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My four examples of Dead Runs estimation

Following his article on Dead Runs, responding to the critics, Peter Kettle puts forward four examples of how he assessed these for Don Bradman


BRADMAN – Aus vs West Indies
Melbourne, Feb 1931 (4th Test)
Initial Aus/WI series

WI 1st inns, 99 runs
Aus 1st inns, 328/8 dec (Bradman 152)
So lead is 229

Aus 2nd inns: assume, Minimum of  250 runs

In this series, Aus other 2nd inns: 172/0 and, on a sticky pitch, 220.
Aus completed 1st inns of 376, 369, 558 and, on sticky pitch, 224. Kippax, McCabe, Ponsford and Woodfull doing well (besides Bradman)

Target for WI 2nd inns would then be 479 runs.
The Remote Possibility is put at 370 (ie 109 less), representing notional 1 in 20 odds.
This implies a safe 1st inns dec by Aus at 219 (instead of at 328, being 109 less).


In this series, WI highest 2nd inns total is 249 (Headley only 11), all others being below 200;

And WI highest 1st inns is 350/6 (Headley 105) with wickets then tumbling.

Previously, a final inns target of 370 had been reached or exceeded in all Tests only 3 times, highest 411 (all post-WW1).

Bradman was out when Aus score was on 286 with 67 team Dead Runs then accumulated.

He scored twice as fast as his partners, ratio of 66:34.

So 66% of 67 Dead Runs are attributed to Bradman = 44 (best estimate)

Set within limits of 31 and 57 for him – reflecting alternative estimates of the
remote possibility starting at 350 or 390.


BRADMAN – Aus vs South Africa

Adelaide, Jan 1932 (4th Test)

SA 1st inns, 308 runs

Aus 1st inns, 513 (Bradman 299*) – lead of 205

Aus 2nd inns: assume, Minimum 270 runs

In this series, only 2 of Aus 6 inns are under 450, being 1st innings of 198 (Bradman’s 2, his only failure) and, on very sticky pitch, 153.

Target for SA 2nd inns would then be 475 runs.

The Remote Possibility is put as starting at 390 (ie 85 lower), the notional 1 in 20 chance.

Implies a safe 1st inns dec by Aus at 428 (instead of 513).


In this series, SA highest inns is 358 (3rd Test), with highest 2nd inns of 274 and 225.                             

390 been exceeded only twice in all Tests before then, highest 411 (both times post-WW2).

Bradman was undefeated at close of Aus 1st inns when 85 team Dead Runs had accumulated.

He scored faster than his partners, ratio of 65:35.

So 65% of 85 Dead Runs are attributed to Bradman = 55 (best estimate).

Within limits of 42 and 68 for him – reflecting alternative estimates of the remote possibility starting at 370 and 410.


BRADMAN – Aus vs England

Melbourne, Jan 1937 (3rd Test)

Aus (200) led England (76 on a “gluepot” pitch) by 124 runs on 1st inns.

Then Aus saw out the difficult conditions with its tail-enders and went on to amass 564 runs in 2nd inns, with Bradman (270) and Fingleton (136), both in the lower middle-order, making nearly three-quarters of them.

So Eng were set the colossal target of 689 runs.

The Remote Possibility is put as starting at 440 runs (representing the 1 in 20 chance) – implying a cut of 249 to Aus 2nd inns, with a declaration at 315.


      • England’s 2nd inns totals in this series didn’t exceed 330, but they posted 426/6 in the 2nd Test First inns (Hammond double century).
      • Highest final innings before then was 411, by England at Sydney in Dec 1924 (with two scores just past 100 and 2 just past 50).

Bradman was out with the score on 549, so team dead Runs had by then accumulated to 234.

He was again outscoring partners by 65:35, giving him 152 Dead Runs.

Within a range of 139 to 165 Dead Runs on alternative remote possibility estimates of 420 and 460 runs.


BRADMAN – Aus vs England

Sydney, Dec 1946 (2nd Test)

Australia replied to England’s modest 1st inns of 255 with a massive 659/8 dec – a lead of 404 runs. Barnes and Bradman each made 234.

Remote Possibility for England’s 2nd inns put at 430, given its 2nd inns totals in this series of 371, 310/7 (top scores 112 and 53) and 340/8 dec (top scores 103 and 76). Represents the 1 in 20 chance.

A team score of 430 has been exceeded eight times in a final innings in all Test history, and approached by South Africa vs England in 1947 (423/7).

Aus 2nd inns assumed, as a Minimum, to be 230 – in light of its 253 and 214/5 in the final Test of this series.

This implies a safe Aus 1st inns dec at 455, with a lead of 200. Bradman was out at 564 with team Dead Runs by then 109.

Bradman scored faster than Barnes, his partner throughout, at 60:40. So 60% of 109 gives Bradman’s own Dead Runs, ie 65.

Alternative estimates are for the Remote Possibility to occur at 410 or 450 (the latter being equalled/exceeded four times in Test history), implying Bradman’s Dead Runs are within the range of 53 and 77.

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