Teams October 15, 2010

Test series analysis - part 2

A graphical analysis of Test series results across the years
35

Gordon Greenidge: Best batsman in the 5-0 win against England in 1984 © Getty Images

Last week I did an analysis of the Test match results by series. In view of the length of the article and the need to get and incorporate user responses, I decided to do this as a 2-part article. I am glad that I did this way. I have had excellent responses from the users and this has added a lot of value to the follow-up article. I feel that this is one follow-up article which was turned 180 degrees through the user responses. I have made significant improvements and have also changed the very basis for measuring the teams.

First, the summary of changes.

1. The basic method of determining the performance index has been changed based on excellent suggestions by and the extensive dialog I had with Raghav Behani. He himself added value to suggestions put up by Topa Singh. More details later.

2. Coming-from-behind series wins are recognized. Thanks to Dhaval/Anand for suggesting this. More details later.

3. There will be an adjustment in points secured in the series with 1/2 matches.

4. A 3-1 win will carry lesser points than 3-0, a 2-1 win will carry lesser points than 2-0 and so on.

Shankar had made a useful suggestion that all the away series which did not have neutral umpires should get higher weights. The suggestion is eminently valid as all teams, without exceptions, had some dubious members of the umpiring fraternity. However the whole thing is muddled with one neutral umpire scheme starting at various times in different countries. I am not able to work out a clear time-line.

Performance Index

For the Test match analysis, I had done a 0-1-2 points for wins. It came out quite well. For the Series analysis I did not like this over-simplified point allocation because of the widely varying number of Test matches. Then Raghav came back with a suggestion that I do this based on the maximum points available for each series. This would reduce the imbalance problem and provide proper weight. This idea of keeping the denominator at the maximum points did not strike me until Raghav pointed that out. This was a fantastic suggestion and my thanks to Raghav and Topa Singh for this. As Raghav mentions, this will let us do some important analytical studies of some of the famous rivalries like Ashes, India-Pakistan, India-Australia et al.

Of course it required some fine tuning. It is quite easy to win the one Test in a 1-0 series and get full 100% credit. To do that in a 6-Test series is very difficult. Why, it has never been done in history of Test match cricket. Hence some downward and upward adjustment of points is called for, as summarized below.

1-Test series: Multiply secured points by 0.75.
2-Test series: Multiply secured points by 0.875.
3-Test series: No change.
4-Test series: No change.
5-Test series: Multiply secured points by 1.125.
6-Test series: Multiply secured points by 1.25.

Sum for all series of {Series points x Above weight} Index % = ---------------------------------------------------- Sum for all series of {Maximum points}

Series win points

The following table is self-explanatory.

Max   <----------------------Series result---------------------->
Tests
1-0 2-1  3-2 : 2-0 3-1  4-2 : 3-0 4-1 : 4-0 5-1 : 5-0 : 6-0

1 2.0 - - - - - - - - - - - 2 3.0 - - 4.0 - - - - - - - - 3 4.0 4.5 - 5.0 - - 6.0 - - - - - 4 5.0 5.5 - 6.0 6.5 - 7.0 - 8.0 - - - 5 6.0 6.25 6.5 7.0 7.5 - 8.0 8.5 9.0 - 10.0 - 6 6.0 6.25 6.5 7.0 7.25 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 10.0 12.0(yet to occur)

Coming from behind

My definition of coming from behind is different to Cricinfo/Statsguru. They treat any series in which a team has gone behind as a coming-from-behind series. Even a series in which a team loses the first Test and then wins the next four. Mine is a stricter definition which is that I will only reward teams which come from behind by a margin of 2 Tests, to either win or draw series. The summary below will explain this. No team has ever gone 0-3 behind in a 6-Test series and gone on to draw the series.

SeriesId               From   Final

0-2 to win the series 3-2 (+20%) Home win: 67 1936 Aus vs Eng 0-2 to 3-2

0-1 to win the series 2-1 (+10%) Home win: 12 1888 Eng vs Aus 0-1 to 2-1 Home win: 302 1990 Win vs Eng 0-1 to 2-1 Home win: 350 1994 Saf vs Nzl 0-1 to 2-1 Home win: 398 1997 Slk vs Nzl 0-1 to 2-1 Home win: 399 1998 Eng vs Saf 0-1 to 2-1 Home win: 440 2001 Ind vs Aus 0-1 to 2-1 Home win: 550 2006 Saf vs Ind 0-1 to 2-1 Home win: 562 2007 Saf vs Win 0-1 to 2-1

0-1 to win the series 2-1 (+15%) Away win: 323 1992 Aus vs Win 1-0 to 1-2 Away win: 352 1995 Zim vs Pak 1-0 to 1-2 Away win: 358 1995 Pak vs Slk 1-0 to 1-2 Away win: 439 2001 Slk vs Eng 1-0 to 1-2 Away win: 565 2008 Nzl vs Eng 1-0 to 1-2

0-2 to draw the series 2-2 (+10%) Home draw: 45 1928 Saf vs Eng 0-2 to 2-2 Home draw: 111 1956 Saf vs Eng 0-2 to 2-2

The team strength adjustment continues to be done as explained in the last article. The points secured by the stronger team will be reduced and points secured by the weaker team increased proportionately. I will show the detailed graphs for "All Tests" and the eight periods based on the revised method of determining the Performance Index. The analysis is current upto and including the recently concluded India-Australia Test series.

