by Adrian Worton
Welcome to the second TGIAF Trent Bridge update. For the background on these reports, have a read of the first post in this series. The article suggested that the side batting first has a distinct advantage, so it should have been good news when England won the toss this morning and Alistair Cook elected to bat.
Buying an earpiece relaying Test Match Special commentary was a fantastic addition, and I was impressed with Glenn McGrath's contribution to the show.
Back on the field, the day finished with England being bowled out for 215, and we will look at how today’s performances compared to previous first-day performances, over the last 10 Ashes series.
First Day Performance
Firstly, we will look at the number of runs scored on day 1, and see how much of an effect getting runs on the board has on the final outcome of the match. If it does, it means we can use it to see how likely England are to win. If there was no play on day 1, day 2 was used.
The red line indicates today's effort. Looking at the graph, we can see that a team has never won after scoring less than 180 on the first day. Once a team scores more than 200 in their first innings they have a much higher chance of winning – of the 36 Tests where the first side batting scored more than 200 runs on the first day, they went on to win 23 of those (around 64%), with only 7 (19%) being lost.
We can see that England's effort today is certainly a low score by Ashes standards. Worryingly for Cook & co, only three times has a side won after posting less than 215, although of the teams to have scored between 200 and 250 in their first innings, 5 out of 8 did go on to win.
Now we can move onto wickets taken. Whilst we’ve just learned that the number of runs made is clearly important, the opposition needs to take plenty of wickets to limit any further damage on day 2.
The graph below shows the number of wins, draws and defeats for the side bowling first given how many wickets they took on the first day:
We have seen the huge effect that the number of runs scored on the first day has on the final result of an Ashes Test. The effect of wickets taken on the first day is less pronounced, however.
It's safe to say that the numbers back up the overall consensus after today that no team really has a clear advantage after today's play, and that this should hopefully lead to much more intense and close competition over the next four days.