Stats from the Past December 5, 2011

Which was the most dominant Test side ever?

The Invincibles, Lloyd's West Indians, Waugh's Australians and others are in the mix. Who's on top?
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This is one of the favourite topics for debate among any group of cricket diehards: which is the best team to have played Test cricket? It's a topic which, quite justifiably, elicits strong opinions: does Bradman's team of the 1930s and '40s remain the best side ever? Or is it the West Indian team of the 1980s? Anyone who has seen the records of the Australian team of the 2000s can't ignore their claims to greatness either. And then there are other sides that have briefly flirted with greatness: South Africa won eight out of 12 Tests during the late 1960s, just before they were banned, while England in the 1950s won 36 Tests and lost 13 out of 72 matches.

However, when comparing the numbers, three teams stand out for their sheer domination of the rest of the field. The Australian side, during an extended period from 1930 to November 1952 - interrupted for almost eight years by the War - won 46 out of 70 Tests, and lost only 12. During that period, they won 13 out of 15 series, losing one (the Bodyline series in 1932-33), and drawing one (in England in 1938). The Australian side of the 2000s was, if anything, even more dominant. Between October 1999 and November 2007, they played 93 Tests, and won a mind-boggling 72 of them. One of the remarkable features of their domination was the fact that they played out only 11 draws in 93 games. In 28 series during this period (excluding the one-off Super Test and a series in Zimbabwe), they won 24, and lost and drew two each. And then, of course, was the West Indies team of the 1980s and the early '90s, which went 15 years without losing a Test series. Towards the end of that period they began to lose a few Tests along the way, but their best period was between February 1981 and December 1989: in 69 Tests in that span, they had a 40-7 win-loss record. (Between January 1990 and March 1995, it dropped to 20-9.) During their eight greatest years, they played 16 series, won 11 and drew five.

All of these teams were remarkable because they set high standards and maintained them over long periods of time. In terms of sheer numbers, the Australian side of the 2000s looks better than the other two: they won a higher percentage of games, had a higher win-loss ratio, and had a greater difference between their batting and bowling averages than the other two sides.

Do these stats make that Australian team the greatest of all time? The jury will be out on that one, for often numbers alone don't tell the entire story. (Does 16 Grand Slam titles make Roger Federer the best male tennis player of all time? There are some who believe not.) What the numbers do show, though, is that the Australian team of the 2000s is arguably the most dominant team to have played the game. The difference of 17.14 between their batting and bowling averages shows that they were way better than most of their competition during this period. The two series losses during this period - to India and England - spoils the record a bit, but the sheer number of matches they won is awe-inspiring.

The golden periods for Australia and West Indies
Team Period Tests W/L Ratio Bat ave Bowl ave Diff
Australia Jan 1930-Nov 1952 70 46/ 12 3.83 38.22 26.40 11.82
West Indies Feb 1981-Dec 1989 69 40/ 7 5.71 36.27 26.13 10.14
Australia Oct 1999-Nov 2007 93 72/ 10 7.20 44.39 27.25 17.14

One of the arguments put forward against some of the domination is the quality of the opposition. In the 1930s and '40s, did Australia have any other significant challenge than England? Similarly, in the 2000s how many teams were up for the fight against Australia? One way to separate the tougher competition from the rest is to look at the win-loss record of the other sides during each of these periods against opposition other than the dominant side. Doing that, and comparing the stats of the other teams, it emerges that:

  • Between 1930 and 1952, Australia's major competition came from England and West Indies. Both these teams had win-loss ratios of more than 1.5 against teams other than Australia, but the others all had ratios of less than 0.6 against teams other than Australia.

  • During West Indies' dominant period, all teams except Sri Lanka had win-loss ratios of 0.9 or more against teams other than West Indies. That means Australia, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, and India were all credible opposition for them.

  • During the era of the recent Australian domination, all teams other than West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe had ratios of more than 0.75 against teams other than Australia. (It's a shame that the most dominant team of the 1980s is left out of discussion in the early 2000s because they aren't good enough to compete, but that's a telling commentary of how far West Indies have fallen.)

Looking at performances only against the relatively stronger teams, what emerges is that both the Australian sides played about 20 Tests against the weaker outfits, but the West Indies team of the 1980s played against relatively good opposition throughout - they didn't play a single Test against Sri Lanka during that period.

In terms of numbers, the win-loss ratio for the Australian team of the 1930s and '40s dipped to 2.33, a drop of almost 40% from their ratio against all teams. Against England, the Australians won 20 and lost 10 Tests, while the record was 8-2 against West Indies; against the other sides - South Africa, India and New Zealand - Australia won 18 out of 21, and drew the other three.

The performances of the Australian team of the 2000s dipped a bit too against the better teams, but only by about 18% - their win-loss ratio came down from 7.2 to 5.88. The teams that gave the Australians the most trouble were India (7-4 record in 14 games), and England (14-4 in 20 Tests), but against the three weak teams - West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh - Australia have a combined win-loss record of 18-1, with no draws. Even after excluding those matches, though, Australia have a superb record, with a marginally better win-loss ratio that the 1980s West Indies.

The best teams against their top opponents
Team Opponents Tests W/ L Ratio Bat ave Bowl ave Difference
Australia (1930-52) Eng, WI 49 28/ 12 2.33 36.00 29.75 6.25
West Indies (1981-89) Aus, Eng, Pak, NZ, Ind 69 40/ 7 5.71 36.27 26.13 10.14
Australia (1999-2007) SA, Eng, Pak, SL, Ind, NZ 73 53/ 9 5.88 42.96 28.06 14.90

And here's a look at the batting numbers for each of the three teams against the better teams, broken up by batting positions. The first number that's highlighted in the No. 3 average of over 66 in the Australian team between 1930 and 1952 (denoted by Aus1 in the table below). That's obviously largely due to Don Bradman: his overall No. 3 average was 103.63, but against England and West Indies it "dropped" to 90.38. Lindsay Hassett and Stan McCabe contributed their bit too, but some of the others weren't as successful, which is why the overall No. 3 average drops to 66. The Australian team of the 2000s wasn't far behind at that position, with Ricky Ponting scoring 5447 runs at 66.42. West Indies' No. 3s weren't in the same league, despite some pretty handy contributors.

West Indies' batting line-up consisted of several stars, but during the period in question, only one batsman, Clive Lloyd, had a 50-plus average. Viv Richards averaged 46, Gordon Greenidge 47, Richie Richardson 48, and Desmond Haynes 41. (Click here for the full list of West Indies batsmen during this period.)

The Australian team of the 2000s, though, had one trump card that neither of the other two sides could match: a batting powerhouse at No. 7 called Adam Gilchrist. He alone scored 3480 runs at that position at an average of 48.33 (and we haven't even brought in his strike rate of 84.50). He came in when Australia had lost half their side, and his ability to score in a jiffy changed the complexion of matches at an astonishing rate. Australia's overall average partnership for the sixth wicket against the top sides was 59, which suggests opposition bowling attacks had plenty of work to do even after taking the top five wickets.

West Indies too had a key man at No. 7: Jeff Dujon averaged 39.51 for his 1699 runs, and was largely responsible for West Indies' average stand of 50.61 for the sixth wicket during this period. The other Australian team in this analysis averaged only 32.50 for the sixth.

Position-wise batting averages for the three teams against the top sides
Bat position Aus1 ave 100s/ 50s WI ave 100s/ 50s Aus2 ave 100s/ 50s
Openers 41.61 19/ 27 43.10 21/ 46 48.52 37/ 42
No.3 66.12 17/ 15 44.85 15/ 14 62.77 24/ 25
No.4 38.82 6/ 17 37.50 8/ 17 45.12 13/ 23
No.5 46.30 7/ 15 41.90 10/ 18 46.37 14/ 23
No.6 32.40 4/ 10 39.26 5/ 21 39.75 13/ 18
No.7 27.46 2/ 6 32.87 5/ 18 51.52 13/ 21

The other big difference among the sides was the influence of spin. The two Australian teams had major contributions from spinners, and the average runs conceded per wicket by fast bowlers and spinners were almost the same. West Indies, on the other hand, didn't have much regard for slow bowlers, and the quality of their pace attack meant they didn't need to rely on spinners either, no matter what the conditions. Spin accounted for only 62 of their wickets, and each one cost them almost 40 runs. Given that their fast bowlers averaged about 23 runs per wicket, it's easy to see why their bowling attack comprised pace and more pace. During this period, West Indies had four bowlers with more than 100 wickets, and they averaged under 25 for their wickets, with two of them averaging below 23.

For the two Australian teams, though, spin played a big part. In fact, their two highest wicket-takers during this period were both legspinners, and they took their wickets at superb rates - Bill O'Reilly took 102 in just 19 Tests at 25.36, while Clarrie Grimmett nailed 92 in 18 at 27.30 (all these numbers are against England and West Indies only). And then there were Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller and Bill Johnston, who combined to ensure that the Australian team of the 1930s and '40s had a well-rounded attack.

For the Australian side of the 2000s, of course, there were Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. Together, they took 618 wickets at 23.53 during this period against the top sides. Those two, with good support from Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee, ensured that Australia had a powerful bowling line-up in most conditions they faced in the eight years between October 1999 and November 2007.

Pace and spin bowling stats versus the top sides
Type Aus1 wkts Average WI wickets Average Aus2 wkts Average
Pace 310 29.24 1068 23.24 837 27.83
Spin 344 31.39 62 39.09 428 27.97

The West Indies attack may have been totally skewed towards pace, but that didn't stop them from destroying oppositions all over the world, no matter what the conditions. During their period of utter dominance, they had a 5-2 win-loss record in the subcontinent, where pitches were thought to have little in them for fast bowling. In Australia they won seven and lost three, while in England and New Zealand it was a combined 10-1. At home, of course, they were unstoppable, winning 18 Tests and losing just one.

The Australians under Steve Waugh and Ponting were also pretty formidable wherever they went. At home their dominance was obviously scary, but they also did very well in South Africa (5-1) and Sri Lanka (4-0, including one win in Colombo versus Pakistan), countries that have usually been very tough for touring teams to conquer. India was their biggest challenge (3-3), while the 2005 Ashes defeat in England brought down their record in that country to 5-3. The Australian side of the 1930s and '40s did superbly in England (9-3), but that was an era when top-quality cricket was still limited to very few sides.

That, plus the overall numbers, suggests that the West Indies team of the 1980s and the Australian team of the 2000s were the two most dominant sides ever in Test cricket. None, though, can argue with the quality that was around in all three teams.

How the three teams fared in different conditions*
Team Home - Tests W/ L Away - Tests W/ L Subcont - Tests W/ L
Australia (1930-1952) 30 19/ 9 19 9/ 3 - -
West Indies 30 18/ 1 39 22/ 6 13 5/ 2
Australia (1999-2007) 38 29/ 2 35 24/ 7 13 9/ 3
* Versus the top teams only

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bollo on December 8, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    @Dravid. No, clearly the question was not whether a team was invincible or not, but which team was the most dominant. There is a clear case for arguing that the team which won 77% of its matches was more dominant than the team which won 57%.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 8, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    @Bollo, I don't get your point at all. I thought if they were the best/invincible, we need to see if somebody owned them or not. India in 2001 and England in 2005 did that. So, how are the Aussies invincible? I don't get it. And also, the details about the bowlers of 03/04 you are giving me, ok fine. I stand corrected. But then, you do realise that even with such a good bowling attack in 03/04 Australia almost lost the series to India in their own backyard. The question was never about the greatness of the Australian Team. The question is, were they invincible? The answer is a BIG NO, unlike the Windies who were invincible and didn't falter even once in 15 years. And BTW, Aussies lost badly in India in 2001, I wasn't being the least bit sarcastic there. They fell like nine pins in Kolkata in a couple of sessions. Losing after a massive lead of nearly 300. If that isn't losing badly then what is? Getting steam rolled by Harbhajan Singh and Sachin, if I remember correctly.

  • Bollo on December 8, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas. Just a few points. The Aus team, which you claim was never able to tame Sachin, VVS, Dravid et al. thrashed an Indian team which included these players (plus Ganguly, Kumble, Srinath - half of India`s all-time best XI) 3-0 in 1999/00, to the tune of 280 runs, 180 runs, and an innings and plenty. Your claim that they `lost very badly` in 2001 is I presume sarcastic. Their victory in India in 2004/05 was emphatic.

    McGrath`s record of 51 wickets at 18 vs India leaves little room for comment - he was consistently dominant.

    Your brusque dismissal of Gillespie as `quick but inconsistent` does little justice to a man who took 260 test wickets at 26, and 43 in 10 tests in India at 25 - simply a world-class bowler.

    Your equally crude dismissal of bowlers of the calibre of MacGill (208 test wickets at 29); `lollypop` Bichel - (58 wickets at 32) - skillful, dangerous and brave; Kasprowicz - (133 wickets at 32) or Stuart Clark - (94 wickets at 23) reveal a great deal.

  • Bollo on December 8, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    @JG2704. As you suggest, the idea of using performances against India as a benchmark is laughable. During the 3 periods of dominance cited by the author, here are the corresponding records for India.

    1930-1952: Played 33 tests, Won 3. W/L ratio: .18 1981-1989: Played 76 tests, Won 10. W/L ratio: .52 - for all the wonderful players and individual performances of this time, this is a pretty abject record. Against probably the 3 best teams of the era (WI, Pak, Aus), India played 46 tests and won only 2. 1999-2007: Played 85 tests, Won 32. W/L ratio: 1.33 - easily the best record of an Indian team up to that time.

    With these figures in mind,I fail to see how comparing WI and Aus performance against the Indian national team sheds much light on the question at hand.

  • on December 8, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    West Indies 81-89 must be the most dominant Test Team ever. Bradmans's (Aus) 30ies had no competition. Most competition came from England.WI dominated the modern game.

  • B.C.G on December 8, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    -dravid gravit:why are u degrading mcgrath?at kolkata 2001,mcgrath captured 3 wickets for 103 runs bowling 40 overs.the rest 2/550.not exactly dominated?vvs & rd just batted him off w\o scoring.no one dominated him because no one could.vvs & rd were smart to realize this. Everyone keeps on praising WI,but did they face spinners like murali,kumble,mushtaq,etc on dust bowls.frm 1980-1995,ind too had avg. spinners & even then they collapsed to hirwani(pathetic-16wicks on debut).Even border took 11 v/ them.Qadir wasnt exactly great,yet 53 all out & many other such collapses.Also remove viv & lloyd & suddenly the batting looks fragile.(warne-mcgrath anyone) Aus1999-08 lost some series so nah.Both teams have significant drawbacks. I think the invincibles need a look-in to. everyone is just blankly ignoring them.

  • BillyCC on December 8, 2011, 6:24 GMT

    @JG2704, good point. It's not all about India. However, India was the only true hurdle that Australia did not overcome until on their third attempt in 2004. Australia was able to humiliate every other team consistently over their period of domination. I also agree with your earlier post that the West Indies did not have the depth of batting that Australia did. It is well documented that many Shield players in the 1990s and 2000s became disenchanted because they were not considered by the Test selectors.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 8, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Continued - Next, 2005 is not the end of Aussie era. But, look at what happened to the full strength Australia in England. Lost a series again! The Windies went undefeated for 15 years (O_O)! The so called great Aussie side lost not just a match or two but two series in its prime. And I would want to believe that Garner, Marshall, Holding, Roberts and Croft are at least more than a touch better than Rahul Sanghvi, Sairaj Bahutule, Harbhajan Singh, Agarkar, Srinath, Sachin, wayward Zaheer Khan, Sourav Ganguly, Venkatapathi Raju, Nilesh Kulkarni and Venkatesh Prasad (bowlers used in 2001 in India) as well as Flintoff, Harmisson, Simon Jones, Hoggard, Giles, Collingwood, Bell and Vaughan (bowlers used in 2005 Ashes). If Aussies lost to these bowling attacks, I'm inclined to believe that those Legendary Windies would make minced meat of this 99 to 07 Australians. It's hard to imagine that Hayden would be able to walk down the pitch against Garner and co. Only Legend Ponting would succeed.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 8, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    @BillyCC, yes half the Windies players weren't there in 87/88 against India and yes that was towards the end of their era but still the 'new look' team managed to draw against us in our backyard. Let's see - 2001 is not the end of Aussie era. But, look at what happened to that full strength Australia at their prime in India - lost the series very badly. Again, 03/04 is not towards the end of the Aussie era, but look at what happened to them in the absence of Warne and McGrath - could barely draw on their own soil. Neither the half-strength nor the full-strength Aussies could tame Dravid, VVS and Sachin but the full-strength Windies could steamroll an Indian team consisting of Gavaskar, Amarnath, Vengsarkar, Shastri, Gaekwad, Patil and Kapil in our own backyard. You can't say that, that Indian batting line-up was a weak line-up. Next, the half-strength/new look Windies of 87/88 did travel well to India by managing to draw on our soil. (TBC)

  • Blazedragon on December 7, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas: lol Indians above all people should never talk about "mediocre" bowlers. 1 billion in population and still a collection of sorry bunch of bowlers throughout history. And for your information McGrath destroyed India in India.

  • Bollo on December 8, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    @Dravid. No, clearly the question was not whether a team was invincible or not, but which team was the most dominant. There is a clear case for arguing that the team which won 77% of its matches was more dominant than the team which won 57%.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 8, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    @Bollo, I don't get your point at all. I thought if they were the best/invincible, we need to see if somebody owned them or not. India in 2001 and England in 2005 did that. So, how are the Aussies invincible? I don't get it. And also, the details about the bowlers of 03/04 you are giving me, ok fine. I stand corrected. But then, you do realise that even with such a good bowling attack in 03/04 Australia almost lost the series to India in their own backyard. The question was never about the greatness of the Australian Team. The question is, were they invincible? The answer is a BIG NO, unlike the Windies who were invincible and didn't falter even once in 15 years. And BTW, Aussies lost badly in India in 2001, I wasn't being the least bit sarcastic there. They fell like nine pins in Kolkata in a couple of sessions. Losing after a massive lead of nearly 300. If that isn't losing badly then what is? Getting steam rolled by Harbhajan Singh and Sachin, if I remember correctly.

  • Bollo on December 8, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas. Just a few points. The Aus team, which you claim was never able to tame Sachin, VVS, Dravid et al. thrashed an Indian team which included these players (plus Ganguly, Kumble, Srinath - half of India`s all-time best XI) 3-0 in 1999/00, to the tune of 280 runs, 180 runs, and an innings and plenty. Your claim that they `lost very badly` in 2001 is I presume sarcastic. Their victory in India in 2004/05 was emphatic.

    McGrath`s record of 51 wickets at 18 vs India leaves little room for comment - he was consistently dominant.

    Your brusque dismissal of Gillespie as `quick but inconsistent` does little justice to a man who took 260 test wickets at 26, and 43 in 10 tests in India at 25 - simply a world-class bowler.

    Your equally crude dismissal of bowlers of the calibre of MacGill (208 test wickets at 29); `lollypop` Bichel - (58 wickets at 32) - skillful, dangerous and brave; Kasprowicz - (133 wickets at 32) or Stuart Clark - (94 wickets at 23) reveal a great deal.

  • Bollo on December 8, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    @JG2704. As you suggest, the idea of using performances against India as a benchmark is laughable. During the 3 periods of dominance cited by the author, here are the corresponding records for India.

    1930-1952: Played 33 tests, Won 3. W/L ratio: .18 1981-1989: Played 76 tests, Won 10. W/L ratio: .52 - for all the wonderful players and individual performances of this time, this is a pretty abject record. Against probably the 3 best teams of the era (WI, Pak, Aus), India played 46 tests and won only 2. 1999-2007: Played 85 tests, Won 32. W/L ratio: 1.33 - easily the best record of an Indian team up to that time.

    With these figures in mind,I fail to see how comparing WI and Aus performance against the Indian national team sheds much light on the question at hand.

  • on December 8, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    West Indies 81-89 must be the most dominant Test Team ever. Bradmans's (Aus) 30ies had no competition. Most competition came from England.WI dominated the modern game.

  • B.C.G on December 8, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    -dravid gravit:why are u degrading mcgrath?at kolkata 2001,mcgrath captured 3 wickets for 103 runs bowling 40 overs.the rest 2/550.not exactly dominated?vvs & rd just batted him off w\o scoring.no one dominated him because no one could.vvs & rd were smart to realize this. Everyone keeps on praising WI,but did they face spinners like murali,kumble,mushtaq,etc on dust bowls.frm 1980-1995,ind too had avg. spinners & even then they collapsed to hirwani(pathetic-16wicks on debut).Even border took 11 v/ them.Qadir wasnt exactly great,yet 53 all out & many other such collapses.Also remove viv & lloyd & suddenly the batting looks fragile.(warne-mcgrath anyone) Aus1999-08 lost some series so nah.Both teams have significant drawbacks. I think the invincibles need a look-in to. everyone is just blankly ignoring them.

  • BillyCC on December 8, 2011, 6:24 GMT

    @JG2704, good point. It's not all about India. However, India was the only true hurdle that Australia did not overcome until on their third attempt in 2004. Australia was able to humiliate every other team consistently over their period of domination. I also agree with your earlier post that the West Indies did not have the depth of batting that Australia did. It is well documented that many Shield players in the 1990s and 2000s became disenchanted because they were not considered by the Test selectors.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 8, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Continued - Next, 2005 is not the end of Aussie era. But, look at what happened to the full strength Australia in England. Lost a series again! The Windies went undefeated for 15 years (O_O)! The so called great Aussie side lost not just a match or two but two series in its prime. And I would want to believe that Garner, Marshall, Holding, Roberts and Croft are at least more than a touch better than Rahul Sanghvi, Sairaj Bahutule, Harbhajan Singh, Agarkar, Srinath, Sachin, wayward Zaheer Khan, Sourav Ganguly, Venkatapathi Raju, Nilesh Kulkarni and Venkatesh Prasad (bowlers used in 2001 in India) as well as Flintoff, Harmisson, Simon Jones, Hoggard, Giles, Collingwood, Bell and Vaughan (bowlers used in 2005 Ashes). If Aussies lost to these bowling attacks, I'm inclined to believe that those Legendary Windies would make minced meat of this 99 to 07 Australians. It's hard to imagine that Hayden would be able to walk down the pitch against Garner and co. Only Legend Ponting would succeed.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 8, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    @BillyCC, yes half the Windies players weren't there in 87/88 against India and yes that was towards the end of their era but still the 'new look' team managed to draw against us in our backyard. Let's see - 2001 is not the end of Aussie era. But, look at what happened to that full strength Australia at their prime in India - lost the series very badly. Again, 03/04 is not towards the end of the Aussie era, but look at what happened to them in the absence of Warne and McGrath - could barely draw on their own soil. Neither the half-strength nor the full-strength Aussies could tame Dravid, VVS and Sachin but the full-strength Windies could steamroll an Indian team consisting of Gavaskar, Amarnath, Vengsarkar, Shastri, Gaekwad, Patil and Kapil in our own backyard. You can't say that, that Indian batting line-up was a weak line-up. Next, the half-strength/new look Windies of 87/88 did travel well to India by managing to draw on our soil. (TBC)

  • Blazedragon on December 7, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas: lol Indians above all people should never talk about "mediocre" bowlers. 1 billion in population and still a collection of sorry bunch of bowlers throughout history. And for your information McGrath destroyed India in India.

  • JG2704 on December 7, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    @BillyCC on (December 07 2011, 20:55 PM GMT) - I'm not saying either side is better than the other but surely it doesn't purely depend on how each side does against India?

  • JG2704 on December 7, 2011, 22:35 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas on (December 07 2011, 18:15 PM GMT) - Sorry bud , I meant if you took Viv and one of the other 3 out of their batting line up. I'm not sure how much they had in reserve in terms of batsmen compared to what they had backing up the bowling. I will however agree that Australia were weakened severely whenever Warne/Mcgrath were injured and to be honest we probably wouldn't have won the 2005 series if Mcgrath hadn't got injured for 1 or 2 of the tests - such was the wafer thin margin of victory when we levelled the series.

