August 24, 2012

South Africa's overseas advantage

Unlike the two previous top-ranked Test teams, South Africa have risen to the top on the basis of consistently excellent away results
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After hanging on to the No. 1 spot for a year, England have relinquished it to South Africa, and Andrew Strauss, their captain, was quick to acknowledge that Graeme Smith's team thoroughly deserved the honour, given their recent form. England had an extremely dominant spell when they won eight out of nine series, but since then, they've lost two out of four, and both by convincing margins - 3-0 to Pakistan and 2-0 to South Africa.

South Africa's strong run, on the other hand, has been going on for much longer: since December 2006, in 20 series, they've won 13, drawn six, and lost only one - to Australia at home in 2009, immediately after beating them in Australia earlier in the season. During this period they've won two series in England, and one each in Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and West Indies. They haven't won a series in India in two attempts, but each time they've won a Test and drawn the series. The only country in which South Africa didn't win or draw their last series is Sri Lanka - they lost 2-0 in July-August 2006.

The big difference between the recent records for England and South Africa has been the teams' overseas performance. During England's powerful run between 2009 and 2011, most of their emphatic wins were achieved in England: Australia was the only major opposition they beat in an away series - their other overseas win was in Bangladesh, while they drew in South Africa. On the other hand, they beat West Indies, Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India at home.

India's ascent to the top spot in December 2009 was also largely based on home wins, though they also had two creditable series wins in England (in 2007) and New Zealand (2009), But out of seven series wins between 2007 and 2009, four were achieved at home - against Pakistan, Australia, England and Sri Lanka - and one in Bangladesh. On the other hand, they lost series in Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka during this period.

South Africa's move up the table, though, has been based on wins both home and away. In 27 away Tests since December 2009, they have a 14-4 win-loss record, with no series losses. That record dips slightly in home Tests, to 16-9 in 28 matches, with one series defeat in ten.

The table below compares the records for all teams since December 2006, excluding Tests against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Though Australia have a marginally better overall win-loss record during this period, South Africa have been the overwhelming champions in away Tests: they have a win-loss ratio of 3, while none of the other teams has managed even half that. England, on the other hand, have a ratio of 0.5, exactly the same as India.

Teams in Test cricket since December 2006 (excl. Tests v B'desh and Zim)
Team Tests W/L Ratio Away Tests W/L Ratio
South Africa 51 26/ 13 2.00 25 12/ 4 3.00
Australia 61 34/ 16 2.12 29 12/ 9 1.33
Pakistan 40 10/ 16 0.62 36 10/ 15 0.66
England 69 27/ 21 1.28 31 7/ 14 0.50
India 59 21/ 18 1.16 33 8/ 16 0.50
Sri Lanka 45 13/ 14 0.92 20 3/ 10 0.30
New Zealand 37 4/ 21 0.19 17 1/ 12 0.08
West Indies 46 6/ 22 0.27 23 1/ 13 0.07

A closer look at the overseas stats indicates the major differentiator between South Africa and the other teams: it's the ability of their batsmen to retain the ability to make huge scores even when playing in unfamiliar conditions. Several teams have better batting averages in home Tests than South Africa: India average 47.82, Australia 40.96, England 40.29, and Sri Lanka 39.94, while South Africa are fifth, on 35.62. (All stats exclude Tests against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh).

However, in away games, South Africa's batting is a long way better than other teams: they average 44.93, and the next best are Australia on 35.51. Even allowing for the fact that away Tests for other teams include matches in South Africa, where conditions are toughest for batting these days, the difference is huge. India's batting average overseas falls to 31, while England are slightly better at 33.48.

One of the key stats here is the number of hundreds scored by South African batsmen: in 25 overseas Tests, they've scored 41 hundreds and 55 fifties. That works out to an average of 1.64 hundreds per Test, and a fifties-to-hundreds ratio of 1.34. Both are significantly better than those of other teams. India, for example, average 0.70 hundreds per Test, and have a fifties-to-hundreds ratio of 4.26. That South African ability to convert starts into big scores was evident in the series in England too, when they turned five out of ten 50-plus scores into hundreds, including three scores of more than 180.

Meanwhile South Africa have always been blessed with high-quality bowlers, which means the efforts of their batsmen haven't gone waste. However, three other teams - Australia, Pakistan and England - have bowling averages that are similar to those of South Africa. The key difference has been the ability of the batsmen to rack up huge scores, no matter what the conditions.

Overseas stats for all teams since Dec 2006 (excl. Tests in B'desh and Zim)
Team Tests Bat ave 100s/ 50s Wkts taken Bowl ave
South Africa 25 44.93 41/ 55 395 34.16
Australia 29 35.51 34/ 79 484 33.37
Pakistan 36 29.05 22/ 90 593 32.66
England 31 33.48 34/ 72 471 35.85
India 33 31.00 23/ 98 487 40.12
Sri Lanka 20 33.45 27/ 37 216 50.09
New Zealand 17 24.87 7/ 30 214 39.93
West Indies 23 29.63 19/ 53 269 45.17

Among batsmen who have scored 1500-plus overseas runs since December 2006 (excluding matches in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe), four of the top eight averages belong to South Africans. Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers have 65-plus averages, while Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith average more than 54.

