Z-score’s Cricket Stats Blog Archive –
Jan 2006 to Mar 2006
31 March 2006
A note from from Mohan Menon:
During his of 94 in the first Test at Cape Town Matthew Hayden became the batsman with most Test runs while batting at No2 – 6,293. He surpasses the tally of 6,231 of Des Haynes.
On the subject of Hayden: it is a remarkable thing that a player who once scored 380 should have few big scores to his name. Since that record score against Zimbabwe, Hayden has scored eleven Test centuries but has not reached 150, or even 140, once.
So how does he compare in his (in)ability to make big hundreds? One way of measuring this is to take the ratio of a batsman’s 150s to the number of dismissals between 100 and 150 (dividing the former by the latter). Among batsmen with 15 or more Test centuries, the players with the lowest (or poorest) ratios are
Curiously, the list features mostly modern players, perhaps because batsmen achieving the qualification standard of 15 tons are more common today. If the standard was relaxed to 10 centuries, the list would be led by Allan Lamb and Mohinder Amarnath, both of whom never reached 150 in Tests. Ian Botham, Peter May, John Wright and Saurav Ganguly would also rank above Hayden.
At the other end of the scale, well, no prizes for guessing the leader. Don Bradman reached 150 more than twice as often as he fell short. The leaders are
There is one batsman in the 10-14 century range with a better ratio than Bradman. Dennis Amiss was out only twice between 100 and 150 in Tests, but scored 150 eight times, giving him a ratio of 4.00.
Among the many local records set by Queensland’s 6 for 900 declared against Victoria in the Sheffield Shield (now also known by some other name) final, there were a couple of world records, I think:
- highest score at the fall of the fourth wicket in all first-class cricket, 878.
- Only first-class innings to feature four batsmen scoring over 150.
25 March 2006
The Pura Cup Final between the Queensland Bulls and the Victoria Bushrangers at the Gabba will be the eighth final in a row for Queensland. While it will be familiar territory for the Bulls, expect plenty of intensity from them, as they seek to end a run of three consecutive losses in finals. One of those losses, in 2003/04, was to a Victorian team that scored 710 in their first innings, the highest score in Pura Cup/Sheffield Shield since 1939, a period spanning over 5,000 team innings. Then last year, Queensland lost the Cup by one wicket after New South Wales tailenders Nathan Bracken and Stuart MacGill eked out a 22-run last-wicket stand for victory.
The Bushrangers go into the match with the better recent form; they snatched a finals place from Western Australia thanks to a tremendous fourth-innings chase at the junction Oval, on the same weekend that Queensland were thrashed by an innings in Hobart.
The final will be the 16th for Queensland in 23 years since finals were instituted in 1982/83. Their winning record so far, four out of 15 (plus two drawn matches where the Cup was won on countback), is inferior to NSW (seven wins in ten finals) and Western Australia (five wins, plus two on countback, in ten finals). For the Bulls, Martin Love will be playing in his tenth final – it is only the sixth final ever for Victoria.
This Pura Cup season has been notable for its competitiveness. No team has dominated, and the difference between Victoria’s second place and NSW’s last place was one outright and one first-innings win. Batting and bowling averages for all teams were in a narrow range, from 28-38 runs per wicket. Victoria and Queensland got the edge by bowling more effectively than the other states: their bowling averages of 28.6 and 28.1 respectively were clearly the best, and more than made up for mediocre batting, where both teams were beaten by South Australia and NSW. Here are the team averages for the regular season:
The competitiveness of the season is reflected in the individual averages. Only one batsman, Jason Arnberger (704 runs at 50.3), goes into the final with over 500 runs and an average over 50 for the season. This season, only two regular state batsmen have averaged over 60, Darren Lehman (1,168 runs at 89.8) and his team mate Mark Cosgrove (736 at 66.9); last year there were five batsmen in this category, and in 2003/04, there were eight.
This is the fourth year in a row that the leading Pura Cup run scorer could be described as an “old warhorse”. Darrren Lehmann leads the season with his 1,168 runs; his predecessors were Michael Bevan (a record 1,464 in 2004/05), Matthew Elliot (1,381 in 2003/04), and Greg Blewett (843 in 2002/03). Any hopes that Bevan may have entertained about overtaking, some day, Lehmann’s record for most career runs in PC/SS were effectively answered by Lehmann this year.
The Pura Cup/Sheffield Shield has long been evenly balanced between bat and ball. The overall batting average for the 2005/06 season of 31.4 is almost identical to the long-term average over the last 22 seasons of 31.5. The long-term trend in run-scoring is nearly flat; while 2003/04, with an average of 36.1, was the highest-scoring season in the last 20 years, the seasons immediately preceding and following were low-scoring ones. This raises an interesting puzzle: if scoring in Tests and ODIs is increasing thanks to new bat technology and smaller grounds, why has this not also been seen in first-class cricket in Australia? Perhaps Australia’s stocks of bowling talent are not as weak as some have feared.
