January 3, 2017

More results, more Kohli runs, and more T20Is than ODIs

In 2016, there were fewer draws than ever before, and India notched up some eye-popping stats
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Play 01:01
2016 in numbers

Results, results, and more results
Out of the 47 Tests played in 2016, 40 produced results. Even the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, which seemed to be heading towards a certain draw going into the last day, produced a dramatic Pakistan collapse. The overall percentage of result Tests in 2016 was 85.11%, which was impressive even in this age of result-oriented Test matches. Among all the years that have hosted ten or more Tests (there are 74 such years in Test history), only once has the result percentage been higher, and even that was marginal. In 2002, 46 out of 54 were decisive Tests, a percentage of 85.18.

Among the 74 years in which ten or more Tests have been played, only once was the result percentage higher than in 2016 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Among the seven draws in 2016 were both New Year Tests - in Cape Town and Sydney. Thereafter, there were only five more through the rest of the year - two in the West Indies, and one each in England, South Africa, and India.

India shining
With a 31-11 win-loss record across all formats in 2016, there was no doubt about which was the team of the year. In Tests, India finished the year with a 9-0 record; only twice have teams won more Tests in a year without losing any: England in 2004 (11-0), and Australia in 2006 (10-0).

The next best team in the year across formats was South Africa, and the gulf was fairly substantial: they lost as many games as India did, but won ten fewer than India.

Teams with most Test wins without losing any, in a year
Team Year Mat Won Lost Bat ave Bowl ave Diff
 England  2004  13  11  0  43.62  29.98  13.64
 Australia  2006  10  10  0  48.58  27.95  20.63
 India  2016  12  9  0  48.68  27.54  21.14

India's Test numbers were what stood out more than anything else. Out of their 12 Tests, they won two in the West Indies and seven at home - all by huge margins: three by an innings, five by more than 175 runs, and one by eight wickets. The difference between their batting and bowling averages was 21.14; the next best for any team was South Africa's 10.08.

Test stats for each team in 2016
Team Tests Won Lost Bat ave Bowl ave Diff
 India  12  9  0  48.68  27.54  21.14
 South Africa  9  5  2  37.93  27.85  10.08
 Sri Lanka  9  5  3  29.90  29.23  0.67
 Australia  11  5  5  32.62  31.34  1.28
 Bangladesh  2  1  1  25.67  23.52  2.15
 England  17  6  8  34.52  34.79  -0.27
 New Zealand  11  4  6  32.33  34.46  -2.13
 Pakistan  11  4  7  30.87  37.61  -6.74
 West Indies  8  1  4  28.17  45.45  -17.28
 Zimbabwe  4  0  4  25.21  61.06  -35.85

A year for the wicketkeeper-batsmen
Jonny Bairstow scored a whopping 1470 Test runs last year, 425 more than any wicketkeeper has ever scored in a calendar year. Some of that was because of England's busy Test schedule in 2016, which allowed Bairstow to bat 29 times, but his numbers, along with those of Quinton de Kock, BJ Watling and a few others ensured that wicketkeepers generally had a year to remember with the bat. Their overall average for the year was 39.93, the second-highest in any year in which more than one Test has been played. The only year when they averaged more was in 2013, when they scored 40.03 per dismissal.

Apart from the three wicketkeepers mentioned above, India's Wriddhiman Saha contributed useful runs - 366 at 40.66 - while Shane Dowrich was a huge improvement over Denesh Ramdin for West Indies, scoring 307 runs at 38.37.

Best Test averages for wicketkeepers in a calendar year (Min 2 Tests in a year)
Year Mat Runs Average 100s/ 50s
 2013  44  5204  40.03  13/ 29
 2016  47  5351  39.93  9/ 30
 2009  41  4532  39.40  8/ 25
 2001  55  5501  38.20  12/ 26
 2014  41  4426  34.57  8/ 22
 2007  31  2965  34.47  3/ 23

Top run-scorers among wicketkeepers in Tests in 2016
Player Tests Runs Ave 100s/ 50s
 Jonny Bairstow  17  1470  58.80  3/ 8
 Quinton de Kock  8  695  63.18  2/ 5
 Sarfraz Ahmed  11  562  33.05  0/ 3
 BJ Watling  11  554  42.61  1/ 2
 Wriddhiman Saha  9  366  40.66  1/ 2
 Shane Dowrich  6  307  38.37  0/ 3

