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George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

Sri Lanka's best struggle in England

How players have fared in England compared to the rest of their careers

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

June 22, 2011

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Kumar Sangakkara drives as Sri Lanka pile on the runs, England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lord's, June 5, 2011
Kumar Sangakkara's maiden century in England improved his record in the country © Getty Images
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Kumar Sangakkara finally did it. After 17 innings with a high-score unworthy of a batsman, who averages more than Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, and Rahul Dravid, Sangakkara eventually scored a Test century in England. It wasn't at Lord's, or at any of England's other traditional venues, but Sangakkara's 119 in Southampton - he now shares the record for the highest score at the Rose Bowl - saved Sri Lanka the Test and improved his record in his bogey country. It isn't a patch on his career average, though. This week's column is on cricketers whose performance in England was far worse, or better, than their career average.

Sangakkara began this tour of England with a Test average of 57.25. His average in England, though, was 30.54 in 12 innings, with a best of 66. After failures in Cardiff and at Lord's it slipped to 26.60, before climbing to 30.58 at the Rose Bowl. Sangakkara's cover-drive can light up the dreariest of days - and there were plenty during a wet series - but it was on display too infrequently. He wasn't alone in his struggles either.

Mahela Jayawardene had a terrible series, making 103 in six innings at an average of 17.16, with a best of 49. Before it began, he was one of Sri Lanka's better batsmen in England, averaging 42.58 over two tours. His century during a follow-on at Lord's had saved the Test in 2006. He now averages 34.11 in England, 18.50 less than his career mean of 52.62.

Before he made 31 and 87 not out at the Rose Bowl, Thilan Samaraweera had an average of 14.42 in four Tests in England. This tour was his second, and an improvement on his trip in 2006, when he had made 17 runs in four innings. His overall average in England is now 27.37, 26.70 fewer than his career average of 54.08, a difference surpassed only by Jacques Kallis.

Largest difference between batting average in England and career average - Tests (minimum 8 innings)
Player Span Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Eng Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Diff
JH Kallis (SA) 1998-2008 145 246 11947 201* 57.43 40 12 20 586 132 29.30 1 -28.137
TT Samaraweera (SL) 2006-2011 66 104 4597 231 54.08 12 5 10 219 87* 27.37 0 -26.707
KC Sangakkara (SL) 2002-2011 97 162 8428 287 56.18 25 9 18 520 119 30.58 1 -25.598
ED Weekes (WI) 1950-1957 48 81 4455 207 58.61 15 9 16 533 129 33.31 1 -25.305
PR Umrigar (India) 1952-1959 59 94 3631 223 42.22 12 8 15 273 118 18.20 1 -24.020
RM Cowper (Aus) 1964-1968 27 46 2061 307 46.84 5 5 9 193 57 24.12 0 -22.715
CL Walcott (WI) 1950-1957 44 74 3798 220 56.68 15 9 16 476 168* 34.00 1 -22.686
KD Walters (Aus) 1968-1977 74 125 5357 250 48.26 15 18 30 745 88 25.68 0 -22.571
JA Rudolph (SA) 2003-2003 35 63 2028 222* 36.21 5 5 9 132 55 14.66 0 -21.547
GW Flower (Zim) 2000-2003 67 123 3457 201* 29.54 6 4 8 71 26 8.87 0 -20.672
GA Faulkner (SA) 1907-1924 25 47 1754 204 40.79 4 10 19 348 122* 20.47 1 -20.320
MEK Hussey (Aus) 2009-2010 59 103 4650 195 51.09 13 7 12 345 121 31.36 1 -19.735
MC Carew (WI) 1963-1969 19 36 1127 109 34.15 1 4 8 104 44 14.85 0 -19.294
CG Borde (India) 1959-1967 55 97 3061 177* 35.59 5 7 13 200 75 16.66 0 -18.926
P Roy (India) 1952-1959 43 79 2442 173 32.56 5 9 17 233 54 13.70 0 -18.854
DPMD Jayawardene (SL) 1998-2011 119 196 9630 374 52.62 28 10 19 614 119 34.11 2 -18.511
GC White (SA) 1907-1912 17 31 872 147 30.06 2 8 14 151 59* 11.61 0 -18.453
Kamran Akmal (Pak) 2006-2010 53 92 2648 158* 30.79 6 9 16 199 58 12.43 0 -18.353
Hanif Mohammad (Pak) 1954-1967 55 97 3915 337 43.98 12 12 23 586 187* 26.63 1 -17.352
JJ Crowe (NZ) 1983-1986 39 65 1601 128 26.24 3 5 8 73 23 9.12 0 -17.120

Kallis has an average of 29.30 in England, compared to his career's 57.43. In his first innings there, at Edgbaston in 1998, Kallis made 61, and then scored 132 at Old Trafford two Tests later. It remains his only century in the country. He finished the 1998 tour with an average of 42. On the 2003 tour of England, Kallis' average dropped to 31. He made only 188 in six innings with a best of 66. The tour in 2008 was a nightmare for him. Troubled by Andrew Flintoff's hostility, Kallis managed 104 runs in four Tests, of which 64 came in one innings. His other scores were 7, 13, 4, 5, 2 and 9.

