Freddie Wilde analyses the key moments in the first ODI of the five match series between England and Sri Lanka that ended in a tie.
Here you will find detailed analysis highlighted from the CricViz app.
England will head into the late summer Test series against Pakistan with some comfort regarding certain selection issues. The bowling, although Steven Finn has taken some time to get going, is settled. Chris Woakes has filled in admirably for Ben Stokes and will count himself unfortunate to miss out on 14 July if the Durham man is fit and firing by then.
Most pleasingly, Alex Hales, ironically by throttling down his attacking instincts, has become the opening partner Alastair Cook has craved for. The irony is that he was given the role specifically to provide some oomph up front, but there is no way anyone can crab a production rate in this series of 292 runs at an average of 58.40 even if he has batted more slowly than expected.
Jonny Bairstow was the batsman of the series, but his wicketkeeping continues to cause serious cause for concern, and one solution going forward would be to pick a specialist gloveman while of course retaining Bairstow’s batting ability. Nick Compton looks sure to be discarded. And even though he has had just this series to make an impression, James Vince can scarcely be relaxed about his chances of appearing against Pakistan with only 54 runs in four innings.
The selectors put faith in Compton to make the problematic no. 3 position his own this summer after the 32-year-old had earned 13 Test caps on the fringes of the side starting in late 2012.
He has failed to pay that faith back, returning scores of 0, 9, 22 not out, 1 and 19. CricViz data reveals that during his relatively short stays at the crease the ball found the edge of his bat eight times and he was hit on the pads seven times. Those edges, by the way, do not include shots designated as “thick edges”, ones less likely to fly to catchers. The same analysis process finds that Vince, who had one fewer innings than Compton, edged the ball six times and was hit on the pads twice. In addition, he played and missed five times (Compton only once) for his four dismissals (9, 35, 10, 0).
What this data suggests is that beyond their poor results, these two right-handers were not playing well enough in any event to suggest that a big score would be around the corner. We might, for example, expect a batsman to play and miss a few times and edge the ball once or twice in a long, substantial innings – just as Compton and Vince did – but not in such curtailed circumstances.
Now let us look in particular at the no. 3 position and how England have tried to fill it since 1 January 2012. Why pick that date, you might ask? Well it was after sweeping India 4-0 that very summer that England reached the coveted no. 1 position. A rapid decline ensued with only one of the following four Test series won, and they’ve been generally inconsistent all the while.
At the start of 2012, the man in possession was Jonathan Trott, a reassuring presence at the crease. Trott performed creditably during the time in question (averaging 40.40), but was forced to relinquish the position after one Test of the 2012-13 Ashes debacle when suffering from severe mental burn-out.
The first man England turned to was Joe Root. But, for all his success before and since lower down the order, a promotion for the talented Yorkshireman did not work and it is not thought likely there will be a further Root experiment at three again any time soon. In June 2014, England went with Gary Ballance. For a while this was a great success, but then there was a run of five poor Tests for Ballance. And despite an average of 50.82 at number three, he was dropped. Ian Bell was tried – it didn’t work – and finally we got to Compton.
Good number threes are difficult to find. In the modern era, Kumar Sangakkara, Ricky Ponting, Hashim Amla and Rahul Dravid stand out. Before them, you really have to go as far back as Don Bradman, Wally Hammond and George Headley to find exceptionally good players at first drop. It’s notable that the great West Indians Brian Lara and Viv Richards preferred hiding themselves further away from the new ball, Greg Chappell did better lower down and Sachin Tendulkar never batted higher than no. 4 in 200 Tests. In other words, there appears to have been a golden age of number threes before the War, and then a 60-year hiatus before the emergence of Sangakkara et al.
It’s fair to conclude that this is a position that as a selector you have to take great care over. But England guessed when they dropped Ballance. They asked Bell to move up a spot following scores of 1 and 11 from the Warwickshire man in last year’s heavy Lord’s defeat to Australia. And they guessed again when they put Compton there despite some fairly modest form for his county Middlesex.
Essex’s Tom Westley and Durham’s Scott Borthwick are among the players who will be considered now for this critical position, and whichever one gets the nod could have quite a tough baptism given that Pakistan have a significantly more exciting bowling attack than Sri Lanka’s. There’s the added menace of the returning Mohammad Amir to consider too.
England’s specialist batsmen cannot expect to keep being bailed out by the lower order, as they were both in South Africa and again during this series against Sri Lanka. And that’s why the men who are paid to make the big calls need to take great care in getting that number three selection spot on.
Sri Lanka are expected to face friendlier conditions in the third and final Test of the series at Lord’s. Having struggled to cope with the seaming and swinging ball at Headingley and Durham, their batsmen should find batting at the home of cricket an easier task.
This season’s County Championship scores at the venue support this. The first innings scores in Middlesex’s home games at headquarters this year have been 376, 423, 354, 203/3, 452 and 468. Pace bowlers have found it hard to trouble batsmen on pitches that have lacked pace and movement.
However, the Lord’s wicket does not prevent decisive Test results as it once did. There were six straight draws between 2006 and 2008, but just two of 15 matches since have been stalemates. Sri Lanka secured one of those draws, hanging on nine wickets down after scoring 453 in their first innings.
That result contributed to England’s run of one win in their last four at Lord’s, with last year’s Ashes hammering a particularly chastening experience in placid conditions. The home side’s bowlers struggled to find the lateral movement to trouble Australia, whose pace men were far more menacing.
A Hawk-Eye comparison of England’s seamers in that match and this series reveals how they were blunted in that contest and lethal at Headingley. It is no coincidence that as conditions improved at the Riverside, so did Sri Lanka’s batting.
|England seamers average||v Australia, Lord's 2015||v Sri Lanka, Headingley 2016||v Sri Lanka, Riverside 2016|
|Bounce height at stumps (metres)||0.79||0.93||0.82|
England’s seamers have averaged around the 82mph mark this series, as they did against Australia at Lord’s last year. However, on the lively pitch in the series opener at Leeds, they found far more average seam, swing and bounce, the key factors in their crushing innings win inside three days.
At Durham they carried on where they left off. They fired out the tourists for 101, but Sri Lanka were far more resilient second time around, posting 475 in 128.2 overs.
England’s pace attack produced the same amount of average seam in that Test as they did in the 2015 Ashes Lord’s clash and only marginally more bounce. They swung the ball less overall, a reflection of how conditions eased as the game wore on.
England know they will need to work harder to take 20 Sri Lankan wickets this week. Their seamers took just five between them as Australia piled up 566/8 last year and whilst England can be expected to bat better than they did in that contest, a major challenge faces the bowling unit.
Alex Hales is brimming with confidence. His 83 on day one of the second England v Sri Lanka Test was his third consecutive 50+ score in first-class cricket, his best such run since June 2011. Two near-misses in the search for a maiden Test ton do not prevent recognition that he belongs in Test cricket.
The Nottinghamshire man was a model of restraint in the first Test of the series. He left alone 28.6% of balls faced at Headingley, defending a further 28.1%. He played an assured opener’s innings, acclimatising to conditions – against bowlers who admittedly did not make him play enough – before showing more intent.
Hales played two attacking shots in first 20 balls in Leeds, four in his next 20 and 12 in the 20 subsequent deliveries. It was a knock that showed he could apply his natural game in the context of Test conditions.
That display helped produce an even more assured display at the Emirates Riverside. Sri Lanka bowled a tighter line in less helpful conditions, but a leave percentage of 11.7% showed Hales felt more at ease in imposing himself.
It was partly due to facing more spin in the second Test, but the touring bowlers attacked Hales’ stumps far more at Durham. 25% of deliveries he faced would have hit the stumps, compared with 4.3% at Headingley.
Less swing tightened their line, but Hales drew the bowlers into his hitting zone through his excellent judgment and concentration in the series opener.
In both his innings against Sri Lanka Hales has been dismissed attacking left-arm spin, errors of judgment that he should not be criticised for. Few can accelerate like the tall right-hander and whilst he will be frustrated in perishing after twice doing the hard work, it is that application which is notable.