22 March 2006
The Australians’ seven-wicket win at Newlands maintains a remarkable record of success at the ground, with nine wins, no draws and only one defeat over the past 104 years. Australia’s only defeat at the ground came in 1970, in the series where the team was whitewashed 4-0. The 90% win rate in Cape Town is Australia’s best at any regularly used Test centre – by far – and is the best winning record by any team at any ground (minimum four Tests).
Australia’s winning record at Newlands is especially notable given that South Africa normally enjoys a strong home advantage at the ground. Since 1962, when New Zealand won there, no team apart from Australia has beaten South Africa in Cape Town. Against other opponents, South Africa has won 11 out of the last 13 Tests in Cape Town, with two draws.
The top score for South Africa in the Newlands Tests was 41 by Jacques Rudolph. Not often in a completed Test will you see such a low top score, apart from teams like Bangladesh, and it is especially unusual for South Africa. The last time South Africa recorded a lower top score was almost 54 years ago, at Lord’s in 1960, when no one could do better than Colin Wesley’s second-innings 35. At the MCG in 1932, the top score for South Africa was 16 by Syd Curnow, with the team bowled out for 36 and 45.
Adam Gilchrist’s Test average has slipped just below 50 again, after his dismissal for 12 in Australia’s first innings. This is only the third time this has happened in Gilchrist’s 81 Tests: he now has 4,930 runs at 49.8. Among Australians, only Bradman was more reliable at maintaining his career average above 50, dropping below that mark only once (on his debut) in 52 Tests. Only two players completed substantial careers without ever having an average below 50, Herbert Sutcliffe of England, and Javed Miandad from Pakistan. In Sutcliffe’s case, his average never fell below 60. George Headley from West Indies kept his average above 50 except for his very first innings, of 21. He scored 176 in the second innings of his debut, and his average remained above 55 thereafter.
Gilchrist has also, for now, given up his title as the fastest-scoring Test batsman of all time. However, this is not because he has slowed his scoring, but because he has been overtaken by an extraordinary run of form from Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi. Afridi has scored his 1,680 Test runs at a phenomenal 86.2 runs per 100 balls, to Gilchrist’s 82.1. Gilchrist still boasts the better batting average, though, 49.8 to 39.5.
Congratulations to Stuart Clark for his nine for 89 on debut, second best debut figures for an Australian bowler. Apart from Bob Massie (16) and Clarrie Grimmett (11), the only other Australians to take nine on debut were Terry Alderman (1981) and three names from the distant past, William Cooper (1882), “JJ” Ferris (1887), and Jack Saunders (1902). Big hauls on debut were more common in the days of uncovered wickets. Clark is undoubtedly very happy that his Test debut took place at Newlands rather than on the wicket we saw last week at the Wanderers Ground for the final ODI.
A minor curiosity: the partnership of 154 by Ponting and Hayden produced exactly half of Australia’s 308, only the second time that a second-wicket Test stand has been worth exactly half of a completed innings (there have been many others with more than 50%). The only precedent is Edgbaston 1968, where Bob Cowper and Ian Chappell added 111 out of 222 all out for the second wicket. That effort may be better described as a third-wicket stand, since Bill Lawry had retired hurt, and did not return to the crease.
13 March 2006
The astonishing events in the final ODI at the Wanderers’ Ground have shattered all notions of the limits to cricket scoring. With the role of bowlers reduced to that of sacrificial lambs – every bowler in the match conceded more than six runs an over – many major scoring records were demolished. The new records, 438 by South Africa, 434 by Australia, 872 runs for the match, now look unapproachable, but if such mayhem can happen once, who can say?
With ODI status open to so many nations, record scoring has often been at the expense of the minnows such as Kenya and the USA. The previous record innings was 398 conceded by Kenyan bowlers to Sri Lanka in the 1996 World Cup; now Australia’s bowlers have to wear that mantle. The Wanderers match not only broke the record twice, it set many new ‘milestone’ records for scoring at specific points. For example, South Africa now holds the record for most runs at the 30-over mark of a 50-over match (279, previously 223 by India v Pakistan in 2004), while Australia holds the record for most runs scored after the 30-over mark, with 225 between the 30th and 50th overs (previously 207 by New Zealand v USA in the 2004 Champions Trophy).
