Decade Review 2009

A great decade for run-making

More results in Tests, more rewards for spinners; but batsmen dominate. A look at some significant numbers from the 10 years gone by

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Australia celebrate regaining the Ashes, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, January 5, 2007
Two 16-match winning streaks set apart Australia from the rest © Getty Images


The number of Tests played in the 2000s. The figure represented a significant increase over the 1990s, when 347 Tests were played. In the 2000s, 75.4% of the games yielded outright results, as opposed to 64.27% the decade prior. Teams proved more productive with the bat, averaging 34.17 per wicket, 2.50 runs more than the 1990s, and scored at a healthier rate - 3.20 runs per over compared to 2.86.


The number of Tests won by Australia in the 2000s. Though they were the pre-eminent team in the 1990s as well, the gulf between them and the others increased in the last 10 years. They lost 18 Tests in the 2000s, compared to 54 wins and 25 losses in the previous decade. (Click for a team-wise record for the 1990s and the 2000s).


The number of ODIs played in the 2000s, 472 more than in the previous decade. The volume of cricket between the decades is the most striking difference, while the average runs per wicket and the scoring rates only represent a marginal increase. (Click here for decade-wise list of number of matches played.)


The number of ODIs won by Australia in the decade, in which they emerged as the most successful side. South Africa, with a win-loss ratio of 1.80, dominated the shorter format in the 1990s but ceded ground to Australia, who, especially under Ricky Ponting - his reign has included a record 21 consecutive wins - established themselves as the best ODI side of all time. Australia lost only 66 matches in the last 10 years; India, with their increasing clout in international cricket, played the most ODIs - 307. Only four teams played 200 or more ODIs in the 1990s; in the 10 years gone by, the figure rose to nine, including Zimbabwe.


The number of 50-plus scores in ODIs in the 2000s, almost 2.51 per game. In the 1990s, the figure stood at 2.39, with 2231 scores of above fifty. Though the rise in batting averages is not great, the most important difference lies in the strike-rates between the two decades: 69.76 in the 90s compared to 75.06 in the noughties. The increase can be attributed to the innovations introduced in the format - the raising of field restrictions to 20 overs with the advent of the Powerplay, and the influence of Twenty20 cricket.

India topped the centuries list as well as the list of scores of 50 or above in both decades (Click for the figures in the nineties and the 2000s.) Notice the rise in strike-rates. No team had a strike-rate of 80 or more in the nineties, and only five topped 70. In the 2000s, India and Australia have scored more than 80 per 100 balls, and the number of teams with a strike-rate of more than 70 went up to 10 (excluding the Asia XI, Africa XI and ICC World XI teams).

Makhaya Ntini and Herschelle Gibbs lap up the acclaim, South Africa v Australia, 5th ODI, Johannesburg, March 12, 2006
Gone were the days when 300 was a match-winning score © Getty Images


The number of centuries in Tests in the decade gone by. The average number of hundreds per Test was 2.04; in the 1990s, the figure stood at 1.58.

Australia topped the list of centurions in both decades, by a fair margin. (Click here for the 1990s and here for the 2000s.) Australia headed the batting averages in the 2000s with 40.66, while five other teams averaged above 30. In the 1990s Australia averaged 33.07, and were one of only three teams to average above 30.


The number of lbws in Tests in the 2000s, an average of 5.36 per match. It's marginally higher than the average in the previous decade (5.25), and much higher than the two earlier ones - 4.68 in the 1980s and 3.86 in the 1970s.


The number of matches won while chasing in the fourth innings in Tests in the 2000s. In terms of percentages, the number of wins while batting last in the 2000s was lesser than the decade prior - 37.71 against 38.11. (Click here for decade-wise overall Test wins.) However, when chasing targets of over 200, the 2000s produced more successes: 33 out of 132 fourth-innings Test wins (25%) in the noughties came while chasing a target of or in excess of 200; in the nineties, the figure was 17.63% (15 out of 85).


The number of innings victories in the 2000s - far more than in the nineties in terms of percentages too: 29.71 as opposed to 22.42. A major reason for the difference in the figures was Bangladesh, for 33 out of their 52 losses were by an innings. (Click here for overall decade-wise win-loss record.)


The number of scores of 500 or above in Tests in the 2000s, which works out to one every 2.76 matches. In the nineties the average was 5.10 (68 in 347 Tests). Australia scored 500 or more in 32 matches in the last decade, winning 24.


Scores of 300 or above in ODIs in the 2000s. The nineties witnessed 71 in 933 games, an average of one every 13.14 games, compared to 5.38 in the last decade.

India and Australia had the most scores of 300 or above in the last decade. In the nineties, a score of 300 resulted in a win on most occasions, but that was no longer the case in the 2000s. Nine out of 62 games in the nineties featured both sides reaching 300 (14.52%), but in the 2000s, the figure had swollen to 20%. More on this below.


Number of matches won by teams chasing scores of 300 or above in the last decade, out of 215 such run-chases. In the nineties this happened only four times in 61 games.


The Test bowling average in the 2000s; in the 1990s it was 31.51. The difference in the economy rates was also substantial, rising from 2.75 to 3.09. The strike-rate, however, improved marginally - 66 as opposed to 68.6.

Stuart MacGill, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori at a press conference before the Super Series, October 2005
Spinners had much to cheer about in the Test format © Getty Images

Australia led the wickets tally in both decades, and were the only team to average less than 30 in the 2000s; three teams averaged less than 30 in the 1990s.


The number of wickets taken by spinners in Tests in the 2000s, out of 13863 wickets in the decade, a percentage of 32.77; in the nineties their wicket-share was 27.57%. In the 2000s, spinners recorded a slightly higher average but improved their strike-rate considerably (82 to 73). (Click for the overall bowling records in the nineties and the noughties.)

Pace bowlers in the 2000s were less effective than in the previous decade. They took 9182 wickets in the 2000s, averaging 33.22; their percentage wicket-share dropped from 70.94 to 66.23. Their bowling average increased by almost 3.50 runs, though their strike -ate remained almost the same.

Though pace bowlers enjoyed the bulk of the share of wickets, the leading wicket-takers in both decades were spinners - Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan.

Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo


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