Just how good was England’s bowling at Headingley? Sri Lanka’s batsmen struggled in tricky conditions against a skilled attack and CricViz can measure how much more dangerous the hosts’ seamers were than their counterparts.
The BatViz model analyses ball tracking data to produce wicket and run ratings for every ball. We conduct a nearest neighbour analysis of the six Hawk-Eye categories that comprise each ball: speed, line, length, seam, swing and bounce.
This process, counting the runs and wickets associated with the 1,000 most similar deliveries in our database based on those categories, allows the measurement of wicket threat and ease of scoring.
England’s bowlers had an average wicket probability of 1.87% per ball, Sri Lanka’s 1.38%. The top five bowlers in this ranking were members of the home attack, led unsurprisingly by James Anderson (2.13%).
|Average wicket probability per ball bowled|
The Hawk-Eye data from the first Test testifies to Anderson’s mastery of seam and swing. Of the frontline seamers, only Shaminda Eranga had a lower average speed, but the Lancastrian’s 81mph is plenty when combined with lateral movement that no other paceman in the world can match.
Eranga actually swung the ball more on average, but Anderson’s ability to move the ball both ways is crucial. 16 of the 25 biggest inswingers (as faced by a right-hander) were delivered by England’s talisman.
Dangerous swing bowling is partly about controlling the movement in favourable conditions and Anderson is adept at finding just the right amount. Eranga bowled 13 of the 20 biggest outswingers (to right-handers) in the match, but these were not of the right line or length to trouble the batsmen.
Anderson can famously switch between inswing and outswing with little discernible change in action, a skill that is especially useful in the context of expert seam bowling. He possessed the highest average seam movement in the match.
|Average wicket probability per ball faced|
Applying the wicket probability ratings to each batsman, the struggles faced by the visiting batsmen become clear. Of frontline batsmen the highest average wicket probability per ball was faced by Angelo Mathews (2.08%) and Dimuth Karunaratne (2.07%).
That the best was kept for the two most experienced opposing batsmen says much about the efficiency of England’s bowling. Anderson’s unique combination of seam, swing and accuracy, a combination that has brought him 443 Test wickets, was too good for the tourists.
England’s decimation of Sri Lanka’s top order was based on accuracy and the application of pressure. James Anderson and Stuart Broad utilised similar conditions to those faced by Sri Lanka’s opening bowlers, but they gained reward for making batsmen play more regularly.
In the opening 10 overs of England’s innings, Alex Hales and Alastair Cook were able to leave 33 balls alone. Sri Lanka’s top order played no shot at 18 deliveries in the equivalent period on day two.
The result of such accuracy was indecision outside off stump. The five Sri Lankans who batted in the opening 10 overs played and missed eight times between them, edging nine deliveries. England’s openers played five false shots (play and misses and edges combined).
Anderson and Broad’s expertise in English conditions was apparent, with the latter particularly threatening in his two-wicket burst. Every single delivery in his opening five overs were either in line with or outside of off stump. In comparison, 10 of Shaminda Eranga’s opening 30 balls were on leg stump or wider.
Whilst they bowled slightly shorter as a pair on average, Eranga and Nuwan Pradeep actually extracted slightly more lateral movement than England’s experienced opening combination.
Dusan Shanaka went on to prove that enough seam and swing can be useful at a lower pace, but a lack of speed against watchful openers was problematic for Eranga – his average speed in his first five overs was 7 mph lower than Broad’s.
As the IPL group phase nears completion, Patrick Noone takes a look at the players who have most positively affected their team’s chances of winning throughout the tournament.
Using CricViz’s PlayerViz statistics, it is possible to create a playing XI from the players with the highest impact scores. A player’s impact score provides a measure in runs of the impact that player’s performance has had on the match score. A player’s performance is measured against the average level of performance in that game and a positive or negative runs figure is produced to determine the extent that player has increased or decreased his team’s chances of winning. Scores are produced individually for batting, bowling and fielding, as well an aggregated overall figure that can be used to compare players by the same metric, regardless of their role in the team.
