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Thread: Ponting is better than Lara

  1. #1
    Banned sideshowtim's Avatar
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    Ponting is better than Lara

    There, I said it.

    A major point is that many people claim Lara scored his runs against better bowling than Ponting. They say that he dominated in an era where Waqar, Wasim, Donald, McGrath, Ambrose and Walsh were bowling. Fair enough. He did indeed dominate in such an era. I've always felt that was an incredibly general statement though, and thought I'd investigate it further.

    Ponting has scored centuries against attacks containing Wasim Akram:

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/63856.html

    and Waqar Younis:

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/64001.html

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/64003.html

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/63856.html

    Centuries by Lara against attacks containing both, or either of these bowlers? 0. His average comes to 30 in 7 Tests. Not terrible, but by absolutely on means 'dominant'. If we apply the same criteria to Ponting, we are left with an average of 73.11 from the same number of Tests as Lara.

    Let's move on to Donald. Once again, Lara failed to ever score a Test century against an attack containing Donald. Ponting, however, did achieve such a feat (in his first Test against Donald mind you), and was the only Australian century maker in the relatively low scoring Test:

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/63778.html

    Ponting played 4 Tests against attacks containing Donald for an average of 50.40. He was not once dismissed by Donald. Lara on the other hand, played 11 Tests against attacks containing Donald and failed to score a single century. He was dismissed 6 times by Donald and averaged 35 against said attacks. Once again, not terribly poor by any means, however not as dominant as some make out. Thus far, you'd have to say Ponting has the wood over Lara when it comes to scoring against 'quality' opposition.

    Next, McGrath. I had to break this up into 2 periods as it was easier to get the stats this way. The first period in question (1995 - 2003), in attacks containing McGrath, Lara played 18 tests for an average of 45.96. Lara did indeed do well against a attacks with McGrath in them, scoring 5 centuries against attacks containing him. However, during this period, he was also dismissed by McGrath a grand total of 13 times. Now to me, I hardly think Lara 'dominated' McGrath. As a contest, I'd say it was just about even, and I think most people would agree. The second period (2003 - 2006) saw McGrath and Lara go head to head in 6 Tests with Lara averaging 47. McGrath dismissed him twice in this period, and Lara's lone century in said period came from his record breaking innings at Adelaide. On the whole, I think McGrath and Lara broke even when you consider the dismissal rate yet also the amount of runs Lara scored against the attacks. You'd be stretching it to say Lara 'dominated' McGrath.

    Now for obvious reasons, Ponting never faced McGrath in Test cricket. Which is a shame because Ponting without a doubt had the wood over McGrath in State cricket. In this match, very early on in Ponting's career, Ponting scored 125 & 69 against the attack featuring McGrath.

    http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Archive/Sc.../56/56891.html

    In this match he scored 58 & 134 against an attack featuring McGrath:

    http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Archive/Sc.../60/60034.html

    In being fair, Ponting didn't have such a magnificent outing on this occasion and scored 20 and 43, being dismissed by McGrath in the second innings.

    http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Archive/Sc.../61/61214.html

    And in the final match in which Ponting faced McGrath, the honours go to Ponting once again. Ponting scored 126 and 154 in this match.

    http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Archive/Sc.../73/73209.html

    That's an average of 91.13 against attacks containing McGrath for Ponting...and it's not like these attacks are terrible either...Look at some of the names who were with McGrath...Lee, MacGill, Clark, Matthews...Not cannon fodder, and I think it's fair to say that Ponting had the wood over McGrath (when you consider all those runs at that average for a mere 1 dismissal)...whereas Lara didn't. I'm aware that comparing State cricket to the Australian attack is kinda silly...but as I said...these weren't exactly No-Frills attacks surrounding McGrath. And I think it's a fair indicator of how Ponting plays McGrath.

    Let's do the same for Lara when it comes to Walsh and Ambrose. Ponting played 9 Tests against attacks containing either/or for an average of 40. Not magnificent, but respectable, and there is indeed a century amongst it, so there is further evidence of performing against quality opposition. Walsh dismissed him 4 times in these 9 Tests, so it's probably fair to say he troubled Ponting. However, Lara seemed to struggle against attacks containing Ambrose as evidenced by him failing to reach triple figures once against Leeward Islands in 5 matches with Ambrose in them only averaging 26.3. Lara however did very well against attacks containing Walsh with Jamaica scoring runs at an average of 54 in 7 matches. I'd call this one even.

