|Scorecard:||India v Australia|
Australia dominated at least 11 of the 14 sessions in the long awaited 1st Test match of the 2004-05 Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Bangalore, destroying India by 217 runs. Though India had some good moments, the margin of victory didn't really indicate Australia's dominance. But for a dropped catch of a regulation chance at 2nd slip by debutant Michael Clarke that should have dismissed Irfan Pathan on 7 late in the Indian second innings, Australia might have won by something closer to 300. Not a bad beginning for an Australian side captained by a stand-in (Adam Gilchrist, substituting for the injured Ricky Ponting). It was the first time a substitute captain had opened a series for Australia since Brian Booth stood in for the injured Bob Simpson in December 1965 against England at Brisbane. If there were any doubts about whether the Australian juggernaut would be slowed by this, they were put to rest by the end of the first day.
The match started very well for India. The promising young left arm seamer Pathan very nearly had Justin Langer out lbw 1st ball of the match, and the Indian ground fielding was tremendous in the first session. Conservatively estimated, there were 10 excellent stops that saved about 30 runs in that session, limiting Australia to 70/1. The graph shows that after limiting Australia, the Indian bowlers started to get them out, at one point having Australia at 149/4. At that point the match turned on two hundred partnerships that pivoted around Clarke, who showed just why Australia are so excited about his future. With the solid Simon Katich, he steadied the ship, and then with Gilchrist, who played a masterful captain's innings, scoring 104 in 109 balls while basically eschewing the sweep shot (he didn't attempt one till he was on 87), Clarke took Australia well on the way to a commanding 474. His magnificent 151 was the first century on debut for Australia since Gregg Blewitt's 102 not out against England at Adelaide in January 1995. It was the first century on debut for a touring Australian since Harry Graham made 107 against England at Lords in July 1893. For India, the innings was highlighted by Anil Kumble's 400th Test wicket, making him the ninth bowler to achieve the feat (see below). But his three and Harbhajan Singh's five wickets were enormously expensive (303 runs--64 percent of the total).
Any chance of India competing for a win in the match was effectively destroyed by a top order collapse that saw them at 4/2 and 167/6 on their way to 246. Glenn McGrath was the chief executioner, removing Akash Chopra and Rahul Dravid in his first two overs. Parthiv Patel and Pathan provided a bit of fightback at the end of the innings, but not enough to deny Australia the follow on option.
It was an option they chose not to enforce, perhaps still haunted by the great Indian win following on at Kolkata in March 2001 (which broke Australia's world record 16 match winning streak), perhaps wary of having to bat last on a wearing pitch to the Indian spin attack. In any event, after Langer was dismissed lbw to the fourth ball of the innings by a Pathan delivery very similar to the one that nearly got him in the 1st innings, Matthew Hayden and Katich then laid a 65 run platform that boosted Australia to an eventual 456 run lead. In this innings, though, the Indian spinners announced that they had truly come to the party, taking 8/142, with Harbhajan taking 6/78, his 13th 5 wicket haul and 3rd 10 wicket match in 37 matches, quite impressive figures.
But too late to save this match. The Indian second innings was a mirror image of the first, another top order collapse leaving them at 19/4 after 11.1 overs. From there, there was no way back, although Pathan, first with Dravid, and then with Harbhajan, showed some very classy batting to delay the inevitable. The 9th wicket partnership of 89 between Pathan and Harbhajan was India's largest against Australia, breaking the old record of 81 by Sachin Tendulkar and Kiran More at Perth in February 1992. Helped by Clarke's aforementioned drop, India was surprisingly able to take the match past lunch on the 5th day, providing them with something positive to take into the second match at Chennai.
Almost lost in all the excitement was Anil Kumble's 400th Test wicket (he ended the match with 402). Only 8 other bowlers in history have taken 400 wickets. It is incredible to know that fans will be treated to watching three of the top nine wicket takers in Test history working in this series.
The first graph is a simple tower graph locating where the top wicket takers are--the names and numbers bear repeating: Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka)--532; Shane Warne (Australia)--531; Courtney Walsh (West Indies)--519; Glen McGrath (Australia)--446; Kapil Dev (India)--434; Richard Hadlee (New Zealand)--431; Wasim Akram (Pakistan)--414; Curtly Ambrose (West Indies)--405; and Anil Kumble (India)--402.
Number of matches bowled ranges from Kumble's 85 to Walsh's 132. We see, according to this graph, that Muralitharan's phenomenal average of nearly 6 wickets per match is a full wicket per match more than any of the other bowler on this list except Richard Hadlee.
Another interesting way to look at these bowlers is to compare their adjusted economies over a career. The concept of adjusted economy was introduced in the graphical view of the Second Test of the recently completed Sri Lanka-South Africa series. To recap quickly, it is simply a bowler's economy minus wickets taken over the course of a match. It goes without saying that all these bowlers would have a negative adjusted economy. For the purposes of this graph, the careers of each of these bowlers have been condensed into a single imaginary match. The method is as follows: balls bowled were divided by 6 to get total overs (6 ball overs are used for the sake of convenience, if not total accuracy, as some of these bowlers bowled 8 ball overs at times). Overs, runs, and then wickets are divided by matches bowled to achieve a bowling line per match. The lines are (rounded to nearest whole numbers):
O M R W Muralitharan* 58 16 137 6 Warne* 47 13 122 5 Walsh 38 9 96 4 McGrath* 39 12 98 5 Kapil Dev 35 8 98 3 Hadlee 42 9 112 5 Wasim Akram 36 8 94 4 Ambrose 38 10 87 4 Kumble* 53 13 134 5
Adjusted economies for the graph were calculated from original career figures.
Note that the fast bowlers all fall out on the graph between 35 and 42 overs, while the slow bowlers fall between 47 and 58. It is notable that only Muralitharan, Hadlee, and Warne have lower adjusted economies than Kumble, and Warne just barely. Muralitharan is in a class by himself, with a career adjusted economy of below -3. Hadlee, Warne, Kumble, and McGrath fall between -2 and -3. Ambrose, Wasim Akram, and Walsh fall between -1 and -2. And Kapil Dev falls between 0 and -1. As can be seen from the figures above, and the graph, Kumble has very quietly, but deservedly, stepped into a fraternity of great bowlers.
There is one final picture to be shown, and that is the record of these bowlers' teams when they bowled.
This is a simple bar graph that illustrates the records of each team when each bowler bowled (see data below). Australia has won 45 matches more than they lost when Glenn McGrath has bowled. At the other end of the spectrum, India lost 7 matches more than they won when Kapil Dev bowled. It is easy to see that when two bowlers from the same team who have gotten over 400 wickets are bowling, that team will be successful! As to Kumble, India have won 4 more than they lost when he has bowled. He is only the second Indian to take 400 wickets, and his combination of economy and wickets compares well with any of the other top wicket takers. Not bad for a man who has toiled away, sometimes under-appreciated for his entire career.
W L D T Muralitharan 32 30 27 0 Warne 66 24 22 0 Walsh 52 43 37 0 McGrath 64 19 15 0 Kapil Dev 24 31 75 1 Hadlee 22 28 36 0 Wasim Akram 41 27 36 0 Ambrose 44 26 28 0 Kumble 26 22 37 0  Sources for this article:
Trevor Marshallsea--Sydney Morning Herald
Sanjay Rajan--The Hindu (Chennai)
Wisden Cricinfo--Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
Wisden Cricinfo ball by ball commentary and scorecard
cricketarchive.com scorecard archive
Wisden Cricketer's Almanack, 2004.
(Article: Copyright © 2004 Jack Solock)