A closer look at centuries in fourth innings of Tests

Note: All data correct as of April 15, 2018. The Test involving the ICC XI in 2005 is excluded.

We first look at the best averages in the fourth innings:

4th innings averages

Boycott, Gavaskar and Hobbs top this table though there is very little difference between their averages.

We now look at those who scored the most centuries in the fourth  innings (3 and above):

Century in fourth innings

Younis Khan leads with 5 centuries, followed by Ponting, Gavaskar, GC Smith and Sarwan with 4. Bradman is also here with 3. Among current players, there is only Williamson with 3.

Now let see who disliked the fourth innings. These players made the most centuries (20 and above) without ever making one in the fourth innings:

SR Waugh (32), Mohammad Yousuf (24), SPD Smith and V Sehwag (23 each), IR Bell and MC Cowdrey (22 each), DC Boon (21) and G Kirsten (21). Of these only Smith may get a chance to change these figures.

Conversely, there are those who love batting in the fourth innings. Apart from Younis Khan and his companions at the top of the table, there are those who scored all their centuries in the fourth innings:

There are several who scored their only century in the 4th innings. The only current player is Shan Masood. And there is only one who scored his only 2 centuries in the 4th innings: W Watson (Eng) of the 1950s. Honourable mention to JB Stollmeyer (2 out his 4 centuries came in the fourth innings).

So we conclude that the 4th innings is indeed the most difficult innings to score in. Bowlers may have a different opinion about the 4th innings.

 

A closer look at centuries in third innings of Tests

Note: All data correct as of April 15, 2018. The Test involving the ICC XI in 2005 is excluded.

We first look at the best averages in the third innings:

3rd innings averages

Bradman does not figure here, as he and his team-mates probably scored enough in the first and second innings so that they did not have to bat much in the third and fourth innings. So we have May, Kallis and Compton at the top of this table. There are also Amla and Azhar Ali from current players.

We now look at those who scored the most centuries in the third innings (5 and above):

Century in third innings

Sangakkara and Cook lead with 12, followed by Tendulkar, Kallis and Hayden with 10. Perhaps Cook will add to his tally.

Now let see who disliked the third innings. These players made the most centuries without ever making one in the third innings:

SC Ganguly has the most (16) followed by AG Prince, M Vijay and TW Graveney with 11 each. Possibly Vijay, like Cook mentioned above, will be able to change his status.

Conversely, there are those who love batting in the third innings. Apart from May and his companions at the top of the table, there are those who scored all their centuries in the third innings:

R Subba Row (3). followed by ADR Campbell, GC White and JDB Robertson with 2 each.

Also WW Armstrong scored 5 of his 6 centuries in the third innings (which can be seen in the bottom of the above table).

To be continued with the fourth innings.

 

A closer look at centuries in second innings of Tests

Note: All data correct as of April 15, 2018. The Test involving the ICC XI in 2005 is excluded.

We first look at the best averages in second innings:

2nd innings averages

Bradman is still at the top, with Kohli his nearest rival. SPD Smith, KS Williamson and JE Root are also among the current players who have done best in the second innings.

And those who scored the most centuries in the second innings (9 and above):

Century in second innings

Tendulkar leads with 18, followed by Dravid and M Jayawardene (15 each) and the other long-haul men Kallis and Ponting with 14 each.

Now let see who disliked the second innings. These players made the most centuries without ever making one in the second innings:

G Gambhir, KJ Hughes and SP Fleming all scored a total of 9 centuries without any in the second innings.

Next is F du Plessis with 8. He may add to this.

Conversely, there are those who love batting in the second innings. Apart from Tendulkar and his companions at the top of the table, there are those who scored all their centuries in the second innings:

MJ Horne (NZ) and RT Simpson(Eng) scored all their 4 centuries in the second innings.

BA Edgar (NZ), Qasim Umar (Pak) and RG Sharma (Ind) similarly scored all their 3 centuries in the second innings.

Honourable mention to NCL O’Neill who scored 5 of his 6 centuries in the second innings.

To be continued with the third and fourth innings.

Test batting averages across innings

There is often a significant difference in how batsmen perform in different innings. This is apparent when we look at those with the highest averages in Tests (for those who have batted in at least 20 innings).

Data is correct up to April 3, 2018. The ICC XI v Aus Test of 2005 is not counted.

First we look at the averages for Tests as a whole, for a minimum of 20 innings vatted across innings;

Highest batting averages in Tests (50 and above):

Overall averages for all innings

You do not need to be reminded about the man with 99.94. The next two are also well known in recent years. Some, like Kambli, are lucky to scrape through. Other contemporary players listed above include Kohli, Root, Younis Khan, de Villiers, Pujara and Williamson.

Most of those who are generally regarded as great batsmen are here-even though some like H Sutcliffe, GE Tyldesley and CA Davis never made a double century.

Now we look at the different innings. The 20-innings cutoff is applied in each case.

Highest batting averages in first innings of Tests (55 and above):

1st innings averages

Bradman and Steve Smith are still in the top 3, but then there is considerable variation. Hassett and Azhar Ali averaged less than 50 in all innings but did much better in the first innings. Voges, Graeme Pollock and Headley did not play enough Tests. Barrington and Weekes seemed to have particularly relished batting in the first innings.

Contemporary players here include Steve Smith, Azhar Ali, Pujara, Ross Taylor, du Plessis, Root and a few others.

Moving on to the second innings.

Highest batting averages in second innings of Tests (55 and above):

2nd innings averages

Bradman is still at the top, followed relatively closely by Kohli. Other contemporary players include Steve Smith, Williamson, Root, de Villiers, Younis Khan and AN Cook. Tendulkar just scrapes through the 55-mark, some distance behind Gavaskar who did not do too well in the first innings.

Now to the third innings.

Highest batting averages in third innings of Tests (50 and above):

3rd innings averages

Bradman now drops out of the table altogether, with May and Kallis taking the two top spots. Here the differences between the top players are comparatively smaller. Contemporary players here are headed by Amla and Azhar Ali.

Finally the fourth innings, where survival skills are particularly important:

Highest batting averages in fourth innings of Tests (40 and above):

4th innings averages

As we can see, it is as difficult to average 40 here as it is to average 50 overall. Boycott, Gavaskar and Hobbs are bunched together at the top. And some like Bradman did not need to do much in the fourth innings as they and their teams generally scored enough in the first and second innings. Some, such as Ranatunga, Misbah and Hutton did not even score centuries in the fourth innings and probably benefited by a number of not-out innings.

Contemporary players here include Younis Khan, AD Mathews, Misbah-ul-Haq, Warner, Ross Taylor and Mohammad Hafeez.

Comparison of centuries made in different innings will be taken up next.