Ranking teams by batting and bowling ability in test cricket : A stats thread

Park cricketer

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Felt bored, so decided to do some stats searching in cricinfo. First a few pointers to explain before going into the thread:

1. I have completely ignored the home stats and only taken the stats away from home into consideration. In this era of massive home track bullying and playing on home designer pitches, it makes sense to take the stats of teams when they travel outside their home to get a meaningful view of the quality of teams.

2. I have taken a 4 year timeframe for my stats. Initially I wanted to take a 3 year period as it was neither too small or a too long timeframe. But some teams like New Zealand who play fewer amount of tests, let alone away tests, got shortchanged in that 3 year filter with too small a sample size. So I increased it to a four year period since most teams tour every four years to a particular country.

3. Batting and bowling averages are used for comparing the batting and bowling abilities of each team.

4. I have excluded stats against Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland in the comparison as they're weak.

5. Comparing the stats of teams in asia in "away" conditions in cricinfo excluded the results in the UAE as all the series that happen in the UAE are filed under "neutral venue" category for both Pakistan and the touring team. But Pakistan has been playing so long in the UAE that it's practically the home for them. So I excluded Pakistan from the table for the stats in asia and overall as it will include their results in the UAE and calculated their stats outside the UAE in asia and overall separately and mentioned below the table.

I will compare the batting and bowling ability of teams separately:

BATTING:

Batting stats of teams away from home:

batting overall.jpg


Pakistan - Matches played: 22, Won: 8, Lost: 13, W/L ratio: 0.615, Batting avg.: 29.53

India having a clear edge in the batting stats, but that's largely down to their sheer dominance in asia where their batsmen are hard to tie down.

Two interesting bits of information in the table there - England, despite getting fire from all corners for its batting, has been the 2nd best batting side in the last four years. South Africa has been the 2nd worst batting side in the given time period, and that's largely down to their struggles against the turning ball in asia.

Batting stats of teams away from their home, outside asia:

This will give more context on the batting ability of teams on quick and bouncy wickets and against the swinging ball.

Batting outside asia.jpg


New Zealand, despite playing very few test matches in comparison to the other top teams, still leads the chart in terms of batting performance outside asia away from their home comfort. And that was a lot down to their impressive series draw in England where the NZ side under McCullum, played an attacking brand of cricket. Australia are the 2nd best performing team outside asia away from Australia, and it showed in their dominance against NZ in NZ.

The Asian teams expectedly tank in the stats when it comes to performances outside asia. India, still the best of the Asian teams when it comes to batting performances outside asia and Sri Lanka is the worst of all teams in world cricket outside asia and that was reflected in their struggles in series outside asia last year.

Batting stats of teams in asia, away from their home:

Batting Asia.jpg


Pakistan - Matches played: 5, Won: 3, Lost: 1, W/L ratio: 3.000, Batting avg.: 44.07

Pakistan leads the table in the batting department in asia, but is just ahead of India by a few decimal points. Since India and Pakistan don't play each other, their respective series against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka played a big role in this dominance.

The western teams predictably have not faired great in asian conditions with the bat. England and Australia are the best teams among the western teams, England's stats are laudable given they're even ahead of Sri Lanka with the bat in asian conditions, and that was underlined in their series win in Sri Lanka last year. But one thing that stands out stark in that table is the performance of South Africa with the bat in asia. It has been the worst team with the bat in asian conditions, worse than Sri Lanka's performance in overseas conditions. Ironic given how South Africa were by far the best touring team in asia for the most part of this century.

BOWLING:

Bowling stats of teams away from home:

Bowling overall.jpg


Pakistan - Matches played: 22, Won: 8, Lost: 13, W/L ratio: 0.615, Bowling avg.: 34.68

India has been the best bowling team across the world in the last four years, and India, South Africa and Australia have been the top 3 attacks in the world in that time period. Interesting to note that New Zealand, despite their dominance with the bat, has been one of the weakest bowling teams in the last four years while touring, only better than West Indies and Bangladesh's attacks.

Bowling stats of teams away from their home, outside asia:

Bowling outside asia.jpg


This is the most interesting table given India leads the list still outside asia. India having struggled to put together a competent fast bowling attack for the best part of their test playing time, has finally stumbled upon a bunch of talented fast bowlers and have been the best bowling team outside asia despite their struggles with the bat in those same conditions. South Africa, predictably are the 2nd best bowling attack outside asia and Australia the 3rd best in the said timeframe.

India, South Africa and Australia are again the top 3 bowling attacks and then there's a gap between the rest outside asia. One interesting bit of information in the table is that England's attack is the most economical of all attacks in world cricket with the only attack having a RPO (run per over) rate of < 3. This means they bowl very few bad balls and bowl tight lines but aren't penetrative enough when compared to the top 3 attacks in the world because of the obvious elephant in the room, their attack is one paced and lacks an express pacer like Rabada, Bumrah, Cummins or Starc in their ranks.

Bowling stats of teams in asia, away from their home:

bowling asia.jpg


Pakistan - Matches played: 5, Won: 3, Lost: 1, W/L ratio: 3.000, Bowling avg.: 33.05

India leading the table for bowling stats in asia is not surprising given the array of spinners in their squad. South Africa has the 2nd best bowling stats after India in asian conditions and that's partly due to the difficult conditions they had to face while touring asia. Australia has been the 3rd best bowling team in asian conditions, even better than Pakistan away from the UAE and that's largely due to their spin attack led by a brilliant Lyon and also due to Starc's excellence in Sri Lanka.

Also interesting to note that Bangladesh have been very strong in their own home with the ball but has struggled to replicate the same performance in other asian countries.


SUMMARY:

1. India has been the best batting team in the last four years but that's largely down to their impeccable dominance in asian conditions where they're near invincible and have lost only two test matches in the last four years, one at Galle against Sri Lanka and the other at Pune against Australia.

2. New Zealand has been the best batting team and the most attacking team with the bat outside asia away from their home and the asian teams predictably fall behind the western teams in batting outside asian conditions.

3. Pakistan are the best batting team in asian conditions in the last four years. England are one of the best performing sides with the bat in asian conditions, even ahead of Sri Lanka while other western teams have struggled in asia with the bat, South Africa being the worst side in the world in that aspect.

4. India are the best bowling team across the world, underlined by their dominance with the ball both inside and outside asia. And that's probably down to their well rounded attack in possessing both a top fast bowling and a top spin attack.

5. India, South Africa and Australia are the top 3 attacks in the world across all conditions, while England's attack has struggled to be effective outside of England due to the lack of penetration in their attack.

5. The western teams have performed better than Sri Lanka and Bangladesh outside their home with the ball in asian conditions, and Bangladesh are yet to replicate their performances with the ball inside Bangladesh in other asian countries.
 

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Park cricketer

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So in short, any way you slice it, India and South Africa are still the best right now?
I would say Australia's performance has been up there as well, arguably better than South Africa given it fares better than South Africa in the batting department and is up there in the bowling department too in the last four years.

But SA has had the wood over Australia claiming the series both home and away against Australia and has a better team than Australia currently (minus Smith and Warner). I think Australia is much better in asia than South Africa because of their spin attack and Smith being better than any batsman they have in asia (Amla is past his prime really). But SA has a much more solid batting line up and a very potent fast bowling arsenal that it trumps Australia outside asia. South Africa, apart from one win, struggled a bit in England. So would be interesting to see how Australia goes there this summer.
 

PhatBoy

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I would say Australia's performance has been up there as well, arguably better than South Africa given it fares better than South Africa in the batting department and is up there in the bowling department too in the last four years.

But SA has had the wood over Australia claiming the series both home and away against Australia and has a better team than Australia currently (minus Smith and Warner). I think Australia is much better in asia than South Africa because of their spin attack and Smith being better than any batsman they have in asia (Amla is past his prime really). But SA has a much more solid batting line up and a very potent fast bowling arsenal that it trumps Australia outside asia. South Africa, apart from one win, struggled a bit in England. So would be interesting to see how Australia goes there this summer.
I’m a bit biased towards the saffers but I think any overall figures related to batting need at least a little bit of an asterisk because, objectively speaking, I would say they’ve consistently got the overall toughest batting conditions in the world.

Any of England, NZ or the subcontinent certainly DO turn out their share of bowler friendly conditions but overall I think they balance out better.
 

Park cricketer

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I’m a bit biased towards the saffers but I think any overall figures related to batting need at least a little bit of an asterisk because, objectively speaking, I would say they’ve consistently got the overall toughest batting conditions in the world.

Any of England, NZ or the subcontinent certainly DO turn out their share of bowler friendly conditions but overall I think they balance out better.
I know but I haven't taken any stats at home, batting or bowling, into consideration in this comparison. This is purely a collection of the stats of teams away from home conditions, i.e., overall stats away from home, stats outside asia away from home, stats in asia away from home.
 

Damon_3388

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I’m a bit biased towards the saffers but I think any overall figures related to batting need at least a little bit of an asterisk because, objectively speaking, I would say they’ve consistently got the overall toughest batting conditions in the world.

Any of England, NZ or the subcontinent certainly DO turn out their share of bowler friendly conditions but overall I think they balance out better.
Apart from having to face South Africa's bowlers (if you are the opposition), what's tougher about batting in South Africa than (say) in Australia?
 

PhatBoy

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Apart from having to face South Africa's bowlers (if you are the opposition), what's tougher about batting in South Africa than (say) in Australia?
More seam movement, more pace, more bounce. Australia’s pitches have those things but not in nearly the same abundance.

They have the closest relationship to SA’s but they’re still quite different.
 

Park cricketer

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An article about the Indian and South African attacks and their dominance. Reckon Wedge McManus might like this one, it debunks his theory of pitches in India.

Also there are a few gems among the stats from the ever comical Andrew Fernando as always. Like this one:D

Stop everything. Drop what you are doing. Ravi Shastri may have undersold an achievement of India's Test team.

He has talked the attack up plenty, of course. In August, he announced that the team's quicks were the best India had ever had, "by a mile". But as India has for so long been the proud home of profoundly unsexy medium-pace bowling - generations of seamers diligently delivering standard-issue, ruler-straight balls at 130kph like there was a government ban on putting batsmen in discomfort - this was not exactly high praise. India's best pace attack? So what? This is like being the least annoying mosquito, or the prettiest naked mole rat.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/25984546/india-bowling-attack-best-most-versatile-world
 

PhatBoy

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An article about the Indian and South African attacks and their dominance. Reckon Wedge McManus might like this one, it debunks his theory of pitches in India.

Also there are a few gems among the stats from the ever comical Andrew Fernando as always. Like this one:D




http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/25984546/india-bowling-attack-best-most-versatile-world
Yeah I read this earlier today and loved Fernando’s reference to the pitch doctoring myth.

For mine I still think the sheer firepower of SA’s attack and the addition of Maharaj makes it a better group, but the versatility factor, and adaptability, of india’s attack is bloody impressive
 

Park cricketer

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Yeah I read this earlier today and loved Fernando’s reference to the pitch doctoring myth.

For mine I still think the sheer firepower of SA’s attack and the addition of Maharaj makes it a better group, but the versatility factor, and adaptability, of india’s attack is bloody impressive
I think SA's pace attack is better but not by a great margin. India's spin arsenal is much better though, even though Maharaj is a very impressive bowler, the support act is not that great.

Overall I would have the Indian attack ahead on account of them being more well rounded and they're equally good both inside and outside asia. The gap between the Indian attack and the South African attack in asia is bigger than the gap between the same attacks outside asia.
 

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Wedge McManus

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Also India currently have a world class attack but take Bumrah out through injury and they are terrible. One good year doesn't make up for fifty years of ineptitude. Don't get too cocky parky.....If Ahmed is a representation of your second string seamers you have zero chance of success.....he can't bat bowl or field and he's the best you have??? Oh dear ....
 

PhatBoy

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Also India currently have a world class attack but take Bumrah out through injury and they are terrible. One good year doesn't make up for fifty years of ineptitude. Don't get too cocky parky.....If Ahmed is a representation of your second string seamers you have zero chance of success.....he can't bat bowl or field and he's the best you have??? Oh dear ....
How are they terrible?
They had a pace bowler who couldn’t get a start during the winning Australian series who averages 26 with the ball after 21 tests.

Oh, and arguably the world’s best spinner who only played one match
 
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Park cricketer

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Also India currently have a world class attack but take Bumrah out through injury and they are terrible. One good year doesn't make up for fifty years of ineptitude. Don't get too cocky parky.....If Ahmed is a representation of your second string seamers you have zero chance of success.....he can't bat bowl or field and he's the best you have??? Oh dear ....
I know you're exaggerating it, but there's some truth to your post. Interestingly, I was just thinking about this last night. India have an excellent fast bowling attack but you remove Bumrah and it becomes merely a good attack. Bumrah is that elite pacer we have who I can say is Rabada/Cummins level, he is that X factor who I'm confident without whom, we couldn't have won the series in Australia. But guys like him don't come everyday and frankly looking at his action, it almost seems like it's a case of enjoy the best of him as much as you can because you know that career breaking injury is just around the corner.

There are a couple in the domestics who are pretty good pacers like Shami but none have the pace of Bumrah. There are two pacers though from the last U19 world cup who are very good. They clocked speeds of 145ks regularly in that U19 WC campaign and one of them (Nagarkoti) touched 150k in one of those deliveries. Obviously pace isn't everything but I think these two are the most promising youngsters who I'm hopeful of stepping upto the international level one day but they're too young right now.

 
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PhatBoy

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I know you're exaggerating it, but there's some truth to your post. Interestingly, I was just thinking about this last night. India have an excellent fast bowling attack but you remove Bumrah and it becomes merely a good attack. Bumrah is that elite pacer we have who I can say is Rabada/Cummins level, he is that X factor who I'm confident without whom, we couldn't have won the series in Australia. But guys like him don't come everyday and frankly looking at his action, it almost seems like it's a case of enjoy the best of him as much as you can because you know that career breaking is just injury around the corner.

There are a couple in the domestics who are pretty good pacers like Shami but none have the pace of Bumrah. There are two pacers though from the last U19 world cup who are very good. They clocked speeds of 145ks regularly in that U19 WC campaign and one of them (Nagarkoti) touched 150k in one of those deliveries. Obviously pace isn't everything but I think these two are the most promising youngsters who I'm hopeful of stepping upto the international level one day but they're too young right now.

You could say that about any good attack though.
Even SA, although they have two bowlers who will be all time greats upon retirement, have not had Rabada and Steyn at their peaks together really. Take out Rabada and their attack is still very good but has a question mark over Steyn’s longevity, Philander’s penetration on flat pitches, Olivier is only in the infancy of his career as is Ngidi etc.
take Cummins out of Australia and you’re left with slightly better than average mediocrity.
Take Boult out of NZ likewise.
Anderson out of England makes them very average really.

It’s harsh to single out India minus Bumrah.
 

Park cricketer

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You could say that about any good attack though.
Even SA, although they have two bowlers who will be all time greats upon retirement, have not had Rabada and Steyn at their peaks together really. Take out Rabada and their attack is still very good but has a question mark over Steyn’s longevity, Philander’s penetration on flat pitches, Olivier is only in the infancy of his career as is Ngidi etc.
take Cummins out of Australia and you’re left with slightly better than average mediocrity.
Take Boult out of NZ likewise.
Anderson out of England makes them very average really.

It’s harsh to single out India minus Bumrah.
Agreed with you, maybe I'm more worried because I'm an Indian fan but I also think Bumrah has the most injury prone action among the three. Cummins and Rabada have very smooth and repeatable actions while Bumrah just ambles to the crease and generates all that pace through his shoulder alone, which is bound to be injury prone through all that exertion.

It hasn't happened and it might not happen too but you never know since I don't know if there has ever been a bowler who finished with a great or all time great career with such an unorthodox action like Bumrah.
 

PhatBoy

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Agreed with you, maybe I'm more worried because I'm an Indian fan but I also think Bumrah has the most injury prone action among the three. Cummins and Rabada have very smooth and repeatable actions while Bumrah just ambles to the crease and generates all that pace through his shoulder alone, which is bound to be injury prone through all that exertion.

It hasn't happened and it might not happen too but you never know since I don't know if there has ever been a bowler who finished with a great or all time great career with such an unorthodox action like Bumrah.
I’d say Johnson’s was pretty unorthodox. Maybe not an all time great but his peak was, and he managed to periodically touch that peak right to the end.
 

Wedge McManus

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I know you're exaggerating it, but there's some truth to your post. Interestingly, I was just thinking about this last night. India have an excellent fast bowling attack but you remove Bumrah and it becomes merely a good attack. Bumrah is that elite pacer we have who I can say is Rabada/Cummins level, he is that X factor who I'm confident without whom, we couldn't have won the series in Australia. But guys like him don't come everyday and frankly looking at his action, it almost seems like it's a case of enjoy the best of him as much as you can because you know that career breaking injury is just around the corner.

There are a couple in the domestics who are pretty good pacers like Shami but none have the pace of Bumrah. There are two pacers though from the last U19 world cup who are very good. They clocked speeds of 145ks regularly in that U19 WC campaign and one of them (Nagarkoti) touched 150k in one of those deliveries. Obviously pace isn't everything but I think these two are the most promising youngsters who I'm hopeful of stepping upto the international level one day but they're too young right now.

NZ make the mistake of relying on Boult and the others go for plenty. Hopefully Bumrah can just stick to tests, stay healthy and do what Anderson does.... which is win tests for his country in his late 30's... Bumrah could play for over a decade if he sticks to tests and India wouldn't lose much I reckon. Apart from shami I'd be extremely concerned about the other seamers... Bumrah is like gold for you guys
 

Park cricketer

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NZ make the mistake of relying on Boult and the others go for plenty. Hopefully Bumrah can just stick to tests, stay healthy and do what Anderson does.... which is win tests for his country in his late 30's... Bumrah could play for over a decade if he sticks to tests and India wouldn't lose much I reckon. Apart from shami I'd be extremely concerned about the other seamers... Bumrah is like gold for you guys
I would take Bumrah playing till 30, let alone till 36 like Anderson lol. Truth be told, express pacers don't last that age, Anderson's longevity is due to the fact that he has one of the most economical and least energy expending actions ever.

We have good back ups as far as long form cricket is concerned, there are a handful of pacers with good potential plying their trade in the Ranji trophy. Our short form back ups are terrible though. A trundler like Khaleel Ahmed potentially getting in as the 4th pacer in our world cup squad should tell you everything.
 

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How are they terrible?
They had a pace bowler who couldn’t get a start during the winning Australian series who averages 26 with the ball after 21 tests.

Oh, and arguably the world’s best spinner who only played one match
Having a great bowler sit out would ordinarily be an argument in favor of depth, but when it's only because they inexplicably decided to select the proven mediocre Umesh Yadav who predictably underperformed it's more a mark against the selectors than anything else.
 

PhatBoy

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Having a great bowler sit out would ordinarily be an argument in favor of depth, but when it's only because they inexplicably decided to select the proven mediocre Umesh Yadav who predictably underperformed it's more a mark against the selectors than anything else.
Ah, I was talking about Ashwin. He got injured in adelaide and took no further part in the series
 
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