Review of Test matches between Australia and the West Indies

Australia won the recent 3-Test series 2-0 with one draw, with the drawn match being badly affected by rain. After this series, a total of 116 Tests have been played between these countries. Australia leads 58-32 with one tie and 25 draws.

For the 66 Tests in Australia, the hosts lead 37-18 with one tie and 10 draws. In the 50 Tests in the West Indies, Australia still lead 21-14 with 15 draws.

A look at various statistical records at the end of the series:

Most runs (1000 and above):

Most runs

Nobody from the present sides, the most recent entries being that of Ponting and Chanderpaul.

Highest scores (175 and above):

Highest scores

Here newcomer AC Voges made the highest score for Aus v WI, surpassing the 242 by KD Walters in 1968-69. That was an important landmark as Walters became the first to score a century and double century in the same Test, a feat which was soon repeated by SM Gavaskar and others.

Now to highest averages (for a minimum of 20 innings batted):

Batting Avg

The top two names might be a little surprising, as well as the relatively low positions of Richards, Sobers and Greenidge who were prolific scorers against most teams.

The most centuries are 9 by BC Lara and RB Richardson, followed by 7 by RT Ponting and SR Waugh.

The most 50-plus scores are 20 by BC Lara, followed by 19 by DL Haynes and IVA Richards and 18 by CH Lloyd.

Bowling: Most wickets (40 and more):

Most wickets

The most 5-fors were 8 by Ambrose and McGrath, while McGrath was the only one to take two ten-fors. It can be seen that McGrath is the most recent entrant in this table.

Now we look at bowling averages (for a minimum of 2000 balls bowled):

Bowling average

This is on expected lines.

The best economy rates are 2.06 by LR Gibbs, followed by 2.27 by MHN Walker and 2.33 by R Benaud and GD McGrath

The best strike rates are 42.2 by B Lee, 44.7 by JR Thomson and 47.0 by J Garner.

Fielding: (20 or more dismissals):

Most dismissals

The most stumpings were 9 by the now-forgotten GRA Langley. The most catches by non-keepers were 45 by ME Waugh and 38 by CL Hooper.

The most dismissals in an innings was 7 by RD Jacobs, and in a match it was 9 by DA Murray and RD Jacobs.

Highest dismissal rate (for a minimum of 20 innings fielded):

Best fielding rate

Note that RB Simpson has the highest rate among non-keepers.

All-round performances (overall):

As usual, we have to use some semi-arbitrary criteria to identify all-rounders here. However, this has got most of those who are generally considered to be better all-rounders (though one may say that AR Border’s second place is surprising).

All-round overall

And finally, best all-round performances in a match:

Allround match

DS Atkinson and Mushtaq Mohammed are the only ones (in all Tests) who have scored a double century and taken a five-for in the same match.

 

Advertisements

Overview of Tests between Australia and New Zealand

With the conclusion of the pink-ball Test at Adelaide, Australia won the 3-Test series against New Zealand 2-0. So far 55 Tests have been played between these countries, and Australia lead 29-8 with 18 draws. In Australia there have been 31 Tests with Australia leading 17-3 with 11 draws, and in New Zealand Australia leads 12-5 with 7 draws.

Of the three victories by New Zealand in Australia, two were in 1985-86 (thanks mainly to Sir Richard Hadlee) and one in 2011-12.

We now look at figures for all Tests between these countries. The first was at Wellington in 1945-46 and was the first Test in any country after WW2. The result was so one-sided that matches between these countries did not resume until 1973-74.

It is worth looking at the scorecard of that first Test, in which several of Bradman’s invincibles made their debuts. Bradman himself did not play, and Australia’s captain was WA Brown.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62661.html

First we look at the most runs (750 and above):

Aus v NZ-most runs

Dominated by players of the past, only Ross Taylor from the present. Border has the most hundreds (5), while he and Boon have the most (11) scores above 50.

Now for highest averages (for a minimum of 20 innings batted):

Aus v NZ-highest averages

Langer is somewhat unexpectedly at the top. Only McCullum is there among current players. And the one at the bottom is predictable.

