Shane Warne bowls Andrew Strauss with lunch approaching

Not all of cricket's great deliveries matter equally

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Stats feature

Golden wickets

Zeroing in on the most important dismissals in Test history

Anantha Narayanan |

One of the editors of the Cricket Monthly recently made an enquiry about an article in which I had valued wickets by the quality of batsmen dismissed. He asked, "Can you then tell me what is the best wicket ever?" I said, "Let us go further. I will give you the top dozen wickets, selected objectively." And here we are.

Methodology
This is mostly an objective exercise. I am not going to select the most famous wickets - Warne dismissing Gatting or Holding's brutal over to Boycott. Those much-hyped wickets have historical significance but they did not significantly alter the course of a match or series. England lost both those Tests, and both series, comfortably. The pronouncements that Warne turned the ball anywhere between 12 to 30 inches or that Holding toyed with Boycott before dismissing him make for great drama and fine reading but are totally subjective. For that matter why could one not say that Warne's dismissal of Andrew Strauss at Edgbaston in 2005 was a greater delivery? Can one say that Muttiah Muralitharan has not claimed such a scalp or that Curtly Ambrose or Glenn McGrath or Waqar Younis have not bowled equally great overs?

As far as I am concerned, a wicket selected should change the course of the Test (and series) dramatically. It should change the winning percentage of the losing team from say 10% to 20% in favour of a win at that point in time or thereafter. There will be no subjectivity other than my judgement to select from among the shortlisted wickets.

To do this I use a concept developed jointly with Milind Pandit, my collaborator in many key areas of discovery. We analysed innings in which all ten wickets were captured and deduced the following about the resources the bowling side had available at the fall of each wicket.

1. 11.74%
2. 24.30%
3. 37.32%
4. 50.26%
5. 62.19%
6. 73.16%
7. 82.08%
8. 89.52%
9. 95.36%
10. 100%

These numbers are clear in explaining the value of the top-order wickets, especially the second, third and fourth. It is thus possible for us to make projections about expected innings-end scores. For instance, a team at 140 for 3 will be expected to score 375 (140/0.3732). A team at 200 for 5 will be expected to score 321 (200/0.6219). Yes, I know they could be dismissed for 250 or go on to score 450. But these are projections based on completely dependable historical data.

These values are computed from 5657 completed innings (until the end of Test No. 2220 in Centurion in late August). There was an option to do innings-specific projections but the real problem was the fourth innings. There are only 527 completed fourth innings and all but two have ended in losses. It was clear that making projections using data from lost matches would be error-prone. Hence, I decided to average across four innings.

The expected runs are derived using these values and adjusted if a significant partnership has been in progress. Using the target in front and the expected runs, I determine, with a fair degree of accuracy, the winning percentage of the batting team. Everything flows from this.

One subtle point. I look at the match status just before the fall of each wicket for the first to sixth wickets and just after the fall of the wicket for the latter wickets. The reasons are obvious: the quality of batsmen at the crease.

I have given below the example of this working for the Alan Davidson wicket in the tied Test in 1960.

Score 226 for 6, chasing 233. Partnership of 134 in progress
Projection: (226/0.8208) - 226 = 49 (later wicket, so status after fall of wicket)
Runs needed: 7
Partnership: 134
Partnership factor = 134/7 = 19.1 (limited to 5 and mapped to 1.5)* Expected runs: 49x1.50 = 73
Win chances: 73/(73+7) = 91.3%

*Partnership factor has a scale of 1-5. If >5, partnership factor is taken as 5. It is then mapped on a scale of 1 to 1.5 to determine expected runs. Partnership factor is an indicator of the momentum of the match and also of the tenure of the batsmen at the crease.

Holding v Boycott: great over, fine dismissal, but how much did it matter in the context of the match?

Holding v Boycott: great over, fine dismissal, but how much did it matter in the context of the match? © Patrick Eagar

The top three wickets selected themselves. Then I shortlisted 15 wickets and made my final selection of ten out of these, and have presented these as equals in reverse chronological order. I completed my selections from this table of wickets after carefully studying the scorecards and series situations and determining how easy or difficult run-making was.

The wickets need not be off great deliveries. It is immaterial whether they came off long hops, through awful strokes or even umpiring mistakes. I am not looking for aesthetics here but for decisive wickets that had great impact on the match and series.

Now the selection criteria, by innings.

Fourth innings
For the fourth innings, I only consider situations in which the capture of the wicket transforms the situation dramatically from an overwhelming win for the batting team to a narrow win for the bowling team or a tie. I do not go blindly for the last wicket that falls, even though that might be the decisive one. I look for the key wicket, earlier in the innings, that started a slide. Usually this wicket will be that of a much better batsman. However, there are situations in which the last wicket is the most important one. A key feature of this situation is the presence of a long tenth-wicket partnership. In fact, the most valuable wicket in Test history belongs to this genre.

The fourth innings is the easiest of all since the target is crystal clear. The objective, however, might vary: to go for the target or aim for a draw? Therefore it is quite easy to get a clear handle on the situation. I work out the winning percentage of the batting team. I have a high cut-off for this value and if the fall of this wicket is directly responsible for the bowling team's win, the match goes into the pot.

Third innings
The third innings is a totally different matter. Here I look for wickets that caused a significant collapse, leading to a third innings that finished way below the total that should have been realised.

First, an example. Let us give absolute parity to the two teams in the first innings. From 200 for 2, the team batting third collapses to 249 all out. Now if the team batting last scores 250 for 2, we don't have any wicket candidates from this match. But if the team batting last scores 250 for 8 to win, then we are in business. Maybe another 30 runs would have done the trick.

That means I look for collapses in third innings and narrow wins (by one or two wickets) in the fourth innings. That also means the decisive wicket has to be a top-order wicket. Fortunately there are only seven such Tests and I have selected two wickets from them for inclusion.

Second innings
The second innings is a beast, more a mind-bender than an analytical exercise. First, the team batting second should have lost the match. But they should have lost after being in a brutally commanding position in their first batting effort. How do I define this? After a lot of trials, I found that no team had gone past the other team's first-innings score without losing a wicket and still lost the match. And there were only two instances of a team crossing the opening team's score for the loss of one wicket and still losing the match. There I had my answer. I selected one of these matches.

That was close: West Indies celebrate after the Adelaide win in 1993

That was close: West Indies celebrate after the Adelaide win in 1993 © Getty Images

First innings
I studied the first innings very carefully. There was no way I could select a first-innings wicket that caused a collapse and conclude that it was a golden wicket. The simple reason is that there are three more innings yet to be played, unlike in the second innings, where a match situation of "X: 120, Y: 130 for 1" is decisive. Take Virender Sehwag's dismissal for 195 at the MCG in 2003. There is no doubt that the wicket sparked India's collapse from 311 for 3 to 366 all out. But then Australia took a first-innings lead of nearly 200 runs and won on the last day with nine wickets and 70 overs to spare. So how can anyone conclude that Sehwag's dismissal was almost solely responsible for India's loss? What if he had scored another 50 to 100 runs? Australia might still have won.

The bottom line is that there are no qualifying first-innings wickets.

Top three wickets in Test history

1. McDermott c Murray b Walsh 18
Test No. 1210 (1993)
Australia v West Indies, Adelaide
West Indies 252. Australia 213. West Indies 146. Australia 184
West Indies won by one run

West Indies saved the first Test of the series by the skin of their teeth. Australia won the next Test comfortably. The Sydney Test was a high-scoring draw. So they moved to Adelaide with the series in the balance.

West Indies finished with a first-innings score of 252. Curtly Ambrose's 6 for 74 gave West Indies a lead of 39. From 124 for 5, West Indies were spun out for 146, leaving Australia a target of 186 on the fourth day. Australia started poorly, losing wickets too often and were struggling at 102 for 8. Justin Langer and Tim May added 42 for the ninth wicket. When Langer was dismissed, Australia still needed 42 and the fat lady had started to exercise her vocal chords. But May, on the attack, and Craig McDermott, defending, had other ideas. They batted for an hour and a half and added 40, leaving the match tantalisingly close at 184 for 9. At this point, two runs were needed and the expected runs, based on the resources and ongoing partnership was 13. This led to a high winning percentage of 86.7 for Australia.

Then a rising ball from Walsh brushed McDermott's glove to give West Indies the closest victory ever, by one run. Australia's high winning chance, the ongoing partnership and the importance this wicket had for the match and series, gave this the honour of the most valuable wicket in Test history. A drop by Junior Murray could have led to a tie or a win.

West Indies went on to win the last Test and take the series 2-1.

2. Davidson run out 80
Test No. 498 (1960)
Australia v West Indies, Brisbane
West Indies 453. Australia 505. West Indies 284. Australia 232
Match tied

The first Test of one of the greatest series of all time was played in Brisbane. Two huge first innings ended with a 52-run lead for Australia. Davidson was instrumental in dismissing West Indies for a middling total, 284. Australia had to score 233, with most of the last day available.

