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Russ

I don't buy this claim that Australia was statistically superior. On raw numbers sure, but if someone loses a tennis match 1-6, 6-4, 7-6, 0-6, 6-3 we don't say, "oh, but you know they were unlucky because they won more games".

In the two tests Australia won, they took 39 wickets at 26.97 versus 16 at 69.94. England were substantially inferior, and yes, Australia was perhaps unlucky not to take the win in Cardiff (others might say incompetent). But, in the other three tests, Australia took 45 wickets at 34.58 versus 55 at 29.33. England were better in all three matches. Not always much better, but as Strauss said, "good enough".

On luck, there is a qualitative and a quantitative dimension to luck. Most dubious decisions come from disputed catches, bat-pads and lbws, which are strongly associated with attacking field settings/bowling - slips, close-in fielders and bowling at the stumps - and incompetent batting - edges behind, tentative prods and missing the ball. The better side will almost always be the more attacking and less incompetent, so they will almost always get more of the luck.

Similarly, the bowling side tends to make more appeals that are wrong, so the more incorrect decisions there are, the higher the probability that the bowling side has got the luck. Remembering that the better side does more bowling, and takes more wickets. If it (making some figures up here) takes 40 appeals to take 10 wickets, of which half are obvious, and 15% of the rest are wrong, and if Australia takes 45 wickets (180 appeals, of which 3 were out but not given, and 10 not out but given), and England 55 wickets (220, 4 and 13) then England end up 16 to 14 in front. Well, England probably had more luck than that, but as was obvious when Australia had that problem, it helps to be the side trying to win the game.

Tony

The 1-6 tennis analogy vis-a-vis the first set is apt. I mean, we made four centuries in the first set/Test, but in the overall those four tons fattened the 100 vs 100 figures and flattered the Aussie stats.

David Barry

I don't buy this claim that Australia was statistically superior.
I do. Suppose that we'd taken that last wicket at Cardiff and then everything that follows was identical. The series is drawn 2-2. Australia's two wins are massive, England's two wins comfortable. Australia is easily statistically superior in this scenario, and the gap is large enough so that one non-wicket isn't going to bring it back level.

Basically I think that bad individual performances give us an indication of how good the players are. England managed to concentrate their bad performances into a couple of horrendous displays, but I don't think that that is much of a repeatable skill.

The Don has risen

losers always complain about how luck went against them.

the only reason the Poms lost in the Windies was one of the worst betting displays in living memory against ordinary bowling.
They then did not take their chances over the next tests.
It wasn't luck.

Asutralia were not unlucky here.
They had the chances but did not take them.

Russ

DB, let me put it another way, I don't buy that the statistical differences support the idea that Australia was unlucky to lose. 2-2 may have been the fairest result, but Australia were a fair way away from making it 3-2 in their favour. England's wins weren't exactly small either. In the three tests Australia didn't win the standard of their play was ordinary to terrible. To put it another way, in 2005, Australia could have conceivably won 4-0, without changing too many things. In 2009, England winning 3-1 was more likely than Australia winning at all.

The statistics support the idea that Australia had two good tests but were inferior in the remainder of the series. Moreover, even if we accept that Australia was better statistically, losing from a statistically superior position isn't unique to this series. In the past year Australia contrived to lose from winnable positions in Perth and Melbourne, drew in Bangalore and Cardiff (and almost Sydney). Like in England, they had 3 of the top 4 run-scorers at home to South Africa, and 2 of the top 3 wicket-takers. I think that results tell you how good players are, and Australia just aren't getting the results.

Adsy

I find myself agreeing with Don here. Conceivably the result in the series came down to 10 overs at Cardiff when we couldn't deliver. In 2005 England "took the chance" (incorrect decision notwithstanding) at Edgbaston to bring the series back to 1-1 when it should have been 0-2 and all over for them. On the reverse you could also say they missed a chance to go 2-1 up at Old Trafford when Punter made that match saving century and we were 9 down.

These pivotal moments aren't about luck, but rather if you are good enough to take opportunities. Invariably there are always going to be these moments in a game and whether or not you are good enough comes down to these.

Luck lends itself to things out of your control like the weather, stepping on a ball during practice, and the only area that I think Australia were unlucky in that could have had a major impact being the toss.

Isky

Not to sure about Australia dominating the stats, check these stats out:
http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/bowling/best_figures_innings.html?id=4249;type=series

you will see that England are heads above Australia there(ok maybe not heads but dominating surely). And those for me are the most decisive statistics.

Anyway as some English say the most important stat is England 2wins Australia 1win

Tony

I'm sure that, despite all the stats, justifications, excuses and reasons proffered so far, there are more than a few English fans going "Scoreboard, pal."

Lurker

We lost cause we're shit. It's not hard to work out.

Yobbo

I'm not sure how bowling Hauritz and North at Monty Panesar for 20 overs constitutes "Bad Luck".

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