I have also made significant changes to the graphs. To the extent possible the team colours are used. Tough task because of 3 shades of blue, 3 shades of green and 2 shades of red. The descriptive table at the right now contains both series played/won/drawn/lost information as also the number of 1/2/3/4/5/6-Test series played by the teams. A treasure-trove of information.

graph of Test series results across the years
© Anantha Narayanan

Australia leads the all-Tests table by a comfortable with an index value of 55.2%. When one sees that nearly half the series Australia have played are the longer 4/5/6-match series, their index figure assumes even greater value. West Indies have moved into the second position at the expense of England. Then come South Africa and Pakistan. Now there is a switch. Sri Lanka moves into sixth place, displacing India. One possible reason could be that Sri Lanka has never played even one 4/5/6-Test series. However it must be noted that they lose out on the 1/2-Test series. And India has been quite average, until 1990. They are carrying a lot of baggage.

graph of Test series results in the 2000s
© Anantha Narayanan

The 2000s decade has Australia on top, way above South Africa. South Africa, England and India follow next. There can be very few questions on this positioning. Here also Sri Lanka edges out Pakistan. If their away form had been better they could have challenged India.

graph of Test series results in the 1990s
© Anantha Narayanan

During the 1990s, Australia were on top, followed by South Africa and Pakistan. West Indies had not started their slide. Sri Lanka edges India out of the fifth place.

graph of Test series results in the 1980s
© Anantha Narayanan

The 1980s was the time when Calypso was king, and how. They have the best ever decade of any team, winning 14 series and drawing 5, often away. Not one of the other teams even crossed 50%. Even series wins were rare for teams like India.

graph of Test series results in the 1970s
© Anantha Narayanan

England, less troubled by Packer and WSC, led the 1970s decade, comfortably ahead of Australia and West Indies. India were also quite passable during this decade, no doubt due to Gavaskar and the spin quartet.

graph of Test series results in the 1960s
© Anantha Narayanan

The swinging 60s were the time of the swinging giants from the equatorial islands. Led by Sobers, West Indies were on top. Australia and England were in the next two places. Pakistan were quite poor as they were in the decade in between Fazal and Imran Khan.

graph of Test series results in the 1950s
© Anantha Narayanan

As expected, Australia, first led by Bradman and then by Hassett, were way out on top with 73.4%. England and West Indies also did well.

graph of Test series results between WW1 and WW2
© Anantha Narayanan

Bodyline notwithstanding, this was the era of Bradman and the Australians. Another 70+% index performance. England were the only other team which competed. the others just made the numbers. However I can assure the readers that wins against these weaklings have been seriously under-values.

graph of Test series results before WW1
© Anantha Narayanan

This was an even period, with England taking the edge. They travelled well. South Africa were quite a good team towards the end of this period.

The following are the three top-ranked series in terms of points secured.

256 (1984)    West Indies defeated England 5-0 away. This was a clean sweep.
213 (1978-79) England defeated Australia 5-1 away. Australia were depleted 
but this being a 6-Test series and a huge away win gained lots of points. 296 (1989) Australia defeated England 4-0 away.

Users can view/download the following tables. Some interested users could even think of importing these tables and deriving some statistical insights.

All-Tests and Period summary: Please click/right-click here.

Summary of all series - Chronological : Please click/right-click here.

Summary of all series - by Team : Please click/right-click here.

Caveat Lector: Since I use the published scorecards of Cricinfo, I have done the Series analysis by comparing the Series descriptions provided. There are some discrepancies over the years. So it is possible that a series might be split into two series. It is impossible to be 100% accurate. An example is the one Richard Mackey pointed out. For the first two Tests the description was "India in Australia, 2003-04" and for the last two Tests, it was "Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2003-04". This has since been corrected.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on November 1, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    Good work, I find these articles very interesting, I wonder if this analysis can be reduced from essentially a decade analysis to Calender Year? I think this analysis + the comment earlier regarding Sliding scale from Topa Singh would be good reading. On a different tangent - you could analyse a nation against its lifetime score. For Example, Oz's all test score is 55% it could be said that in the 1980s 32% would be considered below par, so the diff of 23% could be presented by a block below the "par line" of 55%. This all makes perfect sense to me but it might of come out as jibberish - hop you know what I was trying to say - LOL! [[ Andrew The peer comparisons of players was a major step in that direction. Ananth: ]]

  • Taimur Khan on October 25, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    Dear Ananth Well researched and thought out as usual! Thanks for all the pleasure and understanding you bring to us of the game we all love. To all the readers....we follow cricket because we love the game not because we are indians Pakistanis etc. Otherwise why are we not following hockey, squash etc. with the same fervour. So lets not bring jingoism into it. Second, there is room on this site for all levels of analysis. If this analysis is too obscure for some readers, they have the option of moving on. Some like myself really appreciate its depth and wisdom so let us enjoy.

  • Pawan Mathur on October 19, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    Ananth, firt of all i must congratulate you that you are actually publishing some genuine cricketing stuff and have not caught the "pick my all time XI" fever which has infected cricinfo. Now coming to my query, i just want to know whether any wider quantitative analysis can be done of captaincy skills (more than just matches played/won/lost/drawn). Because i think that such an analysis could. be an avid compliment to your current test analysis as well as as earlier analysis of decade wise supremacy.

