India-England: Top Performances
A solid all-round performance by Andrew Strauss’ side gave MS Dhoni & Co much to think about. Here’s a look at the men who made their presence felt on the Castrol Index.
It’s been an exciting couple of Tests to say the least. We’ve had controversial decisions, a withdrawn appeal (which was the right thing to do), a hat-trick and Indian batting collapses. Alongside the action on the ground, we launched a Test Match Index at Castrol Cricket which helps evaluate overall team performance (check this out for a session by session team analysis of the second Test) as well as individual performances. Below is a snapshot of the great individual efforts in the series so far.
The Test Match Batting Momentum looks at the runs amassed by a player, and the context in which those runs were scored. Kevin Pietersen tops the list - not only was his 202 the highest score in the series, it came in difficult conditions and with England on the verge of collapsing after losing Bell and Morgan in quick succession. Ian Bell’s 159 from the 2nd Test, and Prior’s attacking century from the 1st Test crack the top three. Prior in fact has three performances in the top ten and he’s clearly been the best wicketkeeper-batsman in this series. He’s been so good that my brother actually thinks Matt Prior is on course to be one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen of all time in Tests and he’s the difference between India and England in this series so far. I thought he was insane at first, with years of cricket watching and spending too much time listening to the media hype in London having affected his judgment. Turns out he might not be far from the truth. A first look at the numbers suggests Prior’s Test average of 45.1 is pretty darn great. I’ll be spending the next few days digging up more data to disprove my brother’s claim - we never settle a cricket argument this quickly!
Rahul Dravid rounds out the top five, with his two fighting back-to-wall centuries, and it looks like he’s back to being the wall (and you thought you’ve already heard all ‘the wall’ wordplays out there!) The rest of the Indian young guns cannot be saying they don’t need no education after showing their inability to handle the short ball and play a long innings. They looked uncomfortably numb with the bat, while some other batsmen haven’t been in the pink of health.
Here’s the list of the overall top 5 batting performances.
|S No||Player||Match and Innings||Runs||Batting Momentum|
|1||Pietersen||1st Test, 1st Innings||202*||322|
|2||Bell||2nd Test, 2nd Innings||159||231|
|3||Prior||1st Test, 2nd Innings||103*||189|
|4||Dravid||2nd Test, 1st Innings||117||187|
|5||Dravid||1st Test, 1st Innings||103*||165|
What’s cool about evaluating these performances is that you can compare batsmen and bowlers by looking at the batting momentums and bowling efficiencies. Stuart Broad’s stunning 6 for 46 tops the list - his hat-trick brought England back in the game. It’s not quite as good as Pietersen’s 202 with the bat, but it’s the next best individual performance. James Anderson’s 5 for 65 is next - he got high quality wickets including Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar. Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma finish up the top five - they cannot be faulted for trying, and along with Rahul Dravid, have been India’s best players in this series.
|S No||Player||Match and Innings||Figures||Bowling Efficiency|
|1||Broad||2nd Test, 1st Innings||6 for 46||258|
|2||Anderson||1st Test, 2nd Innings||5 for 65||227|
|3||Praveen||1st Test, 1st Innings||5 for 106||226|
|4||Praveen||2nd Test, 2nd Innings||4 for 124||214|
|5||Ishant||1st Test, 2nd Innings||4 for 59||163|
So that’s the best of the lot so far. If you look at the top five performances across batting and bowling, only one Indian features in the list and that’s a big reason for the series score being 2-0. Injuries have been a concern, but the Indians should be doing better as the number one side in the world. Though they might not be holding on to that title for much longer.