By Soham Sarkhel and Jatin Thakkar
Scorecards: 1st ODI / 2nd ODI / 4th ODI / 5th ODI
Challenging England in their own den has proved to be a nightmare for many teams in the recent past and even though the expectations were high from the Aussies to provide a resistance, they ended up being just another casualty for the rampant English team. The 4-0 series victory meant that England have now gone 34 months without losing a series in their home conditions while it also brought Australia’s first series loss under Michael Clarke’s captaincy.
Here is an overview of the series through the Impact Index lens.
The domination of England in this ODI series can be very easily understood from the fact that the 5 highest impact players in this series belonged to England. In fact, out of the 10 highest impact players only 3 belonged to Australia.
emerged as the highest impact player (3.63) of the series and was also the only player from both the sides to have an all-round impact. (Both Batting and Bowling IMPACT above 1). Even though Ian Bell has conventionally scored more runs than Bopara in the series, the latter has a higher Batting IMPACT than Bell, due to his chasing skills (high Chasing IMPACT). Out of the three times England chased, Bopara carried his bat twice and was the highest impact performer in the third. Bopara’s Bowling IMPACT was also better than all the Australian bowlers (except Clint McKay) and his overall performance was 31% better than next highest impact performer (Alastair Cook) on the list. In such circumstances, the Man of the Series award going to Ian Bell is inexplicable and again shows how conventional statistics can clout the bigger picture.
Still, a big reason for England’s success in the ODI series can be attributed to their openers Ian Bell (2.70) and Alastair Cook (2.41). They are the second and the third highest impact batsmen respectively in this series and provided good starts on a consistent basis. Their performances meant that the English batsmen came under pressure only once in the series in comparison to the Australian batsmen who faced pressure in each and every match. The only match where England came under pressure was the 5th ODI, where they were reduced to 34-2 in 10 overs but Alastair Cook absorbed it successfully to set up the series whitewash.
Shane Watson was the highest impact performer for Australia in this series (2.52) and his knock of 66 in the 2nd ODI helped Australia reach a competitive total of 251 and maybe was the only point in the series where the Australians had an upper hand at the halfway stage of the match.
It is perhaps also safe to say that George Bailey (2.28) was the only bright spot in the tour for the Australians. Bailey was one of the main reasons why the Australians managed to put up a fight in the 2nd and the 5th ODI. He displayed all the relevant batting skills—he absorbed pressure (Pressure IMPACT), built partnerships (Partnership Building IMPACT) and scored runs at a fair clip (Strike Rate IMPACT) and is definitely one of the talents to look out for as Australia try to rebuild their team for the future.
However, the biggest disappointment for the Aussie selectors on this tour would be the performance of their youngsters; James Pattinson, Peter Forrest, Matthew Wade and Xavier Doherty all failed to register an impact of even 1 in their respective disciplines. (In fact, Forrest had a negative Batting IMPACT in each and every innings he played).
When it came to bowling, England enjoyed a merry ride with 4 of their bowlers (Anderson, Finn, Bresnan and Bopara) constituting the list of the five highest impact bowlers in the series.
Steven Finn was the highest impact bowler (2.53) in the series and also registered the highest impact bowling performance of the series during the 4th ODI where he picked up 4-37 off 10 overs after reducing Australia to 6-2 in the first 6 overs. Finn displayed the relevant bowling skills – he was economical and he built pressure (second highest Pressure IMPACT after Anderson) while bowling in the series and had a failure rate of only 25%.
Tim Bresnan (2.24) and James Anderson (1.68) have time and time again proved themselves to be the epitome of consistency for this English team and were again the main reasons why England were able to sustain their impressive run of form. Their contribution to England's ODI performances since Sep 2009 (they haven’t lost a single home series after that) has been quite remarkable - Anderson (Bowling IMPACT of 1.98 in 47 matches) and Bresnan (Bowling IMPACT of 1.63 in 51 matches).
James Tredwell, making his comeback to the English side after almost a year played only one match but his figures of 2-23 off 7 overs and a run-out reduced Australia from 43-0 to 49-3 in the fifth ODI and put them under pressure (Pressure Building IMPACT). He ended up as the second highest impact player for England in the series primarily because he played only one match in which he did exceedingly well.
Australia’s bowling woes can be understood from the fact that their biggest strike bowler Brett Lee couldn’t even manage a Bowling IMPACT of 1 in the entire series. A staggering 88% fall from his Career Bowling IMPACT of 3.21. Hopefully, just a temporary blip for the highest impact ODI player to ever play for Australia – perhaps there’s still some fuel left for a memorable exit.
Clint McKay was the highest impact bowler for Australia (2.05) but barring him none of the other bowlers threatened the English batsmen on a regular basis. A point well iterated by the fact that only 2 of their bowlers managed to have a Bowling IMPACT of more than 1 in comparison to 5 bowlers from England.
Overall, on a team basis as well, England’s Team IMPACT of 1.92 quite clearly overshadows Australia’s Team IMPACT of 1.24, reflecting the 4-0 drubbing adequately.
This is only the third whitewash in Australian ODI history; interestingly, the previous ones occurred in 1997 and 2006-07 – when they were pretty much the best team in the world. Also, given that they missed Michael Hussey in this tour, there’s still a lot to look forward to from the side that almost relinquished the no. 1 ODI ranking.
For more information, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com