July 3, 2015

Anderson, Broad, and their Aussie battles

With the red Dukes ball, against Australia's current batting line-up, Stuart Broad has a much better record than James Anderson

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Ashes Key Battles: How important is Anderson?

Since July 2005, there have been six Ashes series played, three in each country. Each of these series has consisted of five Tests, which means 30 Tests have been played between these two teams in the last ten years. It's easily the most Tests played between a pair of teams during this period - the next-highest is 22, between Australia and India.

The frequent battles for the Ashes also means frequent exchanges between batsmen from one team against bowlers from the other, which in turn means plenty of head-to-head data to look at. James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been regulars for England in four of those series - Anderson has played each of the last 20 Ashes Tests since 2009, while Broad has played 17. Here's how they have fared against the Australia batsmen individually and as a group.

Michael Clarke v Anderson and Broad

In 30 Tests against England, Michael Clarke averages 44.87; in 80 Tests against all other teams, he averages 52.90. This difference of eight runs in his average is largely due to two bowlers - James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Out of the 47 times he has been dismissed in Tests against England, 18 have been to their current new-ball pair of Anderson and Broad, with each having dismissed him nine times.

Surprisingly, Anderson has been more successful against Clarke in Australia, dismissing him five times at an average of 25.60; in England, Clarke averages 40 against him. In the 2010-11 Ashes in Australia, Anderson nailed Clarke three times in 91 balls, conceding just 32 runs - an average of 10.66 runs per dismissal; in no other series has he dismissed Clarke more than twice. Broad, on the other hand, has been far more dominant against Clarke in England, dismissing him seven times at an average of 21.42. In the 2013 series alone, Broad dismissed Clarke five times conceding 84 runs, an average of 16.80 runs per dismissal.

Together, Anderson and Broad have dismissed Clarke 18 times in Tests, at an average of 28.94; against all the other England bowlers, Clarke's Test average is very nearly twice as good - 56.71.

Clarke v Anderson
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  160  234  4  40.00
 Australia  128  264  5  25.60
 Overall  288  498  9  32.00
Clarke v Broad
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  150  319  7  21.42
 Australia  83  136  2  41.50
 Overall  233  455  9  25.88

Brad Haddin v Anderson and Broad

In the 2013-14 Ashes series, one of the key factors in Australia's ability to recover from dodgy top-order contributions was the consistency of Brad Haddin at No. 7. Repeatedly, he put together partnerships with one of the specialist batsmen or the tail, and ended up dragging Australia to totals which gave the bowlers enough runs to play with. In eight innings in the series, he scored 493 runs at 61.62, with six scores of 50 or more. In the previous Ashes series, in 2013 which England had won 3-0, Haddin had scored 206 runs in ten innings at 22.88. A part of the difference was in the way he tackled Anderson and Broad in the two series (though Graeme Swann also played a huge role in the 2013 series, dismissing Haddin four times conceding 80 runs, compared to figures of none for 76 against Haddin in the 2013-14 series). Anderson and Broad had combined figures of 2 for 184 against Haddin in 2013-14 (average of 92 runs per wicket); in 2013, they had combined figures of 4 for 80, with each bowler getting him twice.

Overall, though both bowlers have dismissed him six times each in Tests, Broad has done much better, conceding 25 runs per dismissal compared with Anderson's 52. Haddin's numbers also suggest he prefers playing at home far more than in England: in ten Tests against England at home, he averages 53.31; in nine Tests against them in England, his average drops to 32.26. The extent to which England's bowlers keep his runs and lower-order partnerships in check could well be a key factor in the home team's success in the series.

Haddin v Anderson
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  119  203  2  59.50
 Australia  196  267  4  49.00
 Overall  315  470  6  52.50
Haddin v Broad
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  58  133  4  14.50
 Australia  94  196  2  47.00
 Overall  152  329  6  25.33

Shane Watson v Anderson and Broad

Shane Watson isn't a certainty to figure in Australia's starting line-up in Cardiff, but his record against England is much better than against other teams: he has played 18 of Australia's last 20 Tests against England, and has averaged 43.57 in those games; against all other teams, he averages 31.60 in 40 Tests. His poorest average in an Ashes series is 38.33, in 2013-14.

Like Haddin, Watson too has preferred playing Anderson, not Broad. Though Anderson has dismissed Watson eight times, each dismissal has come at a cost of nearly 52 runs; against Broad, Watson has averaged only 26.57.

Watson v Anderson
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  195  308  2  97.50
 Australia  219  428  6  36.50
 Overall  414  736  8  51.75
Watson v Broad
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  95  201  5  19.00
 Australia  91  206  2  45.50
 Overall  186  407  7  26.57

In the upcoming series, though, two of the key batsmen for Australia will probably be Steven Smith and David Warner. Smith averages less than 38 in 13 Tests against England, but has been in sensational form since the 2013-14 Ashes series, averaging 93.43 in his last 11 Tests.

Both batsmen, though, don't have outstanding records against Anderson and Broad, averaging less than 40 against them. Broad had a bit to say about Smith batting at No. 3, and that's perhaps based on his record against Smith in the 2013 Ashes in England, when he conceded only 45 runs off 122 balls and dismissed him twice. Against Warner, Anderson has the better stats in England.

There's another Australian batsman in the current squad who has played both these England bowlers, and done really well against them. Chris Rogers isn't a certainty for the first Test, and has been in the news for reasons other than strictly cricketing, but his stats against Anderson and Broad are outstanding, with averages of more than 65 against each.

