Interpreting the Ashes numbers
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.
Labels: ashes, ashes 2005