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Which Test XIs have had the most bowlers with averages below 30? And has any team had seven batsmen with averages over 45?
May 30, 2012
At the end of the Trent Bridge Test against West Indies, England's attack had two bowlers on the right side of 30, and two on the wrong side by very little. We're talking averages, by the way. Tim Bresnan's eight wickets brought his average down to 25.46 and Graeme Swann's was 28.12, while James Anderson is now on 30.05 and Stuart Broad on 30.42. If Bresnan and Swann maintain their means and Anderson and Broad improve theirs, England could soon join Australia as the only teams capable of fielding a sub-30 Test attack.
England also have four batsmen - Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell - with Test averages over 45 at present. They had five for three Tests between July 2011 and January 2012 but Matt Prior's average has dropped to 42.31 since then.
This week we've dug up teams that had the most bowlers with averages below 30 in Tests, and those that had the most batsmen with averages over 45.
The Australian team that played the Perth Test against Zimbabwe in 2003 is the only one to have seven batsmen with averages over 45. Matthew Hayden scored 380 in that game and held the record for best Test score until Brian Lara reclaimed it a few months later. At the end of the innings-and-175-run victory, Adam Gilchrist averaged 61.06, Hayden 56.75, Steve Waugh 51.20, Ricky Ponting 50.96, Darren Lehmann 49.75, Damien Martyn 46.65 and Justin Langer 45.66.
Australia are also the only international team to have had six batsmen with 45-plus averages in an XI. Gilchrist, Hayden, Langer and Ponting were constants in those six matches, while Lehmann, Waugh, Martyn or Michael Hussey filled the remaining two spots.
The ICC World XI that played the Super Test in 2005 had six players with averages over 50, but that's why they were selected in the first place. The Australian team that beat them by 210 runs had four over 45, of whom Gilchrist, Hayden and Ponting were over 50.
|Team||Num||Mat||Start Date||End Date||List|
|Australia||7||1||Oct 9, 2003||Oct 13, 2003||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, JL Langer, DS Lehmann, DR Martyn, RT Ponting, SR Waugh|
|Australia||6||1||Jul 25, 2003||Jul 28, 2003||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, JL Langer, DS Lehmann, RT Ponting, SR Waugh|
|Australia||6||1||Dec 4, 2003||Dec 8, 2003||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, JL Langer, DR Martyn, RT Ponting, SR Waugh|
|Australia||6||2||Nov 26, 2004||Dec 19, 2004||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, JL Langer, DS Lehmann, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|ICC World XI||6||1||Oct 14, 2005||Oct 17, 2005||R Dravid, Inzamam-ul-Haq, JH Kallis, BC Lara, V Sehwag, GC Smith|
|Australia||6||2||Nov 23, 2006||Dec 5, 2006||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, MEK Hussey, JL Langer, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|West Indies||5||3||Dec 7, 1984||Jan 2, 1985||PJL Dujon, HA Gomes, CG Greenidge, CH Lloyd, IVA Richards|
|Australia||5||4||Apr 10, 2003||Jul 20, 2003||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, JL Langer, RT Ponting, SR Waugh|
|Australia||5||14||Mar 8, 2002||Jan 6, 2004||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, DR Martyn, RT Ponting, SR Waugh|
|South Africa||5||2||Mar 18, 2004||Mar 30, 2004||HH Gibbs, JH Kallis, G Kirsten, JA Rudolph, GC Smith|
|Australia||5||1||Oct 26, 2004||Oct 29, 2004||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, SM Katich, DS Lehmann, DR Martyn|
|Australia||5||5||Mar 8, 2004||Nov 21, 2004||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, DS Lehmann, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|Australia||5||13||Dec 26, 2004||Apr 4, 2006||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, JL Langer, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|Australia||5||3||Dec 14, 2006||Jan 5, 2007||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, MEK Hussey, JL Langer, RT Ponting|
|Australia||5||4||Nov 8, 2007||Jan 28, 2008||MJ Clarke, AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, MEK Hussey, RT Ponting|
|England||5||3||Jul 21, 2011||Jan 19, 2012||IR Bell, AN Cook, KP Pietersen, MJ Prior, IJL Trott|
|India||5||21||Mar 26, 2009||Jan 28, 2012||R Dravid, G Gambhir, VVS Laxman, V Sehwag, SR Tendulkar|
India had the most constant combination in the table above. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman played 21 Tests together between March 2009 and January this year in which all of them had averages above 45.
The first time a team had five batsmen with such high averages was as late as 1984. West Indies played three Tests against Australia between December that year and January 1985 with Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge, Larry Gomes and Jeff Dujon averaging more than 45. They won the first of those matches to take a 3-0 lead and secure the Frank Worrell Trophy, drew the next and lost the last. All the other entries in the table are from the 21st century, an example of the depreciating value of a 45 average.
