- noun the average number of overs bowled per hour during a given period such as a match, a series, or a season. In recent years, efforts have been made to reverse the steady decline in over-rates since the 1950s. A rate of well in excess of 20 six-ball overs per hour was quite normal in pre-war years, even at Test level, but Test match over-rates slumped to as low as 12 or even 11 overs an hour, especially in the case of teams with all-pace attacks. More recently, the modest resurgence in slow bowling has tended to nudge over-rates upwards again. ICC rules stipulate a minimum of 90 overs per day (equivalent to 15 overs an hour) for Test matches, and failure to meet the target can lead to substantial deductions from the fielding side’s match fees. Although these penalties are regarded as hopelessly inadequate by some former players, the point has been well made that a higher rate – such as prevailed between the wars – would be ‘incompatible with the maximum concentration of thought and effort which modern Test cricket demands’ (Berry 1982).