I've found them interesting (although time-consuming) to write, and have enjoyed the process of breaking down the tests into one hour slots. The formula that I developed will be tweaked before the next test, but I thought it was better to use the same formula for the whole year, than change it part way through.
At the end of the year I'm able to look back and see if breaking the games down hour by hour is a fair way to assess them.
There were 6 innings victories this year. Here's the margin and also the mini-session count for each of them
|New Zealand||Zimbabwe||Napier||inns & 301||11-2|
|Australia||Sri Lanka||MCG||inns & 201||10-4|
|India||New Zealand||Hyderabad||inns & 115||13-5|
|Australia||India||SCG||inns & 68||16-7|
|Australia||India||WACA||inns & 37||9-6|
|South Africa||England||The Oval|
inns & 12
We can see that generally if a team won by an innings, they generally won at least double the mini-sessions of their opponent. The exception is the Australia-India match at the WACA. There Australia took 4 wickets in an hour 3 times. Those three hours were decisive in the outcome of the match.
There were a couple of other matches which turned out very one-sided by the mini-session count
|England||Sri Lanka||PSS||8 wickets||20-7|
|South Africa||Sri Lanka||Newlands||10 wickets||16-6|
|Australia||Sri Lanka||Bellerive||137 runs||18-8|
All three of these were convincing wins, although the England win over Sri Lanka possibly wasn't as decisive as the mini-session count would indicate, as there were a number of mini-sessions where Sri Lanka scored about 35 and lost 1 wicket off 14 or 15 overs. These go in favour of the bowling side, but are really quite close.
There were some close wins this year here were the closest few by runs and wickets:
|Australia||West Indies||Bridgetown||3 wickets||17-12|
|West Indies||New Zealand||Kingston||5 wickets||13-8|
|India||New Zealand||Bangalore||5 wickets||11-11|
|England||West Indies||Lord's||5 wickets||15-9|
|South Africa||England||Lord's||51 runs||14-13|
|Pakistan||England||Abu Dhabi||72 runs||11-13|
The most interesting there are the Pakistan-England game at Abu Dhabi, the India-New Zealand match at Bangalore and the England-South Africa match at Lord's. In the match at Abu Dhabi England got out to a 70 run lead in the first innings and lead the mini-session count 8-6 just before the end of the first innings. Then they bowled out Pakistan to set up a chase of 145. At that point they led the mini-session count 13-8. But Pakistan (or more specifically Abdur Rehman) dominated the next 3 hours as Rehman picked up 6/25 and England were bowled out for 72. Most punters would have expected England to be successful chasing 145, but Rehman is a strange bowler. He often looks completely innocuous, expecially with a new ball, or on the first 3 days of a match. But once the pitch starts to play tricks, and he can get some grip on the ball he looks like the second coming of Jim Laker.
In the Bangalore test New Zealand got a small first innings lead after hundreds by Taylor and Kohli, 7 wickets for Southee and 5 wickets for Ojha. New Zealand led the mini-session count 6-5 just before the end of the first innings. Then New Zealand scored 248 to leave India a challenging target of 261. India looked in a lot of trouble at 166/5 at which point they trailed the mini-session count 11-9, but a good partnership from Dhoni and Kohli brought India home, winning the last two hours.
In the Lord's match the game was close throughout. England got a small first innings lead, but then an Amla hundred resulted in England having to chase 351. A devastating opening spell from Philander left England on 45/4 at the first drinks on day 5. At this point South Africa lead the mini-session count 13-10. England fought back well from that point, but didn't quite do enough to win the match. The crucial moment was the run out of Swann just before the new ball became available. England played very good cricket to come back into the match, but South Africa did just enough to win it.
We can also look at some draws. There were some draws where the match was quite close, but others where one team escaped:
|New Zealand||South Africa||Dunedin||10-12|
The interesting ones here were the matches at Dunedin and Adelaide. In Dunedin New Zealand needed another 264 with 8 wickets in hand and Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum well set when the rain arrived. South Africa were in the lead, but not by much. In Adelaide, Australia were only a couple of wickets away from a convincing victory, but I awarded a number of the mini-sessions to South Africa as they were achieving their goal for the hour, of not losing wickets.
The next category are one-sided draws. While I would have expected Adelaide to have fitted into this category, some of these others didn't seem like such an escape.
|New Zealand||South Africa||Wellington||8-15|
One constant in these matches was rain. Each of them lost at least 80 overs to rain. I think the idea of a reserve day in case of weather is a good one, but I don't hear it from many people in power. The other thing they had in common was an outstanding innings. Alviro Petersen in Leeds, Kane Williamson in Wellington, Michael Clarke in Brisbane, and most surprisingly of all, Tino Best in Birmingham.
Overall I think that the mini-session count is a fairly good indication of how the games have flowed. It isn't a universally correct guide to the flow of a match, but it is a good guide none the less.