Anantha Narayanan

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Test all-round performances: A look

At Trent Bridge, India were pulverised by two
all-rounders, the true variety, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan. Broad scored 108
runs and captured 8 wickets for 76 runs. Bresnan scored 101 runs and captured
76 wickets for 96 runs. Rarely has been a match been dominated by two great
all-round performances. And think of it, Bell
would only have been third in the list of MOM candidates.

 

So I thought this is the time to look at
the truly great all-round performances in Test cricket. I have used a simple
metric of converting the performances to a runs base, assigning 25 runs to a
wicket. Of course this could be complicated a lot by considering various
related options such as bowling quality, pitch type, wicket quality, pitch
type, support received et al. However, let me stick to the simple formulae now.

 

Given below is the table of all-rounders
who have exceeded 350 "runs" in a Test. That is a lot, as you can see. It is
the equivalent of a batsman scoring a triple-plus century or a bowler capturing
12+ wickets.

 

MtId

Year

Player

For

Vs

Runs

Wkts

Pts

Res

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

874

1980

Botham
I.T

England

Ind

114

13
for 106

439

Won

406

1955

Atkinson
D.S.t.E

West Indies

Aus

239

7
for 164

414

Drawn

287

1947

Edrich
W.J

England

Saf

213

8
for 172

413

Won

1905

2009

Dilshan
T.M

Sri Lanka

Bng

305

4
for  10

405

Won

42

1894

Giffen
G

Australia

Eng

202

8
for 239

402

Lost

106

1910

Faulkner
G.A

South Africa

Eng

201

8
for 160

401

Won

498

1960

Davidson
A.K

Australia

Win

124

11
for 222

399

Drawn

636

1968

Sobers
G.St.A

West Indies

Eng

247

6
for 125

397

Drawn

945

1983

Imran
Khan

Pakistan

Ind

117

11
for 180

392

Won

352

1952

Mankad
M.H

India

Eng

256

5
for 231

381

Lost

802

1977

Mushtaq
Mohd

Pakistan

Win

177

8
for  97

377

Won

712

1973

Mushtaq
Mohd

Pakistan

Nzl

201

7
for  64

376

Won

608

1966

Sobers
G.St.A

West Indies

Eng

174

8
for  80

374

Won

905

1981

Botham
I.T

England

Aus

199

7
for 109

374

Won

1440

1999

Kallis
J.H

South Africa

Win

198

7
for 124

373

Won

1888

2008

Vettori
D.L

New Zealand

Bng

131

9
for 133

356

Won

528

1962

Umrigar
P.R

India

Win

228

5
for 124

353

Lost

 

Botham's 1980 performance, away, against India,
is truly the performance of a lifetime. 13 wickets and a century. It can only
be compared to Gooch's triple century and century in the same Test or Laker
capturing 19 wickets or Barnes capturing 17 wickets in the same Test. Let us
not forget that this was at Bombay
and was against a team which had Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Vishwanath, Kapil and
Doshi.

 

Atkinson and Edrich are two unlikely and
relatively unknown all-rounders in second and third positions. Dilshan just
about met the bowling limit, capturing 4 second innings wickets. However, he
also scored over 300 runs in the match.

 

By themselves, Broad's and Bresnan's
performances are not up there (308 and 276 respectively). However, taken
together, these two represent one of the most potent all-round combinations
ever.

 

A few interesting facts:

 

There are 50 performances with a total of
300 "runs" and above.

 

Botham is the supreme all-rounder,
completing five such performances. Vinoo Mankad, the unheralded Indian
all-rounder owns three such performances, ahead of more illustrious
all-rounders such as Sobers, Kallis, Greig and Imran Khan who have done it
twice.

 

The table also contains players who are
predominantly batsmen, such as Compton, Cowper and Bill Edrich. It also contains
bowlers such as Larwood and Wasim Akram.

 

If we keep the lower limit at 300, there is
no instance of two players completing this performance in the same match. However,
if we lower the limit to 250, there is one instance. Readers would not get a
prize for guessing when. It was four days back, at Trent Bridge,
by Broad and Bresnan of England!

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