Virat Kohli scored loads of runs in every format in 2016 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Kohli's unique year
Virat Kohli started his international year with scores of 91, 59, 117 and 106, and finished it with scores of 167, 81, 62, 6*, 235 and 15. In between, he scored runs in the West Indies, in the World T20, in the home series against New Zealand, and in the IPL. In international games, Kohli totalled 2595 runs at a stunning average of 86.50, with 20 fifty-plus scores in 41 innings. Only six batsmen have ever scored more international runs in a calendar, and none of them have done so at an average close to Kohli's. In fact, there have been 72 instances of batsmen scoring 2000-plus runs in a calendar year, and Kohli's average of 86.50 is the best among them all.

Most international runs in a calendar year
Player Mat Inns Runs Average 100s/ 50s Year
 Kumar Sangakkara  48  57  2868  53.11  8/ 18  2014
 Ricky Ponting  46  58  2833  56.66  9/ 15  2005
 Kane Williamson  39  46  2692  65.65  8/ 14  2015
 Ricky Ponting  45  49  2657  66.42  11/ 8  2003
 Rahul Dravid  53  62  2626  46.89  10/ 9  1999
 Kumar Sangakkara  50  55  2609  52.18  5/ 16  2006
 Virat Kohli  37  41  2595  86.5  7/ 13  2016

In 2016, Kohli averaged more than 75 in all three international formats - 75.93 in Tests, 92.37 in ODIs, 106.83 in T20Is (and, for good measure, he averaged 81.08 in the IPL as well) - a statistic that has never before been achieved in international cricket. The closest any player has come to this was Kumar Sangakkara in 2013, when he averaged 85.33 in Tests (512 runs), 63.21 in ODIs (1201 runs), and 91.50 in T20Is (183 runs). With a 750-run cut-off in Tests and 500 in ODIs, only Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers have averaged 75-plus in both formats, in 2010.

Batsmen averaging 75+ in Tests and ODIs in a year (750+ runs in Tests, 500+ runs in ODIs)
Batsman Year Tests - runs Average ODIs - runs Average
 Virat Kohli  2016  1215  75.93  739  92.37
 Hashim Amla  2010  1249  78.06  1058  75.57
 AB de Villiers  2010  996  76.61  964  80.33

Kohli's domination can be further gauged from the fact that, with a 750-run cut-off in Tests, 500 in ODIs and 350 in T20Is, he tops the batting averages in all three formats. No other batsman makes it to the top five in more than one format.

Year of unusual defeats, and batting collapses
Coming into 2016, there had been only four instances of teams losing a Test after scoring 400-plus runs in their first innings - in 1930, 2001, 2004 and 2011. In three weeks in December, three more such defeats occurred, two for England and one for Pakistan. The Boxing Day result was the most remarkable of those, as Australia pulled off a last-day heist despite large amounts of time being lost due to rain.

Teams losing by inngs after scoring 400+ in their 1st inngs
Team Bat Total Defeat margin Opposition Ground Year
 England  1st  405  inns & 39 runs  Australia  The Oval  1930
 England  2nd  432  inns & 25 runs  Australia  The Oval  2001
 Pakistan  2nd  407  inns & 52 runs  India  Multan  2004
 Sri Lanka  1st  400  inns & 14 runs  England  Cardiff  2011
 England  1st  400  inns & 36 runs  India  Mumbai  2016
 England  1st  477  inns & 75 runs  India  Chennai  2016
 Pakistan  1st  443/9d  inns & 18 runs  Australia  Melbourne  2016

Apart from second-innings collapses in those games, there were also other instances of teams falling in a heap. Ten times in 2016, teams were bowled out for fewer than 125 in Tests, and each of these instances were by one of the top eight teams. Sri Lanka alone met this fate four times this year, Australia twice, and England, South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan once each. Excluding such collapses by Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, the last time there were more totals of 125 or fewer runs in a year was way back in 1888, when there were 11 such instances.

In 2016, there were also 11 instances of teams losing ten wickets for fewer than 100 runs (which means the total runs added for partnerships from the second to the tenth wickets were fewer than 100). It happened three times each to Australia and England, twice to Sri Lanka, and once each to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. This is the second-highest such occurrence in any calendar year.

There were also 11 such instances in 2004, and 12 in 2002.