Wes Hall was devastating, as Australia lost five wickets for 57 and then six for 92. A huge win for West Indies was on the cards. Richie Benaud joined Davidson and they had a brilliant partnership for well over three hours, with Davidson playing the aggressor. They added 134 and took the score to 226 for 6. Seven runs were needed with four wickets in hand. At this point, the expected runs were 73. The chances of an Australian win were 91.2%.

West Indies prayed for miracles, and it came in the form of brilliant fielding. Davidson was run out when Benaud called for a sharp single, but Joe Solomon's direct hit was decisive. Incidentally, Australia were in great shape even after the loss of Davidson's wicket. At 228 for 7, with Benaud at the crease, the win was on (the winning percentage was 90.9%). Then Hall dismissed Benaud and two more wickets fell for the addition of only four runs. Benaud's wicket could have been selected as well.

The series ended tantalisingly close: a 2-1 win for Australia.

Edgbaston 2005:

Edgbaston 2005: "Jones!... Bowden!..." © Getty Images

3. Kasprowicz c Jones b Harmison 20
Test No. 1758 (2005)
England v Australia, Edgbaston
England 407. Australia 308. England 182. Australia 279
England won by two runs

The Ashes in 2005 was one of the all-time great series. A huge Australian win at Lord's indicated a rout in the offing. The caravan moved across the M1 to Edgbaston. Two middling first innings meant that England led by 99. Shane Warne spun his magic to dismiss England for 182, leaving a target of 282.

Australia started poorly and were down in the dumps at 137 for 7. Michael Clarke was dismissed off the last ball of the third day's play and Australia were tottering on the brink at 175 for 8, with over 100 runs still to get. The next day, Warne and Brett Lee added 45 before Warne was dismissed with Australia on 220. It seemed like curtains with one wicket available and over 50 to get.

Michael Kasprowicz joined Lee and they attacked the bowling, adding 59 in 12 overs. In between, Kasprowicz was dropped by Simon Jones. At 279 for 9, with three runs needed, the expected runs were 21. The chances of an Australian win were 87.5%. Then a rising Harmison delivery took Kasprowicz's glove, and the wicketkeeper, Geraint Jones, completed the catch. The final wicket of this Test was very similar to that of the Adelaide classic of 1993.

England went on to win the Ashes 2-1. The series became one for the gods when Kasprowicz's wicket was taken. If Australia had gone 2-0 ahead, the series could have ended as an easy win for them.

Next ten most important wickets in Test history
These are presented in reverse chronological order. There is no attempt to rank them.

4a. Ponting c Southee b Bracewell 16
Test No. 2021 (2011)
Australia v New Zealand, Hobart
New Zealand 150. Australia 136. New Zealand 226. Australia 233
New Zealand won by seven runs

Australia needed 241 for a tough win. David Warner was magnificent, and useful contributions from Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja and Ricky Ponting took the team to 159 for 2. The target was 82 runs away and the projection was 269. Australia were sitting pretty at 76.5%. Strains of "Waltzing Matilda" were heard in the distance.

Hobart 2011: Ponting c Southee b Bracewell

Hobart 2011: Ponting c Southee b Bracewell William West / © AFP

Then, in his farewell innings in Hobart, Ponting was caught at extra cover off Doug Bracewell. No one thought it was the beginning of the end, but it was. Bracewell took five more wickets to dismiss Australia for 233: a narrow loss by seven runs. An all-time great innings by Warner was thwarted by an all-time great bowling effort by Bracewell.

4b. Mohammad Yousuf c Haddin b Johnson 46
Test No. 1945 (2010)
Australia v Pakistan, Sydney
Australia 127. Pakistan 333. Australia 381. Pakistan 139
Australia won by 36 runs

This is the only selection from the second innings. In reply to Australia's 127, Pakistan were 144 for 1 and 205 for 2. I have selected Mohammad Yousuf's dismissal at 237 for 3 as the golden wicket since he was one of the world's best batsmen at the time. He was caught behind off Mitchell Johnson, though this did not spell disaster immediately. Pakistan still managed a lead of over 200. But that was wiped out by a Mike Hussey classic before Nathan Hauritz and Johnson ran through Pakistan to win by 36 runs. Pakistan's winning chances were very high before the fall of Yousuf's wicket.

4c. Tendulkar c Wasim Akram b Saqlain Mushtaq 136
Test No. 1442 (1999)
India v Pakistan, Chennai
Pakistan 238. India 254. Pakistan 286. India 258
Pakistan won by 12 runs

To describe this innings is to gild the lily. Suffice to say that at 254 for 6, it looked like curtains for Pakistan (79.5% for India). Tendulkar was dismissed for 136 and Pakistan secured a miracle win.

4d. Mark Waugh b Waqar Younis 61
Test No. 1268 (1994)
Pakistan v Australia, Karachi
Australia 337. Pakistan 256. Australia 232. Pakistan 315 for 9
Pakistan won by one wicket

This is the first of two third-innings wickets. Playing in tough conditions in Karachi, Australia were 171 for 2 after securing a first-innings lead of 81. An insurmountable 400-run target seemed likely. Australia's winning chance was 75.7% (a target of 92 versus projection of 287). The notional target was 263. When Mark Waugh was bowled by a Waqar Younis special, very few could have anticipated that there would be a horrendous collapse with no one else reaching double figures. Australia lost eight wickets for 61.

Mohammad Yousuf's dismissal in the Sydney Test of 2010 did not wreck Pakistan's first innings, but the loss of his wicket meant his side's chances of a win plummeted

Mohammad Yousuf's dismissal in the Sydney Test of 2010 did not wreck Pakistan's first innings, but the loss of his wicket meant his side's chances of a win plummeted Mark Nolan / © Getty Images

Although Australia set Pakistan a decent target, Inzamam-ul-Haq's magnificent innings, with help from the lower order, took Pakistan to a one-wicket win. Twenty-five more runs would have been enough for Australia. Let me reiterate that this match would not have qualified if Pakistan had scored 315 for 4 to win the game. Readers can identify the difference in dynamics between the third and fourth innings.

4e. PA de Silva c Border b McDermott 37
Test No. 1194 (1992)
Sri Lanka v Australia, Colombo. Australia 256. Sri Lanka 547 for 8d. Australia 471. Sri Lanka 164
Australia won by 16 runs

Sri Lanka dominated the first two innings, and were set a target of 181. They were coasting at 127 for 2 (winning chances 79.8%) when disaster struck. De Silva, who was batting fluently, went for an almighty slog and the skier was brilliantly caught by Border at mid-on. What happened next was similar to the collapse in the Karachi Test in 1994: seven single-digit dismissals and the loss of eight wickets for 37 runs. Australia walked on water through the combined efforts of Greg Matthews and Warne.

4f. Thomson c Miller b Botham 21
Test No. 943 (1982)
Australia v England, Melbourne
England 284. Australia 287. England 294. Australia 288
England won by three runs

Three days, three innings. The fourth day started with Australia needing 292 for a win. They were 218 for 9 and then came the stand between Border and Jeff Thomson. The two took the score to 288 for 9. Now Australia, with winning chances of 84% (the target down to four and a projection of 21), were on top. Thomson edged an away delivery and Geoff Miller took the catch after it popped out of Chris Tavaré's grasp. One of the greatest Ashes Tests ended with less than a boundary separating the teams.

Melbourne 1982: Miller catches Thomson to end a cliffhanger

Melbourne 1982: Miller catches Thomson to end a cliffhanger © Getty Images

4g. Kapil Dev c Gooch b Willey 0
Test No. 854 (1979)
England v India, The Oval
England 305. India 202. England 334 for 8d. India 429 for 8
Match drawn

England set India 438 for a win. On the last day, a run a minute was needed. The top three took India to 366 for 2, at which point an upset seemed probable. Sunil Gavaskar was batting beautifully and the chance of a win was 90%, although time was becoming a crucial factor. Kapil was sent up: a questionable decision. When he got out, the win had just about slipped away. Gavaskar's wicket at 389 for 3 could also have been considered. I selected Kapil's wicket since he scored 0. Fifteen from the last over proved too much and India downed the shutters. This is the only drawn Test in this selection.

4h. Border b Sarfraz Nawaz 105
Test No. 849 (1979)
Australia v Pakistan, Melbourne
Pakistan 196. Australia 168. Pakistan 353 for 9d. Australia 310
Pakistan won by 71 runs

Australia were set 382. Border, ably supported by Andrew Hilditch and Kim Hughes, took the score to 305 for 3 and a terrific win was in the offing. The win percentage for Australia was 79.7 (a target of 77 versus projection of 302). Border was bowled for 105 by Sarfraz, who then launched into one of the greatest spells of fast bowling: seven wickets for one run in 33 balls. Australia were dismissed for the addition of just five runs. This was arguably Pakistan's greatest away win, matching their famous victory in Port-of-Spain in 1958.