We can also gauge the uniqueness of the Wanderers match through the great innings of Ricky Ponting (164) and Herschelle Gibbs (175), the highest individual scores ever made against either team. These innings have now taken first and second place on the all-time list of fastest 150s in ODIs, and by a conclusive margin. The list of fastest batsmen to 150 in ODIs now looks like this:
Batting like this has few parallels in international cricket history prior to the modern ODI era. The nearest thing in Test cricket was Roy Fredericks’ 169 against Australia in the WACA in 1976, when he reached 150 off 113 balls. Gibbs’ innings invites comparison with another famous 175, by Kapil Dev in the 1983 World Cup, but Gibbs was faster, by the considerable margin of 27 balls faced.
Could it really be that only nine days previously, Australia had scored only seven runs in the first ten overs at Cape Town? It was the most meagre start by any team in the last thousand or more ODIs. Thinking about that match only adds to the surreal aura of the Sunday’s match.
A fabulous finish capped off the Wanderers match. It was only Australia’s second one-wicket loss in ODIs, and it is almost 20 years since the previous occasion, when Pakistan won at the WACA in 1987. Only a couple of times previously has an ODI series been won by the last wicket in the last over of the last match, most recently by Zimbabwe in New Zealand in 2001. England won a Texaco Trophy series similarly against Pakistan in 1987.
The match at Durban last Friday, won by Australia, was also decided by one wicket. The Wanderers match thus created another first: ODI cricket has never before seen two consecutive one-wicket margins of victory. Mick Lewis took a quick ride from rooster to feather duster. At Durban, he became the first Australian Number 11 batsman to hit the winning runs in an ODI – an as yet unfulfilled ambition for Glenn McGrath – but two days later, Lewis set a new record for worst bowling analysis in a match, with 0 for 113.
So just how freakish was the Wanderers match? Over the last five years, scoring in ODIs has averaged close to 450 runs per match (excluding rain-interrupted matches), with an extreme value of 693 runs by India and Pakistan at Karachi in 2004. The “standard deviation” over last five years, which is a measure the variability of scoring, is around 90 runs. This sets the Wanderers match, at 872 runs, at more than four standard deviations above average. Statistically speaking, this is freakish indeed. Based on statistical theory, we would need to see over 200,000 ODIs before we could expect a game to produce over 850 runs; in reality, there have been only 2,349 ODIs.
So much for that statistical theory.
Put another way, if 872 runs is the record, we would expect to have already seen a few others over 800, and quite a number over 700. The Wanderers match is like the career average of Don Bradman: it is a statistical “outlier”, and it doesn’t really compute. But it did really happen, and only a brave punter would bet against it happening again some day.
2 March 2006
How even-handed is the Duckworth/Lewis system for deciding results in rain-affected ODIs? Theoretically, it should share victory between teams batting first and second in the same proportions as complete games. South Africa won handily when chasing a D/L target in Centurion, but since the system was introduced in 2001, it has been much more common for teams batting first to win.
Looking closer, it appears the trend has changed. From 2001-2003, teams batting first won 25 matches on the D/L system, and lost only three. Since then, it has been much more even, with teams batting first winning seven to six. It just so happens that the D/L tables were changed in 2004…interesting. The D/L concept is based on sound statistical principles; it is uncertain why the outcomes have changed so much, but future trends will be worth watching.
Australia has played 25 One-Day Internationals in South Africa against the home team. Just as they have almost everywhere, the Australians have a winning record in South Africa, winning fourteen matches and losing eleven, with one tie. Oddly enough, a team batting second recorded the highest score in these matches, when Australia successfully chased down 326, scoring 7 for 330 at Port Elizabeth in 2002. This is not Australia’s highest score in South Africa, however – that record goes to the unforgettable 2 for 359 against India in the World Cup final at Johannesburg in 2003.
Could South Africa be the real birthplace of One-Day International cricket? The cricket record books tell us that the very first ODI was played at the MCG in 1971. Almost forgotten, however, is the strange case of a one-day match, played under full limited-over rules, between Australia and South Africa at Johannesburg on 4th March 1967. The teams were close to full strength; Australia even used the modern tactic of dropping their specialist wicketkeeper (Brian Taber) to boost the batting. Australia scored 323 off their 50 overs, Bill Lawry top-scoring with 91, only to lose when South Africa reached four for 327 off 48.4 overs, Graeme Pollock 132 not out. Scoring on that scale in the 1960s suggests a “picnic” atmosphere.
The match did not rate a mention in the tour books published later that year (that itself does not prove anything - the 1971 Melbourne ODI, which was referred to at the time as a picnic match, or a "knockout" match, was virtually ignored by Wisden). Evidently, the Johannesburg match, which was the first “List A” one day match to be played in South Africa, was not officially sanctioned, hence its lower status. Yet, this might be worth questioning: how can matches like Hong Kong vs Bangladesh in 2004, and many similar, have official approval as ODIs, when the 1967 match goes unrecognised? Incidentally, none of the South African players ever appeared in an official ODI, due to the cricketing boycott of South Africa that began in 1971.
