Welcome to the next series of match ups in my extended analysis of how the all-time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Ds continue to occupy the spotlight. They come into today with 38 of a possible 80 points.
THE Ds V THE Rs
The Rs have the better opening combo, the Ds win the number three slot, though no 4 has to go the Rs purely on sample size, while nephew ‘Duleep’ beast uncle ‘Ranji’ in the number five slot. D’Oliveira out bats Robins, but Robins’ bowling is more likely to of value than D’Oliveira’s, and additionally the Rs have the better captain. Dujon was the better batter than Russell, the Russell definitely the finer keeper. Roberts, Rabada and Richardson are possibly just short of Davidson, Donald and Daniel as a pace trio, but as against that Rhodes clearly outpoints Dennett (Rhodes the bowler was one of the two, along with Blythe, who was chiefly responsible for Dennett not gaining any test caps). It is very close on batting, but the Rs have a clear advantage in bowling – their attack is better balanced, and they win the spin department by a bigger margin than they lose the pace department. I score this Ds 1.5, Rs 3.5.
THE Ds V THE Ss
The Ss win the batting comfortably, with only Dravid of the Ds top eight definitely outpointing his opposite number . Starc, Steyn and Statham are fractionally behind Davidson, Donald and Daniel as a pace trio, but the Ss back up options, Stokes and Sobers in his quicker incarnations are both ahead of D’Oliveira. Dennett outpoints Sobers the left arm orthodox spinner, but Sobers the left arm wrist spinner and Stevens are both unmatched by anyone from the Ds line up. The Ss thus have a much more powerful batting line up, a marginally inferior pace trio, more spin options and much better back up seam/ pace options. I score this one as Ds 0, Ss 5.
THE Ds V THE Ts
The Ts have the better opening pair, the Ds win the number slot comfortably, the Ts win the number four slot, Thorpe’s inferiority vis a vis Duleepsinhji is lessened by the vastly increased sample size on which his figures are based, and Ross Taylor outbats D’Oliveira, while Tarrant is far ahead of D’Oliveira as a bowler. Dujon beats Bob Taylor with the bat, but Taylor was the finer keeper. Tyson, Trueman and Thomson are at least a match for Davidson, Donald and Daniel, and Trumble outranks Dennett as a spinner. Mark Taylor outranks Dennett as a skipper as well. The Ts are well clear in this contest and I score it Ds 0.5, Ts 4.5.
THE Ds V THE Us
The Ds absolutely boss the batting side of this, have the better keeper, are totally dominant in pace bowling, though outmatched in spin bowling and having the inferior skipper. I score this one Ds 4, Us 1.
THE Ds V THE Vs
The Ds have the better batting, the better keeper and are ahead in the pace bowling department, though by less than the figures make it look – Vaas would fare better as third seamer in a strong attack than he actually did as opening bowler in a moderate one. As against that Verity is clear of Dennett, and Vogler and Vine have no equivalents in the Ds line up, and the Vs have the finer skipper. I score this one Ds 3, Vs 2.
THE Ds PROGRESS REPORT
The Ds have scored nine of a possible 25 points today, meaning that they now have a total of 47 points from a possible 105, 44.76%.
My usual sign off…