A fine year for home teams and left-arm pace

Home teams lost only two Tests in 2013, while fast bowlers had their best year in Tests since 2000
S Rajesh January 3, 2014

Trent Boult took 46 Test wickets in 2013 and was largely instrumental in left-arm fast bowlers taking 200-plus wickets in a calendar year for the first time © Associated Press

All Test stats exclude numbers from the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Test, which started in Abu Dhabi on December 31.

The overall numbers

In terms of Test match results, the numbers in 2013 were very similar to the previous year: in 2012, 32 out of 42 Tests produced decisive results; last year, the corresponding numbers were 33 out of 43. Exactly the same number of centuries were scored in the last two years, but the difference was in the average runs per wicket: from 34 in 2012, it came down to 31.92, which is the least it's been in any year since 2000. (Click here for the year-by-year overall Test stats.)

The largest margin of victory was an innings and 193 runs, by South Africa against New Zealand in Port Elizabeth in January, when South Africa scored 525 for 8, and then bundled New Zealand out for 121 and 211. Overall in 2013, there were plenty of one-sided Test results: out of 33 decisive games, 17 were decided by an innings, ten wickets, or by more than 200 runs.

In ODIs, this was a year of extremes, with very high totals being interspersed with low ones. There were eight scores in excess of 350 in 2013, compared to just two such scores in 2012. Yet, the overall runs per over was only marginally more this year: 5.11, compared with 5.05 the previous year. Five of those eight scores came in a two-week period, when Australia toured India for an ODI series.

What also stood out in those ODI stats were the number of centuries that were scored in 2013: 77, which is the highest ever in a calendar year. The previous-best was 75 in 2007, but that was spread over 191 matches; in 2013, only 136 ODIs were played.

Year-wise Test stats since 2006
Year Tests Results/ draws Result% Average Run rate 100s/ 50s
2013 43 33/ 10 76.74 31.92 3.14 89/ 193
2012 42 32/ 10 76.19 34.00 3.12 89/ 177
2011 39 27/ 12 69.23 32.47 3.14 72/ 200
2010 43 32/ 11 74.42 36.48 3.34 98/ 214
2009 41 26/ 15 63.41 37.84 3.37 97/ 217
2008 47 36/ 11 76.60 34.12 3.23 96/ 221
2007 31 22/ 9 70.97 35.28 3.35 65/ 142
2006 46 34/ 12 73.91 34.60 3.34 95/ 208
Year-wise ODI stats since 2006
Year Matches Average Run rate 100s/ 50s
2013 136 30.65 5.11 77/ 279
2012 90 31.09 5.05 43/ 205
2011 146 29.97 5.04 63/ 337
2010 142 30.11 4.98 65/ 303
2009 150 30.92 5.12 68/ 325
2008 126 29.00 4.93 51/ 259
2007 191 30.39 5.04 75/ 428
2006 160 28.97 4.82 60/ 331

Horror run for away teams

The year started with New Zealand getting thrashed by South Africa in two Tests and Sri Lanka losing in Australia, and continued with Pakistan getting blanked 3-0 in South Africa and Australia going down 4-0 in India. New Zealand then lost both Tests in England, while West Indies were similarly beaten in India. Australia were beaten 3-0 in England, but then took sweet revenge immediately, winning four in a row in Australia. (Click here for a series-wise list of Test results in 2013.)

The result was that touring teams had a year to forget in 2013: they won only two out of 41 Tests, and lost 29. (This excludes matches in neutral venues.) The two wins by away teams were both in Zimbabwe - Bangladesh won a Test in April, while Pakistan won one in September. Apart from that, home teams were completely dominant, achieving unprecedented winning results.

In the entire history of Test cricket, the home-away results have never been so lopsided in a year in which at least 15 Tests have been played. In 1967, away teams had a 0-9 win-loss stat, but only 12 Tests were played that year. With a 15-Test cut-off, the next-lowest ratio for away teams was in 1990, when they won two and lost 14, a ratio of 0.14. The next-lowest jumps up to 0.25.

There's no trend at work here either, for away teams did reasonably well in Tests in the years leading up to 2013: they had a win-loss record of 12-17 in 2012, 13-13 in 2011, and 14-16 in 2010. (Click here for the full year-wise list.)

Worst win-loss ratios for away teams in a calendar year*
Year Tests Won Lost Ratio
2013 41 2 29 0.06
1990 26 2 14 0.14
1965 26 2 8 0.25
1962 18 3 11 0.27
1981 23 3 11 0.27
2007 31 5 17 0.29
1996 28 5 14 0.35
1985 26 4 11 0.36
1991 21 3 8 0.37
1978 27 5 13 0.38
* Excludes Tests at neutral venues

South Africa were the best Test team for the second year in a row, winning seven Tests and losing just one, and thus further consolidating their No. 1 ranking. In 2012 they had a 5-0 win-loss, and four of those wins had been achieved overseas. In 2013, they won six at home and one in Dubai, against Pakistan. India won six and lost just one, but all their wins were all at home. England had a mixed year, unbeatable at home but poor on the tour to Australia. Pakistan were the only team to beat South Africa in a Test in 2013, but they ended up with the poorest win-loss ratio of all teams.

In ODIs India were the top team, winning 22 and losing 10, for the best win-loss record among all sides. They won home series against Australia, England and West Indies, and blanked Zimbabwe 5-0, but their most important triumph came in the Champions Trophy in England, when they won five out of five matches.

The best batsmen of 2013

In 2012 five batsmen went past 1000 runs in Tests, and only three achieved it in ODIs, but in 2013 as many as nine batsmen scored 1000-plus in ODIs, while only Michael Clarke and Ian Bell achieved it in Tests.

Clarke did go past 1000, but he wasn't half as dominant as he had been in 2012, when he scored 1595 runs in 18 innings at 106.33; this year he managed 1093 in 26 innings at 47.52.

The ODI list for 1000-plus was dominated by batsmen from the subcontinent: there were two from Pakistan (Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez) and Sri Lanka (Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan), and three Indians - Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. The only ones from outside the subcontinent were AB de Villiers and George Bailey.

One batsman whose ODI form did dip in 2013 was Hashim Amla: he scored 838 runs from 22 innings at an average of 38.09, the first time he has averaged less than 40 in a calendar year in ODIs.

A good year for pace

The four highest wicket-takers in Tests in 2013 were all fast bowlers, and only one of them took his wickets at an average of more than 30. Stuart Broad, the leading wicket-taker with 62, averaged 25.80, Dale Steyn's 51 wickets came at 17.66 each, while Trent Boult took 46 at 25.08. Further down the list, Vernon Philander and Ryan Harris both took 38 wickets at averages of less than 22, while Mitchell Johnson was the star of the last two months of the year, finishing 2013 with 34 wickets from six Tests at 17.52.

All these top performances ensured that fast bowlers had their best year in Tests, average-wise, since 2000, when they'd averaged 27.52. In 2013, they took 851 wickets at a combined average of 30.30, striking at less than 60 balls per wicket. There were five fast bowlers who took ten in a match - Broad, James Anderson, Steyn, Boult and Tim Southee, who was also a key component of a strong New Zealand pace attack. In 2012, fast bowlers had averaged 34.29 runs per wicket, which means they improved by about 12% in 2013.

Best year-wise averages for fast bowlers since 2000
Year Matches Wickets Average Strike rate 5WI/ 10WM
2000 46 899 27.52 62.0 31/ 4
2013 43 851 30.30 59.8 37/ 5
2011 39 798 31.12 58.9 31/ 2
2002 54 1075 32.40 60.7 24/ 0
2008 47 958 32.59 60.7 28/ 3
2005 49 1014 32.92 58.6 39/ 6
2001 55 1019 33.40 65.4 31/ 2
2007 31 634 33.47 60.6 18/ 2

The combination of Boult, Neil Wagner, Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali and Corey Anderson ensured that left-arm pace, in particular, had an excellent year. They averaged less than 30, their best in a year since 2005, when they'd averaged 26.64. In terms of wickets taken this was their best year ever, and the first time their combined tally went past 200 wickets.

Average-wise, they did better than other types of bowlers in 2013, but left-arm spin suffered a dip in 2013, after experiencing a huge high in 2012, when they'd taken 192 wickets at 29.16. In 2013, they managed 151 wickets at 38.14. Rangana Herath, Pragyan Ojha and Abdur Rehman didn't play enough Tests to make a major impact, while Monty Panesar - one of the stars of 2012 - took only eight wickets from five Tests at 75.87. Right-arm spinners did better, with Graeme Swann, Nathan Lyon, R Ashwin and Saeed Ajmal all among the wickets.

In ODIs, Ajmal was clearly the outstanding bowler of the year, taking 62 wickets at an economy rate of 4.13.

How different types of bowlers fared in Tests in 2013
Bowler type Wickets Average Strike rate Econ rate 5WI/ 10WM
Right-arm pace 648 30.59 60.47 3.03 37/ 5
Right-arm spin 347 32.27 61.92 3.12 20/ 5
Left-arm pace 203 29.37 57.94 3.04 10/ 1
Left-arm spin 151 38.14 80.40 2.84 7/ 2

More numbers from 2013

9 - The number of 50-plus stands for the 10th wicket in Tests in 2013, the most ever in a calendar year.

10 - Number of ducks by Saeed Ajmal in international cricket in 2013, the second-highest ever by a batsman in a calendar year.

15 - Number of fifties hit by Misbah-ul-Haq in ODIs in 2013 - the most any batsman has scored in a calendar year without hitting a hundred.

47.30 - Combined average of India's top-three batsmen in 2013, their second-highest ever when India has played a minimum of ten ODIs in a year.

84 - Number of sixes England's bowlers conceded in Tests in 2013, the highest a team has ever conceded in Tests in a calendar year. The next-highest is India's 78 in 2006. England's previous-highest was 53.

1315 - Runs Graeme Swann conceded against Australia in Tests in 2013, the highest by any bowler against an opposition in a calendar year. The previous record was Geoff Lawson's 1227 versus West Indies in 1984.

With inputs from Shiva Jayaraman.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (January 10, 2014, 0:03 GMT)

and according to those stats.... the WI's leading bowler in ODI in 2013 is NOT narine, NOT roach, but it is Rampaal ....

Sooo the WI selectors are going to reward Ravi by dropping him from all formats of the game ! to make sure he does not cement a place in the team ...

Standard WICB policy for those "undesirable" players who do not "look" like WI material .... (whatever that means)

Posted by   on (January 5, 2014, 8:46 GMT)

@Ashish Mohan Sharma - India lost those 2 tests to England in 2012...the stats here are mentioned for the 2013 matches only...

Posted by   on (January 5, 2014, 4:31 GMT)

India lost to England in 2 test matches in India, which is home loss for India. Why those loss were not considered ??

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (January 4, 2014, 19:24 GMT)

I think this is the kind of year which frustrates me since what it means is that Test cricket seems to have moved to be a one-sided game where the host country has a terrific advantage and the touring side just has to mostly endure the pain of defeat. There are probably a couple of small pockets of visiting teams fighting in an away series this year.

Couple that with the length of Test(s) and it is not very surprising that Test Cricket is in a bit of an identity crisis and even English fans (who have the highest regard for Test cricket) appear frustrated. Basically, fans want a more even contest and most of the series' have been one-sided which drains interest.

I say mostly because SA are perhaps the only team who have not been affected by this and they have probably the most balanced Test side in the world (in terms of their strength in batting and bowling although the loss of Kallis will affect that balance a bit) for some years now.

Hope 2014 provides more even Test contests.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 4, 2014, 5:43 GMT)

Steyn's figures are simply phenomenal. Best innings figs - 6/8. Best match figs -11/60. 101 maidens. Average - 17.66. Econ 2.51. SR - 42. Wickets - 51. All in just 9 matches.

Broad is not a bad bowler, but 62 wickets after 14 tests is not much to extol! Steyn would have taken 80 at the rate he was going!

Posted by SDCLFC on (January 3, 2014, 20:43 GMT)

There's something wrong with the list of top ODI run scorers for 2013 as linked in the article. It shows Ross Taylor as having only played 6 matches for 223 runs when in fact he has played 13 matches for 510 runs. Likewise the link to the test runs shows him having scored 810 runs when in fact he scored 866. What's going on? You guys are meant to be on top of the numbers.

Posted by SICHO on (January 3, 2014, 15:47 GMT)

This just shows the gap between Dale Steyn and the rest of the bowlers. Had he played the same matches as Broad and Anderson, he would be having close to 80 wickets by now. Interestingly, Anderson has one more wicket than Steyn but has played 5 more matches than Steyn. At some point he was the "most skillful bowler" in world cricket. Would you believe it!!!

Posted by PakoP on (January 3, 2014, 13:57 GMT)

PAK beat India, in India in an ODI series. Their is no mention of that Sidhart?

Posted by MCC_Tie on (January 3, 2014, 13:55 GMT)

Dale Steyn's numbers are just mind-boggling. Look at that average for the year, and this in the age of fat bats, fast outfields and smaller boundaries! What a champion player!

Posted by Stevros3 on (January 3, 2014, 11:01 GMT)

ABDV, Misbah, Watson, Amla & Bell were the only batsmen to reach the top 20 run scorers in both ODI's and Test's. As opposed to 2012, Clarke, Cook, Amla, Hussey (M), de Villiers, Warner, Sangakkara, Kohli & Bell all making both top 20 lists.

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