From the overall impact leaderboard, we are able to rearrange the top 11 players into a team as follows:
1. Quinton de Kock (Delhi Daredevils); Matches: 11, Runs: 383 (100s: 1, 50s: 2), SR: 144, Overall impact: +90 runs
The South African wicketkeeper has added consistency to his game to go with his obvious talent, with scores of 40+ in four consecutive innings before missing out against Rising Pune Supergiants. As he showed in his 108 against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he also has the ability to bat deep and convert those starts into more significant scores. de Kock’s preference to pick gaps in the field during the powerplay rather than go over the top have seen him hit 47 fours and just 12 sixes, with over 55% of all his runs coming in the first six overs.
IPL Fact: de Kock has been involved in five of Delhi’s 10 50+ partnerships this campaign.
2. David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad) Matches: 12, Runs: 567 (50s: 6) SR: 155.8, Overall impact: +187 runs
Warner tops our impact leaderboard thanks to a brilliantly consistent season at the top of the order for Sunrisers Hyderabad. With only three scores below 46, the skipper has relished his return to the opener’s spot after batting in Australia’s middle order at the ICC World T20. His side owe a lot to that consistency, with his 567 runs representing over 32% of the team’s total runs for the tournament, helping to overcome the stuttering form shown by their other top order batsmen.
IPL Fact: Warner is currently level with Ajinkya Rahane for the highest number of 50+ scores (6) without making a hundred.
3. AB de Villiers (Royal Challengers Bangalore) Matches: 12, Runs: 597 (100s: 1, 50s: 5), SR: 173.5, Overall impact: +145 runs
As Virat Kohli has taken most of the headlines in RCB’s star studded batting lineup, de Villiers had almost slipped under the radar for the first 10 games of this year’s IPL. That was until he hit 129 of his side’s 248 against Gujarat Lions to post the highest individual score of the season; and then followed it up with an unbeaten 31-ball 59 at Eden Gardens to help see off Kolkata Knight Riders. de Villiers’ record of batting with Kohli has been one of the stories of the IPL, with the pair putting on the top three partnerships of the tournament – the 229 in that game against Gujarat leading the way – and five century stands in total. De Villiers has also been electric in the field, taking 14 catches that represent a tournament high for non-wicketkeepers.
IPL Fact: de Villiers’ 129* against Gujarat Lions featured 112 runs from boundaries (10 fours, 12 sixes).
4. Aaron Finch (Gujarat Lions) Matches: 9, Runs: 313 (50s: 4), SR: 132.6, Overall impact: +92 runs
Three fifties in his first three innings at the top of the order for Aaron Finch hinted at a stellar tournament for the Australian, before an injury against RCB saw him lose his place to Dwayne Smith as Brendon McCullum’s opening partner. Since then, Finch has batted at three once and at five three times as the Lions have struggled for balance in their batting during the second half of the group phase. Nonetheless, Finch has still shown admirable resolve in his new role, most notably in match 34, when he made an unbeaten 51 against Sunrisers Hyderabad while his side stuttered to 126. Finch remains Gujarat’s top scorer with 313 runs and his strike rate is only bettered by McCullum and Smith, suggesting he will still have a big role to play for the new franchise in the knockout phase of the competition.
IPL Fact: Finch’s average of 52.2 is by far the highest of any Gujarat player in this year’s IPL. Dinesh Karthik is second with 29.8.
5. Shane Watson (Royal Challengers Bangalore) Matches: 12, Runs: 152, SR: 153.5, Wickets: 14, Economy: 8.5, Overall impact: +75.4 runs
Perhaps a surprise inclusion given his relatively quiet tournament with the bat – his high score is just 33 against Delhi Daredevils in match 11 – but Shane Watson has been a revelation for RCB with the ball. He leads his side’s wicket takers list with 14, picking up a wicket every 18.2 deliveries thanks to some canny changes of pace. Watson has only bowled 33 off-cutters in his 12 matches, but he has picked up 5-25 from those deliveries; the genuine variation proving enough of a surprise delivery to catch out batsmen on a regular basis.
