Johannesburg: Sadly but almost inevitably, Jason Gillespie’s World Cup bowling display for Australia against India is doomed to sink without trace.
Cricket’s record books are merciless. You need to take at least five wickets to feature in the list of best bowling analyses, and you need to concede barely a run an over to impress in terms of economy. As always, however, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
Gillespie’s figures of 10-2-13-3 at Centurion, put simply, should stand among the greatest of all since the first World Cup.
Firstly, it came against a batting line-up boasting the best batsman in the world, Sachin Tendulkar, apart from Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag. Secondly, it was on a good batting strip.
If Gillespie bowled a bad ball, it was probably his first. Dravid helpfully chopped his wide, short, rising delivery into his stumps off an inside edge.
Gillespie’s line and length barely wavered thereafter. After three overs, he had two wickets for two runs. ‘Dizzy’, as he is nicknamed, then took the wicket-of-all-wickets as Tendulkar fell leg before for 36. With Tendulkar went India’s hopes of a salvage operation.
An unlikely name tops the Cup economy table. Dermot Reeve, an England ‘bits-and-pieces’ slow-medium swinger, conceded just 0.40 runs an over against Pakistan in Adelaide in taking one wicket for two runs in five overs. Winston Davis is not a household name either but his seven for 51 for the West Indies against Australia at Leeds in 1983 has never been matched.
Few people, however, have ever matched Gillespie’s overall display. If there was a combined ‘wicket-taking and economy’ statistic, he would be close to the top.
Nearly all the most miserly performances in World Cup history have been made against minor teams — India spinner Bishan Bedi’s one wicket for six runs off 12 overs against East Africa in 1975, Chris Old’s four for eight off 10 overs against Canada in 1979 and Curtly Ambrose’s two for eight off 10 overs against Scotland four years ago.