Supreme Bowling: 100 Great Test Performances by Dave Wilson, Patrick Ferriday

By Dave Wilson, Patrick Ferriday

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Sample text

By stumps on day four at 3-1, they believed less, with Voce, still in supreme form, bowling Fingleton with the first ball of the innings. It was a disgruntled Australia that left the field, after finally one of their repeated appeals against the light was upheld. Or as Denzil Batchelor evocatively wrote: ‘shortly afterwards, when the horse was out, the umpires shut the stable door, and drew stumps’. That night it rained a Brisbane rain and the Aussies capitulated for 58 with Bradman a duck and Voce 4-16.

If they do, then get another to look. Conditions can change during the game so we must pinpoint how they were as our bowler was taking his wickets. Furthermore we must assess them as they relate to the bowler and his method. This can be simple - a low slow Asian wicket of the 1970s is not going to help Dennis Lillee but it might offer some bite to Bishen Bedi. So it is reasonable to say that for the Australian quick bowler the mark would be at the top end, say eight out of ten - he would certainly name this kind of surface as his least favourite as the weapons of pace and bounce are neutered and there is not even movement in the air or off the seam to replace them.

Ignoring all other factors such as the pitch or the state of the game it soon becomes clear that his 5-21 is in a different league. Ricky Ponting, the Waugh twins, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne make an impressive quintet of victims, removed, incidentally, without the intervention of another player. The most remarkable feature of the spell is that the batsmen knew what Akhtar was doing (fast, inswinging yorkers) but were powerless to stop him. Added to that the five victims had scored 293 runs between them in the first innings so were hardly bringing poor form onto the pitch.

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