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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea