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.

 

 

 

 

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Review of Australia-England Tests-1

You might wonder why the title does not refer to Ashes Tests. That is because all Tests between the teams have not had the Ashes at stake, such as the 3-Test series in 1979-80 and a few one-off Tests in the 1970s and 80s.

The results of all these Tests are summarized here:

Results table

Australia leads by a healthy 144-108 margin, besides 95-57 at home. At home, England have a slender 51-49 lead which may vanish with one bad series.

Looking at the individual performances, starting with batting:

Most runs (2000 and above):

Runs-above 2000

Only Cook and Smith among current players, with Clarke and Pietersen from the recent past. Bradman’s total is still the record, with no one else crossing 3700.

Highest innings (200 and over):

Innings-200

From the recent series we have Cook (244*) and Smith (239). Smith also has 215 from 2015. Cook’s 244* was significant as the highest score in any Test by an opener carrying his bat through the innings. The previous record in all Tests was 223* by GM Turner for NZ v WI in 1972. In matches between Aus and Eng, the previous record was 206* by WA Brown in 1938, which is listed above. The record for England was 156* by Hutton in 1951.

Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, 45.00):

Bat Ave-above 45

Bradman again heads this list. Among current players Smith is the highest, though in 9th position overall. Warner is also there. There is no one else from the recent past, as Cook’s 40.20 is below the cutoff of 45.

Now for bowling:

Most wickets (75 and above):

wkts-75

Warne leads here, while the current players are Anderson (104) and Broad (95). From the recent past there is MG Johnson (87).

Best innings bowling (including all 8wi and above):

Innings-8wi

Laker has the top two spots. No example from the current series, although Broad’s 8-15 is in 4th place overall.

Best match bowling (including all instances of 12wm and above):

12wm

Headed by Laker and followed by Massie’s freak debut. Nothing from current or recent players, except Warne’s 12-246 in 2005.

Best bowling averages (minimum 2000 balls, below 25.00):

Bowl avg-25

Dominated by the 19th-century players. Of those who played in 2000 or later, the best is by RJ Harris (20.63) and McGrath (20.92). Next are Warne and MacGill towards the bottom.

We see that the top two in this table are Lohmann and Ferris from long ago. For economy rate, the best are Attewell (1.31) and Ironmonger (1.74) who do not appear above because of their higher average. For strike rate, it is Ferris (42.2) and Lohmann (42.2).

To be continued.

 

Alistair Cook’s record score.

As you can see from here, Alistair Cook’s 244* at Melbourne is not his highest Test score.

That is 294.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/11728.html

However, it set a number of records. He became the first Test player to make 244*, while Bradman is the only one to be dismissed on 244 (vs England, who else?) in 1934.

Cook’s 244* is also the highest score by anyone carrying his bat through a Test:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283149.html

The previous record was 223* by GM Turner vs WI in 1971-72; this series had all 5 Tests drawn and is the only such series not involving India.

The previous record for England was 202* by L Hutton vs WI in 1950-this was not enough to prevent an innings defeat against Ramadhin, Valentine and Goddard.

And the previous record in Australia was 169* by MA Taylor vs SA at Adelaide in 1998.

There was also a near-miss in 1974 when DL Amiss made 262* against WI in a total of 432/9.

 

Unbeaten scores of 99,199 and 299

Test scores of 99 are more common than one may imagine. Misbah’s score of 99 in the ongoing Test at Kingston was the 89th such instance. The first such score was by Clem Hill against England in early 1902.

Scores of 99* are somewhat rarer. Here is the full list of such scores in chronological order:

99 NO

The first such score was recorded only in late 1979. Boycott carried his bat through this innings.

Boycott had a special affinity for 99, as he was the first to score 99 and a century in the same Test:  http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63121.html

That series-equalling win was also due to Tony Greig’s little-used off-spin which got him 13 wickets in the match.

RT Ponting (101 and 99) was the only other batsman to score a century and 99 in the same Test, which was against South Africa at Melbourne in 2008-09.

All the scores of 99* (except that of Tudor) ended when the team was bowled out. Tudor’s 99* remains the only one where the team was chasing a target. This Test, which immediately followed the 1999 World Cup, had a rather weird scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63841.html

10 wickets fell on the first day and 21 on the second. At close England was 3 for 1 facing a target of 208. Alex Tudor, who normally batted at 8 or below, had come in as a nightwatchman at the fall of the first wicket. On the 3rd day it looked as if he would get a century but his fourth-wicket partner Graham Thorpe was in a hurry to finish things off, leaving Tudor stranded on his highest Test score of 99*. It was to be his only score above 50.

199s and 199*s are still rarer. Here is a complete list of the 11 instances:

199

The first 199 was scored in late 1984 by Mudassar Nazar, and the most recent by KL Rahul. Both the unbeaten 199s came when the teams were bowled out. Andy Flower scored 142 in addition to 199* in a follow-on as his side lost the Test. (That match ended on 9/11 in 2001).

Sangakkara was more fortunate as his team won.

And 299? Two such instances, the first one being unbeaten:

299

Martin Crowe’s 299 was the New Zealand record for over two decades until McCullum made 302.  Let us have a closer look at Bradman’s unbeaten 299:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62601.html

This was the 4th Test of Australia’s 5-0 whitewash of South Africa, who had not yet fully graduated from whipping boys. Bradman was stranded on 299 when the No 11 HM Thurlow was run out for 0 on his debut. Thurlow also failed to take a wicket in two innings. Predictably his first Test was his last.