A not-at-all hubristic graph about England’s recent Test form

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Bert writes:

Pride comes before a fall, they say. But surely that’s obvious. If you’re ever going to be proud, the time to do it is definitely BEFORE a fall. There’s nothing to be proud about AFTER the fall – you’re too busy being embarrassed and having grazed knees.

With that in mind, here is another graph:

England's last few Tests - now in colour

This one shows England’s results in their last 19 Test matches. 19 is the number that all statisticians would naturally use in circumstances like this.

Each wicket you win by is worth 30 runs, so an innings win adds 300 to the result. I’ve used the average score for a Test match innings to calculate this, which as everyone knows is 300 (it was 300 in the Eighties, and that’s good enough for me).

In the last Ashes I thought that Australia had become the new England. They had a selection policy that caused more harm than good, their best bowler was decent only 20 per cent of the time, awful otherwise, and they always seemed to be carrying a ready-made batting collapse with them everywhere they went.

However, it turns out from this graph that England is the new Australia. Just look at it! The average win is by 333! England’s past was one of eking out an advantage, then giving it up like the small kid in the playground gives up his sweets. Right now they are the school bully, ready with a swift kick to the balls as soon as their opponent stumbles.

This week, they won a Test match by doing nothing more than frightening their opponents into submission. Swann is the new Warne. Anderson is the new McGrath. Trott is the new Hussey (bizarrely high Test average but you wouldn’t want to be sat next to him at a dinner party). We haven’t found a new Ponting yet, but I’m sure when some brainless shouting at an umpire is needed someone will step up to the mark.


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  1. Nah, TRS. Stuart Broad never so much as looks at an umpire, let alone shout at them. I think he’s frightened of them.

  2. Oh and a stat I found today – over the same period while Jonathan Trott has been remorselessly accumulating his leviathan career average of 67, Ian Bell has been averaging 69.

  3. 69? He’s averaged 82 since 26 Dec 2009. Cook is second best on 69, then Trott on 67.

    And I in no way selected that date to discard the Centurion test, no way. He’s still on top even if I count it, but not by as much (ave 71).

  4. I averaged 147 during a one-week period in 1998 back when I was in high school.

    You won’t see that in the record books though.

  5. Even when we bowled at ourself underarm off the wall of the garage we rarely got into double figures.

    We blame a bad umpire. Which was also us.

  6. I had a bowling average of 26 and a strike rate of 6 in the evening league at work one season. Sadly I also had an economy rate of 26.

  7. The term “hubris” in its Ancient Greek sense refers to shaming and humiliating a victim, often using specific sexual acts:


    The graph is therefore, by its very nature, illustrating acts of hubris, metaphorically speaking.

    You wouldn’t have these definitional problems if you were to stick to the safer territory of Venns.

    1. The graph is merely providing data, Ged. There was no attempt on my part to show an excessive pride in England’s achievements; neither to shame or humiliate any of England’s “victims” in these matches, especially Australia. That would have been poor and unsporting behaviour on my part, and the pejorative application of the term “hubristic” would have been quite appropriate.

      That doesn’t apply to the final paragraph of what I wrote, however, which unaccountably failed to appear:

      “Let’s put this into context. England has won its last three test matches BY AN INNINGS. England’s last five test victories have all been BY AN INNINGS. England has won 13 OF ITS LAST 19 TESTS, seven of them BY AN INNINGS. I realise that there were a few easy tests against poor opponents in this list, but it also includes South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.”

  8. I am still waiting for this week’s smug Lancashire post. Going to win the championship are you? Mark Chilton is it? Gary Keedy would you? Bunch of underachieving numpties.

    1. Ah, well, yes Sam, but Lancashire, right, Lancashire, they’re just miles better than Durham, right. Durham just had a lucky day the other day, that’s all. And then another two, the lucky bastards. But, right, Lancashire will win the County Championship, ‘cos Durham are crap. See.

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