Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Captain's Spell

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When Darren Sammy bowled West Indies to a win in the first Test against Pakistan; something about it felt special and rare. 

Yes, the West Indian last wicket pair showed some real pluck in adding those 48 runs that eventually was the difference between the 2 teams

Yes, Ravi Rampaul with his burst of top order wickets, pushed Pakistan to the brink before Darren Sammy finished them off.

Yes, Saeed Ajmal with 11/111, was perhaps the best bowler in the match.

But to us @ Opinions, this was Darren Sammy's Test and a pretty special one at that. 

We did some digging around to see why we felt that way. A bowler taking 5 wickets in a Test to win it for his country is not rare. We still trusted our instincts and attempted to give this match a coat of rarity. 

Some thoughts on this

This is a complete list of matches where a captain has bowled his team to a win in a Test match by taking a 5 for. That Sammy's effort is only the 11th such instance and that he is only the 2nd West Indian after Gary Sobers.... certainly makes this rare.

One of the reasons that this has happened only 11 times in Test history, is obvious. There just haven't been too many bowling captains. Even so, this list is missing some very prominent players. Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham, Courtney Walsh to name a few.

Pakistani captains stand out in this list. There are 4 of them. Perhaps an indicator that they are more likely to trust bowlers with captaincy duties. Also 2 different Pakistani captains achieved this feat in consecutive Tests against Zimbabwe. Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. 

India's Bishen Singh Bedi is the only captain to do this twice. Both feats within 3 months of each other, against different opposition. 

Sammy's defense of 219 is the 2nd lowest total defended by a captain.

Richie Benaud's 6-70 culminated what seems to be an extraordinary comeback for Australia. They won defending 256 after falling behind by 177 runs in the first innings. Must have been one Captain's Spell

If you like numbers...
  1. A Rare Captain's Knock - Andrew Strauss's Ashes 100
  2. Picking on Murali - Murali's performance in Test Wins
  3. Trading Debuts - A look at 100s on debut

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