  • Anand on October 19, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    I dont mean to be offensive to anyone but if someone says numbers are non-sense they shouldnt be watching or enjoying cricket at all. A team wins based on the NUMBER of runs scored. I am yet to see a bowling analysis that reads "beautiful overs-lot of maidens-few runs-some wickets". While the exact values of the weights in any statistical analysis may be debatable what I see is the philosophy in assigning the weights (relative values) and if that makes sense then the whole thing makes sense. By the way if someone feels winning in India in 1984-85 was tough, check out this stat. Between 1982 and 86 India played 44 tests and won ONLY ONE. At home, between 1982-87, they played around 32 and won 3, 2 against Sri Lanka (who were not much better that today's Zimbabwe). Again one can look at them as facts or numbers nonsense. By the way I am not sure if Bradman would be the same if we associated a NUMBER like 29.94 for his average instead of 99.94 or is that also just a number non-sense?

  • Chi Square on October 19, 2010, 2:24 GMT

    Much ado about nothing! I and Anantha were just having a simple conversation and everyone decided to jump in. welcome everyone :) Just Joking. Yes, I would like to be of help, but at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I am a singularly busy person hence have little time to follow my passion except read selective stats blogs and offer advice: which is sometimes misunderstood. However, if you could send me the relevant data sets in a excel spreadsheet, I can take a stab at it. I love stats and analysis and do have access to the relevant analytical resources. [[ CS Will send within before end of day. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Richard on October 18, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    Sad to hear some of the flak you are getting. These comments pages at cricinfo are full of it unfortunately. Chin up mate, keep going please as many of us value an open mind and a love of cricket itself. The squeaky wheels always get the grease!

  • Rohit Singh Loomba on October 18, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    Dear Mr. Garg,

    I understand what you are saying and respect that but you on your can not decide on the primary objective of any blog. The primary objective simply appears to be (I don't know for sure) to do inetersting things with numbers to inform the cricket lovers. Sometimes it will be simple, sometimes it shall be complex depending upon the nature of the analysis. Please don't create this false division between the 'elite' and the 'masses'. We are all cricket lovers and as Hema says some of us just want to enjoy the drive. But that means someone has to figure out the transmission and braking etc: we can not a drive a toy car. The numbers do tell us a lot but one needs to put ear to the ground as well to listen. I reckon Anantha is doing a great job in combining both. [[ Rohit I feel too much is being made of Vineeth's comments made in a nice acceptable manner. ALl of us have our rights to make our suggestions. As he himself has requested I suggect let us close it. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on October 18, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    Hema A

    I think you could not understand my comment in right sense. If you see carefully, I have in fact appreciated the value addition brought in by 'technical comments'.

    See respponse by Ananth to my comment, he makes it clear enough. At no point did I sound discouraging or pulling down something. I just made a general comment from the perspective of 'common readers' who are not always too interested in 'technical aspects'. Nonetheless, we can drop it for now, and move on.

    I shall try to be more clear.

    Regards

  • Hema Adhikari on October 18, 2010, 15:06 GMT

    Vinish, Well it is disappointing that you are not into in-depth analysis. The truth is deeper the analysis more meaningful the result. You don't have to know how the car engine works to appreciate a good car. Just see the end result. This blog is called 'it figures' and if people are collaborating on something to make it a little better, I think you should be supportive and not discouraging. See what one can do to make it better and not try to put each other down. Thanks. [[ HA The problem was that some of the mails were extremely condescending and the type of "what sort of nonsense articles are these". The readers are also scared that this blog would become very intensive, difficult-to-understand. As long as all of us understand this it would be fine. Additional insights are welcome but should be explained and understandable to most readers. The putting-down was from the detractors' side and hurt me quite a lot. This, without the readers seeing some of the extremely nasty unpublished mails. One guy saying I should get Pakistani citizenship and another one saying that I was churning out non-intensive articles just to make more money. When you know the quantum of work I put in and the honorarium I get, you guys would all LOL and think I should be certified. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish Garg on October 18, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    For last 2-3-4 blog posts by Ananth, I see many technical comments such as using z-factor, t-value and how rankings for ATPI/FIFA are done!

    I understand the objective and value addition by such comments, however, the 'general' readers might feel put-off if there are too many comments of this nature. As a cricket enthusiast, I look forward to read 'what I understand' more often (not less than 19 out of 20 times).

    Letus not forget the *primary* objective of Ananth's blog. If there are 10 readers posting comments (whether technical/general, there are 90 readers who read the blog but dont comment).

    We CANNOT have two different discussion threads - one for *technical* and another for *generic* comments. Can we have a convention to distinguish the two cases? For example, a user posting a *technical* comment should begin it by writting Technical at the beginning of comment? I am not sure of how well and how acccurately they do so... I leave that to Ananth and to such users!

