Home » India v England: Andy Zaltzman’s four statistics that defined the series

India v England: Andy Zaltzman’s four statistics that defined the series

One of the eternal fascinations of Test cricket, especially in these Bazballistic times, is that there are almost infinite ways for interpreting what has happened.

In losing 4-1 in India, did England just get thrashed, and end the series utterly dominated?

Did they give the Ravichandran Ashwin-Ravindra Jadeja-era India one of the toughest challenges they have faced in a home series?

Did their hyper-aggressive approach discombobulate their opponents, or themselves?

Was that approach England’s best strategy for achieving victory, or an inevitable route to defeat?

You could reasonably answer yes and/or no to all of those questions, and offer statistical evidence to support your answers.

In the end, the numbers showed a similar defeat to England’s previous two tours of India.

An excellent first Test performance (wins in 2023-24 and 2020-21, the better of a draw in 2016-17) followed by losing all the remaining matches.

By the end of the series, England averaged 25.6 runs per wicket with the bat, and 39.7 with the ball.

As a ratio – England’s runs-per-wicket batting was 64.5% of their runs-per-wicket bowling – it was slightly inferior to the previous two series, and England’s second worst in a series in India, behind their 3-0 drubbing in 1992-93.

England’s fifth-Test subsidence shunted the numbers further towards the impression of a totally comprehensive defeat, but deep into day two of the fourth Test, the tourists were well-placed to make it 2-2 in the series. Nonetheless, India ended with the top five players in both the batting averages (three innings minimum) and the bowling averages (10 overs minimum).

The 25.6 runs per wicket batting figure was England’s second lowest in a series in India. Only the 2020-21 series (19.8) was worse. They lost a wicket every 42 balls three years ago; this time, they lost one every 40 balls, on far more fair and friendly pitches.

The major difference was in runs per over, with the 3.83 Ben Stokes’ side managed this time being the first instance of England scoring at more than three per over in a series in India, and comfortably the highest run rate any visiting side has achieved in India.

To help interpret the events of these five fascinating Tests, here are my four stats that explain the series…