England v India, 3rd ODI, Edgbaston August 27, 2007

Clumsy in the field, lazy between the wickets

Mathew Varghese
A statistical look at how poor fielding and running between the wickets has plagued India in the ODI series against England so far

India's 42-run loss at Edgbaston could be attributed largely to the extra runs leaked by poor ground fielding and sloppy catching, in addition to the inability to spot the singles and convert them to twos and the twos to threes. The team has found the going tough in the shorter version of the game, and while the large ground in Southampton accentuated the team's weakness in ground fielding and throwing, the sloppy catching added to their woes in the relatively smaller outfields in Bristol and Birmingham.

India's inability to press on with the run-scoring is indicated in this figure: England were 50 for no loss off 10.2 overs while India took 13.5 overs to post the same score, despite hitting more boundaries. Following is the run-scoring break-up for the two sides in the first 20 overs, when the Powerplays were on.

Run-scoring break-up for Powerplay overs
Team 0s 1s 2s 3s 4s 6s
England 81 27 7 3 9 0
India 82 25 1 0 14 0

Though India outscored England 14 to 9 in terms of boundaries, they fell woefully short in terms of twos and threes. While the English batsmen scored 23 runs in twos and threes, India could only manage a mere two runs.

Over the entire 50 overs, England managed twice the number of twos and 22 more singles than India, who scored 16 more runs in boundaries and yet fell well short of the target.

Run-scoring break-up for Edgbaston
Team 0s 1s 2s 3s 4s 6s
England 153 105 28 3 16 5
India 170 83 14 1 23 3

India's performance at Edgbaston was in sharp contrast to Bristol, where they batted with far more purpose.

Run-scoring break-up for Bristol
Team 0s 1s 2s 3s 4s 6s
England 180 79 15 1 33 8
India 160 100 13 0 40 3

Sourav Ganguly became only the fourth batsman - after Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Inzamam-ul-Haq - to get to 11,000 runs in ODIs, but he was one of the batsmen guilty of not scoring from too many deliveries. Ganguly and Ian Bell both scored 70s, but while Bell took 89 deliveries for his 79, Ganguly consumed 104 for his 72. Ganguly had 68 dot balls, compared to Bell's 37. The table below lists the dot-ball percentage for key batsmen, and while Sachin Tendulkar and Kevin Pietersen top the table, that can be explained by the fact that neither got a start.

Percentage of dot balls for key batsmen at Edgbaston
Player Dot balls Dot balls as % of balls faced
Sachin Tendulkar 14 73.68
Kevin Pietersen 16 72.72
Sourav Ganguly 67 64.42
Alastair Cook 37 60.71
Matt Prior 18 60.00
Rahul Dravid 33 54.09
Paul Collingwood 26 49.05
Ian Bell 36 40.45
Yuvraj Singh 15 38.46

The above table also shows where Yuvraj scores over most of the other Indian batsmen. Ganguly has topped the run-scoring charts for India since his comeback to the ODI team earlier this year, but his strike-rate is way below the other batsmen in the top-order.

Indian top-order batsmen in ODIs in 2007
Player Matches Runs Average SR
Sourav Ganguly 17 768 54.85 70.32
Rahul Dravid 21 743 57.15 83.48
Sachin Tendulkar 17 638 45.57 86.56
Yuvraj Singh 17 542 45.16 96.26

England have also easily scored over India in the field. Not only has the Indian ground-fielding been terrible, they have also missed plenty of chances. At Edgbaston they slipped up at least four times: RP Singh spilled a chance off Alastair Cook when he was on 15, Mahendra Singh Dhoni missed a stumping chance from Owais Shah when he was on 12, while Dinesh Karthik and Singh missed run-out chances as well. The catch and the stumping alone cost India a total of 32 runs, which is only ten fewer than the final margin of defeat.

So far in this series, India's fielders have dropped a total of five chances, and adding Dhoni's stumping, the lapses have cost the team 134 runs. On the other hand, England have only failed once - maybe literally - to hold on to a chance, when Chris Tremlett, used all of his 6''7' frame to get to a ball played uppishly by Sachin Tendulkar, but was unable to grasp the ball. Tendulkar was on 57, and went on to score 99.