Back in July we set out some milestones that English players had either reached or had in their sights. Well we are pleased to report a few more…
Starting with the batting, Kevin Pietersen has now overtaken his captain in terms of Test match runs, having scored 6,361 compared with Andrew Strauss’s tally of 6.340. Significantly, Pietersen has batted in 24 fewer innings.
In the course of the Indian series, Alastair Cook scored 348 runs, which took him past Michael Vaughan, Nasser Hussain, Dennis Compton and Marcus Trescothick to 5,868 career runs. Ian Bell has also reached a milestone: he now has scored 5,027 Test match runs. Both Bell and Cook are quickly approaching career averages of 50.00, but Pietersen has already reached that standard and is currently 39th in the list of all-time highest averages (excluding those who played only a few matches). Of course, Jonathan Trott is also in the list, averaging 57.79 – still the ninth highest ever. Indeed, all four batsmen now have career averages that are within the top 50.
A demonstration of England’s plundering of runs recently is that in this history of Test cricket, there have only ever been 14 English partnerships in excess of 300 runs; three of these have come in the last thirteen months (Stuart Broad and Trott vs. Pakistan at Lord’s, Cook and Trott at Brisbane, and Bell and Pietersen at the Oval).
The bowlers are also reaching personal milestones. Graeme Swann has now 153 Test wickets, with the only spinners to have taken more for England being Derek Underwood, Jim Laker and Tony Lock. Jimmy Anderson is now 7th on the list of English wicket takers, having taken 240 wickets in 63 matches. Disappointingly, his average still lingers above 30.00 (as does that of Matthew Hoggard, who took 248 wickets in 67 appearances).
This England side are also fantastic fielders. It should be noted that Strauss has crept into the top 25 fielders in terms of catches. Moreover, Matt Prior now has exactly 150 dismissals, at a better rate per innings than any of the five wicket-keepers above him in the list.
You may ask, “so what?” but we like any excuse to stand and applaud our knights in white cotton. Numbers and rankings and lists may not be integral to the fundamentals of the sport, but they facilitate comparisons and create discussion and as indicated by the brouhaha about Sachin Tendulkar’s quest for 100 international hundreds, remain an interesting aside to the battle between bat and ball. And they also allow us to pad out our website whilst we finish writing the series review…