Cricket: England in South Africa 2016

I’ve been at a wedding this weekend. We went into the church when the cricketers were at lunch, and when we came out SA were 46/7, and Stokes had just got Morris out. It was pretty much game over from that point, even though England managed to lose a trio of wickets when they got the target down to single figures.

Interesting game, from an England point of view. I don’t think we’ve sorted out our best batting order yet and, although I like Compton in at three with Hales opening, it hasn’t yet worked as well as I’d have hoped.
There’s hope in the bowling attack, though, although we still haven’t got a spin bowler worth picking for his bowling, there are Options for the pace bowling, and Stokes turning into a capable all-rounder gives the side a balance it’s missed since Flintoff retired.
Anderson’s been out of sorts this series, and I wonder if he’s actually fit and if he’s going to play in the final game. I expect him to, though. Broad himself has been out of sorts this series right up until he suddenly wasn’t.

I’m not doubting you, but were those stats specifically five-fers in a single spell of bowling? i.e. a continuous run of overs not just a single session or innings. I looked at cricinfo and couldn’t uncover the stats that address that particular accomplishment.

Oh, right. Haven’t a clue. Maybe their resident stato can answer that - it’s an interesting question.

Another way of putting that, I guess, is there’s 5-fers, and there’s 5-fers, right? You might take 5-fer when the opposition puts up 500 and you get carted around for those runs. On the other hand, you’ve got the type of thing Broad seems to specialise in, which totally turns a game on its head. This would probably require a by eye analysis of every game the 5 wicket hauls happened in and evaluating in a different way - even if you take them all in one spell, you might have shot the tail out with the third new ball, meanwhile the top and middle order have piled on 600. The point being Johnson might have more 5 wicket hauls but it doesn’t follow that he’s necessarily won more matches with those performances.

There’s an excellent book called Masterly Batting, which runs through all Test match centuries and ranks the best innings of all time measured in 10 categories: size, percentage of team score, speed, bowling attack, pitch conditions, chances given, match impact, series impact, compatibility of attack and conditions, intangibles. in so doing, they attempt to work out which is actually the best century of all time, not just the biggest, quickest, etc - trying to show how a score of 154 might actually be better than one of 200+, depending on context. I recommend finding it, if you can - it’s a good thought starter for one, but each of the Top 50 innings have (pretty good) essays written about them, going into just why its ranked where it is.

It would be brilliant if there was one of these on bowling as well.

Broad btw has 15 five-fers, I’ve learned - so those seven *are *presumably five in a spell.

Also, Broad has taken 5 for 25 or less four times. Only Muralitharan has done it more times, and that against Zimbabwe or Bangladesh.

Big upswing in his performance since 2011 although I’ve seen someone on Cricinfo sniff “form is temporary, class is permanent” as though four years, 50 Tests and 200 wickets was just a flash in the pan.