We’ve seen that playing at home is a pretty significant advantage in the game of cricket. You have the support of your home crowd behind you, and you are playing in conditions familiar to you. Off late, some teams have been making even greater use of home conditions by tweaking conditions to favour them and trouble the opposition even more. Indeed, over the last 10 years or so of Test cricket every major team seems to be doing really well at home and, with the notable exception of South Africa, really struggling outside.

In this article, I try to statistically find out exactly how big an advantage playing in home conditions really is, both historically and in more recent times. In the history of Test cricket, there have been exactly 2250 Tests played. Of these, 36 have been played at neutral venues, including Pakistan’s matches in UAE. I ignore these for the purpose of our analysis.

I have compiled data for all Tests played across 3 different time periods –

  1. the entire history of Test cricket, right from the first Test match in 1877
  2. since the turn of the millennium i.e. 2001
  3. since the turn of the decade i.e. 2011.

The following are the results:

Period

Matches

Home Wins

Draws

Away Wins

Home Win %

Away Win %

1877 – Present

2214

895

744

575

40.42

25.97

2001 – Present

692

335

164

193

48.41

27.89

2011 – Present

241

125

53

63

51.87

26.14

The stats clearly show that home advantage makes a significant difference. Throughout history, home teams have won more than one and a half times as much as away teams, winning 40.42% of matches as opposed to 25.97% for away teams. Since 2011, this has increased further to a whopping 51.87%, almost twice as much as the away teams’ 26.14%.

What is interesting to note is that although the home win percentage has increased significantly, the away win percentage has stayed more or less the same. We have all observed that there are a lot more results and fewer draws than there used to be in Test cricket. What our statistics show is that numerically, the decline in the number of draws has mostly translated into victories for the home side.

Thus, we can confidently conclude that home advantage has always been a massive factor in Test cricket, and it’s gradually becoming even more important, with home sides winning nearly 2 times as many matches as away teams in recent times. The general trend in today’s Test cricket suggest that this trend is likely to continue and home advantage will keep playing an increasingly important factor in determining the outcome of Test matches.

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