IPL Fact: Watson is the only RCB bowler to have bowled three four-over spells with an economy of under seven runs per over.
6. Krunal Pandya (Mumbai Indians) Matches: 11, Runs: 233 (50s: 1), SR: 192.6, Wickets: 6, Economy: 7.1, Overall impact: +87.7 runs
The elder brother of India’s ICC World T20 squad member Hardik, Krunal Pandya has emerged as a genuine all-rounder for Mumbai Indians as they seek to defend their IPL title. Beginning the campaign primarily as a left-arm spin option to supplement Mumbai’s seam-heavy attack, Pandya has caught the eye with the bat in the middle order as the tournament has progressed. His unbeaten 49 from just 28 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad in match 12 gave a glimpse of his potential before he repaid his side’s faith in sending him in at number three against Delhi Daredevils, blasting 86 from 37 balls to score his maiden IPL half century. Pandya’s versatility has afforded his side a flexibility that all T20 teams crave as he fulfils the coveted role of frontline bowler capable of batting in the top six.
IPL Fact: Krunal Pandya dismissed AB de Villiers in both matches between their respective sides.
7. Chris Morris (Delhi Daredevils) Matches: 11, Runs: 168 (50s: 1), SR: 184.6, Wickets: 12, Economy: 6.8, Overall impact: +80 runs
Another player who fits into the ‘genuine all-rounder’ category, Morris has lived up to his big price tag with his performances with both bat and ball during this campaign. A bowler of genuine pace – his speeds have consistently been around 85-88mph, with a tournament high of 89.2mph against Kings XI Punjab in match 36. A batting strike rate a fraction below 185 shows his prowess as a lower order hitter, with his undoubted highlight the 82* from 32 balls that saw him bring up the tournament’s fastest 50 (17 balls).
IPL Fact: Morris is ranked first and second in Delhi Daredevils’ leaderboards for batting average and bowling economy rate respectively.
8. Axar Patel (Kings XI Punjab) Matches: 12, Runs: 97, SR 149.2, Wickets: 11, Economy: 7.3, Overall impact: +81 runs
In another difficult season for Kings XI Punjab, Axar Patel has once again proved himself to be a consistent performer both as a canny left arm orthodox bowler and a reliable lower order batsman. He took career best figures of 4-21 against Gujarat Lions in game 28, a performance that included the only hat-trick of the tournament to date. Meanwhile his highlight with the bat came in a losing cause in Hyderabad against the Sunrisers as he smashed 36 off just 17 balls to propel his side to 143.
IPL Fact: Patel has hit more than twice as many sixes as fours in this competition (3 fours, 7 sixes).
9. Yuzvendra Chahal (Royal Challengers Bangalore) Matches: 9, Wickets: 12, Economy: 7.8, Overall impact: +66 runs
Chahal has become a key figure for RCB since his breakthrough IPL in 2014 and this year he is their second highest wicket taker behind Shane Watson, while in the tournament as a whole, Amit Mishra is the only spinner to have taken more wickets than RCB’s 25-year old legspinner. Chahal does not rely too heavily on variations – only three of his 12 wickets have come from googlies – preferring instead to beat the batsmen with subtle changes of pace and drift. Asked to bowl in the powerplay on five occasions this season, he is the highest ranked spinner on our bowling impact leaderboard in that part of the innings. He has only gone wicketless in one of his nine matches this campaign and is fast establishing himself as one of the leading young spin bowlers in the Indian game.
IPL Fact: No one has taken more wickets (3) through stumpings than Chahal in this tournament.
10. Jasprit Bumrah (Mumbai Indians) Matches: 13, Wickets: 14, Economy: 7.6, Overall impact: +87 runs
The young seamer is enjoying quite a year since he made his ODI debut at the SCG in January, going on to become a key part of India’s Asia Cup and World T20 sides. His ability to bowl yorkers has made him an excellent death bowler; in this tournament he has successfully landed 29 such deliveries, conceding just 27 runs. This, allied to his unusual action, has allowed Mumbai to play him in tandem with fellow seamers Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan as part of a varied attack that has taken 42 of the side’s 60 wickets.