  • BillyCC on December 7, 2011, 20:55 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas, your list of players is outdated if you want to make a comparison. West Indies played India in India twice during their 69 test golden period of 9 years (1981-1989 as mentioned by Rajesh). In that 1987/88 series, they drew 1-1, half the players you mentioned did not play. And the Indian bowling attack and batting team was significantly understrength compared to what Australia had to face: Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly alongside Kumble and Harbhajan in red hot form. In 1983 when the Windies won 3-0 in a six test series, the Indian bowling attack consisted of bowlers like: Dev, Madan Lal, Binny, Sandhu, Azad, Maninder Singh, Yadav and Shastri. Not exactly first class.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 7, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    @Meety and BillyCC, oh how could I forget to mention the names of Qadir, Prasanna, Bedi and Chandra that Windies had to face apart from the list of pacers I mentioned? @JG, I agree with you almost completely. But one objection I have is, it is kind of impractical to remove 4 batsmen from a team and then say that they are also not good. I mean, you have removed the team completely. Take out one of two and then see how competitive they still are. For eg; take out Warne and/or McGrath, Aussies will struggle bigtime. Without Warne and McGrath, the back up bowlers barring Brett Lee are a joke. Case in point - 03/04 in Australia against India - MacGill, Katich, Brad Williams, lollypop Bichel, military medium Bracken - who are these bowlers? What are their credentials? Not even one Aussie bowler could manage a 5 for in a 4 match series in home conditions. Almost suffered a series defeat. But take out Marshall and/or Holding, Windies will still come hard at you. Those Windies! Aah Legends!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 7, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    @Meety and BillyCC, I can tell you as an Indian and as an avid follower of our test cricket that I always fancied our chances against Australia in 2000s but never for once dreamt of taking on the Windies of 70s/80s though we had Gavaskar, Chauhan, Vishy, Vengsarkar, Amarnath and Kapil. The reason is the genius Shane Warne is not a threat for us. McGrath is accurate as hell (only threat but was sent packing to all parts of Eden); Gillespie is genuinely quick but inconsistent. The back-up Aussie bowlers were a joke. Stats prove my feelings; Australia of 2000s lost badly to India in India and we gave a very tough fight in Australia. #2, Aussies lost to England as well in 2005. They are not even the all conquering side of their own era and here we are talking of the most dominant ever (o_O)! Not losing a series in 15 years???? That takes something mates! How can we forget that Windies faced the genius of Thommo, Lillee, Imran, Botham, Sarfaraz, Hadlee and Kapil in the opponent camps?

  • JG2704 on December 7, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas on (December 06 2011, 15:58 PM GMT) Good post again. However , turning it around I don't feel that WI had the depth of batting. EG if you took Viv and GG or Lloyd or Des out then an Australian attack inc Mcgrath and Warne I feel would be heavily favoured. One point another postee made was that WI made it all look so effortlessly easy . Unfortunately we'll never be able to match these 2 giants at their peaks to find out

  • gtzshotta on December 7, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    There will never be such a feared team such as the West Indies of the 70's and 80's. The solid batting lineup backed up by their fiery pacers, you knew what was coming, but still had no chance!

  • on December 7, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    What..?? I thought, the current Eng Team is the best Team to hv played cricket so far.. They r current #1 Test and T20 team.. Have any of the mentioned Teams in this article claimed a #1 status in T20s.. No.. We dont care whether that format existed r not.. Thats hw unique current Eng team is.. Yeah, Aus and WI of their eras were world beaters in ODIs.. Bt, who cares abt that meaningless format of cricket, as Swan and other Eng supporter says.!!

  • on December 7, 2011, 2:23 GMT

    Must be a wonderful job eh Rajesh? Digging through that statsguru database and coming up with wonderful stats such as credibility of opposition competition based on win/loss ratio, depth in batting by calculating average runs scored by position etc. By sheer numbers, you are right, the 2000s Aussie team is just mind-blowingly awesome. I wonder what the next truly great team has in store for us cricket freaks!

  • BillyCC on December 7, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    @kallis57, there is evidence to suggest that McGrath was a better bowler than Marshall. There is strong evidence to suggest that he was at least his equal. Give it another 50 years, when the romanticism of the West Indies dies down further, and I think you will find they are equals on the all-time cricketing greats.

  • Ms.Cricket on December 7, 2011, 1:21 GMT

    The Indian team of Sep 2008 to April 2010 under Dhoni is the best ever.

  • kallis57 on December 7, 2011, 0:53 GMT

    Last point here. If these two sides played each other at their pomp who would win? For me an Aussie side that struggled against Harmison Flintoff Jones and Hoggard (zero 400 plus scores and one first innings lead) how would they have done against Marshall Garner Holding Roberts Croft? Flintoff tortured Gilchrist for the whole series and iconic figure that he was and this was his series he was not a bowler to be compared with Marshall. The West Indies bowling attack in that period was truly frightening, Australia defended with the ball and hoped to bore the opposition out or con a gullible umpire into giving them a decision. Look at the Pakistan teams that the West Indies played compared to the spineless rabble that capitulated for 50 odd twice. Australia were the best team of a poor era - The West Indian team of the 80's were a truly awesome machine. 15 years - Zero series losses. Remember those numbers 15 years 0 series losses

  • Blazedragon on December 7, 2011, 0:47 GMT

    I bet most of these people talking about Aussies sledging is Indian. Your team sledged just as worse. Think of a certain player called Harbhajan and that should bring up memories. The difference is your team sledged and lost so it might not be as memorable for you. Pretty much every team sledges during a game. If you can't handle a little rough talk during a game maybe sports is really not the right thing for you.

  • timmyw on December 7, 2011, 0:39 GMT

    @ kallis57 - Listen, you might have something personal against Australians mate, but the facts are completely different than what you're espousing. Firstly, Mcgrath's raw stats are BETTER than most of the bowlers you mentioned with the exception of Marshall, secondly his longevity was greater than all of them, with consistent success everywhere in the world. Also if you think for one second the Australian team is like you said and all the others were angels of mercy you need a reality check. I watched most of the games during this period from all over the world, and I saw terrible behaviour from EVERYONE. I am not defending Australia's on field behaviour but I saw WORSE from Pakistan, India, SA, WI. Australia just copped more criticism because they were the most powerful side by a long shot and everyone else was jealous. Also every spinner has a worse record in India than Marshall. Look at India's recent behaviour in West Indies, now THAT was terrible. Get your facts straight son.

  • CreamIce on December 7, 2011, 0:25 GMT

    All these people taking about out McGrath and Warne, take out Richards why don't you then? WI looks like a weaker batting side then the current Sri Lanka if you do.

  • Meety on December 7, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - so continuing on, I think that variety in the bowling line up, (in modern day cricket) is important to work your way thru a batting line up. Don't forget though, if you took out Warne, you had MacGill! Gillespie had stats not too dissimilar to some of the great WIndies bowlers & Lee's were comparable too, bearing in mind that batting averages are higher now. Anyways - not arguing with your opinion that the WIndies were better - just that it is NOT - "..Windies of 70s/80s by a distance.." @Bollo - great point about the distinction between best & dominant. Probably the best was more a battle between the Bradman Oz side & WIndies, with the WIndies ahead, & the dominant side is Oz 2000s just ahead of the WIndies?????? @Miles Davies - the periods are based on statistical dominance, that is why the SL series is NOT the starting point!!!!!

  • Paulk on December 6, 2011, 23:57 GMT

    This is an interesting article but stats tell only part of the story. The Don looms so large a figure from that era that he pushes to the background many other great players who statistically could compare to Richards, Ponting, Waugh etc. I dont know enough of about other players from that era to offer an informed opinion. Between WI and Aus2, I'd say the Aussies were a more professional, efficient unit and under S Waugh they changed the game with fast scoring tactics. In this respect they were game changers and had the players to do it most notable A Gilchrist.On the other hand they probably did not evoke the same feeling of fear and awe as the WI unit, especially their bowling. It is also difficult to compare batting stats because the game has changed. 50 is the new 44 (averages, IMHO). Also as someone else remarked, one sensed that the WI unit when provoked could go to another level whereas the Aus2 unit always played at their best. My bias gives the edge to WI by a shade.

  • Meety on December 6, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - usually appreciate your comments, but this one was a bit short of depth (IMO). Yep, the WIndies did generate fear, but so did the Ozzys pre-Packer with Lillee, Thomson, Pascoe etc. Fear is less of a factor today as batsmen have grown up most of their batting lives with helmets on with full grilles. I thought the WIndies were fearful even from the comfort of TV, it wasn't until later (Ambrose/Walsh) era that I saw them live & Ambrose would be in my all time XI. Other things that I think you need to appreciate is, there is no cheap tailender wickets these days (The Phantom excepted, all though he just survived 10 balls in both innings of a test for the first time in his career). When I say cheap - I am NOT DEVALUING the WIndies pace quartet, but tailenders were bunnies back then, stats prove it. What I am trying to say, is that in the modern game you have to work hard for the first 5 wickets, then just as hard for the next 3. In the old days it was often 5 out all out!

  • on December 6, 2011, 23:18 GMT

    @Bollo - i think you fail to see the sarcasm in his comments! why else would he have said it!

    interesting you note though that in the given period Ausrtalia lost 2 test series. In that same given period WI lost ZERO!!!. So wheres the argument????

    I also dont understand why the Australian era starts in th month that it does?? in The previous month, you will see that the same Australian team lost of Sri Lanka? but that is conventiently left out.

  • kallis57 on December 6, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    This debate is a non starter. West Indies went 15 years, count them 15 years without losing a series. The supposed brilliant Aussies lost 2 in their supposed era of domination. Marshall Garner Croft and Ambrose all took their wickets at a far better average than McGrath and Warne. Please don't tell me anyone rates McGrath a better bowler than Marshall because if you do - sorry you are just plain wrong. Warne has a worse record in India (spinners paradise) than Marshall which is strange. How can a team that loses series be more dominant than one that didn't. I also have serious issues with the way Australia behaved towards the opposition and the officials throughout this period. Led by Steve Waugh (watch him pick ball off the floor and tell Lara he caught it). They also had McGrath swearing and abusing the opposition with disgusting comments and crying like a baby at every comeback. Finally Warne who abused the opposition and intimidated umpires again and again. Just horrible!!!

  • zico123 on December 6, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    good article with lot of facts and figures, i agree WI of 80s and Australia of 2000s were the 2 best test teams ever.

  • Naikan on December 6, 2011, 21:57 GMT

    The game has changed a lot over the century, making it difficult to decide which was the best. However, the question here is of dominance. That means the rest of the opposition had no chance of standing up against such a team, no matter how good they were. In that regard both the Australian teams had their waterloos. The 1930s-50s invincibles failed against Larwood and also had another drawn series. Also that team never played in the subcontinent - where even the 2000s Australians failed to surmount the challenge. The fact Don being the big cog of the 1930-40s team raises another question. Without meaning to belittle the great Don, his average came down to the 50s in the bodyline series. Based on that I would suspect his effectiveness against Llyods Bowlers. For sheer dominance no other bowling team evoked the same terror in a batsman's heart as Llyod's did, no matter the nature of pitch and no other batting lineup save Llyod's battered the opposition bowlers as brutally as his did.

  • Naikan on December 6, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    The game has changed a lot over the century, making it difficult to decide which was the best. However, the question here is of dominance. That means the rest of the opposition had no chance of standing up against such a team, no matter how good they were. In that regard both the Australian teams had their waterloos. The 1930s-50s invincibles failed against Larwood and also had another drawn series. Also that team never played in the subcontinent - where even the 2000s Australians failed to surmount the challenge. The fact Don being the big cog of the 1930-40s team raises another question. Without meaning to belittle the great Don, his average came down to the 50s in the bodyline series. Based on that I would suspect his effectiveness against Llyods "dogs of war". For sheer dominance no other bowling team evoked the same terror in batsmen's hearts as Llyod's did no matter the type of pitch and no other batting lineup save Llyod's battered the opposition bowlers as brutally as his did.

  • BillyCC on December 6, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas, your comment doesn't make sense. If you take out McGrath and Warne, then the equivalent is taking out Marshall and Holding. By my count, the West Indies only ever had three or four true great bowlers playing all at the same time. So their attack would be halved and they could be beaten, just as the Australians could be beaten without McGrath and Warne. And I think if you ask Indians over 50 living in the Carribean about the best batsman, you might get Gavaskar as the answer. Anyone else, and you would find that Sobers and Rochards would feature so much more.

  • WhenDWestwas1 on December 6, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    When you analyze the sides the Aus 00 side is ordinary compared to WI 80's. In the WI you had pace, accuracy and pace. The australians only had two great bowlers compared to 4 from the WI. With the batting you cannot compare because the wickets in the 80's where more challenging for any batsman to make runs. The only slow wickets where in india and WI still manage to play four fast bowlers and win in india.