4i. Dexter c Grout b Benaud 76
Test No. 510 (1961)
England v Australia, Manchester
Australia 190. England 367. Australia 432. England 201
Australia won by 54 runs

Bolstered by a last-wicket stand of 98, Australia set England 256. England's chase began with a good opening stand, followed by Ted Dexter, imperious as ever, attacking his way to 76. England's chances, at 150 for 1, were 81.5%. Then Benaud, using the rough created by Fred Trueman's and Jack Flavell's footmarks, dismissed Dexter, Peter May, Brian Close and Raman Subba Row to leave England at 163 for 5. Australia won comfortably but it was Dexter's wicket that started England's downward spiral.

England were well on course at Old Trafford in 1961 before this wicket: Dexter c Grout b Benaud

England were well on course at Old Trafford in 1961 before this wicket: Dexter c Grout b Benaud © Getty Images

4j. Cowper c Indrajitsinhji b Nadkarni 81
Test #567 (1964)
India v Australia, Bombay
Australia 320. India 341. Australia 274. India 256 for 8
India won by two wickets

This is the second match where the wicket selected was in the third innings. Two middling first innings left Australia with a deficit of 21. In the third innings, Australia were well placed at 246 for 3 and the notional target was 300. The win chance for Australia was 82.1% (a target of 53 and projection of 243). Then Bob Cowper was caught behind off the persistent Bapu Nadkarni and the cat was set among the pigeons. Australia lost their next five wickets for 28. India reached the target of 254 for the loss of eight wickets. If Dilip Sardesai had scored a hundred and India had scored 256 for 4, this Test would not have been considered.

Conclusion
None of the 13 wickets selected is from before the first World War. There were three or four such matches in the first shortlist. However, in most of these Tests the targets were low and with the prevailing low-scoring trends, batting was extremely difficult. In Test No. 9, the scores were 63, 101 and 122. Despite the low target of 85, runs were hard to come by and England managed only 77. The match that came closest was Test No. 19, where the final innings was almost identical to the one in the first tied Test.

Surprisingly there was nothing of note during the inter-war period, possibly because of the strong batting sides that dominated play in this era.

The cornerstone of this analysis is that the wickets picked needed to effect a complete transformation in the match. The preliminary selections are objective and the final selections are made after a perusal of related factors. Readers will have their own selections of golden wickets and I am interested in hearing of their selections.

Below is a list of the wickets that missed out on the final list.

Test No. 19. Read b Spofforth 56
Test No. 149. Catterall b Macaulay 76
Test No. 611. Simpson c Goddard b Pollock 65
Test No. 1052. Chetan Sharma c McDermott b Bright 23
Test No. 1787. Gayle c Fleming b Astle 82
Test No. 2148. Vijay lbw Lyon 99

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on cricket-performance ratings and cricket simulation

 

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LOGIN TO POST YOUR COMMENTS

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | December 10, 2016, 10:18 GMT

    Chennai test of 2001, in 2nd innings of Aus, wicket of Mark Waugh by Bhajji was 5th to fall at Aus total of 193- How about this wicket in ur list? India won only by 2 wickets in chase of 155. Mark Waugh had made 70 in 1st innings. In selecting the golden wicket, feel that the performance of the batsman in the 1st innings is to be considered when he is dismissed in 2nd innings. Steve Waugh made 110 in 1st innings at Kolkatta 2001, Ponting made 242 at Adelaide 2003 & George Giffen made 161 in 1st innings at Sydney 1894- individual score of 50 or 100 or more in 1st innings could mean that the batsman who made it has his hand set for the pitch conditions & makes him a threat to the rival side even in 2nd innings. So the rival will be eager to dismiss him & feel like it was golden wicket.
    [[
    The golden wicket analysis can only pertain to that specific innings. Any attempt to take it to the other innings is wrong.
    At 246 for 7, Australia was leading by 136 runs only and the match was really in India's favour. As such Mark Waugh's wicket did not matter.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | December 4, 2016, 5:28 GMT

    In 2014 Auckland test, India like a fool believed that 407 is chasable, but after Jadeja got out India were 324/7-from here on India was going to lose which it did. At Adelaide 2014 test, India again wrongly believed that 364 is chasable if 372 (1992) and 493 (1978) were not. When India lost Virat as 7th wicket with Indian total of 304-it became clear that India is going to lose-like a criminal who keeps on repeating mistakes,Indian team has lost 3 tests chasing above 237 at Adelaide, at least 1 of these 3 tests should have been saved by India. Coach Shastri who had played in the 1986 tie & also in 1992 Aus tour, must have advised the team to hang out by any way for mandatory 90 overs of day 5-India lasted for 87.1 overs of day 5-very close & Virat who made 100 in both innings hopefully learnt the value of saving or tieing a test-but his wicket looks good for ur list. Draw at 1979 Oval & tie at 1986 Chennai are valuable as the defending side could not win.
    [[
    We have to accept that Kohli views the Tests differently. He is ready to take risks to win a Test. However it is essential that he leads at least one huge chase to make his approach acceptable. Having said that he played the Rajkot Test differently. Maybe Kumble's influence.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | December 4, 2016, 3:35 GMT

    1. What about Ponting c Chopra b Agarkar 0 in the test Aus lost at Adelaide 2003 vs India?
    [[
    Too early in the innings. Maybe the more relevant wickets could be those of Steve Waugh's or Martyn's. Also the final win was not a very narrow one.
    Ananth
    ]]
    2. In 1894 Sydney test, Aus needed 177 to win but were all out for 166 to lose the test-Wicket of George Giffen on his score of 41 by Briggs was 4th wicket at Aus total of 135-Giffen had made 161 in 1st innings-will this wicket come in ur selection?
    [[
    Test #42. Was very much in the mix for final selection. Joe Darling's wicket at 130 for 2 was the most crucial one. Then Giffen's at 135 for 4.
    Ananth
    ]]
    3. In 1994 Sydney test vs SA, Aus needed 117 to win but were all out for 111. Wicket of Damian Martyn by Donald was 9th to fall at Aus total of 110. At 110 for 9, what iss the win% for Aus with 6 runs needed to equal, 7 needed to win but only 1 wicket left in hand and plenty of time left?
    [[
    Test #1243. I have already covered this in an earlier response. Again Martyn's wicket was in the mix. 35 added for the ninth wicket. Win % was around 80. Ironically Donald took this wicket while it was Fannie de Villiers' match.His performance is in the top-5 in the revised bowling performances list.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | December 4, 2016, 3:28 GMT

    By reverse article, I mean exactly what you said. Games in which one team had lost the game 80% or more. And then came back to win or draw it. It could be thru one partnership, or combined effort. Main point is the team's loss %age was 80% or more. And then they came back to win or draw. That might be an interesting set of games. Thanks!
    [[
    Let me see what I can do. With TCM, my next two articles are already set. I also do an article once in 4 months or so. At EC, I do monthly ones and this is a possibility. Sportstar is another opening.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | December 3, 2016, 22:13 GMT

    And Ananth, would it be possible for you to do an article(s) on the World series Cricket to show the batting/bowling stats in those games. Never got a chance to know much about those Games. It probably had some of the most competitive Cricket ever played. Tests and ODIs. And if possible, maybe do some articles on some rebel tours to South Africa. Africa had a pretty strong team in the 70s. It be interesting to know how they did against the visiting teams. Especially, Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards in their prime, and Clive Rice, Mike Proctor, Eddie barlow and they also had a tearaway tall quick as well that I ve heard about a few times. Thanks!
    [[
    Jasprit, Two problems. One is the shortage of slots. I really cannot afford to lose one slot to WSC when there are so many other topics to be covered. The other is the fact that I don't really have the data. I cannot really do an analysis. And a non-analytical article will not feel right from me.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | December 3, 2016, 22:07 GMT

    I think a reverse article might be good too. This article shows games where teams lost from a strong position. How about games where teams won from positions where they almost lost the game. It could be due to individual wicket/partnerships or combined team efforts. Kolkatta 2001 and Headingley 1981 would probably take the cake, but it might show some interesting games. Thanks!
    [[
    In reality this article highlights wickets which changed the win % from above 80% for the batting team to either losses or draws/ties. In other words the wickets which changed the course of a game completely. It is difficult to define what you want. A wicket can only change a certain win to a loss. Not vice versa. A partnership can. For instance, Australia was struggling at 92 for 6 and the partnership between Davidson and Benaud took them a a tie. Something like that. Or Mohali at 2010. India, struggling desperately at 124 for 8, is rescued by the partnership between Laxman and Sharma. I think plenty has been written on these. The 'golden wicket' was a flash of lightning.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Harsh on | November 26, 2016, 6:25 GMT

