|Ravi Bopara - better batting second|
I've had to change my criteria somewhat as this search is over roughly 2 years, rather than 3, and hasn't included world cup qualifiers, so a lot of teams have played significantly fewer games. As a result I decided to look at any team who had played at least 15 matches. It means that the results for Ireland, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are not quite as significant as I would have liked, due to the small sample sizes. However, it's better to have them in, and be able to draw conclusions than to not have them there at all.
Here are the numbers:
|Team||Matches||W/L Batting||W/L Fielding||W/L Ratio|
If the results were emphatic last time, they are remarkably so now. No team who has played more than 23 matches has a better record batting first than fielding first. Of the top 8, only West Indies does not have a winning record when bowling first.
New Zealand and England are the two teams that have the biggest difference between batting and fielding, so it's unsurprising that in the recent series every game was won by the team batting second.
The question also arises, is the difference due to the batting or the bowling. Are teams better at batting second, or are they better at bowling first. To assess this I looked at the whole team batting index for each team batting first and second.
|Team||Matches||Batting first||Batting second||Ratio|
We can see that New Zealand and South Africa are both actually better at batting in the first innings, despite being better at winning when batting second. This is very interesting, as it implies that for these teams the big difference is not the batting, but rather the bowling. Most teams are still better at batting second, but the difference isn't nearly as profound.
It also made me wonder about the batsmen. Who had the biggest difference between batting first and second in the last couple of years. I looked at every batsman who had scored at least 200 runs in each innings during the time period. As a result I found the batsmen who favoured each innings the most.
|Name||Batting 1st||Batting 2nd||Ratio f/s|
|V Sehwag (India)||101.36||14.86||6.82|
|SR Tendulkar (India)||52.28||22.42||2.33|
|RA Jadeja (India)||35.60||16.32||2.18|
|JH Kallis (SA)||39.36||18.71||2.10|
|MS Dhoni (India)||70.62||34.19||2.07|
|IJL Trott (Eng)||49.90||27.22||1.83|
|BRM Taylor (Zim)||48.02||29.59||1.62|
|JP Duminy (SA)||39.70||24.52||1.62|
|Mushfiqur Rahim (Ban)||31.81||19.85||1.60|
|Mohammad Hafeez (Pak)||30.61||19.53||1.57|
|Younis Khan (Pak)||27.73||19.36||1.43|
|HM Amla (SA)||58.65||41.51||1.41|
|HDRL Thirimanne (SL)||27.77||19.81||1.40|
|LRPL Taylor (NZ)||46.09||32.98||1.40|
|KA Pollard (WI)||34.26||25.76||1.33|
|Name||Batting 1st||Batting 2nd||Ratio s/f|
|RS Bopara (Eng)||15.93||45.58||2.86|
|SR Watson (Aus)||28.49||74.07||2.60|
|AJ Strauss (Eng)||22.23||52.43||2.36|
|MJ Guptill (NZ)||22.57||52.07||2.31|
|V Sibanda (Zim)||19.20||39.17||2.04|
|RR Sarwan (WI)||18.63||36.45||1.96|
|F du Plessis (SA)||18.19||32.92||1.81|
|MN Samuels (WI)||18.62||33.62||1.81|
|Shakib Al Hasan (Ban)||20.70||36.61||1.77|
|EJG Morgan (Eng)||28.61||47.12||1.65|
|AB de Villiers (SA)||64.62||98.64||1.53|
|V Kohli (India)||35.90||53.50||1.49|
|LD Chandimal (SL)||20.08||28.38||1.41|
|DJ Bravo (WI)||15.24||21.42||1.41|
There is a theory that it takes a lot of experience to learn how to bat well in the first innings. Having Sehwag, Tendulkar and Kallis all in the top 4 probably backs that up. The numbers put up by Sehwag in the first innings are extraordinary. He's scored 655 runs, at an average over 80 and a strike rate over 120.
While the adage might be that 9 times out of 10 you should bat, the truth is that it's probably more sensible to have a bowl.