The Benefits of Rest, Ratings 10th December
Russell Degnan

1st TestNew ZealandvWest Indies
Pre-rating873.2936.45
Form-0.4-37.8
Expected MarginNew Zealand by 18 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating872.7937.0

A fascinating match which for the first half looked anything but; and a case-study in the benefits of not enforcing the follow-on. New Zealand might wonder what they need to do to get a win after failing to put a side away again at home. This time the rain hindered them, as well as a last day pitch playing up a little. But with a four hundred run lead with two and a half days to go, there should be no excuses.

Clearly their major obstacle was Dwayne Bravo (40 and 218), whose Lara-esque approach now hopefully includes big tons; and Sammy (27* and 80), that most under-rated - though sometimes frustrating - of cricketers, who managed to do just enough in each innings to salvage a draw. Taylor's 217 not out and superb slip-catching was, in the end, fruitless, as his exhausted bowlers toiled for 224.2 straight overs, and Shillingford's late wickets produced just enough introspection for the rain to matter.

The West Indies will be confident, that after a sloppy start they have the measure of New Zealand's pace attack on such short rest; but with almost haf their score the product of only two batsmen, and their bowling - Shillingford aside - largely ineffective, the home team should still be slight favourites to finally get the win they deserve.


2nd TestAustraliavEngland
Pre-rating1122.61197.5
Form+37.7-40.0
Expected MarginAustralia by 13 runs
Actual MarginAustralia by 218 runs
Post-rating1147.01174.9

Rain might have ruined Australia's test too, but it mostly fell over-night, leaving England no chance of seeing out the final two days. The margin of victory flattered England who took only twelve wickets; yet if they can pick themselves up (a rather big if, admittedly, on a tour that seems to be running off the rails), then they can take comfort from the fact that Australia's top-order is still not in great form, and that if they'd caught what they ought, they'd have easily kept Australia to under 400.

They won't win anything if they keep getting bowled out for under 200 however. Mitchell Johnson has garnered the headlines for sporting a look that would get him arrested in his birth state, and ripping through the English tail in ways that redefine the word collapse; but it was the work of Siddle, Lyon and Harris that laid the foundation, with a generous amount of help from England's batsmen. It is indefensibly sloppy cricket to have so many players caught on the leg side from top edges and uppish flicks. It seems remarkable, that a side that for the past four years has ground out every run and wicket has become a sloppy, tired looking mess. But perhaps not too; in Inverting the Pyramid Jonathan Wilson refers to a similar type of bubble surrounding Inter, disintegrating quickly as the lack of stress-relief took a toll. The current English side is an unusual mixture of the very new (Carberry, Root, Stokes) and the very experienced (Cook, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Swann, Anderson). It is the latter group that is struggling; the bowlers in particular, no doubt wearied by the load and absence of rest. Anderson having bowled more balls tha any English pace bowler ever in 2012, and on track to almost match it in 2013.

The England of three years ago would turn this around. But the England of three years ago would have turned around the Brisbane result, been far less temperamental in their media dealings, and always given the impression that they thought it was possible. A hot Perth invariably leads to large WACA fissures. Bat first, score runs, find some fire from Broad and presumably Finn or Rankin, and Australia's vulnerabilities will resurface. Keep giving Warner a license to throw the bat, and Johnson the scope to bowl short spells at the tail and the result will follow what has gone before.

Rankings at 10th December 2013
1.South Africa1324.1
2.England1174.9
3.India1142.1
4.Australia1147.0
5.Pakistan1111.2
6.Sri Lanka997.9
7.West Indies937.0
8.New Zealand872.7
9.Bangladesh611.7
11.Zimbabwe560.2

10.Afghanistan597.0
12.Ireland558.9
13.Scotland430.3
14.Namibia383.4
15.Kenya276.4
16.U.A.E.257.3
17.Netherlands182.4
18.Canada147.9

Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Idle Summers 10th December, 2013 22:07:01   [#] 

Comments

The Benefits of Rest, Ratings 10th December
I'm not sure I recognise this English team. They look so incompetent. It can't last.

How did you have Aussies winning at Adelaide by 13 runs? Obviously it's a stats analysis, but one thing they DON'T do is win close matches. They'll have to keep rolling England to win.
lolly  12th December, 2013 04:42:42  

The Benefits of Rest, Ratings 10th December
As you surmised, it is a stats thing. The expected margin represents where they would be, if they both played to average throughout. Obviously the games never quite develop that way.
Russ  12th December, 2013 16:03:23