And it wasn’t as if a James Anderson late-hooping million-dollar ball took him out. The ball couldn’t have been any straighter if it were a Southern Baptist Preacher. It wasn’t particularly quick, maybe the slightest bit of pace off. It played no tricks off the pitch. Had there not been the yellin’ and screamin’ at Saker on the balcony, it would’ve looked like a lucky wicket.
Maybe it was. But England seemed to get a lot of lucky wickets. They continually aimed at Shane Watson’s massive front pad until they hit it. They gave Ed Cowan a part-time spinner to hit out of the rough knowing that he might be more likely to have a go off Joe Root than Swann. They kept the ball in the place Clarke is most likely to play a half shot and nick behind.You want stats? Here's a VERY IN-DEPTH look at Dale Steyn, James Anderson and Harbhajan Singh's records v the top batsmen, using ball by ball data that has taken some serious statistical sleuthing to uncover. It's a remarkable bit of analysis from Anantha Narayanan:
2. The top three previous generation bowlers: with over 40% of ball-by-ball data available (12-15 bowlers: Muttiah Muralitharan/Shane Warne/Glenn McGrath will be featured).
3. The top three modern batsmen: with over 80-85% of ball-by-ball data available.
4. The top three previous generation batsmen: with over 40-45% of ball-by-ball data available.
5. Special analyses, to be decided as we go on, based on reader inputs.
On the other hand, Andy Zaltzman has done the numbers and reveals Australia or England will definitely win the Ashes.
It should be added that, whilst both of
those series were ostensibly played in India, against India, and
featured several of the same Indian players, the two Indias in those
series might as well have been completely different teams. England
faced the smouldering embers of a passing era, Australia encountered
the birth of a bubbly if belatedly midwifed new team.
The Old Bastman compares and contrast's Ashton Agar's '98' innings that captivated the cricket world, and Ricky Ponting's last.
The gap between it and Ponting's at the Oval, that brief window of time in which sportsmen have their lives and all of us are young, closes before anyone notices. What a day it was today.