Highest individual scores (150 and above):

Aus v NZ-highest indiv scores

Here there is more contribution from the current players-as the record scores for Australia and New Zealand were made in the current series by Warner and Taylor respectively. Interestingly no one had made 290 in Tests before.

Now for bowling-most wickets (25 and above)

Aus v NZ-most wickets

Headed by Sir Richard and Mr Shane. Only MG Johnson from current players.

Next we come to bowling averages (minimum 2000 balls bowled):

Aus v NZ-best bowling avgs

The same pair at the top, with Cairns senior and junior just above the hapless Chris Martin at the bottom.

The best economy rate is 2.08 by the under-rated Chatfield, while Hadlee has the best strike rate of 46.9.

Best innings bowling: (6wi and above)

Aus v NZ-best innings bowling

Dominated by Hadlee, with only Hazlewood from recent times.

Best match bowling: (8wm and above)

Aus v NZ-best match bowling

As above, dominated by Hadlee (with a bit of Warne) with only Hazlewood from recent times.

Now for fielding-most dismissals: (20 and above)

Aus v NZ-most dismissals

Rod Marsh has the most dismissals (58) and catches as a keeper (57), Smith the most stumpings (5) and Border the most catches as a non-keeper (31).

Looking at dismissals per innings: (minimum 20 innings fielded)

Aus v NZ-best dismissal rate

Rod Marsh leads with 2.230, while MA Taylor has the best rate by a non-keeper (1.136)

Coming to the end, we look at all-round performance.

The criteria for determining who is an all-rounder are debatable, anyway you can see what I have used at the top of this table.

Best all-round performance (career):

Aus v NZ-overall allround

Warne surprisingly comes out on top as he was more successful with the bat than Hadlee in these Tests.

Finally we come to best all-round performance in a match: (at least 50 runs and 5 wickets)

Aus v NZ-match allround

Hadlee’s fifty plus 15 wickets would take pride of place, including the best match bowling by anyone scoring a fifty in the same match. CL Cairns’s 2001 performance is also noteworthy, while Dodemaide achieved the rare feat of a fifty and fiver on debut.

(All this will have to be revised when Australia visits New Zealand in February 2016).

 

 

 

 

Make mine a double…..No, a triple (Part 2)

Gary Sobers was the first to score a maiden Test century which was a triple. Only two other batsmen (KK Nair being the latest addition) have done this. Although the circumstances here were not so dramatic, Bob Simpson’s Test career was more conventional but there was a twist in the end.

Robert Baddeley Simpson (generally known as Bob Simpson) was, unlike Sobers, a specialist batsman from the start. A right-hand batsman and occasional leg-spinner, he made his debut against South Africa in 1957-58 with 60 and 23* at No 6 and no bowling in a draw:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62830.html

He did well enough to keep getting selected and tended towards opening the batting. He also had occasional useful spells as a change bowler. In due course he captained Australia, starting with the 2nd Test against South Africa in 1963-64. Everything went well except for the lack of centuries.

After Australia regained the Ashes in 1958-59, the next few series were defensive stalemates with 1-1 victories in 1961, 1962-63 and so on until Snow’s bowling finally got back the Ashes in 1970-71.

Our story begins in earnest at the 4th Ashes Test at Manchester in 1964. Simpson was now opening and had  a good opening partner in Bill Lawry. Australia led the series 1-0 and only had to avoid defeat here to be sure of retaining the Ashes. Until the previous Test, these were Simpson’s figures:

Simpson1

No less than 14 fifties with a top score of 92 (twice). He had not done particularly well in the first three Tests of the series, and had not even claimed the occasional wicket.

Simpson2

Thus dawned Simpson’s 30th Test at Old Trafford, Manchester on 23 Jul 1964. This was not considered to be a batsman’s wicket and perhaps the wounds of Laker’s 19-90 in 1956 were still raw. On this occasion England’s bowling lineup was not particularly good, including the soon-to-be forgotten Fred Rumsey opening with an equally undistinguished John Price (who played long enough to trouble Gavaskar in 1971). The only bowler who stood the test of time was Fred Titmus, while part-timers like Dexter and Boycott also bowled in this match.

