England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day

Siddle and Anderson find their bunnies

Stats highlights from a frenetic opening day of the Ashes

S Rajesh

July 10, 2013

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

Peter Siddle pumps his fists in delight at snaring Kevin Pietersen, England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day, July 10, 2013
Peter Siddle's strike rate of 42.1 is the third-best by an overseas bowler in Tests in England, after Glenn McGrath and Mohammad Amir (with a 25-wicket cut-off) © Getty Images
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Coming into this Test, if the two sides had taken a look at the stats at Trent Bridge over the last ten years, they'd have known that run-scoring would be difficult in the first Investec Ashes Test: since 2003, the average runs per wicket here (excluding extras) was 26.84 before today's play. With a six-Test cut-off, only Sabina Park, Jamaica, has a lower average. On the first day of the Ashes Test, though, the average runs per wicket was even lower - 20.71 - as 14 batsmen were dismissed on a frenetic day of cricket; despite the loss of so many wickets, the runs were still scored at an impressive 3.63 per over.

First of all, the toss. Alastair Cook did the right thing, given that England have won their last three Tests after choosing to bat first here - against Pakistan (2010), Australia (2005) and South Africa (2003). On this occasion, though, England's batsmen didn't back that decision with a solid display: for the fifth time in six Tests in 2013, none of their top four batsmen got a half-century in the first innings. As it turned out, there were no half-centuries at all from any of the 17 batsmen who batted today. England finished with 215, their lowest first-innings total in a home Test after winning the toss and batting first since the Ashes Test at Headingley in 2009, when they were bundled out for 102.

That also meant the Trent Bridge jinx for England's top order continued. None of their current top-order batsmen average 40 here, and after today's performances most of the numbers only went down further. Jonathan Trott had never scored more than 38 in his six previous innings here and, while he improved on that by ten runs, he still missed out on a half-century. His captain Alastair Cook did worse, scoring 13 to take his aggregate from 12 Test innings at this ground to 208, at an average of 18.90. Together, Cook and Trott have scored 378 runs at this ground from 17 innings, at a combined average of 22.23.

The Australia bowler who caused the most damage was Peter Siddle, whose 5 for 50 was his second five-for in only six Tests in England. It's the only overseas country where he has more than one five-for. In fact, Siddle's strike rate in England, of 42.1 balls per wicket, is the third-best for any overseas bowler who has taken 25 or more wickets in England; only Glenn McGrath and Mohammad Amir have done better. One of Siddle's victims was Kevin Pietersen, who fell to him for the fifth time in 171 balls in Test cricket. Pietersen's only scored 88 off those 171 balls, which gives him an average of 17.60 against Siddle - there's no question about who's winning that battle, though Pietersen will have opportunities in this series to redress the balance.

England were dismissed cheaply, but they weren't done for the day. Their current fast bowlers all have excellent records at Trent Bridge and, despite the absence of Stuart Broad, the new-ball duo of James Anderson and Steven Finn made Australia's batsmen sweat in the last session. Anderson demonstrated his mastery over swing, and over Australia's captain, dismissing him for the seventh time in Tests, at the total cost of only 153 runs - an average of 21.85, which is almost as emphatic as Siddle's domination of Pietersen. Anderson thus joins Ishant Sharma and Dale Steyn as the bowlers who've dismissed Clarke most often in Tests.

With Ed Cowan playing an expansive shot and getting out first ball before Clarke's dismissal, it meant Australia's No.3 and No.4 batsmen were both out without scoring, a phenomenon that's only happened 13 times in their Test history. The last time Australia suffered such a fate was in 2008, against South Africa in Perth, while the last time England inflicted this misery upon Australia was way back in December 1936. Of these 13 instances, only twice have Australia recovered from the setback to win the Test, and neither of those was against England. As omens go, that's not an encouraging sign for Australian supporters.

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

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Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 11, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

The pair over which Anderson did not demonstrate mastery was the last wicket! The 19 year old debutant mastered the master!

Posted by   on (July 11, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

The (primarily Australian and Indian) fans who rubbish Anderson dliberately fail to take note of the class of batsmen he has dismissed multiple times. To name his top three "bunnies" - Tendulkar 9 at 30.22, Kallis 7 at 33.00, Clarke 7 at 21.28. He has also dismissed Smith, Sangakkara and Boucher six times and Dravid, Sehwag and Prince five times. Dhoni averages 11.50 for four dismissals and Ponting 6.00, also from four dismissals. Of course this is the problem - James Anderson is far too good a bowler and has exposed their heroes too many times to be forgiven by these simple and uncharitable people.

Posted by Harlequin. on (July 11, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

@jackiethepen - agreed. Wrong call by Cook. It would have been a great chance to put the Aussie batting under pressure early on and hopefully set the tone for the series. Far too cautious...again!

Posted by jackiethepen on (July 11, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

Not sure why this research omits the Trent Bridge Test of 2011 when England batted first for 220 (sounds similar), India replied with 288 (Broad got a hat-trick) and in the second innings Bell (at 3 because of Trott's injury) led the way with 159 and England won. I disagree about it being right to bat first. You don't look at stats you look at the weather. The ball was swinging all day. England would have controlled the ball better than Australia first thing. Australia's tactic was to bowl wide at England but it won't work when the ball stops swinging. This was a bowler's wicket. Cook made the wrong call. He paid for it. England were hampered by losing Broad as a bowler. Only 3 partnerships so far: Root-Trott, Bell-Bairstow, Smith-Hughes.

Posted by bobagorof on (July 11, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

Chris_Howard: The last time I checked, there were 3 sessions on each day. I'd suggest that the first session was even (maybe slightly favouring England), the second session, with 87/4, went to Australia. The third session had 30/4 and 75/4 - how you read that is up to interpretation (Australia finishing the tail off quickly and snuffing out any resistance, England ripping out Australia's top order before Smith steadied the ship slightly) but most would say that one went to England. Whether the 2nd or 3rd session was the 'key' one remains to be seen - if Australia bat well on Day 2 then England will look back at that 87/4 and rue their collapse.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (July 11, 2013, 4:22 GMT)

Anderson's ball to Clarke was excellent. It reminds me of the ball Steyn got Clarke with in Perth last year. No shame for Clarke, it's only these type of unplayable deliveries that get him out and they are hard to bowl. Clarke will score runs.

Posted by Wefinishthis on (July 11, 2013, 2:04 GMT)

Fantastic research S Rajesh - great article.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (July 11, 2013, 1:45 GMT)

The difference in the series will be who wins the key sessions - which I tip England to.

They are already one-zip, having won the last session, which became the key session on day one.

Posted by the_blue_android on (July 11, 2013, 0:10 GMT)

Anderson is probably closer to Ishant Sharma than Dale Steyn in terms of skill.

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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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