Left-handers in the forefront

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 10, 2012 09:46 hrs

Left-handed batsmen have often troubled India in Test series played in India in the recent past. The on-going series against England proved
no difference with skipper Alastair Cook leading from the front with centuries in each of the first three Tests to guild his team to 2-1 lead in the rubber. 

The details of players who have emerged with flying colors during the last two decades:

Michael Hussey & Simon Katich (Australia) in 2008-09: The left-handed duo of Michael Hussey and now out-of-squad Simon Katich were the top run-getters for the visitors as they mustered 394 runs with the help of a hundred & three fifties and 349 runs with a ton & two fifties

However, they failed to prevent Australia from losing the four-match series by 0-2 margin. The overall decline of other batsmen and poor bowling display by front-line bowlers was mainly responsible for Aussies losing the rubber without a semblance of fight as their margin of defeats of 320 runs & 172 runs suggests.

Matthew Hayden (Australia) in 2000-01: Matthew Hayden whose first eight Test appearances had been scattered over seven seasons, raised his average from 24.36 to 40.18 after this historic series which was named as Final Frontier. He had not found a regular place until the
series against West Indies that preceded this tour, but now he was by far the Australians’ main provider of runs. 

His tour de force was 203 out of a total of 391 in the third Test at Chennai. The big Queenslander was originally on the list of players to be replaced for the subsequent limited-over internationals. But his 549 runs at 109.80 in the Tests were scored at such a high strike-rate – 66 per 100 balls – he was retained for the ODIs.

Andy Flower (Zimbabwe) in 2000-01: Wicket-keeper batsman Andy Flower emerged with great distinction. He stamped his class against spin
bowling in particular, amassing 540 runs in the two Tests, where his lowest score was 55 and his highest 232 not out, and following up with
two fifties in the limited-overs games. 

He was named Man of the Match in the second Test at Nagpur and also Man of the Series. His tally of 540 runs is the third highest in the two-match series after Sanath Jayasuriya (571) and Walter Hammond (563). However, Zimbabwe lost the two-match series by 0-1 margin.

Jimmy Adams (West Indies) in 1994-95: West Indies lost first Test by 96 runs, drew the second and won the third by a whopping 243 runs to level the series. And much credit to this goes to left-handed middle order batsman Jimmy Adams who won the Man of the Match in the last
match and the overall Man of the Series award. 

In the Nagpur Test, he scored an undefeated 125, demonstrating the value of concentration and studious pad-play. In the next and final game at Mohali, he once again played with patient determination and this time used his bat more than his pads. He scored 174 not out – his then highest Test innings. In the second essay, he once again played yet another unbeaten knock of 78.

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