Monday, 19 January 2009

Australia vs South Africa Tests Reviewed: Batting

Back on the old site, I developed a little fun stat, originally designed just for bowlers, called the 'match score'. I've been tinkering with it ever since, and one day I saw how you could usefully use it to compare batsmen and bowlers across series. It's been through a few refinements. As things stand, the 'second-level' series score for batsmen sums to zero. (That is, the sum of both teams series scores equals zero.) The 'second-level' series score for bowlers usually sums to zero, but not always. (I'm still trying to solve that one.) The 'first-level' scores just sum to a big number; the batsmen's score does a better job of comparing players across series than a simple tally of runs. The bowler's score is better at telling you about run prevention than about winning. The really neat thing about it all is that you can directly compare batsmen and bowlers, and work out which players were most important to their sides. Second Level scores are more precise than First Level ones in measuring that contribution, so I prefer to work with them.

Without further ado, here's the Second Level series' scores for batsmen, in order.

Clarke (Aus) 28
Smith (RSA) 20
Katich (Aus) 15
Ponting (Aus) 14
Duminy (RSA) 13
de Villiers (RSA) 12
Amla (RSA) 10
Haddin (Aus) 10
Kallis (RSA) 4
Krejza (Aus) - 1
Boucher (RSA) - 1
Steyn (RSA) - 2
Symonds (Aus) - 2
Johnson (Aus) - 3
McDonald (Aus) - 3
Bollinger (Aus) - 5
Hauritz (Aus) - 6
Lee (Aus) -10
Morkel (RSA) -11
Hayden (Aus) -12
McKenzie (RSA) -12
Harris (RSA) -13
Siddle (Aus) -14
Ntini (RSA) -15
Hussey (Aus) -17

Under this system a par score would be equal to zero. So a small negative score is, after a fashion, useful. A recognized batsman really should have a minimum score of 10. A tailender doing -5 or better is an asset. You'd want an all-rounder to be above zero, or not much below it.

You can see here how critical Hussey's non-performance was, more so than Hayden's. Together, these two probably killed Australia's chances. (And while we're at it, Mr McKenzie needs to buck up.) We'll look at the bowling next, and another key reason for the South African series win.

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