IPL Fact: When Bumrah took 3-13 against Delhi Daredevils on 15th May, he became the first Mumbai seamer to bowl a four-over spell with an economy less than four since Lasith Malinga in 2014.
11. Mustafizur Rahman (Sunrisers Hyderabad) Matches: 12, Wickets: 14, Economy: 6.7, Overall impact: 104.79 runs
Bangladesh’s most recent star is taking his first IPL by storm, sitting fourth in the wicket taker’s list and playing a major role in what is arguably the best seam attack of the IPL. The off cutter has been Mustafizur’s most potent weapon – his ability to bowl at such a reduced pace with so little change in action has brought him plenty of reward; most notably against Kings XI Punjab on 23rd April when his 10 off-cutters produced two wickets, conceding no runs.
IPL Fact: Mustafizur is only the fifth Bangladeshi to feature in the IPL after Mohammad Ashraful, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak and Shakib Al-Hasan.
One notable omission from the CricViz XI is Virat Kohli. Despite scoring 752 runs at an average of 83.6, RCB’s captain sits in 14th place in our overall impact leaderboard, with a cumulative score of +51 runs. The reason for this incongruity is because the PlayerViz model that is used to generate these scores is resource-based, meaning that credit is not given to performances that are expected in the context of variables such as balls faced.
An example of this aspect of the model penalising Kohli can be seen in RCB’s match against Rising Pune Supergiants, when he scored 80 off 63 balls. Kohli’s batting impact score for this match was -16, despite his contribution to his side winning the game. This is because an opener facing just over half the balls available in the innings should be closer to a hundred than Kohli was. By contrast, in the same match AB de Villiers batted at three and scored 83 off 46 balls to finish with a batting impact score of +22 runs.
Utilising CricViz’s hawkeye data archive Freddie Wilde has analysed in detail the five leading wicket-takers in this season’s Indian Premier League by examining their variations, lengths and lines.
After 41 matches of the season the five leading wicket-takers are all seam bowlers: Mitchell McClenaghan (Mumbai Indians), Bhuveneshwar Kumar (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders), Shane Watson (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Mustafizur Rahman (Sunrisers Hyderabad).
|Player||No Movement||Off Cutter||Slower Ball||Away Swinger||In Swinger||Leg Cutter|
For all five of the bowlers the majority of their deliveries are conventional. Mustafizur and Bhuveneshwar bowl the largest share of variations with Mustafizur bowling a very high percentage of off-cutters and Bhuveneshwar favouring swing—largely away from the batsman. Watson, Russell and McClenaghan have all utilised the off-cutter as their primary variation but have bowled them more sparingly.
|Player||No Movement Average||Off Cutter Average||Slower Ball Average||Away Swinger Average||In Swinger Average||Leg Cutter Average|
Bhuveneshwar, Mustafizur and Watson stand out as the bowlers who use variations most effectively. While Russell maintains a low average from conventional deliveries. Bhuveneshwar’s strength is clearly his ability to swing the ball both in and away from the batsman – he has taken five wickets with away swingers and two with in-swingers. Mustafizur’s off-cutter average is higher than Bhuveneshwar’s and Watson’s but it has brought him most success earning him seven wickets at an economy rate of 5.88 and is the only delivery type, length or line to average less than 15 having been bowled at least 100 times. Watson’s off-cutter has also been effective giving him four wickets from 31 deliveries at an economy rate of 4.83. McClenaghan’s high averages for no movement deliveries and off-cutters is a reflection of his profligacy – he has been the most expensive of the five leading wicket-takers – rather than the deliveries themselves.