The spin thing
In 2016, spinners took 1474 international wickets, which is more than they had taken in any previous year - their highest before last year was 1432, in 2010. In both Tests and T20Is, spinners took more wickets than they had taken in any previous year. The two leading wicket-takers in Tests were spinners - R Ashwin finished with 72 and Rangana Herath with 57 - while the ODI list also had a spinner - Adam Zampa - on top.

The overall bowling average for spin in Tests, though, was 35.11, which is only ninth best in the last 17 years since 2000. While Ashwin, Herath and Ravindra Jadeja took plenty of wickets at excellent averages, there were others who bowled a lot but with less success. Yasir Shah's 46 wickets cost him almost 39 each, while Moeen Ali's 37 came at 53 apiece. Fast bowlers took relatively fewer wickets - 12th highest in any calendar year - but at a better average.

Top wicket-takers among spinners in Tests in 2016
Player Tests Overs Wickets Average
 R Ashwin  12  584.4  72  23.90
 Rangana Herath  9  412.2  57  18.92
 Yasir Shah  10  538.2  46  38.69
 Ravindra Jadeja  9  463.4  43  24.55
 Nathan Lyon  11  438.0  41  36.34
 Moeen Ali  17  532.0  37  53.02
 Adil Rashid  7  287.1  30  35.66

Pace and spin in Tests in 2016
Type Wickets Average Strike rate 5WI
 Pace  851  32.02  61.8  34
 Spin  584  35.11  66.0  27

The limited-overs numbers
For the first time in a calendar year, the number of T20 internationals exceeded the number of ODIs, which is a clear indication of the direction in which the game is moving. The total number of ODIs in 2016 was 99, only the second time in the last 21 years that fewer than 100 ODIs were played in a year. Meanwhile, the T20I aggregate touched 100 for the first time; the previous highest in any year was 82, in 2012, which was also the year when the difference between the number of ODIs and T20Is was the least, before 2016.

For the first time, there were more T20Is than ODIs in a calendar year © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

In terms of the matches themselves, 2016 was a record-breaking year in both formats. England's 444 for 3 against Pakistan in August went past the earlier record for the highest ODI total, while Australia went past the previous T20I mark with their total of 263 for 3 against Sri Lanka just a week after England's run-binge.

The overall ODI run-rate for the year was a healthy 5.43, which is the second-highest of all time, next only to 5.50 in 2015. The last three years have witnessed three highest run-rates in any calendar year, while the ten 150-plus scores equaled the record for any year.

Top ODI run rates in a year
Year ODIs Average Run rate 150+ scores
 2015  146  32.91  5.50  10
 2016  98  31.60  5.43  10
 2014  121  31.53  5.29  3
 2009  150  30.92  5.12  9
 2013  136  30.65  5.11  7

With so many T20Is played in 2016, it wasn't surprising that new marks were set for both runs scored and wickets taken in this format in a year. Kohli set the batting benchmark with 641 runs, while Jasprit Bumrah's 28 wickets went one past the earlier record of 27, by Dirk Nannes in 2010. In fact, the top three batting aggregates for any year were all in 2016.

Misleading stat of the year
60.60 Ross Taylor's batting average in Tests in 2016: he scored 606 runs including three centuries, and was dismissed ten times. However, 364 of those runs came in three innings in Zimbabwe, when he wasn't dismissed once. In his 12 remaining innings he scored only 242 runs at 24.20, as problems with his left eye severely hampered his batting. However, he finished the year with an unbeaten 102 against Pakistan in Hamilton, and after an eye surgery later in the year, he will hopefully be back to his best.

More numbers from 2016
70 Test dismissals for Bairstow in 2016, the most by any wicketkeeper in a year. The previous record was 67, by Ian Healy in 1993 and by Mark Boucher in 1998.

3 Double-centuries in Tests for Kohli in 2016, which makes him only the fifth batsman, and the third captain, to score three or more doubles in a year. Michael Clarke, Brendon McCullum, Ricky Ponting and Don Bradman are the other batsmen to achieve this.

7 ODI hundreds for David Warner in 2016, the joint second highest ever in a year; only Sachin Tendulkar, with nine centuries in 1998, has more.

8 Five-fors in Tests for R Ashwin; only two bowlers have taken more in a calendar year: Malcolm Marshall (nine in 1984), and Muttiah Muralitharan (nine in 2006).

