Not as close as it seemed

Series Review – Sri Lanka in South Africa, 2011-12

Jaideep Varma & Jatin Thakkar

Here are the scorecards of the matches in the series.

South Africa won the series 2-1. Overall, South Africa had a Team IMPACT of 2.20 in the series as compared to Sri Lanka’s 1.48, the big margin reflecting the huge defeats that Sri Lanka had in two of the matches, rather than the ostensible narrowness of the series result.
 
Here is the list of players with their IMPACT in the series (players with 2 or more matches) with the highest impact players at the top.

 

Matches

Batting
IMPACT

Bowling
IMPACT

Captaincy/
fielding/WK

IMPACT

Series
IMPACT

Philander

2

0.04

4.61

0.13

6.71*

Kallis

3

1.90

0.38

0.50

3.81*

Steyn

3

0.54

2.64

0.00

3.19

de Villiers

3

3.06

 

0.00

3.06

Samaraweera

3

2.49

0.00

0.04

2.54

Chandimal

2

1.51

 

0.83

2.34

Welegedara

3

0.28

1.69

0.06

1.96

Boucher

3

0.60

 

1.35

1.95

Tahir

3

0.30

1.64

0.00

1.94

Herath

3

0.55

1.67

0.04

1.67

Morkel

3

0.06

1.41

0.08

1.55

Amla

3

1.27

 

0.21

1.48

Smith

3

0.88

0.00

0.54

1.42

Mathews

3

1.04

0.26

0.13

1.42

Perera

3

0.48

0.89

0.00

1.37

Dilshan

3

0.96

0.13

0.25

1.34

Sangakkara

3

1.21

 

0.00

1.21

Jayawardene

3

0.85

 

0.25

1.10

Prince

2

0.67

 

0.19

0.86

Paranavitana

2

0.66

 

0.19

0.85

Fernando

2

0.08

0.81

0.00

0.84

Rudolph

3

0.82

 

0.00

0.82


* Series IMPACT also includes Series Defining Bonus – performance in series deciding final match, after series was locked at 1-1.

A DOZEN INTERESTING OBSERVATIONS

1. A B de Villiers was declared the player of the tournament, perhaps for scoring the most runs in the series (353 at an average of 118) – as always ignoring the efforts of the bowlers in a relatively high-scoring series. He was, by a mile, the best batsman of the series, but not the highest impact player. Philander, who took the highest wickets in the series (16 at 13 runs per wicket, in just 2 matches), was the highest impact bowler of the series, and also the highest impact player. The one Test he missed, South Africa lost.

2. Kallis and Steyn also had a higher impact than de Villiers in the series – Kallis particularly gaining from his high impact performance in the deciding Test, when everything was at stake. He came in to bat at 56 for 2, and left almost 400 runs later, after making a series-winning 224.

3. The above was also the single-highest Batting IMPACT performance in the series (Match Batting IMPACT 6.73). Kallis scored 224 runs in 325 balls to ensure that South Africa batted only once in the match to win the match as well as the first series at home since 2008. Besides scoring runs, he absorbed pressure (Pressure IMPACT) as well as built huge partnerships (Partnership-Building IMPACT).

4. After AB de Villiers, the highest Batting IMPACT in the series came from Samaraweera (2.49) – by a huge distance the best Sri Lankan batsman in the series, Kallis (1.90), Chandimal (1.51) and Amla (1.27).

5. After Philander, the highest Bowling IMPACT in the series came from Steyn (2.67), Welegedara (1.69), Herath (1.67) and Tahir (1.64).

6. The single-highest Bowling IMPACT performance in the series came from Philander (Match Bowling IMPACT 6.80) in the 1st test. His match figures of 5-53 in the first innings had a Bowling IMPACT of 4.00 and 5-49 in the second innings had a Bowling IMPACT of 2.80.

7. Kallis (Pressure IMPACT 0.32) absorbed the maximum pressure for South Africa while batting while Samaraweera (0.27) absorbed the maximum pressure for Sri Lanka.

8. AB de Villiers (Partnership Building IMPACT 0.55) built maximum partnerships for South Africa while batting while Samaraweera (0.52) built maximum partnerships for Sri Lanka.

9. Philander had the highest Pressure-Building IMPACT (taking quick wickets to put opposition under pressure) in the series (0.20) while Steyn had the highest Economy IMPACT in the series (0.10) – the latter not a common occurrence in Test cricket.

10. Sri Lanka’s highest Batting IMPACT performance came in the 2nd test from Samaraweera (Match Batting IMPACT 3.58). He scored 102 in 269 balls in the first innings while absorbing pressure (Pressure Building IMPACT) and 43 in 64 balls in the second innings to ensure that Sri Lanka had their first ever victory in South Africa.

11.  Also in the 2nd test, Herath gave the highest Bowling IMPACT performance for Sri Lanka (Match Bowling IMPACT 5.60). He took 4 wickets for 49 runs in the first innings and 5 wickets for 79 in the second in the match.

12. Interestingly, there was not a single all-round performance in the context of the entire series (in IMPACT terms, it means crossing 1 in more than one capacity – batting, bowling or wk/fielding/captaincy). Jacques Kallis, Angelo Mathews, Dishan, Boucher…no one came close. Steyn and Herath batted decently, better than their tail-ender status suggests, but not enough to be considered all-rounders in the series. The only player who came close was Sri Lankan wicket-keeper Chandimal – though he played just 2 Tests. His Batting IMPACT of 1.51 was very impressive – but he narrowly missed touching an IMPACT of 1 as a wicket-keeper, which cannot entirely be pinned on him (in the 3rd Test, he did not get a single dismissal, a function of the bowling too).

While Sir Lanka must be credited for winning their first ever Test in South Africa, it can also be safely said that South Africa won the series, both on points, and as a technical knock-out. If after, say the third day, the third Test had been rained-off, and the series deadlocked at 1-1, South Africa would still have had a considerably higher impact in the series. It wasn’t as close as the series score-line eventually suggested.

For more information on Impact Index, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com

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