Nick Place
at the Crikey sports desk

Let’s not get into all those tired old
arguments about whether the Bangladesh First XI is a legitimate Test-standard
team. The ICC says it is and Australia
is playing Tests against them, so that’s good enough for us.

We at Crikey also recognise and salute the
fact that cricket is a sport that, more than most, cherishes its statistics and
has a fondness for comparing achievements across the ages, according to the
historical figures. So, let’s all recognise statistically where
Jason Gillespie’s magnificent 201 not out sits, in context.

For a start, his magnificent 320 run fourth
wicket stand with Mike Hussey sweeps aside that lame effort by Arthur Morris
and Don Bradman at Leeds, during the Invisibles Ashes tour of 1948. They only made 301 for
the second wicket.

Lehmann and Ponting’s 315 against the
Windies at Port of Spain in 2002/03 pales, as does Damien Martyn and Adam Gilchrist’s
317 run stand against South Africa in Jo-burg, in 2001/02.

But what about Dizzy’s
individual score? We searched Wisden at Cricinfo for the cream of Australian recognised batsmen since Tests began. Most of the
following list made 2000 runs or more in Test cricket. Some didn’t, but are
generally regarded as batting legends. None of them managed to score 201 not
out in their Test careers.

Warwick Armstrong, Warren Bardsley, Richie Benaud, Peter Burge, Ian
Chappell, Joe Darling,
Lindsay Hassett, Clem Hill, David Hookes, Charles Macartney,
McCosker, Colin McDonald, Geoff “Swampy” Marsh, Rod Marsh, Damien
Martyn, Keith Miller, Monty Noble (good enough to have a stand named
him), Norm O’Neill, Ian Redpath, Paul Sheahan, Mark Waugh, Kepler
Graeme Wood and Bill Woodfull.

Or to come at it another way, if you judge
batting purely by high scores, Dizzy is right up there with Steve Waugh (best
score: 200), David Boon (200), Syd Gregory (201), Jack Ryder (201 *), Brad
Hodge (203 *), Herbie Collins (203), Adam Gilchrist (204*), Allan Border (205),
Neil Harvey (205), Bill Brown (206 *), Arthur Morris (206) and Keith Stackpole

In fact, the only Australian batsmen ever
to manage a significantly better individual score at Test level are:

Bill Lawry (210), Billy Murdoch (211), Kim
Hughes (213), Victor Trumper (214 *), Greg Blewett (214), Dean Jones (216),
Michael Slater (219), Stan McCabe (232), Sid Barnes (234), Greg Chappell (247
*), Justin Langer (250), Doug Walters (250), Ricky Ponting (257), Bill Ponsford (266), Graham
Yallop (268), Bob Cowper (307), Bob Simpson (311), Some bloke called Bradman
(334), Mark Taylor (334 *) and Matt Hayden (380).

We think that says it all. Our new
all-rounder is among some handy company. By the way, in those lists the *
stands for not out. With respect, maybe Dizzy’s innings should have a # for “v Bangladesh”.