    Ananth these are the ones that come to my mind in order. 1.Chris Old dismissing Alan Border in 2nd innings of Leeds test in 1981 2.Andy Roberts dismissing Chappell brothers of successive deliveries in 1979-80. 3.John Emburey dismissing Alan Border in 2nd innings of Edgbaston test in 1981 4.Karsan Ghavri bowling Greg Chappell in 2nd innings of 3rd test at Melbourne in 1981. 5.Imran Khan bowling Gavaskar and Vishwanath in 2nd test at Karachi in 1982-83 6.Iqbal Qasim removing Gavaskar in 2nd innings of 5th test at Bangalore in 1987. 7.Bob willis removing Kim Hughes and Graham Yallop in 2nd innings of Leeds 1981 test.
    [[
    Three wickets in one innings dilutes the whole concept.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | November 24, 2016, 18:31 GMT

    Got confused after your reply to my post of NOVEMBER 23, 2016, 10:52 GMT so came the suggestion of batsman from the winning side.
    [[
    I understand. I should have made it clear that I considered only matches not lost for this exercise. My apologies.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | November 24, 2016, 17:14 GMT

    1. In 2010 Mohali test, Aus lost Watson as 1st wicket at 87 in their 2nd innings & were all out for 192. India needing 216 to win were reduced to 119 for 6 when Sachin got out and then further to 124 for 8 when Harbhajan got out-so chance of Indian win had significantly reduced: end result is India won by a wicket-Why is Watson or Sachin for this test is missing in your list?
    [[
    How can you suggest batsmen from both winning and losing teams. How can Tendulkar's wicket ever becom golden in a Test India won. 87 for no loss is too early to consider the siti=uation as highly favourable. Third innings situations are quite tricky. There has to be clear evidence that the specific wicket led to the defeat. Then Ponting's wicket could also be suggested.
    Ananth
    ]]
    2. Also 2003 Antigua test, WI won by chasing 417 & with 3 wickets in hand, in the chase Lara got out as 4th wicket at WI total of 165-thought Lara bowled by McGill for 60 in this test should have been in ur list.
    [[
    Lara's team won !!! Have you got a clear understanding of the article.
    Ananth
    ]]
    3. Adelaide test of 2003, Ponting made 242 in 1st innings of Aus but in 2nd innings got out to Agarkar for a duck at Aus total of 18 for 2, Aus collapsed to 196 all out. Ponting c Chopra b Agarkar for 0 could perhaps make it to the list

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | November 24, 2016, 16:11 GMT

    Kolkatta 2001: Would u consider Steve Waugh wicket or Hayden wicket on day 5 in ur list as both of them had the capability to save that test ? India was asked to follow-on by Aus & many thought India will lose but India won & that Dravid-Laxman partnership+Harbhajan's bowling changed the course of that test as well as of that entire series dramatically.
    [[
    I have mentioned a few times that the time available is not a factor. As such, Australia needed 384 to win and was dismissed for 212. No wicket would be relevant.
    Ananth
    ]]
    Headingley 1981: England were asked to follow-on, Aus needed 130 to win but Aus were all out for 111. Results of a draw was ruled out in Headingley test-would u consider Border's wicket at total of 65 in ur list as he was a sticky batter? Chasing 130, Aus were reduced to 74/7, but 130 is such a low target that any of the remaining 3 wickets had the potential to give win to Aus , -in such a case will u still give 50-50 to both teams at 7 wickets down?
    [[
    I would rather think that the wicket of Lillee at 110 for 8 was probably far more relevant since he and Bright had added 35 runs. It so happens that the win % was only around 55 since still 20 runs more were needed.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | November 24, 2016, 15:39 GMT

    In 1994 Mohali test vs WI that India lost, Prabhakar had made 120 in 1st innings as an opener but in 2nd innings where India had to chase 358 runs, he retired as hurt by a nasty delivery of Courtney Walsh-that surely reinstalled fear of WI bowlers in the minds of next Indian batsmen & India lost it easily. In 1976 Kingston 'bloodbath' test, after Venkat got out the next 5 indian batsman were absent hurt, so WI had to chase only 13 runs to win. A key player like Mike Gatting or debutant Andy Lloyd getting retired hurt by delivery from Malcolm Marshall proved to be changing the course of the Eng vs WI series of 1984 & 1986. Graeme Smith had returned to bat with broken hand at Sydney 2009, Marshall had done a similar act at Headingley 1984-does the methodology in your article also apply for retired hurt instead of a wicket situation?
    [[
    358 needed and all out for 114 would mean that no wicket or retired hurt was relevant even if the first innings score was good.
    In general retuired hurt is not shown as a wicket loss. At Mohali the first wicket fell at 17. That was Sidhu's wicket. So Prabhakar would not feature.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY S on | November 24, 2016, 5:15 GMT

    Ananth: can your analysis be extended tp ODI's to come up with a list? I mean treat the team batting first as "third innings with zero lead". Here, you may need data about the number of balls remaining, asking rate etc. So some modification is surely needed. I can quickly think of some examples Team batting first: 1. Gautam Gambhir (Ind vs SA in 2011 WC, 267-1 to 296 all out, 3 wkt win with one ball to spare) 2. Robin Smith (Eng vs Ind 1993 247-3 to 256 all out, 3 wkt win in the 48th over.) Team chasing: 1. Mohammad Azharuddin (Ind vs SL 1993, 152-2 to 195 all out lost by8 runs) 2. Sachin Tendulkar (Ind vs Aus 2009, he was out for 175 and Ind lost by 3 runs) 3. Mike Gatting (1987 world cup final, lost by 7 runs) 4. Aravinda De Silva (SL vs Ind 1998, 272-4 to 301 all out lost by 6 runs) 5. Aravinda De Silva (SL vs Ind 1993 161-2 to 211 all out lost by 1 run) Not sure how long the exercise will be but would love to see the list Anand
    [[
    Anand
    As I have explained elsewhere I handle the TCM articles in a different manner. In EspnCricnfo, it is easy for me follow-up on suggestions since I do an article monthly. Here I do one every 3/4 months and these are weighty article. As such I have to see how your suggestion, very good at that, can be incorporated. Maybe I may even have to do it in EspnCricinfo.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Edmund on | November 23, 2016, 22:11 GMT

    Really good article. However, unfortunately wicket no. 3 needs to be excluded, since, as every follower of the 2005 Ashes will recall, Kasprowicz's hand was off the bat when the ball hit his glove and therefore the wicket should not have been given (pre-DRS days). Important as that wicket was in the match and the series, it can't therefore rank among "golden wickets".
    [[
    Possibly true. But I can only go by the scorecards. I never sit in judgement.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY beastp5882989 on | November 23, 2016, 21:07 GMT

    Fantastic article which epitomises how important wickets are. I personally think that the best dismissals are those which change a game on the top of its head, yet crazy dismissals such as Warne vs Strauss devises a script that a Hollywood writer wouldn't script. Very recently, you could suggest that Mohammed Shami's dismissal of Alastair Cook changed the game entirely which, consequently, England had lost had it not been for that wicket but we don't as of yet realise how that could epitomise the series as a whole.
    [[
    Probably the wicket which would have come in for discussion is Warner's dismissal by Steyn. But for that single wicket, Australia would have almost certainly won but for that wicket. Unfortunately the reduction into the 3-bowler situation which is not a scorecard fact.
    Ananth
    ]]
    Would Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff's runout of Ricky Ponting (poor guy for the runouts) in that make or break game in 2009 deserve a mention from you?

  • POSTED BY Xiong on | November 23, 2016, 15:25 GMT

    7 Australian wickets? How many of the total tests played in the sample were we involved in? Seems like a curious anomaly. Error inherited by the model used or something else?
    [[
    Until you pointed out I was not aware of the exact number.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | November 23, 2016, 10:52 GMT

    Does this analysis also apply to teams who lost chasing of targets less than 180 runs in 4th innings for eg Ashes tests at Edgbaston 1981 & Headingley 1981, Melbourne 1981 vs India, Ahmedabad 1996 vs SA, Sydney 1994 vs SA, Mumbai 2004 vs Aus, Galle 2015 vs India & Bridgetown 1997 vs India? India did not lose the 1979 Oval test or 1986 Chennai test-only it could not win them but neither did the opponent-so u can remove the 1979 oval test from your list.
    [[
    There is nothing which says that there HAS to be a result. I have two wickets from drawn/tied matches. Golden wickets are golden wickets, irrespective of whether the team won or not. Of course, losing is something else. There has to be a change in fortune.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Nicholas on | November 23, 2016, 9:05 GMT

    The run out of Ponting by substitute Pratt during an Ashes series deserves a mention here. Huge moment in the series, never mind the game itself.
    [[
    Possibly Nottingham, 2005. Considering that England lost 7 wickets chasing 129, your point has some validity. Only thing is that this happened quite early in the third innings.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | November 23, 2016, 5:31 GMT

    Test 1360. SA v Aus 1996/7. G Kirsten b Gillespie 43. At this stage of a low scoring test, SA were 188 runs in front with all 10 second innings wickets in hand. They then lost all 10 wickets for another 81, leaving Australia a target of 270, which was reached with two wickets in hand. Australia ended up winning the 3 test series 2-1.
    [[
    Yes, it was in the third innings and the win was by 2 wickets. I can see that it was in the initial selection.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY cricfan67263498 on | November 23, 2016, 4:40 GMT

    Great article Ananatha and I think the list is terrific. However, I'm surprised to see nothing from pre-1960 in this list and nothing involving what, in cricket history, was always the biggest wicket of all; the dismissal of Bradman. Admittedly the sample is small as he lost fairly few tests when in his prime but have you looked at his dismissals in lost tests? I'm thinking of his dismissals in the 4th innings in 1928/9 for 58 at 8-320 when Australia were chasing 349 or the 1st Test in 1930 when he was 131 out of 3-229 chasing 429 (both in the 4th innings). Australia went on to lose to England by 12 and 93 runs respectively. Based on Bradman's average and conversion rate of centuries to double (or triple) centuries, I would have thought these would rank as big wickets. Does your criteria reflect the importance of the batsman himself? Dismissing Bradman would probably rank as more important than anyone else in the matches he played in.....
    [[
    First thing I will say that the quality of the batsman does not enter the equation. That is how it should be. Otherwise all sorts of questions will crop up. Many Bradman's wickets in losing matches would come up. The hundreds or average do not mean much for that particular ball.
    I have explained in the article a possible reason for the absence of the pre-1960 wickets. Certainly pre-1920, the scores were quite low and the targets were correspondingly that much farther off.
    The Bradman wicket was in the final shortlist of 20 and just did not make it. The win % for Australia at 320/7 was 70.7%. The target was 28 runs away. Thinking back over it, it might have made an excellent selection considering Bradman's own credentials. I agree with you. Possibly the preponderance of great wickets in the fourth innings was the reason.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Arjun on | November 23, 2016, 3:44 GMT

    Ananth, 2002 Oldtrafford test between Eng and Srilanka. Russel Arnold's dismissal in 2nd inn (109 c.stewert b.tudor) at 263/5 Eng needed 50 runs to win in 4th innings in maximum of 6 overs available, they did it in 5 overs. Around tea on 5th day SL were 263/4 in 2nd inn following on (were virtually 4/4) with 6 2nd innings wickets left and about 35 overs of play remaining in the test. Arnold is dismissed in 70th over of the 5th day, srilanka collapsed and Eng required 50 runs to win in maximum of 6 overs.
    [[
    Arjun
    This match won't even come anywhere the top-200 in my list. 512/253/263-4 is totally England's game and finally they won, that too by 10 wickets. I agree that it is the time factor which makes the Arnold wicket more important. Unfortunately time is not a factor here. And look at the numbers. Only 357 overs were bowled in the match. How would I know that there were only 30 minutes available when England started the second innings. That is possible only if I take data like overs bowled on various days. That will tell me that 80 overs were lost on day 1 and day 2. But as wickets go, that was a crucial wicket.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Jason on | November 22, 2016, 23:45 GMT

    Richie Richardson's bowled by a flipper from Shane Warne Boxing day test MCG 1992. The all-conquering Windies set 350 odd to win on last day were 1/143 just before lunch with Richardson (then the best batsman in the world who always played well in Australian conditions) dominating. Warne, who had never done anything at that stage, came on & bowled a flipper for the 1st time in his career that completely fooled Richie & bowled him. That triggered a collapse with Warne taking 7 wickets (his 1st ever 5 for) & the windies lost.
    [[
    143/1 was a comfortable, if not overwhelming win for West Indies. This wicket was on the fringes. Problem was the margin of West Indian loss. When a match is lost by 139 runs, it is difficult to pinpoint an early wicket as the culprit. What if Richardson had scored another 50 runs, West Indies could still have lost. Soewhat similar to Sehwag's 195.
    Ananth
    ]]
    Also, what about some of those wickets on the last day of the infamous Aus v Ind test in Sydney 2008 when some suspect umpiring led to a certain draw becoming an Aussie win? Or have you deliberately ignored that test coz it's still a sensitive issue for Indians?
    [[
    I don't particularly bother about issues off the ground. And I never water down my articles fearing some issue or other. The truth is that, if you take the time element off, this was a lost Test for India: Whether they were at 137/6 or 185/7 or 210/8.
    Ananth
    ]]
    And to DRINKS.BREAK ON, I'd suggest Aussies feature more prominently on this list not because they choke but coz they always go for the win & attack while the proteas are known for playing conservatively.

  • POSTED BY Tests-are-best.Bounderno:6 on | November 22, 2016, 23:14 GMT

    Mind boggling. Another amazing example of the limitless possibilities for analysing our wonderful game. It kept me up all night, much to my wife's annoyance. Congratulations Ananth on a remarkable article.
    [[
    Thank you for the nice words. Please tell your better half that my better half also has her moments of irritation since articles like this take a lot of time.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Henrik Lovén on | November 22, 2016, 22:53 GMT

    Given the method, it's an excellent list and the selections cannot be faulted. However, I am not so certain that this is a definitive list because of the selection criteria and the main reason I say so is Jimmy Anderson, the batsman. If you look at Test #2126, England vs. Sri Lanka at Headingley in 2014, Sri Lanka won by 100 runs, a wide margin of victory until one looks at that final 10-th wicket partnership between Moeen Ali and Anderson that lasted all of 120 deliveries (96.5 - 116.5 overs) and where Shaminda Eranga took the final wicket, that of Anderson for 0 off 55 balls, off the penultimate delivery of the match. When Eranga ran in to deliver the fifth ball of the final over of the test, he had 2/119 = 1.68% chance to win, 2/54 = 3.70% if you look at Anderson only.
    [[
    You have got the essence of the analysis correctly. The partnership, even though long, was for 21 runs and the target was some distance. Unfortunately it was not possible for me to take the time element in. For this match it was possible to deduce that this was the 436th over and maybe an over or two, at best, would be available. But that is not possible when we look at the earlier Tests. When 400 overs are bowled in three days we have no idea about time.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | November 22, 2016, 21:53 GMT

    This is a brilliant list and fascinating criteria; agreed that the Warne and Holding dismissals were less influential, but Flintoff's over to dismiss Langer and Ponting deserves a mention - on a par with Holding's over and of greater significance in the context of the game. Granted, it was the spectacle of the working over he gave to Ponting, which was utterly thrilling, more than the impact on the result, which was important but not vital- Ponting was out for a duck. But got to be worn mentioning in despatches.
    [[
    You are absolutely correct. Unfortunately the Kasprowicz wicket took all the limelight. But, I agree, should have been mentioned. 47 for 0 to 48 for 2, while chasing 282 is a match-turner. I am not short on words but unfortunately the article has its limits and had to be edited quite severely.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY pramathesh on | November 22, 2016, 18:41 GMT

    What about these tests: 1. Kolkatta test of 1999 vs Pak, 1st innings of India: Rahul Dravid bowled Shoaib Akhtar and next ball Sachin Tendulkar bowled Shoaib Akhtar for a duck, India lost this test.
    [[
    Too early in the match. Nothing can really be concluded. India lost because of Saeed Anwar and the Pakistani bowlers.
    Ananth
    ]]
    2. Bangalore test of 1987 vs Pak, India chasing 222 runs to win: Sunil Gavaskar on 96 caught by Rizwan Zaman off the delivery from Iqbal Qasim as 8th wicket at total of 180-finally India all out for 204. Knew India was going to lose after Gavaskar got out, 12 years later at Chennai knew again loss for India after Sachin got out on 136.
    [[
    Yes I agree it was a key wicket. The problem was that at 180 for 7, India was not the overwhelming favourite. It was only a 50-50 situation.
    Ananth
    ]]
    3. Adelaide test of 1978, India falsely believed that 493 is chasable, Kirmani at 51 got bowled by WM Clark to be 8th indian wicket and total score was 417, when Kiri got out it was clear that India is going to lose which it did by 47 runs.
    [[
    A very good example. Almost similar to Gavaskar's wicket. 417 for 7 was again around 50-50.
    Ananth
    ]]
    4. Again Adelaide test of 1992, now target for India was 372, Azhar on 106 was dismissed by McDermott as 7th wicket for 283, knew that now India most likely to lose which it did by 38 runs.
    [[
    Thank you for an excellent selection of wickets. At 283 for 6, Indian chances were better that the earlier examples, at over 70%. This was a shortlisted wicket.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Jonathan on | November 22, 2016, 17:26 GMT