  • bbpp on December 6, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    With the Invincibles it basically a 2-3 horse race so it is difficult to assess how good they truly were. Waugh's Aussies played agressive cricket and played to win. They scored quickly (Gilchrist played a huge role here), attacked with Warne and had a tremendous win rate. However, they were beatable and were beaten by India more than once, beaten by England, held to drawn series by declining Windies. The Windies of the 80's (esp early 80's) were basically unbeatable even though there were many good teams competing. Australia, Pakistan with Imran, Javed, Akram etc., England with Botham, Gooch, Gower, Gatting, Lamb etc . A table for series wins will show the difference.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 6, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    The kind of bowling they have and the aggressive brand (aggressive brand I mean not cheap sledging) of cricket they play, Windies of 70s/80s simply has no challengers. Take out Andy you have Marshall, take out Marshall you have Garner, take out Garner you have Holding, Is Marshall still young, you have Croft. Take out Glenn 'the cheap sledger' McGrath and/or Shane 'the genius' Warne, Australian bowling can be made to look like rookies. You can never daresay that about Windies. And above all, the Windies bowling and the team's presence on the field instilled genuine fear in the opposition camp. Not for no reason even today when you ask any 50+ year old in the Caribbean as to who is the best batsman they saw, they would say without blinking an eye - Gavaskar Maan! Him is the Maan..Windies of 70s/80s by a distance...They have the pace bowling to succeed anywhere, even on spin friendly Indian tracks. Warne's bowling was murdered in India and McGrath was shown his place in Kolkatta!

  • YorkshirePudding on December 6, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    @popcorn on (December 05 2011, 18:51 PM GMT), I think you will find there was a series known as the 'Blackwash' featuring the Windies in 1984-1986, where they beat England in two 5-0 series, home and away, so the Aussies in 2006/7 werent the first.

  • amoghm on December 6, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    We can't compare teams of different eras simply because the frequency of games on timeline differs and hence, the consistency of players, their performance as a team, continuation of form, etc.

  • on December 6, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    @cheguramana - You're forgetting the 99 and 04 series that Aus beat India, so it's really 4-3 to Aus, but then again you probably knew that and were leaving them out due to bias, right?

  • on December 6, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    The ICC,changed the game laws to break up the west indies was a factor for decline in west indies cricket....not hearing any comments about that

  • brp2009 on December 6, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    Mighty WI team were all out for 53 against Pakistan in 86 series..and didn't score much as a team in the series.. I wouldn't classify any team as "The Greatest" if they managed 53 !!!!Not sure what was the lowest score by Waugh's Australia teams..

  • postandrail on December 6, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    johnathonjosephs 1.17am Apart from Ponting/Hayden/Gilchrist the batting was ordinary. Ordinary??? Langer ave 45 x 23 centuries, Waugh ave 51 x 32 centuries, Martyn ave 46 Test Player of the year, Hussey ave 51 x 15 centuries. Ordinary enough for you?

  • cloudmess on December 6, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Hate to say it, but I'd give it to Waugh's Australians. 1980s WI were a great, great side, but their win ratio is not as impressive. They drew many more games, and looked vulnerable at times - esp against Pakistan - during the late 1980s. They beat their opponents well, but did not trounce them as regularly as the 00 Aussies. The latter team have a better balanced bowling attack - McGrath, Warne, Lee and Gillespie. Although WI had the best batsmen in Richards, the Australia top 7 were all world-class. India deservedly beat the Aussies in 2000/01, but the 2-1 result hinged on a once in a lifetime comenback in the 2nd test. India drew 1-1 in Australia 2003/4, with their powerful batting line-up to the fore, but Australia were without Warne and McGrath in that series. England played some brilliant cricket to win in 2005, briefly fielding a wonderful pace quartet. But they had home conditions, and Australia were again without McGrath for much of the series.

  • Bollo on December 6, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    @cheguramana. You`re more than entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts, nor indeed to reinvent history. Quite apart from completely changing the timeframe established by the article (so as to include Indian victories in 1998 and 2008) you conveniently ignore the 3-0 whitewash India suffered in Australia in 1999/00, as well as the 2-1 defeat in India in 2004.

    Furthermore, the inability of you and many Indian fans to accept the defeat in 2007/08 does you little credit. Yes, there were some important decisions which went Australia`s way in Sydney, just as they went India`s way in Perth. Indian fans seem to have a far shorter memories about the decisions (sometimes match-turning) which have gone in their favour on many other occasions, particularly at home.

    Be that as it may, India were quite obviously Australia`s most difficult opponents , but during the timeframe specified here, India and Australia played 5 series, Australia won 3, India won 1, 1 was drawn.

  • on December 6, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    My view is the most recent Australian team was easily the most dominant. Of course nothing can take away Don Bradman"s great team or Clive Lloyd"s great west Indians. I was born in 52 and hence have only read about the great team that trounced England in 1948. To have Lindwal and Miller in the team was only as exciting as Roberts and Holding. What enjoyment these teams have given to their fans and how much dread they have caused among the opposition ranks? Yet maybe because I have watched almost every game of the recent Australian team, thanks to the growth of satellite tv, I would plump for them. There is of course one important difference as someone pointed out. The no 7 batsman and wicket keeper- Adam Gilchrist. How much happiness he and his team have provided to viewers! He could change the course of a match in a few minutes. The recent team may not have been all the all time best, but in my view at least they were. sridhar

  • on December 6, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    inzamam is the best test cricketer and odi batsman ever

  • Bollo on December 6, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    Someone earlier referred to the number of series whitewashes as a pointer to dominance. During the periods in question, for series of 3-tests or more, the Australians of the 1930s/40s inflicted 1 on opposition, the WI teams 2, the Australians from 1999-2007 an incredible 11, including every team at least once, and away whitewashes of NZ, SL and South Africa. Again, while the mantle of `best team` is up for debate, I feel that team were clearly the most dominant of their era.

    I imagine that each of these 3 great teams would have beaten the others under the conditions/rules in which they played.

  • HLANGL on December 6, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    The difference between Australia (1999-2007) & West Indies (mid 70's - early 90s) may be only marginal. Australia may have had the stronger batting unit as a whole while West Indies may have had the stronger bowling unit as a whole. Viv Richards factor could be reasonably impersonated by Gilchrist. WIs bowling may have been more intimidating, yet when it comes to batting the Australian unit may be the more complete package. In overall, I'd still believe that Australia (1999-2007) would have done slightly better than West Indies (mid 70's - early 90s) in any era due to the larger number of sheer match winners available in the side who could change the complexion of the game at any time. Australia (1930-1952) may only be the third option here even if you include the Bradman factor, still it may be a very acceptable 3rd.

  • on December 6, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    a quick glance at 'position-wise' batting averages stats says it all. the no. 7 average ? the difference between all these teams was adam gilchirst.

  • cheguramana on December 6, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    Kudos to Rajesh ! thats a very good analysis. its very focused one of the most popular questions of all time !! fair way to compare teams across generations. but beyond the numbers, its the fans' perceptions and views that stoke the debates. and for me, its the West Indies team that was the greatest of all time. from the Indian point of view, Aus visited India in 1996-lost the 1 test; 1998-lost the test seris 1-2; 2001- lost the Test series 1-2; 2003-04: India visited Aus and drew 1-1; 2008 : the infamous series when India lost 1-2 (for fans that is one series defeat that does not count). So in the period of supposed Aus global dominance (I have considered 1996 to 2008), they lost 3 Test series, won 1 and drew 2 series when they played India. I dont think West INdies in their pomp ever had a record like that with any country !! Ergo, my vote to WI !!!

  • on December 6, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    I would rate Windies the best, because during their team the oposition of the highest quality, hence the greatness of a team is measured through the strength of the opposition. Pakistan, India, Eng, Aus all had great teams, but, WIndies swept them all. WHereas AUs of 2000 had relatively weaker opposition. Pakistan was rebuilding, India was a strong team hence it gave them tough competition, rest of the sides weren't that great. Windies were in a great decline, NZ was of no match, and ENgland did not have steel back,

  • Bollo on December 6, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs re." I checked games from 1930-1948 for Australia. Only 19 games were played in England. 14 of the19 were Losses.. Invincibles???"

    Not sure where you checked mate. Between 1930-1948, Aus played 4 series in England, won 3 and drew the other. They played 19 tests, won 9 and lost only 3.

  • Bollo on December 6, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Two very different questions are asked in the first few lines of this article. Which was the most dominant Test side ever? and Which is the best team to have played test cricket?

    The first question is seeking the team which was furthest ahead of their contemporaries, the second seeks to compare teams across eras.

    The quality of opposition is of little importance when discussing the first question, vital when discussing the second.

    I would argue that Australia's higher percentage of wins, and far higher number of series whitewashes (not to mention 3 consecutive World Cup wins during the period in question) means they were the most dominant team in history. They were miles ahead of the chasing pack, further ahead than any team before or since (as borne out retrospectively by ICC team rankings). Whether this means they were the best team ever is debatable, and the confusing difference between the title and the main gist of the article helps little in clarifying this.

  • Meety on December 6, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    IMO (biased), Oz 2000s shade the WIndies but only under certain circmstances. Under other circumstances I'd back the WIndies. If we had limited protective gear, (no grills on the helmet) & only had to bowl 75 overs in a day @ the WACA, it'd be the WIndies for sure. If we had to play in SL under 90 overs a day, full protection limited bouncer rule, it would be Oz. Under a 7-test series played around the World, I'd back Oz to win 4-3, I don't think there'd be any draws. I would back Oz to beat the WIndies in India, even though the Lloyd led WIndies had a better record there. In Oz it would depend where the match was played, @ the SCG, MCG & Adelaide, Id say Oz had the upper hand. At the WACA, hands down to the WIndies, @the GABBA - I'd back the WIndies, but if Oz survived the first 3 days, Warney could spin them out on his favourite hunting ground. The other factor is, whilst the WIndies XI would almost pick itself, who would represent Waugh's XI? Waugh's XI evolved many times!

  • brp2009 on December 6, 2011, 4:03 GMT

    I would say Waugh's Australia team is the greatest ever... They have average record against Tendulkar's Indian side. I am sure India would have given similar trouble to 80's WI team.

  • harshthakor on December 6, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Clive lloyd's West Indian team actually was at it's best also from 1977-1980 if you count their victory over a powerful Australian team in Packer Cricket .In 1979-80 it won it's first series in Australia beating a Greg Chappell led team 2-0 which just beat England 3-0 at home.No achievement of Steve Waugh's or Ponting's teams equal that,nor the later conquering of England 5-0 by West Indies in England in 1984.In the modern era the likes of Richards,Greenidge and Lloyd would have thrived on the flat tracks.However it is possible that the bowling lacked the variety for the modern day slow tracks.This is exactly what Bradman's invincibles had if you remember the likes of Ray Lindwall.I think at their best Frank Worrell's 1963 side could have beaten the modern Aussie champs with the likes of Sobers,Hall and Kanhai.

  • harshthakor on December 6, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    A very important factor are the condition sin which all these top teams played.In Bradman's era pitches were unconvered,in the 1980's there was no restriction on bouncers while from 2000 onwards the pitches became slower and much more batsman friendly.Imagine the Windies quartet being restricted to 2 bouncers and over that too on considerably slower pitches.On the other hand with the advent of the one day game the Aussie teams of recent times scored at a blistering scoring rate.I feel all the teams would have had an advantage playing in their own eras but again class would be the ultimate winner.

    On pure seamer's tracks I would back Clive Lloyd's West Indians,on spinners tracks I would back the recent Aussie champion taems but on true cricket wickets I would back Bradman's Australians who had the ultimate composition with both Bradman and Miller.

    India were a difficult team to vanquish at home even in the 1980's when Clive Lloyd's team triumphed 3-0.

  • jonesy2 on December 6, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    chicko1983 and randyOz are on the money.

  • IAS2009 on December 6, 2011, 2:43 GMT

    WI were the best, they were playing against pretty good England, Aussies, Pakistan at that time, the ease at which they beat teams was remarkable, Aussies victories against SL were not easy wins, they struggled against India, they beat SA but not easily. So i would still say WI were the best.

    One big thing is not mentioned in the stats is number of game during same period, If WI played that many test as teams play now they could have been better than Aussies by a long margin.

  • N_Bali on December 6, 2011, 2:23 GMT

    Bradman's team of 1948? you got to be kidding. One summer of success against a war-ravaged nation. No way. Armstrong's team of 1921 very nearly achieved this, is his team shortlisted here? no. Bradman who made so much fuzz about shortpitched bowling in 1932, used his express bowlers the very same way Jardine did and got way more hits on english batsmen than Jardine's bowlers did. Remember Compton batting with head in bandage or Edrich getting repeated hit. Clive lloyd's team was probably superior to Waugh's talent wise, but I think it was Waugh's team who inflicted more misery on other team than Lloyd's did.

