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The India v Australia Test series has been set up for the remainder of the rubber quite beautifully thanks to Australia’s comprehensive win in the Pune opener.
India began by losing the toss on a dry, excessively spin-friendly surface, but after bowling Australia out for 260, the hosts’ WinViz moved up to just shy of 80%. This looked reasonably justifiable given the Indian batsmen’s renowned prowess in their home conditions and, it appeared, no obvious match-winning spinner in the Aussie ranks.
But the extraordinary events of day two: India all out for 105, Australia 143-4 for a lead approaching 300, turned the match unexpectedly and decisively. WinViz had moved in one way only during that second day, and by the end of it Australia were 88%.
There was to be no twist in the tale on Saturday as the slow left-armer Steve O’Keefe once again proved Australia’s hero. He took his second six-wicket haul of the match and Australia won by 333 runs without recourse to days four or five. O’Keefe had cobbled together 14 wickets from his first four Tests. Now he has 26 from five and presumably heads to the Bengaluru Test this coming Saturday with a rare old spring in his step.
For every bit as brilliant as Australia were in Pune, India were very, very poor. The first thing they got wrong was the wicket, for this was a virtual dustbowl, full of cracks and loose clods of earth being dislodged from the opening exchanges. It is detrimental rather than helpful for India’s chance to play on tracks like this, and after the events of last week we surely won’t see another one like it for a long time.
The pitch held out for about an hour before the first signs of excessive turn and bounce emerged, but when the opportunity came, India did not bowl or catch as well as Australia did when it was their turn in the field.
Of the 40 wickets that fell in the match, 30 went to the spinners, of which all but three were to good-length deliveries. In other words, 67.5% of wickets were off good-length balls bowled by spinners. But, how often were the five spinners in the match finding a good length?
Interestingly, all of them radically improved their lengths in the second innings. But it is notable how poor Jayant Yadav’s control was in the first innings, while the most dramatic improver was Nathan Lyon (56.0%-87.6%, reflected in figures of 1-21 and 4-53 respectively).
This table shows the % of each spinner’s deliveries on a good length, in the first innings (first row) and second innings:
Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are skilful enough to regularly bowl well over 70% of deliveries on a good length but it was a clear failing that they didn’t manage that until the second innings.
Incidentally, perhaps the reason why good-length deliveries were so much more effective for the spinners is that batsmen were pretty much looking to play back all the time and read the turn off the wicket. To do so against good-length spin bowling as opposed to back-of-a-length bowling is that much tougher.
Though the game was ebbing away from them by the time India started dropping catches in the second innings (Steve Smith three times, Matt Renshaw once), these failings served to drain the last vestiges of hope for the Virat Kohli’s men.
One thing I want to look at in this match is the issue of luck. Some Indian fans were most insistent that Australia’s batsmen were more fortunate than India’s, and when covering day one for CricViz I did find myself looking up how many times players were missing or edging the ball without being dismissed.
So here is another simple table showing the percentage of balls edged or missed by the batsman in each innings who survived the most balls.
Perhaps there is some credence then in the theory that the cricketing gods did not look particularly favourably on India. However the old adage of “making your own luck” rings true to some extent. Notably, there were those dropped catches by India already detailed; in addition Yadav contrived to bowl David Warner on the first morning with a massive no-ball and there were plenty of questionable tactical decisions made by Kohli, not least the decision to take the new ball on the first evening against the free-hitting Mitchell Starc.
I would be reasonably confident that India can do the minimum required to come back and win the series now. It won’t be easy. They can do no worse than draw one and win two of the remaining Tests so pitch preparation will be vital. It would clearly be dangerous to replicate Pune again and lose the toss, while any wickets that are too flat and bring the draw strongly into the equation must also be avoided.
Whatever they say in public, Australia will certainly be unusually bullish about their chances. But Steven Smith’s leadership skills will surely be tested if India mount a strong response in Bengaluru this coming weekend. India need to improve sharply in all departments of their game – but they certainly have the capability to do so, and WinViz is sure to start in favour of the the home team on Saturday.
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CricViz, the analytics company, believe that fielding is a crucial area for growth, both in data mining and on-field performances. Only 25% of run outs requiring a direct hit in the ring are achieved. “Missing these chances is currently less notable on TV than the fumble on the boundary; team analysis is taking the lead here,” says Phil Oliver, the company’s founder. In this year’s Big Bash League, CricViz’s fielding metrics correlated strongly with overall performances of a team. The Perth Scorchers, the champions found to have saved a net of 54.70 runs in the field over their ten games, twice as many as anyone else, while the fielding of Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers, who both finished in the bottom three, cost both teams 31 runs over the eight matches.
From The Independent
While batting and bowling have had quantifiable numbers associated with them, in order to help judge success or failure, fielding has remained untouched until very recently. Jonathan Liew from The Telegraph looks at how England are using a similar model as CricViz to monitor fielders’ performance.
Phil Oliver runs the stats company CricViz, which provides advanced data analysis to fans and broadcasters using a model Leamon helped develop. He believes that the next step is wearable technology, that would allow player’s movements to be tracked to the nearest pixel. Used in conjunction with a Hawkeye-style ball-tracking tool, it would allow us to settle debates that can now only be conjectured. Was that a genuine chance, or just out of his reach? Could the fielder have got to that ball quicker? And who really is the best fielder in the world? (According to CricViz data, Ben Stokes was the most effective fielder at last year’s World T20 by some distance.)
We keep a close eye on the performance of the CricViz models and review them regularly. We have made a recent change to our white ball model that produces WinViz and PredictViz in T20 and ODI cricket.
After a period of observation we have implemented an improvement that prevents unjustified certainty in specific circumstances.
We are happy to receive feedback and will engage in the conversation of what makes a good model and what should be taken into account.
Our aims with WinViz and PredictViz are to engage new fans and produce talking points during matches. The free app benefits users if it is as accurate as possible and constructive debate is clearly in our interests.
CricViz has covered all three formats of the game, providing analysis of matches played in seven countries. All series are stored in the app and allow users to look at historical projections through the slider function in each game’s timeline. These are freely available, a resource that fuels the constructive debate that we welcome.
The white ball WinViz model takes into account the career records of players, historical data from the venue and host country and the current match situation. We are building a large database of live in-game analysis, ongoing examination of which helps our team to make the necessary improvements to models.
The red ball model is produced differently and is unchanged.
Senior ESPNcricinfo correspondent George Dobell uses CricViz data in a piece about England’s wicket-keeping role.
Phil Oliver discusses CricViz on BBC Test Match Special on Day 3 of England v Sri Lanka.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07cl36s (5 hours, 12 minutes in)
CricViz’s Phil Oliver joins CricIndex’s for their 1st Analytics Show podcast
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