    I honestly think Warne's first-ball dismissal of Gatting really should have counted, even though it was in the second innings of the first test of a series. Because it genuinely did change the course of the match, and set the course for the series.
    [[
    I agree with what all you say, from a purely subjective point of view. But the numbers do not support the argument. What you really expect me to do is to do an exception. Then I would have to do an exception for Holding's over and maybe even Warne's dismissal of Strauss.
    Ananth
    ]]
    Australia, in fact, were very much on the back foot at the time: they had been bowled out for a distinctly under-par score in the first innings. England had made a solid start in reply, and under the circumstances would have been favourites to take a first-innings lead.
    [[
    Australia 71/1 in response to England's 289 is not the dominating situation that is evident in many matches featured here. agree that it might have changed the course of the Test and series, purely from an informed cricket follower's view. Let us leave it at that. I will agree to add it to the wickets at the end.
    Ananth
    ]]
    Then Warne was brought on for his first bowl in Ashes cricket. It wasn't just that he dismissed Gatting with his first ball, or Robin Smith shortly afterwards but the way he completely bemused the English batsmen. All the other bowlers - Hughes, Julian, Reiffel, May - were people England could match and counter. That single delivery affected English morale through the whole series.
    [[
    Problem, Jonathan, is that there are probably 10 such epochal wickets which changed the course of a Test and a series. This is the most famous one, that is all. But try and understand how I have worked: Not influenced by anything other than what the scorecard says.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Unni on | November 22, 2016, 17:19 GMT

    without looking at any stats i would say Sachin's dismissals in tests were golden for the opposition as the whole Indian team of 90's collapsed around him
    [[
    A very valid, but very generic, comment. In this article we are referring to specific situations and wickets.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Sreeram on | November 22, 2016, 15:38 GMT

    Hi Ananth, as usual, you make cricket reading, quite romantic :) I had one doubt after going through your list - one batsman who carried his team for almost 15 years, and who was the only target for all opposition teams - Lara - being absent. There would have been so many instances where his wicket would have closed the match for West Indies. Like, the three tests that West Indies lost to Sri Lanka in early 2000s. Does your analysis account for matches that resulted in a win/loss by a specific margin of runs/wickets?
    [[
    It is just a combination of circumstances. You must remember that for Lara's wicket to be that invaluable, West Indies should be winning and his wicket should have been the trigger for an unexpected loss. Only the 153 innings would have qualified if the scorecard read Lara c Healy b McGrath (I hope I am correct) 149.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY tkacon7363781 on | November 22, 2016, 15:20 GMT

    I understand that not all wickets are of equal value, however i think that you are biased in favour of certain teams. South Africa's record away from home does not get a look in - and their time spent at No1 in the rankings is probably only seconf to the great Windies and Oz domination when considered in the time frame of the last 30 years. Donaldand Steyn were clearly the best bowlers of their era and yet do not get a mention. I think that the difficulty of bowling a specific ball needs to be considered. Warnes dismissal of gatting clearly was an exceptional delivery. Donald's bowling to Mike Atherton would certainly have been up there if DRS had been an option. I think memory has clouded some deliveries in a cloud of belief that cricket was better or nobbler in the past. If you asked 10 pundits for their list it would show different lists with different characteristics. Not all balls bowled to win tests actually took wickets!! Tony
    [[
    Tony, I think the clouding is in your mind. I am very clear. The procedures are laid down, the programs are run, the first list is drawn and the selection is done in an objective manner. The fact that South Africa are/is a great team means absolutely nothing here. I suggest take some time to read and understand the article. For that matter, why not bring in all other great bowlers and ask why they are not here. Why is Hadlee not there but Bracewell there? Why is McDermott there and not Lillee or Warne or McGrath. Why is Nadkarni there and not Kumble. In an analysis covering 137 years, you want me to consider the difficulty of bowling a specific ball.
    All this, after I have explained everything at the beginning. Please re-read the article very carefully.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Kion S Williams on | November 22, 2016, 13:58 GMT

    I admit I have a bias...but from 2000 to 2006, West Indies losses were confirmed once Brian Lara was dismissed. I guess there were too many of those to really pull out one that was valuable.
    [[
    A very valid, but very generic, comment. In this article we are referring to specific situations and wickets.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Guru on | November 22, 2016, 13:45 GMT

    Great article as always Ananth! I always read your articles with great interest though this may be the first time that I am commenting. In the list of the wickets that missed the final list, would it be possible to update the win chance%, projection and target please?
    [[
    Read following data as Batsman/Win-%/Target
    Read/75.9%/214
    Catterall/82.7%/259
    Simpson/66.8%/559
    C Sharma/80.9%/348
    Gayle/88.6%/291
    Vijay/76.9%/364.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Stephen on | November 22, 2016, 10:56 GMT

    I the tied test, the match finished, I believe, in the final scheduled over. There is no way that Australia could have made the projected total. This would surely have affected the win percentage. The same probably applies for the Kapil dismissal. This would bump up the wicket in one WIvIndia match where India went to tea on the last day 150 or so in front with 4 wickets in hand and ended up losing. In addition, should the projected total factor in the quality of the batting to come. For example, a team with a strong tail would be expected to add more runs after the fall of a given wicket than one that has 4 number 11's (or one Pakistan lineup that had Moin Khan coming in at 5)
    [[
    The projection does not say that that particular score would be reached. The projection is used to gauge the ease of task ahead. The difference between 226 for 6 and 226 for 8, with an over to come is the fact that the better projection in the earlier case only indicates the ease of scoring the few runs in front.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Steve on | November 22, 2016, 9:37 GMT

    Amazing piece of research. I am interested why you have not taken the quality of individual batsman into account. For example the loss of Bradman or Tendulkar would not only have affected the team's total but would have a ripple effect through the dressing room and a lifting effect on the team in the field. Weak teams with a dominant batsman, Border in the eighties, Lara in the noughties. This may be subjective but couldn't you give this a numerical value and factor it in?
    [[
    Thanks at the outset for the nice words. You will notice that the only place where I have given some consideration to the batsman quality is when I was trying to select between Faisal Iqbal and Mohd Yousuf for the lone second innings selection.I delivberately went for the 237/3 wicket than the 205/2 one. Otherwise it is the situation which decides. But quite a few wickets are those of better batsmen.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Bernard on | November 22, 2016, 9:09 GMT

    Firstly, I always enjoy your work. My question might be difficult to do. Can you use this basic premise to figure out when losing a wicket actually benefited the batting team? Meaning 2 batsmen were struggling to score and when the new batsman arrives runs start flowing. ODI's and T20's might be a better suited for such game changing innings. I remember Azaar Mahmood's century to win against South Africa as an example of what I mean.
    [[
    Very intriguing and worth further look. Difficulty is in quantifying the premise. Also do I take Anwar's wicket or Yousuf's wicket. Your insight is clear. But it also means that only subjective selections will work for this.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY vparik2404307 on | November 22, 2016, 8:14 GMT

    Why did not not consider Maninder Singh's wicket in the India -Australia Tied Test?
    [[
    Not Maninder's wicket, like not Meckiff's wicket. But Chetan Sharma's wicket in the same Test has been given the honourable mention.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Ravee on | November 22, 2016, 8:03 GMT

    Wonderful article, Ananth. It's amazing enough to examine that much data; but to restrain from subjectivity, only you can do it!!!! Someone observed on Nov.10: "That Aus and not SA is the true choking champion of world cricket?" Let me completely ignore what happened in Perth in the first test. On paper it seems that Australia lost so many close matches but most of the times, they made it close from a horrendous situation. I mean look at the top 3 selected. Australia should have lost those three tests quite comfortably after the fall of 8, 6, 8th wickets. Would DRS have won them the Tests though? Doesn't matter. Anyway, the Australian team in general reminds me of post-prime Federer in some ways. Make a comeback out of nowhere and fall just short. Often wondered why Fed's BP conversion is horrible. Later the great man himself explained, because he creates so many of them. % is not as key as how many were converted.
    [[
    Ravi, your last para is a gem. One match I will never forget is the US Open Final: 4 out of 22 conversions which cost RF the title. He would have been better off with numbers like 7 out of 12. I hope Fed comes back with a high level of play. Now that there are chinks shown to be in Djokovic's armour (Although some would say the chinks in Andy's armour are sealed), maybe we can all dream of one for Fed title.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Kiran on | November 22, 2016, 7:45 GMT

