Category Archives: Test matches

Analysis Test Series England vs. South Africa

Analysing this series from a pure numbers point of view and as a portfolio has been very interesting. To see my theory finally come alive has been rewarding. Although I have to admit the data entry has been a slight pain. If there are any good data base programs that can work well with excel then I will be grateful if you let me know.

This was a great series. It was extremely well fought. Sadly the final margin of victory does not reflect how close the series was. South Africa was 7.6% ahead after they levelled the series. This increased to 18.1% for the third test where both England and South Africa made changes. After the third test England was ahead by 9.3% and they ended with a lead of 31.4%. In comparison the West Indies and Pakistan series ended up with Pakistan leading the series by 9.5%. This should generally indicate that the test matches were closely fought. There may be some truth to this. The margins of victory were smaller. All of the matches were won on the fifth day. Apart from this the extra test and the margin of victory would have greatly contributed to the differential. I am not entirely convinced that the difference should be so great. The best way to check this is to create a benchmark or to average the scores.

The player of the series for England was Moeen Ali and for South Africa was Morne Morkel. This is where things get interesting. Root has the most points in the series. He leads Moeen by 1%. The question is whether the all round performance by Moeen Ali is better than the fairly consistent performance by Root with the bat and his captaincy. In my view the role of the captain is vital in cricket. Further this is Root’s first test as a captain. When tests go badly the captain is usually the first head to roll and get criticised . Before Cook and Strauss; you had Freddie Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen who lost their captaincy because of the bad performance of the team. Overall I would be tempted to give the Man of the series to Root. The performance of both Moeen and Root are too close to call.

The numbers do not support giving Morne Morkel the player of the series for South Africa. Yes he bowled beautifully and was unlucky not to have picked more wickets but a millimetre is the difference between not getting any wickets and getting five wickets just like a snick off the bat that could get a batsman out for a duck or the one that leads to a double hundred. For me it is clear that Hashim Amla is the man of the series for South Africa. After Amla the next best performer was Quinton De Kock. However a good portion of his score came from his wicket keeping role.

The top five performers are below

1) Joe Root

2) Moeen Ali

3)Johny Baristow

4) Ben Stokes

5) Hashim Amla

The best batsmen are below

1) Joe Root

2) Hashim Amla

3)Johny Baristow

4)Ben Stokes

5) Dean Elgar

The best bowlers are

1) Moeen Ali

2) James Anderson

3)Morne Morkel

4)Keshav Maharaj

5) Kagiso Rabada

De Kock has got more points for wicket keeping than Baristow. Both of them are pretty close for their wicket keeping. The role of the wicket keeper has changed. Your wicket keeper must be able to bat really well. It is in this department where Baristow excelled.

My playing eleven for this series would be as follows.

1) Alastair Cook

2) Dean Elgar

3) Hashim Amla

4) Joe Root (Captain)

5) Faf Du Plesis

6) Ben Stokes

7) Johny Baristow (Wicket Keeper)

8) Moeen Ali

9) Toby Roland-Jones

10) Morne Morkel

11) James Anderson

The only spot that could be up for debate is whether the number Rabada should be played instead of Rabada. You have experience with Rabada. Roland-Jones just started his international career. Rabada did get more points than Roland-Jones but Toby got more average points than Rabada. It would have been nice to have Bavuma in the mix but you can’t pick him over Du Plesis and Ben Stokes has to be in the side.

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