The “pre-history” of one-day internationals goes back further than this. Australia even lost a one-day game (single innings, but not limited overs) to Holland in 1964; the teams had also played in 1953. Looking further back, Australian touring teams, on a number of occasions, played one-day games in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) while on the way to England: the earliest appears to be a one-day game against a Ceylonese representative team in Colombo in 1930, in which Don Bradman scored 20. Bradman also played in Colombo in 1948, on his last tour, but fell ill for a time after playing in oppressive heat.
21 Feb 2006
Australia’s score of 1 for 267 in the Brisbane final is the highest score by a side winning by 9 wickets in an ODI.
It is almost 20 years since both Australian openers have made centuries in the same ODI. Before Gilchrist and Katich in Brisbane, the only Australians to open together and pass the century mark were Geoff Marsh (104) and David Boon (111), at Jaipur in 1986.
The record total of 5 for 368 by Australia in the Sydney final ranks as the seventh-highest score in ODIs, on a list led by Sri Lanka’s 398 vs Kenya in the World Cup in 1996. Even more remarkable was the Australia’s total of 321 runs in the last 40 overs, the second-highest total ever. The record is 332 scored by England against Bangladesh last year.
Australia’s defeat in the first final in Adelaide was the team’s first loss in a final since 1999 (Aiwa Cup in Sri Lanka), and the first in Australia since 1997-98. In the last ten years, Australia has won 24 finals and lost only 5, a win:loss ratio even better than their record in ordinary ODIs.
Australia’s batsmen enjoyed a nice spell free of lbws during the VB One-Day series, going eight consecutive matches without losing a batsman this way. LBWs are much less common in ODIs than in Tests, and Australia suffers fewer batsmen lbw than any other country, with 6.0% out lbw in recent years, vs an international average of 9.0%. In 1995-96, Australia went 19 consecutive matches (mostly at home) without anyone given out lbw.
There is a serious imbalance developing in the results of day/night games in Australia, in spite of Australia’s runaway victory in the third final in Brisbane . This season, teams batting first have won nine and lost only five matches. This continues the trend of the last three seasons, where the team batting first has been favoured 26 matches to 11. Considering that Australia usually wins whether or not they bat first, this should be a trend of some concern. The advantage of batting first is also reflected in the averages in day/night games: 37.4 runs per wicket for teams batting first, and 26.9 for teams batting second over the last three years. Compare this to daytime matches, which slightly favour teams batting second, 36.3 to 32.4. Normally, teams batting second can enjoy slightly better averages, because they sometimes have the luxury of batting conservatively when targets are small.
The advantage of batting first in day/night games arises after the 20-over mark of the respective innings. On average, first and second innings tend to track closely together for the first 20 overs or so, and then diverge, with the teams batting first pulling ahead. When teams batting second win, they nearly always establish their dominance in the first 20 overs. The brisbane finakl is a good example.
There don’t seem to be many defenders of the supersub system to be found: Ricky Ponting, for one, is no fan of the rule. The fact that supersubs must be named before the toss has led to specialist batsmen being virtually excluded from supsersub use. While some batsmen were used when the rule was introduced, all of the supersubs used in the last 12 ODIs have been bowlers. In the last 55 ODIs, involving 110 supersubs, there have been only 40 innings played by supersubs. Their batting average has been 23.5, and only 13 runs per match, on average, can be credited to supersubs.
Supersubs have made more difference through their bowling. Their overall bowling average over 55 matches has been a creditable 26.9, although, on average, only 1.4 wickets fall to supersubs in each match. Of course, many of the best performances by supersubs, such as Shaun Bond’s 6 for 19 for New Zealand against India, were from players who would still have been in the first XI anyway, in the absence of the supersub rule. So it is difficult to see any tangible improvement to the game from what is a rather complex rule.
9 February 2006
I have added an article to the Longer Articles section. This is a statistical comparison of Warne and Muralitharan, published in Wisden Australia, as their careerrs stood in mid-2005.
5 February 2006
Afridi Surges to #1
Adam Gilchrist has lost his lead as the fastest-scoring Test batsman of all time, after a phenomenal bout of scoring from Shahid Afridi of Pakistan. Afridi has now scored 1,620 runs at an average rate of 86.2 runs per 100 balls, well ahead of Gilchrist’s 82.1 r/100 b. Afridi’s 330 runs in the series against India came off just 272 balls; the rate of 121.3 r/100b is the fastest ever by a batsman scoring over 200 runs in a series. (In 1902, Gilbert Jessop scored at 125 r/100 b, but he scored only 190 runs in three Tests.)
