Harbhajan Singh and two more Indians — Anil Kumble and Ishant Sharma — enjoy the pride of place among 107 bowlers who have dismissed Ricky Ponting in Test cricket.
Harbhajan leads with 10 dismissals, followed by England’s Darren Gough (8) and Kumble and Ishant Sharma (7 each).
In all, 15 Indians have dismissed Ponting in the 29 Tests he has played against India from 1996 to 2012.
Apart from Harbhajan, Kumble and Ishant Sharma, the others in the list are Zaheer Khan (5), Venkatapathy Raju, Umesh Yadav, Virender Sehwag and Venkatesh Prasad (2 each) and Ashish Kapoor, Javagal Srinath, Murali Kartik, Suresh Raina, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar (once each).
Despite having scored 2,555 runs in 29 Tests at an average of 54.36 that include eight centuries and 12 half-centuries, his highest score being 257 at the MCG in the 2003-04 series, his record in India would leave him most disappointed.
While he has scored 1,893 runs in 15 Tests in Australia at 86.05, he has made a mere 662 runs in 14 Tests at 26.48 with one century and five half centuries in India. It was not before his fifth tour in 2008 that he notched up his only century (123), at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore.
Ponting made 27 in one Test at New Delhi in 1996, 105 in three Tests at Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore in 1998, 17 in three Tests at Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai in 2001, 23 in one Test at Mumbai in 2004, 266 in four Tests at Bangalore, Mohali, New Delhi and Nagpur in 2008 and 224 at Mohali and Banglaore in 2010. To take the figures a little further, Ponting has made 305 at Bangalore, 31 at Chennai, 114 at New Delhi, 75 at Kolkata, 82 at Mohali, 23 at Mumbai and 32 at Nagpur.
Ponting once famously said it did not matter how many wickets Harbhajan took as long as Australia scored lots of runs.
Well, Harbhajan has been chiefly responsible for the Australian’s low scores, dismissing him seven times in India, followed by Ishant Sharma (4), Kumble (4), Raju (2) and Kapoor, Prasad, Sehwag, Raina, Zaheer Khan and Kartik (once each).
His record in India in ODIs is better — he has scored 1,091 in 25 ODIs in India against India at 47.43 with three centuries and six half-centuries, and a total of 1,736 in 46 ODIs at 39.45 with five centuries and nine half-centuries against Canada, England, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies and Zimbabwe on Indian soil.