Australia in England / Features

England v Australia, 1st Test, Lord's, 4th day

Warne the magician, and Pietersen's defiance

How Shane Warne bamboozled England's batting at Lord's

On the ball with S Rajesh and Arun Gopalakrishnan

July 24, 2005

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A combination of the legbreak, topspinner and the zooter, all bowled with pinpoint accuracy, meant that England's batsmen had few answers to the complex questions that Shane Warne threw up in their second innings. The graphic below offers a fair indication of the way they struggled - the batsmen were beaten, rapped on the pads, or they edged him 20% of the time, that's once every five deliveries.

Amid all the shambles that was the England batting line-up, one batsman shone in both innings, and contributed 36% of the total runs they scored in the match. Kevin Pietersen came into the match after controversially displacing Graham Thorpe, and delivered a performance that completely lived up to the hype.

The most convincing aspect of his display was the manner in which he handled Australia's leading bowlers: in the first innings, Glenn McGrath was in irresistible form, and Pietersen slammed him for 22 from as many balls; in the second, Warne was running rings around England's batsmen, and Pietersen hit him to the tune of 39 from 41 balls. Over both innings, Pietersen scored 121 runs from 168 balls, and it took an extraordinary catch to dismiss him in the only innings in which he got out. Now, if only someone would teach Pietersen how to hang on to a catch.

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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.
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