SA should beat Australia

Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)

South Africa should win this upcoming test cricket series against Australia. Not overwhelmingly, but by some measure. A little inventiveness and some number crunching suggest that South Africa ought to be the better of Australia by about 20 runs per innings. (Not all pitches are equal and maybe some stats guru can rather express this as a percentage.)

 Of course many factors play a role. Thunder showers at Centurion, four seasons per day in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town’s summer heat are known factors which have caused many an innings to collapse and give the underdog a sporting chance. Then of course there’s sledging too. Just ask Daryll Cullinan.

 But, the numbers actually take most of this into account. It is based on the players’ performance in all these conditions and in the end, then, comparing it to Michael Clark’s predictions, we just may have a prediction with a little more meat to it.

Calculating this prediction was born from determining Jacques Kallis’ worth as an all-rounder about a year ago. In that exercise we took 100 hundred runs to equate a 5 wicket haul. Extending it to catches and stumpings, we set any dismissal to be worth 20 runs. Very simple, not overly accurate, but much better than having the Australians’ word on it.

Only test matches of 2013/2014 were taken into account. Australia had their fill of matches while South Africa starved. And it is a pity, because the more games played, the better the prediction. How then do the two test teams’ measure?

South Africa

 

Player

Avg Bat

Avg Bowl

Avg Field

Ranking

AB de Villiers

77.75

0.00

2.56

128.86

VD Philander

28.85

2.38

0.13

78.85

DW Steyn

17.28

2.83

0.06

75.06

GC Smith

50.07

0.00

0.94

68.96

RJ Peterson

34.14

1.25

0.21

63.43

D Elgar

43.00

0.50

0.42

61.33

HM Amla

57.54

0.00

0.13

60.04

F du Plessis

44.45

0.00

0.28

50.01

AN Petersen

33.69

0.00

0.72

48.13

JP Duminy

16.50

1.33

0.13

45.67

RK Kleinveldt

7.00

1.50

0.25

42.00

M Morkel

4.80

1.19

0.13

31.05

Average




62.78

Ryan McClaren




No Stats

Thami Tsolekile




No Stats

Wayne Parnel




No Stats

 

Australia

 

Player

Avg Bat

Avg Bowl

Avg Field

Ranking

BJ Haddin

39.47

0.00

2.55

90.38

MG Johnson

20.22

2.86

0.29

83.08

RJ Harris

21.60

2.56

0.33

79.38

NM Lyon

21.66

1.88

0.29

64.99

SPD Smith

39.66

0.75

0.46

63.83

JL Pattinson

23.33

1.78

0.11

61.11

MJ Clarke

44.36

0.00

0.67

57.69

CJL Rogers

43.68

0.00

0.40

51.68

JM Bird

0.00

2.25

0.25

50.00

MC Henriques

31.20

0.67

0.20

48.53

SR Watson

34.48

0.35

0.32

47.94

PM Siddle

13.00

1.61

0.03

45.83

DA Warner

37.64

0.00

0.32

44.04





60.65

Alex Doolan




No Stats

Shuan Marsh




No Stats

What is nice about the above list, is that there’s a good mix of batters and bowlers at the top. It is an indication that 20 runs per dismissal is not that far off.

On average, South Africa’s squad betters Australia’s by 2 runs per player. This equates to 20 runs per innings, 40 runs per match.

Now let’s have a beer and see if these numbers have something to them.

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