Batting second favoured Bears
Warwickshire's domination in winning the LV= County Championship title is emphasised by a statistical study carried out on behalf of ESPNcricinfo.
Not only did they outplay their rivals over the season to an extraordinary degree, they took the First Division pennant without once following the adage of batting first after winning the toss. Warwickshire, who won the championship with a game to spare, averaged 105 runs per innings more than their opponents - 65 runs better than their nearest challengers, Somerset.
Influenced by one of county cricket's wettest-ever summers, all their six wins came when they batted second, in defiance of common practice. Such was the rain effect that only four wins all season went to First Division sides who chose to bat after winning the toss.
If you wanted to watch wickets tumble, it was best to stick with Durham's attack in 2012. Over the course of the season, they took wickets every 40 deliveries, led by the England fast bowler Graham Onions. Watching Lancashire's attack was Division One's most restful occupation; they struck only every 63 deliveries and were relegated as a consequence.
Derbyshire, surprise winners of the Second Division title, did not dominate their rivals as much as Yorkshire, who were promoted in second place, and Kent, who narrowly missed out. Derbyshire's margin between totals scored and conceded was a relatively modest 31 runs - dwarfed by the records achieved by Yorkshire and Kent.
The most outclassed side, in either division, was Leicestershire. Only Leicestershire, and Worcestershire in Division One, scored their runs at less than three an over and the difference between the scores that Leicestershire made and conceded was a whopping 103 runs per innings.
For all that, they achieved three wins along the way and as a consequence still managed to finish third bottom, ahead of Northants and Gloucestershire, both of whom were considerably more competitive over the season.
The data has been collated by the cricket freelance and analyst of the county scene, Neville Scott.
*The scheduled 16th match for these four teams was abandoned without a ball bowled
1T Batting first on winning toss
2T Batting second on winning toss
W1/L1 Winning/losing after being put in to bat
W2/L2 Winning/losing batting second after losing toss
In a season badly impacted by the weather it was tough for batsmen and, unsurprisingly, teams often struggled to put large scores on the board. The table below shows averages totals for and against by all the teams; Warwickshire's positive difference in Division One was very large. A surprising figure, considering they claimed the wooden spoon, is Gloucestershire's balls/wicket ratio.
Tomorrow: In the concluding part of Scott's study of the 2012 season, we reveal county cricket's most unsettled sides and whether they suffered as a result.