  • hiteshsjoshi on December 6, 2011, 1:48 GMT

    West Indies of the 80s were the best. Period.

  • johnathonjosephs on December 6, 2011, 1:46 GMT

    Lot of old Aussie fans in here claiming the Invicibles of the 1930s are hands down the best team. Its a joke if I ever heard one. The Aussies of 90's/2000s were 3 times as better. Its important to take many factors in since todays times are different from the generations 80 years ago. For one thing, in the 1930's there was only one REAL opposition and that was England. India, West Indies and South Africa were considered extreme minnows and equivalent to today's Bangladesh/Zimbabwe teams. Whats more is that they were made to tour Australia (in Australia's home). Yes, imagine minnow teams like Bangladesh/Zimbabwe touring Australia in strange conditions/environment. Who wouldn't get thrashed? Look at the dates too..World War 2 occured from 1938-1945 so wouldn't England be in a bad condition to play with all that happening back home? Now then... Ready for the biggie? I checked games from 1930-1948 for Australia. Only 19 games were played in England. 14 of the19 were Losses.. Invincibles???

  • Dashgar on December 6, 2011, 1:39 GMT

    No side could be more dominant that Waugh's (as well as Taylor's and the early half of Ponting's) Australians. "As dominant" some of those past teams may have been but Australia were as close to unbeatable as a team could be. They didn't lose a single world cup match in 3 world cups and had the most tests without losing or drawing. As a boy growing up in Australia I loved our team but I still barracked for the opposition more often than not because I wanted to at least see a contest, and very rarely did.

  • Hammond on December 6, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    @TrueSpeech- I remember the windies side of the 80's well. And I have to say that the bowling of the time concurred with a lack of ability on the batsman's part to play the hook shot. The 30's & 40's Aussie side had batsman that could all hook. And they played on uncovered wickets. I don't think enough credit is given to the pre 70's cricketers. The cricket, even the fielding was far more skilful than most are prepared to admit. I think Barnes, Morris & Bradman even Hassett would have taken that west indies bowling attack apart, purely because they had the shots to combat short pitched bowling, and they had the courage. Lindwall & Miller would be a sensation today, and guys like Doug Ring would be a match for any modern leg spinner. Give credit where it is due. Just because we don't have colour video of this era doesn't mean the cricket wasn't just as tough..

  • plod on December 6, 2011, 1:19 GMT

    The stats don't lie in this instance, please read the fabulously detailed analysis done by Mr. Rajesh. Brilliant summary. The W.I. were not facing any better opposition than the Aussie sides between the 90's and 2007. They had no spinner, so there attack was very one dimensional. Australia had the best two bowlers of all time, sorry SL, India and W.I. But Ooh Ah and Bowling Shane were the masters of pace and spin collectively. No other fast bowler has bowled such an incredibly accurate line like McGrath did. No other spinner has entertained or produced like Warne did. I saw the Windies at the best and they were awesome. But Aussies ability to play winning test cricket for long stretches, 16 in a row, and we've done that twice in this century will not be surpassed. How long will England stay number one? Not for long. Certainly not as long as Australia managed. And all with home grown talent. Like the Windies, SL and India at their best. Go you Aussies, watch us return to Number 1!

  • johnathonjosephs on December 6, 2011, 1:17 GMT

    The 2 best sides in the world: Aus of the late 90s/2000s and West Indies of the 80's. No other team even comes close (there have been some close games with subcontinent teams and Australia in the 90's/2000s but only SOME close games). The problem I see in deciding is that for Australia's side, very few people carried the team. The bowling was sheerly reliant on McGrath/Warne while the batting was left up to Ponting/Hayden/Gilchrist. Everybody else on the team was ordinary. Compare that to the West Indian team of Viv Richards, Greenidge, Lloyd, Haynes, with the bowling for Marshall, Holding, Walsh, Ambrose, Garner. In short, West Indies was more of a team effort. If Aus ever had a day when those 5 individuals failed, the game was lost. And the Aus side of the '30's? Come on, what a joke. During those days games were played between 2-3 countries. You can either call that Australian Dominance or the English weren't playing that great that time (WW2 anyone?)

  • malomay on December 6, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    @ Timtoms quote "One factor missed. On field behaviour - WI is the best there too"....... you must be forgetting about the atrociously slow over rates & the 3-4 bouncers per over that the West Indies employed all designed to dry up the number of balls that batsmen could actually score off during the days play. & somehow they still get credit for having played "entertaining" cricket ! They basically bowled Bodyline without the field settings.

  • on December 6, 2011, 1:05 GMT

    I must confess that i am slightly perlexed at the why there is even a debate. In the specified period mentioned, West Indies lost ZERO series and Australia lost TWO. While i understand that stats dont dont always tell the full story, but if you cant use "WIN vs not/WIN"...then whats the point?

    I also happen to notice that the Australian period conveniently starts at oct 99, one month before they lost to Sri Lanka!. I think its also fair to point out batsmen like Hayden did play against some quality fast bowling and failed miserably. They only established dominance once the greats retired.

    As regards to opposition...the one key fact that there was at least ONE worl class match winning bowler in every one of those teams in the 80s, whereas in australias dominant period...there were none.

    West Indies easily.

  • on December 6, 2011, 0:23 GMT

    As a Pakistani, my vote will go for Australia. They were the best in late 90s till 2007-08, and still are very capable side.

  • on December 6, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    It is too far a stretch to call the Australia of 30-52, which practically spanned a generation, a "side". This maybe true of all three examples but especially that one. If there are no common players between the first match and last match, you definitely have no case for calling them the same team.

  • Leonb on December 5, 2011, 22:35 GMT

    @popcorn - not true - Aus 1921 beat England 5-0 under Bill Armstrong. Aus 1902, 1921, 1948, 1975/6 and 1999/00 (well, you have to pick one of them from the period, not the whole 15 years and over 70 players) - the strongest Australian sides of all time. That is as opposed to an era. Similarly for the WI - 1984 is the side taken to be most representatiove of the dominant era. Armstrong, who was a member of the '02 team and captain of the '21 side, said that the '02 side would have whipped (well, he probably used other words) the '21 side so it must have been pretty strong! It had Trumper, Hill, Trumble, Noble, Jones etc.

  • slipfielder on December 5, 2011, 22:31 GMT

    During the WI dominance of the early eighties helmets and other protective gear were not worn by batsman. So there was a fear of getting killed and batsmen used to step to the legside to avoid getting hit and get bowled instead. Whereas McGrath got his wickets mostly with metronomic accuracy and movement off the seam even when batsmen were wearing all kinds of protective gear. Facing him their biggest fear was getting out which they did eventually. No batsman dominated him. Not even Lara or Tendulkar when it mattered.

    As far as batting goes, when the WI rulled, Aus, Eng and Pak.did have good bowlers but still Viv and Greenidge and Lloyd terrorized bowlers around the world. When the Aussies of 2000 ruled, most other teams had mediocre bowlers.

  • on December 5, 2011, 21:56 GMT

    referring to the earlier statement that India was inferior to west Indies is wrong . The WI playing in India (1974-75) series could win only 3-2 in India, I would call the best WI team of any decades Clive Lloyd,, the capt. Gordon greenidge ,Roy Fredrick,kallicharan,Viv, Van burn holder, derrick Murray(wk) Keith Boyce Bernard Julian, Andy Roberts,lance Gibbs and India had stalwarts sunny gav,vishy pataudi ,solkar,engineer, and 4-all time greats of bedi,prasana,chanrashekarnd venkatraghvan. I would always rate WE of the 70s the best ever team under Clive Lloyd who won 75 and 79 world cup and were a dominant force

  • TrueSpeech on December 5, 2011, 21:22 GMT

    I am sure the Aussie fans will come out in droves in support of the 2000s team under Steve Waugh. Some may even bring up the Invincibles team of Bradman's era. But most of them have not seen the West Indian team of the late 70s and the 80s decade. All three teams were the best of their eras. But what separated the WI team from the Aussie teams was their bowling attack and aggressive style of play (I am not talking about sledging). When the WI came onto the field the opponents were impressed and mesmerized. WI showed aggression in their game whether it be bowling or batting instead of using their mouth.

    What separated them from the other Aussie great teams were their amazing pace bowling attack. Led by Andy Roberts and later by Malcom Marshall they had a consistent 4 fiery, skilled athletic pace bowlers the likes of which have not been seen again. They conquered India in India without a great spinner. That was how good the Caribbean Kings were. GOAT team!

  • degiant on December 5, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    When WI was on top, Australia and Pakistan were the only that give a little fight. India and NZ both won one test in ten years, while England did not win any test, repeat not one single test in 16 years

  • on December 5, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    I didn't see the Windies of 80s but we hear that there were Botham, Imran, Gavaskar, Lillee and Thompson. All great players. The batting wasn't bad either in most teams. Quite a few all time greats in the best XI cricinfo selected were from the 80s. So there was actual challenge to the Windies.

    But in the 2000s the picture was a bit skewed. Indian batting was strong but their bowling was pathetic. Eng were not strong in the earlier years. Pak finally had run out of bowlers in the earlier part at the least and batting was getting stable with only Inzi as player to watch. Lankans had no real pace (Vaas was an honest trier but not really there with pace) and NZ attack was wobbly even with Bond. The only team which consistantely had a good attack was SA but they were without a spinner then. So Waugh had an easier task to get his team up and running after the world cup in 1999. Not taking anything from Waugh's team but Windies had more challenge and comparison needs this counted as wl

  • Peterincanada on December 5, 2011, 21:10 GMT

    I don't care about your stats. Bradman's invincibles were the best ever. Bradman alone was worth the two best batsmen on any other team and Lindwall, Miller and Johnston the equal of any other bowlers.

  • diehart on December 5, 2011, 20:37 GMT

    The australian team led by ricky and steve was the best of the lot ..bradman's team should be regarded as the 2nd best and the west indies team the 3rd best ...

  • on December 5, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    Also, Just because the WI won in Indian is meaningless, the Indian team of the 70s was far inferior to that of around the 2000 era! India were rather new to Test cricket then and therefore not as much a challenge.

  • chsj on December 5, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    To add to my earlier comments - though I feel Aussies had more varied talent they did not have the same class of opposition in the rest of the teams as possibly WI team faced. England and Australia and occasionally Pak and India were decent teams when WI dominated. Whereas when Aussies dominated in 2000s thoguh there were good batsmen in opposition, the bowling by all other teams was mediocre (excepting SA).

  • chsj on December 5, 2011, 20:25 GMT

    Considering purely cricketing aspects the Aussie team of 2000s had more variety compared to WI teams. The WI did not cover so many dimensions as the Aussie team. Moreover, intimidatory bowling was very much an aspect of the WI attacks. An interesting aspect would be how many opposition batsmen were sent retired hurt through bowling by the Aussie and WI teams. This also meant the WI batsmen were themselves not subjected to such scrutiny of intimidation ( fearing what would own team players would receive in retaliation). Ofvourse I enjoyed thoroughly the WI bowling and batting displays - but my point is that Aussies(2000s) had more and varied cricketing talent between the two teams.

  • JG2704 on December 5, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    Id say WI on a seaming track or Aus on a turning track.When I first got into cricket (early 80s) WI with Lloyd as captain Haynes,Greenidge,Viv,Roberts, Holding, Garner etc were absolutely fearsome. I just remember how intimidating they were. Then they had other quality bowlers fitting in like Marshall ,Walsh , Ambrose.Australia mauled us (England)06 and won convincingly most times in their period but we did beat a decent Aus in 05 albeit by narrow margins in both the tests we won and I'm guessing we did win a test vs WI in the 80s but dont recall it.So I think I am swayed towards WI purely because they were the 1st dominant side I grew up with and Viv and Joel as a Somerset fans were real idols to me.Having said that the stats look better for Aus and in my school days I only ever followed series involving Eng and WI (80s)seemed more dominant than AUS(90s).I'd say with exc of Richards poss Greenidge,LLoyd Aus had the better batsmen and maybe exc of Warne,Mcgrath WI the better bowlers

  • hhillbumper on December 5, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    I suppose one issue to raise is that Steve Waugh,Haydn got blitzed by the Windies when they first played.Also would modern batsman be so able to slap bowlers around if there was still the previous bouncer rule.You have to think that batsman are lucky depending what era they play in.I guess you can only play against what is put in front of you.

