Monday 26 March 2012

Mini-session analysis for 1st Test SL Eng Galle 2012

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the 1st test between Sri Lanka and England in Galle.

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aSri Lanka 29/3 off 13England
1-1bSri Lanka 37/0 off 17Sri Lanka
1-2aSri Lanka 47/1 off 16draw
1-2bSri Lanka 55/1 off 15Sri Lanka
1-3aSri Lanka 60/2 off 13Sri Lanka
1-3bSri Lanka 61/1 off 16Sri Lanka
2-1aSri Lanka 30/2 off 6.3England
England 31/1 off 8
2-1bEngland 26/2 off 8Sri Lanka
2-2aEngland 64/3 off 14Sri Lanka
2-2bEngland 72/4 off 16.4Sri Lanka
2-3aSri Lanka 21/3 off 10England
2-3bSri Lanka 63/2 off 24England
3-1aSri Lanka 31/2 off 16.5England
3-1bSri Lanka 36/1 off 15.1England
3-2aSri Lanka 56/1 off 14Sri Lanka
3-2bSri Lanka 7/1 off 4.3England
England 27/0 off 7
3-3aEngland 42/2 off 17Sri Lanka
3-3bEngland 42/0 off 16England
4-1aEngland 34/1 off 15Sri Lanka
4-1bEngland 32/1 off 15Sri Lanka
4-2aEngland 51/0 off 15England
4-2bEngland 31/4 off 12.5Sri Lanka
4-3aEngland 5/2 off 1.1Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka win the Mini-session count 13-9.

The more the game went on, the more evident it is that Jayawardene played one of the all time great innings to carry Sri Lanka through to a good score in the first innings.

England probably were in the lead before Prior got out. It seemed that the pitch was one where it was difficult to get in on, but once someone was in it was hard to dislodge them. Prior went to a piece of bad luck, and then England crumbled not long after that.

Friday 23 March 2012

Mini-session analysis for 3rd Test NZ SA Wellington 11/12

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the 3rd test between New Zealand and South Africa in Wellington.

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-2aSouth Africa 55/1 off 15South Africa
1-2bSouth Africa 48/0 off 18South Africa
1-3aSouth Africa 33/1 off 9South Africa
2-2aSouth Africa 37/0 off 14South Africa
2-2bSouth Africa 49/0 off 16South Africa
2-3aSouth Africa 24/0 off 7South Africa
3-1aSouth Africa 60/1 off 15.2South Africa
3-1bSouth Africa 56/0 off 19.4South Africa
3-2aSouth Africa 30/3 off 13New Zealand
3-2bSouth Africa 45/1 off 14draw
3-3aSouth Africa 37/2 off 7.4South Africa
New Zealand 24/0 off 13
3-3bNew Zealand 41/0 off 12New Zealand
4-1aNew Zealand 49/1 off 17New Zealand
4-1bNew Zealand 31/2 off 16.2South Africa
4-2aNew Zealand 36/0 off 11.4New Zealand
4-2bNew Zealand 50/1 off 14New Zealand
4-3aNew Zealand 44/5 off 12South Africa
4-3bSouth Africa 75/0 off 15South Africa
5-1aSouth Africa 114/3 off 14.4South Africa
5-1bNew Zealand 26/2 off 15South Africa
5-2aNew Zealand 20/1 off 13New Zealand
5-2bNew Zealand 57/2 off 15South Africa
5-3aNew Zealand 41/0 off 15New Zealand
5-3bNew Zealand 56/1 off 22.4New Zealand

South Africa win the count 15-8.

New Zealand survive for a glorious draw.

Preview NZ SA 3rd Test Wellington 11/12

It's not often that a third test is as much of a mystery as this one. New Zealand have made large changes to their lineup, changing both the opening batting combination, and also (potentially) the balance of the side. South Africa look solid, and have been a class above New Zealand, but there are still some questions.

The Basin Reserve often thrown up interesting events. It's often a place where the balance switches between batting and bowling teams throughout the day (for more info, see Batting against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve

Going on that previous information, I'd suggest that this could actually be the best test for New Zealand to abandon their 4 bowler, 1 all rounder policy (which I am generally in favour of) and return to a 3 bowler, 1 all rounder line-up.

It's really a horrible test for Flynn to make his come back in, particularly if he is playing as an opener. He has been in good form, but form means little early in the day in Wellington on a green pitch.

