In the India vs Australia series thread, there is discussion on how 300-300 matches are becoming boring and the flat pitches are responsible for this. It cannot be denied that pitches have become flatter, but I disagree on the whole that matches have become boring or predictable for 2 reasons:
1) Improvement in ODI batsmanship deserves some credit
I think the batsmen have gotten smarter about taking the right amount of risk to get maximum possible scores. The batsmen in past eras were still coming to terms with limited over cricket (remember Gavaskar scored 36 runs in 60 overs?). Batsmen are continuously innovating with shots that were traditionally scorned at, and are not scared to hit the ball in the air. This I think is something to cheer about. This is evolution of batting skills.
2) Batsmen are getting better at chasing large totals
This is the more important part of the argument. 300-300 matches are not boring, in fact more interesting than 300-heartchoke matches of past. Any time the team batting first scored 300+, the batting team all but gave up from the start. They either choked or panicked (Akash Chopra knows the difference) and rarely ever got to winning position. This can be clearly seen in comparison of how often team batting first wins now after getting a score in top x percentile. I dug the
statsfacts to prove it. I looked at last ~10 years from 01-Jan-2004, and 10 years prior to that between the top 8 teams. Click on this image to see the results:
Basically, while the first innings scores at each %ile (top 2%, 5%, 10% etc) have clearly gone up in last decade, the likelihood of winning an ODI after making a very high score in fist innings has coe down. In last decade a team scoring in top 10 has 81% chance of winning the game, compared to 85% in the decade earlier. So, batsmen have gotten much better at chasing down big totals. They don't get choke as much as they used to, and they have much better strategies of approaching a chase. This surely can't be a bad thing.
(Geeky note: I think that for a score in higher percentiles, the win % for team batting first cannot be expected to come down to 50% ever. This is because while the best innings of a team batting second get curtailed after they finish the chase, those of a team batting first are not. So the times when chasing team is performing in top 10 percentile, the performance will enter this calculation only if the team batting first also performed in a similar percentile. For team batting first though, all instances of performing in top 10 percentile enter the calculation)