    Regards [[ Vinish I will never lose sight of the main objective which is to bring understandable cricket analysis to number of average cricket enthusiasts. Just to take the game beyond the normal batting/bowling average level. I have no prooblems with people commenting on the absence of statistical depth. I only want the comments to be positive in nature. If my work has analytical depth, I am satisfied. It is difficult for the commenters to preface their comments. However, where warranted, I will put in a caption, summarizing the comment. Ananth: ]]

  • Meety on November 1, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    Good work, I find these articles very interesting, I wonder if this analysis can be reduced from essentially a decade analysis to Calender Year? I think this analysis + the comment earlier regarding Sliding scale from Topa Singh would be good reading. On a different tangent - you could analyse a nation against its lifetime score. For Example, Oz's all test score is 55% it could be said that in the 1980s 32% would be considered below par, so the diff of 23% could be presented by a block below the "par line" of 55%. This all makes perfect sense to me but it might of come out as jibberish - hop you know what I was trying to say - LOL! [[ Andrew The peer comparisons of players was a major step in that direction. Ananth: ]]

  • Taimur Khan on October 25, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    Dear Ananth Well researched and thought out as usual! Thanks for all the pleasure and understanding you bring to us of the game we all love. To all the readers....we follow cricket because we love the game not because we are indians Pakistanis etc. Otherwise why are we not following hockey, squash etc. with the same fervour. So lets not bring jingoism into it. Second, there is room on this site for all levels of analysis. If this analysis is too obscure for some readers, they have the option of moving on. Some like myself really appreciate its depth and wisdom so let us enjoy.

  • Pawan Mathur on October 19, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    Ananth, firt of all i must congratulate you that you are actually publishing some genuine cricketing stuff and have not caught the "pick my all time XI" fever which has infected cricinfo. Now coming to my query, i just want to know whether any wider quantitative analysis can be done of captaincy skills (more than just matches played/won/lost/drawn). Because i think that such an analysis could. be an avid compliment to your current test analysis as well as as earlier analysis of decade wise supremacy.

  • Anand on October 19, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    I dont mean to be offensive to anyone but if someone says numbers are non-sense they shouldnt be watching or enjoying cricket at all. A team wins based on the NUMBER of runs scored. I am yet to see a bowling analysis that reads "beautiful overs-lot of maidens-few runs-some wickets". While the exact values of the weights in any statistical analysis may be debatable what I see is the philosophy in assigning the weights (relative values) and if that makes sense then the whole thing makes sense. By the way if someone feels winning in India in 1984-85 was tough, check out this stat. Between 1982 and 86 India played 44 tests and won ONLY ONE. At home, between 1982-87, they played around 32 and won 3, 2 against Sri Lanka (who were not much better that today's Zimbabwe). Again one can look at them as facts or numbers nonsense. By the way I am not sure if Bradman would be the same if we associated a NUMBER like 29.94 for his average instead of 99.94 or is that also just a number non-sense?

  • Chi Square on October 19, 2010, 2:24 GMT

    Much ado about nothing! I and Anantha were just having a simple conversation and everyone decided to jump in. welcome everyone :) Just Joking. Yes, I would like to be of help, but at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I am a singularly busy person hence have little time to follow my passion except read selective stats blogs and offer advice: which is sometimes misunderstood. However, if you could send me the relevant data sets in a excel spreadsheet, I can take a stab at it. I love stats and analysis and do have access to the relevant analytical resources. [[ CS Will send within before end of day. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Richard on October 18, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    Sad to hear some of the flak you are getting. These comments pages at cricinfo are full of it unfortunately. Chin up mate, keep going please as many of us value an open mind and a love of cricket itself. The squeaky wheels always get the grease!

  • Rohit Singh Loomba on October 18, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    Dear Mr. Garg,

    I understand what you are saying and respect that but you on your can not decide on the primary objective of any blog. The primary objective simply appears to be (I don't know for sure) to do inetersting things with numbers to inform the cricket lovers. Sometimes it will be simple, sometimes it shall be complex depending upon the nature of the analysis. Please don't create this false division between the 'elite' and the 'masses'. We are all cricket lovers and as Hema says some of us just want to enjoy the drive. But that means someone has to figure out the transmission and braking etc: we can not a drive a toy car. The numbers do tell us a lot but one needs to put ear to the ground as well to listen. I reckon Anantha is doing a great job in combining both. [[ Rohit I feel too much is being made of Vineeth's comments made in a nice acceptable manner. ALl of us have our rights to make our suggestions. As he himself has requested I suggect let us close it. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on October 18, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    Hema A

    I think you could not understand my comment in right sense. If you see carefully, I have in fact appreciated the value addition brought in by 'technical comments'.

    See respponse by Ananth to my comment, he makes it clear enough. At no point did I sound discouraging or pulling down something. I just made a general comment from the perspective of 'common readers' who are not always too interested in 'technical aspects'. Nonetheless, we can drop it for now, and move on.

    I shall try to be more clear.

    Regards

  • Hema Adhikari on October 18, 2010, 15:06 GMT

    Vinish, Well it is disappointing that you are not into in-depth analysis. The truth is deeper the analysis more meaningful the result. You don't have to know how the car engine works to appreciate a good car. Just see the end result. This blog is called 'it figures' and if people are collaborating on something to make it a little better, I think you should be supportive and not discouraging. See what one can do to make it better and not try to put each other down. Thanks. [[ HA The problem was that some of the mails were extremely condescending and the type of "what sort of nonsense articles are these". The readers are also scared that this blog would become very intensive, difficult-to-understand. As long as all of us understand this it would be fine. Additional insights are welcome but should be explained and understandable to most readers. The putting-down was from the detractors' side and hurt me quite a lot. This, without the readers seeing some of the extremely nasty unpublished mails. One guy saying I should get Pakistani citizenship and another one saying that I was churning out non-intensive articles just to make more money. When you know the quantum of work I put in and the honorarium I get, you guys would all LOL and think I should be certified. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish Garg on October 18, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    For last 2-3-4 blog posts by Ananth, I see many technical comments such as using z-factor, t-value and how rankings for ATPI/FIFA are done!

