The Sri Lanka - Australia series gets underway in 2 days. While reading one of the previews, I read that Muralitharan has played 3 tests in Australia, in which he took 8 wickets at an average of 63.12 - this is 40 runs higher than his career average of 21.33!!! Thats some pressure the Aussies have put on the second highest test wicket taker in the world.
This got me wondering about how the other spinners have fared in tests played in Australia. See below for yourself. (NOTE: These figures are for the period 1995 onwards, considering that was the time the Aussies' path of invincibility began)
Mushtaq Ahmed turns out to be the only spinner whose average in tests played in Australia is slightly better than his overall career average. Averages of all other leading spinners go higher by a few notches than their career averages. I am as surprised as you might be by the glaring statistics that show that Pakistani spinners, since 1995, have fared relatively better than other spinners in Australia.
When I was writing this I had Daniel Vettori and Anil Kumble in mind, but I was pleasantly surprised by the time I finished compiling the stats.
Murali ranks well below majority of the spinners. Will he be able to turn the tables this series? Or will the Aussies deny him the honour of taking the 9 wickets he needs to go past Shane Warne to become the highest wicket taker in test matches? The first of the two tests gets underway on Thursday and my bet is on Murali shining through, getting those 9 wickets in the 1st test itself, and helping the Lankans win their first ever test match on Aussie soil!