Focus on McGrath ahead of Ashes encounter

Ten days ago, he demolished the Poms. The world's best bowler, they say, reduced the English batsmen to Ashes!

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:54 IST
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New Delhi:Ten days ago, he demolished the Poms. The world's best bowler, they say, reduced the English batsmen to Ashes! The Pigeon or Glenn McGrath, still flies much higher than any other fast bowler in the world and statistics prove that none of the best batsman of his generation have had much success against him. Against the best He is not the quickest, he is not the most intimidating and he doesn't even have a great best bouncer. But Glenn McGrath is still the best fast bowler in the world right now. The key to his success – suffocating accuracy. His 500th Test wicket came in the first Ashes Test. It was his 110th match and he claimed those scalps at an average of almost 21 apiece. Currently on 508 Test wickets, the 35-year-old will certainly overtake Courtney Walsh's mark of 519 to become the most successful fast bowler of all time. McGrath doesn't just like any wicket. He likes the wicket of the best batsmen in the world. Brian Lara during his knock of 213 in Jamaica in 1999 took just 36 runs off McGrath. In the next Test match, Lara's gritty 153 not out to win the Test in Barbados by just one wicket just had 39 runs coming off McGrath. Needless to say, McGrath has dismissed Lara a total of 13 times. Facing the great McGrath The Australians and indeed McGrath rate V V S Laxman very highly. But his 167 in Sydney in 2000 included just 29 off McGrath from 57 deliveries. The 281 in Kolkata saw Laxman taking just 53 runs of McGrath's 96 deliveries. Sachin Tendulkar meanwhile has seven hundreds against the World Champions, but only two of those have come when McGrath was playing. Tendulkar has been out to Pigeon six times in nine Tests. Mathew Hoggard bragged before the Ashes that the 35-year-old McGrath would not last all five Tests. Perhaps that's their only hope of making a comeback. Unless of course England's batsmen find a way of scoring and lasting out against McGrath, something that the best haven't managed.

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