Australia v World XI, Super Test, Sydney, 3rd day October 16, 2005

The Flintoff-Murali show

Muttiah Muralitharan and Andrew Flintoff turned around a game which seemed headed emphatically in Australia's direction

Muttiah Muralitharan and Andrew Flintoff turned around a game which seemed headed emphatically in Australia's direction, and gave the World XI an opportunity to make a match of it on the fourth day. Though Steve Harmison provided the breakthroughs just before lunch, Flintoff and Murali were undoubtedly the two outstanding bowlers, and the stats bear this out: more than 35% of the deliveries they bowled were potentially wicket-taking ones - that is, they beat the bat, took the edge, or rapped the batsmen on the pads. Harmison was only a notch below the two, though, achieving a PWT percentage of 29.

The dramatic shift in momentum came in the second session, and the numbers indicate just how many opportunities the bowlers created after lunch: pre lunch, the PWT percentage was only 24; after the break it shot up to an astonishing 53.

Sydney's track record isn't encouraging for the World XI - only six times has a team scored more than 300 in the fourth innings, and the highest target successfully chased down batting last in a Test here is 275, by Australia against England way back in 1898.

Since 1995, though, teams average 33.28 runs per wicket in the fourth innings at the SCG, only marginally less than the rate needed by the World XI to clinch this one.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.