Earlier today, I suggested some equivalence between Gambhir’s innings of 137 (off 436) and Ryder’s of 201. Both innings have benefited the two batsmen in their rankings, as noted in today’s news.
Now while there is little to compare between Gambhir and Ryder given their difference stages in their careers (Gambhir now into his 4th year and Ryder merely in his 6th month), it is fun to see exactly what the last test did to their ratings.
Gambhir went into the Napier test with a rating of 801. After the test his rating is now 812, 11 points higher.
Ryder went to Napier with a rating of 486. His double century has pushed him to 607. A climb of 121.
Make of that what you will. I emphasise that nothing can be drawn from this comparison, considering as I said the different stages of their careers, the fact that Gambhir batted twice and the blindness of the ratings system to match context.
So we are back from Bizarro World; India is batting well again. Holding out for two whole days after the follow on was a study in concentration and technique, and the draw was well deserved.
With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to suggest that the pitch saved India or that Vettori did himself no favours by enforcing the follow on. However, looking at things at the end of day three, you would have to back yourself to take 10 wickets over two days on any pitch, but given the nature of the pitch, you would want to give yourself as much of those two days to take the wickets.
As I suggested in a previous post, if India were going to save this test they would need someone to put in a performance equalling Ryder’s 201. In Gambhir’s 137 they got that performance. Obviously it is well off a double century, and scored at a SR of 31, it was hardly dazzling, but it did as much to save the match as Ryder’s did to set up a potential victory.
But having praised India, let’s not forget that NZ ruled this match. While India will take the honours from days 4 and 5, they were forced to play at an extremely tentative 2 runs an over, even for the majority of day 5 when a draw seemed certain. If anything, NZ dominated too much in the first three days, leaving India with no victory to chase and no option but to go all-out stodge.
Love this image from the Herald, from an article extolling the strengths of our exciting top four, McCullum, Ryder, Guptill and Taylor, showing them all flourishing their blades.
The Indians of course have brought along debatably the best ODI top order currently in service. (That would be a fiery debate however.)
Let’s see how the two top four compare head to head.
Not entirely flattering to the New Zealanders in terms of ranking, with an average of about 50 compared to an average of about 12 for the Indians. However, the stats don’t look vastly different (except maybe the rather unfair comparison between McCullum and Tendulkar). Based on these averages, we’d expect the Indians to score about 150 from about 29 overs. Whereas the New Zealanders will score 160 off about 31 (admittedly rather skewed by Guptill’s stats). Pretty much dead even.
Indian have an extremely good middle order in Dhoni alone, but NZ have Vettori and Mills in their bowling line up. You’ve got to expect this to be a close run series. I’m picking 3-2 to New Zealand.