back to article Ashes latest: Don't show Ozzies THIS perfect spin bowl science ... too late

Nobody knows how the “ball of the century” crept around Mike Gatting's bat and leg in 1993 except the king-of-spin Shane Warne – until now. Ahead of today's opening of the England versus Australia Ashes Test, a brace of Oz physicists have crunched the numbers for a spinning ball, stuck them into elite maths package Matlab - and …

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Surely that should be...

Ashes latest: Don't show the poms THIS perfect spin bowl science ... too late

As it was 'Oz physicists' that did the research?

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Sub Ed should know better

Surely that should be 3 for 98? The correct was to report cricket scores is No. of wickets lost for score obtained. At least it was when I were a lad.

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Re: Sub Ed should know better

Depends where you live: it's said 98 for 3 in England, and it's said 3 for 98 in Australia.

This is due to the Coriolis effect ;-)

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The Real Spin Doctors

This is some nice work. Given that for a long while there were people who insisted that a (baseball) curveball motion was an optical illusion (LIFE magazine, July 27th 1953), it is good to see some actual math.

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Re: The Real Spin Doctors

Strange that this seems unknown. It's been extremely well explored in ballistics. In specific, with long range sniper shots, tank rounds and artillery rounds trajectory.

Then, there was those bomb thingies dropped all about during WWII and folks wanted them to actually hit the target, not some grandmother's home... ;)

Turns out, it's not all that complicated. If one isn't actually performing that math. :/

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Re: The Real Spin Doctors

John,

Indeed some interesting work.

However, may I point out that mentioning bas... er, that American game ... in an Ashes thread is a sacrilegious offence. Normal penalty would be to present yourself in Manchester on 1 August for 5 days of intensive re-education. However, since you appear to be one of our US cousins, your plea of ignorance is accepted and, in view of previous good behaviour, etc, etc, the court rules that you be bound over to put some beer on ice and watch it on TV.

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Re: The Real Spin Doctors

Tch. We have cricket in the U.S., at least in my geographical area. No trip to Manchester (or paying for a premium sports channel) required.

Granted, watching the game and understanding the game are two entirely different things...

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Out of curiosity; how is this different than modeling an airfoil? Is it the sporting aspect?

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Not much. The original maths were worked out on military weapons, ballistics for bullets, artillery and even old fashioned iron bombs.

Knowing that fact actually makes me depressed as to why we know that subject so well.

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Nice spoiler in the article that was in no way required. Thanks so much.

Silly me, remembered to avoid BBC News, Google News, the cricket forum I belong to, foolishly thinking that I wouldn't know anything abou the days play until I got home, cracked open a beer and sat down with a big grin on my face.

I'm going to leave it at that before I say something that will get me banned.

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From my e-mail sub-header on the story, "Stumped by weird English sport?".

No, I didn't even start to figure out English sports. I'm still stumped with blood pudding.

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Still doesn't explain the ball of the century

Shane Warne's amazing delivery wasn't just the drift (slightly bending trajectory through the air as if pushed by the wind) that helped the ball evide the batsmans attempt to block the ball by drifting to the right of its initial trajectory but more the point that when it landed it turned very sharply the other direction, seemingly taking a 90 degree turn to the left. The drift was a part of the delivery, but the change of direction when pitching is the most significant aspect.

No one seems to be able to explain why some balls spinning at a rate turn sharply upon landing but others spinning exactly the same rate do not. The nature of the surface has something to do with it but again there is inconsistency.

What would be far more interesting is if someone can nail how swing bowling works, there are theories but no one seems to have established sufficient proof for it to be considered solved. Especially considering how difficult it is to produce swing.

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Re: Still doesn't explain the ball of the century

swing bowling is covered too - read the paper.

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It's always amazing

As an American i watch the cricket-derived sport baseball more often, but the physics is the same (although I believe a baseball has a higher lift component due to the stitched seams--a comparison of the characteristics of baseballs vs. cricket balls should be next on the agenda for the Oz boffins). It always amazes me to see a breaking ball or a changeup suddenly just die and drop down.. or a slider drift away from the plate at the last minute. And don't get me started on the knuckle ball.

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