  • popcorn on December 5, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    I would ay Ricky Ponting's Team in the summer of 2006 -07.No other Team has has beaten England so comprehenisively 5 nil !

  • Engle on December 5, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    The WIndies dominance of the 80's had a far greater affect on the world cricket scene than did the Aussies of the 2000's. It was a war out there and batsman had to worry not only about getting out but getting down and out for the count. Hayden with his imposing height would've presented a bigger bulls-eye to the battery of fast blasters. McGrath and Warne could be fair game as well, with not much of a retaliatory response to rely on.

  • on December 5, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    1.Hayden 2.Langer/MWaugh 3.Ponting 4.Martyn/Clarke 5.Lehmann/Symonds 6.SWaugh/Hussey 7.Gilchrist 8.Warne 9.Lee/Bichel 10.Gillespie/Kasprowizch 11.McGrath ... Nightmare for any team during the early and mid 2000s ... I remember they even managed to beat the WORLD XI team...

  • WhenDWestwas1 on December 5, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    WI is the best side no discussion. When you analyze the stats australia is on top but no analysis was done on the docile pitches the teams played on. Australia struggled in india while 1980 Wi dominated. In the 70's and 80's where the era of quick pitches but WI still dominated in Ind. Also which side will you want to see play test cricket again WI or AUS. WI had an Allstar elven while australia had a good batting line up with two great bowlers. Why are we still discussing this, richie bernaud also commented the 1980 WI side was the best side he has ever seen.

  • on December 5, 2011, 17:22 GMT

    @RandyOZ Excuses of slump? lol. Aus is better but your reasons are ridiculous. In that case , in 2004 India were also in a slump , Tendulkar was missing then, was forced to play (India deserved to lose though) , and yeah your team was in a slump in 2001 and 2005 when they lost to India and England respectively . ha ha ha YOUR POOR KNOWLEDGE SHOWS WHEN YOU DID NOT MENTION ENGLAND AS THE WEAKEST OPPOSITION FOR WINDIES IN 80'S. INDIA AND AUS ACTUALLY GOT SOME RESPECTABLE PERFORMANCES AGAINST WINDIES - SOME DRAWS AND ALSO COUPLE OF WINS, OFCOURSE PAKISTAN WERE WAY BETTER, BUT ENGLAND WERE THE WORST.(THEIR BEST PLAYERS STRUGGLED BADLY VS WINDIES) ENGLAND ALSO LOST TO INDIA 2-0 (NEARLY 3-0) AT HOME IN 1986.I AM NOT CLAIMING INDIA,AUSTRALIA WERE NOT SMASHED BY THE WINDIES BUT THEY WERE BETTER THAN ENGLAND.

  • 2929paul on December 5, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    What this article proves is that using statistics to compare players or teams from different eras is a complete waste of time. Who cares about batting averages or who took the wickets. If the team wins, it wins. All we can really say is that Australians will always believe that the 1999-07 team was better that the WI team, most English will say the WI team is better because we just don't like the Australians, most of those who grew up in the WI era will say the WI team are best (unless they are Aus) and those who never saw the WI team and only saw the more recent Waugh/Ponting team will probably not be able to understand how there could be a team to rival Aus. And SA feel cheated that Pollock, Proctor, Barlow et al never got to fulfil their destinies. Well since they would never have played against the Windies that debate could never have been concluded either.

  • on December 5, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    I think Clive Lloyed team was the best because in the 70s and 80s it definitely has tougher opponents.

  • SamRoy on December 5, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    West Indies did not lose a test series for 15 years. Top that! And then make comparisons.

  • on December 5, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    As to which was the greatest team I cannot tell, I myself not privy to every match they played - though I remain West Indian fan in spirit and in heart, a heart that loves the Aussies, that were for a long time, after the West Indies, World Champions. All I can posit as a thought: I do recall the Great Brian Lara waiting for greatness had to wait two years on the sideline touring with the team that had a team of great following, ahead of course the great Sir Vivian Richards. He didn't once paired off on the field with Viv, such was the talent of West Indian with the bat. As for the bowling, those guys were just invincible, while on the field they stood superb. Collectively they transformed world cricket. Now, this is saying something. And yet I know the Australians were as great: a great cricketing nation cannot help but follow greatness and gather it unto themselves as they did beyond the 90's. Which was greater? Tell you later - let me think.

  • on December 5, 2011, 16:33 GMT

    Bradman's team played only at home and England, when there were 4 other test playing nations. Whatever were the conditions or reasons, neither was Bradman nor his team tested enough to be called great.

  • Sarthak1305 on December 5, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    what i am proud of is that of the 9 losses tht australia had (1999-2007) India handed atlest 4 of them

  • chicko1983 on December 5, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    Australia in 2000 were the best team by a mile. They had most quality opponents, won everywhere and won in convincing style. Australia of 2013-2020 will be even stronger though as they will have the best bowling attack ever.

  • Shaymuhz on December 5, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    The two series that the Australian team of the 2000s lost were both by the slimmest of margins.

    Who could forget the amazing turnaround in India when they won after being forced to follow on, a game where with just a hint of luck Australia could have quite easily reversed the result.

    As for the 2005 Ashes series, England were gifted if when arguably the eras greatest fast bowler, Glen McGrath (who had destroyed them in the first test at Lords btw) freakishly stood on a cricket ball and ruined his ankle. Yet Engand only just managed to win the series by effectively two runs - the Edgbaston test where Kasper was cruelly given out at the death.

    Australia could have easily won 25 series and drawn three during that period. Something I doubt will ever be seen again.

  • Engle on December 5, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    One always got the feeling that the Aussies of 2000+ played to the best of their ability, whereas the Windies tended to slacken periodically until such time that they were rudely prodded - in which case they retaliated to chilling effect. The Aussies sledging tactics would have had the opposite effect of spurring on the Windies to murderous levels (remember Greig's grave grovel gaffe) and if they were smart, they would keep their mouth's shut. Never provoke a fast bowler, never mind 4 nasty fasties.

  • satanswish on December 5, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    I would rate Steve Waugh's force as most deserving invincible. Though their on-field behaviour was not as docile as that of WI players. But that is something you do not expect from players down under.

  • on December 5, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    @timtom - ahem. Have you seen the clip of the West Indies in NZ in 1981 where Colin Croft shoulder barged the umpire? And Clive Lloyd just stood there and watched, and did nothing to control him?

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/237606.html

  • timtom on December 5, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    One factor missed. On field behaviour - WI is the best there too... Aussies were extremely bad on field... ICC was biased that none of these aussies got any reprimands during their time.

    Its the WI any with performance and on field behavoiur ..After all thatz what make cricket a gentlemen`s game.

  • on December 5, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    Just compare how many whitewashes each team achieved that will give you the answer unless we have a new definition of dominance/domination

  • RandyOZ on December 5, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    Of course all the English and Indians think the WI are better. It's because they are in denial that we have dominated for 3 major periods in history (forgetting the Lilee era is absurd). Of course though, the Aussie team of the late 90's and 00's is a clear winner. The WI had pathetically weak opposition in the 80's from Oz and India. In fact we all know teams only dominate when Oz is in a slump. We smashed the so called greatest Indian side in India. No one will come close to the 16 straight test wins twice, and no one will beat ricky's record of 100+ wins. Australia, simply the best.

  • Keshav21 on December 5, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    Between 1999-2007 Australia was far better side compared to all other teams on that time. But just you can't compare to West Indies team.

    During 1999-2007 time: 1. Pitches were flat all over the world. 2.There were no great fast bowlers in that era compared to that time. 3.Batsmen mind set are changing, means they are ready to take chances.

    We can find so many good reasons that on that time it was not result oriented environment was there.

    And one more reason is West indes team beaten india in india, but same Australian team struggled to do so.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 5, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    There is one problem with using batting stats, it doesnt take into account the fact that opponents were being balled out cheaper. Take the west indies, the average Innings score by opponents was probalby lower than the Australian Average, thus it follows that the batting averages of the WI's would be lower. Also in the 80's if a team got to 350+ they would more than likley declare, yet in the 2000's it increaed to 450/500+

  • Seether1 on December 5, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    The West Indies were the greatest team of all time. Fact is Australia lost 2 series against India and England. That immediately disqualifies them from being the greatest. Forget all the stats and comments about spinners or lack thereof, Gilchrist being the difference etc. The Windies were unbeaten for 15 years! That is incredible and that will never be matched. Argument settled!

  • on December 5, 2011, 12:57 GMT

    The simple truth is the teams from 1999 to 2007 had to cope with a lot more variety of opponents and differing conditions than the earlier dominant eras. Whilst there were no doubt some easier opponents - Australia traditionally doesn't play them that often - Australia played Zimbabwe rarely for instance. I'd say that team edges the others. The Bradman era Australia had a much weakened England post war and the West Indies manipulated the rules by bowling so few overs a day that it was hard to beat them because it was hard to get the necessary runs quickly enough. In the end the rules were tweaked to enforce a min number of overs a day to stop 75 over days. Not saying it was a bad tactic - it worked and it was within the rules at the time so it was legit and clever. The recent Ozzie teams had to cope with Tendulker in his prime, a fine Sth African team and other tough opponents in all conditions so I think they probably were the best we've seen.

  • on December 5, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    The batting of both the 2000 Aussies and the 1980 Windies were very good. However the element of dominance over their rivals was on their bowling and fielding. Yes! Fielding. Both teams displayed superior out cricket. Any average captain who had an attack of Holding, Roberts, Garner and Marshall, his concern would have been"Who should bowl next" (as if it mattered). The Windies attack changed the batting style of all the world leading and next generation of batsmen. The Aussies on the other hand restored sanity through variation. BOTH WERE GREAT TEAMS! Thye question of "Who's better?" will last forever.

  • on December 5, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    In my opinion the team lead bz Hansie cronje was the most dominant except in world cup matches where they use to choke regularly...They were good team over all with good allrounders and invincble fast bowlers like allan donald...

  • rkannancrown on December 5, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    Statistics tell only half the story. The Aussies of early 200s would have been pulverised by the Windies of the eighties. Hayden & Gilli could have got runs but others would hve been bambazzoled. McGrath & Warne would have got some respect from Gomes but the others would have carted them all over the place. The windies did not need umpiring support to win matches while the Aussies benefited from some of the most biased umpiring in neutral umpires era. the Windies simply outplayed their opponents even when the "home"umpires gavebiased decisions.

  • Quazar on December 5, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    Between the WIs and the modern Aussies, you have to give it to the WI by at the very least 6 to 4 (more likely 7 to 3) over 10 Tests. The WI, with their powerful and deep pace attack, would have the edge in most conditions. Further, their depth was a big advantage... they could lose 2 bowlers, and their back-up quicks were still good enough to win Tests. But if Australia lost McGrath or Warne (or heaven forbid both), they would be weakened far more. (Of course, the modern Aussies remain a formidable all-time great side... no disrespect to them)

  • Quazar on December 5, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    Between the WIs and the modern Aussies, you have to give it to the WI by at the very least 6 to 4 (more likely 7 to 3) over 10 Tests. The WI, with their powerful and deep pace attack, would have the edge in most conditions. Further, their depth was a big advantage... they could lose 2 bowlers, and their back-up quicks were still good enough to win Tests. But if Australia lost McGrath or Warne (or heaven forbid both), they would be weakened far more. (Of course, the modern Aussies remain a formidable all-time great side... no disrespect to them)

  • harshthakor on December 5, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    A very crucial factor would be Adam Gilchrist at no 7,the greatest match-winner of modern times and Shane Warne arguably the best bowler of all.However still even if you add Mcgrath,Ponting,Hayden etc they do not equal teams with the talent of Viv Richards.Malcolm Marshall,Clive Lloyd,Michael Holding,Gordon Greenidge etc or the teams with Bradman,Miller ,Don Tallon,Neil Harvey or Arthur Morris.Test cricket ultimately does justice to talent.

    I wish you had also considered Ian Chappell's 1975 Australians and Frank Worrel's 1963 West Indian team.Imagine teams with players like Lillee,Thomson, Chappell brothers on one hand and Gary Sobers,Rohan Kanhai,Frank Worrel,Lance Gibbs and Wes Hall on the other.Remember the conviction with which both these teams destroyed strong opposition like Australia vanquishing the calypsos 5-1 in 1975-76.

