India v South Africa, 1st Test, Nagpur, 4th day

How Harris choked India

Paul Harris' outside-leg-stump line was perfect in the context of the game, as none of the Indian batsmen figured out how to score runs against him

S Rajesh

February 9, 2010

Text size: A | A

Paul Harris' pitch map in the second innings, India v South Africa, 1st Test, Nagpur, 4th day, February 9, 2010
Paul Harris pitched deliveries liberally outside leg stump, and that strategy suited South Africa perfectly (Click here for more Hawk-Eye analysis) © Hawk-Eye Innovations
Enlarge

As a template for the perfect Test, this was about as good as it could get for South Africa. Apart from the first one hour, they comprehensively dominated the rest of the four days, losing only six wickets to India's 20 and yet scoring six more runs. They averaged 93 runs per wicket to India's 27.60, which indicates the gulf between the two teams in this match. This is South Africa's fifth win in India, which makes them the only team to win more than they've lost in India in the last 15 years. Pakistan have won three and lost as many, but the other sides all have a win-loss ratio of less than one.

South Africa deserved the win which ends India's streak of not losing a Test under MS Dhoni, and it was quite fitting that Dale Steyn provided the final blow of the match, breaching Amit Mishra's defences to finish with match figures of 10 for 108. It's his fourth ten-wicket haul, but the first by a South African bowler in India: the previous-best figures in India was also by Steyn - 8 for 114 in Ahmedabad in 2008, in a match which also resulted in an innings win. It was India's third such defeat in the last 25 years, and they've all been inflicted by South Africa.

Steyn was the bowling star for South Africa, but on the fourth day Paul Harris did plenty to lift his stocks, which had been dwindling since a poor home series against England, when his 11 wickets came at a cost of more than 40 apiece. In Nagpur, however, the situation was tailor-made for Harris - the batsmen gave him more than enough runs to bowl with, and Steyn's first-innings burst meant South Africa had plenty of time and were in no rush to force a win. That allowed Harris to frustrate the Indian batsmen with his over-the-wicket, outside-leg-stump line. With the batsmen mostly loathe to play the sweep with any conviction, the runs were choked, and Harris ended with three important second-innings wickets.

As the table below shows, Harris bowled 85% of his deliveries from over the stumps, with most of them pitching well outside leg. Of the 194 deliveries he bowled from that angle, the Indian batsmen scored from just 34, which allowed him to stem the runs and build up pressure.

Harris over and round the wicket in India's second innings
  Balls Runs Wickets Average Econ rate Dot balls
Over the wicket 194 67 3 22.33 2.07 160
Round the wicket 34 9 0 - 1.58 30

Clearly, going into the second Test India need to formulate a strategy to play Harris. They were mostly defensive, which was understandable given the match situation, but their inability to work out options to get him away for runs is something the team will probably work on over the next four days. They tried the sweep shot 30 times, but scored only 38 runs and lost two wickets - those of Murali Vijay and Sachin Tendulkar - in the process. Wriddhiman Saha executed it better than anyone else, scoring 15 runs from seven deliveries, while Tendulkar scored eight from nine such strokes.

How the Indian batsmen played Harris' over-the-wicket line
Stroke Balls Runs Wickets
No shot/ padded away 75 0 0
Forward defence 52 0 1
Sweep/ paddle 30 38 2

Apart from Harbhajan Singh, who swung freely against him, none of the batsmen got runs at a brisk pace against Harris. Dhoni and S Badrinath were the most becalmed - Dhoni scored three in 36 balls, while Badrinath managed a solitary run in 19 deliveries.

Indian batsmen versus Harris
Batsman Balls Runs Dot balls
Murali Vijay 16 6 13
Sachin Tendulkar 78 24 65
S Badrinath 19 1 18
MS Dhoni 36 3 33
Wriddhiman Saha 47 17 38
Harbhajan Singh 8 18 1
Zaheer Khan 24 7 22

The only saving grace for India in the second innings was Tendulkar's 91st international century. It was only his fourth hundred in 38 Test innings against them, and his first in 16 innings against them at home. This was his third hundred in successive Tests, and it continues a superb run for him: since 2007 he averages 57.31 in 31 Tests. During this period he has scored 11 hundreds, with the only blip coming during a barren three-Test series in Sri Lanka.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: S Rajesh

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
S RajeshClose
S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days