    I understand the objective and value addition by such comments, however, the 'general' readers might feel put-off if there are too many comments of this nature. As a cricket enthusiast, I look forward to read 'what I understand' more often (not less than 19 out of 20 times).

    Letus not forget the *primary* objective of Ananth's blog. If there are 10 readers posting comments (whether technical/general, there are 90 readers who read the blog but dont comment).

    We CANNOT have two different discussion threads - one for *technical* and another for *generic* comments. Can we have a convention to distinguish the two cases? For example, a user posting a *technical* comment should begin it by writting Technical at the beginning of comment? I am not sure of how well and how acccurately they do so... I leave that to Ananth and to such users!

    Regards [[ Vinish I will never lose sight of the main objective which is to bring understandable cricket analysis to number of average cricket enthusiasts. Just to take the game beyond the normal batting/bowling average level. I have no prooblems with people commenting on the absence of statistical depth. I only want the comments to be positive in nature. If my work has analytical depth, I am satisfied. It is difficult for the commenters to preface their comments. However, where warranted, I will put in a caption, summarizing the comment. Ananth: ]]

  • Richard on October 18, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    I didn't mean to suggest that John Wright was in the same class as Martin Crowe or Richard Hadlee but often before that time NZ had to go into tests with several players who would only have been considered state level players here is Aus. I do maintain that he was in no way out of his depth in test cricket, which was the point I was trying to make, albeit imperfectly. As an aside, he played with my club Nedlands here in West Australia for a couple of seasons in the early 80's and we used to take great pleasure in butchering his rather dubious offies in the nets. Cheers all!

  • Topa Singh on October 18, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    Abhi-not boasting but what Chi Square has to say makes a lot of sense to me. I hope he can work with Anantha to do those tests but as I surely have heard of them and in the context of this analysis they make great sense and add great value. It might be quite time taking to do so though. let's see. [[ Topa No problems at all. I have also made the suggestion so that the rich knowledge base can be shared. Ananth: ]]

  • veryeavy on October 18, 2010, 3:09 GMT

    Re NZ in the 1980s and "Anonynmous"'s comments - John Wright = "world class" = don't think so. His average of 37 is certainly commendable given some of the attacks he had to face in NZ conditions. [[ Matt I am with you. Every number has to be looked in context. There is a place for analysis across teams so that it would show up a player like Hadlee who performed at world class with limited support. An average of 37 with the level of batting/bowling support Wright got is quite commendable. It is relatively easier to average 50 when you have 50s on either side of you. I hope the readers do not catch this single sentence, applky to individuals and come back firing. Just a general statement, that is all. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on October 18, 2010, 2:28 GMT

    @chisquare. Now you're talking. Although I have no idea what you are talking about. [[ Abhi Hence my request to CS to help me out because of my "only-rudimentary" knowldge of statistics. Ananth: ]]

  • Richard on October 18, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    Sorry about those two 'anonymous' comments mate. I wasn't sniping from cover, I'm just a bit new to this commenting thingy! I do enjoy your analysis. [[ Richard I was not inferring a "behind the boulders" type activity at all. I know the snipers quite well, just by the tone of their comments. In fact the Blog management system is at fault. It should insist on mandatory provision of name (could even be Heironymous Merkin) and mailid (it does not matter if it is abc@xyz.com). I mail people only for estabilishing positive contact. Positive commenters do not worry about exposing their mailid. Thanks for the comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Paul on October 17, 2010, 22:20 GMT

    I'm not a fan of using stats to rank players or teams, although they have their place if used in context. This come from behind to win nonsense, for example. How can you justify not using a simple come from behind basis rather than making up your own criteria? Otherwise is down grades the achievement of, for e.g. Gower's team in India, 84/85, coming back from 1-0 to win 2-1. India has always been a tough place to win in but add in the assassinations of Indira Ghandi and the British High Commissioner in the weeks leading up to the 1st Test and that gives it context. [[ Paul AFter the first two tests the two teams were tied 1-1 with 3 to play. England won one and the other two were drawn. This is nowehere the type of difficult back-to-the-wall comeback win I have credited teams with. You know by now that I cannot and will not provide for external happenings. It is upto you, as a reader, to factor these in. If I did not do such analysis how would England's 2000s placement, even higher than India, come out. Ananth: ]] Cricket is about so much more than numbers. The context of Greenidge having a strike rate in the sixties is that ODIs were completely different in the 70s and 80s. Openers built a platform for the later batsmen to attack from. There were no powerplays, or even fielding restrictions to begin with. It was the 92 and 96 World Cups that saw the big changes for openers in ODIs. Greenidge was awesome. One of my absolute heroes. [[ Wonderful. And please be informed that not one negative word was mentioned in this article or in my responses on Greenidge. In fact I have referred to his very high average. In my ODI factor (AvgexS/R), he stands reasonable high. Ananth: ]]

  • Hakeem Khan on October 17, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    Ananth good work. It would be great to find how number of total matches played in a decade affects the performance. I believe WI paid a price for playing too few tests and Pakistan is now suffering the same with only 17 matches in last 5 years it is unable to produce match winning temprament while India Australia with 30+ matches are getting used to the test match pressure [[ Hakeem This information is available in my previous article. Also playing in fewer matches may mean less exposure and practice but they would not lose out in this analysis. It is only an average score which is determined. Ananth: ]]

