The stats that matter for the Australians in India

Glenn Mitchell Columnist

By Glenn Mitchell, Glenn Mitchell is a Roar Expert

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    Seven months after a 3-nil series loss in Sri Lanka, Australia has gone down to 2-1 to India.

    Sri Lanka is ranked number seven in the world while India is a clear number one, losing just one Test in its past 23.

    This latest trip to the subcontinent has indicated improvement in testing conditions but there is still a way to go before it can be said it is near an even footing in that part of the cricketing world.

    As is always the case, the players’ personal stocks varied.

    Matt Renshaw: 6 (232 runs at 29.0)
    Turning 21 on the last day of the final Test, Renshaw looked unflappable throughout the series.

    There was doubt in some circles prior to the first match as to whether he should be in the XI. He started with a masterful 68 in the first innings at Pune in conditions that would have been completely foreign. He followed that with 60 at Bangalore and 44 at Ranchi.

    His performances tailed away as the series wore on. He also dropped a vital chance at Dharamsala.

    At such a tender age, he will be better for the experience and is a certain starter for the Ashes.

    David Warner: 3 (193 runs at 24.1)
    Warner’s woes on the road continued. As vice-captain and an experienced opener, his series was simply not good enough. From 16 innings in India, he now averages 24.2.

    Ravi Ashwin continued to be his nemesis, picking him up three times as he extended his hold over Warner to nine dismissals, the most of any bowler in Tests.

    Just as he was looking good at Ranchi, Warner hit a return catch off a full toss to Ravindra Jadeja. It took him until the last Test to reach 50.

    If the selectors continue with a ‘horses for courses’ policy, his place in squads to the subcontinent must be in question. He also struggled in the field too, grassing three catches early on at leg slip.

    Steve Smith: 9 (499 runs at 71.3)
    Once again, Smith led by example with three centuries. The first of them, in the second innings at Pune, was one of his finest, and was followed by knocks of 178* at Ranchi and 111 in the first innings at Dharamsala.

    He has seven centuries in his past eight Tests against India. Again, the home side lacked an apparent strategy to bring about his downfall. The team must be able to support him better in the future and not allow him to be the sole barometer of the side’s batting performance.

    When he fell in the second innings at Dharamsala, there was a universal feeling that Australia’s hopes departed with him. His self-confessed “brain fade” with the DRS at Bangalore was an unwanted sidelight. He was, again, easily his side’s best player.

    Steve Smith celebrates a run out

    Shaun Marsh: 4 (151 runs at 18.9)
    Picked as a subcontinent specialist, his selection proved to be a failure. At 33 years of age and with a 23-Test average of 36.0, we have likely seen his last series in the baggy green.

    He looked good for 66 in the first innings at Bangalore and his half-century at Ranchi helped stave off defeat, while his other six innings comprised 16 and five scores under 10.

    It has been a perennial problem – handy innings interspersed with numerous failures. He will surely lose his place to Usman Khawaja for the first Test of the Ashes series.

    Peter Handscomb: 5.5 (198 runs at 28.3)
    Yes, it was his first Test tour of India, but more was expected from Handscomb. He has long been touted as an excellent player of spin, however aside from his unbeaten 72 at Ranchi, he was unable to make an impression.

    One single-figure score was accompanied by six between 16-22. When you get starts like that, some of those innings need to be converted into significant scores. Like Renshaw, he will be better for the experience, and will be in the first Test at Brisbane next summer.

    Mitchell Marsh: 1 (48 runs at 12.0, 0-6)
    The younger Marsh fared worse than his brother. A shoulder injury saw him fly home after the second Test. He was likely to be omitted anyway.

    He averaged 27 in Sri Lanka and less than half that in this series. He was trapped dead in front in the first innings at Pune by Jadeja, having failed to pick his straight one. He was unlucky at Bangalore when one from Ishant Sharma crept along the pitch.

    Selected as an all-rounder, he sent down just five overs in his two appearances. A prolonged successful, injury-free period at Sheffield Shield level is needed before he can again be considered for Test selection.

    Glenn Maxwell: 7.5 (159 runs at 39.7, 0-18)
    Mitch Marsh’s misfortune proved a godsend for Maxwell. Overlooked initially, despite numerous supporters, he seized the opportunity.

    His 185-ball innings of 104 in his first knock at Ranchi showcased what he is capable of when he shelves the unorthodox.

    His reaction to his maiden Test century smacked of a man who felt he finally belonged after some uncertain times on the outer. He top-scored with 45 in Australia’s calamitous series conceding 137 at Dharamsala.

    He is almost certain to be at number six at the Gabba. Again, Smith used him sparingly at the bowling crease, sending down a mere six overs.

    His place in the team next summer potentially opens the door for Australia to throw a four-prong pace attack at England early in the Ashes series.

    Australia Test player Glenn Maxwell raises his bat

    Matthew Wade: 6.5 (196 runs at 32.7)
    No one was under more scrutiny pre-series than Wade. Safe to say, he performed better than most expected. The pitches at Pune and Bangalore were as difficult for wicketkeepers as they were for batsmen.

    While he may not look copybook he was, in the main, effective in trying conditions. His batting improved as the series progressed, with his half-century in the first innings at Dharamsala helping his side scramble to 300.

    You get the feeling that Wade will be under the microscope every Test he plays, especially with Peter Nevill having averaged 56.8 in the Sheffield Shield this season. Expect Wade to be behind the stumps at Brisbane.

    Mitchell Starc: 7 (118 runs at 29.5, five wickets at 30.2)
    Injury to Starc saw him only feature in the opening two Tests, in which he made an impact. His swashbuckling, counter-attacking 61 at Pune rescued Australia from 6-190 and took them to 260, as he scored nearly every run in that period.

    He removed Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in the space of two deliveries in India’s first innings, the latter for a morale-boosting duck. He narrowly missed a hat-trick in India’s second innings at Bangalore.

    Pat Cummins: 6.5 (33 runs at 11.0, eight wickets at 30.2)
    The selectors rolled the dice with Cummins. He was being nursed back to first-class cricket in readiness for the Ashes but when Starc went down with the series alive, he was on the plane on the back of 8-104 in his first Sheffield Shield match in over five years.

    It was a risk that paid off. In two matches, Cummins bowled 77 overs and his raw pace set up many wicket-taking opportunities, not all of them being grasped.

    On the low and slow pitch at Ranchi he was still able to extract bounce, and at times at Dharamsala he would have reminded England of the threat he will pose next summer. Expect him to play a major role in the Ashes.

    Pat Cummins Cricket Australia 2017 tall

    Josh Hazlewood: 6.5 (6 runs at 2.0, nine wickets at 32.8)
    Once again, Hazlewood did what he does best – plugging away in a no-nonsense fashion. His 6-67 in India’s second innings at Bangalore was a masterful performance.

    In concert with Cummins, the pair ignited the game early on the second day of the final Test with a prolonged spell of fiery and incisive pace bowling. Early in the series, when Starc was at times bleeding runs, Hazlewood’s miserly efficiency kept India under wraps.

    Steve O’Keefe: 7 (45 runs at 7.5, 19 wickets at 23.3)
    O’Keefe’s pair of 6-35s at Pune was the stuff of dreams. On a pitch that turned square from the start, he used the footmarks to torment India’s batsmen. The last three Tests produced seven wickets at 53.1.

    One of his trademarks at first-class level is his miserly economy rate. At times, he slowed the scoreboard in this series. At Pune, his slider undid several of the Indian batsmen.

    As the series wore on they became more adept at handling it. For a player with a first-class batting average of 27.6, he offered little with the willow.

    Nathan Lyon: 7 (31 runs at 3.9, 19 wickets at 25.3)
    The second Test at Bangalore provided polar opposites for Lyon. A career-best 8-50 on the opening day was followed by 0-82 in the second innings. One of the knocks on him during his career has been his inability to make solid inroads late in a match.

    Bangalore was yet another example. He toiled through 46 overs at Ranchi for just the one wicket before claiming 5-92 in the first innings at Dharamsala.

    On balance, throughout the series he looked slightly more threatening than O’Keefe. He needs two more wickets to equal Richie Benaud’s career tally of 248, leaving only Shane Warne ahead of him in the list of Australian wicket-taking spinners.

    Glenn Mitchell
    Glenn Mitchell

    After 21 years as a sports broadcaster with the ABC, since mid-2011 Glenn Mitchell has been freelancing in the electronic and written media. He is an ambassador for mental health in Australia, and tweets from @mitchellglenn.

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    The Crowd Says (78)

    • March 29th 2017 @ 8:52am
      qwetzen said | March 29th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      A forgotten figure:

      How about a rating for the coach?

      I’d give him an 8. Major reasons why the series went 2-1 instead of the bookies favourite, 4-0, was that Oz seriously reduced the impact of the world’s #1 bowler and major nemesis Ashwin, and completely demolished the world’s #1 batsman. You’d have to give credit for these to the coach. And then there was getting the Aust bats to try and bat long rather than the traditional Must Dominate! mantra.

      Good job Boof.

      • Columnist

        March 29th 2017 @ 10:30am
        Glenn Mitchell said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        Good point qwetzen. He definitely deserves credit for a substantially improved performance on their last trip to the sub-continent.

        • Roar Guru

          March 29th 2017 @ 10:51am
          Simon said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          As Shane Watson said pre-tour, this tour couldn’t have been much worse than 2013. On that tour, the coach and captain single-handedly destroyed all team chemistry and comradery. Quite a feat.

      • March 29th 2017 @ 12:25pm
        Andy said | March 29th 2017 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

        I think the press was a pretty big reason for the first test win too, just watching India play it seemed that they had bought into the hype and really underestimated Australia and the ground ofcourse. But press should get a decent mark, not for being right but for building up India at home so much. And us too we all deserve a decent mark for that trick.

    • March 29th 2017 @ 8:57am
      ArchieBoy said | March 29th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      I thought Glenn Maxwell was picked for the whole tour? Perhaps I am taking ‘flew in’ too literally.

      • Roar Guru

        March 29th 2017 @ 10:51am
        Simon said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

        He was.

    • March 29th 2017 @ 9:45am
      ViratKohli said | March 29th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      Hello Glenn – I was looking for you here for some days – What happened to your last statistical analysis, expert?

      1. Was the 89/99 maintained?
      2. What happened to the indian vs Australian pace bowlers averages for the test, which was your primary argument for Aussie pacers being more able to extract wicket?

      sometimes, just having an expert term against your name doesnt give you license to argue blindly on stats – there are always other factos than scoreboard which should be considered.

      Also if you bring on statistical analysis – as an expert you should have knowledge of stats which clearly you dont since you challenge people on ratios.

      • Columnist

        March 29th 2017 @ 10:07am
        Glenn Mitchell said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        I was wrong Virat. I apologise for that and am happy to do so.

        But, at least I am man enough to admit it, unlike yourself when you are clearly incorrect. It is a skill you would be advised to develop.

        • March 29th 2017 @ 10:19am
          ViratKohli said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          Its not a question of being Wrong, its a call on acceptance in public forum.

          And here you go again, you provide me notice of where I was wrong and i will oblige, but hey I was always incorporating your opinion by coming to the site and stating it was wrong.

          • Columnist

            March 29th 2017 @ 10:26am
            Glenn Mitchell said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

            Remember this Virat …. re you insisting that I choose my headlines?

            “I retract my apology – you are well aware of the line (your consent would be there) and just choose to disregard it on your free will”

            Myself and others explained the truth to you but you continue to infer I was lying. Not to worry. Some of us just cannot admit we are wrong.

            • March 29th 2017 @ 10:39am
              ViratKohli said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

              Well, if you will read my earlier comment – it was an apology. But as i did investigate given the short time – my stance did change hence the comment.

              Infact, my last comment was that i will investigate the law on that. Which to my failure, I haven’t done but will do it sometime today. Apologies for the delay.

              • Columnist

                March 29th 2017 @ 10:44am
                Glenn Mitchell said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

                Not sure of the relevance of your initial apology when you then withdraw it and accuse me of lying.

                Anyway, let’s move on. I have admitted I was wrong. Clearly it remains too difficult for you.

                Enjoy your day.

              • Roar Guru

                March 29th 2017 @ 10:53am
                Simon said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

                That was hardly an apology, Virat.

      • March 29th 2017 @ 12:00pm
        GJ said | March 29th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

        Hi Virat, clearly you are an extremely knowledgeable and passionate fan of cricket. Based on some of your comments you also seem to have first hand experience and understanding of cricket in India. I know that I personally would enjoy reading about this to provide a little balance.

        And that is also 1 of the reasons I enjoy reading the articles and the forums on ROAR. Because both fans and journalists alike have the opportunity to write and have their articles published.