    When it comes to Murali, Lara without a doubt handles him incredibly well and averages 75 against Sri Lanka containing Murali. He is a wonderful player of spin and has Ponting covered against this bowler. That said, Ponting's average against attacks containing Murali is 58, which certainly doesn't put him to shame. Interesting thing is though, that Lara has been dismissed by Murali 4 times in the 6 Tests they've played against each other, while Ponting has only been dismissed by the great spinner 3 times in 10 Tests...So something to ponder there.

    So all in all, I think this certainly proves that the idea that Ponting hasn't done well against quality bowlers (in comparison to other 'modern greats') is entirely a myth. Let's not forget that many of these innings were when Ponting wasn't even half the player he is today...Imagine what he would be capable of if his current skills were on show back then. These statistics also indicate that Ponting has performed against the 'greats' to a higher level than Lara has (on the whole)....yet many state the opposite...It doesn't appear to be true here.

  2. #2
    International Regular JBH001's Avatar
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    Interesting thread.

    I have not had time to digest the whole of it, nor think of a comprehensive reply (and as I have already said 3 times on CW tonight its almost bedtime for me) but wrt to those knocks against Akram and Younis. I believe Younis was in serious decline at the time of those Ponting knocks, and Akram too (iirc) was also past his best by the latter stages of the 90's. Finally, the quality attack points are also weighted by the making of runs (by Ponting at least) on unchallenging surfaces (not to say that I endorse these arguments - only that these seem to constitute the general tenor of them and so should also be considered).

    But, fwiw, I dont think Ponting as good as Lara - and I am not sure if he ever will be.
    Last edited by JBH001; 25-12-2007 at 05:52 AM.

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    World Traveller Craig's Avatar
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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Ponting may've had the more productive career, but when both were playing at their absolute bests I'd still take BCL.

    & when it comes to who I'd rather watch it's a no-brainer too.
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  5. #5
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sideshowtim View Post
    There, I said it.

    A major point is that many people claim Lara scored his runs against better bowling than Ponting. They say that he dominated in an era where Waqar, Wasim, Donald, McGrath, Ambrose and Walsh were bowling. Fair enough. He did indeed dominate in such an era. I've always felt that was an incredibly general statement though, and thought I'd investigate it further.

    Ponting has scored centuries against attacks containing Wasim Akram:

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/63856.html

    and Waqar Younis:

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/64001.html

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/64003.html

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/63856.html

    Centuries by Lara against attacks containing both, or either of these bowlers? 0. His average comes to 30 in 7 Tests. Not terrible, but by absolutely on means 'dominant'. If we apply the same criteria to Ponting, we are left with an average of 73.11 from the same number of Tests as Lara.

    Let's move on to Donald. Once again, Lara failed to ever score a Test century against an attack containing Donald. Ponting, however, did achieve such a feat (in his first Test against Donald mind you), and was the only Australian century maker in the relatively low scoring Test:

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/e...tch/63778.html

    Ponting played 4 Tests against attacks containing Donald for an average of 50.40. He was not once dismissed by Donald. Lara on the other hand, played 11 Tests against attacks containing Donald and failed to score a single century. He was dismissed 6 times by Donald and averaged 35 against said attacks. Once again, not terribly poor by any means, however not as dominant as some make out. Thus far, you'd have to say Ponting has the wood over Lara when it comes to scoring against 'quality' opposition.

    Next, McGrath. I had to break this up into 2 periods as it was easier to get the stats this way. The first period in question (1995 - 2003), in attacks containing McGrath, Lara played 18 tests for an average of 45.96. Lara did indeed do well against a attacks with McGrath in them, scoring 5 centuries against attacks containing him. However, during this period, he was also dismissed by McGrath a grand total of 13 times. Now to me, I hardly think Lara 'dominated' McGrath. As a contest, I'd say it was just about even, and I think most people would agree. The second period (2003 - 2006) saw McGrath and Lara go head to head in 6 Tests with Lara averaging 47. McGrath dismissed him twice in this period, and Lara's lone century in said period came from his record breaking innings at Adelaide. On the whole, I think McGrath and Lara broke even when you consider the dismissal rate yet also the amount of runs Lara scored against the attacks. You'd be stretching it to say Lara 'dominated' McGrath.

