The 4th innings at Centurion

This is written in the aftenoon session on the 4th day of the SA-Eng Test at Centurion. England was set 376 to win and have reached 222/5 with an estimated 140 overs left.

Centurion is a new venue which hosted its first Test only in November 1995. It is in fact situated in Pretoria but the venue is known as Centurion which was the stadium’s name.

Interestingly the first international match here was an ODI against India in December 1992.

The current Test is the 25th one to be played here. We look at how teams have fared in the 4th innings:

Highest winning totals:

CP win

The highest total to win is 251/8 in THAT Test in 2000. The highest “genuine” winning total is 226/4 by SA in 1998.

Highest losing total:

CP loss

England has crossed the previous record of 217 and ultimately made 268 and lost by 107 runs.

Highest total to draw:

CP draw

Though this is an extremely unlikely result unless the weather intervenes, England should certainly cross the previous record of 228.

Finally, here is a list of all 4th-innings scores above 300 in South Africa:

SA 4th innings 300+

The record winning score was 340/5 by SA vs Aus in 2002. But then there was the one in 1939, where another hour’s play may well have seen England making 696 to win. Or in 2013, when a few minutes more would have seen SA making 458 to win.

And if England makes 376 here, it will be a record for Tests in South Africa. They didn’t.

After the Test was over, these are all the 4th-innings totals over 200 at Centurion:

Centurion 4th innings

As you can see, this was the highest 4th-innings score at Centurion, surpassing the dubious 251/8 by England in 2000.

Kings of the fourth-innings chase (Revised-Jan 17, 2018)

This was originally written in July 2015. For some reason it started getting some views again during the 2nd Test between South Africa and India in January 2018. So I thought of revising it.

We also see which bowlers have been most successful under these conditions. Here we consider all Tests ending up to January 17, 2018. The batsmen are arranged by order of averages. GC Smith is the only one to have over 1000 runs in successful chases.

A cutoff of 15 innings is considered:

4th innings-batting

GC Smith also has the most centuries (4) and 50+ scores (10).

It is also interesting to see which bowlers have been most successful in terminating 4th-innings run chases.

Here we take a minimum of 1500 balls bowled:

4th innings-bowling

While Warne is the only one with over 100 wickets taken in Tests where a side is bowled out in the 4th innings, Ashwin and McGrath have the best averages. Herath (85) and McGrath (83) are next to Warne.

The best economy rate is (unexpectedly) by RA Jadeja followed by Ray Illingworth. And the best strike rate is by Waqar Younis followed by Ashwin.

Herath (10), Muralitharan (7) and Ashwin (6) have the most fivers. Ashwin and Jadeja can be called the twin destroyers in the 4th innings at present.

While we are at it, let us see about

Fielding under these conditions (again with a minimum of 15 innings fielded) and minimum 0.500 dismissals/innings:

Fielding-4th innings

Gilchrist has the most dismissals with 52, while he and Haddin have the most catches (47). Gilchrist also has the most stumpings with 5. M. Jayawardene has the most catches (27) by a non-keeper followed by Ponting with 26. When we look at dismissals per innings, Haddin (2.173) has the highest followed by Gilchrist, Healy and Boucher. Among non-keepers, M. Jayawardene (1.285) is followed by Redpath.