  • harshthakor on December 5, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    The recent champion Aussie teams have posessed the best temperament and match-winning killer instinct but have had the advantage of playing many more matches and facing weaker opponents like Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.They were also twice beaten by India on the sub-continen.In my view Don Bradman's team was still the best as they faced stronger opposing English and South African teams and possessed greater man to man talent with Bradman and Keith Miller making the essential difference.Bradman was 2 great batsman into one while Miller was the best allrounder after Sobers.Clive Lloyd's taem had a greater pace attack than Ponting's or Waugh's Australian teams and also beat stronger opponents in Australia and Pakistan in their prime West Indies retained supremacy for a longer period than the recent champion Aussie teams.

  • dms1972 on December 5, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    Take note all you Ponting-haters who say he is over-rated. Against the better sides he scored 5447 runs at 66.42 batting at number 3 during the period 1999-2007. Just shows how great a batsman he really was.

  • mowli on December 5, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    How can you forget the Australian side of the early 1970s ? They whipped the same famed West Indies side 5-1 . The team that had Stackpole, Lawry,Ian and Greg Chapell , Walters, Redpath , Marsh, Lillee, Thommo, Gilmour etc . They were unlucky in that in their prime , most of these players went off to Kerry Packer otherwise this was an awesome side

  • Nuxxy on December 5, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    You have to adjust the averages by the overall averages - Windies would be more comparable to Oz because batsmen just scored less in those days...equipment, pitches, etc. Oh to see that Windies team with a Murali...

  • sbbioman74 on December 5, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    very nice digging of stats. i would like to add only a point. the Australian side of 2000 did play a lot of test matches on flatter wickets. so,the avg for each batting position got inflated. whereas, WI of 80's had prepared home pitches to suit their fast bowlers and the WI batters had to play in those conditions. so, their avg got lessened. so, the difference between batting avg and bowling avg will obviously be higher in case of aus of 2000's. the bowling avg will also increase because of flatter wickets. but not as much as batting avg because the sheer number of chances a bowler gets to take a wicket (obviously it will become tougher in flat wickets). so, WI side was the best for me.

  • stevewaughsbox on December 5, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    I saw both teams play from beginning to end of their eras and both were awesome. I think that the Aust team of the 2000s was better, the stats show it. While the Windies won more easily in India, they weren't playing against the likes of Sachin, Rahul, VVS, Harbijan, Sehwag and so on. India in the 2000s and India in the 80s, no comparison. Also in the batting while Viv was awesome and destructive, Aust had Gilly and Hayden and Ponting all batting like that. I give them the edge.

    That said I'd rather not have to face the Windies bowlers in the nets compared to the Aussies!

  • on December 5, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    Isn't this a pointless article? I mean if you ask anyone, "which is the best test team of all time?", he immediately starts thinking "should I say, Windis of 80s, or Aussies of 2000s?" And this article promises to answer that question, but concludes with the same "either-or" suggestion which doesn't help and says nothing new.

    Just read the last but one line of this article (the main point of the article I suppose), no one will argue about it. And yet they wrote an article to convince us with something which we all are already convinced about. What is the point!!!

  • liz1558 on December 5, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    No doubt - WI were the best. However, the problem that rumbled on throughtout the 70s & 80s, which seems to be forgotten now, is the underyling concern about sportsmanship.To use a phrase found in the trash eamil you are frequently sent, the WI method was 'barely legal'. It was Bodyline without the overt moral outrage. As the film Fire in Babylon illustrates, nationalism, racial pride and painful history were combined to make the most frightening but controlled experience for opponents (especially English boys) that cricket had ever seen. It will be very difficult to repeat.

  • on December 5, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    These are the kind of articles that we love, good work. The West Indies of the 80s had 7 world class bowlers, but only 4 spaces for them. Australia had only 2 world class bowlers, Mcgrath and Warne. Gillipsie was nearly there, but not quite (should have played longer). However, Australia had a spinner, so there was more balance in the bowling department. Healy and Dujon were similar in performance. Everyone goes on about Gilchrist, yes he was a fantastic entertainer. But remember, he made his debut at the turn of the millennium with the bowling standard dropped dramatically, and he never had to face Warne or McGrath. Remember Hayden was so poor from 1994-2000, but from 2001-2009 he was amazing, as there was no Ambrose, Donald etc. The batting from both sides was pretty much the same, Border, Richards, Ponting, S.Waugh, Greenidge,great players. So who would win? Hayden would not be able to bully Holding, Garner etc. And McGrath would not be able to bully Richards. West Indies would win

  • mowli on December 5, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    In comparing the most dominant sides , how can you forget the early 1970s Australian side that whipped practically the same West Indies side mentioned above 5-1 . Who can forget that side which had Stackpole, Lawry , the Chappell brothers , Walters, Redpath, Marsh, Lillee, Thommo, Gilmour ? They lost a lot of players in their prime to Packer otherwise who knows what they would have gone on to accomplish ?

  • on December 5, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    It was Australia(1999-2007). This period is absolutely monopoly in the history of world cricket. To win against Australia is a very big achievement any team can afford. I would rate this and very confident that this will get the maximum votes...

  • warnerbasher on December 5, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    To be fair the India's of the 2000's were far more formidable than the team the Windies had to play in the 70 and 80's although the bias for the home team of the subcontinent umpires at that time would have made winning difficult. While the above 3 teams have their merits without the greatest team of all is Ross Taylor's 2011 New Zealanders.

  • on December 5, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Also, Just because the WI won in Indian is meaningless, the Indian team of the 70s was far inferior to that of around the 2000 era! India were rather new to Test cricket then and therefore not as much a challenge.

  • on December 5, 2011, 9:48 GMT

    It would be great to watch the west indies play the aussies of 2000, both teams have stacked bowlers and batters. Aus prob bats a bit deeper. The only obvious difference is SK WARNE. I would back the aussies of 2000 purely because modern cricket is so far evolved from even 20 years prior. Saying that tho bowlers win the matches. so It is McGrath, Warne, Lee and Gelispie vs the pace battery. Winner = who knows! but I back the modern team!

  • getsetgopk on December 5, 2011, 9:48 GMT

    Australia probably would have touched the same greatness Windies had during the 80's had they not run out of gas in the shape of warne and McGrath's, same goes for WI after Walsh and Ambrose retirement. Windies of 80's was/is the best cricket has ever seen and the team that seriously challenged Windies was Pakistan, both teams had bowlers with unmatched skills even to this day, the sight of Khan and Akram against Garner and Holding thats priceless.

  • Vindaliew on December 5, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    One huge factor which was left out - the psychological side of things. The Australian team of the 200s pioneered and perfected the art of sledging, where they delibrately tried to get under the skin of the batsman at the crease by pushing the boundaries of sportsmanship, and the extra pressure they created on the Opposition using such tactics would have accounted for a fair share of the wickets they took. Similarly, the West Indians of the 80s had a fearsome aura in which batsmen genuinely feared for their lives, especially when playing in the West Indies. In the early 80s protection was still in its infancy and putting the front foot forward against Garner was a much different proposition than doing it against Brett Lee. These psychological points tilted the scales significantly in favour of Australia and West Indies, sometimes before a ball had been bowled. Only Bradman's Australians played the game on even psychological terms, the dread of bowling to Bradman being the only point.

  • Ammar72 on December 5, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    So the author himself is not sure !!!!! perhaps thats why a diplomatic conclusion... I may say..that WI made cricket an ART and Aus its a SCIENCE.... oh...my opinion also seems diplomatic!!!! but one thing for sure..WI despite being dominant n devastating...but had sportsmanship n gentle aspect in abundance..whereas abt Aus, may be you can't say so emphatically...

  • dsig3 on December 5, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Common theme here. Indians will support WI every time. Just like I support every team playing against India, even England! I remember 2007 like it was yesterday. Payback this summer.

  • on December 5, 2011, 9:33 GMT

    I cant figure out why the author has reduced windies' years of dominance to just 1981-89. This might be the time of their most consistent form but the fact is that from the season 1976-77 to 1994-95 they lost just two series (one against India another against NZ). This is a remarkable record, no other team in the history of cricket has dominated for such a long time and this fact alone makes them much better than both Australian sides mentioned above. Australia of the 30s might boast of 22 yrs but honestly it doesnt count if there are only 3 test playing nations in the world. Cricket as a professional sport only started in the late 60s so going back so far is not right. Aussies of the 2000s were a great great team but they ruled for a very short time. WI deserves to be ranked no.1 for their prolonged consistency and dominance of the sport.

  • NishuB on December 5, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    Clearly the Aussies of 2000s ... The most dominant n the best cricket team ever.. Sadly also the most arrogant .. Could England replicate their success?? If not their success, surely their arrogance..comes easy..

  • Chris_Howard on December 5, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    Nice work. But I couldn't see teams of either of the Australian best eras beating West Indies' best. WI eleven would be something like: Haynes, Greenidge, Richards, Richardson, Lloyd, Lara, Dujon, Marshall, Holding, Garner, Ambrose. You really couldn't see them losing to an Australia best eleven of the 2000s such as: Hayden, Langer, Ponting, M Waugh, S Waugh, M Hussey, A Gilchrist, Warne, Lee, Gillespie, McGrath, or a 1930s/40s best eleven such as: Ponsford, Morris, Bradman, Harvey, McCabe, Miller, Tallon, O'Reilly, Grimmet, Lindwall, Toshack. Man-for-man, I'd back WI to win most times.

  • on December 5, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    With dominance, comes fear. Which team was more fearful?

    Aus of 2000s was no less but In my opinion it was WI of 1980s with the likes of Garner, Holding, Marshal, Roberts, Craft. There had been no bowling attack as fearful as this was. If anyone has doubt, compare player by player of each attack.

  • Drew2 on December 5, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    The West Indies dominance was mostly during Australia's worst era. To suggest that the Windies had the strongest opposition is laughable That may have been true in the late 70s, but they had no opposition for most of the 80s. And what about Hammond, Hutton, Hobbs, Larwood, Compton etc etc etc. The old Australian side played on uncovered pitches. Today everyone wears helmets. You could go on and on. It's pointless to compare eras. They were all by, some distance, the best sides of their era.

  • rohan024 on December 5, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    Australian team from 2000 till 2007 hands down...Esp. bcoz they managed to win on those pitches where all other teams would draw the games...McGrath/Warne were just too good for any country on any pitch..Hail the legends!!

  • on December 5, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    Great article about the SECOND BEST test team of all time! The best team though, never got to play test cricket and there can be little doubt that the South Africans of the 1970s were the best with players such as Richards, Ackerman, Barlow, Pollock, Pollock, Procter, Rice et al. Also, how would the careers of players such as Greig, Lamb and the Smith brothers have panned out?

  • RandyOZ on December 5, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    The last Australian team is clearly the winner in all aspects. I love how no Indian or English teams are even in the same stratosphere. Australia is the greatest cricketing nation of ALL TIME!

  • on December 5, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    I am interesting in knowing most dominant period of Pakistani team, or Golden age of Pakistan Cricket...???

  • Vii_Vil_Vin on December 5, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    Rajesh - thanks for these stats.. True that numbers alone dont matter. Could we have a similar comparison between all time great batsmen such as Don Bradman, Sachin, Lara, Ponting. I am keen to see who wins the battle as the greatest batsman!!

  • UglyIndian on December 5, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    I'd give the edge to the West Indies, but the Aussie team circa 1999-2007 comes mighty close. While Warne gets credited..and duly so...I feel the man who really orchestrated Australian victories was Glenn McGrath, for he dominated every single batsman of his era, be it Lara, Tendulkar or Kallis. Also, I feel the team that really challenged Australia in Australia was New Zealand in 2001-02, with Australia playing its best bowling line-up of McGrath, Gillespie, Warne and Lee. The series ended 0-0, but could have been won by either team, with New Zealand having the upper hand in 2 out of 3 test matches. It's annoying how the Indians take credit for drawing the series in 2003-04, when it was clearly against a second string bowling attack of Bracken, Bichel, Brad Williams (who?), and an off-colour Stuart McGill, while the extra-ordinary effort of the Kiwis gets overlooked. Also,they beat Australia in 3 out of the 4 games in the VB tri-series knocking Australia out of the finals!

  • on December 5, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Undoubtedly it was CLIVE LLOYD'S WINDIES OF 1974-85, was the best and all conquering with giants in batting like the great VIV, Clive himself, Greenidge, Haynes, pocket power house Kallicharant, Ace wicket keeper-batsman Dujon, and super fast bowlers like Robers, Holding, Marshall, Garner, Croft, followed by Ambrose and Walsh - really the JUGGERNAUT of cricket.