    Now for obvious reasons, Ponting never faced McGrath in Test cricket. Which is a shame because Ponting without a doubt had the wood over McGrath in State cricket. In this match, very early on in Ponting's career, Ponting scored 125 & 69 against the attack featuring McGrath.

    http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Archive/Sc.../56/56891.html

    In this match he scored 58 & 134 against an attack featuring McGrath:

    http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Archive/Sc.../60/60034.html

    In being fair, Ponting didn't have such a magnificent outing on this occasion and scored 20 and 43, being dismissed by McGrath in the second innings.

    http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Archive/Sc.../61/61214.html

    And in the final match in which Ponting faced McGrath, the honours go to Ponting once again. Ponting scored 126 and 154 in this match.

    http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Archive/Sc.../73/73209.html

    That's an average of 91.13 against attacks containing McGrath for Ponting...and it's not like these attacks are terrible either...Look at some of the names who were with McGrath...Lee, MacGill, Clark, Matthews...Not cannon fodder, and I think it's fair to say that Ponting had the wood over McGrath (when you consider all those runs at that average for a mere 1 dismissal)...whereas Lara didn't. I'm aware that comparing State cricket to the Australian attack is kinda silly...but as I said...these weren't exactly No-Frills attacks surrounding McGrath. And I think it's a fair indicator of how Ponting plays McGrath.

    Let's do the same for Lara when it comes to Walsh and Ambrose. Ponting played 9 Tests against attacks containing either/or for an average of 40. Not magnificent, but respectable, and there is indeed a century amongst it, so there is further evidence of performing against quality opposition. Walsh dismissed him 4 times in these 9 Tests, so it's probably fair to say he troubled Ponting. However, Lara seemed to struggle against attacks containing Ambrose as evidenced by him failing to reach triple figures once against Leeward Islands in 5 matches with Ambrose in them only averaging 26.3. Lara however did very well against attacks containing Walsh with Jamaica scoring runs at an average of 54 in 7 matches. I'd call this one even.

    When it comes to Murali, Lara without a doubt handles him incredibly well and averages 75 against Sri Lanka containing Murali. He is a wonderful player of spin and has Ponting covered against this bowler. That said, Ponting's average against attacks containing Murali is 58, which certainly doesn't put him to shame. Interesting thing is though, that Lara has been dismissed by Murali 4 times in the 6 Tests they've played against each other, while Ponting has only been dismissed by the great spinner 3 times in 10 Tests...So something to ponder there.

    So all in all, I think this certainly proves that the idea that Ponting hasn't done well against quality bowlers (in comparison to other 'modern greats') is entirely a myth. Let's not forget that many of these innings were when Ponting wasn't even half the player he is today...Imagine what he would be capable of if his current skills were on show back then. These statistics also indicate that Ponting has performed against the 'greats' to a higher level than Lara has (on the whole)....yet many state the opposite...It doesn't appear to be true here.
    Lara is always such a difficult case, because he had such an up-and-down career.

    However, when Lara was at his best in the mid-1990s, there's no way Ponting was ever a patch on him.
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  6. #6
    JJD Heads Athlai's Avatar
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    I think it depends what you deem as better, I personally think Lara had more flair, while Ponting has the most intimidating run scoring consistency. I also think that you have to keep in mind where they both came from respectively (a team on the decline and a team on the way up) how has that affected their potential careers?

    Two great cricketers undoubtedly but Lara (along with Cairns and a couple others) made me love cricket, something that Ponting I think is incapable of inspiring (though I respect his ability greatly). The natural ability and the will power of these two men is phenomenal though I feel Lara had more ability while Ponting has unmatched willpower.

