Ratings - 29th July 2010
Russell Degnan

Recently completed matches

1st TestSri LankavIndia
Expected MarginIndia by 3 runs
Actual MarginSri Lanka by 10 wickets

I said before this match that Sri Lanka would need to unearth a freak to undo India, conveniently forgetting that their existing freak had one left in him. Murali's 800th wicket had an unsettlingly contrived feel to it, but you can't fault his first innings effort, nor that other freak Malinga's comeback performance to bowl out India on a good pitch. India's bowling was expected to be weak, but the lack of spark indicates a surprising lack of depth in the absence of Zaheer Khan. How Sri Lanka will fare in the post-Murali third epoch of their relatively short test history will show whether they have genuine depth themselves, or were merely blessed by an unusual talent.

2nd TestPakistanvAustralia
Expected MarginAustralia by 78 runs
Actual MarginPakistan by 3 wickets

A fascinating match from the opening session to the last. Pakistan, by rights, should have won easily after Australia's collapse on the first morning. Their batting is unable to put a game away however, and a series of poor shots almost saw them fall agonisingly short again. All the signs were there for Australia's abysmal start: the batting has been erratically poor for years, with numerous collapses, they've been exposed repeatedly in swinging and seaming conditions (even if the conditions were never as unplayable as the Australian batsmen made them look), and the Pakistan bowling, led by the brilliant Asif and a potential great in Aamer, is ideally suited to English conditions.

While the Australian batting remains the weak-point, even if seems to remain immune to selectorial change, the bowling hardly covered itself in glory, despite the low scores. Johnson remains an erratic performer, interspersing complete rubbish with unplayable balls, Hilfenhaus was returning from injury, but did little in ideal conditions, and neither Bollinger nor Smith impressed overly. Perhaps the only player who truly performed was Paine, holding the bat competently (if not prolifically) and the gloves superbly (if not perfectly) to stake a claim for the Indian tour in November.

For Pakistan, Butt captained poorly, but at least had the players moving in the right direction, and led from the front with the bat. A drawn series is substantially better than they'd have expected, and they ought to be competitive against England if the weather stays favourable. Doubly so if their batsmen learn to knuckle down.

Finally neutral tests appear to be a much less viable prospect than mooted in England. While Lord's had a decent crowd, particular for Australia where the ex-pat supporter base is at least as large as that of Pakistan, Headingley was a financial disaster. The idea that a neutral test championship would be anything less than a gimmick is laughable.

Forthcoming matches

4 TestsEnglandvPakistan
Expected MarginEngland by 75 runs

With England at home, the margin is nearly identical to that of the recent games against Australia. I expect England to perform much better than Australia, however. While their recent form is lamentable, their overall demeanor is of a side on the up, while their familiarity with the conditions with bat and ball ought to put them in good stead, regardless of the Pakistani skills (though their efforts last year at Headingley suggest otherwise). Pakistan cannot expect to bowl the opposition out for less than a hundred in every game, and are therefore highly unlikely to have the runs to take any wins. While the weather is always an issue in England, a 4-0 result to England wouldn't be a huge surprise either. Hopefully Pakistan can prove me wrong.

Rankings at 29th July 2010
3.South Africa1193.34
5.Sri Lanka1116.74
7.West Indies919.14
8.New Zealand917.91

22.Hong Kong148.65
23.Cayman Is134.24

Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Cricket - Ratings - Test 30th July, 2010 01:21:59   [#] 


Ratings - 29th July 2010

Thanks as always, for these excellent ratings. I suspect an India-Pakistan series staged in England would do quite well. In fact, I'd go do far as to say that a test at the Oval or Lord's would sell out.

But I share your skepticism about the possibility that other neutral matchups would attract big crowds.
Samir Chopra  30th July, 2010 06:53:09  

Ratings - 29th July 2010
thankyou Samir. Unfortunately, India versus anyone is a winner (and Australia and England to a far lesser extent), which has distorted the administrator's perception of what might be a good idea. If the proposed test championship threw up Sri Lanka vs South Africa in the final the outcome could be dire.
Russ  30th July, 2010 12:21:37  

Cricket Schedule
Added your link at http://www.cricschedule.com/links.php

http://www.cricketschedule.com Cricket Schedule

Could you add mine site in your blogroll ?

Anmol  30th July, 2010 21:24:45  

Ratings - 29th July 2010
I'm getting worried about my Aussie fandom. I find their collapses so normal now that I think I'd get bored if they didn't.

Bodes ill for me wanting them to do well in the Ashes.

The bowling was a real worry. I expected a bit more of them, but hopefully they were just really underdone.
Lou  8th August, 2010 06:25:42