It's quite the opposite for the bowlers. There have been only 21 Tests in which a team had five bowlers averaging less than 30, and only three of those were in the 21st century. The great West Indian and Australian attacks of the 1980s and 2000s don't appear in the table below because they usually needed only four bowlers to do the job.
The first time a team had five sub-30 bowlers was in 1950, when Australia played South Africa in two Tests, with Ian Johnson, Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller, Bill Johnston and Colin McCool. Five years later, against West Indies at Sabina Park, Johnson, Johnston, Lindwall and Miller were still averaging below 30, and they were joined by Ron Archer, who averaged just below 30 at the time.
|Team||Num||Mat||Start Date||End Date||List|
|Australia||5||2||Jan 20, 1950||Feb 14, 1950||IWG Johnson, WA Johnston, RR Lindwall, CL McCool, KR Miller|
|Australia||5||1||Jun 11, 1955||Jun 17, 1955||RG Archer, IWG Johnson, WA Johnston, RR Lindwall, KR Miller|
|England||5||2||Jun 19, 1958||Jul 8, 1958||TE Bailey, JC Laker, PJ Loader, GAR Lock, FS Trueman|
|England||5||2||Dec 5, 1958||Jan 5, 1959||TE Bailey, JC Laker, PJ Loader, GAR Lock, JB Statham|
|England||5||2||Aug 21, 1958||Jan 15, 1959||TE Bailey, JC Laker, GAR Lock, JB Statham, FS Trueman|
|England||5||1||Jan 30, 1959||Feb 5, 1959||TE Bailey, GAR Lock, JB Statham, FS Trueman, FH Tyson|
|Australia||5||1||Jan 23, 1960||Jan 28, 1960||R Benaud, AK Davidson, RR Lindwall, KD Mackay, I Meckiff|
|Australia||5||3||Jul 31, 1975||Sep 3, 1975||DK Lillee, AA Mallett, JR Thomson, MHN Walker, KD Walters|
|England||5||1||Aug 2, 1979||Aug 7, 1979||IT Botham, PH Edmonds, M Hendrick, JK Lever, G Miller|
|England||5||2||Jul 12, 1979||Aug 21, 1979||IT Botham, PH Edmonds, M Hendrick, G Miller, RGD Willis|
|Australia||5||1||Jan 2, 1981||Jan 4, 1981||JD Higgs, RM Hogg, DK Lillee, LS Pascoe, KD Walters|
|South Africa||5||3||Mar 9, 2001||Apr 2, 2001||N Boje, AA Donald, JH Kallis, M Ntini, SM Pollock|
The last team to have five bowlers with sub-30 Test averages was South Africa, for three Tests in the West Indies in 2001. Their attack comprised Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Nicky Boje and Jacques Kallis.
Kallis was also part of the first ODI team to have five batsmen with averages over 40. The other four in the two 2003 World Cup matches in question were Boeta Dippenaar, Gary Kirsten, Graeme Smith and Lance Klusener. South Africa's only other time was in an ODI against Pakistan in 2010, when Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Kallis and Graeme Smith had 40-plus averages. Smith's average has dropped to 39 since then.