|Player||Full Toss||Yorker||Half Volley||Good Length||Back of a Length||Short|
Mustafizur has the highest share of full tosses and half volleys and that is most probably a result of his consistent attempt to land his yorker, of which he also boasts the highest percentage share. Bhuveneshwar, who, as illustrated above, is often looking to swing the ball, unsurprisingly the highest share of deliveries bowled on a traditional good length. Impressively Bhuveneshwar rarely over-pitches when looking for swing having bowled just 6% of his deliveries as half volleys. McClenaghan, Russell and Watson, all less reliant on movement in the air and off the pitch, clearly favour bowling shorter than Bhuvenshwar and Mustafizur. More than half of McClenaghan’s deliveries are back of a length or shorter, while the figure for Russell and Watson is 45% and 34% respectively.
|Player||Full Toss Average||Yorker Average||Half Volley Average||Good Length Average||Back of a Length Average||Short Average|
Given McClenaghan’s consistently short length the yorker clearly works as a successful surprise ball. He has conceded just ten runs from the 15 he has bowled and collected two wickets. Bhuveneshwar and Watson have both recorded similar figures from their yorkers, having bowled 14 and 15 deliveries respectively taking one and two wickets. Mustafizur has landed the most yorkers of the five, having successfully bowled 35 of them, taking the one wicket. As expected given his ability to swing the ball both ways Bhuveneshwar has the lowest average from deliveries bowled on a good length. Mustafizur’s good length has earned him three wickets from his 39 deliveries with such a length being ideal for his off cutters. McClenaghan, who has bowled more deliveries back of a length than any other, has the best average from balls pitched there and has taken five wickets; he has, however, only taken one wicket when he over-pitches to a good length. Both Russell and Watson have been very successful bowling short – taking five and four wickets respectively, Watson, however, has a considerably lower economy rate from such a length. McClenaghan has taken five wickets from a short length but has conceded a boundary percentage of 27%.
The status of the yorker as the most effective delivery is reaffirmed by the statistics of the five bowlers with all of them recording economy rates of less than 5.21 from the delivery.
|Player||Wide||Outside Off Stump||Off Stump||Middle Stump||Leg Stump||Down Leg|
Bhuveneshwar, McClenaghan, Russell and Watson all land more than 60% of their deliveries outside off stump – a traditional good line to bowl. Mustafizur, the most unorthodox of the five bowlers pitches as many balls down leg as he does outside off stump – this can largely be explained by his angle coming over the wicket to right-handers and angling the ball across them. Mustafizur and Watson both pitch 29% of their deliveries on the stumps, forcing the batsman to play.
|Player||Wide Average||Outside Off Average||Off Stump Average||Middle Stump Average||Leg Stump Average||Down Leg Average|
Mustafizur and Russell are both conspicuously successful from balls pitched on leg stump and down leg. Russell has taken five wickets from the 40 deliveries he has bowled there while Mustafizur has taken seven from 108 balls bowled on those lines at an economy rate of just 4.84. Watson’s controlled line outside off stump has earned him ten wickets at the best average of the five.
- Mustafizur has taken seven wickets from 108 balls that have pitched on leg stump & down leg at an economy rate of just 4.84.
- Watson has bowled 39 short deliveries this season & has taken 5-48 with a dot ball percentage of 44% from them.
- Bhuveneshwar has got 30% of his deliveries to swing this season and has an average of 6.42 from them.
- 55% of McClenaghan’s deliveries have been back of a length or shorter and they have earned him 10 of his 15 wickets.
- Russell’s 38 short balls have conceded 22 runs this season with a dot ball percentage of 58%.
Freddie Wilde is a freelance cricket journalist, @fwildecricket.
Virat Kohli’s astonishing form with the bat has continued as the IPL reaches its halfway stage. At the time of writing, the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper is the tournament’s second highest run scorer with 381 runs scored at an average of 76.20. The only man to have scored more than Kohli at this juncture is Sunrisers Hyderabad’s David Warner who has five more runs having played seven matches to Kohli’s six. Analysing the two players’ performances alongside Kohli’s team mate AB de Villiers reveals some interesting trends about how each batsman accumulates their runs.
