Tuesday, December 18, 2012

end of the century

So the question I was asked, following the last post, was: that's all very interesting, but is 99 a statistical outlier in this regard? Are you more likely to be out for 99 than, say, 92, as the nerves set in as you approach the landmark score? And does it drop off again after you get to 100? These are all good questions and cannot be left unanswered.

So here's a graph of the number of times people have been out for each of the scores in a range of ten runs either side of 99 (i.e. 89 to 109). A couple of obvious things stand out, most obviously that 99 clearly isn't a statistical outlier in terms of the number of people who've been dismissed for that score, indeed more people have been out for 89, 90, 91, 92, 93 and 96 than have been out for 99, though you could argue that those are just nervous nineties syndrome getting a grip a bit sooner for some people than for others. However, you'll also notice that more people have been out for 100 than for 99. Perhaps we're seeing two overlapping phenomena here, with twitchiness approaching 100 immediately giving way to relief, euphoria and carelesssness after reaching it.

What you'll also notice, however, if you look at the smaller (beige) columns, is that 99 (with fifteen victimsis a statistical outlier in terms of the number of people who have been run out for that score. The nearest competitor in the range we're looking at here is 90, a score on which seven people have been run out, including the legendary West Indian Sir Everton Weekes, ten runs short of what would have been his sixth Test century in successive innings in January 1949. So while in general there seems no reason to conclude that people are any more likely to get out for 99 than any other score in the immediate vicinity, there certainly does seem to be some reason to believe their judgment of a quick single may be compromised.

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