Since his return to Tests at the beginning of 2005, Shahid Afridi has scored 840 runs off 731 balls, at 114.1 r/100 b. This scoring rate is comparable to Jessop, and yet Afridi’s batting average has held up at an excellent 49.4 in the same period.
Afridi’s fireworks propelled the Pakistan-India series to #1 spot as the fastest-scoring series in history at 71.8 r/100 balls. Pakistan's 72.6 is the fastest scoring by a team in a series (beating Australia 71.3 in England in 2001), and India's 70.4 r/100 b is the fastest by a losing team in a series, previously 66.5 by South Africa v Australia in 1902 (minimum 3 Tests).
4 February 2006
A Better System for Scheduling Tests?
Tired of too many Tests against too many unworthy opponents?
The ICC requires a “five-year cycle” for every Test team to meet home and away, minimum four Tests. Trouble is, some opponents prefer a four-year cycle, e.g. the traditional Ashes cycle. Not only do these cycles mesh badly, they cause a surfeit of Tests against weak opposition.
Here’s one idea:
Switch to a six-year cycle, with teams free to use four-year cycles against selected opponents.
Segregate the Test teams into eight teams on the “A-list” and two on the “B-list” (choose between Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Kenya). Require the A-listers to meet each other twice in 3-Test (minimum) series over a six-year period, once in each country.
The minimum for A-listers to play B-listers is reduced to two Tests in six years: both Tests can be played in one country or one Test in each – the countries can choose.
Countries are free to choose a four-year cycle against any opponents they like, and to increase series length if they desire.
For Australia at home, a twelve-year period would potentially contain:
15 Tests v England (3 series x 5 Tests, four-year cycle)
12 Tests v India (3 x 4 Tests, four-year cycle)
12 Tests v South Africa (3 x 4, four-year cycle)
9 Tests each v two other opponents (3 x 3 each, four-year cycle), depending on form and crowds.
6 Tests each v two other A-List opponents (2 x 3, six-year cycle).
2 Tests v B-List minnows.
Basically, we would have five opponents on four-year cycles, two on six-year cycles, and the odd Test against minnows.
This totals 71 Tests, just under six Tests per season. Do something similar on tour and you have twelve Tests per year, a reasonable and sustainable number. Perhaps a slight reduction, if tours to South Africa are limited to three Tests.
Some home seasons would contain seven Tests. In such seasons, cut One-Day preliminary matches by three or six, and extend the Test season into January.
Cut One-Dayers? Well, Test crowds have been growing, One-Dayers stagnating, so why not? While we’re at it, schedule more Twenty20 internationals.
Also reduce this Chappell-Hadlee Trophy thing to once every two years, perhaps to coincide with Test tours to and from New Zealand. While we are at it, the Champions Trophy, which seems to interest no one in Australia, should go to a four-year cycle, intercalating the World Cups. Running the Champions Trophy and World Cup only months apart is ridiculous, and will spoil the scheduling later this year of the Ashes, arguably the most hotly-anticipated series in the game’s history.
To ecourage development in B-List countries, envisage a special four-way tournament every four years (or perhaps more often) featuring the bottom A-list team, the two B-List teams, and the best “other”. The winner gets on the A-List, the next two on the B-List, and the worst team drops out of Tests altogether, at least until the next tournament. There would be plenty to play for.
28 January 2006
The Australian selectors are maintaining their rotation policy in spite of some underperformances by the team in the VB Cup preliminaries. Do the players really need the time off? Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath have both been rested recently after playing less than 45 days each since the Australian season started in October, almost four months ago. Is this really more than earlier generations of players? A look through the archive shows that in 1984-85, Allan Border played 63 days cricket in the home season. If we go back to 1928-29, Don Bradman played 68 days, and he had to contend with a full-time job and long travel times as well.
No one has enjoyed a career start like Mike Hussey. After 26 ODIs, he can still boast a titanic average of 107.6 and his strike rate, over 94, is faster than Andrew Symonds’. Not surprisingly, no batsman has ever had such an average after so many games; next best is Michael Bevan on 75.7 after 26 games. Yet Hussey’s average also suggests that his potential is being wasted, to a degree. Hussey’s total of 753 runs is quite moderate: 59 players have exceeded this in their first 26 ODIs, and 33 of them did so in spite of an average less than 40.
There was a sense of déjà vu for the Australians when they lost to Sri Lanka at Sydney. Sri Lanka’s 309 (Jayasuriya 114) was the second-highest score ever conceded by Australia at home, with the record held by the same team on the same ground, and the same top-scorer (in 2002-03 Sri Lanka scored 343, Jayasuriya 122). Massive scoring in ODIs has become more common: when Australia’s scored 318 against Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the series, they became the first team in ODI history to top 315 three times in a row (previously Australia scored 322 and 331 in New Zealand).
