Statistics What do They Really Mean?

The Ashes is all about rivalry, but the article by Fox Sports Anthony Pinshaw went a little too far in trying to stir up Aussie pride.

Yes England were diabolical in the recent Lords Test, but so too was his statistical analysis. Then again Mr Murdoch never lets the facts get in the way of a good yarn does he?

According to Pinshaw “Australia was quite literally twice as good as England at Lord’s. The combined total of the Aussies’ two innings was 820, while England could manage just 415 runs across its two innings.”

Literally, means “exactly.” Interestingly the following comment appears to have been added since the piece was originally posted, “OK, so it’s not exactly double but you’ll take our point.” after many England supporters, and fair -minded Australians pointed out the poor maths.

Further into the article came another display of poor mathematics, “The combined total of runs scored by Smith and Rogers was 495 — 180 more than England’s entire team managed to score.” It was in fact 80 runs more than England managed to score having accumulated 415 in their two innings.

In the next sentence he writes “When you take into account that in the first innings alone Rogers and Smith combined for 388 runs, they actually beat England by an innings and 73 runs.” This is a bizarre statistic to try and bring into the equation. The game was played over two innings so to judge it over one innings is strange. To judge one innings against two and say that Smith and Rogers defeated England by an innings and 73 runs is one of the weirdest statistics ever raised.

One statistic that seems to have been missed is what a happy hunting ground Lords has been for the Australians.

Believe it or not England have only beaten Australia at Lords on six occasions, the last time in 2013. They won in 2009 but you then had to go back to 1896 to find England beating Australia at the home of cricket.

There have been 14 draws between the two teams at the home of cricket with Australia recording 15 victories against England, plus one against South Africa in 1912 and another against Pakistan in 2010. So Australia have played 36 games at Lords and won 16, drawn 14 and lost only 6 times.

So was their victory such a surprise after all? Certainly the emphatic nature of it may have been.


Statistics What do They Really Mean?
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