McGrath's freak injury a disaster for Australia - Cricket - Sport - The Independent

McGrath's freak injury a disaster for Australia

McGrath may trail Shane Warne in terms of career Test wickets but his value in Australia's dominance of world cricket outstrips his leg-spinning team-mate's.

Since his 1993 debut against New Zealand in Perth, McGrath has played in 110 Test matches, of which Australia have won 73. Put another way, 66.4 per cent of his Test match appearances have been winning ones. In the 26 Tests he has missed in that time, Australia have been successful in only 46.2 per cent.

Warne has been on the winning side 76 times in Tests, but his ratio of wins to appearances puts him behind McGrath at 61.3 per cent.

Australia have managed better without Warne, winning 56.25 per cent of the games he has missed, indicating that while Warne may be capable of making the ball perform magical tricks, it is the steady, metronomic quality of McGrath's impeccable line and length that has been the more reliable weapon.

This is the first Ashes Test McGrath has missed since Sydney in 2003, where England won by 225 runs, and Michael Vaughan, the England captain, knows as well as any how McGrath has consistently been a thorn in English flesh.

Australia have won 17 of McGrath's 23 Tests against England, in which he has claimed 126 wickets and become the bête noire for a sequence of batsmen.

Michael Atherton is his greatest victim, succumbing 19 times, followed by Alec Stewart (10). Of the current line-up, Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick have each been dismissed five times by McGrath, who correctly predicted the latter would become his 500th Test scalp before Australia's first Test victory at Lord's.

Warne's 138 English wickets in 27 Tests before this one put him ahead of his colleague in numbers, but McGrath's 126 have been acquired in four fewer matches.

How much more he can contribute this summer depends on how quickly he recovers from an injury the Australian physiotherapist Errol Alcott described as "a grade two tear of the lateral ligaments" in his right ankle. His fitness for the third Test at Old Trafford, starting next Thursday, looks in serious doubt and there are suggestions he might be out for as much as six weeks.

McGrath had surgery on his left ankle in 2003, causing him to miss nine Tests. During his lay-off, Australia could only draw their home series against India.

Cream of the crocks: Bizarre sporting accidents

* CHRIS LEWIS England cricketer: Shaved his head during a West Indies tour and then got sunstroke.

* RICHARD WRIGHT Everton goalkeeper:

Damaged shoulder falling through loft while packing away suitcases.

* DAVE BEASANT Goalkeeper: Ruled out for eight weeks when with Chelsea in 1993 after dropping a bottle of salad cream on his foot.

* SVEIN GRONDALEN

The Norway defender had to withdraw from an international during the 1970s after colliding with a moose while out jogging.

* KASEY KELLER

US-born goalkeeper: Knocked out front teeth while pulling his golf clubs from the boot of his car.

* SAM TORRANCE (above) Scottish golfer: The Ryder Cup-winning captain fractured his sternum after colliding with a flower pot while sleepwalking.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week