Boeta Dippenaar equalled an all-time ODI record by hitting only twelve runs in boundaries (three fours) in his first 100 runs, on the way to 125 off 145 balls against Sri Lanka at Adelaide. Oddly enough, the only other century with only three boundaries was also at the Adelaide Oval, where Rameez Raja of Pakistan scored 107 back in 1989-90. Ricky Ponting once reached 100 with only one four, but he was busy hitting 7 sixes as well. Dippenaar’s innings is the highest score by a South African in Australia (previously, Gary Kirsten 112 not out in 1993-94), and it was the longest innings in an ODI in Australia since Mark Waugh made 173 off 148 balls at the MCG in 2000-01.
South Africa’s Andrew Hall achieved a very rare feat by bowling a maiden over in the 50th and last over against Sri Lanka at Adelaide. This hasn’t happened in the last 750 ODIs for which I have complete records. There have been a couple of cases of 50th-over maidens for teams batting first, but not in the final over of a match.
When Australia introduced two new players, Phil Jaques and Brett Dorey, to One-Day Internationals against South Africa at the Telstra Dome last week, it was the first time Australia had played two debutants since 1996-97, when Michael Di Venuto and Adam Dale made their debuts against South Africa (East London) in 1996-97. Australia has played 241 ODIs since then.
What would it take for a captain to use his discretion over Powerplays? Captains opt for the Powerplay even when under the hammer, such as when Australia reached 1 for 95 after 15 overs at the SCG against South Africa.
A survey of Powerplays shows that captains rarely delay their use, regardless of the match situation. Of the last 75 Powerplays mentioned by Cricinfo, more than 90% were taken at the first opportunity, or an over or two later. Only six times were Powerplays delayed by more than two overs, and only once by more than five overs. That one case was by Daniel Vettori, who against Australia at Christchurch in December, did not take the second Powerplay until 21 overs were bowled. Australia was 2 for 85 after 15 overs, and 4 for 124 after 21.
The only practical effect of the Powerplay concept has been to extend early fielding restrictions from 15 overs to the 20-over mark. This has had an effect on scoring: The scoring between the 15th over and the 20th over now averages around 25 runs, whereas a year ago, before the Powerplay, the average was about 20 runs. There has been a slight increase in wickets falling as well. Before the Powerplay, on average, 0.50 wickets fell between the 15th and 20th overs; now it is 0.57 wickets.
Australia scored 24 runs in their 15th over against South Africa yesterday in spite of losing Andrew Symonds’ wicket. This is the most expensive over to contain a wicket in ODIs in the last 5 years.
Update: Mohan Menon has mentioned that there have been two other overs with 24 runs and a wicket in the last five years…
24- 6, 6, 6, 2, 4, X
IJ Harvey (24)
24 January 2006
Ponting , Hayden Dominate Seasonal List.
Here are some figures for most runs in an Australian Test season. Note that Tests played as early as July (the off-season Tests against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) are included in the relevant seasons.
The domination of modern players is testament to both the increasing frequency of Tests and the mountains of runs being scored. When I was preparing the list I did not expect anyone to be topping Hammond’s incredible 1928-29 season, but it turns out that it has happened four times in the last three seasons!
14 Jan 2006
For South Africa and Sri Lanka, the problem of mounting a serious challenge to Australia in the now-traditional One-Day series is as great as ever. Australia has won 77.7% of its completed ODIs in this century; coincidentally, Australia’s winning percentage in 2005 was 77.8%. The team, not surprisingly, is even stronger at home, winning 80.8% of completed games in Australia since 2000.
Nevertheless, South Africa did contrive to win its last VB tournament, in 2001-02. “Contrive” is the right word in this case, since Australia was controversially excluded from the final when New Zealand, by batting slowly, conceded a bonus point to South Africa in the last round-robin game. Indeed, perhaps the only way to stop Australia winning a tournament is to make sure they don’t reach the final: Australia has not lost a tournament final since 1999 (the Aiwa Cup in Sri Lanka). South Africa is the only team to win a final against Australia in Australia since 1993. They did so in 1993-94, and again in 1997-98. However, on both occasions, Australia won the series.
Australia’s opponents will be hoping for a change of luck with the toss. Australia has won the toss in its last eight home ODIs (if you include those so-called World XI games as ODIs).
The toss is critical in day/night games, which for a long time have strongly favoured the side batting first. Just how imbalanced day/night games have become might come as a surprise. In the last six years in Australia, the sides batting first have won 48 day/nighters and lost only 25. This is even more notable when Australia’s dominance is considered: Australia usually wins whether batting first or second, although seven of Australia’s eleven defeats have come when batting second. When Australia is not playing, the ratio balloons out to 15 to 6 in favour of the side batting first. The advantage disappears in daytime games, which are evenly balanced at 10 apiece in Australia since 2000.
