September 1, 2011

An incisive look at series "colour"-washes in Test cricket

An in-depth analysis of series sweeps - the most comprehensive Test-series wins
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England's 4-0 series win over India is one of the most dominant team performances in Test history © Getty Images

I had intended to complete my series of Test series analyses with the third part, the one on all-round performances. However the England-India Test series ended last week and the analysis on Team performances gained more relevancy. Hence I have switched the two. The All-round performance analysis will appear a few days later.

In this article I will cover the fairly long methodology at the end of the article. This is to ensure that the main theme of the article is not missed out.


As the recent England-India series unfolded, the win margins became bigger and bigger and by the time the series ended, one started hoping that India would have deemed to have climbed the Mt.Everest if they made England bat again. There were talks of this being India's biggest ever defeat. I had looked beyond that and had a fleeting suspicion that this could indeed be any team's biggest ever defeat.

So I started work on this hypothesis. I have embarked on a complex method of evaluating this and later on, as an additional analysis, linking with team strengths and series location. Let me emphasize that this analysis is based on the results and only results. The scorecard is the only document used. There may be many other factors responsible for the series results, to name a few, injuries, loss of form, non-preparedness, fitness, tiredness, selection issues, non-availability of key players, technical shortcomings et al. However these are outside the scope of this analysis. However it is my considered opinion that these would only have reduced the margin of series loss and match losses. If everything had worked for India, they might still have lost 1-2.

Each match is allotted 100 points. These are further allocated to the two teams based on the results. Not just the results but the numbers behind the results. The points secured by the two teams are averaged for the series. This is a very good indicator of the way teams have performed in the series. This method allows us to understand the difference between two series, both finishing 4-0, but one with very close well-fought matches and the other, like the recently completed one, huge-margin wins. As already explained, the methodology for the analysis is explained at the end.

Now let us look at the results.

I have selected only 4/5/6 Test series for multiple reasons. One is that I have kept the minnows out by this single decision. The other is that I want the teams' winning margins to be achieved over greater number of matches. My apologies to Sri Lanka since most of their series have been kept out. But this cannot be helped.

My surmise was correct. In the 210 4/5/6 match Test series played so far, the England win over India is the most comprehensive and devastating in history of Test cricket. That is what many experts are saying but this is now proved here with hard analytical conclusions. Let me add that there is one 3-Test series which has a wider Win margin than this one. That came in the Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe series, held during 2001. I am now happy that I excluded the 3-Test series from the analysis since I think a win against a weak team should not dilute this analysis.

The slightly better news is that, taken in context, taking into account the relative team strengths and the home advantage for England, this is not the most comprehensive defeat ever but is pipped by the South African white-wash of the 1970 Australians.

Let us look at the tables.

Ser Year Home  Away  Res  #  [...Win-margin...]

615 2011 ENG vs Ind 4-0 4 80.84-19.16 61.69 55 1931 AUS vs Saf 5-0 5 80.73-19.27 61.45 169 1970 SAF vs Aus 4-0 4 79.22-20.78 58.44 120 1959 ENG vs Ind 5-0 5 78.92-21.08 57.85 436 2000 AUS vs Win 5-0 5 78.86-21.14 57.71 270 1986 WIN vs Eng 5-0 5 78.65-21.35 57.30 256 1984 ENG vs Win 0-5 5 22.24-77.76 55.52 131 1962 WIN vs Ind 5-0 5 76.96-23.04 53.92 548 2006 AUS vs Eng 5-0 5 76.72-23.28 53.45 38 1920 AUS vs Eng 5-0 5 76.65-23.35 53.31 507 2004 ENG vs Win 4-0 4 76.06-23.94 52.12 77 1947 AUS vs Ind 4-0 5 75.89-24.11 51.77 65 1935 SAF vs Aus 0-4 5 24.26-75.74 51.47 132 1962 ENG vs Pak 4-0 5 75.58-24.42 51.16 115 1958 ENG vs Nzl 4-0 5 75.43-24.57 50.86 404 1998 SAF vs Win 5-0 5 75.09-24.91 50.19 83 1949 SAF vs Aus 0-4 5 25.95-74.05 48.11 91 1952 ENG vs Ind 3-0 4 73.86-26.14 47.71 52 1930 AUS vs Win 4-1 5 73.82-26.18 47.63 79 1948 ENG vs Aus 0-4 5 27.78-72.22 44.44 117 1958 AUS vs Eng 4-0 5 72.13-27.87 44.25 37 1913 SAF vs Eng 0-4 5 27.91-72.09 44.19 496 2003 SAF vs Win 3-0 4 72.08-27.92 44.17 112 1957 ENG vs Win 3-0 5 71.78-28.22 43.57 116 1958 IND vs Win 0-3 5 28.29-71.71 43.41


The first table is ordered by the raw Win-margin value. England won the 4-test series by the widest margin of 80.84-19.96. This is the equivalent of 4 innings wins. There was a huge innings win which compensated for the 196 run margin win. The summary of the top five series is given below.

The second biggest margin was inflicted by South Africa on Australia, during 1931. They were better by just a decimal point.

The third biggest margin was inflicted by South Africa on Australia, during 1970, just before the Apartheid break-down. They were better by nearly 1%. This also indicates the loss to the world cricket through the absence of the wonderful South African team of 1970. Before any one pounces on me let me say, through their own racial segregation policies. The boycott was 100% correct and essential.

The next one is the English whitewash of the 1959 Indian team. However the scores would indicate more of a fight by the weaker 1959 team. The fifth one is the 5-0 clean-out by the 2000 Australians against the transitional West Indians.

The best away performance is the 1984 clean sweep of England by the mighty West Indians. Their performance is ranked seventh in the table. Incidentally this is the only time in history of Test cricket that a home team has lost all 5 Tests in a 5-Test series.

Given below is a one-line summary for each series and the match points secured.

615 2011 ENG-Ind 196r(73.80),   319r(81.88),   I&242r(87.45), I&8r(80.25).
55 1931 AUS-Saf I&163r(85.02), I&155r(84.77), 169r(73.09),   10w(78.54),
I&72r(82.22).
169 1970 SAF-Aus 170r(72.09),   I&129r(83.97), 307r(80.85),   323r(79.97).
120 1959 ENG-Ind I&59r(81.82),  8w(75.84),     I&173r(85.32), 171r(70.81),
I&27r(80.83).
436 2000 AUS-Win I&126r(83.88), I&27r(80.83),  5w(72.40),     352r(84.66),
6w(72.52).
...
256 1984 eng-WIN I&180r(85.54), 9w(72.12),     8w(75.38),     I&64r(81.97),
172r(73.78).


Now for the second table, this time ordered by the difference in series Win margin and Team strength differential value.

Ser Year Home  Away Res # [...Win-margin..]  [TS differential-] WinIndex

169 1970 SAF vs Aus 4-0 4 79.22-20.78 58.44 49.51-50.49 -0.98 59.42 615 2011 ENG vs Ind 4-0 4 80.84-19.16 61.69 52.99-47.01 5.98 55.71 38 1920 AUS vs Eng 5-0 5 76.65-23.35 53.31 49.85-50.15 -0.30 53.60 256 1984 ENG vs Win 0-5 5 22.24-77.76 55.52 47.39-52.61 5.23 50.29 113 1957 SAF vs Aus 0-3 5 32.37-67.63 35.26 57.20-42.80 -14.39 49.65 117 1958 AUS vs Eng 4-0 5 72.13-27.87 44.25 49.08-50.92 -1.84 46.09 120 1959 ENG vs Ind 5-0 5 78.92-21.08 57.85 56.26-43.74 12.53 45.32 65 1935 SAF vs Aus 0-4 5 24.26-75.74 51.47 46.69-53.31 6.61 44.86 270 1986 WIN vs Eng 5-0 5 78.65-21.35 57.30 56.28-43.72 12.56 44.74 116 1958 IND vs Win 0-3 5 28.29-71.71 43.41 50.27-49.73 -0.53 43.94 35 1911 AUS vs Eng 1-4 5 33.91-66.09 32.18 55.31-44.69 -10.63 42.81 507 2004 ENG vs Win 4-0 4 76.06-23.94 52.12 54.84-45.16 9.68 42.44 548 2006 AUS vs Eng 5-0 5 76.72-23.28 53.45 55.79-44.21 11.58 41.86 55 1931 AUS vs Saf 5-0 5 80.73-19.27 61.45 60.59-39.41 21.18 40.27 296 1989 ENG vs Aus 0-4 6 29.70-70.30 40.60 49.14-50.86 1.71 38.89 34 1910 AUS vs Saf 4-1 5 71.14-28.86 42.27 51.98-48.02 3.96 38.31 112 1957 ENG vs Win 3-0 5 71.78-28.22 43.57 52.80-47.20 5.60 37.97 404 1998 SAF vs Win 5-0 5 75.09-24.91 50.19 56.18-43.82 12.36 37.83 157 1967 AUS vs Ind 4-0 4 71.67-28.33 43.34 52.76-47.24 5.51 37.82 58 1932 AUS vs Eng 1-4 5 32.54-67.46 34.91 51.08-48.92 -2.15 37.07 131 1962 WIN vs Ind 5-0 5 76.96-23.04 53.92 58.72-41.28 17.45 36.48 436 2000 AUS vs Win 5-0 5 78.86-21.14 57.71 61.01-38.99 22.03 35.69 83 1949 SAF vs Aus 0-4 5 25.95-74.05 48.11 43.72-56.28 12.55 35.55 103 1955 WIN vs Aus 0-3 5 31.89-68.11 36.23 49.58-50.42 0.84 35.39 289 1988 ENG vs Win 0-4 5 28.31-71.69 43.38 45.97-54.03 8.05 35.32


Now for the second part. Here I have matched the Win margin for the series with the Team Strength differential between the two teams, averaged over the series, and derived an overall WinIndex. The Team strength values are normalized to the same 100 points basis. In addition to the Team Strength indices already available with me, I have incorporated a substantial 10% weighting for the team playing at home. This alleviates the away defeats slightly. Couple of examples will explain this concept.

Take England and India. Their Team strength averages for the series worked out to 50.61-49.39 in favour of England, in other words, England were stronger by a wafer-thin difference. Once the home advantage was applied this became 52.99-47.01 which is a reasonably significant 6% differential. One would have expected this to translate to a 2-1 win with close matches all around. That result would have translated to a 55-45 on the Win- margin value and would not have raised any eyebrows. What happened was a 61.69% differential which translates to a final WinIndex value of 55.71 (being the difference between the two differential values.

Let us now look at South Africa and Australia during 1970. South Africa was a clear weaker team and their Team Strength differential was 47.13-52.87. When the home advantage was applied this became 49.51-50.49. One would have expected a 1-1 draw and almost 50-50 Win-margin value. What happened, as happened 41 years hence, was a 4-0 thrashing of the visiting team. The final WinIndex is the difference between 58.44 and -0.98, which works to a value of 59.52. In this measure this result has overtaken the 2011 series and is the most comprehensive win, taken in context.

The 1920 drubbing of England comes in next , followed by the top most away performance in this table, the 5-0 blitz by West Indies against England during 1984. The fifth entry shows the other side of the fascinating South Africa - Australia contests. A stronger South African team losing to an unfancied Australian team, 0-3.

Now for the methodology.

Valuation of draws: In Test matches draws are not the straight-forward 0-0 or 1-1 or 0-0 matches in Football or Hockey. At two extremes, a draw can happen with one team a ball away from victory or it could happen that the match might have had a result had the match continued for 10 days. To take care of these widely-varying grey areas I have allotted a wide range of 40-60 points out of 100 for a draw. This also correctly means that the winning team will at least have a margin of 61-39.

Look at the following matches. The Win-margin values are self-explanatory.

Test#  236: Eng 200 ao & 229/6. Aus 584 ao. (Aus-Eng: 60-40).
Test#  616: Aus 143 & 148/8. Saf 332/9.     (Saf-Aus: 60-40).
Now look at the following matches. Two different types of 50-50 matches.
Test #1887: Aus 430 & 228/6. Ind 360 & 177/4. Match completely open (50-50).
Test #1781: Pak 679/7. Ind 410/1.   Timeless Test needed for result (50-50).

Valuation of Innings wins: There is no denying that innings wins are the most emphatic in Test cricket. And needless to add that a win by an innings and 242 runs is far more emphatic than a win by an innings and 8 runs. The most emphatic win in Test cricket is the Oval 1938 win of England over Australia, by an innings and 579 runs. This result gets an almost full score. The formula is
Innings win points = 80.0 + variable points based on the quantum of innings win.

Test # 266: Eng 903/7. Aus 201 & 123. (Eng-Ind: 97.82-2.18). Inns/579r. Test #2002: Ind 224 & 244. Eng 710/7. (Eng-Ind: 88.07-11.93). Inns/242r Test #2003: Eng 591/6. Ind 300 & 283. (Eng-Ind: 80.27-19.73). Inns/8r.


Valuation of wins by Wickets: A ten-wicket win ranks quite close to an innings win while a one-wicket win ranks close to the minimum points for a win. This is a tricky situation and is handled by the following formula. It is essential to distinguish between a nine-wicket win with a 20 for 1 score and one with a score of 342 for 1. The first is very close to an innings win and the later is quite a tough win and the losing team needs to be given credit for setting the target.

Wicket win points = 60.0 + variable points based on wickets in hand and target.

Test #1204: Slk 394 & 73/1. Nzl 102 & 361. (Slk-Nzl: 77.54-22.46). 9w(73r). Test # 340: Saf 202 & 154. Eng 194 & 164/6. (Eng-Saf: 70.72-29.28). 4w(164r). Test #1453: Aus 490 & 146. Win 329 & 311/9. (Win-Aus: 64.78-35.22). 1w(311r).


Valuation of wins by Runs: Wins by runs have the widest range in the results analysis. A 675-run win (this happened during 1928) probably should rank just behind the 1938 win while a 1-run win (happened in 1993) could have resulted in a loss with a one-ball switch of events. So any algorithm should take this into account. This is achieved by the following formula which has to distinguish between a 200 run win chasing 300 and a 200 run win chasing 500. The first is a more emphatic win and in the later case, the losing team needs to be given credit for setting the target.

Run win points = 60.0 + variable points based on runs differential.

Test # 176: Eng 521 & 342/8. Aus 122 & 66. (Eng-Aus: 97.50-2.50). 675r. Test #1947: Aus 519/8 & 219/5. Pak: 301 & 206. (Aus- : 76.73-23.27) 231r. Test #1210: Win 252 & 146. Aus 213 & 184. (Win-Aus: 61.00-39.00). 1r.


The Match rating points are determined for each match, added for the series and divided by the number of matches. The final pair of numbers, say x-y (again x+y=100), reflects the series results in a very accurate manner. This would result in a very objective evaluation of the series concerned and substantiate the, mostly correct, subjective statements made by the experts.

I did a far simpler exercise for another article. I got all wins to a "Runs" basis using wickets left and match RpW in case of "wickets" and "innings" wins and the margin itself in case of "runs" wins. The results look amazingly alike indicating that one can slice and dice this in any way, it will remain the greatest ever defeat by an established Test team. The hypothesis I started with is proved without any doubt. The summarized table for that analysis is shown below.

Ser Year Home  Away # Win  Res WinRuns LossRuns
(Series average)

615 2011 ENG vs Ind 4 Home 4-0 404.8 0.0 169 1970 SAF vs Aus 4 Home 4-0 325.0 0.0 77 1947 AUS vs Ind 5 Home 4-0 321.6 0.0 55 1931 AUS vs Saf 5 Home 5-0 292.8 0.0 52 1930 AUS vs Win 5 Home 4-1 292.6 6.0 38 1920 AUS vs Eng 5 Home 5-0 285.4 0.0 496 2003 SAF vs Win 4 Home 3-0 283.0 0.0 132 1962 ENG vs Pak 5 Home 4-0 278.0 0.0 120 1959 ENG vs Ind 5 Home 5-0 272.2 0.0 548 2006 AUS vs Eng 5 Home 5-0 266.4 0.0


Where does Indian Test cricket go from here. Many better writers, players and administrators than me have already spoken. I am not going to repeat those words. These comments all have validity. I will conclude with one summary.

This result cannot be wished away with comments such as "one bad series", "one cannot win everything", "a blip", "we will bounce back", "let England come to India" or "form is temporary, class is permanent" etc. This is a clean-up at the highest level and unless otherwise BCCI realizes this, India will find it difficult to recover in the years to come. They might very well remain amongst the top-2 ODI/T20 teams, but would slip down the Test ladder quickly.

The players must share the blame, but only a smaller share. The proud men they are, they must be hurting like hell. However BCCI should feel the hurt intensely. While recognizing the zone at which the marvellous English team played, let me assign the blame component, strictly within Indian cricket, and in sync with the tone of the article, as 80-20 for BCCI-Players. This one allocation tells the story. The wild-sweep term "BCCI" includes, amongst others, the President, Secretary/IPL-GC member/IPL-owner, selectors, training methods, fitness evaluation criteria, IPL, paid propagandists, PR men, schedulers, rest of the gravy-train occupants et al.

As far as England are concerned, they may lack the couple of big names and heavy hitters to sustain an occupancy at the top for a decade or so as the 1980 West Indians and 1990/2000 Australians did. However they have the quality, bench-strength and the ability to travel well to be a serious contender for the top position always, during the next 5 years. They may even lose the top position without playing another match. But that should not matter. They would bounce back. Their serious problem might be when they defend the 3-1 away win in Australia and 4-0 home win over India.

This seems to be the season for felling giant oaks. The Indian team, with high hopes and pedigree, was vanquished. A quirky and dubious rule pushed the greatest sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt, from the World Athletics 100 metres Final. Federer seems to be losing to all and sundry. Tiger Woods does not growl but mews. Arsenal loses to Manchester United 2-8. But the abiding memory through all these was the 400 metres semi final. To see Oscar Pistorius finish the 400 metres in 46.19 secs, running on carbon fibre legs (I hope someone does not send an insensitive comment that he gains by running on carbon fibre) was indeed heart-warming stuff. Incidentally this time would have won for Pistorius the 400 metres Gold medal in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics !!!

To download the multiple tables of the 210 x 4/5 Test series, please right-click here and save the file.

As per Kartick's request I have given below all 3-Test series which ended in 3-0 results, ordered by the Win margin.

Ser Year Home  Away  Res  #  Win Margin  RunIdx

554 2007 SLK vs Bng 3-0 3 85.30-14.70 474.7 19 1896 SAF vs Eng 0-3 3 15.71-84.29 309.3 459 2001 SLK vs Zim 3-0 3 84.13-15.87 395.7 338 1994 IND vs Slk 3-0 3 82.37-17.63 381.0 46 1928 ENG vs Win 3-0 3 81.63-18.37 296.7 515 2004 AUS vs Pak 3-0 3 81.59-18.41 368.0 187 1974 ENG vs Ind 3-0 3 80.61-19.39 374.7 9 1886 ENG vs Aus 3-0 3 80.60-19.40 264.3 134 1963 NZL vs Eng 0-3 3 19.47-80.53 332.3 388 1997 PAK vs Win 3-0 3 80.39-19.61 280.3 420 1999 AUS vs Ind 3-0 3 80.26-19.74 325.3 326 1993 IND vs Eng 3-0 3 79.17-20.83 348.0 457 2001 AUS vs Saf 3-0 3 79.15-20.85 291.7 242 1982 PAK vs Aus 3-0 3 78.62-21.38 309.7 531 2005 AUS vs Win 3-0 3 78.61-21.39 295.7 148 1965 ENG vs Nzl 3-0 3 78.49-21.51 351.0 211 1978 ENG vs Nzl 3-0 3 77.51-22.49 230.0 364 1995 AUS vs Slk 3-0 3 77.21-22.79 338.7 455 2001 SLK vs Win 3-0 3 77.00-23.00 303.0 155 1967 ENG vs Ind 3-0 3 75.76-24.24 247.3 306 1990 PAK vs Nzl 3-0 3 75.30-24.70 215.0 416 1999 AUS vs Pak 3-0 3 75.25-24.75 283.3 178 1972 AUS vs Pak 3-0 3 73.41-26.59 203.3 221 1979 AUS vs Eng 3-0 3 73.02-26.98 170.7 504 2004 ENG vs Nzl 3-0 3 72.59-27.41 237.3 594 2009 AUS vs Pak 3-0 3 71.47-28.53 145.7 488 2003 PAK vs Bng 3-0 3 71.37-28.63 162.3 424 2000 NZL vs Aus 0-3 3 29.90-70.10 136.7 539 2006 SAF vs Aus 0-3 3 30.11-69.89 110.7 499 2004 SLK vs Aus 0-3 3 30.49-69.51 115.0

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

  • Ram on April 22, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    Thanks for responding to a very late comment. I do read all your blog articles ( and all comments) but seems to have missed this one. The loss at Birmingham ( inngs and 242 runs, easily equal to a double inngs win, meaning India would need another innings to erase the deficit!) seems to have settled this in England's favour. So also the little fight at MCG.

  • Ram on April 22, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Not sure if this is a late comment, but where does the 4-0 drubbing in Autsralia stand in the win-margin comparison? Was it better or worse than the 4-0 in England? My hunch is England was worse by pure score card readings, but if we take into all factors ( best India players were avail for Australia, less injuries, weaker Oz team etc) the Aussie white wash was more bitter and depressing. [[ To say you are late is the understatement of the year. I had responded to this question in depth in one of the recent blogs. I will just summarize. England-India Lord's : 73.98 - 26.02 Trent Bridge : 82.18 - 17.82 Birmingham: 87.45 - 12.65 Oval: 80.25 - 19.75 So the series finished 80.96 - 19.04. That is the equivalent of 4 innings victories. Australia - India MCG: 71.75 - 28.25 SCG: 82.09 - 17.91 Perth: 81.14 - 18.86 Adelaide: 80.16 - 19.84 The series finished 78.79 - 21.21. That is the equivalent of 3 innings victory and one other big win. So the MCG fightback softened the loss a little bit. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 9, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    Sreesanth's contribution especially in teh last 10 min was very vital. He ended up doing the right thing. Had he succeeded in saving teh match, in typical fashion, we would have begun celebrating that as a turnaround. We would have never remembered this series as a pointer to urgent remedial action. We would have again fallen prey to our own narcissistic tendencies (praising mediocrity too quickly).

    Instead, Sreesanth ensured that the last nail was firmly hammered on to the coffin, and a thrashing that was thouroughly deserved was implemented through a more spectacular 4-0 than a half baked 3-0. [[ The chances of Sreesanth saving the match was as good as my getting a wild card entry to the US Open, be it Golf or Tennis. I only meant that he could have helped Sharma in saving an innings defeat. But as you say correctly, it was exactly the perfect end to the series, befitting the campaign. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on September 8, 2011, 19:00 GMT

    @Ananth: Session-wise analysis won't be very useful. A good example is Ind vs Eng at Chennai in 2008: England lost the match despite arguably winning at least 8 of the 15 sessions. [[ Let us look at a hypothetical scoreline. India 450 & 42 ao. Eng 250 & 250. India loses in one session after tea on last day. How would you describe this match. India domintaed the match over 90% of the time but lost the match in one session. That statement is embodied in the objective conclusion that India won 13/14 sessions and England 2/1. This does not point to the result but to the domination. Incidentally I was the first to bring objective session analysis into Television presentations. During 2001/02 I introduced the sessions won/lost, using my favourite spilt of 100 points for the session.I took into account wickets/runs/batsmen at the crease/bowling patterns/potential wicket-taking deliveries at al. Ananth: ]]

    I did not know about England players advising Sreesanth "learn from Mishra". [[ The commentators referred to this. Ananth: ]] IMO, he is so bad that he could learn from just about every other person. His lasting image remains the one with a smug smile on a TV interview after the 4th test 1 innings saying "I enjoyed bowling to KP". People should start working on how to contribute and win matches as opposed to *enjoying* cricket. The last we checked, India is to yet to win a match in England on this tour and have lost 6 of the 7 so far.

  • shrikanthk on September 8, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    The point is that Pakistan were never outclassed. They lost one close match. The final margin was 75-25 and reflects the ease with which Australia won. However there is no comparison to this series

    Ananth: Agree. But I was referring to the final series scoreline. 3-0 was an extremely surprising result, given that Pak boasted of one of the finest bowling sides of the 90s - Akram, Younis, Akhtar, Saqlain and Azhar Mahmood! That was a much better attack than McGrath/Fleming/Scott Muller/Warne, given that Warne was nowhere near his best in '99.

    The 4-0 result in the current Ind-Eng series sounds very surprising. But to be honest, none of us expected India to win even a single test match once Zaheer limped out on the first day at Lord's. On top of that, there were so many injuries to several key players that a 2-0/3-0 result was always in the offing. 4-0 was a bit of a surprise.

  • Waspsting on September 8, 2011, 13:28 GMT

    thoughts on Aus vs Pak 99 - - Pak had a very strong team, and in that the final scoreline was surprising. Still, Pakistan is Pakistan, and its never really a surprise what they do (unlike Peter May's England team)

    - Umpiring went horribly against Pakistan (like May's team). Gilchrist was plumb LBW in that match winning stand, leaving aside Langer's reprieve. Slater was LBW multiple times everytime he took first strike against Akram, and invariably went on to make a lot of runs. Akram looked to me like he could have run through the top order with his new ball spells.

    @Ananth - agree with you about the money-consciousness of some of the younger Indian players, but don't think anything can be done about it. This is just the way the times are now. Possibly, even the likes of Tendulkar isn't entirely immune to it. Kapil and Kumble would probably just be laughed at as old fuddy duddies if they tried to teach the youngsters work ethic.

  • RANGArajan on September 8, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    "Work Ethic" - Well said Ananth!! Many of our test players would not be even selected for a second XI of many counties. We mistake "Aggression" with "Indiscipline". It may be blasphemous if I say so, but I feel, Greg Chappel would have been the right person, though we all thought he spoilt India. If someone says "perform or perish", when you have 1 Bn people following the game, we label that person as rude . . . If someone says, "come for net sessions", "Bowl fast", "get in youngsters", "dont dwell in your past records" . . . In no way he was as bad as we painted him to be. I think most of our so called greats lost more matches under him, just to prove a point.

  • RANGArajan on September 8, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    1996 and 1999, India and Pak toured successively to England and Australia and Pakistan won both the comparisons with India hands down. In England, the same English team that routed us, were torn apart by Pak. England did not have a clue about Mushtaq Ahmed's googlies in 1996. Of course, in that English trip, we did not win any international match, but we did not lose badly either. 1999 Aus trip was again, better for Pak (though both of us lost 0-3, Pak was not as humiliated). In 2010, Pak lost to England, but were able to win a test. In 2010,they drew even with Aus(which was still competitive though not invincible). Though touted as inconsistent, Pak has been more competitive and tough to beat, whatever be their team compositions. If India werent the most populous nation watching Cricket, the deserving teams would have received due credit, unlike now. [[ For me the series was epitomized by the last 10 minutes. When RP Singh was dismissed, Sreesanth walked in. He played 9 balls and tried to get out probably 7 times. All the while at the other end Sharma was fighting it out. It did not seem right for Sreesanth, the rotten player that he is, to stay there, fight and avoid an innings defeat, if nothing else. And the English slip-fielders were kind enough to tell him "learn from Mishra". I hope he has played his last match for India.Unfortunately some players in India equate success with money. They do not put in the hard yards. Kapil and Kumble should be empowered with suitable positions to instil the work ethic in the players. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on September 8, 2011, 4:39 GMT

    I think the turning point is the 99 series against Pak, especially the Hobart test where Langer/Gilchrist put on 250 odd against Akram/Waqar/Shoaib/Saqlain in the 4th innings to chase down 380 odd. I will never forget the ferocity of Gilchrist's horizontal bat shots in this innings

    Yes. Vivid memories of that game. The Pak fans cribbed a lot about Langer enjoying a bit of luck with the umpires in the 2nd innings, conveniently forgetting that the same batsman got a bad decision in the 1st innings, which triggered an Aussie collapse.

    A most remarkable series. And one of the most unlikely series results in Test history. I remember Star sports had publicised this series as "Jalwa" or "Badla" (don't remember) anticipating a Pak revenge for the WC final loss 6 months earlier.

    It was even more unlikely than the 4-0 Eng-Ind result this year. One of the stongest Pak sides ever. Almost at full strength. Beaten 3-0!

    That's as unlikely as the 0-4 drubbing of Peter May's side in 1958-59. [[ Not sure about this, Shrikanth. Pakistan were strong but Australia even stronger. On paper not so strong since Gilchrist was making his debut. However he scored 250+ runs. In the first Test, Aus were 342 for 5 against 367. Gilchrist, on debut, and Warne contributed run-a-ball 80s. The Hobart Test could as well have gone Pakistan's way. Even at 250 for 5, Pakistan looked like winning. The last test was a comfortable win. The point is that Pakistan were never outclassed. They lost one close match. The final margin was 75-25 and reflects the ease with which Australia won. However there is no comparison to this series. India probably won probably 5 out of 45-50 sessions. I have not made an exact analysis on this. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on September 8, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    For 2 minutes of thinking by Steve Waugh on March 13, 2001 could very well have changed the history of Test cricket. That could very well have been another 3-0 win.

    Quite nostalgic that series... in 2001. And those two minutesmight have meant that Laxman's and Harbhajan's careers might have shaped like Kaif's and Bahutule's respectively. This is what we call Destiny. :)

  • Ram on April 22, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    Thanks for responding to a very late comment. I do read all your blog articles ( and all comments) but seems to have missed this one. The loss at Birmingham ( inngs and 242 runs, easily equal to a double inngs win, meaning India would need another innings to erase the deficit!) seems to have settled this in England's favour. So also the little fight at MCG.

  • Ram on April 22, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Not sure if this is a late comment, but where does the 4-0 drubbing in Autsralia stand in the win-margin comparison? Was it better or worse than the 4-0 in England? My hunch is England was worse by pure score card readings, but if we take into all factors ( best India players were avail for Australia, less injuries, weaker Oz team etc) the Aussie white wash was more bitter and depressing. [[ To say you are late is the understatement of the year. I had responded to this question in depth in one of the recent blogs. I will just summarize. England-India Lord's : 73.98 - 26.02 Trent Bridge : 82.18 - 17.82 Birmingham: 87.45 - 12.65 Oval: 80.25 - 19.75 So the series finished 80.96 - 19.04. That is the equivalent of 4 innings victories. Australia - India MCG: 71.75 - 28.25 SCG: 82.09 - 17.91 Perth: 81.14 - 18.86 Adelaide: 80.16 - 19.84 The series finished 78.79 - 21.21. That is the equivalent of 3 innings victory and one other big win. So the MCG fightback softened the loss a little bit. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 9, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    Sreesanth's contribution especially in teh last 10 min was very vital. He ended up doing the right thing. Had he succeeded in saving teh match, in typical fashion, we would have begun celebrating that as a turnaround. We would have never remembered this series as a pointer to urgent remedial action. We would have again fallen prey to our own narcissistic tendencies (praising mediocrity too quickly).

    Instead, Sreesanth ensured that the last nail was firmly hammered on to the coffin, and a thrashing that was thouroughly deserved was implemented through a more spectacular 4-0 than a half baked 3-0. [[ The chances of Sreesanth saving the match was as good as my getting a wild card entry to the US Open, be it Golf or Tennis. I only meant that he could have helped Sharma in saving an innings defeat. But as you say correctly, it was exactly the perfect end to the series, befitting the campaign. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on September 8, 2011, 19:00 GMT

    @Ananth: Session-wise analysis won't be very useful. A good example is Ind vs Eng at Chennai in 2008: England lost the match despite arguably winning at least 8 of the 15 sessions. [[ Let us look at a hypothetical scoreline. India 450 & 42 ao. Eng 250 & 250. India loses in one session after tea on last day. How would you describe this match. India domintaed the match over 90% of the time but lost the match in one session. That statement is embodied in the objective conclusion that India won 13/14 sessions and England 2/1. This does not point to the result but to the domination. Incidentally I was the first to bring objective session analysis into Television presentations. During 2001/02 I introduced the sessions won/lost, using my favourite spilt of 100 points for the session.I took into account wickets/runs/batsmen at the crease/bowling patterns/potential wicket-taking deliveries at al. Ananth: ]]

    I did not know about England players advising Sreesanth "learn from Mishra". [[ The commentators referred to this. Ananth: ]] IMO, he is so bad that he could learn from just about every other person. His lasting image remains the one with a smug smile on a TV interview after the 4th test 1 innings saying "I enjoyed bowling to KP". People should start working on how to contribute and win matches as opposed to *enjoying* cricket. The last we checked, India is to yet to win a match in England on this tour and have lost 6 of the 7 so far.

  • shrikanthk on September 8, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    The point is that Pakistan were never outclassed. They lost one close match. The final margin was 75-25 and reflects the ease with which Australia won. However there is no comparison to this series

    Ananth: Agree. But I was referring to the final series scoreline. 3-0 was an extremely surprising result, given that Pak boasted of one of the finest bowling sides of the 90s - Akram, Younis, Akhtar, Saqlain and Azhar Mahmood! That was a much better attack than McGrath/Fleming/Scott Muller/Warne, given that Warne was nowhere near his best in '99.

    The 4-0 result in the current Ind-Eng series sounds very surprising. But to be honest, none of us expected India to win even a single test match once Zaheer limped out on the first day at Lord's. On top of that, there were so many injuries to several key players that a 2-0/3-0 result was always in the offing. 4-0 was a bit of a surprise.

  • Waspsting on September 8, 2011, 13:28 GMT

    thoughts on Aus vs Pak 99 - - Pak had a very strong team, and in that the final scoreline was surprising. Still, Pakistan is Pakistan, and its never really a surprise what they do (unlike Peter May's England team)

    - Umpiring went horribly against Pakistan (like May's team). Gilchrist was plumb LBW in that match winning stand, leaving aside Langer's reprieve. Slater was LBW multiple times everytime he took first strike against Akram, and invariably went on to make a lot of runs. Akram looked to me like he could have run through the top order with his new ball spells.

    @Ananth - agree with you about the money-consciousness of some of the younger Indian players, but don't think anything can be done about it. This is just the way the times are now. Possibly, even the likes of Tendulkar isn't entirely immune to it. Kapil and Kumble would probably just be laughed at as old fuddy duddies if they tried to teach the youngsters work ethic.

  • RANGArajan on September 8, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    "Work Ethic" - Well said Ananth!! Many of our test players would not be even selected for a second XI of many counties. We mistake "Aggression" with "Indiscipline". It may be blasphemous if I say so, but I feel, Greg Chappel would have been the right person, though we all thought he spoilt India. If someone says "perform or perish", when you have 1 Bn people following the game, we label that person as rude . . . If someone says, "come for net sessions", "Bowl fast", "get in youngsters", "dont dwell in your past records" . . . In no way he was as bad as we painted him to be. I think most of our so called greats lost more matches under him, just to prove a point.

  • RANGArajan on September 8, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    1996 and 1999, India and Pak toured successively to England and Australia and Pakistan won both the comparisons with India hands down. In England, the same English team that routed us, were torn apart by Pak. England did not have a clue about Mushtaq Ahmed's googlies in 1996. Of course, in that English trip, we did not win any international match, but we did not lose badly either. 1999 Aus trip was again, better for Pak (though both of us lost 0-3, Pak was not as humiliated). In 2010, Pak lost to England, but were able to win a test. In 2010,they drew even with Aus(which was still competitive though not invincible). Though touted as inconsistent, Pak has been more competitive and tough to beat, whatever be their team compositions. If India werent the most populous nation watching Cricket, the deserving teams would have received due credit, unlike now. [[ For me the series was epitomized by the last 10 minutes. When RP Singh was dismissed, Sreesanth walked in. He played 9 balls and tried to get out probably 7 times. All the while at the other end Sharma was fighting it out. It did not seem right for Sreesanth, the rotten player that he is, to stay there, fight and avoid an innings defeat, if nothing else. And the English slip-fielders were kind enough to tell him "learn from Mishra". I hope he has played his last match for India.Unfortunately some players in India equate success with money. They do not put in the hard yards. Kapil and Kumble should be empowered with suitable positions to instil the work ethic in the players. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on September 8, 2011, 4:39 GMT

    I think the turning point is the 99 series against Pak, especially the Hobart test where Langer/Gilchrist put on 250 odd against Akram/Waqar/Shoaib/Saqlain in the 4th innings to chase down 380 odd. I will never forget the ferocity of Gilchrist's horizontal bat shots in this innings

    Yes. Vivid memories of that game. The Pak fans cribbed a lot about Langer enjoying a bit of luck with the umpires in the 2nd innings, conveniently forgetting that the same batsman got a bad decision in the 1st innings, which triggered an Aussie collapse.

    A most remarkable series. And one of the most unlikely series results in Test history. I remember Star sports had publicised this series as "Jalwa" or "Badla" (don't remember) anticipating a Pak revenge for the WC final loss 6 months earlier.

    It was even more unlikely than the 4-0 Eng-Ind result this year. One of the stongest Pak sides ever. Almost at full strength. Beaten 3-0!

    That's as unlikely as the 0-4 drubbing of Peter May's side in 1958-59. [[ Not sure about this, Shrikanth. Pakistan were strong but Australia even stronger. On paper not so strong since Gilchrist was making his debut. However he scored 250+ runs. In the first Test, Aus were 342 for 5 against 367. Gilchrist, on debut, and Warne contributed run-a-ball 80s. The Hobart Test could as well have gone Pakistan's way. Even at 250 for 5, Pakistan looked like winning. The last test was a comfortable win. The point is that Pakistan were never outclassed. They lost one close match. The final margin was 75-25 and reflects the ease with which Australia won. However there is no comparison to this series. India probably won probably 5 out of 45-50 sessions. I have not made an exact analysis on this. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on September 8, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    For 2 minutes of thinking by Steve Waugh on March 13, 2001 could very well have changed the history of Test cricket. That could very well have been another 3-0 win.

    Quite nostalgic that series... in 2001. And those two minutesmight have meant that Laxman's and Harbhajan's careers might have shaped like Kaif's and Bahutule's respectively. This is what we call Destiny. :)

  • Ruchir on September 7, 2011, 20:16 GMT

    There are eight 3-0 whitewashes by Australia from 99-06. That is simply amazing. What a great team!!

    I think the turning point is the 99 series against Pak, especially the Hobart test where Langer/Gilchrist put on 250 odd against Akram/Waqar/Shoaib/Saqlain in the 4th innings to chase down 380 odd. I will never forget the ferocity of Gilchrist's horizontal bat shots in this innings

    This victory basically made the Aussies believe they could win from any position and they did(except 2001 in India) [[ 2 minutes of thinking by Steve Waugh on March 13, 2001 could very well have changed the history of Test cricket. That could very well have been another 3-0 win. Ananth: ]]

  • Ruchir on September 7, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    If you consider the 3-0 loss in AUS at end of 99 and the 2-0 loss at home against SA in Feb 2000 as a single block of matches, this England series is comparable to that pathetic performance

    There were 2 innings defeats in those 5 matches and only 1 of the 5 losses was competitive. The only silver lining is that the earlier episode marked the beginning of the Ganguly/Wright combination and led to the most successful decade in Indian cricket

    One can only hope that something good will come out of this debacle

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 6, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    Ananth, In the second table, you are adjusting for team strength. Each match is allotted 100 points. Each match is broken down into runs / wickets etc. which translate to 100 points.

    On another plane, each team strength is equated to 100 points.

    You are adding the victory margin and TS differential two to get to the final sorting of victory margin.

    My question is, since in both cases (unadjusted victory margin and team strength differential), you are using runs / wickets as drivers, is it necessary to force fit 100 points to each parameter? What if the runs / average / runs/wkt / BQI points to a different ratio? Say 100 for unadj. victory margin and 130 for team strength differential? Then you could add straightaway.

    Put in a different way, if the TS delta could be expressed in simple runs, then in your 3rd table, you could make an adjustment merely by adding this, and get to a final sorting. Apologies if I have lost you. [[ I think you have not read the article completely. I am not using runs/wkt as drivers for either of the indices. The Win margin is 100 points allocated between the teams solely based on the margin of victory (innings/wkts/runs wins). It is a notional point value. The Team strength differential is based on the ctd top-7 batting averages, ctd best-4 bowling averages and further adjusted by the period played in and the match location. So there is no runs/wkts value coming in at all. Ananth:]]

  • RANGArajan on September 6, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    (..cotd) - India is far from a complete test side. It is competitive at its best. We may have "started" winning overseas under Ganguly. Technically Dhoni & Co should have taken this "Starting to win" to the next level. We havent made it a "habit" nor have found a method to consitently win. We still are saying, "we have started performing better". We win an odd test due to a bad session of the opponent or a brilliant knock / spell from one of our men . . . but India has always threatened but never delivered abroad. That is why India(ns) rarely feature in series honours. Over the past 4-5 blogs, the gap between media image about Ind and the reality is so contrastingly seen. India is not a bad side but definitely not a great side to constantly knock the series honors like Aus or WI did.

  • RANGArajan on September 6, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    There is a definite tendency among all of us (partly due to reality and partly due to the fact that cricket experts / commentators) that we feel that the "results could have been lot closer than it actually was". It is a media myth and far from reality. The 1-1 hypothesis of recent Eng-Ind series is one such. A test match has 15 sessions and India might have won 2-3 sessions over the entire series - Just good enough for having a "good day" on the field. Not good enough to trouble England or the overall result in any way. India did not sustain the tempo for 5 days over 4 tests, which England meticulously did. Again, bad habits of 20-20, where you could just have a few good overs and you win the match. Test matches test much more than mere cricketing skills, which every one of the 15 who played in the 4 tests had in abundance. It was England which had outplayed India in not just physical level, but at psychological level without indulging in sledgng or gamesmanship. (cotd...)

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 6, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    Praveen Kumar's performance in the recent series is laudable for the same reason as Dravid's. These were not the best skilled batting or bowling performances people may have seen, but without doubt, Praveen Kumar fought relentlessly. Of all the bowlers, he alone, at his gentle pace, seemed to be able to make the ball kick, getting out Bresnan, Prior and if i recall, Trott, to balls that rose suddenly.

    He also shouldered the burden of other absent bowlers (before Nasser intervenes) not like a donkey, but manfully. And genuine swing and seam skill on top of this. Ishant, who had more weapons, could not match him in temperament. A display of exemplary courage (at times with the bat also), which our more illustrious superstars could not emulate.

  • Santosh Sequeira on September 6, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    Though I fully agree with Ananth about the comprehensivenes of England's win, with just a little more application from the Indian batters things would have been much closer. as explained below.

    With better batting application India were in more than comfortable positions to draw the first and the last test. That leaves us with the 2 other tests, one of which India should have won having England 8 down for 120 odd runs before Broad and Bell in the second innings played well. So it could have been 1-1 at the end.

    I think its the bowling thats responsible for India not winning and batting thats reponsible for India losing badly [[ No, Santosh, a 1-1 at the end was virtually impossible considering the nature of wins. I agree it could have been 1-1 at the end of two Tests. Then where are we. You cannot say that two innings wins could have been saved with better application. That is like saying that the 1984 West indies 5-0 win could have become 2-2 with better application or the 2005 Ashes whitewash could have been 2-1 with better apllication and so on. One thing you should not forget. The fourth Test was won with over 4 sessions to spare. How could this defeat have been avoided. Fourth Test was different. We had only a session to bat out and could have drawn, especially after the successful pre-lunch session. So a 2-1 or 3-1 result was the best India could have achieved. Ananth: ]] .

  • Richard on September 5, 2011, 22:11 GMT

    Ananth,

    This year Wisden did a runs per wicket analysis of the last few Ashes series. So in 2006/7 it was 52.77 for Australia vs 26.35 for England, whilst in 2010/11 it was 29.23 for Australia vs 51.14 for England.

    Can you produce a comparable analysis for the series mentioned above? I'd be interested to see which series produced the biggest differential. [[ Good idea. I think many new suggestions are being made for analysis using this series analysis as the basis. Wuill do this sometime in the future. Ananth: ]]

  • Waspsting on September 5, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    Ananth, how does the 58/59 Ashes series in Australia rate?

    The England squad was considered to be the strongest ever sent to Australia - May, Cowdrey, Graveny, Bailey, Evans, Statham, Trueman, Tyson, Laker and Lock among them - and they folded over to a 0-4 loss, out of 5.

    Australia had its stars - O'Neill, Harvey, Grout, Benaud and Davidson - the umpiring was pretty poor, and there was a big ruckus about chuckers and dragging, but still, a 4-0 scoreline for a line up that reads like England was pretty stunning [[ It is there in the downloadable table. Series no 117. Right there at the top, in the sixth position. Aus-Eng: 72.13-27.87. And the amazing this was that the team strengths were almost dead-heated 49.08-50.92. So Australia really acheived a coup.

    Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 5, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    Ananth, fair enough. I am also very curious to know the way in which home / away actually makes an impact. While it may be practical to develop home / away CTD averages and build BQI out of it, what about the fact that generally, the home / away differential is highly country specific? E.g. In England, i bet several bowlers like Praveen Kumar will flourish - e.g. Abid Ali keep on getting Boycott out, which is quite impossible to believe, and could have happened only in England.

    However, in 1999, Waqar, Wasim and Akhtar averaged more than 50 each in Australia, which can be unkind to visiting bowlers.

    Have you a home / away country wise differential analysis? It would be important to consider periods also - e.g. visiting India was not a breeze in Kumble era, but for 20 years before that, a double century in India was the minimum any self respecting batsman would aim for... [[ A comprehensive Home/Away analysis is long overdue. I have presented many home/away facts in other articles. However have not done one dedicated to all Home/Away aspects. Will do soon. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on September 5, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    A 1-1 series score seemed possible till Bell put the matter beyond doubt, with exceptionally good batting

    Yes. A truly great innings. The Trent Bridge test match should rank among the best that I've seen ever. The victory margin suggests a very one-sided test. But it was a brilliant advert for test cricket.

    There was so much to thrill a cricket lover in that test. Some brilliant swing bowling by Praveen Kumar and co on the 1st day. Broad and Swann's late order resistance. Dravid and Yuvraj. Broad's hatrick.

    And then that extraordinary third day's play - one of the most remarkable days of cricket I've ever seen. In conditions that were hitherto difficult, Ian Bell enabled England to score over 400 runs on the 3rd day!!!

    The big plus from the rubber was Praveen Kumar. This guy averages around 23 in Ranji over 40 games - a truly outstanding record. A fine old fashioned seamer. A worthy successor to the seam bowling tradition as exemplified by Maurice Tate and Alec Bedser! [[ A few additional kms will come in very handy. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 5, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    @karthik/ananth. Thanks for the full 3-test table. Very interesting to note how often SL figure (both on winning and losing sides). Also the great Australian team 1995-09 figures on no less than 10 occasions (all wins) - most significant I feel are those last 3 on the list. SAf and SL 3-0 away must rate right up there with the greatest series wins of all-time. [[ Yes, the 3-test table has come in handy for some good insights. It also did not muddy the waters of the longer series. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on September 5, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    England was too good. Each piece of the jigsaw puzzle fellthe into the place. Nothing went wrong

    I'm not sure whether everything fell into place luckily for England! That's purely the Indian perspective.

    Tremlett, England's big impact bowler, got injured after the Lord's test and missed 3 games. Trott missed two and a half games as well. So, you could argue that England's best batsman and best bowler in recent months missed 3 of the 4 tests! The fact that they overcame these losses is a credit to their remarkable bench strength.

    Secondly, England lost two important tosses at Lord's and Trent Bridge. Hence, they had to battle out the most bowler friendly conditions than India in those two vital games.

    When the series moved to Edgbaston and The Oval, two relatively flat wickets that ought to have suited India better, the victory margins only got bigger! So, if anything, the lively tracks at Lord's and Trent Bridge helped India (and Indian bowlers in particular) compete better! [[ Yes I agree they made the small element of luck which came their way by careful planning, developing good bench-strength, treatment of all as equals, no prima-donnas and good selection. They did not exactly rush Trott and Tremlett in. Now Tremlett has 5 months to come back to complete fitness and that quartet will be a handful anywhere in the world. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 5, 2011, 3:01 GMT

    Ananth, in your previous article, you responded to a reader comment that your new BQI is almost perfect, as it takes into account home and away delta. Is that BQI woven into team strength determination? I am asking since you had separately built the batting and bowling strengths into team strength. However, when you did your "batsmen across bowler groups across ages" article, you had done CTD based BQI. Which of these is now driving team strength? [[ Very valid point. I started working on the new BQI based on Ctd-Home/Away and Recent Form. I had almost completed all the work when I found that suddenly a Pakistan team had moved to the top. The problem was that there was a time late 1970s, when Javed Miandad was averaging 120+ after 10 home Tests and there were a few others over 60. This was a valid average, with huge innings and quite a few not outs. So I pushed it back and went back to the old tried-and-tested Ctd composite figure. But will complete it soon. I am working on a way to take care of such wild variations. Bowling seemed fine. And there is no problem in later stages. Ananth ]]

  • love goel on September 5, 2011, 2:53 GMT

    I will blame India's defeat in England for 5 factors.

    1. Faliure of the openers: All victories overseas necessarliy include openers success. This was the biggest reason India's middle order could not sustain itself(I am not counting Dravid here)

    2. Tendulkar. Not one defining innings. Expected more. Needed to cover for Laxman also

    3. Dhoni faliure with bat. One inning,just one inning like the one in WC final would have given a tremendous boost to the team and saved a couple of matches

    4. 4th bowler. In my opinion Indian bowlers tried, tried hard , but they were simply not good enough. They had their moments, but once the game got away,they simply could not keep the fire going.

    5. England was too good. Each piece of the jigsaw puzzle fellthe into the place. Nothing went wrong. They performed brillianlty for the whole time.Truly a remarkable performance.

    Ananth, I understand this is not a comment on article itself. If you see it as off topic , that should be fine. [[ No problem, Goel. Very relevant and informed summary of the series. I would add just one thing. The unreasonable expectations caused through a lack of awareness of opposition strengths and the mistaken perceptiopn that all players are just one innings/spell away from regaining pristine form. Even now this has not sunk in. When I hear "Let them come to India" I realize that the magnitude of disaster has not sunk in. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on September 5, 2011, 0:17 GMT

    @Ananth: The tour stats of Eng-Ind 2011 test series make a fascinating albeit gruesome reading. Pl see if you can answer if the following events have ever happened (or been "bettered") in the past.

    1. If we leave Dravid out, fully 8 England batsmen averaged higher than the average-wise best Indian batsman, viz., Amit Sharma.

    2. If we leave Dravid out, the # deliveries faced by an England batsman in an innings exceeded the # deliveries faced by an Indian batsman over the entire series ... viz., Cook lasted 545 deliveries in his 294 whereas SRT lasted 520 deliveries across 8 innings in 4 tests.

    3. If we leave Dravid out, the # runs scored by an England batsman in an innings exceeds the # runs scored by an Indian batsman over the entire series ... viz., Cook's 294 vs SRT's 273. With a bit of luck, KP (202*) and Bell (235) would have surpassed SRT's 273 tally.

    The less we say about India's bowling, the better it is. So, will not pose any questions that merit its post-mortem. [[ Alex, not worth doing any of these exercises. Ananth: ]]

  • Smudge on September 4, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    Thanks ananth. I wondered how that would turn out. I'm a bit torn on the subjective rather than statistical assessment. 461 runs against that England attack on the surface seems worth more than either of the other players hauls- but of course part of the reason that the Indian attack fell apart was the beating they took from the batsmen earlier in the series. Still, in my view dravid's performance is the only one of the three which will be remembered as truely remarkable whilst the England batters merely excellent series.

  • arijit on September 4, 2011, 17:40 GMT

    Ananth, regarding the Pietersen-Dravid-Bell comparison, Bell's 159 came at the only critical time in the series for England after India had gained a first-innings lead and England had lost two quick second-innings wickets --- on a pitch till then widely accepted to be bowler-friendly. A 1-1 series score seemed possible till Bell put the matter beyond doubt, with exceptionally good batting, virtually putting the series beyond India's grasp. It was at that point India completely ran out of steam. Is there a statistical way of crediting this sort of innings that seizes the initiative when a match/series is in the balance? If there is (and only you can do it), I suppose it can merit another list of "crucial innings" or "game-changing batsmen". I say sorry in advance if you have already created something like this and it has escaped my memory. Regards [[ Arijit I have to my credit the Wisden-100 list which takes into account many factors surrounding an innings. However this series analysis is an overall analysis not ïn context". It enables us to evaluate series as a whole. If you go to all factors surrounding an innings, all the great innings played in the series, probably 8 (England-5 & Dravid-3), will have their string of plus points.On that basis I feel Bell's would go close to or even exceed Pietersen and Dravid would be in third place since result comes into the picture. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on September 4, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    @Imraan: Yours is probably an over-reaction.

    1. Tendulkar is not as bad as he was vs England in the recent drubbing and is not as good as he was over the last 2 years. Likewise, India is not as bad as the 0-4 result suggests and is not as good as the results of the last 2 years suggest. Truth is somewhere in between. Same holds true for Dravid.

    2. That said, the toe injury is possibly a fake and suggests a total loss of self confidence. He has been making the mistake of prolonging the career (as opposed to scoring as many runs as he can right here and right now) and that has hit him back in full face now.

    3. No player, however great, can win a match on his own. You usually need at least 5-6 players performing well in cohesion to win a match. Among these, one player could be a true standout but one cannot say that he won the match on his own.

  • Ananth on September 4, 2011, 12:42 GMT

    Smudge: I have not forgotten your request to have the three batting performances in the recent Test series analyzed. Given below is the minitable.

    615 2011 ENG-Ind Pietersen (Eng) 4 533 1.03 547.3 615 2011 ENG-Ind Dravid R (Ind) 4 461 1.15 530.2 615 2011 ENG-Ind Bell I.R (Eng) 4 504 1.02 515.9

    Dravid, scoring runs in more trying circs moves ahead of Bell.

  • Karthick on September 4, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Can you look at all the 3 test series which ended 3-0? [[ Excellent idea. I will create and post the same as an add-on table at the end of the article by day-end. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 4, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Ananth, i was referring to the per test average at end of FOUR tests in 1982-83 vs Pak. The 6 test average is not relevant because Imran did not bowl much, and test 5 was rain affected and Imran seemingly lost interest. This statistic is not there in your tables which i had already downloaded. Anyway sorry that i asked. [[ Why should you be sorry. You have every right. At the end of the fourth Test, because of the draw in the first Test, the index was around 75-25. ALmost there at the top. Ananth: ]]

    My top thrashing would be WI-Eng 86. Wisden Illustrated history of Cricket, carrying photos of Edmonds and Gatting, the 5-0 scoreline, the 56 ball century of the mightiest batsman ever, Patrick Patterson's savagery, Gooch topping averages at just 30, Lindy fields etc... [[ That was a mighty 78.65-21.35, sixth in the first table and 9th in the second table (playing at home). Ananth: ]]

    Tendulkar fans need not be dismayed...he will score his 100th century against WI. And his thrashing of Trent Copeland awaits Austrlia.

    I support Bull (hopefully bullet proofed if he visits India) on Gavaskar, then Dravid. As to #3, perhaps Laxman, rather than Tendulkar, but i dont care really. Am sorely disappointed with Laxman as well. Chickened out when it really really mattered. [[ I would go with Bull's three, not necessarily in the same order. Laxman has succeeded brilliantly often but has also failed equally spectacularly. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on September 4, 2011, 1:42 GMT

    @shrikanthk and @Ananth: I think the 1946-7 team India players took pride in representing their nation whereas that does not seem to be the case with the current bunch. To be fair, Vijay Merchant did not tour Oz and was roundly criticized as being afraid of Lindwall.

    SRT's recent toe injury is jaw-dropping in its timing. One might say that this bunch would have faked death to avoid playing the 1980's WI bowlers ... only to miraculously come back to life vs BD in India, eliciting comparisons with, why Don, Jesus Christ himself! This team firmly deserves the top place accorded to it by Ananth's ranking method.

  • arijit on September 3, 2011, 19:36 GMT

    Harsh Thakor, should Australia beating Windies 5-1 in 1975-76 be at the top? There can be a world of difference between 5-0 (or 4-0) and 5-1. Windies won the second Test by an innings (if I recall right), with Andy Roberts blowing the Aussies away and opener Roy Fredericks scoring an outstanding 169 --- the second-fastest century in Test cricket's first 100 years --- against Lillee-Thomson, batting without a helmet. It made the series score 1-1. My point is that the Windies at least competed and dominated for sometime: it wasn't just abject surrender.

  • Raghav Bihani on September 3, 2011, 18:26 GMT

    Nice article.

    You have formed a very nice matrix of judging domination of a match. Can you extrapolate this to find out domination of a team across series over a time frame. Specifically was the Aus team of 2000 more dominant over others or the Win of 80s. [[ I was also thinking on those lines. Once the period is set, it should be rather easy to compile the overall % figures. The 100-point splitting method seems to work very well. It has been extrapolated from Test to Series and can easily be expanded to multiple series and decades. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on September 3, 2011, 15:22 GMT

    @Harsh Thakor:

    I'd add Australia's 4-0 thrashing of England in 1948 to that list. [[ 1948 Aus-Eng: 72.22-27.78 Ananth: ]]

    It is often said that Norman Yardley led England was a very weak side post War.

    But with the benefit of hindsight, if we actually look at that team now, we realize that it wasn't weak at all!

    Hutton and Washbrook opening Compton, Edrich in the middle order Godfrey Evans keeping wickets. Alec Bedser, Pollard and Jim Laker along with Eric Hollies in the bowling department.

    Pretty strong I'd say. 4-0 was a brilliant result for Bradman's Aussies.

  • Imraan on September 3, 2011, 15:18 GMT

    The only reason why the world claims Sachin is the greatest is cause of longevity...playing for 22 years u ought to be the highest scorer (or wicket taker). I'm a south African and in my humble opinion the greatest batsmen of the past 20years has been BC Lara. 4 most of his career he had to deal ith a real poor batting lineup an the loss of 2 great bowlers, they were at a hiding to non, yet he has in percentage wish scored more runs then the whole side put together. But one man that is probably better then him and unfortunately has not got 50 test 100 or 15000 test runs is ponting, why, cause they had batted once only in alot of test games. Lara and ponting have won and drawn mor games for their country then Sachin did for his. At laras retirement Sachin was still 2500runs behind him at the same amount of test matches, keep in mind Lara hd not played 4 2years due to health problems

  • Imraan on September 3, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    Why is every1 so suprised by the thrashing the English dished out to the over rated and over paid Indian actors? These guys bar th great dravid are driven by money and not test cricket....tendulkar has proved that yet again (well on numerous ossasions he has showed that)he did not go to the windies for 1 reason only, he did not want score his 100th 100 against a 2nd grade team and where his not worshipped, he wanted to do it in england where the do as much as in India. Well Sachin, the cricket gods are greater then you!!!! There is, without a doubt only 1 true gentlemen and champion and that is the man who for 16years of his career has one it for India, Dravid. Without him India are in desperate trouble. His a true team man and a country mile above Sachin. He stood up and said he'll open when they needed an opener, my question is, is Sachin to great to move one up that lax man has to go over him and bat at 3? Does that lineup revolve around him????

