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WASP co-creator on odds of McCullum’s triple test century

WASP co-creator looks at odds of McCullum’s triple test century

February 18, 2014

University of Canterbury economics lecturer Dr Seamus Hogan, the co-creator of the WASP limited-overs Predictor on Sky television, has looked at the odds of Black Caps test cricket skipper Brendon McCullum reaching 300 against India in Wellington today.

"It depends a lot on how you phrase the question of odds," Dr Hogan says.

"But some simple back-of-the-envelope calculations can illustrate how special this innings was.

"Assuming he was going to score at the same rate as his career average (in fact, his strike rate in this innings was lower than this), he would have needed 490 balls to reach 300, and given his career dismissal rate, would only have a 0.0232 percent of surviving that long without being dismissed.

"That is, one would expect to see it only once every 4310 innings. And this does not take into account any tiredness that sets in in a long innings.

"Furthermore, being dismissed is not the only reason one can fail to reach 300. The other possibility is being left not-out when all other batsmen are dismissed.

"Based on the test career dismissal rates of the batsmen who had not already been dismissed when McCullum came to bat, and assuming the strike was shared equally between the two batsmen at the crease, the average number of balls that would be faced by the other batsmen before they were all dismissed was only 294, well below the 490 McCullum would have needed to get 300 based on his career strike rate.

"This suggests that the probability of McCullum even having had the opportunity to face as many deliveries as he has was very low and shows how important BJ Watling and Jimmy Neesham’s innings were in giving McCullum the opportunity to push for 300.

"There are all sorts of statistical reasons why these probabilities are not exact, but the rough calculation illustrates just how special this innings has been, without even considering the context of the game in which it was been scored," Dr Hogan says.

McCullum’s marathon innings lasted 759 minutes and was off 559 balls.


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