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    August 23, 2005

    Interpreting the Ashes numbers

    Mark Twain once said "Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable."

    Cricinfo's analysis of run-rates first shows that the team which has scored faster has tended to win in Ashes series, as is evident from Australia's wins in 1947, 2001 and 2002/03. Hence, given that England are ahead of Australia in the run-rate stakes so far, they have a higher chance of winning. So far so good.

    But they blot their copybook when they quote recent instances of teams scoring at a brisk rate against Australia. The instances they quote are the 2001 Ashes in England, the 2003/4 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Pakistan's tour of Australia in 1999/2000 and New Zealand's tour of Australia in 2001/2. If that is any evidence, England will not win the series. Of course, that is not the only evidence why I feel England will not win the series. None of those teams actually won the series. England were thrashed 4-1 while Pakistan was blown away 3-0. India and New Zealand came away unscathed, and with reputations enhanced, with draws (1-1 and 0-0 respectively).

    I wrote about how India's mistake at Melbourne against Australia in that drawn series lay in trying to bat like Australia. In contrast, Australia refused to bat arrogantly and too rapidly. By doing so, and making a huge score, it put a lot of pressure on India. Perhaps that is a lesson for sides which try to beat Australia. Do not get overawed by Australia's scoring rate and try to out-do your own natural and comfortable scoring rate. Isn't it interesting that India's famous win in 2000/1 came when they only scored at 3.1 per over and Australia scored at 3.4 an over?

    England's recent history shows that they've scored at 3.4 in their last 20 tests. Basically do not get ahead of yourself. Scoring at over 4 an over, as they have so far in this series, may not be such a bright idea. A champion side like Australia only ever needs a sniff of a chance and they will get right back into the game.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 9:30 AM |
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    9 sledge(s):

    "champion" team indeed. what is the deal with your hatred of the english. they are the one team playing a brand of cricket that can challenge the aussies and after 10 years of aussie superiority you'd think you'd be grateful.

    By Anonymous Anonymous (23-Aug-2005, 1:10:00 PM)  

    I do not have to justify my writings to anonymous cowards.

    By Blogger Jagadish (23-Aug-2005, 3:53:00 PM)  

    i am not the coward in question but your argument of attacking the man and not the argument betrays a certain level of studpidity in you. I hope you apologise and answer his question.

    By Anonymous ram (23-Aug-2005, 9:52:00 PM)  

    I can't see the need to apologize, given the person writing the comment clearly did not respect what we requested/expected from comment writers. "We'd prefer if you posted comments with your real name to add more credibility to your opinions.".

    As for me not liking the English cricket team, it is my opinion and I've given reasons for me not liking them too often here for me to repeat them again. I try and cross-link to earlier posts as much as possible, so that the context is maintained.

    Of course, I have to rebut his argument that the English are the one team playing cricket well enough to challenge the Aussies. I remember saying it earlier here, I'll say it again. This English team is not the first team to show that the Aussies are vulnerable. India in 2000/1 and 2003/4 were. I do not have to be grateful for ending Aussie dominance.

    By Blogger Jagadish (24-Aug-2005, 12:38:00 AM)  

    Besides, England haven't ended Aussie dominance. The most disappointing aspect of India's previous achievements against Australia was that Australia carried on beating other teams regardless, and finally, last year, beat India in India. England could still lose 3-1 and Australia steamroller the Rest of the World, West Indies, and South Africa later this year. Nobody owes this England side anything - and certainly not its supporters!

    By Anonymous Geoff (24-Aug-2005, 12:51:00 PM)  

    india in aus 2003/04 weren't playing against McGrath and Warne, a huge bonus. In 2001 India played warne on the back of an injury and he didn't bowl to potential. His performances in 2004 in India were better. And if you looked at the first match at Lord's McGrath and Warne were India's star performers and England have devised plans against that. Also India's bowling in Aus was a joke. The conceded total of 500 something in the adelaide test and won only because of aussie arrogance. I think in the rest of series they continued to produce totals of 500 in melbourne and 400 something in sydney, compare with an England team reducing aussies regularly to 300 totals. This england team is playing cricket at their level and don't have to feed off scraps the aussies leave behind. Have india ever shown the foresight to have plans of the imagination of this england side. When was the last time an Indian right armed bowler bowled round the wicket to Gilchrist. I think you should give England where credit is due. If your
    opposition of them is due to some sort image from the nasser hussain era when the played staid cricket then you are out of date and if it is some relic of colonialism then you are hopelessly out of date. Though remember these are just speculation as possible reasons you hate england.

    By Anonymous Ram (24-Aug-2005, 12:58:00 PM)  

    India often conceded large totals, but they also amassed them. India's strengths are batting and spin bowling, England's main strength is their pace attack. It is hardly a surprise that India were involved in a higher-scoring series.

    Some teams, people just don't like. In England's case, the local media does not improve their case. It's not as if Jagadish is actually professing to despise everything about England the country, and I can't see where the problem lies.

    By Anonymous Geoff (24-Aug-2005, 2:30:00 PM)  

    You can only play against the players you come up against. If the opponents England have racked up their results against over the last year or so are any indicator, i.e. Bangladesh, New Zealand, West Indies & South Africa, all of who have consistently been in the bottom half of the test rankings table, then you must devalue their performances as well. I don't think the Indian side was responsible for McGrath's ankle problem or Warne's ban (in 2003/04) or Warne's bad shoulder and Lee's absence (in 2000/01).

    Perhaps it is then ok to dismiss England's win at Edgbaston as being meaningless because McGrath was absent?

    By Blogger Jagadish (24-Aug-2005, 2:45:00 PM)  

    when was the last time india won a test series outside the subcontinent. Damn i can't even remember. I am not saying India are a crap team, I am saying the brand of cricket they play is not conducive to produce winning test cricket. Anyway I don't care if you hate England. I myself hate South Africa for the style of cricket they play, completely lacking any kind of creativity.

    By Anonymous Ram (24-Aug-2005, 5:56:00 PM)  

    We'd prefer if you posted comments with your real name to add more credibility to your opinions. However, the moderators reserve the right to delete comments, especially those containing offensive or unsuitable language. The opinions in the comments are your own views. You are welcome to provide a URL to your own cricket blog, but the moderators reserve the right to delete comments which only reference sites for viewing live streams.

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