England won the Third Test at Headingley. England scored 362 runs in their innings and won by 1 wicket (link).
At the start of that innings, it was likely that to win England needed to create partnerships of greater than 36 runs. Australia’s role was to prevent this happening.
The graph indicates the required rate in blue and England’s response in red. England’s middle order controlled the game and were in excess of the target (37 runs ahead by the sixth wicket).
The game moved into a new phase when Chris Woakes was dismissed. The next two wickets tipped the game in Australia’s favour. The game moved back in England’s favour in the final wicket partnership. In that partnership, Ben Stokes scored 74 of the 76 run total.
The first Ashes Test was completed at Edgebaston in Birmingham on 5 August (link). Australia won on the final day of the test by 251 runs.
Australia scored 487 runs in their second innings. England required 398 runs to win the game on the final day.
Throughout this cricket summer in England, I have wondered if we can predict the outcome of games early in their play after a team has set a target in an innings.
In this test match, I used Australia’s second innings total as a guide to what England needed to do to bat through the final day. I made the assumption that each partnership for England needed to be 49 runs. I was mindful that England was unlikely to score 496 runs in the day but I did have this linear relationship as a check:
The actual profile on Day 5 was:
These data left me thinking about training and competition and how both teams might prepare for the second test at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in a week’s time.
More generally, the result encouraged me to think about the importance of winning first in a series or a tournament.