Some first thoughts in response to Andy: there’s a tendency for people to assume a particular point is being made when stats are mentioned, when that may not be the case. If I get online and post that Virat Kohli’s ODI average against the Netherlands is 12, and JP Duminy’s is 190, I can almost guarantee I’ll get some angry patriots demanding to know how I can justify saying that Duminy is better than Kohli. Where all I would actually be doing is offering some information, whether because it’s funny or interesting or anything else.
Talking about the chases is a bit like that. No one is saying that it’s impossible to chase 300 because the biggest chase is 294. All they’re saying is that it hasn’t happened before, which seems pretty relevant and interesting.
If we get into the likelihood of it happening, I’d say that it’s psychologically much easier for a team to make 250 while chasing 400 than to make 250 chasing 250. It’s a pressure-off kind of situation because they’re not expected to get close, and the fielding side can afford to wait them out.
There’s also this point from Geoff Wignall (rally the Geoffs): “A fourth innings score above 250 in a high scoring game (likely the case when the score was insufficient for victory) is altogether different to one in a low scoring game, where it’s demonstrably rare. So the point of very few successful attempts on 250+ targets is quite valid.”
Statsguru at twenty paces
Alriiiight, here’s some spicy stuff from Andy Cooke. I like this.
“Once again, we’ve been seeing all the ‘only once has any team chased more than this amount to win at Old Trafford’ stuff. A quick check reveals that the fourth innings of Tests at Old Trafford has seen 10 scores of over 250 (out of 46 occasions). Yes, only one of those resulted in a win – but if the target had been 250, all of them would, wouldn’t they?
“There have been six posted scores of over 300 (and the seventh, at 294/4, makes you think the chasing team would have been favourite if the target had been 300, really…). The key variables are simply runs scored and time – not whether or not any given attempt ended in a win against the target set then. It’s the target set now that’s important. Of course, if enough people misuse stats, they can cause a psychological barrier in the chasing team, though.”
If I had to back a trifecta as to who would be the first three OBO correspondents of the morning, it would have read Brian Withington, Kim Thonger, Abhijato Sensarma. That was absolutely correct.
The former is of a mind with me: “I see you shared my amazement at the collective Root/Sibley DRS mind hive in first innings – a review that would have made Kevin Pietersen blush – let’s hope they are not required to repeat the exercise second time round.”
The middle has a question, to which I’m pretty sure the answer is that no spectators are allowed anywhere, but if you know differently then let me know. “My beloved Somerset are playing at the county ground in Northampton today and living as I do about 30 minutes away these days I’m tempted to pop over to watch them trounce the home side but I can’t see from NCCC website whether they are allowing spectators. My younger son’s back garden overlooks the ground but even he can’t tell because the stands he can see look empty.”
The latter is keen to see whether Pakistan “manage to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat/defeat from the jaws of victory today (delete as appropriate).”
For anyone feeling irritable while the world is falling apart, Mr Engel is having an award-worthy grump today about a whole range of things. You might sympathise.
If you’re trying to gauge what Yasir and company can add this morning, I’m going to suggest not many. You can point to the fact that the leggie has a Test century, just as he certainly would do. As someone who was there to watch it at Adelaide, it did come via an awful lot of missed chances, a lot of chancy airborne clouts, and the fact that England’s favourite D. Warner had made a triple century and the Aussies knew they would win eventually.
Mo Abbas can bat a little bit, 13 not outs to 14 dismissals in his career, and four times he’s got into double figures. So, some chance he could hang around for a little while if Yasir can score.
I’ve just got that feeling, though, that England’s opening bowlers will be used, and will zero in on off stump, and find something, and nick these last two out pretty quickly. Naseem Shah coming in last has not done much batting, and there’s a reason for that, namely his ability.
Lots of moves from the ICC and the various member boards over the last few months, shifting tours and tournaments here, there, and everywhere. This one makes the least sense of all, postponing the Women’s World Cup that was due next February on the grounds that the players won’t have had enough games for preparation, and it’ll be too hard to play the qualifiers to get the three undecided places filled.
Which is, frankly, nonsense if the same boards can get the IPL and the current English summer up and running. The tournament is in New Zealand, where they don’t even need biosecure grounds as long as teams can quarantine on the way in. Roll the quallies in straight before the tournament if you have to, come on. And every team will be coming off the same base. They haven’t forgotten how to play cricket, but they might if you keep cancelling everything in sight.
Here’s Ali Martin’s report.
Good morning England, good other times to others. Geoff Lemon here, enjoying a brief dalliance on the OBO for this series. To celebrate putting the last words on my book manuscript today I’ve agreed to write more reams about cricket into the night, as it will be from my current location in Melbourne lockdown. Send me tidings of good cheer if you will, the winter marches on cold and deep!
What a Test match we’ve had so far. It has kept me company through the last few writing nights, much as the West Indies series did before that – an absolute joy to have the sounds of cricket, or some of them at least, coming sotto voce through the speakers on the other side of the room. No crowd noise, of course, but that could as easily happen at Dubai Sport City or a midweek county fixture. What we have had is the pock of bat on ball, the scuff of the spikes, the animation of the players themselves.
Pakistan’s bowlers! Goodness me, they were a sight to watch through that first innings. Swing, seam, pace, turn, all you could ask. The Pope and Buttler rearguard was fascinating, then the later Pakistan push. Shan Masood was special at the start, Broad and Woakes special in both innings. Anderson and Bess have had chances missed. England are a batsman light because Stokes couldn’t bowl, but he came on and bowled anyway when they really needed a wicket, and he gave them two.
We’ll start today with Pakistan 244 in front, two wickets left in hand, and England desperate to make sure they don’t add any more runs to that lead. It would already be the second-biggest chase at Old Trafford, the biggest was 294. I don’t think Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah will help Yasir Shah get that far.
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