  • smudgeon on December 5, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    I would pay through the nose to see a 5 match series between Aus 2000s & Windies 1980s...

  • Nasir.Ahmed on December 5, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    Great article and stats, The Australian team of the 2000s seems the best of the lot, purely because of their sheer dominance and extraordinary cricket. I think it also depends on the generation who were witness to every particular era, I see the Australians the mightiest of them all, my dad begs to differ. He says the West Indies of the 80's and early 90's were the best ever, especially Sir Richards. I am not in a position to talk about the windies as I only some glimpses of their actual might in Lara but the Australian legacy will go for decades to come.

  • on December 5, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Most of the Cricket commentators on most of the sports channels are the ones who faced the great West Indian team of the 1980's. During every test match while commenting they tell the tale of the great team. Such commenting in turn create an awe about that West Indian team and make us believe that probably that was the best test Cricket team ever. There is no question that it was a great team. But i believe the Australian team from 1999-2007 was far more devastating and brilliant than that 80's West Indian team. But still there aren't enough people who get nostalgic about Steve waugh aur Ponting's team. The reason being, today its a digital age. people are lured with instant gratification and with so much influx of information people instantly wants new heroes new greats. Thats why a kolaveri becomes and things or events of may be three years get lost. And Australian team of the 1999-2007 played in that Digital era of technology. and there aren'y enough people emotional about it.

  • on December 5, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    @Zahidsaltin- "Bradman Crap"? Did any other side in the history of test cricket have such a player at number 3, a very attacking player who averaged double the next best player in the world? Without him that 1930's side looks a lot more human, even with McCabe & Ponsford. O'Reilly was probably a better bowler than Warne too and would have cleaned up today against technically inept batsman. Bradman as a captain never had an attacking new ball combination until 1948. The result? A whitewash. I would love to see the 1948 side against a modern team. I reckon they would clean up, even with Bradman in his early 40's..

  • Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on December 5, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    guess we have to hand it to the windies. they had to contend with Imran's Cornered Tigers, Kapil's pretty good team, Botham-Gooch-Lamb-Gower-Smith and co, Aussies who weren't as bad as they were made out to be, Hadlee...

  • on December 5, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    Mohammad Nayeemuddin@ "Pakistan team of 1980s that had the likes of Imran Khan, Waseem Akram, Javed Miandad, and Abdul Khadir was also a great test team. The Indian team of 2000s with Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Dhoni and Anil Kumble should also make to the list. "

    This list is for dominant teams, those were very good teams but the fact is they were second best of their era because WI were better in the 1980s and Australia were better in the 2000's (Well up to around 2007 anyway).

  • mits6 on December 5, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Which was the most dominant Test side ever? Sorry but can't differentiate ,all the 3 were invincibles of their era

  • satish619chandar on December 5, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    Yes.. I would rate WI a notch higher because they won in subcontinent with pace attack convincingly.. Why i wont rate Aussies on them because, they won only one series in India and that too would have been a 2-2 easily if not for a rain intervention.. Apart from that, they had an embarrassing results(For their standards) in India.. But they were match winners everywhere else.. Thats why, they can come second place to THAT WI team..

  • on December 5, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    Perfect Stats ... :) hope to see more stats like this

  • Shams on December 5, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    Why is the win-loss record for "competitive" teams progressively lower (1.5, 0.9 and 0.75) for the three team comparisons? Doesn't using 0.9 and 0.75 make the results impartial for the first Australian team?

  • on December 5, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    Let's just say they all three team were greats and leave it at that. Who cares who is best because all three teams playes great cricket.

  • on December 5, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    Fantastic work! As far as stats are concerned, Austarlia under Steve Waugh appear to have fared better than Lloyd's West Indies. However, it'll be interesting to see which team out of these two was more fierce. How many teams feared and up to what extend did they fear to face these two teams in the ground. Winning games even before a ball being bowled is the ultimate limit of dominance.

  • jonesy2 on December 5, 2011, 5:36 GMT

    no debate. australia with waugh's, gilchrist, mcgrath, warne, martyn, hussey, clarke, gillespie, lee, clark, langer, hayden, ponting, johnson, lehmann, healy, macgill, taylor, slater, katich, fleming, blewett, kaspa, bichel

  • Coco-SCC on December 5, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    Good stats to have in your back pocket for the inevitable pub discussion. BTW, if you read the pommy newspapers, the suggestion is that the pommy team is the best team ever...!!

  • NalinWikkey on December 5, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    Forget the stats - watch "A Fire In Babylon" - then you know who was a REALLY DOMINANT team!

  • Zahidsaltin on December 5, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    just keep that Bradman crap out of the discussion and then yes there is a contest. Even today if there are only two teams playing cricket, Let's say India and West indies and they play only each other then present india team will win 50/50 matches be it at home or away. And their can even be some one from India who can match Bradman. But for me WI of 80's is totally different the all the best teams in history. May be because it wasn't that high scoring era and Wi made it more worse for opponents.

  • on December 5, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    That shows how great Sourav Ganguly's India was which gave arguably the best Test side for all times a solid run for money. Not only in home (3-3), but also in Australia they fough (and dominated) this great Australian team tooth and nail. This should have come up in the article more clearly.

  • on December 5, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    That shows how great Sourav Ganguly's India was which gave arguably the best Test side for all times a solid run for money. Not only in home (3-3), but also in Australia they fough (and dominated) this great Australian team tooth and nail. This should have come up in the article more clearly.

  • BillyCC on December 5, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    Dominance in cricket can have different meanings. Some will say it is about winning and winning handsomely. If that is the case, Australia in the mid 90s and for about ten years afterwards, completely destroyed all opponents home and away at least once. However, I personally go for the undefeated definition. As a result, I think the West Indies had the most dominating side in cricket. Going undefeated in 15 years is a stunning record.

  • on December 5, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    The West Indies team of 1980s was the greatest team of all time. The Australian team of 2000s was the second greatest. West Indies of 1980s had Vivian Richards with other great batsmen. Australian team of 2000s had great batsmen, but no Vivian Richards, but there was Adam Gilchirst whose overall value was even greater than Vivian Richards. Geoffery Dujon was also the best wicketkeeper and wicketkeeper batsman of his time. So that would nullify Vivian Richards and Adam Gilchrist equation. Australia had Shane Warne and McGrath, but West Indies outscores Australia with a battery of genuinely quick fast bowlers. The West Indies team of 1980s would have a slight edge over the Australian team of 2000s. Pakistan team of 1980s that had the likes of Imran Khan, Waseem Akram, Javed Miandad, and Abdul Khadir was also a great test team. The Indian team of 2000s with Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Dhoni and Anil Kumble should also make to the list.

  • on December 5, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Without any doubt Waugh's team is the best test team played ever. Win everything that came in their way. Records telling its story itself,

  • on December 5, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Its a tough one! For me the invincibles had the greatest player (Bradman) but were not quite the greatest team. WI had quite possibly the greatest pace attack of all time and some great batsmen, but the Aussies of 1999-2007 just shave it because they have the balance of great batsmen, great pace, great spin and the sheer game changer that was Gilchrist coming in at 7 that makes them the best team for me. I'm probably biased because as an England fan I feared that team greatly and never got to see the others.

  • Kaze on December 5, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Australia 1999-2007 is the best, they simply won so many matches not as many draws as WI.

  • drinks.break on December 5, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    The numbers seem to show Aus2 shading WI in terms of dominance.

    But they clearly show that Aus2 was the stronger batting team (the best numbers for positions 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7) with WI the stronger bowling team (their brilliant pace performance more than making up for their lack of spin effectiveness). What a mouth-watering prospect a test series between those two teams would have been!

  • Mad_Hamish on December 5, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    You've got to be a bit careful about grouping the Australian team of the 30s and 40s together. Of the pace bowlers you mention (Lindwall, Johnston and Miller) none of them played in tests before WWII, of the spinners Grimmett last played in a series against England or the Windies in 34 iirc and O'Reilly only played 1 test after WWII (vs NZ). iirc the only players from pre-WWII who lined up for the first Ashes series after WWII for aus were Bradman, Barnes, Hassett

  • unregisteredalien on December 5, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    Love your work as usual Raj. If the teams were up against each other I'd probably back the 2000s Australians to come out on top, considering their ruthless efficiency and the increased professionalism of the game in recent times, but that Windies lineup would still be a pretty frightening prospect. Vast talent all over these teams.

  • pitch_curator on December 5, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    I think the Aussies of the 2000s cover all the bases -- great wicket keeper, great spinner, fantastic fielders in Ponting and Martyn, great opening batsmen. I think it is a team meant for all conditions.

  • dsig3 on December 5, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Didnt see the teams of West Indies in the 80's or the Invincibles. I grew up watching Steve Waugh demolish teams for fun. Tests were over in 3 days max so Steve could play golf and save sick children on the 4th and 5th day. I remember alot of people saying that it was too boring because we would always win. I never got tired of seeing us smash hapless tourists because I had a suspicion one day it would be 2011 and our team would be average.

  • AncientAstronaut on December 5, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    Not surprising, because the Australian team of the 30s only had England as the challenger. The West Indies and the modern Australian teams had more challengers in South Africa, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

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  • AncientAstronaut on December 5, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    Not surprising, because the Australian team of the 30s only had England as the challenger. The West Indies and the modern Australian teams had more challengers in South Africa, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

  • dsig3 on December 5, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Didnt see the teams of West Indies in the 80's or the Invincibles. I grew up watching Steve Waugh demolish teams for fun. Tests were over in 3 days max so Steve could play golf and save sick children on the 4th and 5th day. I remember alot of people saying that it was too boring because we would always win. I never got tired of seeing us smash hapless tourists because I had a suspicion one day it would be 2011 and our team would be average.

  • pitch_curator on December 5, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    I think the Aussies of the 2000s cover all the bases -- great wicket keeper, great spinner, fantastic fielders in Ponting and Martyn, great opening batsmen. I think it is a team meant for all conditions.

  • unregisteredalien on December 5, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    Love your work as usual Raj. If the teams were up against each other I'd probably back the 2000s Australians to come out on top, considering their ruthless efficiency and the increased professionalism of the game in recent times, but that Windies lineup would still be a pretty frightening prospect. Vast talent all over these teams.

  • Mad_Hamish on December 5, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    You've got to be a bit careful about grouping the Australian team of the 30s and 40s together. Of the pace bowlers you mention (Lindwall, Johnston and Miller) none of them played in tests before WWII, of the spinners Grimmett last played in a series against England or the Windies in 34 iirc and O'Reilly only played 1 test after WWII (vs NZ). iirc the only players from pre-WWII who lined up for the first Ashes series after WWII for aus were Bradman, Barnes, Hassett

  • drinks.break on December 5, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    The numbers seem to show Aus2 shading WI in terms of dominance.

    But they clearly show that Aus2 was the stronger batting team (the best numbers for positions 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7) with WI the stronger bowling team (their brilliant pace performance more than making up for their lack of spin effectiveness). What a mouth-watering prospect a test series between those two teams would have been!

  • Kaze on December 5, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Australia 1999-2007 is the best, they simply won so many matches not as many draws as WI.

  • on December 5, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Its a tough one! For me the invincibles had the greatest player (Bradman) but were not quite the greatest team. WI had quite possibly the greatest pace attack of all time and some great batsmen, but the Aussies of 1999-2007 just shave it because they have the balance of great batsmen, great pace, great spin and the sheer game changer that was Gilchrist coming in at 7 that makes them the best team for me. I'm probably biased because as an England fan I feared that team greatly and never got to see the others.

  • on December 5, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Without any doubt Waugh's team is the best test team played ever. Win everything that came in their way. Records telling its story itself,

  • on December 5, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    The West Indies team of 1980s was the greatest team of all time. The Australian team of 2000s was the second greatest. West Indies of 1980s had Vivian Richards with other great batsmen. Australian team of 2000s had great batsmen, but no Vivian Richards, but there was Adam Gilchirst whose overall value was even greater than Vivian Richards. Geoffery Dujon was also the best wicketkeeper and wicketkeeper batsman of his time. So that would nullify Vivian Richards and Adam Gilchrist equation. Australia had Shane Warne and McGrath, but West Indies outscores Australia with a battery of genuinely quick fast bowlers. The West Indies team of 1980s would have a slight edge over the Australian team of 2000s. Pakistan team of 1980s that had the likes of Imran Khan, Waseem Akram, Javed Miandad, and Abdul Khadir was also a great test team. The Indian team of 2000s with Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Dhoni and Anil Kumble should also make to the list.