Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how my all time XIs fare against one another. This is the first of two posts which between them will cover every match up in which the Ps come alphabetically first. They have 49 out of 75 points coming into the spotlight. There are also a couple of bonus features, after the main body of the post and before the final photograph gallery.
THE Ps V THE Qs
Close contests involving the Qs have been rare in this series, and this one does not buck that trend in any way. The Ps absolutely boss the batting, have the better captain, the better keeper and a far better pace attack. Only in spin bowling are the Qs possibly ahead, and if they do have an advantage there it is not enough to alter the scoreline: Ps 5, Qs 0.
THE Ps V THE Rs
The Rs have the better opening partnership – Rogers clearly outranks Petersen, while no lesser person than Sir Donald Bradman, an Aussie team mat of Ponsford to boot, rated Barry Richards ahead of Ponsford. Ponting outranks Viv Richards, though not by much, while Root’s larger sample size does not wipe out a 10.83 run per innings gap in batting averages between him and G Pollock. Pietersen would seem to outrank Ranjitsinhji, but the latter played in an era when batting was more difficult, with pitches often treacherous, and Ranji got no easy opponents to cash in on (all his tests were played against Australia). Pant outranks Robins with the bat, while the latter is on a par with Procter as a skipper and outranks Prasanna as a bowler. Procter outbats Russell, while the latter was a finer keeper than Pant, and Procter is up there with any of the Rs fast bowlers, as great as they are. S Pollock outranks Roberts in both departments, while Rabada marginally outranks P Pollock as a bowler. Rhodes undoubtedly outranks Parker as a left arm spinner. The Rs are ahead in batting and keeping and about even in fast bowling, the Ps have an advantage in spin bowling. This is close, but I think that the the Rs are just winning it: Ps 2, Rs 3.
THE Ps V THE Ss
The Ss have the better opening pair – Sutcliffe was a near contemporary of Ponsford and outdid him at the highest level, while Strauss definitely outranks Petersen. Ponting wins the number three slot, bu G Pollock outranks S Smith – all evidence points to Pollock being on an upward trajectory when the curtain came down on SA’s first period as a test playing nation. Sangakkara outranks Pietersen with the bat, but Pant rates higher than him with the gloves. Sobers wins his batting match up with Pant, and has no bowling equivalent in the Ps ranks, though Parker was a finer exponent of left arm orthodox spin. Stokes wins the batting match up with Procter, but the Saffa was a much greater bowler than Stokes. Stevens outranks S Pollock as a batter, and marginally loses the nearest bowling match up for him, against Prasanna. The pace bowling is quite close in terms of the front liners – the Rs are a little better on averages, but the Ss have Starc’s left arm to add variety. Also, the Ss have back up in that department in the form of Stokes and the quicker versions of Sobers the bowler, which tips the scales in their favour in that department. The Ss thus win on batting and pace/ seam bowling, tie on captaincy, lose narrowly on spin bowling and heavily on keeping. I think the Ss are winning, and score this Ps 2, Ss 3.
THE Ps V THE Ts
The Ts have the better opening pair – Trumper’s average of 39.04 on Victorian and Edwardian pitches is a more impressive achievement than Ponsford’s 48.22 on the shirtfronts of the interwar era, and ‘tubs’ Taylor clearly outranks Petersen. Ponting wins the batting match up at three, but Tarrant offers a bowling option comparable to Parker in quality. The number four batting match up is a draw, featuring two all time greats of the game. Superficially Pietersen seems to have Thorpe beaten in the number five slot, but Pietersen had a lot more support from the rest of the order than Thorpe, so I am giving Thorpe the verdict. Ross Taylor outranks Pant with the bat, while Bob Taylor was much better keeper. Procter outranks Bob Taylor with the bat, and also wins the bowling match up against Thomson. S Pollock outranks Trumble with the bat, but is outranked by Trueman with the ball, Peter Pollock just loses his match up against the even quicker Frank Tyson, and Trumble comfortably outpoints Prasanna in the battle of the off spinners. It is close with the bat, and in the fast bowling department, both sides are well captained, but the Ts have clear advantages in keeping and spin bowling, so I give them a narrow win in the contest: Ps 2, Ts 3.
THE Ps V THE Us
The Ps have an overwhelming superiority in batting and fast bowling, the better keeper and a captain at least the equal of his opposite number in that role. Underwood outranks Parker with the ball and it maybe that in time Ur Rahman will end up outranking Prasanna, but at the moment he is unproven. Nevertheless, I will concede that the Us win the spin bowling department, and allow them one big day out: Ps 4, Us 1.
THE Ps PROGRESS REPORT
The Ps have scored 15 points out of 25 today and move up to 64 points out of 100, 64%.
A BOOK REVIEW
I have just finished reading “How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch: In Search of the Recipe for Our Universe” by Harry Cliff, a quirky account of the current state of play in Particle Physics and Cosmology. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and heartily recommend it.
CLIMATE CHANGE AT WORK
Bear in mind as you read this section that we are in the middle of November, and my home is roughly 100 miles north of London. This morning I walked into town by way of Bawsey Drain, and back by the route I use most frequently for this trip. On the outbound trip I saw a red admiral butterfly in a patch of nettles – a creature I have never previously seen in Norfolk any later than September. Then, on the homeward journey I saw a ruddy darter, a species of damselfly and hence even more out of place in Norfolk at this time of year, sunning itself (yes, a damselfly sunning itself in an English November, you read that right) on a brick wall.
Time for my usual sign off…