Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Updated: Friday, January 06, 2006
Bangladeshi bowlers against top Test batsmen

Syed Kamal

I was looking at the current ICC Rating for top Test batsmen and thought it might be an interesting study to see which Bangladeshi bowler grabbed most of the wickets of these top ranked batsmen.

For this study, I examined the records for the top 40 batsman in the current ICC Test Batsman rating list. Among these 40 top-class batsman, 34 have batted against Bangladesh. Granted the present list may not historically capture the ranking of a particular batsman when he actually played against Bangladesh, but considering the large sample size, the degree of variability is minimal and since the batsmen are being analyzed on an aggregate level, minor ranking variations are irrelevent. At any rate,these 34 batsmen are:

  • R. Ponting
  • B. Lara
  • Inzamamul Huq
  • M. Hayden
  • J. Kallis
  • R. Dravid
  • V. Sehwag
  • M. Trescothick
  • S. Tendulkar
  • Y. Youhana / Md. Younus
  • Younis Khan
  • S. Chanderpaul
  • J. Langer
  • M. Jayawardene
  • G. Smith
  • A. Strauss
  • H. Gibbs
  • K. Sangakkara
  • A. Gilchrist
  • S. Fleming
  • VVS Laxman
  • T. Dilshan
  • N. Astle
  • S. Jayasuriya
  • C. Gayle
  • R. Sarwan
  • T. Samaraweera
  • M. Vaughan
  • M. Atapattu
  • J. Oram
  • L. Vincent
  • Taufiq Umar
  • S. Ganguly
  • Salman Butt.

These 34 batsmen have played a total of 123 innings against Bangladesh. The breakdown of these 123 innings is as follows:

  • Total Innings: 123
  • Not-Out: 18
  • Run-out: 5
  • Retired: 2
  • Wickets taken by Bangladeshi bowlers: 98

Some quick observations: One can see that a full 80% of these innings were cut short by Bangladeshi bowlers. On 2 occasions, 2 batsmen (Jayawardene and Atapattu) retired to give their teammates a chance to bat and these were recorded as ?retired out?. Among these 34 top batsmen, Jack Kallis is the only test batsman who has never lost his wicket to any Bangladeshi bowler.

21 Bangladeshi bowlers share these 98 top ranked wickets. Mohammad Rafique is the most succesful Bangladeshi bowler in terms of taking top-class wickets having affected 18 such dismissals. He is followed by Mashrafe Mortaza (15 Wickets), Tapash Baisya (12 Wickets) and Manjural Islam (8 wickets). These 4 bowlers have collectively taken 54% of the wickets of these top ranked batsmen.

Here is the detailed list of the 21 Bangladeshi bowlers and their scalps:

Mohammad Rafique
18 Wickets: Lara, Inzamam, Dravid, Trescothick (2), Chanderpaul, Jayawardene, Gibbs, Sangakkara, Laxman (2), Astle (2), Vaughan, Oram, Taufiq Umar (2), Ganguly
Mashrafe Mortaza
15 Wickets: Hayden, Dravid (2), Sehwag, Tendulkar, Langer, Strauss (2), Gibbs, Fleming, Vaughan (3), Vincent (2)
Tapash Baisya
12 Wickets: Ponting, Inzamam, Sehwag, G. Smith (2), Gibbs, Gayle (3), Sarwan, Taufiq Umar, Ganguly
Manjural Islam
8 Wickets: Gilchrist, Fleming, Astle, Jayasuriya, Sarwan (2), Samaraweera, Salman Butt
Enamul Haq Moni
5 Wickets: Inzamam, Younis Khan, Chanderpaul (2), Jayasuriya
Khaled Mahmud
5 Wickets: Inzamam, Trescothick, Younis Khan, Taufiq Umar, Salman Butt
Syed Rasel
5 Wickets: Sangakkara, T. Dilshan, Jayasuriya, Samaraweera, Atapattu
Sanwar Hossain
4 Wickets: Ponting, Hayden, G. Smith (2)
Talha Jubair
4 Wickets: Jayawardene, Gayle, Sarwan, Atapattu
Sahadat Hossain Rajib
4 Wickets: Jayawardene, Jayasuriya, Samaraweera, Atapattu
Naimur Rahman
3 Wickets: Tendukler, Jayasuriya, Ganguly
Hasibul Hossain Shanto
2 Wickets: Sangakkara, Taufiq Umar
Mohammad Sharif
2 Wickets: Taufiq Umar (2)
Fahim Muntasir
2 Wickets: Inzamam, Younis Khan,
Rajin Saleh
2 Wickets: Youhana, Fleming
Aftab Ahmed
2 Wickets: Trescothick, T. Dilshan
Enamul Haq Jr.
1 Wicket: Trescothick
Alok Kapali
1 Wicket: Langer
Manjarul Islam Rana
1 Wicket: Fleming
Tareq Aziz
1 Wicket: Gayle
Mushfiqur Rahman
1 Wicket: Lara