    Just to add a bit of spice to the article, I would like to mention three famous dropped catches in the last 12 years that completely changed the course of Test matches. Shane Warne dropping Kevin Pietersen at the Oval in 2005 who then went on to score 158 and played an Ashes-winning innings. Brad Haddin dropping Joe Root on zero at Cardiff in 2015, and Root going on to score 134 and win the Cardiff Test for England, and perhaps that catch cost Australia the Ashes. And finally, Mike Hussey dropping a sitter off the bat of Dale Steyn in the 2008 Melbourne Test, and South Africa registering an astonishing victory from the brink of defeat. Of course these dropped catches are not relevant to your article since you are referring to crucial dismissals, not dropped catches that made the difference between victory and defeat for Australia. Great write-up, Anantha Narayanan.
    [[
    Thanks, Kiran. I personally think that dropped catches should somehow find a way into scorecards. For instance the Rajkot Test scorecard does not have a single mention of one catch dropped.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Sheraz on | November 22, 2016, 7:19 GMT

    good article. however, i noticed there wasnt even a mention of Steyns wicket of Warner in the first test in australia (2016). even tho it was in the second innings, it sparked a collapse that eventually turned the game around in south africas favor. also note that they were 150+/0 at the time and was on course to set a big lead, but, ended up only 2 runs ahead at the change of innings (where everyone was predicting a lead of over 250) i believe that this wicket actually changed the whole test, and also had an impact on the rest of the series (at the time of my comment, SA already 2-0 up with the series won and only 1 test to go) where would you place the importance of this wicket in your list, if it was eligible for consideration?
    [[
    Unfortunately the article was closed around Oct 1 and published on Nov 1. The Perth Test started on Nov 3. In view of the paucity of second innings wickets, there is a good possibility that Warner's wicket would have merited serious consideration, although, it would not have gone past the first hurdle (a la Azhar Ali's at Edgbaston). There is a world of difference between 242 & 158/0, 167/1 and, say, 200 & 205/1.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY ATUL on | November 22, 2016, 6:30 GMT

    I must admit I did not read the details on the calculations with too much attention, but I thought this would give high numbers for matches which ended close, since you've accounted for almost 5% for the last wicket. The first 2-3 results in the list confirm that. Can the simulation be run against a base resource% calculated against only matches which were close? Say less than 50 runs or 3 wickets margin? The last wicket resource % might be quite less for such matches, as generic trend for such innings is a late order collapse hastening the end.
    [[
    I agree that the 95.xx% utilization is based the thousands of innings which finished and includes many good last wicket stands, But that is the essence of this analysis. The instant I start applying a selection of matches, we will lose the benefit of numbers and some subjectivism will also come in.
    Let me also tell you that I analyzed about 50 wickets, every which way, before coming out with this baker's dozen.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Connor Harris on | November 22, 2016, 6:07 GMT

    Can you do one similar but on turning points in a match? I'm sure Nathan Lyon would be on top of the list in the day night test last year when Nigel Llong was the third umpire. NZ should have won the match and the series would have been drawn
    [[
    Unfortunately we then have to limit the analysis to a few recent matches.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Muhammad Ali on | November 22, 2016, 6:03 GMT

    SM Gavaskar's final test innings of 96 should have to be in the list as he was between series win and a first series loss at home to Pakistan. Ball was turning a mile and Tauseef and Iqbal Qasim were running through the Indian innings. As it turned out, Gavasker went for 96 and Pakistan went on to a famous test victory by 16 runs which turned out to be their first series win on Indian soil. I was a little boy at the time but its etched in my memory like it has happened just like yesterday. I hope India resumes test cricket with Pakistan and a friendly relationship between these two neighboring countries.

  • POSTED BY Adi on | November 22, 2016, 5:57 GMT

    Quite a laudable effort to come up with such an objective methodology from such a vast database. Well done! My only disagreement is that no matter what score the no. 11 batsman is on, he is arguably the worst batsman in the team and is "expected" to get out any time, or in your words "wicket waiting to fall". I'm going to quote your logic for the Gavaskar wicket in one of the comments "On the other hand, take Gavaskar. He had batted for over 8 hours and had reached his highest Test score. His wicket was waiting to fall. So it was not that much of a surprise. Almost pre-ordained. Problem is that all these take words to explain." Therefore, putting practicality over objectivity, I find it a bit hard to fathom 2 of the top 3 most valuable wickets to be of no.11 batsmen. But again, well done for such an exercise. I can imagine the effort that would have gone in!
    [[
    In these specific cases, the key aspect was the ongoing partnerships.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Mudassir on | November 22, 2016, 5:57 GMT

    What will be the rating for Harmison bowled Michael Clarke on last delivery of the day ?

  • POSTED BY udendra on | November 22, 2016, 5:44 GMT

    On a lighter note, how about wickets that actually helped the batting team win from a perceivably impossible position? For example, the dismissal of a batsmen who was "blocking" his side's victory chances by adopting a negative approach, but only to be overturned dramatically by the batters who followed.

  • POSTED BY S on | November 22, 2016, 5:26 GMT

    Ananth: Great selection with well laid out criteria. Can you do a similar analysis of cases where a wicket triggered a draw to a defeat? Here, we might have several new cases. I remember New Zealand vs India in 1990 when NZL scored 459 and India was coasting at 146-3 when suddenly they collapsed to 164 all out. In another case, I remember Shoaib Akthar running through the England side when they were well poised to save the match (2005-2006). Then of course the wicket of Steve Waugh that triggered 7 wickets to fall in the last hour of play handing India the famous Kolkata test match (more remembered for Laxman's 281). I am sure you can come up with many more. By the way, where does India's collapse against England in the Nottingham test of 2011 (Broad's hatrick test) stand? Though we cannot say India was comfortably placed to win, the collapse allowed England a huge total in the third innings and they went on to win by a big margin. A potential 1-2 series became 0-4 for India.
    [[
    Wth TCM my articles are possibly one in a quarter and as such it may not be easy to do follow-up articles.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Murray on | November 22, 2016, 4:59 GMT

    Ananth you are a gem. This time I slightly disagree. Having read the 13 yeah sure.... but sometimes a great wicket might be because cricket is a mental game and cricketers are subjective ? One wicket can change everyone's whole thinking suddenly. Mitchell Johnson to Jonathon Trott at the Gabba set up a whole series and I believe Warne's first ball in England set up a whole decade or more of panic. Terry Alderman to Gooch. Glenn McGrath to Lara. Some wickets early in a series create an entirely different headspace for at least that series Thommo to Tony Greig (2nd Innings Gabba 1974) or Lawrence Rowe (Melbourne 1976) are examples of seeing the moment that a series as a contest is all over ? Beautiful work as always :).
    [[
    I am sure your views are correct. However I have also explained the reasons why I have gone off the subjective selections.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY roshan on | November 22, 2016, 4:46 GMT

    About the Vijay lbw Lyon you added from that Adelaide test, I always thought that Kohli's wicket was the key. But now looking back at the game , you are right. Kohli wouldn't have played that pull shot if Vijay was there. After Vijay's wicket, it was a procession of sorts and it forced Kohli's hand. Saha played an irresponsible shot and Rohit Sharma is completely useless in tests.
    [[
    There are couple of other selections also in which I have gone for the less obvious ones (Kapil Dev vs Gavaskar and Davidson vs Meckiff.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Jim on | November 22, 2016, 4:34 GMT

    Fascinating article! How about a follow-up -- the ten greatest "non-wickets" that changed the course of a match or a series? To qualify, there would have to be a momentous drop, or (in recent years perhaps) a DRS-based review.
    [[
    Lack of dependable records is a problem.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Hamish on | November 22, 2016, 4:13 GMT

    as far as 4i. Dexter c Grout b Benaud 76 according to Trueman he only bowled from the end Benaud took the wickets so it wasn't his footmarks and he was dropped for the next text. He took 20 wickets @26 in the tests he did play in for the series...

