Thursday, 26 March 2009

New Zealand in Charge?

That's what the headline on CricInfo's home page says—that New Zealand are in charge of the Second Test against India. Well, as my little series about Runs/Wicket States showed, it's possible to get some sort of measure of that.

The question as I left was whether we can really use a team's first innings to draw much of a conclusion about the match state. I'm not sure they are entirely useful even when a team might find itself at 23/3. At this stage there are just too many variables of what could happen—like a fourth-wicket partnership of 271!

However, I'd say that after the first wicket New Zealand's chance of success was .278, after the second it stood at .074. The third wicket wasn't so catastrophic, taking the success chance down to .061. The key wicket to fall, from India's point of view, was the second. That one put them in control, and they merely needed to keep up the pressure by taking wickets for an average of around 25 runs apiece.

They didn't. Ryder and Taylor increased New Zealand's chances of winning to .434. That's 37 per cent, in case you hadn't worked that out. Wow! D--n good stuff.

However, are New Zealand in charge? I don't think so, not yet at least. 'Taylor and Ryder save sinking ship' is how I would have put it. They might, however, fancy their chances. This match didn't happen all that long ago, and they are already ahead of the fourth-wicket score.

CORRECTION (27 Mar 2009): I did not apply the correct formula for the success rate. The fall of the Black Caps' first wicket took their success chances down from .331 (the percentage of all Test matches turning into wins for the opening batting side before a single ball is bowled) to .321. The second wicket took the chance down to .215, and the third down to a round .100. Taylor and Ryder did still add 37 per cent, though, taking the rate up to .473.

My figures for the Cape Town test were also a bit out, but as they were for illustrative purposes, I'll not correct them at this time.

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