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George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

A chasm between England's averages

They averaged nearly 60 with the bat and 26 with the ball during their rout of India. The difference between the two averages is among the largest for a series

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

August 24, 2011

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

The English side celebrates the whitewash, England v India, 4th Test, The Oval, 5th day, August 22, 2011
England's batsmen kept India on the field for ages, and their bowlers ensured India's batsmen didn't do the same © Getty Images
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England batted 732.5 overs in six innings during their 4-0 humiliation of India. Their bowlers needed only 634 overs to rout India's batsmen eight times. England plundered 2809 runs for the loss of 47 wickets and were all out just twice in the series. Their bowlers conceded only 2044 runs and took 80 wickets. The difference of 34.21 runs between England's batting average for the series (59.76) and their bowling average (25.55, also India's batting average) is the 12th largest for a contest comprising at least three Tests. We've dug up a list of other series with similar chasms between a team's batting and bowling average.

The gap between England and India during the summer of '42 was wider than in 2011, statistically at least. On India's 1974 tour, England scored 1629 runs in four innings, averaging 67.87 for each of the 24 wickets lost. They took 59 Indian wickets at 19.54 apiece, the one that got away was BS Chandrasekhar, who didn't bat because of a thumb injury during the follow-on at Lord's, where India were routed for their lowest Test score. England won all three Tests, two by an innings, and inflicted on India their only whitewash (in series of at least three Tests) until India's tour of Australia in 1999-2000. The 2011 whitewash in England is the first since then.

On their tour of New Zealand in 1999, South Africa averaged 98.56 per wicket, the highest team average in a series of at least three Tests. Though they scored 621 for 5 in Auckland and 498 for 8 in Wellington, that average was built on a monumental performance in Christchurch, where Herschelle Gibbs made 211 and Jacques Kallis 149 during an innings of 442 for 1. South Africa's bowlers, however, were able to force a 1-0 victory only in the third Test, and they averaged 31.90 for each of 44 New Zealand wickets. The difference of 66.65 between South Africa's batting and bowling average is the second largest for a series.

Largest difference between a team's batting & bowling average in a series (qualification: 3 Tests)
Team Series Result Mat Runs Wkts R/W Runs Wkts R/W Diff
Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2007 SL 3-0 3 1528 16 95.50 1011 60 16.85 78.65
South Africa v New Zealand, 1998/99 SA 1-0 3 1577 16 98.56 1404 44 31.90 66.65
Australia v New Zealand, 1993/94 Aus 2-0 3 1872 23 81.39 1418 53 26.75 54.63
England v India, 1974 Eng 3-0 3 1629 24 67.87 1153 59 19.54 48.33
India v Sri Lanka, 1986/87 India 2-0 3 1527 23 66.39 1098 50 21.96 44.43
Australia v Sri Lanka, 1995/96 Aus 3-0 3 1875 26 72.11 1690 60 28.16 43.94
England v Pakistan, 1962 Eng 4-0 5 2363 36 65.63 2227 96 23.19 42.44
Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, 2001/02 SL 3-0 3 1721 28 61.46 1146 60 19.10 42.36
Pakistan v Australia, 1982/83 Pak 3-0 3 1498 24 62.41 1491 60 24.85 37.56
England v South Africa, 1924 Eng 3-0 5 1846 31 59.54 1846 74 24.94 34.60
India v Sri Lanka, 1993/94 India 3-0 3 1410 26 54.23 1179 60 19.65 34.58
England v India, 2011 Eng 4-0 4 2809 47 59.76 2044 80 25.55 34.21
England v New Zealand, 1965 Eng 3-0 3 1602 28 57.21 1410 59 23.89 33.31
South Africa v West Indies, 2003/04 SA 3-0 4 2962 44 67.31 2621 75 34.94 32.37
India v New Zealand, 1955/56 India 2-0 5 2557 39 65.56 2333 69 33.81 31.75
England v New Zealand, 1962/63 Eng 3-0 3 1416 28 50.57 1153 60 19.21 31.35
India v England, 1992/93 India 3-0 3 1604 28 57.28 1563 60 26.05 31.23
Australia v South Africa, 1949/50 Aus 4-0 5 2710 51 53.13 1991 90 22.12 31.01
India v Australia, 1985/86 drawn 0-0 3 1624 26 62.46 1483 46 32.23 30.22
Australia v England, 1989 Aus 4-0 6 3877 67 57.86 2882 104 27.71 30.15
Pakistan v India, 1978/79 Pak 2-0 3 2079 31 67.06 1813 49 37.00 30.06

All but one of the series in the table above were won by the team with the better stats, with the opposition failing to win even a Test. The exception is India's tour of Australia in 1985-86. India scored 1624 runs for 26 wickets at 62.46 in three Tests, while Australia, rebuilding their side under Allan Border, made only 1483 for 46 wickets at 32.23. Despite leading on the first innings in each match, India couldn't win any, and the series was drawn 0-0. The closest they came to victory was at the SCG, where Australia ended on 116 for 6 in the follow-on. The difference of 30.22 between the averages is the largest in favour of a team who failed to win the series, almost double the next best - England's 15.94 advantage over Australia in the 1938 Ashes.

Largest difference between averages for a team not winning the series (qualification: 3 Tests)
Team Series Result Mat Runs Wkts R/W Runs Wkts R/W Diff
India v Australia, 1985/86 drawn 0-0 3 1624 26 62.46 1483 46 32.23 30.22
England v Australia, 1938 drawn 1-1 4 2643 53 49.86 2137 63 33.92 15.94
England v Pakistan, 1954 drawn 1-1 4 1307 43 30.39 1049 67 15.65 14.73
Sri Lanka v India, 2010 drawn 1-1 3 2079 35 59.40 2015 45 44.77 14.62
South Africa v New Zealand, 1963/64 drawn 0-0 3 1356 40 33.90 1132 54 20.96 12.93
Pakistan v India, 1989/90 drawn 0-0 4 2086 39 53.48 2318 57 40.66 12.82
England v New Zealand, 1965/66 drawn 0-0 3 1178 36 32.72 1159 57 20.33 12.38
Australia v New Zealand, 2001/02 drawn 0-0 3 1860 36 51.66 1594 39 40.87 10.79
West Indies v England, 1973/74 drawn 1-1 5 2405 54 44.53 2958 86 34.39 10.14
Australia v New Zealand, 1973/74 drawn 1-1 3 2020 54 37.40 1239 45 27.53 9.87
England v Pakistan, 1968/69 drawn 0-0 3 1340 36 37.22 853 31 27.51 9.70
New Zealand v England, 1987/88 drawn 0-0 3 1461 37 39.48 977 32 30.53 8.95
India v Sri Lanka, 1997/98 drawn 0-0 3 1693 38 44.55 1147 32 35.84 8.70
Australia v South Africa, 1993/94 drawn 1-1 3 1338 40 33.45 1068 43 24.83 8.61
South Africa v India, 2010/11 drawn 1-1 3 1669 44 37.93 1558 53 29.39 8.53
South Africa v England, 2003 drawn 2-2 5 3323 75 44.30 2901 81 35.81 8.49
England v Australia, 1968 drawn 1-1 5 2527 74 34.14 2148 83 25.87 8.26
Australia v India, 1980/81 drawn 1-1 3 1657 47 35.25 1517 56 27.08 8.16
Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka, 1994/95 drawn 0-0 3 1156 27 42.81 1285 37 34.72 8.08

The table below contains a list of Test series won by a team despite them averaging fewer runs per wicket than their opponents did. On top of that list is England's Ashes victory in 2009. Australia scored 2886 runs for the loss of 71 wickets in five Tests, while England made 2869 but lost 13 more wickets. Australia's average per wicket was nearly seven runs more than England's, but the timing of run-scoring is everything and England took the series 2-1.

Winning a series despite a negative difference between a team's batting & bowling average
Team Series Result Mat Runs Wkts R/W Runs Wkts R/W Diff
England v Australia, 2009 Eng 2-1 5 2869 84 34.15 2886 71 40.64 -6.49
England v South Africa, 1998 Eng 2-1 5 2611 89 29.33 2299 65 35.36 -6.03
Australia v England, 1891/92 Aus 2-1 3 1280 59 21.69 1384 50 27.68 -5.98
West Indies v England, 2008/09 WI 1-0 5 2454 56 43.82 2825 57 49.56 -5.73
Australia v India, 1977/78 Aus 3-2 5 2761 98 28.17 2918 87 33.54 -5.36
England v Australia, 1894/95 Eng 3-2 5 2399 92 26.07 2822 90 31.35 -5.27
England v Sri Lanka, 2000/01 Eng 2-1 3 1313 53 24.77 1339 45 29.75 -4.98
Pakistan v India, 1986/87 Pak 1-0 5 2313 69 33.52 2362 62 38.09 -4.57
India v England, 1971 India 1-0 3 1193 47 25.38 1582 53 29.84 -4.46
Australia v England, 1902 Aus 2-1 5 1395 72 19.37 1646 70 23.51 -4.13
Pakistan v Zimbabwe, 1994/95 Pak 2-1 3 1282 52 24.65 1246 44 28.31 -3.66
West Indies v Zimbabwe, 2003/04 WI 1-0 2 1151 39 29.51 1188 36 33.00 -3.48

Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for Cricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by MeraBharatMahaan on (August 24, 2011, 23:00 GMT)

Please read about our great Sachin who always hides behind Dravid at number 4 position:

http://blog.yahoo.com/_YC2PEQ34OS7WNX4ARD2QMHSFCQ/articles/117004

Posted by Roger_Allott on (August 24, 2011, 20:25 GMT)

The ratio is definitely more revealing than the absolute difference, as it takes account of the changing style of cricket over the years, the pitch/weather conditions during the series and the laws in force at the time. In terms of ratios, and getting rid of series involving one or more teams who were not really established test countries, the stand-out performances are the Windies' thrashings of England in the summer of 1984 and our winter of 1984/85. In those two series, England performed at about 43% of the level achieved by Windies. The series that's closest to it is this most recent one, where India performed at about 44% of that of England.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 16:51 GMT)

I thought the 2009 Ashes series proved that statistics are meaningless.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 10:27 GMT)

Matches aren't won by ratios though they're won by absolute numbers: innings, runs or wickets.

Posted by liquorvicar on (August 24, 2011, 10:05 GMT)

In On This Day today: "1959 The pace of Fred Trueman and Brian Statham was too much for India - for the last time that summer, but not the first. All out for 194 at The Oval, they lost by an innings to complete the only 5-0 whitewash ever inflicted by England. " But in this article: "England won all three Tests [in 1974], two by an innings, and inflicted on India their only whitewash (in series of at least three Tests) until India's tour of Australia in 1999-2000." Unless I'm missing something they can't both be right!

Posted by WhoCaresAboutIPL on (August 24, 2011, 7:37 GMT)

Travis and George - very interesting but I wonder whether the ratio, rather than the difference (positive or negative) of the two figures is not even more revealing?

Posted by WhoCaresAboutIPL on (August 24, 2011, 7:35 GMT)

Travis and George - very interesting but I wonder whether the ratio, rather than the difference (positive or negative) of the two figures is not even more revealing?

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George BinoyClose
George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket

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