  • POSTED BY ssrayets@gmail.com on | November 22, 2016, 3:28 GMT

    How about Sachin's dismissal for 136 with 16 to win for 4 wickets in Chennai in 1996 vs Pakistan in the match http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/63828.html? Sachin was running away with the match till he was out?
    [[
    Before coming in with a silly question, should you not have read the article properly.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY David on | November 21, 2016, 21:33 GMT

    Hmm...surprised that most of these turnarounds occurred from only around 90% chance of a win for the losing team. That seems kind of low, basically stating that out of every 10 similar situations there would be 1 turnaround. Given how many matches were analysed I would have expected at least one that was lost from a much higher chance of a win. If you take away the context of the series etc., and look purely at which wicket resulted in a loss from the highest % chance of a win what do you get?
    [[
    Good question, David.
    What you are looking at is to get matches in which the win % values are of the order of 99%. In Test matches, this very tough to get. I will take my example and work on it to see how we can get 99%.
    I have worked out that if Australia had been 232 for 6, needing 1 to win, and there was a quad-trick to tie the match, the winning chances at 232/6 would have been around 99%. But this sort of event has not happened. The reason is that even at the fall of 9th wicket the denominator is 0.9536 and it is very very difficult to get a winning % of 99, and still lose. Unlike in T20s, in which if a team is xyz for 4, needs 1 run in 6 balls or 40 runs in 6 balls, the winning chances for either team can be pegged at 99%.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY Deepu on | November 14, 2016, 8:56 GMT

    " After a lot of trials, I found that no team had gone past the other team's first-innings score without losing a wicket and still lost the match. And there were only two instances of a team crossing the opening team's score for the loss of one wicket and still losing the match. " Which was the second such instance apart from the Aus-Pak Sydney Test of 2010 mentioned above?
    [[
    Test #611, New Wanderer's, Xmas Test of 1966. Scores: Aus 199. Saf 325 (after being 204 for 1). Saf 620. Aus 261. I did not select this Test since the Saf win was so comprehensive (By 233 runs-because of that mammoth second innings score) and I could not very well conclude that the wickets of Redpath or Lawry were epochal.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | November 13, 2016, 21:14 GMT

    Test 1360. Test 2019. Both had pretty dramatic reversals. Which wickets would you choose as pivotal wickets? And Ricky Ponting and Mohammed Yousuf's wickets in the above list look a bit iffy. Other than that, all the chosen wickets are extremely valuable. Ricky Ponting was a spent force by then. Maybe Clarke or even Hussey in the same match would have been more pivotal. And Mohammed Yousuf's...Pak still got a lead of more than 200....still did not change the complexion too much. maybe even Yousuf in the second innings of the same match could have been more valuable. Just my thoughts.....no contradiction. Great choices. Great Matches. Its a very interesting topic. I am surprised not much input. Cheers!
    [[
    Jasprit
    I would have expected a lot more interaction. This is probably the toughest article I have ever done. There was so much work, editing, going back-and-forth and so on. Probably the readers of 'The Cricket Monthly' are just readers like print-media readers and not the blog readers.
    The fact that this was Ponting's 158th Test and he still had only 10 more Tests to play, is not a factor. Anyhow, he scored a further 700 runs at nearly 50 in those 10 Tests: 62/60/134/221/60*/57 included.
    Now coming to the Test, Ponting comes in at 122 for 2, moves the score to 159 for 2. Warner is playing an innings only-for-the-Gods at the other end. Surely this wicket gets the nod, since it started the slide, three wickets lost at 159.
    Mohd Youssuf's was the only second innings wicket I could find. I spent a lot of time looking at all qualifying second innings situations: Not that there were many.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY David on | November 10, 2016, 4:48 GMT

    Just an observation: I'm sure others have noticed how often Australia features in this list - in 11 out of 13 matches. As a comparison, Eng and Pak come next with 4 entries each. (Given that the earliest match in the list was in Dec 1960, that can't simply be a function of the number of tests each country has played. When we adjust the number of entries as a proportion of tests played since Dec 1960, Pak rises to 6 matches - only just over 50% of Aus.)

    Also noteworthy is that Aus only won 3 of those 11 matches. What does this say? That teams rise to the challenge more often when playing Aus than against any other opposition? That Aus and not SA is the true choking champion of world cricket? (The first test in the current series would lend support to that claim!)
    [[
    Possibly your last observation might be valid over the long period of six decades.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY David on | November 10, 2016, 4:26 GMT

    A very interesting analysis, as always. I still vividly remember being unable to sit still as Border and Thompson approached an amazing victory, only to be devastated when they fell so agonisingly short - and the feelings compounded by the almost-drop in the slips!

    It leads me to wonder if it's possible to reverse the analysis and calculate the most valuable innings in the context of a match/series. I know you've done analyses on the greatest test innings, but this would be different in that a dogged 30* by a no. 10 that dragged his team over the line against the odds would be as likely to feature as a brilliant opener's 150. I guess the method now would include using the ratings immediately AFTER a wicket fell to measure the size of the mountain a batsman was able to conquer (limited to innings leading to victories only, not draws - where time remaining is such a big factor).
    [[
    Great idea. Food for thought. The Match status measure opens a lot of intriguing possibilities.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY jasprit on | November 6, 2016, 16:44 GMT

    Being an Indian, obviously I am more familiar with Indian history. I guess Gavaskar's wicket at 96 in Bangalore 87 was pretty influential as it decided the match and the series. And Virat Kohli's wicket in Adelaide also decided the match. And choosing Kapil's wicket over Gavaskar's 221 seems a bit strange. Other than that. great selections. Brought to light some great, interesting games. Cheers!
    [[
    I had selected Gavaskar's innings fist. Then I studied the scorecard again. Kapil Dev was sent up to provide momentum to the innings. A quick 15 from him would have sealed the issue. Notwithstanding the soundness of his promotion, it could have been a masterstroke. From England's point of view he could have broken their match in a few strokes.
    On the other hand, take Gavaskar. He had batted for over 8 hours and had reached his highest Test score. His wicket was waiting to fall. So it was not that much of a surprise. Almost pre-ordained. Problem is that all these take words to explain.
    You will see that I am consistent in that I have selected the Davidson wicket rather than the Benaud wicket. In both cases the selected wickets are the momentum-breakers.
    I will anticipate your question and say why not Vengsarkar's wicket. He had already done his bit and added 150 with Gavaskar and these are early wickets. There is a big difference going from 366 for 1 to 2 and 226 for 6 to 7. How do I define it. In latter wicket situations, the team is running out of runway.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arijit on | November 2, 2016, 15:45 GMT

    * Andrew Strauss c Hussey b Warne at 69 for 1 in Test 1819, England vs Australia at Adelaide (2nd Test of 2006-07 series). After England scored 551 and Aus replied with 513, the visitors ended day 4 at 59/1 and a draw looked a certainty. But Stauss's dismissal early on the fifth morning led to Warne hustling a panicky England into collapsing for 129, setting up a 5-0 series whitewash. * Sherwin Campbell c Parore b Nash 170 in Test 1477, West Indies vs New Zealand at Hamilton (1st test of 1999-2000 series) Campbell and Adrian Griffith put on 276 for the first wicket on Day 1 as WI, bolstered by a series draw with Aus earlier (thanks to Lara's masterful 213 and 153), looked set to bully the hosts. But Campbell's dismissal started a collapse to 365. WI managed just 97 in the 2nd innings (Imagine: 276 for no loss, then losing 20 for 186) to lose by 9 wkts. They lost the next Test by an innings and 105 after two more inept batting displays, losing the 2-Test series 0-2.
    [[
    Arijit
    If you read the third innings description in the article, I have looked only at cases where there was a collapse in the third innings and the win was very close. The time factor does not get into the picture because that information is not available for many matches. In this case the win was an easy one so far as wickets are concerned but close only on time factor. There were only 3 overs available.
    I have referred to Campbell's wicket in the article.
    Ananth
    ]]

  • POSTED BY arijit on | November 2, 2016, 15:43 GMT

    * Sandeep Patil c Lamb b Phil Edmonds 41 in Test 1004, India vs England in Delhi (2nd Test of 1984-85 series). India won the first Test in Mumbai with an overwhelming margin and a young L. Shivaramakrishnan (12 for 181) looked set to hand England a hiding in the rest of the series too. In the next Test in Delhi, India scored 307 and England 418 (Siva 6-99). India ended Day 4 at 128 for 2 and the match looked like limping to a draw. India were 207 for 4 about an hour after lunch when Patil's dismissal triggered a collapse (Kapil's infamous shot leading him to be dropped for the next Test --- the only time he has been dropped in his Test career) to 235 all out. England raced the clock to win by eight wickets, and then took the series 2-1 --- a win in India that wasn't to be repeated for the next 28 years. Truly, a match-turning and series-turning dismissal. (Gavaskar b Pocock for 69 at 172 for 3 too may qualify).

  • POSTED BY vignesh on | November 2, 2016, 11:10 GMT

    Amazing article, as always! Theres no arguments about the selection of these wickets (In god we trust, for everything else, we need data, and you do have them). However, i would like to know the value of Damien Martyn's wicket in THAT Sydney test in 1994. If i remember right, he was the 9th wicket to fall with 5 runs needed. But, whatever the rating of this wicket may be, i think this had one of the greatest implications, Martyn axed from the squad for close to 7 years. It'd be awesome if you can let me know if this wicket featured in your list. Again, no words to say how impressed i have always been with your analysis. Thanks.
    [[
    Thanks, Viggy.
    I understand the off-field impact of the Martyn wicket. However on field it was a peculiar match. The 75 for 8 scoreline made South Africa the favourite team for a win and that is what happened in reality. McDermott's was some late resistance. So the Martyn wicket does not qualify here at all. But the impact was enormous.
    Ananth
    ]]