Test cricket February 20, 2010

Analysing Test results by host country

A look at the countries which have produced the most number of results over each decade

Analysis of Test results - by team has been done quite often. This article covers the other aspect, viz., by host country. I have taken a single theme of Test match results by country for the last four decades. The period has been selected because of the immediate relevance and to study the impact of the ODI games. The only measures are number of matches played, results and the result %.

For this particular analysis it does not matter whether the results were home wins or away wins. It is also quite possible that an innings win might be a dull mach when compared to a close draw. However I have a limited perspective here of looking only at results. In another later article I will look at excluding "dull" results and including "exciting" draws.

|   M   R   % |  M   R   % |  M   R   % |  M   R   % |  M   R   % |
ALL|1277 831 65.1|197 113 57.4|267 144 53.9|347 223 64.3|460 346 75.2|

AUS| 216 165 76.4| 43 35 81.4| 55 35 63.6| 56 42 75.0| 60 51 85.0| BAN| 32 28 87.5| | | 1 1 100| 29 25 86.2| ENG| 231 151 65.4| 47 26 55.3| 57 35 61.4| 57 37 64.9| 70 53 75.7| IND| 153 86 56.2| 34 18 52.9| 42 17 40.5| 30 22 73.3| 47 29 61.7| NZL| 131 76 58.0| 21 11 52.4| 28 12 42.9| 40 24 60.0| 42 29 69.0| PAK| 122 65 53.3| 14 4 28.6| 43 19 44.2| 34 21 61.8| 31 21 67.7| SAF| 96 75 78.1| 4 4 100| | 36 24 66.7| 54 46 85.2| SRI| 96 65 67.7| | 12 7 58.3| 30 15 50.0| 54 43 79.6| WIN| 156 92 59.0| 34 15 44.1| 30 19 63.3| 41 27 65.9| 51 31 60.8| ZIM| 44 28 63.6| | | 22 10 45.5| 22 18 81.8|

Country analysis

Barring the disastrous 1980s, Australian matches have produced results over 80% of the time. This figure is going up year by year. No doubt due to the sporting nature of the pitches there.

Not worth talking about Bangladesh since most of the results there are Bangladeshi losses. No offence meant.

England had a very dull 1970s decade but recovered well and are now comfortably having results in three out of four matches.

India seems to have the worst record amongst all countries. Even in the last decade, when the rest of the world, especially outside the subcontinent, produced result-oriented pitches, India had only a 60% result value. This is quite low for the modern game of Test cricket desperately trying to maintain spectator interest.

New Zealand was very poor during the first two decades but seems to be improving steadily. However it must be mentioned that quite a few results there are the result of diabolic poor quality pitches, especially during thge early-2000s.

There was a time when Pakistan had a result % of 28. Now they have progressed to 2 out of 3. Still ranks with India as not conducive to results.

South Africa must be the most improved country in this regard and are mirroring Australia in producing pitches with opportunities for both Batsmen and Bowlers. Incidentally there were two great exciting draws there recently.

Srilankan pitches were flat as recently as last decade with a result % of only 50. Now there is a sudden improvement and they have a lot more results, mostly for the home team (and Muralitharan).

West Indies are nearly as bad as India. Only around 60% of the matches produce results. The West Indies situation, with progressively weakening teams, is understandable.

Zimbabwe is somewhat like Bangladesh. They lose home matches quite regularly. However they have at least managed to draw quite a few home tests as shown by the low results %.

Decade analysis

Over the past 40 years, the result % has been 65, no doubt aided by the recent spurt in result matches. The last decade has been excellent with over 3 out of 4 matches decisive.

The 1970s were average with only 57% being result matches. Australia were the only exception to the safety-first method employed by home countries. Pakistan was exceptionally poor.

The 1980s was the nadir with even Australia falling into this mire. No country exceeded 64% and only around half the matches produced results. Pakistan improved but India and New Zealand fell back.

There was a marked move up in the 1990s. The result % moved up to 64. Australia had 75% result matches but the real improvement was in India with 73% result matches, possibly through Kumble.

The last decade was an excellent one overall with 75% result matches. The only two countries pulling down the result figure are India, with 61.7% and West Indies, with 60.8%. As already stated, West Indies situation is understandable. However, the Indian scene, with a team aspiring and succeeding to go to the top and possessing an outstanding team is inexplicable. I hope the Indian pitches change quickly and we see a 75+% during the coming decade.

What I would like to see in the 2010s decade is for the overall figure to go upto 80%. I would prefer that this is achieved through India and West Indies consistently reaching 75% results.

I have stayed away from a graphic representation of these numbers since the figures any readers would be interested in are readily available and the readers can draw their own conclusions. Nothing is gained by doing a graph for the sake of showing something visual.

From this month onwards I will be doing at least two light-weight posts such as this and the preceding one. Over the past few weeks many readers have asked for special types of analysis and most of these would fall into this category.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems