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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #82
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Q: And how does this compare to Australia's? (Maybe only in the comparable time period - i.e. from 1991/92 onwards)

A :Using the same criteria (start of the 1991/92 season to end of the Champions Trophy), Australia's record reads:
Won toss and fielded: 45 games
Of these 45, they have won 26 and lost 18 (1 tie)
This gives a winning percentage of 57.8% (NRs excluded)
Won toss and batted: 168 games
Of these 168, they have won 106 and lost 56 (1 tie and 5 unfinished matches)
This gives a winning percentage of 65% (NRs again excluded)

So while both sides have tended to prefer to bat first, Australia's preference has been overwhelmingly stronger than South Africa's, and understandably so - South Africa's success-rate is not tremendously different whether they have chosen to bat or field first. The difference for Australia is almost three times bigger (7.2% to 2.5%).
Q: And as a final quality check, how has the two sides' luck with the toss gone?

A: Australia have played 440 serious games since 1991/92, winning the toss 213 times and losing it 227; South Africa's 396 have seen them win the toss 200 times and lose it 196.
Q: In Twenty20 Internationals so far, what is the biggest opening partnership?

A: 145, between Chris Gayle and Devon Smith in the 2007/08 World Twenty20 - this is the highest-ever Twenty20 International stand.
Q: And how about last-wicket?

A: 28, by Jacob Oram and Jeetan Patel against Australia at the WACA, also in 2007/08.
Q: Since the 1999 World Cup, how many times have Australia won the toss, batted first and seen the score they have set prove inadequate?

A: There have been 26 such occasions so far, the most memorable of course being the famous match at The Wanderers in 2005/06.
Q: And how many times have they been put in to be restricted to a total that the inserting side managed to chase?

A: Just 10 of these in the entire decade.
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