The highest impact batsman in the series was West Indian (Marlon Samuels). As was the only genuine all-rounder in the series (Darren Sammy). And yet, West Indies lost 0-2 - in a series where they were expected to. The English bowling, expectedly perhaps, was the main difference between the two sides.
The series was resolved by the end of the 2nd Test itself, and the 3rd Test did not even manage two completed innings (thus not constituting a match in the Impact system), so our Impact report is only based on the first two Tests, when the series was still open. Still, we present the conventional figures next to the IMPACT numbers, to provide further perspective on the skews that occur on a series, and therefore, a career level.
Here is that overview
Marlon Samuels’ remarkable performance was not recognised enough (397 runs, avg 97; 5 wickets, avg 30 in 3 matches – IMPACT 4.37 in the first 2 Tests). He shared the Player-of-the-Series award with Andrew Strauss (326 runs, avg 65; winning captain – IMPACT 3.75 in the first 2 Tests). The fact however is that in this system, even after accounting for Strauss’ captaincy, Samuels had a 17% higher impact on this series. Notably, he absorbed the highest pressure in the series from both sides – in both Tests. His team may not have been able to capitalise on his outstanding consistency, but Samuels deserved to be the sole Man-of-the-Series. In fact, Samuels should have been the Man-of-the-Match in the 2nd Test but Bresnan was awarded that in front of him – this whole business of these awards going to someone from the winning side assuming more ridiculous proportions.
Yet, in no way can anything be taken away from Andrew Strauss’ performances in this series. More than the two centuries he scored, it was his sound starts with Alastair Cook (176 runs, avg 44 – IMPACT 3.07) that ensured a neutralisation of some outstanding West Indian batting (sadly, not enough of it though) – which eventually enabled the English bowlers to take charge.
Stuart Broad (14 wickets at 22 apiece – IMPACT 3.30) and Jimmy Anderson (9 wickets at 27 apiece – IMPACT 3.07) were the two highest impact bowlers in the series. Broad’s 11 wickets in the 1st Test gave England a hard-fought lead, while Anderson’s 6 wickets in the 2nd Test ended the series. Tim Bresnan took 8 wickets in the 2nd Test too (overall 12 wickets at 33 apiece – IMPACT 2.51 in the first 2 Tests). Anderson’s Pressure Building IMPACT (taking successive wickets with pressure getting activated for the opposition) and his Economy IMPACT (a relatively rare occurrence in Test cricket) further bolstered his impact. However, Bresnan’s performance in the 2nd Test was the highest impact bowling performance in the series even though Broad got more wickets in the first Test because the latter took 6 lower-order wickets. Anderson’s Bowling IMPACT in the series was higher than Bresnan’s because he delivered in both Tests, whereas Bresnan failed in the first match.
Kemar Roach – the third-highest impact bowler in the series from both sides (8 wickets at 34 apiece – IMPACT 2.96) had England on the ropes at 29-3 chasing 191 in the 1st Test – a little more support at the other end could have turned things drastically around for West Indies. Shannon Gabriel (4 wickets at 22 apiece in 1 Test - IMPACT 2.64) and Ravi Rampaul (4 wickets at 36 apiece in 2 Tests - IMPACT 1.86) did produce some impact but not enough to turn things around.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul absorbed the most pressure with the bat after Samuels in the series – his unbeaten 87 and 91 in the first Test in the realm of classic batting performances (IMPACT 5.40). The twin knocks (highest score for his side in both innings) evened out the battle considerably for a West Indian side which resonated with the palpable desire for a fight.
However, the top 4 in the West Indies batting line-up did not deliver – no-one from Adrian Barath, Kieran Powell, Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo could muster up an IMPACT of even 1 in the series while it was still open.
The highest impact batting performance in the series came from Samuels in the 2nd Test (117 and 76 with a Pressure IMPACT of 2.54; Batting IMPACT 6.40) followed by Chanderpaul in the 1st Test (87 and 91 with a Pressure IMPACT of 2.04; Batting IMPACT 5.40). Ian Bell (61 and 63 not out with a Pressure IMPACT of 0.72; Batting IMPACT 4.56) produced the highest impact batting performance for England in the 1st Test (whereas Strauss’ 141 and 45 in the 2nd Test registered an IMPACT of 3.80 in a relatively high-scoring match with an easy chase at the end).
Darren Sammy conducted himself well as captain, and player. He was the only all-rounder in the series – the only player in both sides to register an IMPACT of over 1 in two disciplines (Batting IMPACT 2.15; Bowling IMPACT 1.09).
Conventional statistics continue to provide misleading pictures – for example, Kevin Pietersen managed to gather more runs (203 runs, avg 51) than Cook (176 runs, avg 44) and Sammy (201 runs, avg 40) in the series but his Batting IMPACT is much lower than them in the series when it mattered (it doesn’t even cross 1). He scored 78 runs in the inconsequential 3rd match – which had zero impact in the game itself and the series on the whole – an aspect that has skewed the true worth of a cricketer right through the 134 years of Test cricket.
For similar reasons, Denesh Ramdin’s batting average of 41 crosses Sammy’s average of 40 – his inconsequential unbeaten century in the 3rd Test hiding his pathetic Batting IMPACT of 0.49 in the series whilst it was still open (as opposed to Sammy’s Batting IMPACT of 2.15). Ramdin’s “Yea Viv Talk Nah” sign on completing this century symptomatic of shamelessness and low intelligence all in one go. Hopefully, it was just a flash of stupidity and not a recurring deficiency – the fine he was levied and the apology he has offered ought to close this case. Also, Tino Best’s 95 in the 3rd Test may have been a world record highest innings for a no. 11 batsman but had zero impact on both - the (incomplete) match and the series.
While both West Indies and England had 3 high impact batsmen (Batting IMPACT 2 or more) each, England had 3 high impact bowlers as compared to West Indies’ 2 (that too, including Gabriel who played just 1 match). Once again, this reveals that West Indies lost the series on the bowling front rather than batting. While 6 players registered a Series IMPACT of less than 1 for West Indies, only Bairstow registered a Series IMPACT of less than 1 for England. It is this inconsistency as a team that cost West Indies.
In the end, that was the story of the series – a few outstanding individual performances from West Indies could not lead to much of a challenge – they were just not enough of a team. Still, they still conducted themselves much better than a pathetic Indian side had managed to do just a year back. The Series IMPACT numbers of 1.89 (England) and 1.55 (West Indies) suggesting a reasonably comfortable win for England but by no means a thrashing (India’s Team IMPACT last year was 1.09 to England’s 2.87).
With the impending return of Chris Gayle and with Sunil Narine joining the national side, a long-awaited turnaround for West Indian cricket might just be around the corner.
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