The players that tend to do best in Wellington are the players who come in to bat in the afternoon, when the bowlers are tired from running into the wind. As a result if I was going to bet on this match I'd look at batsmen like Jacques Rudolph, Daniel Vettori and Dean Brownlie to be the top scorers. It's also good for players who play cross batted shots well, so Van Wyk and Boucher could also do well.

Saturday 17 March 2012

Tearing down the strongholds

Last year I looked at the fortresses, the grounds where the home teams dominate. The article is here

Over the past couple of months there have been matches at 3 of the top 4 grounds in this list.

NZ was beaten by South Africa in Wellington.
Australia lost to Sri Lanka in Hobart
and this morning West Indies crumbled horribly to lose to Australia at Arnos Vale.

South Africa should probably be glad that they didn't schedule any ODI matches in the Sri Lanka series at Newlands.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Mini-session analysis for 2nd Test NZ SA Hamilton 11/12

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the 2nd test between New Zealand and South Africa in Hamilton.

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aNew Zealand 43/1 off 15draw
1-1bNew Zealand 19/1 off 12South Africa
1-2aNew Zealand 32/0 off 9.4New Zealand
1-3aNew Zealand 39/2 off 13South Africa
1-3bNew Zealand 52/6 off 11.4South Africa
1-3cSouth Africa 27/2 off 11New Zealand
2-1aSouth Africa 53/2 off 15New Zealand
2-1bSouth Africa 53/2 off 18New Zealand
2-2aSouth Africa 38/1 off 15New Zealand
2-2bSouth Africa 82/3 off 18.3South Africa
2-3aNew Zealand 22/3 off 13South Africa
2-3bNew Zealand 43/1 off 18South Africa
3-1aNew Zealand 24/0 off 14Draw
3-1bNew Zealand 53/2 off 18South Africa
3-2aNew Zealand 26/4 off 4.5South Africa
South Africa 47/1 off 10
3-2bSouth Africa 56/0 off 9.5South Africa

South Africa win the count 9-5. I awarded 2-2b to South Africa, despite it going to New Zealand by the formula. With South Africa at 185/8 New Zealand were looking good, but 66 runs for the last 2 wickets has been very costly. I think that South Africa are well ahead in the match. Likewise I gave the first hour on the third day as a draw. New Zealand didn't lose any wickets, but hardly scored any runs. In the context of the match, they did well to survive the difficult conditions in the morning, but neither team advanced their cause at all.

The match ebbed and flowed a couple of times. at 133/2 New Zealand were really looking good. Then at 133/7 it was hard to see New Zealand even making the game close. However at 86/6 South Africa looked like they had thrown away a golden opportunity. They took back the impetus with some great lower order hitting, and carried that advantage for the rest of the match.

Preview NZ SA 2nd Test Hamilton 11/12

Here are some things to watch for in the 2nd test.

1. The first innings is very important.

In tests at Seddon Park, the team that bats first has only lost once when they have scored more than 300, and has only won once when they have scored less than 300. The first inning is vital in Hamilton. The nature of the ground is that the first hour is very difficult, but it tends to level out. If the batsmen can get through the first couple of hours then they will be able to cash in.

2. The ball swings in the morning

Often the first hour of the day is very difficult for the batsman. The humidity means that the ball swings, and often a number of wickets fall in the first hour. (an hour before play on the first day, there is 90% humidity, and every day is forecast to be similar)

3. Attacking batsmen.

Brendan McCullum and Craig McMillan are amongst the highest run scorers at Hamilton. Despite once describing Hamilton as the hardest place to play in the world, Matthew Hayden had a good record there too. This is a ground that allows the batsmen full value for their shots during the day.

4. Will the pitch break up?

The pitch at Hamilton has been somewhat unpredictable. If there is any hot days then the pitch breaks up very quickly. However there are no hot days forecast, and so it might just get low and slow. The line up that New Zealand choose to take into the match will be likely to be based on what they think the pitch will do.

Some good bets:

McCullum 79& over. He's in good touch, and has a good record at this ground.
Nz to win $5. They probably won't win, but I'd suggest they have about a 30% chance, and $5 is much better than that.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Bracewell's no ball problem?

In 9 innings Doug Bracewell has 3 times taken a wicket off a no ball.

In his first test he had Regis Chakabva out off a no ball. It was picked up on the TV replay.