        You seem to have a lot of offer. I implore you to write an article and share with us all your knowledge and passion. If you have a look near near the top of the right hand column there is a link to follow to set up your own account, and have you articles and opinions published.

        I for 1 cannot wait to read your articles.

        Thanks in advance

        • March 29th 2017 @ 12:50pm
          Basil said | March 29th 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

          Please no. If Virat starts writing this forum will start feeling like the Cricinfo comments section.
          Let’s not destroy a good thing…

          • March 29th 2017 @ 4:33pm
            TomCarter'ssprintcoach said | March 29th 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

            You nearly had me snort my coffee with that one.

          • March 29th 2017 @ 5:09pm
            Rossy said | March 29th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

            +1 This guy is the worst of the worst and his comments to Glen above just confirm it. Classless

      • March 29th 2017 @ 2:35pm
        rock said | March 29th 2017 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

        “2. What happened to the indian vs Australian pace bowlers averages for the test, which was your primary argument for Aussie pacers being more able to extract wicket?”

        99.9% of cricket supporters and commentators outside of blindly optimistic India (geez, even our Pommy foe’s) would agree that more times then not the Australian pace bowlers would out-bowl there Indian counterpart on a quick bouncy wicket, it is a fair conclusion to draw.

        Guess what, the Indian’s out-bowled them & it does happen sometime, but it still doesn’t make Glenn’s initial assessment any less valid.

        • March 29th 2017 @ 11:08pm
          Sumit said | March 29th 2017 @ 11:08pm | ! Report

          Not really India have 5-6 overseas test victories where Indian pacers outbowled Foreign quicks. The difference is not as huge as you think

      • Roar Rookie

        March 30th 2017 @ 3:09am
        Kashmir said | March 30th 2017 @ 3:09am | ! Report

        how is glenn to be blamed if his predictions didnt come true?? what non-sense? Why play cricket then? Nobody knows what will happen in the game of cricket and you say he is lying???

    • Roar Guru

      March 29th 2017 @ 10:17am
      spruce moose said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Very fair summation of the series Glenn.

    • March 29th 2017 @ 10:58am
      bearfax said | March 29th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

      Not bad and pretty close to Ronan’s assessment. I still think Renshaw deserves a 6.5, but I can live with the rest.

    • March 29th 2017 @ 11:26am
      Bob said | March 29th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

      Way too generous to Wade – his keeping was not even passable (yes, it was above expectations for him, but was still woeful) and his batting was very average. Nevill should be a lock for next test they play.

      • Columnist

        March 29th 2017 @ 11:33am
        Glenn Mitchell said | March 29th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        In what way Bob was Wade’s keeping “woeful”? That is a very strong appraisal.

        • March 29th 2017 @ 2:49pm
          Bob said | March 29th 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

          Dropped catches galore (though some were caught off the rebound at slip), missed stumpings by the dozen, a technique that constantly saw him rising before the ball had reached him, which is why every second ball hit the backstop’s (Wade) pads. Woeful is strong, but competent is wrong.

          • Columnist

            March 29th 2017 @ 2:55pm
            Glenn Mitchell said | March 29th 2017 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

            “Dropped catches galore and missed stumping by the dozen” ….. you must been watching a diffeeent series to me Bob.

            I take it you are not a fan of Wade’s but I think your assessment of his performance is way out of whack with what actually happened.

          • March 29th 2017 @ 2:58pm
            JB said | March 29th 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

            I thought he improved behind the stumps but still showed he is a 2nd tie keeper, Neville has averaged around 100 since getting dropped he’s have to be close to a recall in the test format. I thought Wade had one of his better tours, he’s just an average keeper.

          • March 29th 2017 @ 3:22pm
            Timmuh said | March 29th 2017 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

            A smuch as Wade is not, and can probably never be, a sold keeper “dopped catches gaklore” is an overstatement. He did have some misses, got lucky witha couple he tried hard to miss , but overall was no worse than most wicketkeepers in difficult conditions.

            And (not that it should matter too much) after a scratchy start, and coming off no runs in Australia, he did start to produce some consistency with the bat later in the series.

            I don’t think he should be anywhere the keeper’s gloves at Shield level, but he was competent second-rate keeper this series.

          • March 29th 2017 @ 8:36pm
            doogs said | March 29th 2017 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

            Hey Bob. Maybe you can actually watch the series next time rather than dreaming it

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