With the LV= County Championship at its halfway stage, Matt Carter takes a look at the key statistics, performers and trends, starting with Division One.
The current situation
The top four - Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Middlesex - are now separated by just six points although Somerset crucially have a game in hand. Warwickshire also retain genuine title aspirations given they sit 16 points off the apex but with a fixture in the bank on those above, excluding Somerset.
No other county can boast more victories than Middlesex’s four (the remainder of the top five claiming three) however their record of three defeats is more than anybody else in the top seven.
Somerset are the only side yet to taste defeat, although Durham and Yorkshire have only been beaten once. Durham, incidently, have drawn more games than any other county, a stark contrast to 2013 where they drew the fewest.
At the bottom the two promoted clubs occupy the relegation spots, with Northamptonshire already appearing doomed whilst defeat to Durham, who currently occupy the final survival spot, leaves Lancashire precariously 15 points adrift having played a game more.
Average First Innings Total
Durham’s 378 is the highest average first innings score and is contradicting 2013 considering last year they collected the lowest amount of batting bonus points of the top four. Yorkshire and Somerset have both been able to put consistent first innings runs on the board with averages of 358 and 357 respectively.
At bottom end of the scale Lancashire and Northants are the only sides to average less than 300, with their returns of 227 and 247 respectively, short of that landmark by significant margin.
Overall Batting Returns
Underlining Northants’ plight is that they have been dispatched for below 250 on nine occasions, whilst Lancashire’s batting woes are compounded by a tally of seven sub-250 scores – the division’s second lowest.
Somerset and Durham seemingly vaunt the batting line-ups least likely to fold given that neither has been dismissed for lower than 250 on more than two occasions, with Warwickshire and Yorkshire - who rank equal third in this regard - having been ousted for sub 250 in twice as many instances.
Yorkshire are the most prolific scorers having passed 350 on seven occasions – in all those occurrences also surpassing 400. Nottinghamshire are second in relation to totals exceeding 350 with six, although curiously they have also on five occasions been bowled out for below 250 – placing them joint third in that regard.
Middlesex have showcased similar inconsistencies with their number of 350-plus and sub-250 totals both standing at five, while Somerset together with their lack of meagre totals can also vaunt five in excess of 350.
Average First Innings Runs Conceded
Based purely on first innings statistics Yorkshire and Somerset have proven to possess the most proficient bowling attacks, the Headingley outfit narrowly ousting Somerset’s average of 276 by three runs.
These two counties are also the only two who can boast an average beneath 300 although Sussex fall narrowly short with 302.
Northants’ bowlers fare little better than their batsmen with their average of 389 being 31 runs greater than both Middlesex and Durham – who are the only other to counties to average more than 350.
In contrast to the batting numbers Lancashire’s bowlers’ rank among the better performers - the Red Rose topping three counties who average between 310 and 330.
Overall Bowling Returns
Yorkshire and Somerset both excel in relation to bowling sides out for less than 250 – with respective tallies of seven and six occasions in which this has occurred. They are, however, denied top spot by Warwickshire who have in eight separate instances achieved this feat.
Durham’s surprising lack of bite is outlined by the fact that only twice have they been able to dispatch a side for below 250 – the lowest number of any county.
The Chester-le-Street county do however score more favourably when assessing scores conceded in excess of 350 – their total of four ranking them very much mid-table.
Middlesex and Northants – who after Durham have equally been the least potent attack when analysing scores of below 250 - come out worse in this regard with Middlesex in seven incidents conceding in abundance of 350 whilst for Northants this number is six.
Warwickshire supplement their plethora of low scores with the fact that they have only twice conceded 350 plus – which places them joint top alongside Yorkshire and Somerset in this aspect.
Leading Run Scorers
Remarkably, five of the top 10 run-scorers play their cricket at Trent Bridge – Samit Patel, Riki Wessells, James Taylor, Phil Jaques and Chris Read.
Durham are the only other county with multiple players in the top 10 – Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman – while four counties – Lancashire, Northants, Somerset and Warwickshire – cannot boast one. Somerset can at least vaunt in the form of Alviro Petersen and Marcus Trescothick two of the top 15, with Lancashire and Northants the only counties without a player here.
Yorkshire curiously, considering the batting accolades mentioned earlier, only have one in the top 20 – although Adam Lyth does rank third – while Sussex can only boast Ed Joyce who sits fifth.
Aside from Nottinghamshire, Middlesex and Durham have the joint highest number of batsmen in the top 15 and in Chris Rogers the former can boast the current leader.
In spite of having conceded the largest number of 350-plus scores, Middlesex can boast three bowlers in the top 10 leading wicket-takers – Tim Murtagh, Steve Finn and Toby Roland-Jones.
Somerset, with Alfonso Thomas and Peter Trego prospering, are the only other county who can claim more than one.
Warwickshire and Yorkshire’s tally of three in the top 15, of which Jeetan Patel and Jack Brooks respectively make the top 10, can only be matched by Middlesex.
Nottinghamshire and Northants are the only two counties without a bowler in the top 10 and both can only vaunt one in the top 30. Sussex also only have one in the top 30 although in Steve Magoffin they do possess the leading wicket-taker.
Chris Rushworth, ranked eighth, is the only Durham player in the top 30, at the same time, together with Northants, they are the only county without a bowler taking consistent wickets at under 30.
© Cricket World 2014