Thursday 10 January 2013

A look at the St George's Park match

The second match between New Zealand and South Africa is at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth. I thought it would be interesting to have a look at some of the statistics at this ground, and see if we can use it to make some predictions about the up-coming match.

The first thing I looked at was the players who had succeeded at this ground recently. No test cricket has been played here in the past 5 years, so I had to look back a bit further. I found the top 15 run scorers at the ground, and then looked at the ground-by-ground averages of those players, to see which grounds they scored similarly well at. The grounds that came out the same were: Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka; Eden Gardens, Kolkata; Chepauk, Chennai; Basin Reserve, Wellington; McLean Park, Napier; Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; Antigua Recreation Ground, St John's, Antigua; Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua.

Interestingly there were two grounds in New Zealand but none in South Africa

So I then looked at the averages of the New Zealand and South African batsmen at those grounds.

AN Petersen (SA) 231679
HM Amla (SA) 559374.12
BJ Watling (NZ) 321371
RJ Peterson (SA) 16161
GC Smith (SA) 983655.73
JH Kallis (SA) 965543.66
BB McCullum (NZ) 21131941.21

This ground may well be more to New Zealand's liking than Newlands (just as Hobart and P.Sara were in the last 14 months)

Adding to this is that it is a coastal ground, and the match is being played near a new moon, so there may be extra assistance for the swing bowlers in the afternoon (high tide is about 4pm, and is a particularly high tide. (I am aware that some people think that the tidal flow affecting swing bowling is an old wives tale, but my experience is that the ball does swing more at high tide, if there is a significant tidal flow - PE has a similar tidal flow to Hobart, so it is likely to have a similar effect)

Another big factor will be the lack of Philander. While they only played two matches without him in the last two years, his absence was keenly felt, and South Africa lost one match (against Sri Lanka) and should have lost the other (against Australia at Adelaide). He provides such balance to the bowling attack that he will be sorely missed.

Applying the same method to the bowlers as the batsmen gets this table:

RJ Peterson (SA) 1513.6
VD Philander (SA) 1618.33
TA Boult (NZ) 1219.5
MJ Guptill (NZ) 9325
CS Martin (NZ) 228631.13
DAJ Bracewell (NZ) 31031.2
M Morkel (SA) 3833.5
KS Williamson (NZ) 4341.33
DW Steyn (SA) 4943.22

The stand out there is Chris Martin. While he's unlikely to play in this match, his experience on this sort of slow wicket may prove to be vital.

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