  • Harsh Thakor on September 3, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    My best in my time in order of merit are 1.Australia beating West Indies 5-1 in 1975-76 2.South Africa beating Australia 4-0 in 1969-70 3.England beating India 4-0 in 2011 4.West Indies beating England 5-0 in 1984. 5.Australia beating England4-1 in 1974-75 6.Australia beating England 4-0 in 1989 7.Australia beating England 5-0 in 2006-07 8.West Indies baeting England 4-0 in 1988 9.Australia beating South Africa 3-0 in 2001-02 10.South Africa beating West Indies 5-0 in 1998-99

    [[ Excellent list. I would agree with the top-4 and have the Ashes 2006-07 in the fifth position. I might switch 2 & 3 only because India was officially no.1, Ananth: ]]

  • Ram on September 3, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    In terms of bowling performance, this series is comparable to the Pak tour of 1982 where Pak routinely scored 400+ in nearly every innings they played. ( 485,452,652,581,420 ). In terms of batting, it is comparable to the 99 tour of Australia where the batsmen failed to get 300 even once. This was one of those odd series where both bowlers and batsmen failed collectively. It could be a "one bad series" ( depending on how well they recover for the next series) but the collective failure still defies explanation and also exposes the bench strength. It may well signal the decline of Indian team for a long time, if no steps are taken. [[ When you combine both you get the disaster. My gut feel is that it is in the area of bowling that India has a bigger mountain to climb. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on September 3, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Ananth, the 1982 defeat of India by Pakistan was (i thought) almost as terrifying as this England thrashing. But it seems to rank at a lowly 19xx. Can you please give the per test average after 4 tests. That is not available in your tables. There we usually gave up when Zaheer walked out, so amazingly, there was an illusory contest till the second wicket fell. Similarly, when they declared, we briefly had a respite till Imran took the new ball. Hence to summarize, the team performance was competitive in-between innings and when Pak batted, till the second wicket fell. [[ I do not know why readers do not take the trouble of downloading/reading the accompanying table. Test series 244, 3-0 result. 3 draws. 65.12-34.88. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on September 3, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    This certainly is not "one bad series" or "one can't win everything" as MSD maintains.

    Yep. I think this could well go down in history as the worst series result ever suffered by an Indian test team, especially when one factors in the expectations from the side at the beginning of the tour.

    Even the second string Indian side in 1947-48 put up a much better show against Bradman's Invincible team! Hazare and Mankad scored a couple of hundreds each. Even Dattu Phadkar chipped in with a century. That was a side without Merchant, Mushtaq Ali and Ghulam Ahmed. Still that team's often derided performance down under was in many respects more creditable than the current team's showing in England!

  • shrikanthk on September 3, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    I would imagine that his advent coincided with the rise of West Indies as a major cricketing force.

    Interesting hypothesis. But not sure if it entirely holds. Windies did great in 1950 against a weak English bowling side. Their first major win overseas. There was no Sobers back then.

    In the late 50s, Sobers was approaching his best as a batsman. Yet, Windies were inconsistent in their results, mainly because of their somewhat weak spin-centric bowling attack.

    The results started improving dramatically in the early 60s, during which time they were the best side in the world. This may have coincided with some of Sobers' best years. However, I believe the improved performances were mainly because of their rejuvenated pace attack - Wes Hall and Griffith in particular.

    Once those fast men retired in the late sixties, Windies struggled again for the rest of Sobers' career notwithstandng Sobers' personal dominance!

  • Bull on September 3, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    Hi Ananth I know it is not related to the current entry posted by you but could you do an article on Gary Sobers based on statistical analysis? I request this for two reasons 1. Too often I find people talking of Bradman and Tendulkar as arguably the greatest players to play the game. However, I think basis his record and what one has read there is little doubt that Sobers is the greatest cricketer - A Babe Ruth of sorts (batting, bowling, fielding. 2. It would be interesting to see how much Gary Sobers changed West Indian cricket. I would imagine that his advent coincided with the rise of West Indies as a major cricketing force. cheers Bull [[ Until now I have done two articles dedicated to specific players, viz., Bradman and Muralitharan. My next one was going to be on Tendulkar at the end of his career. Nothing to prevent me from doing one on Sobers in the interim. Ananth: ]]

  • Aaron on September 2, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    Would it be worth considering "spare" wickets (as a result of declarations) as an additional factor? [[ I had this in the beginning. In other words giving more credit to a 500/2 vs 150 & 150 win than a 500/10 vs 150 & 150. Then I realized that the innings win and margin were completely identical. Why overkill. I feel the win ny an innings & 579 should carry a~round 98-2 margin whether England scored 903 for 9 or 903 for 5. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on September 2, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. I see merit in Boll's comment on the '84 WI blackwash of Eng in Eng. Still, Eng of '84 put up a good fight in 3 tests ... in 2nd and 3rd tests, they had the upper hand for at least 2 days. No such silver lining was to be found in the recent 4-0 Eng-Ind. Ind recd a drubbing of epic proportions on all counts. [[ The fights teams put up, you can see, are recognized and transformed into points. If India had lost one match by 5 wickets, they would be nowhere at the top. Ananth: ]]

    2. I am surprised that Oz-Ind of 1999 does not figure in your tables. What happened? [[ 3-test series. Ananth: ]]

    3. This certainly is not "one bad series" or "one can't win everything" as MSD maintains. If anything, it is India's record of the last 3 yrs that merits some soul searching ... they primarily played in subcontinent only and that explains why they became #1 in the first place.

    4. A respectable way out is to make the pitches lively back home and make the young players play FC cricket in Eng-SA-Oz. Perhaps another captain and support team is needed much on the lines of what Ganguly did after SRT's terrible captaincy had sunk India to a new low back in 1999-2000.

  • Rangarajan on September 2, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    Where does Aus 4-0 drubbing handed over to India in 1991-92 stand in this? That entire tour was almost a "Rainbow wash" for India (but for a couple of wins over Windies in the WSC and one tied ODI, and 2 wins in WC (One over Pak and one over Zim) . . . Almost all countries kicked India out of shape in that tour (which included a few forgettable Firstclass matches as well)?

    (Was it analyzed in the link? Coz I couldn't find it or did I miss it?) [[ It is there in the accompanying table. Series# 314. The final series index was 68.21-31.79. Not surprising since the margins of wins were 10 wkts, 8 wickets, 38 runs, 300 runs and a draw very much in favour of India (57.89-42.11: remember Border/Hughes stand of 50). A far cry from the 4-day losses sustained now. Azhar and men could come back with their head held high, despite the 0-4 result. Ananth: ]]

  • Dean Cole on September 2, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    Hi, why isn't the 2006/07 Ashes series in here, that was the most dominant performance of cricket over another I have ever seen, sure England over India was comprehensive but I reckon the way the Australia broke England down was much better [[ Dean, one near-whitewash. Aus-Eng: 76.72-23.28. That 6-wicket win brought this down a bit. Ananth: ]]

  • Santosh Sequeira on September 2, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    I somewhat agree with you, this series is not just a one off loss, with the best players in their twilight this might take India a long time to recover if they are not careful, like it did after that 91-92 0-4 series loss to Australia (BTW where does this series stand). It took India almost 10 years to recover then.

    On a different note could you please tell me how does your database get updated, as in which source do you get data from into your own database and does it update real time as it happens out there on the field???? [[ I do not update my database live since I do not have access to ball-by-ball data nor do i have the resources. I am a öne-man band. I download the Cricinfo scorecard, in the form of a text file, which is public domain and run through a series of programs to update my database which is proprietary to me. It is a complex database with hundreds of data elements in two-dimensional form. I have about 200+ programs which are used to read this database and can virtually make it dance. For instance ïf you ask me, '''can you give me a list of players who have captured 5 wickets for below 50 runs in one innings and have gone wicket-less while conceding 100+ runs in the other", it will take me 5 minutes. [[ The answer, no one. However when I change the query to 5 for below-100 and 0 for 100+, there are four bowlers. Md Aamer in 2009 vs Aus (0 for 101 and 5 for 79) Md Sami in 2003 vs Nzl (0 for 126 and 5 for 44) Morrison in 1996 vs Win (0 for 124 and 5 for 185) Lance Cairns in 1980 against Win (6 for 85 and 0 for 107). You get the drift. Ananth: ]]

    Or "pairs of cricketers who made their debuts in the same Test and retired in the same Test" I can do it. I would only add some filters in case the lists are long. Ananth: ]]

    Cheers

    Santosh

  • Bull on September 2, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Interesting stuff. Pity that very few of the so called billion fans will read it and understand its import not to mention the administrators. I was just wondering whether you could analyse the comparative bowling performances in all 'colour wash' series. It would be interesting to see where this Indian attack really stands on that list. Lastly Dravid's recent performances have once again raised the debate of India's best Test batsman. To my mind it would be Sunil Gavaskar followed by Dravid and then Tendulkar,but it would be nice if you could you, with the aid of statistics, tell us who it truly is. [[ Have in mind an Indian batsmen analysis as well as an analysis of modern greats. Your other point is a good one After I finish the Series all-rounders one let us give the Series concept a holiday. Thenafter a gap, I can find a way to relate team performances with individual ones. Ananth: ]]

  • Jonathan Ellis on September 1, 2011, 14:29 GMT

    Where do the 4-0 home defeats suffered by England in 1988 (vs Windies, with one "honourable" draw and one first-innings lead in a lost match) and 1989 (vs. Australia, with two "saved by rain" draws, without which it would have been 6-0)? [[ 1988 Eng-Win 0-4 28.31-71.69 1989 Eng-Aus 0-4 29.70-70.30 These are all there in the downloadable files. Ananth: ]]

    One can make a case for England fielding a weakened team in both cases, thanks to selectorial indecision and incompetence. 29 players and 4 captains in 1988, versus a Windies team still near its peak: 30 players under Gower in 1989, against an Aussie team none too different from the team that England (also with much about the same players available) had thumped in 1985 and 1986-7...

    The 1993 4-1 home defeat by Aussie was also pretty comprehensive, but obviously not so bad. England did at least win one: and they had the better of the drawn 3rd test too.

  • Boll on September 1, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    @Ananth. I take your point that excluding `minnows` from the analysis is probably a good thing, but would not simply excluding series in which they have played, rather than all 3-test series be a better compromise solution? [[ Defibnition of minnow is rather tricky. Ananth: ]]

    And in comparing 4 and 5 test series, (or indeed 3 test series), surely some extra weight should be given to the longer series. I can`t help but feel that India losing to England 4-0 away (however great the margins of defeat) is slightly less of a slaughter than England losing 5-0 at home to the Windies. [[ Yes, a subtle tweak for 5/6 Test series would be nice. But would be quite arbitrary. One would say as arbitrary as 10% for Home. Ananth: ]]

    Also, considering the rarity of decent teams being swept at home, I feel perhaps that more weight should be given to these feats. [[ The 10% home weight goes some way towards achieving this. Ananth: ]]

    As always, a well explained and extremely interesting article though.

    ps. Hussey was robbed. [[ I myself felt it was not very clear cut. One angle suggested a glove. Another angle was decisive in showing no contact. I don't know why Tony was so forthright in concluding the glove. Ananth: ]]

  • Andy on September 1, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    Ananth, would it be possible to let us know what the algorithms were for calculating scores and team strengths?