  • Vish on October 17, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    Not sure, if you factored these 2 series in as far as comebacks (1954-55 Aus vs England and 1972-73 India vs. England). These are only 0-1 comebacks, but I didn't see them in the list above under the 0-1 comeback summary. [[ Vish Pl see my reply to Michael. My definition of a major come-back is that the team has to trail with 2 matches to go and win 2 matches to either win or draw the series. Better to have a tougher qualification. Ananth: ]]

  • Ian on October 17, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    Great stuff and shows just how good a decade it was to be an English fan after most of the preceding 20 years! [[ Ian It is indeed nice to have England on the upward path. And all this without Flintoff. I think, after a long time, they would enter the Ashes series with lot of confidence. Ananth: ]]

  • Anonymous on October 17, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    With regard to AjithKumar's comments on Greenidge-remember he opened whereas Lloyd and Richards usually had the benefit of a decent opening stand to build on. I haven't seen anyone match his bullet-like square cutting. I sure didn't think he was plodder! [[ Name needed Ananth: ]]

  • Anonymous on October 17, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    Along the lines of Raghav Bihani's comments regarding high performing players' influences on decade ratings three names come to mind with regard to NZs good 80's rating. 1) Richard Hadlee 2) Martin Crowe 3) John Wright. I'm actually an Aussie but it is indeed interesting to see how NZ soared in those days with just a few really world class players. [[ Name needed Ananth: ]]

  • Arun N on October 17, 2010, 10:35 GMT

    Hi,

    On the topic of assigning points to various combinations of wins across the number of tests played in a series I find the fact below below a bit out of place. A 2-0 win in a 2-Test series fetches 4 points, whereas a 2-1 win in a 3-test series fetches 4.5 points. I.E. the winning team playing and loosing the additional match ends up gaining half a point. Similarly for 3-0(3) and 3-1(4), etc. [[ Arun In compilations like this where points are allocated on a 12x6 matrix with two-thirds population there will always be such quirks. I have gone on the principle that a longer series will carry more weight. Also do not forget that points will be reduced for dead rubbers which does not happen in 1/2 test series. Also these are not absolute points. A ratio is taken. The 2-test series win you have mentioned will be worth 87.5% (4x0.875/4.0) while the 2-1 win will be worth 75% (4.5/6.0). So the first win gets addl credit. Ananth: ]]

  • Pravin K Mehta on October 17, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    Your analysis does not take into account the quality of opposition. How many series have Sri Lanka played against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - all easy victories? [[ Pravin This is the nth time I am asking people to read the article fullly before coming in with comments. Do you know that an extensive team strength factor has been built in. The data tables contain the actual team strength values. Pl re-read this and the previous article completely. Ananth: ]]

  • Chi Square on October 17, 2010, 0:11 GMT

    This looks good. Good feedback by Raghav and Topa as well but to take it to the next stage, my take is that this kind of analysis has to have t-value assigned to it. It will help to know the difference between countries performances. Many research problems have the same dilemma comparing more than two research groups just like here.For example, comparing the treatment outcomes of three different groups-A, B and C. In theory, and the way you are trying to do it, which drug is better can be tested by multiple t-tests, comparing drug A with B, B with C and C with A and so on. In cricket we have 6-7 countries plus may be home and away so we have at least 12 variables. It is resource intensive and the power of each t test would be low as well.Fortunately there is a technique that overcomes these problems that you can definitely use for your analysis and that is called Analysis of variance (ANOVA). When more than one groups are being compares ANOVA is the right technique hence it is useful. [[ CS Since the base data is completely available would it be possible for you to upload into a Maths package and do the work. The hatchet will stay buried, and not on each other's shoulders !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Mark Barry on October 16, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    nice work...would be nice to have a summary chart in the end, a timeline of all countries and how their rankings have changed each decade...(signs of rise of Aus, decline of WI, Pak) [[ Mike Will try. Article was quite long already. Ananth: ]]

  • ajay on October 16, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    Another thing we have to observe here is, SA have a decent test record because of 1 main reason i.e., They did not face 70's , 80's West indies team. your thoughts on it. I think India, SA wud then be same. India's old baggage is because India played windies more at their peak.

  • fahad khan on October 16, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    Very very interesting. Surprising to see that Pakistan's performance index is higher in the 90s than the 80s which is regarded as its golden age. Also despite having a lower performance index it still ends up at number two mainly because other teams have done quite poorly. 80s is a very interesting deacade indeed with England, Australia and India doing so poorly. On the other hand Pakistan and New Zealand who were the bottom two in the 60s and 70s doing well. The reason I guess Pakistan and New Zealand end up looking good is that they avoided being pumelled by West Indies. I now understand why Holding regards imran and hadlee as the best non westindian fast bowlers he saw. Thanks a lot ananth for a wonderful analysis.

  • Michael on October 16, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    Thanks for the clarification, I was just unsure what you meant by "come from behind by a margin of 2 Tests, to either win or draw series."

  • Michael on October 15, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    Is the 2005 Ashes series deliberately ignored in the list of come behind victories?

    It's not on the list but I was unsure whether this was because it was a 5 test series on not?

