Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Ashes 2010-2011: Series Totals

England versus Australia
November 2010 - January 2011

Over the course of the series, who contributed most towards putting his team in a position to win each game?
Over the course of the series, who contributed most towards putting his team in danger of losing each game?

Here are the aggregate WPA scores for each player for the full series.  The first three columns show how each player changed the probability that his team would go on to win / lose / draw each game.  The final column (in bold) shows the difference between the first two columns; this effectively shows how each player caused the game to swing away from a loss and towards a win for his team.

            Eng win     Eng lose     draw      win-lose
Cook         33.1%      -84.4%       51.7%      117.5%
Anderson     54.5%      -32.8%      -21.6%       87.3%
Tremlett     25.7%      -40.2%       14.3%       65.9%
Bell         19.2%      -26.6%        7.5%       45.8%
Bresnan      21.8%       -9.1%      -12.7%       30.9%
Finn          2.1%        7.3%       -9.4%       -5.2%
Pietersen     3.0%       13.7%      -16.5%      -10.7%
Strauss     -12.4%        1.2%       11.2%      -13.6%
Trott        -5.9%        7.9%       -2.0%      -13.8%
Prior        -9.2%       18.1%       -8.9%      -27.3%
Collingwood -15.6%       21.2%       -5.7%      -36.8%
Swann       -22.1%       17.9%        4.4%      -39.9%
Broad       -25.7%       17.6%        8.3%      -43.3%

            Aus win     Aus lose     draw      win-lose
Hussey       47.5%      -44.3%       -2.9%       91.8%
Johnson      22.2%      -38.1%       15.9%       60.3%
Siddle       15.2%      -11.7%       -3.5%       26.9%
Haddin       11.5%      -11.5%        0.3%       23.0%
Harris       11.5%       -8.5%       -2.8%       20.1%
Watson        2.3%       -8.8%        6.6%       11.0%
Bollinger    -2.5%        3.7%       -1.2%       -6.1%
Beer         -5.7%        3.2%        2.5%       -9.0%
Khawaja      -3.4%        8.3%       -5.0%      -11.7%
North       -13.2%        8.3%        4.9%      -21.4%
Katich       -8.7%       17.7%       -9.0%      -26.4%
Smith       -11.1%       16.1%       -4.9%      -27.1%
Doherty     -30.1%        8.2%       22.1%      -38.3%
Hughes      -20.7%       34.1%      -13.5%      -54.8%
Hilfenhaus  -49.4%       19.9%       30.0%      -69.3%
Ponting     -37.1%       53.4%      -16.6%      -90.5%
Clarke      -39.9%       55.4%      -15.6%      -95.3%

Alastair Cook was England's most valuable player for the series by a considerable margin.  He personally added 33.1% of a win to England's overall record.  Moreover, by often batting England out of trouble, he took 84.4% of a win away from the Australians.

Michael Hussey was Australia's top performer over the five Test matches.  He amassed 570 runs (second only to Cook) to contribute 47.5% of a win for his team.

James Anderson was the leading wicket-taker of the series, and this puts him right up near the top with a contribution of 54.5% of a win for England.

Mitchell Johnson was Australia's leading wicket-taker, and he too finds himself at the top end of Australia's leaderboard.  As well as for taking wickets, Johnson's WPA numbers numbers took a boost for contributing two half centuries (at Perth and Sydney) at moments in the game when Australia were desperately seeking runs.

Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke find themselves at the very bottom of the leaderboard.  The captain and stand-in captain too often failed to contribute vital runs when Australia needed them the most (e.g. the first innings at Perth), and so they each handed over more than half of a Test match victory to their opposing team.

Jonathan Trott's position in the list is surprisingly low, given that he scored 445 runs at an average of 89.0.  Unfortunately for him, he scored too many of his runs at moments in the game when the outcome of the game was already a near certainty (e.g. Melbourne), and scored too few runs at moments in the game when England needed his contribution (e.g. Perth and Sydney).  Similarly, Matt Prior scored 203 of his 252 runs at Melbourne and Sydney when those games were virtually already won, so he too gets little credit from our WPA statistic.


  1. A very interesting means of analysis. However, I slightly take issue with the dismissal of Prior's runs at Melbourne and Sydney.

    Whilst I accept that England's innings position was already strong in both cases, as first innings runs, Prior did in fact ensure that England's bowlers had both time to recover from the first innings and also ample time to bowl Australia out again by virtue of the quantum lead that he created...

    In short, from the bottom half of the batting order he effectively supplied a second innings total (with support). Had he been batting up the order in the second innings following a first innings declartaion (hypothetical) would the WPA not have given him far greater recognition?

  2. Like George, I believe lower order batsmen are penalized by the statistical analysis. Bell would probably sit even higher had he not felt it necessary to score quickly, either because of time constraints or because he was running out of partners. His style deserves a place further up the order.

  3. It has in this series, mainly because the top order did so well to establish leads! So e.g Prior had little WPA to gain from batting well in these situations (and conversely little WPA to lose if he had done badly)... But the method is fair, and had he pulled out his big knocks after a collapse (in an Ian Healy style) he would be handsomely rewarded by the model... Having said this, it's interesting you pick up on Bell, who actually came out from it quite well as England's second ranked batsman- actually Trott is really the one who was hard done by... One note, scoring well as partners are running out is rewarded by the model, but that's not to say he wouldn't have racked up more runs and WPA if he'd opened the batting- alas we can only go with what happened...

    Personally though I agree that it'll be nice to see Bell climb up the order (surely he will now after Colly's retirement, but I'd like to see him at No 4)... Just my view as he is such a talented batsman... Notwithstanding that horrible pull shot at Melbourne...

    In fact we did write a reply to George at the time entitled 'WPA injustice?'- you can find it at:

    It talks a little about the model too and what it does/doesn't take into account...

    Take it easy!


  4. Really interesting analysis, and it comes surprisingly close to what the qualitative analysis (i.e. the mainstream Cricket reporting) generally said (at quick glance). A little surprised that Cook comes above Anderson by quite so much, and that Johnson scored so well given that at times he appeared to be a complete liability. Food for thought. Good work!