    For the more statistically/mathematically minded of us they could be interesting to see. It would also be good to see/generate a possible generalised version for first class leagues. [[ I have used the same algorithm used in my Team Strength analysis done a few months back. IThe article was published during February.. Ananth: ]]

  • Jim Broswell on September 1, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    I think you meant Aus defeated SA in 1931. Just a small typo :) [[ Will correct. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajai Banerji on September 1, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    There have been two 5-1 victories; Aus v WI in 1975-76 and Eng v Aus in 1978-79 (Away). I suppose you did consider them. [[ Aus-Win (1975: 5-1) works to 64.53-35.47 Aus-Eng (1978: 1-5) works to 32.55-67.45 But you have reminded that I have not uploaded the tables for readers to view/download. Will do so immediately. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 1, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    re.Pretorius. Just saw him running the lead-off leg in the 4x400 for the Saffas. Fantastic stuff. Qualified for the final as well I think. [[ Pistorius is part of the South African relay squad with the third best time amongst the 8 teams They have done a sub-3 minute race and must be a serious medal contender tomorrow. Ananth: ]]

    Ananth, (great to see the full sporting love appearing here, but...) you seem to have forgotten the Wallabies knocking off the All Blacks. Heart-warming indeed. [[ Problem, Boll is that I do not follow Rugby that closely as I did when I leved in UK. I will agree with you only if All Blacks do not lift the World Cup on October 23. Ananth: ]]

  • Smudge on September 1, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    Interesting stuff as ever. If you will forgive a (slightly) off topic request. I was wondering what would be the result of you running your "series batting" analysis on Pieterson, Bell and Dravid for the recent test series. I'm interested to see if Dravid would end up top (despite being 3rd in total and average). It would also be interesting to consider the results whilst the "subjective" views of the quality of the three men's performance are still fresh in our minds. [[ I have got to activate that aspect of the program. Will do it and post the results. May take a day or two. Ananth: ]]

  • Shane on September 1, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Hi Ananth. Apologies if I missed it but how did you determine the team strength differential value. I noticed that for 1970 series Aust was ranked slightly higher than SaF. I actually understand that from a historical view as Australia were considered the best team in the world then (beaten Ind home and away, Windies at home and England away in last 4 series) and South Africa were something of an unknown quantity as they had not played tests for almost 3 years (and not too many people outside of SAF had heard of Barry Richards and Mike Proctor). But how did you quantify it? [[ The Team Strength index is based on the batting and bowling numbers rather than on the results. I had done an article on this some months back. However lot of adjustment is done for periods, ctd etc. Australia were decidedly stronger than SA but part of this was compensated by the home factor. Ananth: ]]

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  • Shane on September 1, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Hi Ananth. Apologies if I missed it but how did you determine the team strength differential value. I noticed that for 1970 series Aust was ranked slightly higher than SaF. I actually understand that from a historical view as Australia were considered the best team in the world then (beaten Ind home and away, Windies at home and England away in last 4 series) and South Africa were something of an unknown quantity as they had not played tests for almost 3 years (and not too many people outside of SAF had heard of Barry Richards and Mike Proctor). But how did you quantify it? [[ The Team Strength index is based on the batting and bowling numbers rather than on the results. I had done an article on this some months back. However lot of adjustment is done for periods, ctd etc. Australia were decidedly stronger than SA but part of this was compensated by the home factor. Ananth: ]]

  • Smudge on September 1, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    Interesting stuff as ever. If you will forgive a (slightly) off topic request. I was wondering what would be the result of you running your "series batting" analysis on Pieterson, Bell and Dravid for the recent test series. I'm interested to see if Dravid would end up top (despite being 3rd in total and average). It would also be interesting to consider the results whilst the "subjective" views of the quality of the three men's performance are still fresh in our minds. [[ I have got to activate that aspect of the program. Will do it and post the results. May take a day or two. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 1, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    re.Pretorius. Just saw him running the lead-off leg in the 4x400 for the Saffas. Fantastic stuff. Qualified for the final as well I think. [[ Pistorius is part of the South African relay squad with the third best time amongst the 8 teams They have done a sub-3 minute race and must be a serious medal contender tomorrow. Ananth: ]]

    Ananth, (great to see the full sporting love appearing here, but...) you seem to have forgotten the Wallabies knocking off the All Blacks. Heart-warming indeed. [[ Problem, Boll is that I do not follow Rugby that closely as I did when I leved in UK. I will agree with you only if All Blacks do not lift the World Cup on October 23. Ananth: ]]

  • Ajai Banerji on September 1, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    There have been two 5-1 victories; Aus v WI in 1975-76 and Eng v Aus in 1978-79 (Away). I suppose you did consider them. [[ Aus-Win (1975: 5-1) works to 64.53-35.47 Aus-Eng (1978: 1-5) works to 32.55-67.45 But you have reminded that I have not uploaded the tables for readers to view/download. Will do so immediately. Ananth: ]]

  • Jim Broswell on September 1, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    I think you meant Aus defeated SA in 1931. Just a small typo :) [[ Will correct. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Andy on September 1, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    Ananth, would it be possible to let us know what the algorithms were for calculating scores and team strengths?

    For the more statistically/mathematically minded of us they could be interesting to see. It would also be good to see/generate a possible generalised version for first class leagues. [[ I have used the same algorithm used in my Team Strength analysis done a few months back. IThe article was published during February.. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on September 1, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    @Ananth. I take your point that excluding `minnows` from the analysis is probably a good thing, but would not simply excluding series in which they have played, rather than all 3-test series be a better compromise solution? [[ Defibnition of minnow is rather tricky. Ananth: ]]

    And in comparing 4 and 5 test series, (or indeed 3 test series), surely some extra weight should be given to the longer series. I can`t help but feel that India losing to England 4-0 away (however great the margins of defeat) is slightly less of a slaughter than England losing 5-0 at home to the Windies. [[ Yes, a subtle tweak for 5/6 Test series would be nice. But would be quite arbitrary. One would say as arbitrary as 10% for Home. Ananth: ]]

    Also, considering the rarity of decent teams being swept at home, I feel perhaps that more weight should be given to these feats. [[ The 10% home weight goes some way towards achieving this. Ananth: ]]

    As always, a well explained and extremely interesting article though.

    ps. Hussey was robbed. [[ I myself felt it was not very clear cut. One angle suggested a glove. Another angle was decisive in showing no contact. I don't know why Tony was so forthright in concluding the glove. Ananth: ]]

  • Jonathan Ellis on September 1, 2011, 14:29 GMT

    Where do the 4-0 home defeats suffered by England in 1988 (vs Windies, with one "honourable" draw and one first-innings lead in a lost match) and 1989 (vs. Australia, with two "saved by rain" draws, without which it would have been 6-0)? [[ 1988 Eng-Win 0-4 28.31-71.69 1989 Eng-Aus 0-4 29.70-70.30 These are all there in the downloadable files. Ananth: ]]

    One can make a case for England fielding a weakened team in both cases, thanks to selectorial indecision and incompetence. 29 players and 4 captains in 1988, versus a Windies team still near its peak: 30 players under Gower in 1989, against an Aussie team none too different from the team that England (also with much about the same players available) had thumped in 1985 and 1986-7...

    The 1993 4-1 home defeat by Aussie was also pretty comprehensive, but obviously not so bad. England did at least win one: and they had the better of the drawn 3rd test too.

  • Bull on September 2, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Interesting stuff. Pity that very few of the so called billion fans will read it and understand its import not to mention the administrators. I was just wondering whether you could analyse the comparative bowling performances in all 'colour wash' series. It would be interesting to see where this Indian attack really stands on that list. Lastly Dravid's recent performances have once again raised the debate of India's best Test batsman. To my mind it would be Sunil Gavaskar followed by Dravid and then Tendulkar,but it would be nice if you could you, with the aid of statistics, tell us who it truly is. [[ Have in mind an Indian batsmen analysis as well as an analysis of modern greats. Your other point is a good one After I finish the Series all-rounders one let us give the Series concept a holiday. Thenafter a gap, I can find a way to relate team performances with individual ones. Ananth: ]]

  • Santosh Sequeira on September 2, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    I somewhat agree with you, this series is not just a one off loss, with the best players in their twilight this might take India a long time to recover if they are not careful, like it did after that 91-92 0-4 series loss to Australia (BTW where does this series stand). It took India almost 10 years to recover then.

    On a different note could you please tell me how does your database get updated, as in which source do you get data from into your own database and does it update real time as it happens out there on the field???? [[ I do not update my database live since I do not have access to ball-by-ball data nor do i have the resources. I am a öne-man band. I download the Cricinfo scorecard, in the form of a text file, which is public domain and run through a series of programs to update my database which is proprietary to me. It is a complex database with hundreds of data elements in two-dimensional form. I have about 200+ programs which are used to read this database and can virtually make it dance. For instance ïf you ask me, '''can you give me a list of players who have captured 5 wickets for below 50 runs in one innings and have gone wicket-less while conceding 100+ runs in the other", it will take me 5 minutes. [[ The answer, no one. However when I change the query to 5 for below-100 and 0 for 100+, there are four bowlers. Md Aamer in 2009 vs Aus (0 for 101 and 5 for 79) Md Sami in 2003 vs Nzl (0 for 126 and 5 for 44) Morrison in 1996 vs Win (0 for 124 and 5 for 185) Lance Cairns in 1980 against Win (6 for 85 and 0 for 107). You get the drift. Ananth: ]]

    Or "pairs of cricketers who made their debuts in the same Test and retired in the same Test" I can do it. I would only add some filters in case the lists are long. Ananth: ]]

    Cheers

    Santosh