How often do home nations win in Test cricket?
bettingexpert blog editor. Always taking the alternative route to finding the value.
What is playing at home worth for a national cricket team in an international Test match? Andrew looks at the last 10 years of Test cricket to find out.
As a sports stats guys, one of the things I've always been most curious about, is what playing on a home field is actually worth.
Whether it be football of either the European or American kind, basketball, rugby, baseball or any number of sports, I've always been eager to assess overall home team form compared to form of teams away from home.
Why? Simply because having a quantitative idea of the advantage gained by playing in front of a crowd of adoring home fans in familiar surrounds, can go along way to helping you predict the correct result.
So as usual, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to start digging into the last 10 years of cricket statistics in an attempt to come up with some quantitative understanding of what playing at home in an international Test cricket match is worth in general terms of average winning, losing and drawing percentages.
In this article we will be looking at Test matches over the past decade, finding overall average home team performances as well as looking at how each of the major cricket nations performed both at home and on foreign soil.
While we will be surveying and giving an analysis of the home and tour form of each individual nation over the last 10 years, the thrust of this article isn't to suggest that any one nation enjoys a particulr home field advantage. Australia's home form has been dominant the last 10 years. But will it continue to be so the next 10 years? Perhaps not. The goal of the article rather, is to come to a conclusion as to the overall and general advantage enjoyed by all nations playing a Test match on home soil.
Test Matches at home
So let's start with Test match cricket being played on home soil. Below we can see the individual breakdowns for each major cricketing nation (as well as Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) over the last 10 years in terms of home ground winning, losing and drawing percentage.
Firstly, we see that the overall winning percentage for home nations was just over 46% the last 10 years, while 28% of games were lost and roughly 26% were drawn.
This also shows that home teams avoided losing (“No loss”) in 72% of all test matches played the last 10 years.
If we eliminate both Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, the home winning percentage for Test nations rises to just over 51%, with the “No loss” percentage running at roughly 78% of matches.
In terms of individual nations, we see that Australia recorded the best home performance the last 10 years, with a winning percentage on home soil of just under 70%, avoiding a loss in almost 87% of home Tests.
Excluding both Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, the West Indies had the poorest home record, winning just over 18% of their tests at home. They also had the poorest “No loss” percentage, of just over 57%.
Despite Australia's dominant home test winning record, India recorded the best “No loss” record, managing to avoid a loss in over 87% of their home Tests the last 10 years, with both Australia and Sri Lanka just behind.
Finally, five nations had home losing records below 20%, with India being the best of these, losing just under 13% of home Tests this past decade.
Test Matches on tour
Now let's take a look at home nations performed on foreign soil.
Again Australia leads the way, recording a win percentage away from home of over 55% the last 10 years. They were also the only team to record an away winning percentage above 50%. Their away winning record was over 16% better than the second best, South Africa with an away winning percentage just under 39%.
Overall, we can see that teams playing away from home achieve either a win or draw in just under 54% of Test matches played over the last 10 years, with a combined overall "No loss" record of 53.88%.
And as you might expect, the West Indies had the poorest winning percentage while on tour (excluding Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) with a winning percentage just under 9%. They were also the only major cricketing nation along with Pakistan to record a “No loss” record on tour below 50%.
Australia recorded the best "No loss" record while on tour, managing to avoid a defeat in over 73% of their tests matches away from home, with India in second place, recording a touring "No loss' percentage of just under 68%.
In Conclusion - What’s the difference?
So to conclude the analysis, let's take a look at how each nation performed at home in comparison to when on tour.
We can see that the average 'swing' between home Test form and tour Test form was around 15-16% points in terms of winning percentage, with the average losing percentage dropping just over 17% points while the average chances of a draw lifted by around 1-2% at home compared with away.
As a result, the average 'swing' between home “No loss” form and away “No loss” form was just over 17% points.
The biggest 'swing' between a nations home Test winning percentage and away winning percentage went to Sri Lanka, who recorded a winning percentage of around 33% points better on home soil the last 10 years. This was slightly better than England whose 'swing' between home and tour winning results was just under 29% points.
Again, of the major nations, the West Indies recorded the lowest 'swing' between home winning Test form and away with an increase of just under 10% points at home.
This was however the third highest proportional increase of tour winning form, with their home form increasing over 111%. The biggest proportional increase in home winning form went to New Zealand, whose away Test winning percentage jumped from just under 17% on foreign soil to over 37% at Tests played in New Zealand, a proportional increase of 125%, ahead of Sri Lanka with 118%.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan recorded the biggest improvements in “No loss” form, each lifting their tour Test “No loss” percentage at home over 30% points.
Meanwhile, the greatest proportional increase in “No loss” form went to Pakistan, whose tour “No loss” record increased over 65% proportionally from just under 49% on tour, to just under 81% on home soil.
Finally, in terms of losing percentage, again both Pakistan and Sri Lanka recorded the biggest improvements in home losing form, each seeing their losing percentage at home drop at around 31% points, with Sri Lanka's home Test losing percentage dropping proportionally almost 69% from 45% on foreign soil, to 14% in Test matches played in Sri Lanka.
So what did we learn?
While it is difficult to assess the home field advantage of any one individual nation, especially over such a small sample size of 10 years, by doing a survey of each nations home and away form, we can achieve an overll and general understanding of what home field advantage is in Test cricket.
While the home and away form of nations such as Australia may very well diminish over the next 10 years and others such as the West Indies may improve, it is a fairly safe assumption to make that the overall likelihood of a home team winning any Test match will remain the same, at about 46% (or 51% depending on whether you include Zimbabwe or Bangladesh).
You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewBexpert
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Thanks Game. Yeah, the article isn't so much about assessing the home advantage of individual nations, (although it's interesting to take a look at). It's more about getting a general idea of what home field advantage is in Test cricket in general. Like you say, I wouldn't expect Australia's home and away form to be so good over the next 10 seasons, or at least not as good as the last 10 seasons, but I would expect that in general, home Test teams will continue to win at about the same rate, which is just over 46% or 51% depending if you include Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. But thanks for the feedback mate. Appreciate all of your comments. Cheers.
Andrew I really like that, the only thing I would advise is to be careful with Australia right now, even though their hit ratio is so high. Alot of their wins for the stats collated are during Australia's golden years and with the Introduction of the IPL a few years ago alot of Australia best players retired, with the current crop of players still mouldin together I would be abit careful with them. Solid info again cheers Andrew.....