Short Stat: On the Back of a Collapse
Russell Degnan

One of the standout aspects of Australia's collapse in Durham was the tentative batting; admittedly it was what begun the collapse - Khawaja and Clarke's half hearted footwork - and not what continued it - Haddin and Watson's playing across the line. But it raises an interesting question over whether players play worse in the midst of a collapse, or much the same. Is there a drop in performance from the psychological pressure, in other words.

I tested this proposition using a technique Chris at Declaration Game used, by comparing the runs scored by the 5th and 6th wickets against the other innings, and matched that against the difference in runs between the fall of the 2nd and 4th wickets (the collapse amount - though most aren't a collapse).

As it turns out, there is no effect. The average scoring for the 5th-6th wickets is 59, which is consistent with one exception across the range of collapse amounts. Not only that, but there is so much randomness in the difference between the two innings, and the previous run-scoring, that even sample sizes over a hundred for low collapse amounts end up with reverse effects from one to the next.

You can see from all the data points that the difference remains resolutely centred at zero for all low amounts. This is actually doubly odd, because it indicates that even where several wickets have fallen for other reasons - a crumbling pitch or new ball - the difference between that and the previous innings was negligible.

Data clumping over shows some of the randomness, and don't be confused by the jump around 30; a different division produces a completely different result.

What both graphs do show though, is that where the previous two wickets have put on 200+ the average of the 5th-6th wickets combined drops to 45. It isn't clear why this is - the bowlers, presumably are tired - but perhaps one or more large preceding partnerships make it harder for an incoming batsman. Something to look at another day.

It does bode badly for Australia though. There is a tendency after a collapse to attribute it to the moment, and assume that next time, more focus and hard-work will arrest the problem. The data suggests that even losing three wickets for not many makes almost no difference to the mind-set. If a team is in the habit of losing 6 or 7 for not many it is because they are poor, and just as likely to lose quick wickets when the previous stands have been productive or dismal.

Idle Summers 14th August, 2013 19:16:20   [#] 

Comments

Pudding
" The data suggests that even losing three wickets for not many makes almost no difference to the mind-set. If a team is in the habit of losing 6 or 7 for not many it is because they are poor, and just as likely to lose quick wickets when the previous stands have been productive or dismal."

Russ I don't understand stats but I can get that much!

Exactly what I thought during the Durham debacle. Even back in the not so good old days with Kat and Watson doing fairly well as openers, the Aussies used to start a good old middle-order collapse almost as soon as one or the other got out.Good start or bad start makes no diff if a team is full of stale pudding in the middle order.
lou  17th August, 2013 22:52:42