Dean Jones toured England once, and had a memorable time. His six Tests there were during the 1989 Ashes, which Allan Border's team won 4-0. Jones was the second-highest run-scorer in the series, after Mark Taylor, with 566 runs at 70.75 in nine innings. Because he did not tour England again, Jones' average in the country ended 24.18 runs more than his career average of 46.55. No visiting player has a greater difference.

Jonathan Trott's career average is 62.23, second only to Don Bradman's 99.94, among batsmen who played at least 20 Test innings. In England, it rockets to 78.28, and once again Trott is behind only Bradman (102.84) among batsmen who've played at least 10 Tests in England.

Largest difference between batting average in England and career average - Tests (minimum 8 innings)
Player Span Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Eng Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Diff
DR Jardine (Eng) 1928-1933 22 33 1296 127 48.00 1 8 10 490 127 81.66 1 33.666
SJ Rhodes (Eng) 1994-1994 11 17 294 65* 24.50 0 6 8 222 65* 55.50 0 31.000
DM Jones (Aus) 1989-1989 52 89 3631 216 46.55 11 6 9 566 157 70.75 2 24.198
V Pollard (NZ) 1965-1973 32 59 1266 116 24.34 2 9 16 621 116 47.76 2 23.423
SC Ganguly (India) 1996-2007 113 188 7212 239 42.17 16 9 15 915 136 65.35 3 23.181
SR Waugh (Aus) 1989-2001 168 260 10927 200 51.06 32 22 32 1633 177* 74.22 7 23.166
Saleem Malik (Pak) 1987-1996 103 154 5768 237 43.69 15 13 18 931 165 66.50 3 22.803
GC Smith (SA) 2003-2008 91 159 7457 277 49.71 22 9 17 1083 277 72.20 4 22.486
MTG Elliott (Aus) 1997-1997 21 36 1172 199 33.48 3 6 10 556 199 55.60 2 22.114
DPB Morkel (SA) 1929-1929 16 28 663 88 24.55 0 5 8 321 88 45.85 0 21.301
VS Ransford (Aus) 1909-1909 20 38 1211 143* 37.84 1 5 9 353 143* 58.83 1 20.989
GC Small (Eng) 1986-1990 17 24 263 59 15.47 0 7 9 169 59 33.80 0 18.329
Ijaz Ahmed (Pak) 1987-1996 60 92 3315 211 37.67 12 7 10 494 141 54.88 1 17.218
WA Johnston (Aus) 1948-1953 40 49 273 29 11.37 0 8 11 84 29 28.00 0 16.625
KR Stackpole (Aus) 1972-1972 43 80 2807 207 37.42 7 5 10 485 114 53.88 1 16.462
IJL Trott (Eng) 2009-2011 21 34 1867 226 62.23 6 10 16 1096 226 78.28 4 16.052
Rev.DS Sheppard (Eng) 1950-1962 22 33 1172 119 37.80 3 11 14 699 119 53.76 2 15.962
S Chanderpaul (WI) 1995-2009 130 221 9126 203* 49.06 22 13 23 1164 136* 64.66 3 15.602
KS More (India) 1986-1990 49 64 1285 73 25.70 0 6 9 247 61* 41.16 0 15.466
DAJ Holford (WI) 1966-1966 24 39 768 105* 22.58 1 5 8 227 105* 37.83 1 15.245

Lance Klusener was formidable in ODIs in England. He scored aggressive cameos and rarely got out. He averaged 41 in his 171-ODI career but in England, where he was unbeaten eight times, he averaged 96 in 12 innings, 55 runs more.

Steve Waugh was terrific in England in both Tests and ODIs. He averaged 74.22 in Tests, compared to a career average of 51.06, and 54.13 in 22 ODIs, compared to a career average of 32.90. He scored only one ODI century in England though - the 120 in the Super-Six match against South Africa, when Herschelle Gibbs famously dropped the World Cup in 1999.

