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Impact Index Review: Ashes 2009


It would seem that the Ashes 2009 series was evenly poised at the end of the fourth Test, but Australia had, in fact, dominated 80% of the series overall.

To understand the Ashes 2009 series better, we did an Impact Index review of it, which has led to a few interesting revelations.

(For the uninitiated, Impact Index is a unique device developed by HoldingWilley to evaluate player performances, and therefore, team performances, in a more comprehensive way than the only other alternative - averages - currently do. Click
here to know more about it.)

England stand ahead of Australia on the II front with a series II of 2.17 as against Australia's 1.99.

The interesting point, however, is that Australia were the dominant side by a good distance at the end of every match including the fourth.

Studying the Impact Index of each team at the end of every Test (i.e. Impact Index of each player divided by 11) is much like viewing the series as a boxing match, where points are being allotted for each round.

Interestingly, Australia won three Test matches on points - the 1st, the 3rd and the 4th - whereas England won only two. So, in a sense, Australia won three rounds as against England's two, but England won the bout on a KO.

Australia dominated the drawn first Test more than England dominated the second Test that they won. A match-by-match breakdown of both teams' II is as follows.



















Both teams were evenly matched as far as their Basic II (i.e Impact Index without bonus points for exceptional performances) is concerned (Aus 1.63, Eng 1.65). England's jump in the II then goes to show the importance of the big moments that they won. Where England effectively won the series was that they had seven 4+-rated performances (six 4's and one 5) as against Australia's three. Interestingly, all of the Australia's 4-rated performances came in Tests they did not win. England, on the other hand, recorded four 4-rated series defining performances in the final Test alone (from Strauss, Broad, Swann and Trott), an unprecedented event that reflects how pumped up the team was. It also explains how they managed to overcome Australia despite being down for 80% of the series.

Averages suggest that Michael Clarke (avg. 64) and Ben Hilfenhaus (avg. 27.45) should be the best batsman and bowler of the series respectively. Impact Index shows that Strauss (II of 4.2 as against Clarke's 3.4) and Stuart Broad (II of 3.8 as against Hilfenhaus's 2.2) were, in fact, the standout batsman and bowler in terms of impact. It is not a coincidence that their team won.

Jonathan Trott was one of the surprise heroes of the series, and it is interesting to note that so far, his is the only recorded instance of a player notching up a series defining performance on debut. The importance of his performance can be seen by the fact that outside of Strauss and Trott, none of the pure batsmen in the English side have an II of over 2 in the series, with Collingwood being the next with 1.8 (Flintoff scores 2.33). On the other hand, four of the Australian batsmen finish with an II of over 2 (including Watson, who finished with an II of 2.66 but with negligible points from his bowling.)

The difference between performing and performing in key moments is precisely quantified by the Impact Index. It is this difference that has given England the urn despite scoring fewer runs and taking fewer wickets than the Aussies in the series.

(Click here to know more about Sreeram, and here to know more about Jaideep)

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