This imbalance is stronger in Australia than in other countries. Outside Australia, teams batting first have won 56% of completed day/night ODIs (since 2000), whereas teams batting second have a strong edge in day games, winning 58%. These effects even out internationally; in all countries in all ODIs, teams batting first have won 370 and lost 374 games in this century.
The introduction of the SuperSubs has changed the equations of ODIs, although to what degree remains to be seen. The system usually favours the team batting second, because teams must name SuperSubs before the toss, thus giving teams batting second the opportunity to field an extra recognised batsman. The rationale for this system escapes me completely, but it will be interesting to see whether it counteracts the advantage to teams batting first in day/night games.
There has been another step up in scoring speeds in ODIs in 2005, probably due to the SuperSubs and extension of fielding restrictions. The average scoring speed in ODIs (both in Australia and abroad) is now around 85 runs/100 balls; before 1998 is was usually around 70-75, and from 1998-2004 it was around 80. There has been an increase in the number of games where bowlers seem to completely lose control of the scoring. In Australia’s last two ODIs in New Zealand for the Chappell-Hadlee trophy, all four innings reached or exceeded 320. Contrast this to the history of ODIs in Australia: prior to 2000, spanning 353 ODIs, only once did an innings exceed 320 (323 for Australia vs Sri Lanka, at Adelaide in 1985)
8 Jan 2006
Graeme Smith has become only the second captain in Test history to declare twice in a Test and lose. He joins Garfield Sobers, in Trinidad in 1968, who declared at 7/526 and 2/92, only to lose the Test to England (and the series with it) by seven wickets. The captain’s tactics so dismayed the locals that it brought protestors onto the streets of Port-of-Spain that night; Sobers was even burnt in effigy. In the Tied Test at Madras in 1986, Allan Border came within one run of emulating Sobers.
Much was made of the fact that, until the Sydney Test, no team had ever scored more than 276 in the fourth innings to win a Test at the SCG, but Graeme Smith might have been more cautious if he had noted this alternative stat: in the last 100 years, Australia has never lost when chasing a 4th-innings target of between 260 and 360 in Sydney. The main reason the old record was so modest is that Australia, generally the dominant team, rarely has to chase such totals. Yesterday was only the fourth time, and the first time since 1908, that Australia has even chased a target in this range in Sydney. Australia’s only loss against such a target was in 1903-04.
The Australians could be forgiven for being unusually frustrated by the 219-run partnership between Ashwell Prince and Jacques Kallis in Sydney. Lasting 328 minutes, it was the second-longest partnership for South Africa against Australia. The record mark, however, was not threatened. When John Waite and Jackie McGlew scratched out 231 runs at Durban in 1957-58, it took them 513 minutes, and the 892 balls bowled in that time was almost double that bowled to Prince and Kallis (458, plus no-balls). McGlew took 480 balls to reach 100; let us all be thankful that they don’t play cricket like that any more.
Congratulations to Ricky Ponting for marking his 100th Test with a pair of centuries, the first batsman to do so. He is also first batsman to score centuries in both his 99th and 100th Test matches. Although Ponting is the fourth Australian to twice score twin centuries (after Allan Border, Greg Chappell and Matthew Hayden), he is the first Australian to do it twice in the same season, and the first to score five centuries in an Australian season. Clyde Walcott twice scored centuries in each innings in the West Indies in 1954-55, while Sunil Gavaskar did it in two different countries in 1978-79, and Aravinda de Silva did it twice in Sri Lanka in 1997, but in different seasons.
Sydneysiders are fond of promoting the climatic advantages of their city over that of Melbourne, but the truth is that Tests in Sydney suffer more rain delays than those further south. Tests in Melbourne have lost only nine complete days to rain over the last 127 years, only half Sydney’s total of 18. Those figures include the abandoned MCG Test of 1970-71. Over the last 20 years, Tests in Sydney have seen fewer overs per day than those in Melbourne. In Sydney, the average has been just under 80 overs (not including the final day in result matches), while in Melbourne it is just under 82 overs per day. Figures for other centres: Hobart 74 overs per day, Brisbane 81, Perth 85, and Adelaide has been Australia’s sunniest centre with 86 overs per day.
When Shane Warne dropped Herschelle Gibbs of Glenn McGrath in the second innings at Sydney, the bowler may have been more usually disgruntled. For even though he was bowled by McGrath in the first innings, Gibbs is one of the only batsmen in the world to make a real success of batting against McGrath. He has been dismissed by McGrath only three times, but scored 190 runs of McGrath’s bowling (average 63.3) during his career. Over the last six years, he has been the only leading batsman (career average 40+) who has also averaged over 40 off McGrath’s bowling.
