India in Pakistan / Features

India v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Faisalabad, 5th day

Bowlers' graveyard

The flatbed at Faisalabad ensured a high in-control percentage for batsmen on all five days

On the Ball with S Rajesh

January 25, 2006

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Completely insipid and lifeless pitches have ensured that a series which was eagerly looked forward to is ending up as one of the most boring, and a terrible advertisement for Test cricket. The bowlers from both teams have found little joy - not only have they not taken wickets, they have seldom even looked like making inroads.

A sporting pitch is one which is usually a good one for batting early on, and then progressively offers more assistance to the bowlers. The flatbed at Faisalabad, though, remained a batting beauty throughout, as is indicated by the high in-control percentage that the batsmen managed on all five days. Even on the last, despite the flurry of wickets towards the end, the bowlers induced false strokes from the batsmen only 13% of the time.

Among the bowlers, Shoaib Akhtar, with his ability to take the pitch out of the equation with his express speed, was the most effective, inducing 17% false shots, followed by Zaheer Khan and the impressive debutant Rudra Pratap Singh (16%). The spinners had a wretched time - Danish Kaneria had a not-in-control percentage of 13, while Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Shahid Afridi could only manage 11%.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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