In his second test he bowled Michael Clarke, but then Asad Rauf checked upstairs and Clarke was recalled.

Yesterday he had Jaques Rudolph out plumb lbw, but the delivery turned out to be a no ball.

Given this it would be fair to expect that he was bowling no balls left, right and centre. So it's a bit of a surprise to see that he has only bowled 13 no balls in 131 overs. That's roughly one no ball every 60 deliveries. It's just that three of his no balls have been particularly costly.

It leaves three interesting possibilities.

1. When he bowls a no ball, the difference in where the ball comes from makes more of a difference to the batsman than seems likely. It's hard to see this being the case, but 3 wickets in 13 balls is fairly compelling.

2. He bowls more no balls than this, but because other deliveries are not checked they are not picked up. If the third umpire was checking all deliveries then perhaps he would bowl a lot more.

3. The way he runs might make it difficult for umpires to pick up his foot position. This might be the reason that none of these 3 balls were picked up by the umpires, and it required the 3rd umpire each time.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Mini-session analysis for 1st Test NZ SA Dunedin 11/12

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the 1st test between New Zealand and South Africa in Dunedin.

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aSouth Africa 51/1 off 13South Africa
1-1bSouth Africa 35/0 off 13South Africa
1-2aSouth Africa 69/3 off 15New Zealand
1-2bSouth Africa 36/3 off 18New Zealand
2-1aSouth Africa 47/3 off 9.2New Zealand
2-1bNew Zealand 40/1 off 16South Africa
2-2aNew Zealand 57/1 off 17New Zealand
2-2bNew Zealand 47/3 off 19South Africa
2-3aNew Zealand 40/0 off 14New Zealand
2-3bNew Zealand 59/4 off 20South Africa
3-1aNew Zealand 30/1 off 2.2New Zealand
South Africa 49/2 off 14
3-1bSouth Africa 39/0 off 15South Africa
3-2aSouth Africa 51/0 off 13South Africa
3-2bSouth Africa 36/0 off 14South Africa
3-3aSouth Africa 50/0 off 18South Africa
3-3bSouth Africa 43/1 off 15New Zealand
4-1aSouth Africa 41/1 off 17New Zealand
4-1bSouth Africa 50/1 off 18South Africa
4-2aSouth Africa 76/0 off 16South Africa
4-2bNew Zealand 27/1 off 11South Africa
4-3aNew Zealand 54/1 off 17New Zealand
4-3bNew Zealand 56/0 off 13New Zealand

The final count is 12-10 to South Africa.

There were 4 very close mini-sessions, but South Africa were certainly ahead when the rain came.

Now England will have a little longer being at the top of the world. (Potentially a lot longer if the Pakistan series turns out to be just an aberration.) We will have to wait another week or so to know what shape this test series is going to take, and we get an opportunity for a repeat of last tour's 1-1-1 result.

The match has left more questions than answers for me so far. It will be interesting to see how South Africa handle the conditions in Hamilton. The pitch there has fluctuated wildly from test to test, but it is normally quite sticky and often swing bowlers flourish there. It could be more to Steyn's liking and less to Philander's.

Preview NZ SA 1st Test Dunedin 11/12

It feels like a long time since the last test match between Pakistan and England. There has been a lot of cricket between tests.

The South African tour of New Zealand got off to a positive start for the home nation, but 5 matches in a row to South Africa have changed the momentum somewhat.

Both teams are adding some big names, South Africa bring in Tahir, Philander and Smith. New Zealand bring in Taylor, Vettori and Martin.

Things to look for:

1. Chris Martin vs Smith & Kallis. Martin has a good record against both of South Africa's best batsmen, and the way that umpires are calling LBW's now really plays to his advantage. It will be interesting to see how he goes.

2. Is Ross Taylor fit? He had one warm up match, where he fielded for a day then watched the rain fall before being replaced. He has not faced a delivery in a real match for a couple of months.

3. Tahir vs NZ's bowlers. NZ has often relied on a lot of runs from the tail. Regularly they score more for the last 5 wickets than the first. However traditionally this had not happened when there has been a good spin bowler operating. Lyon ripped through them in Brisbane, and so Tahir should be eagerly awaiting a bowl.

4. Philander playing away from home. Philander has looked amazing in South Africa, and probably the best place for his type of bowling is New Zealand, but how well will he actually go in unfamiliar conditions?