|Team||Num||Mat||Start Date||End Date||List|
|South Africa||5||2||Feb 16, 2003||Mar 3, 2003||HH Dippenaar, JH Kallis, G Kirsten, L Klusener, GC Smith|
|Australia||5||2||Feb 25, 2004||Feb 27, 2004||MG Bevan, MJ Clarke, ML Hayden, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|Australia||5||2||Jan 21, 2005||Jan 23, 2005||MJ Clarke, ML Hayden, DS Lehmann, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|Australia||5||8||Dec 14, 2007||Feb 24, 2008||MJ Clarke, ML Hayden, MEK Hussey, RT Ponting, A Symonds|
|Australia||5||1||Jan 26, 2010||Jan 26, 2010||MJ Clarke, MEK Hussey, SE Marsh, RT Ponting, SR Watson|
|South Africa||5||1||Nov 8, 2010||Nov 8, 2010||HM Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, JH Kallis, GC Smith|
|Australia||5||2||Apr 11, 2011||Apr 13, 2011||MJ Clarke, CJ Ferguson, MEK Hussey, RT Ponting, SR Watson|
|West Indies||4||1||Feb 2, 1985||Feb 2, 1985||CG Greenidge, CH Lloyd, AL Logie, IVA Richards|
|West Indies||4||4||Nov 30, 1986||Jan 24, 1987||CG Greenidge, DL Haynes, AL Logie, IVA Richards|
|West Indies||4||1||May 23, 1988||May 24, 1988||CG Greenidge, DL Haynes, CL Hooper, IVA Richards|
|South Africa||4||1||Jan 20, 2002||Jan 20, 2002||JH Kallis, G Kirsten, L Klusener, ND McKenzie|
|South Africa||4||11||Feb 3, 2002||Feb 22, 2003||HH Dippenaar, JH Kallis, G Kirsten, L Klusener|
|South Africa||4||1||Feb 27, 2003||Feb 27, 2003||HH Dippenaar, JH Kallis, G Kirsten, GC Smith|
|Australia||4||29||Dec 13, 2002||Feb 22, 2004||MG Bevan, ML Hayden, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|South Africa||4||3||Feb 17, 2004||Feb 29, 2004||HH Dippenaar, JH Kallis, L Klusener, JA Rudolph|
|Australia||4||1||Jan 16, 2005||Jan 16, 2005||MJ Clarke, DS Lehmann, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|Australia||4||16||Aug 23, 2004||Jul 12, 2005||MJ Clarke, ML Hayden, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|South Africa||4||1||Jan 15, 2006||Jan 15, 2006||HH Dippenaar, JH Kallis, AG Prince, GC Smith|
|Australia||4||12||Feb 3, 2006||Nov 5, 2006||MJ Clarke, MEK Hussey, DR Martyn, RT Ponting|
|India||4||14||Jan 31, 2007||Sep 29, 2007||MS Dhoni, R Dravid, SC Ganguly, SR Tendulkar|
|Australia||4||3||Oct 5, 2007||Oct 11, 2007||MJ Clarke, ML Hayden, RT Ponting, A Symonds|
|Australia||4||1||Feb 3, 2008||Feb 3, 2008||MJ Clarke, MEK Hussey, RT Ponting, A Symonds|
|Australia||4||20||Jan 12, 2007||Mar 4, 2008||MJ Clarke, ML Hayden, MEK Hussey, RT Ponting|
|Australia||4||1||Oct 5, 2009||Oct 5, 2009||CJ Ferguson, MEK Hussey, RT Ponting, SR Watson|
|South Africa||4||6||May 22, 2010||Nov 5, 2010||HM Amla, AB de Villiers, JH Kallis, GC Smith|
|South Africa||4||3||Jan 15, 2011||Jan 21, 2011||HM Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, GC Smith|
|Australia||4||23||Jan 22, 2010||Oct 28, 2011||MJ Clarke, MEK Hussey, RT Ponting, SR Watson|
|South Africa||4||9||Feb 24, 2011||Feb 29, 2012||HM Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, JH Kallis|
|India||4||17||Feb 19, 2011||Mar 18, 2012||MS Dhoni, G Gambhir, V Kohli, SR Tendulkar|
Pakistan are the only side to have had five ODI bowlers with averages below 25, for 15 matches between January 2000 and April 2002 - Abdul Razzaq, Saqlain Mushtaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.
The last team to have four bowlers with ODI averages below 25 was Australia, when Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz came together for four matches between September 2004 and March 2005.
|Team||Num||Mat||Start Date||End Date||List|
|Pakistan||5||15||Jan 9, 2000||Apr 24, 2002||Abdul Razzaq, Saqlain Mushtaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram|
|West Indies||4||2||Jun 22, 1983||Jun 25, 1983||J Garner, MA Holding, MD Marshall, AME Roberts|
|Australia||4||7||Mar 11, 1995||Feb 23, 1996||CJ McDermott, GD McGrath, PR Reiffel, SK Warne|
|Pakistan||4||5||Jan 23, 2000||Apr 23, 2000||Abdul Razzaq, Saqlain Mushtaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram|
|England||4||1||Jul 15, 2000||Jul 15, 2000||AR Caddick, D Gough, AD Mullally, C White|
|Pakistan||4||1||Jun 9, 2001||Jun 9, 2001||Abdul Razzaq, Saqlain Mushtaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis|
|Pakistan||4||6||Oct 24, 2000||Jun 23, 2001||Abdul Razzaq, Saqlain Mushtaq, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram|
|Pakistan||4||8||Mar 23, 2000||Sep 1, 2002||Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram|
|Pakistan||4||6||May 31, 1999||Feb 25, 2003||Saqlain Mushtaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram|
|Australia||4||3||Sep 13, 2004||Mar 1, 2005||JN Gillespie, MS Kasprowicz, B Lee, GD McGrath|
If there's a particular List that you would like to see, email us with your comments and suggestions.
Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for ESPNcricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Binoy
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