Indian opening batsmen with England opening batsmen: The Sportsrush compares the opening batsmen of the top two ODI teams.
“In the current scenario, Rohit [Sharma] and Shikhar [Dhawan] don’t just make for the best opening combination that India can put forward, but they’re easily the best in the world right now,” India Head Coach Ravi Shastri was quoted as saying in an interview with Cricbuzz last week.
While both India vice-captain Rohit Sharma and opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan have been dominating the opposition attacks in the last half a decade or so, do they form the best opening pair right before the World Cup needs some pondering.
Having first opened an ODI innings in 2013, Sharma and Dhawan have amassed 4,541 runs in 101 innings at an average of 45.41. The duo sharing 15 century partnerships and 13 half-century partnerships speaks highly about their impressive conversion rate.
Other than captain Virat Kohli’s heroic numbers, what has been a revelation for the Indian ODI team is their opening combination. Despite Sharma and Dhawan registering records at will, they have a serious competition in England’s opening pair – Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow.
ICC Champions Trophy 2017 – Roy and Bairstow come into the picture
Having first opened the innings during the semi-final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 against Pakistan at Cardiff, Roy and Bairstow again joined hands at the top of the order during the fourth ODI against West Indies at The Oval. Bairstow creating a significant impact in association with Alex Hales practicing inconsistency provided more chances for opening the batting to the former.
The start of 2018 saw England on back-to-back overseas tours of Australia and New Zealand. Having opened the innings in 10 ODIs, Roy and Bairstow had started to give positive signs of thriving as an opening pair.
In Roy and Hales, England possessed of a strong opening pair. The fact that Roy and Bairstow have scored 321 more runs in 14 less innings at a nearly double average speaks highly about them surpassing Roy and Hales with ease.
Overall record since 14/06/2017
In the 26 ODI innings which Roy and Bairstow have opened together, they have scored 1,675 runs at an average of 64.42 including seven century and seven half-century partnerships. Their average is the highest ever for an opening combination scoring more than 1,000 partnership runs in ODIs.
Comparing Sharma and Dhawan’s record from the time Roy and Bairstow started to open, the Indian duo has scored 1,794 runs in 44 innings at an average of 40.77 including five century and as many half-century partnerships. Simply comparing the numbers in the given time period tells us that the English duo has bettered the Indian pair.
Average while chasing 300+ totals
Since scoring/chasing 300 runs isn’t the big deal that it used to be back in the day, let us see how well both these pairs have done when it comes to chasing 300+ totals in ODIs. While chasing 300+ in the given time period, Roy and Bairstow have scored 606 runs in five innings at a staggering average of 121.2. Only once did England lose a match while chasing in excess of 300.
On the contrary, Sharma and Dhawan have scored a paltry 70 runs in four innings at an average of 17.5 while chasing 300+ totals. In these four matches, only once did India register a victory (due to a 246-run partnership for the second wicket between Sharma and Kohli).
Average while setting 300+ totals
When it comes to batting first, English openers once again pin down the Indian openers. In the given time period, Roy and Bairstow have scored 521 runs in six innings when England scored total in excess of 300 in the first innings.
An average of 86.83 is better then Sharma and Dhawan, who have scored 583 runs in eight innings at an average of 72.87 when India batted first and put 300 on the board.
Bairstow and Roy want to win this with a bonus point or something?
— Saurabh Malhotra (@MalhotraSaurabh) May 14, 2019
Both batsmen scoring 50+ runs
Both opening batsmen individually scoring 50+ runs in an ODI match calls for an exceptional total until the others register a batting collapse. The same has been achieved by England on five (out of 26) as compared to India’s four (out of 44) occasions. It is another parameter which works in the hosts’ favour ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Both batsmen getting out on single-digit scores
In 26 innings, both Roy and Bairstow have got out on single-digit scores in just six innings. Both the English openers not scoring in the same match happens at a percentage of 23.07 which is better than India’s percentage of 25 (11 times in 44 innings).
Indian opening batsmen with England opening batsmen – Overall verdict
England 5 – 0 India.
Having compared English and Indian openers across five parameters, one comes down to the conclusion that England incorporate a better opening pair than India. Some might argue that the English pair has played 18 less innings than the Indians, but scoring over