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 (23), 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.

 

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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

Brdman 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.

 

 

 

 

Centuries in both innings-1

 A total of 4066 centuries have been scored in Tests up to March 5, 2018 (not counting one scored in the World XI v Aus Test in 2005).

There have been 83 instances of centuries in both innings.

Details can be seen on this link: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=25;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;opposition=6;opposition=7;opposition=8;opposition=9;orderby=start;qualmin1=2;qualval1=hundreds;size=100;spanmax1=05+Mar+2018;spanval1=span;team=1;team=2;team=25;team=3;team=4;team=5;team=6;team=7;team=8;team=9;template=results;type=batting;view=match

36 of these resulted in victories, 10 in losses and 37 in draws.

3 players have achieved this on 3 occasions: SM Gavaskar, RT Ponting and DA Warner.

2 players have achieved this on 2 occasions: AR Border, GS Chappell, PA de Silva, R Dravid, ML Hayden, GA Headley, JH Kallis, KC Sangakkara, H Sutcliffe and CL Walcott. Walcott did this in the same season.

And 54 did this on one occasion.

EH Weekes scored his 2 centuries in a sequence of 5 centuries in successive innings.

6 did so as captain: Border, IM Chappell, Gooch, Inzamam, Melville and RB Simpson. Of these, Melville’s 2 hundreds came in a sequence of 4 centuries in successive innings (with World War 2 intervening).

Two players have scored a triple hundred and hundred in the same Test: Gooch (1990) and Sangakkara (2014).

The following players have scored a double hundred and hundred in the same Test (in chronological order):

KD Walters (1969)

SM Gavaskar (1971) in debut series

LG Rowe (1972) on debut

GS Chappell (1974); his brother IM Chappell scored a century in each innings of the same Test.

BC Lara (2001); The only such instance on the losing side. His total of 221 + 130 = 351 is the highest match total in a losing side.

To be continued.

 

 

Bevan Congdon R.I.P. – and his Indian connection

Bevan Congdon, who was one of New Zealand’s major players in the 1960s and 1970s, died a few days ago a day before his 80th bithday.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/36611.html

Victories for New Zealand were few and far between in those days. At that time even India always considered them to be a lesser team. His tenure as captain included NZ’s first win against Australia in 1974, and earlier his 175 came close to bringing his team to an improbable win against England, making 440 and losing by 38 runs:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17229/scorecard/63108/england-vs-new-zealand-1st-test-new-zealand-tour-of-england-1973/

That was then the highest fourth-innings score in a loss, though it has since been surpassed.

Congdon was a part-time medium pacer. His best bowling and all-round performance came in a Test against India at Auckland in early 1976. By then Glenn Turner was captain. India won this Test, which was significant in several ways.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17181/scorecard/63156/new-zealand-vs-india-1st-test-india-tour-of-new-zealand-1975-76/

Congdon scored 54 and 54 besides taking 5-65. Apart from this:

Surender Amarnath scored a century on debut. Like his father, he never made a Test century after his debut.

Gavaskar won his first Test as captain and made a century as well. He was standing in for BS Bedi who made his debut as captain in the second Test of the series.

Prasanna’s 8-76 remains the best innings bowling for an Indian bowler in a Test outside India. His match figures of 11-140 were then the best for India outside India, though the record now stands at 12-104 by BS Chandrashekhar against Australia at Melbourne in early 1978. Chandrashekhar would not have minded getting a king pair in that match.

But India did not win that series against New Zealand. The 2nd Test was drawn with India in a weaker position. And the third Test saw the then little-known Richard Hadlee taking 7-23 (and 11-58) in bringing about an innings victory for NZ.

 

Those who missed the bus at Lord’s (Revised in Sep 2017)

The honours board at Lord’s are well known-anyone who scores a century or takes a fiver or a tenner gets his name on them, even if it is a neutral Test not involving England. If you need to brush up, see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord%27s_honours_boards

and for Indian players featured there, full details are here:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/indian-cricketers-on-the-lords-honours-boards/

Also, the full list of names on the various boards have been covered in the last few posts on this blog.

However, note this extract from the Wikipedia article:

“A number of very distinguished players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Curtly Ambrose and Brian Lara are not named on the honours boards.”

It may be recalled that there was much heartbreak when Sachin failed to score a century in 2011, which was generally understood then to be his last Test there.

We now look at the aspect of prominent players failing to reach a board-worthy performance at Lord’s despite several opportunities. And there are some visitors who simply did not get to play enough at Lord’s.

Many English players whose career lasted about 5 years would have played 10+ Tests at Lord’s. Visiting players with long careers usually manage 4 Tests, unless they miss one Test or series. So we begin by identifying those who batted in  at least 8 innings there. A further stipulation is that their batting position is 1 to 8, to eliminate tailenders without much batting ability.

So we have this for Most matches at Lord’s without a century:
Most matches wo century at Lord's

Atherton, Thorpe and Gatting played the most innings there without a century-particularly odd as Gatting played for Middlesex. Atherton did score 99 there and has the most fifties (7).

Visitors are led by Gavaskar and Tendulkar, followed by Faulkner, AW Nourse and Ponting. Lara played in only 3 Tests and 6 innings. The highest averages here are by Dexter (51.62) and FS Jackson (47.71).

While most of the batsmen here scored at least one fifty, some did not. They include Ramprakash (HS 40 in 13 innings), bowling all-rounder Emburey, Brearley, wicketkeeper Downton, Tendulkar, Faulkner and Ponting. The lowest average here is 10.38 by Ramprakash who was a specialist batsman, unlike some of the others. Then comes all-rounder Pringle (16.11) and another famous batsman Ponting (16.87). Tendulkar at least got into the 20s.

