Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Ls are in the spotlight and have so far accrued 60 of a possible 80 points.
THE Ls V THE Rs
The Rs have the better opening pair (Lawry outranks Rogers but Richards absolutely blows Labuschagne out of the water, especially given that the latter is batting out of position). Lara shades the number three slot, but Root handsomely wins the number four slot. The number five slot looks a big win for Lloyd, but appearances are a bit deceptive – Ranji played on much more difficult batting surfaces than Lloyd. Langridge comfortably wins the battle of the spin bowling all rounders over Robins, but Russell totally bosses the keeping match up. The Ls win the pace/ seam element of this match up, Lohmann being the deciding factor there. They also win the spin bowling element – Laker outranking Robins by more than Rhodes outranks Langridge in the battle of the left armers. I think the Ls bowling settles this one in their favour and I make it a comfortable win: Ls 4, Rs 1.
THE Ls V THE Ss
The Ss have the better opening pair – Lawry outranks Strauss, but by far less than Sutcliffe outranks Labuschagne. Lara wins the battle of the number threes, but Smith comfortably outranks Laxman and Sangakkara outranks Lloyd, though the Ls do have the better keeper. Sobers massively outbats Langridge, but Langridge was the finer left arm orthodox spinner, and similarly Laker’s off spin is more valuable than Sobers’ left arm wrist spin. Stokes is the bonus the Ss get for having Sangakkara as keeper. The Ss win the pace/seam bowling – Starc’s left arm gives them extra variation among the three front liners, and Stokes and Sobers in his quicker incarnations lend them extra depth as well. The Ls win the spin bowling. I think the Ss have got this but not by a huge margin: Ls 2, Ss 3
THE Ls V THE Ts
I give the Ts the better opening pair – Trumper was a regular opener and he scored his runs on uncovered, often treacherous pitches, which I think comfortably makes up both the discrepancy between his and Labuschagne’s averages and for Lawry’s advantage over Taylor. Lara comfortably wins the batting match up at number three, but Tarrant outranks Langridge as a bowler. Tendulkar bosses the number four slot, and while Lloyd had a somewhat better test average than Thorpe, the Englishman had a lot less support from the rest of the order than the West Indian. Ross Taylor outbats James Langridge at six. The Ts comfortably win the battle of the keepers. The pace bowling is hard to call – the Ts are quicker, but the Ls are probably better. Trumble and Laker are about equal, so with Tarrant outpointing Langridge as a bowler the Ts win the spin bowling department. I think the Ts superior batting and spin bowling wins it for them, but it is close: Ls 2, Ts 3.
THE Ls V THE Us
The Ls boss the batting – only Inzamam Ul-Haq, Umrigar and Umar Akmal win their match ups in that department. The Ls win the keeping contest hands down, and massively outrank the Us in pace/ seam bowling as well. Underwood outranks Langridge, and at the moment, though subject to change as more evidence comes in from Ur Rahman, Laker massively outranks Ur Rahman as an off spinner. It is hard to see the Us claiming anything from this contest: Ls 5, Us 0.
THE Ls V THE Vs
The Ls have a significant advantage with the bat, with only Verreynne and Vaas winning their match ups in that department for the Vs. Langley outranks Verreynne as keeper. The pace/seam bowling contest is close – the Vs have two left armers in Vaas and Voce, the former of whom would fare better as part of this attack than he did IRL to counter the Ls superior overall figures. Verity hugely outranks Langridge – he was the reason the latter only go the test call up quite late in his career, though Laker just outranks Vogler, giving the Vs the advantage in spin bowling. I think the Ls being ahead in batting and at least level on seam/ pace bowling is enough for a comfortable win for them, but I will grant the Vs spinners (particularly Verity) one big day out: Ls 4, Vs 1.
THE Ls PROGRESS REPORT
The Ls have scored 17 out of 25 today, moving them up to 77 out of 105, 73.33% overall.