We can see from above list that 2 top-rated batsmen lost their wicket to the same Bangladeshi bowler a maximum of three times. Chris Gayle lost his wicket to Tapas Baisya thrice and Mashrafe Mortaza has dismissed Michael Vaughan on three occasions. Considering Mashrafe's wicked inswingers and Vaughn's penchant for falling to such deliveries, perhaps this is not surprising.

In the 123 innings played by these 34 top-players, 7350 runs were scored at an average of 70 runs per innings. They have scored 6 double venturies, 20 centuries and 27 half centuries. To put these dismissals in match context though, it might be important to see at what stage of the innings did our bowlers dismiss these batsmen. In general, due to tiredness factor, many batsmen lose their wicket after batting a long innings. Also, many batsmen lose wicket very early in their innings due to adjustment factor to the batting condition. It is harder to get a wicket in the mid-way of the innings when the batsman has settled down and batting with full stamina. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the relevant 123 innings

  • Total Innings: 123
  • 50+ Runs Innings: 53
  • 100+ Runs Innings: 26
  • 200+ Runs Innings: 6
  • Not-out/Run-out/Retired: 25
  • Wicket Taken by Bowlers: 98
  • Wicket Taken by Bowlers below 20 runs: 33
  • Wicket Taken by Bowlers before century scored: 83
  • Wicket Taken by Bowlers before half-century scored: 62

It is evident from the above data that, half the time our bowlers were able to dismiss the top-rated batsman before reaching half-century and the other half of the time, these top-rated batsman ended up scoring a 50+ innings. Additionally, 23% of the time our bowlers failed to restrict these top-rated batsman from scoring a century. 33 innings (27%) ended at an early stage before surpassing 20 runs. 50 Innings (41%) were terminated by our bowlers between 20 and100 runs. This instance of dismissing top-rated batsman in mid-way of their innings in 41% of the time might be considered as an impressive performance by our bowlers.

Now I will get into some more further analyses of just the top 4 Bangladeshi bowlers. Here is the current career standing of these 4 bowlers:

Mohammad Rafique: Match: 22, Over: 1009, Runs: 2659, Wicket: 73

Mashrafe Mortaza: Match: 18, Over: 523, Runs: 1650, Wicket: 47

Tapash Baisya: Match: 21, Over: 563, Runs: 2137, Wicket: 36

Monjurul Islam: Match: 17, Over: 495, Runs: 1605, Wicket: 28

It is interesting to note that 33% of all wickets taken by Tapash Baisya are top-rated batsmen. Among the 47 wickets taken by Mashrafe, 32% wickets are of top-rated batsmen. The corresponding number for Rafique and Manjural is 25% and 29% respectively. Number of overs bowled by Tapash, Mashrafe or Manjural is almost half of those bowled by Rafique. It does seem that our pacers have been more effective in dismissing top-rated batsman compared to our spinners.

