Australia v Sri Lanka, Super Eights, Grenada

Bracken has a blast against Sri Lanka ... again

S Rajesh and HR Gopalakrishna

April 16, 2007

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Nathan Bracken: 21 wickets against Sri Lanka at an average of 13.47 © Getty Images
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The absence of Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas might have taken some of the gloss off the Australian victory, but while the batsmen had it easy, the bowlers still had to earn their wickets against a batting line-up that included Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Glenn McGrath and Shaun Tait were the marquee names in the bowling attack, but the one who did maximum damage was Nathan Bracken, with a display of left-arm seam and swing bowling that even Vaas would have struggled to match.

Bracken has always enjoyed bowling against the Sri Lankans - in seven previous matches he had 17 wickets at 15.52 - but it got even better in Grenada. Bracken's methods were uncomplicated and he stuck to an off-stump channel, pitched it on a good length, moved it a touch, and waited for the results, which were quite spectacular. After seven overs, he had outstanding figures of 2 for 9. The table below indicates that the in-control percentage against him was only around 60%, which means around 40% of the time he beat the bat, induced edges, or rapped the batsmen on the pads. His performance further improves his career stats against Sri Lanka - he now has 21 wickets from eight games at a fantastic average of 13.47.

At the other end of the spectrum was Tait, for whom little went right in his first seven overs. (In his last three he took 2 for 11 for respectable overall figures of 2 for 68 from ten.) He had little control over length or line, sending down six wides, one of which even Adam Gilchrist couldn't gather.

Bracken & Tait, in their first seven overs
Bowler Batsman in control % Good length % Bowling analysis
Nathan Bracken 59.52% 97.61% 7-2-9-2
Shaun Tait 83.72% 58.14% 7-0-57-0

Other stats highlights

  • The 76-run first-wicket stand between Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden is the 25th time the pair have put together a half-century partnership. They equalled the record set by David Boon and Geoff Marsh, and went past Greenidge and Haynes' 24 half-century stands. Add the 15 hundred partnerships by Gilchrist and Hayden, and they now have 40 fifty-plus stands, which is a record, exceeding the 39 by Greenidge and Haynes (15 hundreds, 24 fifties).

  • Gilchrist and Hayden also became the first opening pair to aggregate 1000 runs in World Cups - they have put together 1040 runs at an average of 65 in 17 World Cup innings. Overall they average 50.86 runs per partnership, with 4781 in 97 innings. (Click here for the most successful opening pairs in World Cups.)

  • The 140 that Jayawardene and Chamara Silva added is the highest for the fourth wicket for Sri Lanka against Australia, going past the 121 which had been achieved twice - by Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara at Dambulla in 2003-04, and by Jayawardene and Russel Arnold at Perth in 2004-05.

  • Andrew Symonds' golden run in World Cups continues and he has now scored 463 runs at a fantastic average of 115.75.

  • Jayawardene's 72 was his fourth half-century in this tournament, which is a far-cry from his performance in the 2003 World Cup, when he managed a mere 21 runs from seven innings.

  • When Gilchrist stumped Jayawardene, it was the sixth time he had effected such a dismissal in the World Cup. He needs only one more to equal Moin Khan's record of seven.

  • Both Jayawardene and Ricky Ponting scored half-centuries in this match, which is only the seventh instance of both captains getting them in a World Cup game. Ponting and Jayawardene are among four captains who have scored four half-centuries in this tournament - Graeme Smith and Stephen Fleming are the others.

  • Ponting has now made seven fifty-plus scores as captain in World Cups, which is a record. Mohammad Azharuddin and Fleming have six. The six he hit to seal the match was his 29th in World Cups, which is also a record, going past Herschelle Gibbs' 28.

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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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