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India in West Indies 2006

The one bowler Dravid couldn't master

A stats review of the four-Test series between West Indies and India

S Rajesh

July 5, 2006

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In a series which had several batting stars, one performer towered over everyone else - Rahul Dravid amassed five scores of more than fifty in seven innings, and ended up with a tremendous average of 82.66. All the West Indian bowlers came off second-best in their battle against Dravid ... except one. Corey Collymore, with his McGrath-esque accuracy and his ability to move the ball both ways off the seam, not only shackled Dravid - allowing just 53 runs from 248 balls, but also dismissed him three times. Against all the other bowlers, though, Dravid was the king.

Dravid versus WI bowlers
Bowler Runs/ Balls Dismissals Average Strike rate
Corey Collymore 53/ 248 3 17.67 21.37
Jerome Taylor 82/ 148 1 82.00 55.41
Ian Bradshaw 50/ 151 0 - 33.11
Dwayne Bravo 71/ 184 0 - 38.59
Pedro Collins 98/ 177 0 - 55.37

If Dravid led by example with the bat, the same can hardly be said of his opposite number in the West Indian camp, Brian Lara. Apart from a vital hundred in the second Test in St Lucia which ended up saving the match, Lara had a forgettable series, repeatedly coming off second-best against the main Indian bowlers. Lara's jinx against India continues: he averages only 34.55 in 17 Tests against them, almost 18 runs lower than his career average of 52.

Lara versus Indian bowlers
Bowler Runs/ Balls Dismissals Average Strike rate
Sreesanth 31/ 49 2 15.50 63.27
Munaf Patel 51/ 117 3 17.00 43.59
Anil Kumble 65/ 95 2 32.50 68.42

For West Indies, two bowlers were head and shoulders above the rest: Collymore finished with 15 wickets at a superb average of 22.46, while Jerome Taylor, who came into the side in the second Test, took 14 in just three. The table below shows that against the Indian top order, Collymore was more effective: he took 11 such wickets, though Wasim Jaffer and Mohammad Kaif didn't fall to him even once. Check out how he completely shackled VVS Laxman. Taylor was extremely successful against Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh, but India's three most experienced batsmen handled him much better.

Collymore versus Indian batsmen
Bowler Runs/ Balls Dismissals Average Strike rate
Yuvraj Singh 6/ 16 1 6.00 37.50
Mahendra Singh Dhoni 22/ 49 3 7.33 44.90
Virender Sehwag 62/ 85 4 15.50 72.94
VVS Laxman 31/ 168 1 31.00 18.45
Mohammad Kaif 38/ 60 0 - 63.33
Wasim Jaffer 61/148 0 - 41.22

Taylor versus Indian batsmen
Bowler Runs/ Balls Dismissals Average Strike rate
Yuvraj Singh 0/ 8 2 0.00 0.00
Mahendra Singh Dhoni 16/ 26 2 8.00 61.54
Mohammad Kaif 31/ 58 2 15.50 53.45
Wasim Jaffer 40/ 91 2 20.00 43.96
Virender Sehwag 51/ 58 1 51.00 87.93
VVS Laxman 61/ 87 0 - 70.11

For India, Kumble was the go-to man, but Sreesanth and Munaf Patel, the two new-ball bowlers, were very impressive as well, and as a threesome, they did an excellent job of keeping the West Indian batsmen in check. If Sreesanth was effective against Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan, then Patel kept Ganga in check, while Kumble was especially lethal against Chanderpaul and Bravo.

More head-to-heads
Bowler Batsman Runs/ Balls Dismissals Average
Sreesanth Chris Gayle 57/ 106 3 19.00
Sreesanth Ramnaresh Sarwan 38/ 70 4 9.50
Anil Kumble Dwayne Bravo 100/ 179 4 25.00
Anil Kumble Shivnarine Chanderpaul 101/ 209 4 25.25
Munaf Patel Daren Ganga 101/ 196 3 33.67

And for those who thought Gayle was a swashbuckling opener and Ganga was dour and strokeless, have a look at these stats: Ganga not only averaged 49.14 in this series, he also scored at 52.04 runs per 100 balls; Gayle, on the other hand, only averaged 34.37, but more surprisingly, had a scoring rate of 51.98.

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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