Thursday, December 20, 2007

England were really really bad today.

In the ongoing Test at Galle, Sri Lanka declared their first innings at 8/499, and England replied with just 81. The ratio of the larger innings to the smaller is 6,16. This is one of the largest in Test history.

venue season 1st inns 2nd inns ratio
Birmingham 1924 Eng 438 SA 30 14,60
Birmingham 1902 Eng 376 Aus 36 10,44
Lahore 2002 Pak 643 NZ 73 8,81
Harare 2005/6 NZ 452 Zim 59 7,66
The Oval 1948 Eng 52 Aus 389 7,48
Colombo PSS 2007 BD 62 SL 6dec/451 7,27
Brisbane 1947/8 Aus 8dec/382 Ind 58 6,59
Colombo SSC 2007 BD 89 SL 6dec/577 6,48
The Oval 1886 Eng 434 Aus 68 6,38
Newlands 1888/9 Eng 292 SA 47 6,21
Colombo SSC 2001/2 BD 90 SL 5dec/555 6,17
Galle 2007/8 SL 8dec/499 Eng 81 6,16

Of this top twelve, three involved Bangladesh (including two from their recent three-Test series in Sri Lanka — what are they doing playing series of three Tests?), one Zimbabwe when they should have already had their Test status revoked/suspended, and one is from the 1888/9 series in South Africa, which Charles Davis describes thus: "Of all the 1,800+ official Test matches, this match is probably the one least worthy of Test status."

If you ignore the minnow Test-playing nations, England's performance today was the second-worst by this measure since 1950.

The team with the highest ratio lead on first innings but who still lost the Test was South Africa, playing against Australia in the third Test of the 1950/1 series in Durban. South Africa won the toss and batted, making 311. Australia replied with just 75, giving a ratio of first innings scores of 4,15. South Africa batted again, and collapsed from 2/85 to 99 all out. Australia had to chase 336, and they fell to 4/95. Neil Harvey then played one of the great fourth-innings innings, scoring 151 not out to lead Australia to victory with the loss of only one further wicket. At the time it was the second largest successful run chase in Test cricket, behind the Invincibles' 3/404.


Have corrected the stats.

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