An Ashes graph

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Bert writes:

Ged has proved that life is better explained by diagrams, so I’ve made a graph.

It shows the innings scores from this Ashes series. The fall of wickets is indicated by numbers. I’ve used blue for England because they play ODIs in blue, and yellow for Australia because they play all their sports in green and yellow.

Bar charts are too important for jokey captions

It is a thing of beauty, possibly the single most beautiful image ever created that doesn’t involve a cricketer straddling a hairy pig. When it was completed, I had a little cry. I followed that with twenty-five minutes of laughing.

Analysis abounds, but my favourite is that every time England reached 300, they also reached 500. In fact, Australia took only six wickets in that range in the whole series.

This is in diagram form what KC said the other day (or last year, depending on when he posts this) about England being ruthless.

My other best graph-fact is that if you examine it carefully you can just about see that Australia are rubbish.

No doubt people can find their own little favourite bits. That’s the thing about great art – it has something for everyone.


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  1. Just love that first Melbourne column. All those numbers squishy squashed into a teeny tiny space!

  2. My favourite is the showcase of the Aussie top 4, as illustrated by all the little 4s – namely that the 9 yellow 4s only got above 200 once, and that was only to get out at 230.

    England, meanwhile, have got one of their little 4s all the way up to 440 at one point.

    That little 4 rocks.

  3. We like the big, blue Brisbane column with the 1 in the middle and NO OTHER NUMBERS WHATSOEVER.

    Also, what we like to call ‘the Melbourne Step’. The very, very low yellow bar (not a step, not even a kerb) and then the ENORMOUS CLIMB to the blue bar (more of a wall than a step). See also, the Adelaide Step and the Sydney Step.

  4. No-one who is this entertaining a writer should also be this good at Excel. It makes no sociological, educational, or psychological sense.

  5. Have things been a bit slow at work recently Bert?

    It’s a bit difficult to say what is my favourite bit? I quite like the fact that there are more yellow bars than blue ones. I also quite like how in the first yellow Melbourne column, the numbers 4-8 make a nice little T shape, such was the close proximity of those wickets being taken.

    I must wholeheartedly congratulate you on your diagram though. Does this mean we’re now going to see more and varied statistical diagrams on King Cricket? 2010 the year of the Venn. What will be the model of 2011?

  6. it is beautiful. we should all print it off and get it framed.

    my favourite bit is where england won the ashes.

  7. Marvellous. I like how the two yellow Sydney bars look quite respectable when compared to the other yellow bars, and have a pleasing symmetry, yet added together cannot match the towering awesomeness of their blue overlord.

  8. I LOVE this with a love that is indecent. in a weird way, my favourite bit is the Perth yellow steps, even though they signify an England loss, because they are so pathetically small compared with some of England’s blue steps.

  9. Absolutely marvellous.
    I can see a collage of Ged’s Venns surrounding Bert’s graph.
    A beautiful symbiosis of the factual (graph) and the lyrical/descriptive (Venns).
    I salute you both.

  10. Thank you all for your words – you are too kind. No really, I’m quite overwhelmed. And to have received a genuine Ged Venn – it’s all too much. Of course, things like this don’t happen by themselves, and there are plenty of people without whose tireless work behind the scenes none of this would have been possible. That’s right, I’m talking about Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus and others. They are the real force behind this. Come on everyone, let’s have a big round of applause for Mitchell, Ben and the lads.

    Triffic graph analysis, BTW:

    Ceci – it’s only lucky that they weren’t all out for 50, or the whole graph project might have been impossible due to lack of number room.

    Howe Zat – The fours are excellent. Also the threes, and the twos and ones aren’t half bad either. The fives, sixes, sevens, eights and nines offer something for the connoisseur, but the tour de force is the tens. Lovely.

    KC – A deeply pleasing way to look at things, those steps. When faced with such a big step, the usual way to help surmount it is to add another step on top of the first one. Unfortunately for Australia, their second innings steps aren’t big enough for the task.

    Dan – Two lovely pieces of graph analysis. The numbers of bars is great, but pointing out the T of wickets shows a keen eye for gloating.

    Dawg – I completely agree about the Sydney bars. Plenty of test matches have been won with worse bars than these. There is something deeply patronising about them, as if they are saying “Well done you” to Australia for doing so well (but still losing by an innings).

    Miriam – Funnily enough my eye is drawn to the Perth match as well, mainly because the batting is still pretty awful. And as with The Dawg’s analysis, your comment is subtly patronising. Didn’t Australia do well to win a whole test match? Bless.

    Thanks Sam and Jo for the excellent suggestions about what to do with the graph. I’ve found that a large print, say A0 size, makes an excellent replacement for a television in any living room.

  11. I like the part where this graph empirically PROVES that old village cricket motivational suggestion (typically to be optimistically used when your opening bowlers are staring at figures of 0-25 from their first three overs) that “one brings two”. An obvious caveat to this is:

    – this statement only proves itself true for Australian batsmen. If you’re playing England in Brisbane, all one brings is another 330 runs worth of suffering.


  12. Now that I think about it, the 3s are even better than the 4s.

    Australian 3s do well to get past 30, but even the most ambitious one barely managed 120.

    Then you look at the lofty aspirations of English 3s, like the Melbourne and Adelaide 3s. Sitting up there on their high English horses.

    The horses themselves being high on the fumes of Australian failure.

  13. That’s all very well Bert, but I warn you that the praises heaped on you here are but transient. It is only a matter of time before the mathematically minded readers of this site realize that you have been calling a histogram a “graph” all along. (Even a “distribution” would’ve been pardonable).

    Fantastic work though.

  14. I bet Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t have to put up with comments on a web page about whether the Mona Lisa was a picture or a portrait.

  15. The important thing is that the chart is three bars too narrow. I almost pity the England middle order for not getting enough chances to bat.

    Maybe England could have won at Brisbane if they’d declared on a mere 450/1.

  16. DC – When you start making corrections, you need to be inch perfect in every detail, because people will turn it around on you without a second’s thought. Especially King Cricket readers. We’re a bloodthirsty lot.

    Bert – That’s only because Leonardo didn’t speak English. And he didn’t have to put up with Deep Cower being all wrong in his face.

  17. 13 wickets fell between England reaching 200 and going on to make 500. This happened in four and-a-bit innings for 1260 runs, so during these innings-building sessions England averaged 96.92.

    So when England got going, there was nothing Australia could do to stop them.

  18. “And he didn’t have to put up with Deep Cower being all wrong in his face.”


    I only saw the bars and numbers, and didn’t bother to read the entire thing. I am going to go drown my shame in food now.

  19. Our eyes always lurch to the left on web pages, so ‘planar’ was actually the second word we read.

    We’re not even joking. We genuinly gave up at the second word we saw. What’s become of us?

  20. I couldn’t help thinking that the bars representing the Sydney test look like the outline of the Mongoose bat. Perhaps I am sub-consciously clinging to the hope that Australia will have more luck in the shorter forms of the game…

  21. Ged – that is truly stunning.
    I will make lots of little colour copies of this inaugural fifer and put them in orbit around Bert’s bar chart/histogram/gloat fest….

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