The highest averages here are by Dexter (50+) and FS Jackson (47+). Apart from Atherton’s 99, there are 90s by TE Bailey, JM Parks and FS Jackson.

Next, we take up bowlers who bowled at least 1000 balls (while bowling at no 1 to 5) and never took a five-for:

Most matches wo five-for at Lord's

Hoggard has the most Tests (11) and innings (20) here with a best of 4-27. However Edmonds has the best bowling figures of 4-6, while Hoggard has the most wickets (37). Gibbs, Lillee and Kumble are the only visitors here.

Ambrose and Warne did not bowl enough balls here.

The best bowling average here is Laker’s 24.43, followed by Wardle’s 26.78.

And one gets similar results if we look for those who made the same effort and never took a ten-for:

Most matches wo ten-for at Lord's

Here, Anderson has the most wickets (90) with a best of 9-73. He may, of course, play a few more Tests at Lord’s. He also has the most 5-fors (5) followed by Willis and Hadlee with 3. Oddly enough Anderson has almost twice the wickets of the next bowler Willis with 47. The best bowling average is by Willis with 18.76 followed by Illingworth with 19.85.

 

 

Review of West Indies-India Test series, 2016

As we all know, India won “only” 2-0 with 2 drawn which meant it is not the No 1 Test team any longer. Fear not, India has many home Tests coming up while Pakistan has to visit New Zealand and Australia in the coming months.

A total of 94 Tests have been played between the two countries. WI leads 30-18 with 46 draws. In WI there have been 49 Tests, where WI lead 16-7 with 26 draws. Even in the 45 Tests in India, WI lead 14-11 with 20 draws.

However, the last time WI defeated India in a Test was over a decade ago, in May 2002 at Kingston. That 2001-02 series was the last time WI won a Test series against India. India have since won in India in 2002-03, in WI in 2006, in India in 2011-12, in India in 2013-14, and now in WI in 2016.

And the last time WI won a Test in India was at Mohali in Dec 1994. They last won a Test series in India in 1983-84. The series in India in 1987-88 and 1994-95 were drawn.

Now for the specifics in 2016:

Batting:

Most runs (850 and above):

Batting (overall)

No current players in this list.The most centuries are 13 by Gavaskar, followed by 8 for Richards and Sobers. The most scores of 50+ are 20 by Gavaskar, followed by 19 (Lloyd), 18 (Dravid) and 17 (Chanderpaul).

Highest innings scores (175 and above):

Batting innings

Not much high scoring in recent years in WI, though Kohli made 200 in this series.

Highest batting averages (minimum 20 innings and average 35.00):

Batting average

Sobers is far ahead of Gavaskar and three others who have averages above 60. ED Weekes scored over 1000 runs and had a batting average over 100 but played less than 20 innings. Similarly Walcott had an average of almost 70 but did not play enough innings. (See the first table above).

Now to bowling, which includes the best match bowling by a debutant in all Tests.

Most wickets (30 and above):

Bowling-overall

Kapil has a comfortable lead over the next-placed Marshall and Kumble.

Marshall has the most fivers (6) followed by Harbhajan with 5.

No one has more than one tenner.

Best innings bowling (7wi and above):

Bowling-innings

Kapil leads here, followed by the long-forgotten Jack Noreiga whose 9-wicket haul is still a record for WI in all Tests. Hirwani’s debut can be seen here. Ashwin’s 7-83 at North Sound is the new record for India in WI, surpassing SP Gupte’s 7-162 in 1952-53.

Best match bowling (9wm and above):

Bowling-match

Hirwani’s 16-136 is the best debut performance in all Tests, just ahead of RAL Massie’s 16-137 in 1972. Newcomer ML Cummins had the best match bowling in this series. Also note Shami’s debut in 2013-14. It may be surprising to see that Ishant Sharma has the best match bowling for India in WI.

Best bowling averages (Minimum 2000 balls bowled, all instances):

Bowling-average

Ashwin and Harbhajan have the best averages for India.

The best economy rates are 1.68 by GE Gomez (not Larry Gomes), 1.83 by Gibbs and 1.87 by Valentine. The best for India is 2.38 by Bedi.

The best strike rates are 42.6 by Hall, 43.8 by Ashwin and 45.2 by Roberts.

Now for fielding, which includes some world stumping records in the Hirwani and More show at Chennai in 1987.

Most dismissals (15 and above):

Fielding overall

Note Walcott’s dual role.

Most stumpings: 9 by More.

Most catches by a keeper: 58 by Dujon

Most catches by a non-keeper: 39 by Richards.

Best innings fielding: 6 by W Saha at North Point in 2016. Several others have 5 dismissals, including Sammy (non-keeper and share in world record) and More (5 stumpings, a world record).

Best match fielding: 8 by Dhoni, followed by More and Saha with 7. More’s 7 included 6 stumpings (another world record). The most by a non-keeper is 6 by Solkar, during India’s first win over WI in March 1971.

Best dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings fielded, 0.400 and above):

Fielding average

While Dhoni and Dujon lead this table, the best averages by a non-keeper is by Azharuddin followed by Lara.

All-round overall performances (note the criteria):

AR-overall

Sobers is far ahead of the others.

All-round match performance (at least one 50+ and one 5wi):

AR-match

Several instances of a century and 5wi here including 2 by Ashwin. In this series Ashwin and newcomer Chase achieved this. Perhaps Ashwin’s feat in 2011 would be the best. Umrigar’s feat in 1962 is also notable as he did not bowl regularly.