These 4 bowlers have dismissed 53 times 29 top-ranked batsmen. For further insight, I then looked at the career dismissal record of these 29 batsmen. Most of them have tended to lose their wickets to right-arm pace bowlers, which is not surprising when one considers that the vast majority of Test bowlers fall into that classification. This fact does however highlight Rafique?s unique achievements as a left-arm spinner and this engenders some additional exploration.

Analyzing Mohammad Rafique

Let us look at some more details on Rafique?s wickets. His 18 top-rated wickets consist of 14 players. He took the 18 wickets in the following manner:

How out Number
Caught-keeper 5
Caught-fielder 7
Caught-bowler 1
Bowled 2
Stumped 1

Rafique ended 4 batsmens' innings when they were below 20 and he has dismissed 2 batsmen after they scored century. One of his centurion victims is Brian Lara who is famous for playing big innings. The other centurion was Marcus Trescothick who was dismissed by Rafique at 194, just 6 short of double century. 67% of Rafique?s dismissal were done at mid-stage innings (20-99 Runs) which, as has been discussed above, is a good indicator of a bowler's strike-worthiness.

Here is the list of innings dismissed by Rafique:

Lara (CW-120), Inzamam (B-43), Dravid (C-28), Trescothick (ST-32, CW-194), Chanderpaul (CW-7), Jayawardene (CW-63), Gibbs (C-21), Sangakkara (C-30), Laxman (LB-32, CB-9), Astle (C-11, LB-39), Vaughan (B-48), Oram (C-23), Taufiq Umar (C-38, CW-75), Ganguly (C-88)

[CW:Caught-Keeper, C: Caught-Fielder, CB: Caught-Bowler, B: Bowled, LB: LBW, ST: Stumped]

Analyzing Mashrafe Mortaza

How out Number
Caught-keeper 7
Caught-fielder 3
Bowledd 2

Mashrafee terminated 8 innings during the early stage (below 20) and two of his victims were centurions. So, Mashrafe effectively dismissed most of his victims without giving them any chance to settle down. Here is the list of innings dismissed by Mashrafe:

Hayden (B-11), Dravid (B-0, CW-160), Sehwag (C-10), Tendulkar (LB-36), Langer (C-1), Strauss (LB-69, LB-8), Gibbs (CW-17), Fleming (CW-4), Vaughan (CW-54, CW-120, CW-44), Vincent (CB-0, CW-23)

[CW:Caught-Keeper, C: Caught-Fielder, CB: Caught-Bowler, B: Bowled, LB: LBW, ST: Stumped]

Analyzing Tapas Baisya

How out Number
Caught-keeper 2
Caught-fielder 6

Tapash Baisya dismissed 6 early stage innings (below 20) and only one batsman gave his wicket to Tapash after scoring ton. Here is the list of innings dismissed by Tapash:

Ponting (C-10), Inzamam (C-0), Sehwag (LB-13), G. Smith (CW-16, C-15), Gibbs (C-41), Gayle (CW-51, B-37, C-141), Sarwan (C-40), Taufiq Umar (C-4), Ganguly (B-71)

[CW:Caught-Keeper, C: Caught-Fielder, CB: Caught-Bowler, B: Bowled, LB: LBW, ST: Stumped]

Analyzing Manjural Islam

How out Number
Caught-keeper 3
Caught-fielder 4
Bowledd 1

Here is the list of innings dismissed by Manjural:

Gilchrist (B-43), Fleming (CW-61), Astle (C-5), Jayasuriya (CW-85), Sarwan (CW-17, C-13), Samaraweera (C-58), Salman Butt (C-37)

[CW:Caught-Keeper, C: Caught-Fielder, CB: Caught-Bowler, B: Bowled, LB: LBW, ST: Stumped]

Last words

A wicket of top-rated batsman does not always mean a significant wicket. Performance of a batsman on a given day determines the significance of the wicket. A consistent solid performance brings a batsman on the top level of ICC rating. So, dismissal of these solid batting stars still confers great credit on the bowler. It is evident from this study that our best bowlers, in general, grabbed the best wickets and provides further evidence that the Test arena is best left to speciallists and not utility players.