Simpson and Lawry opened and both got centuries (Lawry 106) in an opening stand of 201. At close on the first day (23 Jul) Australia had made 253/2 with Simpson on his maiden century with 109* and O’Neill on 10*.

Unlike in Sobers’s record-breaking innings which we saw earlier, nothing obviously went wrong with England’s bowling. It simply wasn’t good enough. At the end of the second day (24 Jul) Australia was 570/4 with Simpson crossing the second hurdle with 265* and Booth on 82 not out.

On the 3rd day Simpson’s marathon innings ended on 311, dismissed by the hard-working Price who ended with 3-183. Australia finally declared at 656/8 and England made a strong reply with 162/2 with captain Dexter (71*) and Barrington (20*) at the crease at the end of 25 Jul.

After the rest day, the rest of the match was somewhat of an anticlimax with England grinding out 611 (Dexter 174, Barrington 256) after finishing the 4th day with 411/3 (Barrington 153*, Parfitt 12*). McKenzie did take 7 wickets but did not seem to have much support. Veivers with 3 wickets was the only other successful bowler.

The innings dragged on for so long that Australia only batted two overs for 4/0 in the closing stages. But they led 1-0 with one to go, and the Ashes remained Down Under. Here is the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62950.html

Simpson then broke out of his century drought, though unlike Sobers he did not cross 50 in the next Test. His final tally was 4869 runs with 10 centuries including the triple and two doubles. There were also 71 wickets with two fivers as well as 110 catches. He was set to retire after India’s visit in 1967-68 which predictably ended in a 4-0 sweep. But that was not the end of his career. He got a surprise Test recall almost 10 years later during the Packer crisis. Let Wikipedia take up the story here:

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

“When Test cricket was decimated by the breakaway World Series Cricket in 1977, Simpson made a comeback after a decade in retirement to captain New South Wales and Australia at the age of 41. All of Australia’s first-choice players had defected apart from Jeff Thomson. Simpson had been playing for Western Suburbs in Sydney Grade Cricket but had not been playing at first-class level for a decade.

Bob Simpson’s career performance graph.

His first assignment was a five Test series against India, and Simpson began where he left off a decade earlier. He top-scored with 89 in the second innings of the First Test in Brisbane, before scoring 176 and 39 as Australia won in Perth. Simpson failed to pass double figures in the Third Test in Melbourne, and made 30s in both innings in Sydney, as the Indians won two consecutive Tests to level the series. Simpson responded with 100 and 51 in the deciding Fifth Test in Adelaide as Australia scraped to a 3–2 series victory. Simpson totaled 539 runs at 53.90 and took four wickets.

He then led Australia on a tour of the West Indies, then the strongest team in the world. He made only one half century, 67 in the Third Test in Georgetown, Guyana. It was the only Test that Australia won in a 3–1 series loss. He had a disappointing series scoring 199 runs at 22.11 and taking seven wickets at 52.28. Simpson wanted to continue playing Tests as Australia hosted Mike Brearley’s Englishmen in 1978–79. His players wanted him to continue, but the Australian Cricket Board voted him out and installed Graham Yallop as the skipper. During his comeback, he had accumulated his 60th first-class century against Barbados during the Caribbean tour and become the oldest Australian to score a Test century on home soil.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

It would be fair to say that he played a major role in India’s 3-2 loss though he was out of his depth against the West Indies, even though the last 3 Tests were played against a weak de-Packerized squad.

Thus end the stories of Gary Sobers and Bob Simpson, the first two Test players whose maiden centuries were triples. The third member of this exclusive club was KK Nair in 2016.

A weird coincidence: Although they were quite different types of players who peaked at different times, they were both born in 1936: Sobers on  Jul 28 and Simpson on Feb 3.