Shane Warne, out to the only ball he faced in Sydney, has this batting distinction to his name: he faces, on average, 29.4 balls per dismissal in Tests, the shortest average innings length for any player, with more than 2000 Test runs, in history.
Where have all the run outs gone? When Brad Hodge ran Herschelle Gibbs out in the second innings in Sydney, it was the first run out by an Australian fieldsman since Michael Clarke ran Lou Vincent out in Auckland last March. Since then, eleven Tests had passed without any run outs by Australians. This is not quite a record: Australia went twelve Tests with no run outs in 1989-90. However, on that occasion, Australia captured 201 wickets between the run outs, whereas the sequence ended by Hodge lasted for 224 wickets. In the long run, Australia’s run out rate, 24 in the last 50 Tests, is not particularly low by historical standards, so the recent drought just looks like a statistical oddity.
Adam Gilchrist’s more measured approach to his batting paid off in Sydney with a fine innings of 86, and an end to his run of declining batting averages. After taking over 60 balls to reach 30, the familiar hitting style returned. Gilchrist hit eight boundaries, in addition to two sixes, after Lee was dismissed. Every one of them was hit in the air. In fact, Gilchrist score only 16 out of his last 64 runs with strokes along the ground.
5 Jan 2006
By my count, the Australians made 27 substantial, but unsuccessful, appeals during the Melbourne Test, while the South Africans made only 14. The Australians also led on successful appeals, eleven to seven, so there was really not much difference in the ratio of successful to unsuccessful appeals between the two teams (29% success for Australia, 33% for South Africa). Shane Warne was the most “appealing” bowler, with four successful appeals, and nine appeals turned down, all of them in the second innings. The Australians now lead in the unsuccessful appeals department, by 42 to 26 in the series so far.
Even while the Australians were going to the umpires time and time again for their wickets, they dismissed eight South African batsmen out bowled. This is extremely unusual for an Australian bowing attack. The last time Australian bowlers bowled out more than eight batsmen in a Test was back in 1959-60 in a Test in India, and the last time it happened in Australia was at the MCG in 1954-55 against England. The combined total of 12 bowled plus lbws has not been exceeded in Australia since the Adelaide Test of 1947-48 against India (ten bowled, and four lbws). Meanwhile, the Australians took only one catch against South Africa that did not require an umpiring decision.
Adam Gilchrist’s struggle for form continues, with scores of two and nought in Melbourne. He could well take a leaf out of Matthew Hayden’s book. Hayden’s form recovery has been associated with more disciplined shot-making. Prior to Hayden’s form-slump, he scored his runs an aggressive 63.5 runs per 100 balls. Since his recovery began at the Oval in September, Hayden’s rate has been a more measured 56.0 r/100b, even though he has scored five centuries in seven Tests, and averaged 82.8. If you look at the early stages of Hayden’s innings, before he reaches 50, his rate has been an even more disciplined 48.9 r/100b. By contrast, Gilchrist during his form slump has still scored at a blazing 71.6 r/100b, a rate faster than batsmen like Viv Richards and Victor Trumper sustained through their careers. Yes, Gilchrist has slowed a little from the phenomenal 83.3 r/100b before his slump, a rate faster than regular Test batsman in history, but Gilchrist has been unable to show that he can build an innings in the conventional sense. It may be a skill that he needs to acquire soon.
Even the catches have dried up for Gilchrist; prior to some good dismissals in South Africa’s second innings, Gilchrist hadn’t taken a catch in the series, and had gone three consecutives innings without a dismissal for the first time in his career.
The focus now shifts to the SCG, a ground where South Africa have only won once in nine attempts. That win, in 1993-94, was in the remarkable match where, Australia, chasing only 117, were bowled out by Donald and De Villiers just five runs short of victory. That match had one especially rare feature: Australia actually scored more runs than South Africa off the bat, but lost by conceding more extras. This has happened only three times in Test history (in Tests decided by a runs margin), and the other occasions both involved Australia: at Adelaide 1910-11, Australia lost to South Africa by 38 runs, but conceded 50 sundries to South Africa’s 11, and in Colombo in 1992, Australia won by 16 runs, but conceded only 30 extras to Sri Lanka’s 90.
That SCG Test in 1993-94 was also a special one for Shane Warne, whose match figures of 12 for 128 remain his career best. Warne has taken a record 60 wickets at the SCG, on a ground known as a friend to legspinners, but curiously, his average there is inferior to his average at Melbourne, Brisbane, and Hobart. The ground is undoubtedly Stuart MacGill’s favourite. His total of 49 wickets there is second all-time to Warne, and his average beats Warne, 23.7 to 26.0.