Largest difference between batting average in England and career average - ODIs (minimum 8 innings)
Player Span Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Eng Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Diff
L Klusener (SA) 1998-2004 171 137 3576 103* 41.10 2 13 12 384 55* 96.00 0 54.896
TM Moody (Aus) 1989-1999 76 64 1211 89 23.28 0 10 8 157 56* 52.33 0 29.044
RG Twose (NZ) 1999-1999 87 81 2717 103 38.81 1 8 8 264 80* 66.00 0 27.185
M Kaif (India) 2002-2004 125 110 2753 111* 32.01 2 12 10 353 87* 58.83 0 26.821
HA Gomes (WI) 1983-1984 83 64 1415 101 28.87 1 11 10 333 78 55.50 0 26.622
M Azharuddin (India) 1986-1999 334 308 9378 153* 36.92 7 15 14 497 83* 62.12 0 25.203
N Kapil Dev (India) 1979-1990 225 198 3783 175* 23.79 1 17 15 519 175* 47.18 1 23.389
SR Waugh (Aus) 1989-2001 325 288 7569 120* 32.90 3 25 21 812 120* 54.13 1 21.224
A Symonds (Aus) 2001-2005 198 161 5088 156 39.75 6 17 12 473 104* 59.12 1 19.375
RC Irani (Eng) 1996-2002 31 30 360 53 14.40 0 11 10 231 53 33.00 0 18.600
RD Jacobs (WI) 1999-2004 147 112 1865 80* 23.31 0 16 10 247 80* 41.16 0 17.854
S Madan Lal (India) 1974-1983 67 35 401 53* 19.09 0 15 11 181 53* 36.20 0 17.104
IVA Richards (WI) 1975-1991 187 167 6721 189* 47.00 11 31 29 1345 189* 64.04 4 17.047
Imran Khan (Pak) 1974-1987 175 151 3709 102* 33.41 1 20 17 433 102* 48.11 1 14.696
JWM Dalrymple (Eng) 2006-2006 27 26 487 67 19.48 0 10 9 304 67 33.77 0 14.297
CA Walsh (WI) 1988-1999 205 79 321 30 6.97 0 12 8 61 29* 20.33 0 13.355
KC Sangakkara (SL) 2002-2006 291 272 9164 138* 38.02 11 11 11 358 70 51.14 0 13.117
MA Atherton (Eng) 1990-1998 54 54 1791 127 35.11 2 21 21 908 127 47.78 2 12.671
GP Howarth (NZ) 1975-1983 70 65 1384 76 23.06 0 13 13 428 76 35.66 0 12.599
IR Bell (Eng) 2006-2010 97 94 3021 126* 35.12 1 34 33 1333 126* 47.60 1 12.479

Few people have struggled in England more than Shoaib Malik has. He played 12 ODIs for Pakistan there and scored 98, averaging 8.16, a drastic drop from his career mean of 34.35. On his four visits between 2001 and 2006, Malik passed 20 only twice. He's in good company, though, for there are illustrious batsmen in the table below, because they didn't match their career averages in England.

Largest difference between batting average in England and career average - ODIs (minimum 8 innings)
Player Span Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Eng Inns Runs HS Ave 100 Diff
Shoaib Malik (Pak) 2001-2006 192 172 5188 143 34.35 7 12 12 98 24 8.16 0 -26.190
RP Arnold (SL) 1998-2006 180 155 3950 103 35.26 1 11 10 102 29 11.33 0 -23.934
IM Chappell (Aus) 1972-1975 16 16 673 86 48.07 0 8 8 208 62 26.00 0 -22.071
G Kirsten (SA) 1994-1999 185 185 6798 188* 40.95 13 15 15 294 82 19.60 0 -21.351
RB Richardson (WI) 1984-1995 224 217 6248 122 33.41 5 11 11 137 41 12.45 0 -20.957
PV Simmons (WI) 1988-1999 143 138 3675 122 28.93 5 9 8 73 28 9.12 0 -19.812
ML Hayden (Aus) 1993-2005 161 155 6133 181* 43.80 10 20 19 447 66* 24.83 0 -18.973
WJ Cronje (SA) 1994-1999 188 175 5565 112 38.64 2 15 15 296 40 19.73 0 -18.912
JC Adams (WI) 1995-2000 127 105 2204 82 28.62 0 13 10 107 36 11.88 0 -16.734
PA de Silva (SL) 1988-1999 308 296 9284 145 34.90 11 9 9 168 56 18.66 0 -16.235
DS Lehmann (Aus) 1999-2004 117 101 3078 119 38.96 4 13 10 183 76 22.87 0 -16.087
SR Watson (Aus) 2004-2010 133 114 3937 185* 43.74 6 19 16 404 61 28.85 0 -14.887
SV Carlisle (Zim) 1999-2000 111 107 2740 121* 27.67 3 11 8 95 27 13.57 0 -14.105
V Sehwag (India) 2002-2004 236 230 7760 175 35.11 14 12 12 261 71 21.75 0 -13.363
A Ranatunga (SL) 1983-1999 269 255 7456 131* 35.84 4 15 15 343 58 22.86 0 -12.979
DC Boon (Aus) 1985-1993 181 177 5964 122 37.04 5 9 9 218 73 24.22 0 -12.821
DL Haynes (WI) 1979-1988 238 237 8648 152* 41.37 17 18 18 486 88* 28.58 0 -12.789
DB Vengsarkar (India) 1979-1990 129 120 3508 105 34.73 1 10 9 184 54 23.00 0 -11.732
C Kieswetter (Eng) 2010-2010 12 12 320 107 26.66 1 8 8 121 38 15.12 0 -11.541
DR Smith (WI) 2004-2007 77 61 925 68 16.22 0 10 8 38 10 5.42 0 -10.799

Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for Cricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket

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