    Thanks for an excellent analysis. [[ Michael I do not like the term "deliberate" but will let it pass possibly because you have not read the article in depth. This does not come under my strict definition of "coming-from-behind" although it falls in that category in Statsguru. At no stage were England in a a position of 2 to go, 2 behind or not even 1 behind. the series status was 0-1 (4 to go) 1-1 (3 to go) 1-1 (2 to go) 2-1 (1 to go). England were behind for only one test. Ananth: ]]

  • Topa Singh on October 15, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    Thanks Anantha, good job guys ! but I keep on thinking that allocation of points is still somewhat arbitrary as what really determines the respective strength of the team at the time of the encounter? Australia under Kim Hugh was different than Australia under Steve Waugh. Only way to do that is look at the winning percentage or overall matrix of the teams till that point and factor that in to the analysis. Easier said than done but until someone figures that out it is all quite soft. I have my two cents below: One easier way to do the above mentioned will be to take advantage of what Anantha has already done. Build on decades: if Australia lets say is on the top in 70s then in next decade who ever defeats Australia gets more points and vice versa. That sliding scale like ATP is absolutely essential to make this meaningful.And since it is done not for every tests but every decade it would be lot less precise but also lot less resource intensive. [[ Topa What you have suggested makes a lot of sense. However it is not a one-off article. It is a full-fledged Test ranking system. I have some ideas of doing something like that, subject to availability of resources. Ananth: ]]

  • JK on October 15, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Great work as usual. This led me to an idea (may be you have done this already). How about rating test batsmen by calculating their percent contribution to test victories or test matches saved?

    I know this is easier said than done, but consider the following parameters:

    1. test wins abroad hold more weight (as do test matches saved abroad) 2. percent contribution can be calculated as runs/ total team score, extra weightage for being top scorer, more for being top scorer in the 2nd innings 3. time batted also should be considered, may be this data is only available for modern era test matches.

    Any test innings that result in a series win obviosuly should get much greater credit than "dead" test wins...Also, more credit for overseas tests.....

    Anyways, let me know your thoughts..JK [[ JK Something on thiese lines has already been sone. But alsways worth a re-visit in view of the insights gained. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on October 15, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    The points allocation looks right now. Sri Lanka edging out India is more play of numbers and if you remember SL did very well also in the test match analysis despite behind India in all decades.

    It can easily be seen how great players are influencing the tables: 1. Bradman taking Australia to the top for 2 periods. 2. Warne-McGrath primarily taking Aussies on top since 1990s 3. West Indian pace quartet dominating the 80s, where surprising Pakistan did draw a few series against them. This pace vs pace could have become similar to Ind vs Aus batsmen recently. 4. India despite having the Fab 4 or 5 or 6 have not been able to dominate as some other teams have done at their peak. Majority of the series wins are by a margin of a single test (purely a guess). May be this trend will change in this decade. 5. No team other Aus or Win have dominated a period by margin of 20%. 6. Considering this overall Aus dominating by 20% better performance just shows consistency. [[ Raghav First sincere thanks to you (and Topa). Sri Lanka has clearly benefited from never playing in 4/5/6 match series. India has played a lot of such series but have never dominated teams the way Australia/West indies and even England did. Even now, with a very good team, note how the team has under-performed against South Africa/Sri Lanka/New Zealand. India has to win consistently by 2+ test margins. Let us not forget that we were a twitch of a finger and an inch away from drawing the series 1-1. The bowling is certainly suspect. The best pace bowler is not going to see 30 again, nor the best spinner. What does one do when the great SRT, the incomparable VVS and finally, off-form now, but still world-class Dravid leave. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajithkumar on October 15, 2010, 14:43 GMT

    HI Ananth,

    As usual a great piece of work. Nothing related to the topic, the picture of Greenidge made me wonder if he is really as aggressive a player as he was spoken about.

    I checked his stats a couple of months back, and was astonished to check his odi strike rate of close to 60. Agreed that it was a different era altogether, but a strike rate of 60 is too less when his collegues of the same ear lloyd and richards had 80 and 90 respectively. Sorry for going away from the topic.. just wanted to know. [[ Ajith Don't forget Greenidge's average of 45. Look at Srikkanth's strike rate and average. Ananth: ]]

  • papudada on October 15, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    good work keep it up for ODI also thanks [[ ODI has to wait some time. I must do something different. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajay on October 15, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    Hi ananth : there is a mistake u have made in 1990's summary for Paksitan in which u have added 2 extra series wins. It should be 15 series won not 17. In 1970's it 4 Series wins u have given 5.please check it. [[ Ajay The Asian championships were split into multiple series. Pl chack the previous articles. During the 1970s, Pakistan won against Nzl, Nzl, Ind, Nzl and Aus. I understand your point. The last series was played entirely during early-1980. However the description of the Test series says "Australia in Pakistan, 1979-80". So this series is posted to 1970s. Don't bother about these. It only means that Pakistan will get one less series win during the 1980s. Ananth: ]]

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  • Ajay on October 15, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    Hi ananth : there is a mistake u have made in 1990's summary for Paksitan in which u have added 2 extra series wins. It should be 15 series won not 17. In 1970's it 4 Series wins u have given 5.please check it. [[ Ajay The Asian championships were split into multiple series. Pl chack the previous articles. During the 1970s, Pakistan won against Nzl, Nzl, Ind, Nzl and Aus. I understand your point. The last series was played entirely during early-1980. However the description of the Test series says "Australia in Pakistan, 1979-80". So this series is posted to 1970s. Don't bother about these. It only means that Pakistan will get one less series win during the 1980s. Ananth: ]]

  • papudada on October 15, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    good work keep it up for ODI also thanks [[ ODI has to wait some time. I must do something different. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajithkumar on October 15, 2010, 14:43 GMT

    HI Ananth,

    As usual a great piece of work. Nothing related to the topic, the picture of Greenidge made me wonder if he is really as aggressive a player as he was spoken about.