    To simply analyse matches where some of the great bowlers were in the attack and not is a bit simple for me especially considering the devastation that they would cause among the weakened WIndies compared to the stronger Aussie side. In Lara's failures what was the match situation compared to Pontings triumphs?

    Good thread though, interesting.
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    World Traveller Craig's Avatar
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    Would people still feel the same way if say for example Ponting wasn't Tasmanian (ok Australian ) and was from South Africa or England? It just seems that always Lara is instantly the better player and yet IMO SST brought up some good points. Well I thought it was well researched.

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    Banned sideshowtim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby View Post
    Ponting may've had the more productive career, but when both were playing at their absolute bests I'd still take BCL.

    & when it comes to who I'd rather watch it's a no-brainer too.
    In regards to the second point, I think the absolute pleasure of watching a Lara innings gives people a slight bias towards him. I think most people would agree he is the better batsman to watch without a doubt, but that doesn't make him a better batsman. For instance I'd say Dravid is a better batsman than Gilchrist, but I'm sure most people would rather see Gilly go about his work (Besides a couple of the defenseaphiliacs we have here).

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    International Debutant inbox24's Avatar
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    hello sideshowtim,

    i remember you from bos!

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    Banned sideshowtim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athlai View Post
    To simply analyse matches where some of the great bowlers were in the attack and not is a bit simple for me especially considering the devastation that they would cause among the weakened WIndies compared to the stronger Aussie side. In Lara's failures what was the match situation compared to Pontings triumphs?
    It's a lot less simple than saying "Lara dominated better attacks. Ponting didn't" though.

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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    Would people still feel the same way if say for example Ponting wasn't Tasmanian (ok Australian ) and was from South Africa or England? It just seems that always Lara is instantly the better player and yet IMO SST brought up some good points. Well I thought it was well researched.
    I'd like to think it doesn't make a difference to me. There were few players I'd rather watch bowl (well bowl spin, anyway) than Warne and he's just as Australian as Punter. Plus there is no player whose career has coincided with my watching of cricket who I admire more than Steve Waugh either.

    Quote Originally Posted by sideshowtim View Post
    In regards to the second point, I think the absolute pleasure of watching a Lara innings gives people a slight bias towards him. I think most people would agree he is the better batsman to watch without a doubt, but that doesn't make him a better batsman. For instance I'd say Dravid is a better batsman than Gilchrist, but I'm sure most people would rather see Gilly go about his work (Besides a couple of the defenseaphiliacs we have here).
    There is something in that, yeah. I'd have to confess to being unashamedly biased in favour of Brian Charles for exactly the reason you suggest. I am making a subjective call, obviously, and it is based on how Lara did it as much as what he did. Ponting is destined to go into the pantheon too, but he doesn't quite seem to have Lara's seemingly effortless genius.

  12. #12
    Banned sideshowtim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBH001 View Post
    Interesting thread.

    I have not had time to digest the whole of it, nor think of a comprehensive reply (and as I have already said 3 times on CW tonight its almost bedtime for me) but wrt to those knocks against Akram and Younis. I believe Younis was in serious decline at the time of those Ponting knocks, and Akram too (iirc) was also past his best by the latter stages of the 90's. Finally, the quality attack points are also weighted by the making of runs (by Ponting at least) on unchallenging surfaces (not to say that I endorse these arguments - only that these seem to constitute the general tenor of them and so should also be considered).

    But, fwiw, I dont think Ponting as good as Lara - and I am not sure if he ever will be.
    In regards to the 'challenging surfaces' point....While it's true that many surfaces Ponting have played on have been bating friendly...Can you say the opposite about Lara? Windies pitches for much of Lara's career were as batting friendly as the Australian pitches Ponting has played on.

    I'm sure there are many instances in which Lara has scored runs on challenging tracks, just as there are many instances in which Ponting has scored runs on challenging tracks.

  13. #13
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sideshowtim View Post
    For instance I'd say Dravid is a better batsman than Gilchrist, but I'm sure most people would rather see Gilly go about his work (Besides a couple of the defenseaphiliacs we have here).
    Nah, not a chance. Give me Dravid to watch over Gilchrist 100 times out of 100.

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    World Traveller Craig's Avatar
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    Depends on what sort of player and style you like.

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