Asian teams, coming from the heat and largely placid tracks of home, are generally expected to struggle during the early part of the English summer as they come to terms with the cold conditions and the seaming ball.
The first innings of the Lord's Test conformed to that script as the Sri Lankan batsmen crashed to 192 all out. However, facing a deficit of 359, Mahela Jayawardene scored his second century at Lord's in as many Tests as Sri Lanka pulled off the cricketing equivalent of Houdini's giant milk can escape and retorted with 537 for 9 before bad light ended the game. This week we look at how Asian players have fared in England.
That imposing firm of Rahul Dravid (87.66) , Sourav Ganguly (74) and Sachin Tendulkar (71.59) lead the list of highest averages in England. Seven of the top eight batsmen, Zaheer Abbas being the exception, have played predominantly after 1990, a time when England almost never had a settled bowling attack. Even so, none of the top six averages belong to openers, an indication that playing the new ball in England is not the easiest thing in the world no matter who's bowling.
|SC Ganguly (India)||1996-2002||88||5221||40.78||12||6||666||74.00||3||33.210|
|R Dravid (India)||1996-2002||100||8553||57.79||22||6||789||87.66||3||29.876|
|Saleem Malik (Pak)||1987-1996||103||5768||43.69||15||13||931||66.50||3||22.799|
|Ijaz Ahmed (Pak)||1987-1996||60||3315||37.67||12||7||494||54.88||1||17.218|
|SR Tendulkar (India)||1990-2002||132||10469||55.39||35||10||1074||71.59||4||16.209|
|KS More (India)||1986-1990||49||1285||25.69||0||6||247||41.16||0||15.466|
|Aamer Sohail (Pak)||1992-1996||47||2823||35.28||5||7||490||49.00||1||13.710|
|Mohsin Khan (Pak)||1978-1982||48||2709||37.10||7||6||501||50.10||1||12.990|
|Zaheer Abbas (Pak)||1971-1982||78||5062||44.79||12||9||841||56.06||2||11.266|
|MS Atapattu (SL)||1998-2002||88||5330||38.90||16||4||301||50.16||1||11.256|
Sunil Gavaskar , who scored 1404 runs at 70.20 as opener in the West Indies, managed only 1152 in 28 innings at 41.14 in England, a far cry from his career average of 51.12. Hanif Mohammad too averaged 41.87 as opener but struggled in England. His 15 innings at the top yielded just 302 runs but he managed an unbeaten 187 from the No. 4 slot to boost his average to 26.63.
Among batsmen with the highest differences between overall averages and their figures in England, Hashan Tillakaratne is the only batsman from the 1990s to figure in the list. One reason for this could be because players are getting accustomed to English conditions while playing county cricket.
|Haroon Rashid (Pak)||1978-1982||23||1217||34.77||3||4||34||5.66||0||-29.103|
|PR Umrigar (India)||1952-1959||59||3631||42.22||12||8||273||18.19||1||-24.019|
|KC Sangakkara (SL)||2002-2006||58||4311||47.37||9||4||191||27.28||0||-20.084|
|CG Borde (India)||1959-1967||55||3061||35.59||5||7||200||16.66||0||-18.923|
|P Roy (India)||1952-1959||43||2442||32.56||5||9||233||13.70||0||-18.854|
|Hanif Mohammad (Pak)||1954-1967||55||3915||43.98||12||12||586||26.63||1||-17.353|
|HP Tillakaratne (SL)||1991-2002||83||4545||42.87||11||5||164||27.33||0||-15.546|
|Majid Khan (Pak)||1967-1982||63||3931||38.92||8||9||375||23.43||0||-15.482|
|AV Mankad (India)||1971-1974||22||991||25.41||0||4||99||12.37||0||-13.035|
|Wasim Raja (Pak)||1974-1982||57||2821||36.16||4||6||232||23.19||0||-12.970|
Most Indian spinners have performed below par in England. EAS Prasanna, Anil Kumble, Bishan Bedi , Srinivas Venkataraghavan, among others, average significantly more in England compared to their overall average. Their Pakistan counterparts, on the other hand, have fared better, with Mushtaq Ahmed's haul of 32 wickets from eight Tests being the best performance.
Pakistan have 12 of the top 14 bowling averages for Asians in England but pride of place goes to Muttiah Muralitharan who picked up 16 for 220, the best figures for an Asian, in his first Test in England in 1998. Since then he has 11 wickets from three Tests and could play a pivotal role in the remaining two Tests of the ongoing series.
This series is Chaminda Vaas's second in England which makes him eligible according to our criteria of appearing in at least two series. He had a terrible first outing in 2002, taking four wickets for 434 runs, and an insipid performance in the recent Lord's Test gives him an average of 93 in England compared to his overall 29.03.
|ED Solkar (India)||1971-1974||27||18||59.44||0||6||7||37.42||0||-22.011|
|Asif Masood (Pak)||1971-1974||16||38||41.26||1||6||20||28.94||1||-12.309|
|Sarfraz Nawaz (Pak)||1974-1982||55||177||32.75||4||6||17||22.82||1||-9.936|
|Saleem Altaf (Pak)||1967-1971||21||46||37.17||0||4||10||29.00||0||-8.170|
|Mudassar Nazar (Pak)||1978-1987||76||66||38.36||1||11||15||32.93||1||-5.426|
|Mushtaq Ahmed (Pak)||1992-1996||52||185||32.97||10||8||32||28.81||2||-4.157|
|VS Hazare (India)||1946-1952||30||20||61.00||0||7||5||57.60||0||-3.399|
|Asif Iqbal (Pak)||1967-1974||58||53||28.33||2||9||16||26.25||0||-2.089|
|M Nissar (India)||1932-1936||6||25||28.28||3||4||18||26.55||2||-1.724|
|WPUJC Vaas (SL)||2002-2006||91||303||29.03||11||4||6||93.00||0||63.969|
|JR Ratnayeke (SL)||1984-1988||22||56||35.21||4||2||2||86.50||0||51.289|
|SG Shinde (India)||1946-1952||7||12||59.75||1||3||2||94.00||0||34.250|
|Saeed Ahmed (Pak)||1962-1971||41||22||36.45||0||9||3||69.66||0||33.216|
|RJ Shastri (India)||1982-1990||80||151||40.96||2||9||11||70.63||0||29.676|
|EAS Prasanna (India)||1967-1974||49||189||30.38||10||5||12||58.08||0||27.703|
|CPH Ramanayake (SL)||1988-1991||18||44||42.72||1||2||4||61.75||0||19.020|
|A Kumble (India)||1990-2002||106||510||28.76||32||7||22||45.81||0||17.048|
|Intikhab Alam (Pak)||1962-1974||47||125||35.95||5||12||23||49.73||1||13.789|
If there's a particular List that you would like to see, e-mail us with your comments and suggestions.
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo