Welcome to the Bat and Ball Brimborion.
This is a blog about numbers (mostly).
Cricket statistics (mostly).
But they could be any numbers.
Or anything else that I may feel like rambling on about.
Whatever may interest me at the time.
And, in case you are wondering:
Brimborion – n. Something useless or nonsensical. From ‘The Superior Person’s Second Book of Words’ by Peter Bowler (not the first-class cricketer).


Saturday, November 24, 2007

A big turnaround

There was a remarkable Pura Cup game at the Gabba this week. Queensland bowled Victoria out for 113 and replied with 341. In the local parlance “How good is Ashley Noffke, mate?” He took 6-33 in Victoria’s innings and followed this up with 82 for Queensland. He is having a career year, having scored 448 runs at 64.00 and taken 27 wickets at 16.40 in first-class cricket so far this season. Noffke toured England with Australia in 2001 without playing in any internationals. While always being a useful batsman he was not really an all-rounder…until now.

Things started to go pear-shaped for Queensland in the second innings. Noffke and Andy Bichel were injured, seriously depleting their bowling resources. As a result Nick Jewell and Brad Hodge batted through the whole of day 3 without being parted. Their partnership was finally ended at 379, Jewell making 188 and Hodge was 286 not out when the declaration came at 581-5. Cameron White, Victoria’s captain, decided not to wait for Hodge’s 300, unlike Ricky Ponting who let Hodge score his 200 in the Test against South Africa at Perth in 2005/06 before declaring. South Africa then proceeded to save the match. But, back to the Gabba this week. Having set Queensland 354 to win, Victoria promptly bowled them out for 77 to win by 276 runs. You can find the scorecard here: http://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Scorecards/124/124264.html

It is pretty rare for teams to concede a first innings lead of more than 200 and win, but to do so by such a big margin is special. There have only been 2 bigger winning margins (by runs) by teams that have conceded a first innings lead over 200
in first-class cricket:

Somerset beat Yorkshire by 279 runs at Leeds in 1901. See http://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Scorecards/5/5740.html. This was Yorkshire’s only defeat of the season. Wisden said “... cricket history can furnish few parallels.” 106 years later there have only been 2 ‘parallels’. This week’s match and the record winning margin by a team conceding a first innings lead of 200. And guess who achieved this? Victoria. They beat South Australia by 287 runs at Melbourne in 1925/26 (http://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Scorecards/11/11755.html). This timeless match took 8 days to complete, two of which were washed out and must have been hard work for the Victorians who finished their previous Sheffield Shield match, which took 5 days, the day before this one. They must have appreciated the rain days.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Let's do it again, partner

Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis have developed a liking for batting together. Their last three partnerships in Test cricket have been: 170 v Pakistan at Karachi, 330 v New Zealand at Johannesburg and 220 v New Zealand at Centurion. All of which makes them the 4th pair to have had partnerships over 150 in three consecutive innings and the 9th pair to have consecutive partnerships over 200. Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan had a near miss of 4 consecutive partnerships over 150 when they added 319, 142, 242 and 158 in the series against India in 2005/06.

Only two other pairs have added 300 and then 200 in consecutive partnerships: Don Bradman and Bill Ponsford added 388 for the 4th wicket for Australia against England at Leeds in 1934 and then, apparently unsatisfied, went even better by adding 451 for the 2nd wicket at The Oval. And, Denis Compton and Bill Edrich in their great summer of 1947 added 370 at Lord’s and 228 at Manchester against South Africa. Compton scored 3816 runs (avg 90.85) and Edrich 3539 runs (avg 80.43) in first-class cricket in that season. These remain (and most likely will always remain) the two highest aggregates in a first-class season.

In 18 partnerships together Amla and Kallis have now added 1265 runs at an average of 74.41. They have a perfect conversion rate of fifties to hundreds with 5 hundred partnerships and no fifties (The same as Mike Atherton and Mark Butcher, incidentally). Amla has been involved in 6 century partnerships in Tests, 5 of them with Kallis.

Their average of 74.41 is in a relatively modest 19th place of all pairs with over 1000 runs together. Bradman and Ponsford, with a little help from the 2 partnerships mentioned above, average 128.40 in their 10 partnerships together. Of those with over 2000 runs together it is interesting to note that Javed Miandad and Shoaib Mohammad average the most with 91.43 from their 2103 runs. The great opening pair of Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe had an average of 87.86 from their 3339 runs in 39 partnerships (including a spell of 9 consecutive partnerships over 50). And, in case you are interested, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer averaged 51.53 in their 122 partnerships.

Andy Moles and Paul Smith (Of ‘Wasted?’ fame) hold the record of 8 consecutive opening partnerships over 50 in first-class cricket while playing for Warwickshire in 1986.