Smith v Anderson
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  89  170  1  89.00
 Australia  104  266  4  26.00
 Overall  193  436  5  38.60
Smith v Broad
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  45  122  2  22.50
 Australia  42  104  1  42.00
 Overall  87  226  3  29.00
Warner v Anderson
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  33  59  2  16.50
 Australia  106  161  2  53.00
 Overall  139  220  4  34.75
Warner v Broad
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  49  65  1  49.00
 Australia  136  153  4  34.00
 Overall  185  218  5  37.00
Rogers v Anderson
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  105  240  2  52.50
 Australia  98  262  1  98.00
 Overall  203  502  3  67.66
Rogers v Broad
Host country Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 England  104  220  1  104.00
 Australia  93  149  2  46.50
 Overall  197  369  3  65.66

Aggregating all those numbers, and whittling it down to stats in England only, the difference between Anderson and Broad is quite stark. Overall in these series - in 2009 and 2013 - Broad averaged 28.70 to Anderson's 35.08, but against these six batsmen, Broad has been by far the more effective bowler, conceding less than half the number of runs per wicket that Anderson has. In Australia, on the other hand, Anderson has averaged 38.68 against these batsmen to Broad's 41.46.

Anderson and Broad have been instrumental in many of England's successes against Australia recently, but in England, with the red Dukes ball, Broad has been the bigger threat against the Australian top-order batsmen who are around for this series. If these numbers spur Anderson to step it up a few gears over the next couple of months, that can't be a bad thing for England.

The six Australians v Anderson and Broad, in England
Bowler Runs Balls Dismissals Average
 James Anderson  701  1214  13  53.92
 Stuart Broad  501  1060  20  25.05

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2015, 3:27 GMT

    Mervo, I think you'll find that Stuart Broad took 21 wickets at 27 last time they were here. Nothing dismal about that especially given how badly they were flogged.

  • Merv on July 4, 2015, 9:41 GMT

    Interesting. Their record in Australia and SA is plain dismal, so is it all about the ball or about the softer English conditions? Terry Alderman terrorised the then English with his medium pace in England but was never really the same threatening bowler in Australia. Both Broad and Anderson are a bit older and slower these days and their Test averages are not likely to improve much beyond 'good' at this stage. Time will tell.

  • Dummy4 on July 4, 2015, 6:47 GMT

    @DAVID_BOON - I wouldn't say that you're wrong but if you look back at 2005, and in fact all the Ashes series since then you'll find that Aussie players have almost always had better numbers than their English counterparts. But they still lost 4 of those 6 series to England.

  • Eddie on July 4, 2015, 4:27 GMT

    I'm an Aussie, but some of my fellow Aussies are letting us down and sounding a bit over the top in their comments. We haven't beaten England in England since 2001. Of course its been close in 2005 and 2009. But in the end, Australia couldn't get it over the line. A lot of our guys in the team now haven't had much experience in England and the England team is somewhat different than when we last played them. There is no way to know at the moment what the results may be.

  • Colin on July 3, 2015, 20:28 GMT

    Anderson and Broad get into the Aussie team? Don't be silly! Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall wouldn't into this team. The greatest bowling unit ever assembled. Hazlewood will get 50 wickets @ 6 or 7 this series and MJ will hit 150 mph.

  • Pete on July 3, 2015, 19:36 GMT

    Fascinating analysis. Anderson's average borders on unpickable, which was not my recollection of his performance against Australia at home. Will Broad click again? Will anyone else step up?

  • Cameron on July 3, 2015, 16:26 GMT

    @landl47, hope you don't mind an Aussie backing you up as at the moment it seems a bit rare as these threads get mean but I'm with you on Broad. He's had that knack to bowl memorable spells as well, like if he gets a couple of wickets you feel a 5for is often around the corner. I don't care too much for the stats, Lyon just got carted by Essex (5 internationals) but who cares, he's been consistent in his career and let's face it, off spin isn't exactly box office. The Aussies will win the Ashes, there's no doubt about that but seeing how the squad goes with the new coach will be interesting. I'm not sure about some of the senior guys (Bell, Cook) or the fringe players (Stokes, Ballance, Butler, Wood, Rashid, Lythe, Root etc.) but let see. Thankfully the real cricket starts soon so these boards will thin out and we can have some fun again.

  • Lerato H Nyelele Mjoli on July 3, 2015, 15:09 GMT

    I am a south African and still haven't seen a test match where Anderson was special or bowled great at I remember two occasions for broad 1 in durban when the ball was reversing and another in England. ...but Anderson has always been a punching bag for all our top order that included the hit and miss alviro pieterson. ...so maybe he might enjoy the subcontinent teams thus all the respects but Aussie and protea he is just a simple bowling machine which you line up and than hit.......but it seems like he has some sort of wood for the sub continental teams

  • Lerato H Nyelele Mjoli on July 3, 2015, 15:01 GMT

    pretty average bowling at best but we can see that if broad gets it right he can make more impact than Anderson in the English conditions

  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2015, 13:23 GMT

    Great bowlers have Aura. WI Quicks of 80s, Thommo - Lillee, Warne-Mcgrath etc. None of the current lineup except Mitchel Johnson in last Ashes series and Mitchel Starc now seem to have it. So whatever we talk about Anderson or Broad, there is certainly no Aura. Stats can be deceptive but one question settles it. Which bowler does have potential to through a side or change state of the match in just a few over spell. I dont see Broad or Anderson doing it and I can see Starc and Johnson with Hazelwood doing it. This is for England team to prove wrong in days ahead.

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