What has stood out during Kohli’s scores of 75, 79, 33, 80, 100* and 14 is the way he has used his feet to both the spinners and pace bowlers. 87 of his 381 runs (22.83%) have come from shots played coming down the track, scored at a strike rate of 164.15. By contrast, Warner has only come down the pitch on five occasions across his seven innings, scoring just four runs. The Australian opener prefers instead to play aggressively on the back foot – 202 of his 386 runs (52.33%) have been scored from back foot shots at a strike rate of 165.57.
Kohli has had great success batting with AB de Villiers – the pair have put on stands of 157, 107, 59 and 155 in this campaign – and RCB’s number three currently lies third in the tournament’s top scorers with 316. Like Warner, de Villiers has been reluctant to go on the charge as our data shows him to have only played seven shots after advancing, scoring six runs in the process. Instead, de Villiers has attacked primarily on the front foot; using his ability to score all around the ground, the South African has plundered 164 runs (51.9% of all his runs) from that position at a strike rate of 159.22.
This contrast in approach between Kohli and de Villiers is perhaps a factor behind their success as a pair. Bowling attacks will struggle to find the correct lengths to bowl if a batsman’s footwork disrupts their rhythm; a problem only compounded when each batsman adopts such different methods of run scoring.
Despite Kohli’s scintillating form up to this point, his method of walking towards the bowler has proved his undoing on two occasions – significantly his two lowest scores of the IPL. Against Mumbai Indians, Kohli advanced on three occasions but was twice beaten by the away swing of Tim Southee and ultimately holed out failing to get to the pitch of a Krunal Pandya delivery. Then, in his most recent outing against Sunrisers he was unable to get on top of an off cutter from Mustafizur Rahman and picked out backward point.
Kohli’s approach is unlikely to change in light of these relative failures, and nor should it. However, they do offer a glimmer of hope to bowling sides in the remainder of the tournament that a player’s greatest strength can sometimes be their weakness.
Alastair Cook is nearing yet another notable landmark. The England captain is 36 runs short of 10,000 in Tests and will expect to raise his bat in acknowledgement against Sri Lanka at Headingley next month.
His opening partner will also be under scrutiny, for very different reasons. Another Test series, another debate about who will open with Cook. The man in possession is yet again under pressure, and the list of alternatives to Alex Hales is longer than ever.
If the selectors do move away from the Nottinghamshire man, it could well be towards a player previously tried and discarded. County Championship runs are expected of the candidates, and Sam Robson has started the season in a manner that is hard to ignore.
Robson plundered 231 and 106 against Warwickshire at Lord’s, maintaining his habit of heavy early season scoring. Batting in April and May is supposedly so tricky that it has contributed to a major change in competition rules. It is not an issue for Robson.
Facing the moving ball on juicy early summer wickets has held no problems for the Middlesex man. Since his Championship debut in 2010, Robson averages 47.6 batting in April and May. His average in these months from 2013 onwards is 59.4.
Seven of Robson’s 10 Championship centuries have come in April and May, with four of those tons seeing him pass 150. The Middlesex man is clearly adept at catching the eye early in the season, but if his headquarters haul against the Bears is not enough to edge out Hales, can he maintain this form?
Few of the possible partners for Cook have as many questions asked of their technique as Robson. Adam Lyth’s tendency to fall to an outside edge became apparent last summer, but Robson’s susceptibility to balls moving into him became even more damaging.
Four bowled dismissals in 11 Test innings suggested to some a flaw that was unacceptable for a prospective Test opener. Nicking to the keeper and slips is one thing, missing straight ones is quite another.
However, perhaps too much was read into this mode of dismissal. 14.2% of Robson’s Championship dismissals have been bowled, compared with 23.3% for Hales. The incumbent England opener had his stumps disturbed eight times in 18 Championship innings last year. 22.4% of Nick Compton’s Championship dismissals have been bowled, largely batting in the middle order.
Openers have the hardest job to correct technical issues, as the new ball poses the most challenges. All have weaknesses to some degree and Robson knows what contributed to his England axing. His work in correcting a problem that was not exposed by express pace seems to be bearing fruit.
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