17 Tests England played in 2016, the joint second-highest for any team: India played 18 in 1983, and 17 in 1979.

3 Allrounders who achieved the double of 30 wickets and 500 runs in Tests in 2016 - Ashwin, Ben Stokes and Moeen. It is only the second time that three allrounders have achieved this in a year: in 2001, Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock and Heath Streak did the double.

1921 Runs added by England's sixth-wicket pairs in Tests in 2016. Only once in any year have more runs been added by a team for a wicket: in 2006, Pakistan's third wicket added 2341 runs in just 21 innings at an average of 117.05. England's first sixth-wicket stand of 2016 set the tone for what was to follow, as Stokes and Bairstow added 399 against South Africa in Cape Town, a record for that wicket.

29 Century partnerships for the last five wickets in Tests in 2016, the highest in any calendar year. The previous best was 27, in 2010 and 2001.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Faisal on June 30, 2017, 7:03 GMT

    I can recall an instance where Pakistan 450 vs Sri Lanka and lost in 2014. Pretty sure thats right as I'm a Pakistan fan :/

  • Hammad on January 4, 2017, 9:25 GMT

    @Modernumpiresplz: I agree with you, Lyon, and all other bowlers must be also to be analysed on the quality of tracks they are on to. But then someone will say where is the professionalism of a player standing? That's why I stated that world of cricket has become very polarized. Teams harvest only their home advantage. @ Lakshminarasimhan_s: Sometimes an individual faces the tides earlier than the other one. And talk about overall records, well Pak overall record over India is also better then they brag about last few years of playing? Get some breathing sir! All I am stating is that now conditions play a more potent role in getting the best out of a player, hence, their contribution should also requires acknowledgment.

  • Lakshmi Narasimhan on January 4, 2017, 8:35 GMT

    @HAMMADFAYYAZ

    8-0 happened 5 yrs back. It is 5-1 in 9 tests last time we had a 5 match tour in Eng and 4 match tour is Australia, it is something to brag about, but is better than Pakistan's record in Australia and SA for the last 20 yrs or so.

  • Xiong on January 4, 2017, 5:51 GMT

    @hammadfayyaz Funny how Lyon never gets any benefit from that sort of analysis.

  • Pablo Honey on January 4, 2017, 5:41 GMT

    People, please! Read the entire paragraph as the stats refer to all formats: "With a 31-11 win-loss record across all formats in 2016, there was no doubt about which was the team of the year..." blah blah blah... "The next best team in the year was South Africa, and the gulf was fairly substantial: they lost as many games as India did [i.e. 11], but won ten fewer than India [i.e. 21]." Bairstow's numbers are inflated due to the number of (more) games he played, which the writer pointed out. Interesting article. Thank you.

  • Hammad on January 3, 2017, 23:05 GMT

    @SIDDHARTXOOM: Yasir stats got disturbed esp. because of his bowling on Aussie turfs. Indian bowlers and batsmen when visited Aus and Eng met with 0-8 figures. Test cricket has become very polarized hence the stats and rankings have become very cloudy and kind of unreliable.

  • Sid on January 3, 2017, 19:08 GMT

    Nice analysis...Also clearly shows why Yasir isn't rated that high as Rangna or Ashwin. Rangna infact has amazing avg...

  • Vivek on January 3, 2017, 17:59 GMT

    Interesting stats, Rajesh! I also did a similar stats review of Test cricket in 2016, and shared my analysis here: https://vivekdesikan.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/test-cricket-2016-review/ Would love to hear your views on this.

    It is true that Test Cricket has been a lot more exciting in 2016, compared to recent times. In fact of the 7 draws, 5 were rain-affected - which shows that the era of dull batting draws in tests is well & truly over, thanks to T20, enterprising captains and sporting wickets.

  • 69sexx6151393 on January 3, 2017, 17:57 GMT

    This looks wrong:

    "The next best team in the year was South Africa, and the gulf was fairly substantial. They also didn't lose any games, but won ten fewer than India."

    Should rather be they same number of matches (11).
    Stats Editor's reply: Thanks for pointing it out. The error has been corrected.

  • 10dulkaRulezz on January 3, 2017, 15:43 GMT

    Wasn't it an year for lots of lower order runs as well? Missed it?

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