And, finally, here’s a really obscure stat (brimborion):
Both of Amla and Kallis’ partnerships in the New Zealand series were in low scoring Tests. In fact, the next best partnership for either team in the series was 72*. Their 330 in the 1st Test represented 35.18% of the total match aggregate and their 220 in the 2nd Test was 31.11% of the total match aggregate. This makes them the first pair to have had a partnership of over 30% of the match aggregate of a completed Test (i.e. excluding draws) in two consecutive matches in the history of Test cricket. Ever.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cricinfo Blog

If you are interested I have done some stuff for a blog on Cricinfo. You can find some truly fascinating stuff on ducks here:


Centuries around the world

The entry about Jason Gillespie batting triple got me thinking. Which players have scored centuries in the most different competitions worldwide? And, also who has centuries in the most different countries?

Some rules are needed to define competitions. I have grouped competitions by country, i.e. Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Irani Trophy all count under ‘Indian Domestic Competitions’. Likewise for SuperSport Series. Howa Bowl, SAA Provincial, etc as ‘South African Domestic competitions’. So, counting Test cricket and domestic competitions in the 10 ICC Full Members countries there are potentially 11 different ‘competitions’ that a player can appear in under this definition. First-class friendlies, tour matches etc are excluded.

And the winners are: Rohan Kanhai, Alvin Kallicharran and Murray Goodwin. All three have made centuries in 5 different competitions. Kanhai scored 15 Test centuries, 32 for Warwickshire in the County Championship, 2 in the Sheffield Shield for Western Australia in 1961/62, 4 in the Shell Shield for his native Guyana and 3 in successive innings for Transvaal in a highly successful season in the SACBOC Dadabhay Trophy in 1974/75. Kallicharran had the same collection as Kanhai – Tests, Shell Shield, County Championship, Sheffield Shield and South Africa. His South African ones were for Transvaal and Orange Free State on the other side of the apartheid fence. Goodwin swapped Zimbabwe for West Indies in his list, scoring a century for Mashonaland v Matabeleland in his brief Logan Cup career of 2 matches. If he is aware of this list, I wonder if he is contemplating signing for Dhaka Division, Mumbai, Canterbury, Faisalabad or Jamaica on a short contract? Or, perhaps, the Chilaw Marians in Sri Lanka?

The answer to the second question of first-class centuries in most countries is Rahul Dravid and Inzamam-ul-Haq who have both scored centuries in each of the 10 Test-playing countries (West Indies counting as one country). There are a number of players with centuries in 9 different countries. By far the most interesting of these is Bob Wyatt. I have cheated a bit to include him, as his centuries in ‘Pakistan’ were made when that country was still part of India. Wyatt scored 73 of his 85 centuries in England and spread his other 12 between Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka (Ceylon as it was), Argentina (Yes … Argentina) and Ireland. He also played first-class cricket in West Indies, Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia in his days) and Burma (Myanmar) without scoring a century in any of then, although he made fifties in all three. That’s a lot of time spent on a boat representing MCC and various other teams, including Sir TEW Brinckman's XI in Argentina. His first-class career comprised 739 matches in 34 years from 1923 to 1957. He played 40 Tests for England (16 as captain) and lived to a ripe old age, dying just 12 days before his 94th birthday in 1995.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sox World Series

Good news for those of us who belong to Red Sox Nation. Last month the Boston Red Sox won the World Series for the second time in fours years. They also won in 2004, having not won since 1918. This is similar to the average local bus. You don’t see one for ages and then two come along right after each other. The Red Sox appear to be good at the start of a century, having won 5 World Series between 1903 and 1918 and then none for the rest of the 20th century.

The World Series was also a triumph for cancer survivors. Both the MVP of the Series, Mike Lowell, and the winning pitcher in the clinching game, Jon Lester, have beaten the disease.

And the stat of the World Series was provided here:

The Red Sox’s closing pitcher Jonathan Papelbon developed his skill with a celebratory dance. And a google search for “Papelbon dance” produced almost as many hits as either “Papelbon closer” or “Papelbon saves”. I hope he keeps up his standards in his day job next season.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A batting triple

Here is today’s quiz question: Who is the only player to have scored a Test double-century, a County Championship century and a Pura Cup century since the beginning of 2006?

Must be an Australian, right? That is a good start. The foreigner is indeed Rarely Spotted in the Pura Cup. Matty Hayden? He hasn’t played in the County Championship in that period. Ricky Ponting? Ditto. Brad Hodge? Good guess, but his Test double-century came in December 2005. Justin Langer? We are getting closer. He is the only other one with centuries in all three. But, his Test century was as small as they get: 100 not out. And, his 2 triple centuries in the County Championship don’t help for this question. So, for those of you who don’t already know the answer let me put you out of your incalculable misery: Mate, it is Jason Gillespie.

Gillespie made his famous 201* as night-watchman for Australia against Bangladesh in Chittagong in April 2006. He then added 123* for Yorkshire v Surrey at The Oval earlier this year and this week completed the set with 118* for South Australia v Tasmania at Hobart in the Pura Cup. In 128 first-class matches before the 201* he had scored 1981 runs at an average of 15.72 with a best of just 58. In 41 first-class matches since then his batting average has reached the dizzy heights of 29.02. Interestingly, this is still below his bowling average in that period which is 32.72. Which is a pity as it damages his credentials as an all-rounder.