    I checked his stats a couple of months back, and was astonished to check his odi strike rate of close to 60. Agreed that it was a different era altogether, but a strike rate of 60 is too less when his collegues of the same ear lloyd and richards had 80 and 90 respectively. Sorry for going away from the topic.. just wanted to know. [[ Ajith Don't forget Greenidge's average of 45. Look at Srikkanth's strike rate and average. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on October 15, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    The points allocation looks right now. Sri Lanka edging out India is more play of numbers and if you remember SL did very well also in the test match analysis despite behind India in all decades.

    It can easily be seen how great players are influencing the tables: 1. Bradman taking Australia to the top for 2 periods. 2. Warne-McGrath primarily taking Aussies on top since 1990s 3. West Indian pace quartet dominating the 80s, where surprising Pakistan did draw a few series against them. This pace vs pace could have become similar to Ind vs Aus batsmen recently. 4. India despite having the Fab 4 or 5 or 6 have not been able to dominate as some other teams have done at their peak. Majority of the series wins are by a margin of a single test (purely a guess). May be this trend will change in this decade. 5. No team other Aus or Win have dominated a period by margin of 20%. 6. Considering this overall Aus dominating by 20% better performance just shows consistency. [[ Raghav First sincere thanks to you (and Topa). Sri Lanka has clearly benefited from never playing in 4/5/6 match series. India has played a lot of such series but have never dominated teams the way Australia/West indies and even England did. Even now, with a very good team, note how the team has under-performed against South Africa/Sri Lanka/New Zealand. India has to win consistently by 2+ test margins. Let us not forget that we were a twitch of a finger and an inch away from drawing the series 1-1. The bowling is certainly suspect. The best pace bowler is not going to see 30 again, nor the best spinner. What does one do when the great SRT, the incomparable VVS and finally, off-form now, but still world-class Dravid leave. Ananth: ]]

  • JK on October 15, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Great work as usual. This led me to an idea (may be you have done this already). How about rating test batsmen by calculating their percent contribution to test victories or test matches saved?

    I know this is easier said than done, but consider the following parameters:

    1. test wins abroad hold more weight (as do test matches saved abroad) 2. percent contribution can be calculated as runs/ total team score, extra weightage for being top scorer, more for being top scorer in the 2nd innings 3. time batted also should be considered, may be this data is only available for modern era test matches.

    Any test innings that result in a series win obviosuly should get much greater credit than "dead" test wins...Also, more credit for overseas tests.....

    Anyways, let me know your thoughts..JK [[ JK Something on thiese lines has already been sone. But alsways worth a re-visit in view of the insights gained. Ananth: ]]

  • Topa Singh on October 15, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    Thanks Anantha, good job guys ! but I keep on thinking that allocation of points is still somewhat arbitrary as what really determines the respective strength of the team at the time of the encounter? Australia under Kim Hugh was different than Australia under Steve Waugh. Only way to do that is look at the winning percentage or overall matrix of the teams till that point and factor that in to the analysis. Easier said than done but until someone figures that out it is all quite soft. I have my two cents below: One easier way to do the above mentioned will be to take advantage of what Anantha has already done. Build on decades: if Australia lets say is on the top in 70s then in next decade who ever defeats Australia gets more points and vice versa. That sliding scale like ATP is absolutely essential to make this meaningful.And since it is done not for every tests but every decade it would be lot less precise but also lot less resource intensive. [[ Topa What you have suggested makes a lot of sense. However it is not a one-off article. It is a full-fledged Test ranking system. I have some ideas of doing something like that, subject to availability of resources. Ananth: ]]

  • Michael on October 15, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    Is the 2005 Ashes series deliberately ignored in the list of come behind victories?

    It's not on the list but I was unsure whether this was because it was a 5 test series on not?

    Thanks for an excellent analysis. [[ Michael I do not like the term "deliberate" but will let it pass possibly because you have not read the article in depth. This does not come under my strict definition of "coming-from-behind" although it falls in that category in Statsguru. At no stage were England in a a position of 2 to go, 2 behind or not even 1 behind. the series status was 0-1 (4 to go) 1-1 (3 to go) 1-1 (2 to go) 2-1 (1 to go). England were behind for only one test. Ananth: ]]

  • Michael on October 16, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    Thanks for the clarification, I was just unsure what you meant by "come from behind by a margin of 2 Tests, to either win or draw series."

  • fahad khan on October 16, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    Very very interesting. Surprising to see that Pakistan's performance index is higher in the 90s than the 80s which is regarded as its golden age. Also despite having a lower performance index it still ends up at number two mainly because other teams have done quite poorly. 80s is a very interesting deacade indeed with England, Australia and India doing so poorly. On the other hand Pakistan and New Zealand who were the bottom two in the 60s and 70s doing well. The reason I guess Pakistan and New Zealand end up looking good is that they avoided being pumelled by West Indies. I now understand why Holding regards imran and hadlee as the best non westindian fast bowlers he saw. Thanks a lot ananth for a wonderful analysis.

  • ajay on October 16, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    Another thing we have to observe here is, SA have a decent test record because of 1 main reason i.e., They did not face 70's , 80's West indies team. your thoughts on it. I think India, SA wud then be same. India's old baggage is because India played windies more at their peak.