Some of the top batsmen from other teams have struggled overseas during this period. Rahul Dravid averaged only 35.10 in 33 Tests, Ricky Ponting 36.82, Virender Sehwag 36.97, and Michael Hussey 37.34. VVS Laxman averaged 70.45 in home Tests during this period, but in overseas games his average dropped to 41.35. (Click here for the full list of batsmen in overseas games, with a 1500-run cut-off.)

Best overseas batsmen since Dec 2006 (Qual: 1500 runs, excl Tests in B'desh and Zim)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Hashim Amla 25 2486 65.42 8/ 11
AB de Villiers 25 2147 65.06 5/ 9
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 19 1607 61.80 5/ 10
Kumar Sangakkara 19 1972 58.00 9/ 6
Jacques Kallis 24 2082 57.83 10/ 6
Chris Gayle 16 1517 56.18 4/ 4
Misbah-ul-Haq 24 1867 54.91 3/ 15
Graeme Smith 25 2286 54.42 8/ 10

A further break-up for these four South African batsmen shows how adept they have been against both pace and spin in overseas Tests. Amla and de Villiers average more than 70 against pace, and more than 60 against spin. Kallis' average against pace, and Smith's against spin, drop below 50, but they're still pretty impressive numbers.

On the other hand, some of the other top batsmen from other sides have struggled against either pace or spin, or in some cases both, in overseas matches. For the Indians, pace has been the problem: Dravid averaged 34.67 against fast bowling, Laxman 35.50, Sehwag 37.93 and Tendulkar 43.40; against spin Tendulkar and Laxman average more than 60, and Dravid 46.42. For England, Pietersen and Cook average marginally more than 40 against pace in overseas matches, but Ian Bell's average drops to 37.68; against spin, Cook averages 73.46, and Pietersen 48.15. Ponting averages 35 against pace and Hussey 30; against spin their averages are 61 and 52. Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's best batsman, averages 54 against pace and 64 against spin, but Jayawardene's average against pace is only 29.29.

South Africa thus have a core group of batsmen who've proved themselves to be top-class against both pace and spin in overseas Tests. There was a time when India's top four were similarly capable as well, but they didn't always have the bowling support to convert their batting class into victories. Dale Steyn and Co have ensured that South Africa don't face that problem, and the result is a well-deserved top spot in Test cricket. The challenge now will be to ensure they don't slip up like India and England did.

South Africa's top batsmen v pace and spin in overseas Tests (excl. B'desh and Zim)
Batsman Pace-runs Dismissals Average Spin-runs Dismissals Average
Hashim Amla 1457 20 72.85 1029 16 64.31
AB de Villiers 1176 15 78.40 963 15 64.20
Jacques Kallis 950 20 47.50 1107 16 69.18
Graeme Smith 1431 24 59.62 817 18 45.38

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 25, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    Can anybody tel me if any team from subcontinent other than India has ever reache to number 1ranking in test

  • POSTED BY on | August 25, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Can someone show this to David Kendi and ask him why SA are not WAY ahead of the rest on the rankings table? Why do teams like England and India, that play many more tests at home than away, get such a huge advantage in the rankings?

  • POSTED BY GRAMMY_SACHIN on | August 25, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    SA are by far the consistent team in the last 6 years and the above stats are no surprise to all of us. They should have been No.1 in 2010 itself but for the loss in Kolkatta in the penultimate over of the match (to draw the series 1-1) and beacuse of which India barely managed to nose ahead of SA in the rankings. If SA had drawn that series they would have been No.1 in 2010 itself and would have remained No.1 till now and Eng would have not have even reached the No.1 rankings. It was merely bad luck coupled with some strange approach by SAF that delayed their march towards No.1 ranking. However, they will find stiff challenge from AUS, ENG and may be India in the next 2 to 3 years. Well done SAF & SMITH & GARY KIRSTEN

  • POSTED BY Legaleagle on | August 25, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    I believe South Africans are true No. 1 after 2 years of non-deserving teams at the helm. India and England's record speak for itself. They have not managed to convincingly win any away series with credible opposition. I truly hope that South Africa manage to remain on top, they have a tendency to lose in Asia regardless of how good they are performing elsewhere. Good luck!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 25, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    South africa wont be the number 1 after their sl tour next year

  • POSTED BY on | August 25, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    @cenitin, India did well btw 2003 and 2008 in overseas, bcos there were Ganguly, Kumble in the team. Also Except Pakistan tour in 2004 where Shewag scored triple century and dravid a double century; Aussie tour in 2003-04 where Dravid, Laxman scored lot of runs while Ganguly, Sachin has scored centuries, in most of series Indian batsmen never scored "BIG Daddy Hundreds" in Overseas.

    India never looked team to win any series even btw 2003-2008 and they relied heavily on magical innings from batsmen to score Match winning knocks. Compare this to SA from 2006; Amla, AB, Smith were exceptionally gud batters while Steyn, Philander (for one year or so), Pollock were great bowlers..

    So, Overseas records of India doesn't tell true story; We lack bowling unit to take 20 wickets in overseas. And in future, Indian Pacers wont pick 5 wickets/inn or 10 wickets/match on regular basis.

  • POSTED BY postandrail on | August 25, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    test_cricket_is_real_cricke Wrong! India was only ranked No.1 from December 09 until July 11, a mere 20 months.

  • POSTED BY Captain_Oblivious on | August 24, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    Thanks for this article. I think far too much focus in recent times has been placed on short-term results and meaningless rankings. In the history of cricket, everyone knew who the best team was, simply by virtue of good performances over a 4 or 5 year period. Everyone knew the West Indies were the best from 1977-93, while Australia was the best team in the world from 1994-2007. Since the retirements of McGrath and Warne in early '07, South Africa have risen to become the No.1 team. England and India may have been top of the rankings, but IMO were never the 'true' No.1 as this article tends to support. Sure, these two teams might have performed exceptionally well over shorter time frames at various points (over 2 years), but South Africa have proven excellence over a longer period IMO, and are a much more adaptable team in all conditions.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | August 24, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    South Africans are no doubt the best test team in the world today. Yes their last overseas test series loss was in Sri Lanka in 2006. Saffers have actually lost 3 out of their last 4 tests in Sri Lanka as they lost the test series in SL 1-0 in 2004 (2 test match series). They are due to visit SL in July next year and I know it will be tough for us but still we Lankans hopefully can trouble them with spin. Our test record against SA is far better than our woeful test record against Aussies.

  • POSTED BY citizenkc on | August 24, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    India's devastating losses in England and Australia have distorted what used to be a fairly respectable record. However, there is no denying that India has trouble winning series overseas. That is where the lack of technique and skill become obvious. The Rainas and Yuvraj's of the world have to prove themselves in Perth and Headingley before we can be world class contenders, and our bowlers like Kumble and Zaheer have to be able to take wickets everywhere.

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 25, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    Can anybody tel me if any team from subcontinent other than India has ever reache to number 1ranking in test

  • POSTED BY on | August 25, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Can someone show this to David Kendi and ask him why SA are not WAY ahead of the rest on the rankings table? Why do teams like England and India, that play many more tests at home than away, get such a huge advantage in the rankings?

  • POSTED BY GRAMMY_SACHIN on | August 25, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    SA are by far the consistent team in the last 6 years and the above stats are no surprise to all of us. They should have been No.1 in 2010 itself but for the loss in Kolkatta in the penultimate over of the match (to draw the series 1-1) and beacuse of which India barely managed to nose ahead of SA in the rankings. If SA had drawn that series they would have been No.1 in 2010 itself and would have remained No.1 till now and Eng would have not have even reached the No.1 rankings. It was merely bad luck coupled with some strange approach by SAF that delayed their march towards No.1 ranking. However, they will find stiff challenge from AUS, ENG and may be India in the next 2 to 3 years. Well done SAF & SMITH & GARY KIRSTEN

  • POSTED BY Legaleagle on | August 25, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    I believe South Africans are true No. 1 after 2 years of non-deserving teams at the helm. India and England's record speak for itself. They have not managed to convincingly win any away series with credible opposition. I truly hope that South Africa manage to remain on top, they have a tendency to lose in Asia regardless of how good they are performing elsewhere. Good luck!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 25, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    South africa wont be the number 1 after their sl tour next year

  • POSTED BY on | August 25, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    @cenitin, India did well btw 2003 and 2008 in overseas, bcos there were Ganguly, Kumble in the team. Also Except Pakistan tour in 2004 where Shewag scored triple century and dravid a double century; Aussie tour in 2003-04 where Dravid, Laxman scored lot of runs while Ganguly, Sachin has scored centuries, in most of series Indian batsmen never scored "BIG Daddy Hundreds" in Overseas.

    India never looked team to win any series even btw 2003-2008 and they relied heavily on magical innings from batsmen to score Match winning knocks. Compare this to SA from 2006; Amla, AB, Smith were exceptionally gud batters while Steyn, Philander (for one year or so), Pollock were great bowlers..

    So, Overseas records of India doesn't tell true story; We lack bowling unit to take 20 wickets in overseas. And in future, Indian Pacers wont pick 5 wickets/inn or 10 wickets/match on regular basis.

  • POSTED BY postandrail on | August 25, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    test_cricket_is_real_cricke Wrong! India was only ranked No.1 from December 09 until July 11, a mere 20 months.

  • POSTED BY Captain_Oblivious on | August 24, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    Thanks for this article. I think far too much focus in recent times has been placed on short-term results and meaningless rankings. In the history of cricket, everyone knew who the best team was, simply by virtue of good performances over a 4 or 5 year period. Everyone knew the West Indies were the best from 1977-93, while Australia was the best team in the world from 1994-2007. Since the retirements of McGrath and Warne in early '07, South Africa have risen to become the No.1 team. England and India may have been top of the rankings, but IMO were never the 'true' No.1 as this article tends to support. Sure, these two teams might have performed exceptionally well over shorter time frames at various points (over 2 years), but South Africa have proven excellence over a longer period IMO, and are a much more adaptable team in all conditions.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | August 24, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    South Africans are no doubt the best test team in the world today. Yes their last overseas test series loss was in Sri Lanka in 2006. Saffers have actually lost 3 out of their last 4 tests in Sri Lanka as they lost the test series in SL 1-0 in 2004 (2 test match series). They are due to visit SL in July next year and I know it will be tough for us but still we Lankans hopefully can trouble them with spin. Our test record against SA is far better than our woeful test record against Aussies.

  • POSTED BY citizenkc on | August 24, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    India's devastating losses in England and Australia have distorted what used to be a fairly respectable record. However, there is no denying that India has trouble winning series overseas. That is where the lack of technique and skill become obvious. The Rainas and Yuvraj's of the world have to prove themselves in Perth and Headingley before we can be world class contenders, and our bowlers like Kumble and Zaheer have to be able to take wickets everywhere.

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | August 24, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    Highest percentage of tests ended in draw. Guess which country it's Pakistan. No turn no swing flatest track on earth

  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | August 24, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    this quite impressive record by SA in last 6 years. Kudos to SA for playing good test cricket. Deserving #1 team after aussies run a decade ago.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    interesting to note that new zeland has played almost the half number of tests in last 6 years compared to england

  • POSTED BY Jammy_abhi on | August 24, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    Great Article... Thanks Rajesh.. I agree that India has one of worst phase in test during 2011 where they lost to Ausiss n British andhas bad overseas record. This due mainly failure of Indian Batsman as Indian team mainly depends on therir batsman. If batsman perform they win if not then loss. Indian bowling is below than average team.from stat NZ are better than India in bowling department...but home they are best. They have lost only3 series since 1985 at home 1.Pak by (1-0) 2. SA by (2-0) and 3. Aus(2-1) main reason for this lost in rain on 2nd test in chennai when Ind need 209 on last day with 10 wkts in hand but whole 5th day washed out. And as u all know what happen in 2008 in Sydney test that match should go to Ind Favor but it gone other way due to that ind lost by 2-1 but the actual result should be reverse

  • POSTED BY Charles_s123 on | August 24, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Very good article. South Africa team can become the next team to dominate world cricket in this decade. All the best Saffers.

  • POSTED BY test_cricket_is_real_cricket on | August 24, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    when india became no.1, they had impressive results overseas as well... series won in new zealand, england, west indies, sri lanka and a drawn test series in SA... the only blemish was a harsh 2-1 loss to australia in 07-08... and we beat all teams at home except SA so India was the best team from June 2007 upto June 2011... that's why they had the ranking... it was thoroughly deserved...

  • POSTED BY cenitin on | August 24, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    India overall W/L ratio is 21/18 i.e. 1.16 and in overseas 8/16 = 0.5 . Eng and Aus disastrous tour impacted the good numbers earned in last 6-8 years. Before these two tours overall W/L ratio was 21/10 i.e. 2.1 i.e better than SA and equal to Aus and overseas ratio was 8/8= 1 i.e very very respectable. But India team lost a lot of ground in the last 2 tours and now need to improve there records in overseas once again. But its also a fact that 0-8 drubbing doesn't show the true value of that team. I can say that because check the last 2 tour results in Aus (1-2) (1-1) , SA (1 -2) (1- 1) . Eng (1-0 ) (1-1). India able to won series in Eng. Then able to get 1 draw in SA and Aus. Whereas India won last two home series each with Aus, Eng and have draw with SA. But right now I accept after these 2 tours India have to show again that they can still perform in overseas.

  • POSTED BY dariuscorny on | August 24, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    @WickyRoy.paklover it seems you hv a perception that wickets in Pakistan are not flat and Pak batsmen never got oppurtunities to score heavily and Indian batsmen are granted with placid tracks where they score without any problem.dude dont you see tracks in Pkistan are featherbeds and have alwys been,but its incapability of your country batsmen to capatilize on them.if you remember,in feb 2006 there was a oneday series played between India-Pak,man that was feather bed ,i never saw such kind of track evr uptill now,and i remember the inability of Pak batsmen to bat even on those tracks against so called weak Indian attack cost them series.so brother wickets in India and Pak have always been flat and low

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Insightful article. If Pakistan can have a stable management and team, they will be among the top team in world cricket. They already have a good bowling attack but the batting still needs to improve significantly. The young batsman needs to be selected for a longer period of time and more young players needs to be given chances.

    @Arnab. Yep, lets hope so.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    I'd like to see an analysis of SA's bowlers against top order batsmen - particularly the first 2 wickets - compared to similar stats from other teams. I'm willing to bet that SA, on average, faces lower opening and third-wicket partnerships than other teams. I'd also bet that SA, more than any other international team, manages to secure top and middle order wickets in batches of 2 to 3 in quick succession. Opposing batting line-ups get dented early and then, whether they've composed themselves or not, they lose wickets in bunches throughout their innings, forcing them to have to regroup and rebuild rather than attack to a plan. These two factors - largely thanks to Steyn, and more recently also Philander - have played a major role in SA's ability to win matches overseas.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @Tahir_Anjum- If Azhar Ali and the likes settle down, Pakistan could be in for a bright period. And world cricket needs a Pakistan team that is as good as the Imran, Wasim days- two cricketers we adore!

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    I dunno why the title even has India in it. After so many successive losses they surely shouldn't even be considered for that spot.

  • POSTED BY postandrail on | August 24, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    So how good were Australia to hold the No.1 ranking unbroken from September 01 - July 09? Hard to imagine England or SA even coming close to that and even after a virtually total rebuild they're already back to 3rd one point behind England and 4 behind SA.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Excellent article, Rajesh. I think there's no doubt that SA truly deserve this slot as of now. They have been the first among equals for quite some time now.

    What was interesting from your article was the relative performance of India and England when they became no 1. Both largely won at home and had the odd victory outside home. Still, when India became no 1 there was a litany of comments about how india was not a true no 1...comments which largely were absent when England ascended.

    I wonder if it is primarily because England's overseas win was the Ashes which seem to have some mystical aura for the English...though for the last 25 years or so it has been a lopsided contest (other than the 2005 series) with many other contests being far more gripping (in the last ten years India-Australia and SA-Australia have definitely been better contests than the Ashes). Smacks of a bit of double standards.

    But i think we now have a number 1 no one can really crib about. They deserve it.

  • POSTED BY Highflyer_GP on | August 24, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    Funny, for all the talk of SA's poor home record, they still have the 2nd best home W/L ratio as shown above. And are miles ahead when it comes to away W/L ratio.

  • POSTED BY mathewjohn2176 on | August 24, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Posted by Pras_Punter on (August 24 2012, 10:57 AM GMT), sad you don't have any reasons to bash India,you need to bring up the record of 2001 series of england.LOL. India won series in England 2007 and by looking at the W/L ratio, both teams are same .So give up and accept if India are overrated,then England too an overrated team.sigh.

  • POSTED BY jasonpete on | August 24, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    @pras_ punter, harshtakor is correct.He meant to say SA beat India in 2000 after 13 yrs non defeat record in home,whereas Australia beat them only in 2004.i.e after SA. By looking at the stats both England and India don't deserved to be no.1.Winning in SA and australia is easier for england due to their similar nature of pitches,includes pace ,bounce and swing.But they are poor in subcontinent condition against spin..Winning one series in srilanka don't make them good.If that's the criteria,then india winning series in England 2007 shoud be considered and their away series win against subcontinent teams too .See both side of the coin and by looking at your post ,one can see you only wanted to see one side ie .england .You did say that india won world cup due to various pressure from somewhere and you forgot to mention,how did aus lost to India in QF? Is that too pressured by someone?

  • POSTED BY Criketanand on | August 24, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    @ Pras_Punter and your point is? calm down and enjoy cricket instead of trying to prove who greater. have a life. enjoy life enjoy when australia was top. enjoy when SA is top, enjoy when england were on top, enjoy when India were on top, these are temporary phases. no point in fighting. be happy and let everyone be happy mate

  • POSTED BY mathewjohn2176 on | August 24, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Posted by Pras_Punter on (August 24 2012, 10:57 AM GMT). So what England are equally bad as india playing away by looking at the stats.India did won series in eng 2007, when was the last time England won in India? Some 20 yrs ago.one thing we can agree on is SA deserved to be no.1 unlike Indians and England.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    I have always felt that Dravid was among the best batsman in the Indian batting line-up. He performed consistently at home and aboard, and he was someone you could rely on when the chips were down. If he had the same level of media coverage in India, than he would have been more popular compared to other media darlings. Anyway, Pakistan have done really well in recent years and won numerous matches due to their strong bowling attack but I hope they can sort out their batting issues. Lastly, kudos to Amla and SA. Amla seems to be destined for greater things in the future.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | August 24, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    harshthakor , fyi, we (Aus) beat india 2-1 in 2004 in india. Get your facts right. Aus is the only team that has registered test victories against all the test-playing nations away. So we deserved our spot. SA off-late has been pretty consistent. Eng won series in SL, Aus and SA atleast once in the recent years. But india ... no comments. Cricinfo, please publish.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    No doubt SA is the team to beat in world cricket right now. They have excellent batting and bowling line-up. I particularly admire Amla and Kallis, who are developing into legendary Cricketer's like Lara etc. It also amazing to see, that despite mismanagement by the PCB, losing key players etc, Pakistan still manages to win on a consistent basis. Cheers for the work Rajesh.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | August 24, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Atleast in the last 10 years, Eng won in SA(2-1 in 05), SL (2-1 in 2002 ?) and Aus (3-1 in 2010) once. How about india ? Is it is fair to say that they are highly overrated ? They follow a pattern - tour abroad, get beaten badly, come back home, prepare friendly wickets and get loads of runs and wickets. SA/Eng/Aus are the real ones to watch.Cricinfo, please publish.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | August 24, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    A great achievement by South Africa to reach the top rank by conquering opposition overseas-a total contrast to India.Arguably the Springboks best achievement was beating India in series in India in 2000 to become the first taem to beat India at home for13 years.Even Australia had not done this.(Pakistan who won nin 1987 were a subcontinent team so really England in 1984-85 were the last overseas side)Thir win in Austtalia in 2008-09 and their victory in England this summer are their 2 other great feats.

    However the Proteas have to win in the sub-continent to emulate past great teams,Today the general standard of tset cricket is in decline and we do not morally have an outstanding champion team.Just look how both India nad England faltered at the top,unable to adapt to different conditions.

  • POSTED BY viswanav on | August 24, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    Smith, Kallis, Amla, and de Villiers are amazing!!! I think these four (as a combination) are definitely better than the original "fab four" from India...

  • POSTED BY WickyRoy.paklover on | August 24, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    @rahulcric,obviously ,i m going to rate them as(in terms descendng ordr)1.eng,2.sa,3.nz,4.sl,5.pak(unfortunatly),ind would have been there had thy nt won 2011 wc bt they hav survivd lolz.NO MATER HOW GD ths sa side z,i bet they gonna strugle in subcntinent n asia(they might nt lose bt would nt win here),hats off to misbah,WE HAVE NO ISSUES WITH HIS TST LEVL BATNG COMPTNCY BT his presence in odi would keep hurtng us as long as he z here.

  • POSTED BY edgie on | August 24, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    They just won a brilliant test series against the (ex)no 1 tst side to become the new no 1 test side. That clearly does not make then chokers, ejsiddiqui. Maybe you should follow more "recent" cricket activities...

  • POSTED BY Tahir_Anjum on | August 24, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    SA is better than former two #1 test teams England and India. Pakistan is 3rd best their which is a bit surprising to me and their bowling avg is best among all the teams. If they improve a little in batting then no doubt they will be top contender for the top spot and Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq looked good so far.. wish all the best to Pakistan and Congrats to SA.. Top work S Rajesh.. Keep it Up best wishes from Kohat Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY pravek666 on | August 24, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    hahaha (excl. B'desh and Zim)!!!!!!... you dont have to mention this everytime!!! lolz!!!

  • POSTED BY CricFreak87 on | August 24, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    Marvellous numbers for South Africa Really!! They truly stand out!! Australia are doing fairly well too!! They did win in Sri Lanka!! Drew in South Africa!! Whitewashed India!! With only hiccups being the 1 off loss to new zeland and that 47 all out mess!! They could have won the series if not for that silly mess!! They were really bad when England took them down 3-1 !! Now they look fairly settled!! India apparently were doing ok until that 8-0 in 1 year it seems!! It is really sad but I hope India can also develop fast bowlers like in Austalia and South Africa!!

  • POSTED BY CricFreak87 on | August 24, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    @ Emancipator007 : I told you before . Sachin's average in pak is 40!! Dravid has very good average in pakistan against pace bowlers. They had some very good fast bowlers!! Dravid is good against Swing!! Check his stats in England and New Zealand. Barring the 2007 tour he is awesome in England.Dravid's record is worst against Shaun Pollok , Muralitharan , and Mcgrath,which explains his low averages against those three countries . Not the bowlers who come under the category of pace. He had good records against Lee,shoaib Akhtar and allan donald. And I know you are a Sachin fan boy!! Agreed that dravid had a horrid 4 yrs between 2007 and 2011 and he deserved to retire. Although I am a big fan of dravid I agree to that. Sachin's average in last two yrs is an abysmal 35 odd. y don't you agree that he should retire too . Y do you always take pot shots at Dravid and Kallis. Dravid is not the best Indian batsman but he is great too. give him respect.

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | August 24, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    PAK BOWLERS HAS TAKEN MORE WKTS THAN ANY ONE IN THIS PERIOD .THEIR AVERAGE I ALSO LOWEST WHICH IS 32 . NEEDLESS TO SAY PAK HAS THE BEST BOWLING ATTACK IN THE WORLD . @EJSIDDIQI . DIDN'T WINNING WC DOESN'T MEAN THAT SA ARE CHOKERS . NZ HAS REACHED 6 TIMES IN WC SEMIFINAL BUT THEY NEVER REACHED FINAL . BUT I NEVER SEE ANYBODY CALLNG THEM CHOKERS . ENGLAND REACHED WC FINALS 3 TIMES BUT NEVER WON AN ODI WC . DOES THAT MEAN THEY ARE ALSO CHOKERS . SL LOST WC FINAL IN 2007 , 2011 LOST T20 WC FINAL IN 2009 . THEY ARE ALSO CHOKERS THEN . IN KNOCK OUT STAGES OF TOURNAMENTS ONLY AUS & IND HAS GOOD RECORDS . DOES THAT MEAN ALL OTHER TEAMS ARE CHOKERS .

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | August 24, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    LOLZ . SO BOTH INDIA & ENGLAND HAVE SAME W/L RATIO FOR OVERSEAS TESTS .

  • POSTED BY WickyRoy.paklover on | August 24, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Difrence z quite clear 4rm indian batng perspective.FLAT TRACKS AT HOME HAVE REALY PROVD FRUITFUL TO THEM.I Would nt talk about sachin,dravid and laxman was a realible playr,othr than that,most of their batsmen r home made champions n nthng else,i have no doubt in my mind that had paki batsmen been given d same privilges,they would have been avragng quite as inflatd as majority of indian batsmen have ovr d years.2NDLY BOWLNG Z OUR HALLMARK which z quite evidnt 4rm bst bowlng avrage acros all teams ,that z absolutly commendable cnsidrng we dn't have wrld beatrs like wasim,waqar,imran,shoaib ,saqlain n many more.3rdly i gues 2009 tour of safas to pak in uae was a drawn 0.0 n sa didn't win ths i thnk.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    Stats don't lie..not over a period of 6yrs and excluding Zim and Ban as well!! To of had 2 batsmen averaging mid 60s and 2 batsmen averaging mid 50s during this period just shows the strength of the batting. The bowling could of been even better had SA had more success with spin during this period which has balooned the bowling average slightly but I'm sure Imran Tahir will come into his own soon. He just needs a bit of time and that 1 big breakthrough. A man with 600 first class wickets collected having played in Pak, Eng and SA shouldn't be written off too soon..WELL DESERVED SA!!

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | August 24, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    I am not taking anything away fro the batters but it is easy for Eng/Aus/SA to bat in India/SL/Pak than the other way around.. That is a fact.. BTW, SA are the team to beat.. In fact, they are the only team who have it in them in adverse conditions.. And to top all that, they do everything with their pace bowlers only without depending much on their spinners even in SC tracks.. That shows the quality of the pace attack they possess.. Their batsmen especially Amla and Kallis have mastered the art of tackling the off spinners.. In fact, they do it better than the SC batsmen itself.. The only thing that might be against SA is they are losing more games in home.. If they can maintain more tightness in home, they will stay longer at the top..

  • POSTED BY ejsiddiqui on | August 24, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    Now, South Africa need to prove that they are not "Chokers".

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | August 24, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Amla has been the standout with Smith also scoring important value runs in most overseas victories. Villiers (while a great ODI player) did not really cover himself with glory and should have scored more runs to consolidate top-order glut in recent series. Amla's ODI record in the same period is remarkably outstanding (50 plus av. at SR of 91!). Dravid fanboys should finally acknowledge the clear deterioration of his overseas game for 6 years (especially against pace) barring that one-off series in Eng and why he had to retire. Ponting also lucky with his abject overseas average that no young OZ bat breathing down his neck. OZ blessed with very good emerging fast bowling stocks but no great emerging batting talent on the horizon ;the reverse with India.Sanga correcting his average records in Eng and SA with his superb recent runs, deserves more recognition as SL never get frequent Test series in OZ,SA,Eng to acclimatize and perform consistently.

  • POSTED BY Ajayvs on | August 24, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Stats don't lie, do they. South Africa deserve their No.1 Ranking. Compared to the previous two number 1 teams they have fewer weaker areas. Like the phrase doing rounds these days "They have all bases covered". While India's ascent to Number1 included creditable overseas wins in England, Pakistan, Newzeland, Australia, W.I and SriLanka, they never had a bowling attack that would send a chill down the spine of the opposition. South Africa on the other hand have good mixture of pace, swing and spin bowlers(with the inclusion of Imran Tahir).

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    the best part of the analysis was egg on d face f english supporters as dey hv an exactly abysmal overseas record lyk d "undeserving rank 1" India.....rank turners 4 d nxt series plz so dat atleast 5f d english players cn retreat in2 oblivion n home bullies lyk Cook, Bell, Troot, Anderson n Board r put into their places

  • POSTED BY QaisarJaan on | August 24, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    its strange despite all those hiccups, Pakistan still stands just behind Aus and SA in away test wins, significantly ahead of two world no1 teams of recent times. and not surprisingly, Pakistan's bowlers have done better than all other teams in away tests. Shabash Pakistan

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | August 24, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Along with their excellence in all 3 facets of the game (bat, bowl, field) this is another reason why I said SA r the #1 ranked team most objective cricket fans can accept. They still have to cont. winning to prove they r both ranked #1 and true #1 but I think they can. Its just mental strength now

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  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | August 24, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Along with their excellence in all 3 facets of the game (bat, bowl, field) this is another reason why I said SA r the #1 ranked team most objective cricket fans can accept. They still have to cont. winning to prove they r both ranked #1 and true #1 but I think they can. Its just mental strength now

  • POSTED BY QaisarJaan on | August 24, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    its strange despite all those hiccups, Pakistan still stands just behind Aus and SA in away test wins, significantly ahead of two world no1 teams of recent times. and not surprisingly, Pakistan's bowlers have done better than all other teams in away tests. Shabash Pakistan

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    the best part of the analysis was egg on d face f english supporters as dey hv an exactly abysmal overseas record lyk d "undeserving rank 1" India.....rank turners 4 d nxt series plz so dat atleast 5f d english players cn retreat in2 oblivion n home bullies lyk Cook, Bell, Troot, Anderson n Board r put into their places

  • POSTED BY Ajayvs on | August 24, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Stats don't lie, do they. South Africa deserve their No.1 Ranking. Compared to the previous two number 1 teams they have fewer weaker areas. Like the phrase doing rounds these days "They have all bases covered". While India's ascent to Number1 included creditable overseas wins in England, Pakistan, Newzeland, Australia, W.I and SriLanka, they never had a bowling attack that would send a chill down the spine of the opposition. South Africa on the other hand have good mixture of pace, swing and spin bowlers(with the inclusion of Imran Tahir).

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | August 24, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Amla has been the standout with Smith also scoring important value runs in most overseas victories. Villiers (while a great ODI player) did not really cover himself with glory and should have scored more runs to consolidate top-order glut in recent series. Amla's ODI record in the same period is remarkably outstanding (50 plus av. at SR of 91!). Dravid fanboys should finally acknowledge the clear deterioration of his overseas game for 6 years (especially against pace) barring that one-off series in Eng and why he had to retire. Ponting also lucky with his abject overseas average that no young OZ bat breathing down his neck. OZ blessed with very good emerging fast bowling stocks but no great emerging batting talent on the horizon ;the reverse with India.Sanga correcting his average records in Eng and SA with his superb recent runs, deserves more recognition as SL never get frequent Test series in OZ,SA,Eng to acclimatize and perform consistently.

  • POSTED BY ejsiddiqui on | August 24, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    Now, South Africa need to prove that they are not "Chokers".

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | August 24, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    I am not taking anything away fro the batters but it is easy for Eng/Aus/SA to bat in India/SL/Pak than the other way around.. That is a fact.. BTW, SA are the team to beat.. In fact, they are the only team who have it in them in adverse conditions.. And to top all that, they do everything with their pace bowlers only without depending much on their spinners even in SC tracks.. That shows the quality of the pace attack they possess.. Their batsmen especially Amla and Kallis have mastered the art of tackling the off spinners.. In fact, they do it better than the SC batsmen itself.. The only thing that might be against SA is they are losing more games in home.. If they can maintain more tightness in home, they will stay longer at the top..

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    Stats don't lie..not over a period of 6yrs and excluding Zim and Ban as well!! To of had 2 batsmen averaging mid 60s and 2 batsmen averaging mid 50s during this period just shows the strength of the batting. The bowling could of been even better had SA had more success with spin during this period which has balooned the bowling average slightly but I'm sure Imran Tahir will come into his own soon. He just needs a bit of time and that 1 big breakthrough. A man with 600 first class wickets collected having played in Pak, Eng and SA shouldn't be written off too soon..WELL DESERVED SA!!

  • POSTED BY WickyRoy.paklover on | August 24, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Difrence z quite clear 4rm indian batng perspective.FLAT TRACKS AT HOME HAVE REALY PROVD FRUITFUL TO THEM.I Would nt talk about sachin,dravid and laxman was a realible playr,othr than that,most of their batsmen r home made champions n nthng else,i have no doubt in my mind that had paki batsmen been given d same privilges,they would have been avragng quite as inflatd as majority of indian batsmen have ovr d years.2NDLY BOWLNG Z OUR HALLMARK which z quite evidnt 4rm bst bowlng avrage acros all teams ,that z absolutly commendable cnsidrng we dn't have wrld beatrs like wasim,waqar,imran,shoaib ,saqlain n many more.3rdly i gues 2009 tour of safas to pak in uae was a drawn 0.0 n sa didn't win ths i thnk.

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | August 24, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    LOLZ . SO BOTH INDIA & ENGLAND HAVE SAME W/L RATIO FOR OVERSEAS TESTS .