Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How to turn a Test match on its head

They suggested Ashley Giles might have dropped the Ashes, and now the prediction seems to be coming true. England are already 2-0 down, but in whichever case England never looked like they were going to keep the Ashes.

Ricky Ponting hadn't even crossed 50 when Giles dropped him on the boundary, and how Punter made the Poms pay! For most batsmen, their years seem to last one or two years, but Ponting's peak just keeps getting higher and higher. When will this batsman go out of form? That's the question captains around the world must be asking.

Important numbers
There were two significant stats from the Adelaide Test that need to be highlighted.

One is that Ponting's batting average had touched 60 (60.06) during his first innings knock of 142. Although it has now slipped down to 59.99, it is a significant stat considering that only two men ever to have played more than 50 Tests average more than Ponting does now.

Here's a list of the highest averages, headed by Donald Bradman. Michael Hussey, at 81.00 is sure to slip. Nobody — save for the Don — is good enough to stay up there for too long. And even the Don would have slipped had he played more games.

Ponting's closest competitor now is Rahul Dravid, who averages 58.75. Expect it to be cut down, even marginally, during the tour of South Africa.

After their defeat, England became just the third team to lose a Test after scoring 550 runs or more in the first innings.

Ironically, the last team to lose a game from that situation was — guess who? —Australia at — guess where? — Adelaide, against India, where Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman tore their attack to shreds in that historic win.

0-2 down with three to go. I don't see Andrew Flintoff pulling England out of this one. The Aussies are too damn good. IMHO, the Ashes will be returned to Australia by a 4-1 or 4-0 margin.

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