments for a far more important and insightful article that I would faint if any sanity ever appeared in these patterns. But I have no problem. The genuine cricket follower would appreciate the analyses, whether these relate to Tendulkar or 135 years of Test cricket. And there are many genuine cricket followers who also appreciate Tendulkar.
    Ananth
    : ]]

  • swarzi on December 15, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    Ananth, great work! Two things: (i) The Muri vs Lara epic is arguably the most exciting bat vs ball dual ever in test cricket! Why? We're talking about the best bowler ever in test cricket vs the best batsman, since Bradman! I don't bother with the few who try to dispute this truism in test cricket. They were never BLUE EYE BOYS of the media - hence? Their records speak loudly. It's recently someone was saying how Lara burst on the scene in 1990 and decided to remove every DUMB FOUNDED RECORD that was set by EPIC INDIVIDUAL BATTING - The only one of the 51 records that he did not remove is 100 (tnr) in 80 inngs, by Bradman! Otherwise he decimated Sobers' 365; Haniff Mohammed's 500*; the English county record for annual runs - all within 4 yrs! Then when Hayden beat up Zimb, Lara took only 5 months to regain his record, SCORING ALL OF 400* RUNS. Hence, the GREAT Lara. (ii) The AGGREGATE TENDULKAR non feature in the tables shows a lack of his individual dominance in any 3+ match series!