Rohit Sharma the opener

These are those who have made centuries in both innings as an opener:

Century in each innings as an opener

The only other Indian player here is Gavaskar (on 3 occasions). Others with multiple appearances are Warner (3) and Hayden and Sutcliffe with 2. Some well-known openers such as Graeme Smith, Fredericks, Boycott and Hutton did not achieve this mark.

No one achieved this feat on his Test debut, as Rohit became an opener after playing several Tests in the middle order. Wasti did so in his second Test, although he had opened in the second innings of his debut.

We also look at those who scored 300 runs in a match while opening. These are in order of runs scored. Some made their 300 in one innings:

300+ in a test as opener

Rohit is 19th on this list and 4th for India, with Gavaskar leading and followed by two instances by Sehwag. Others with two instances are Hayden and Gayle.

While LG Rowe scored 214 and 100* on debut, he was not an opener in that match. He later scored 302 as an opener.

Another curiosity is Sutcliffe and Rohit having the same combination of 176 and 127.

Here we look at those who scored centuries as opener for India. This is up to Nov 01, 2019:

Most hundreds by India opener

Note that Rohit and Mayank Agarwal are side by side. Since Nov 1, the latter has moved ahead of Rohit as he now has 3 centuries AND three fifties.

Interestingly, Gavaskar and Sehwag have almost the same batting average.

Finally, we look at batting averages for all openers with 20+ innings and average of 45.00 and above. This is up to Nov 01, 2019 and does not include the ICC XI Test of 2005:

Best average as opener

We see a rather close bunching just above an average of 50.00, with Gavaskar, Hayden, Sehwag, WA Brown and EAB Rowan.

 

 

Rohit Sharma’s twin centuries

Rohit Sharma’s 176 and 127 marks the 86th occasion of two centuries in an innings in all Tests. He is the 70th batsman to achieve this, as several have done so on 2 or 3 occasions.

Among Indian players we have him as the 6th player on the 9th occasion:

Rohit-century in both innings by India

Among those who opened in both innings, he is the 24th to do so on the 30th occasion.

Rohit-century in both innings by opener

He became the first to  score a century in both innings while opening for the first time.

We know that the only two to score centuries in both innings on debut are Lawrence Rowe and Yasir Hameed. They both batted at No 3.

CG Greenidge had a near miss with 93 and 107 on debut vs Ind at Bengaluru on 22/11/1974 where he opened. Similarly for AJ Strauss with 112 and 83 on debut vs NZ at Lord’s on 20/05/2004. Then there was Wajahatullah Wasti who scored 133 and 121* while opening in his second Test, though he had opened in the second innings of his debut Test.

Rohit Sharma had scored 177 on debut vs WI at Kolkata on 06/11/2013 and 111* in his next innings in his 2nd Test. He batted at No 6 in those innings.

He scored 13 sixes in this match (6 +7). This is a record in all Tests, surpassing the record set by Wasim Akram.

Rohit-most sixes in a Test

The previous record for India was 8 by NS Sidhu in his 124 vs SL at Lucknow on 18/01/1994.

Finally, this was the 58th instance of  scoring over 300 in a Test match. The 8 Indians who have achieved this on 9 occasions are:

Rohit-300 runs in Test

 

Review of India-West Indies Tests (2019)-1

After India won this away series 2-0, the series record was:

India won 22, West Indies won 30, 46 drawn in a total of 98 Tests.

In India: India won 13, WI 14, 20 drawn in a total of 47 Tests

In West Indies: India won 9, WI 16 and 26 drawn in a total of 51 Tests.

India got the full 120 points here. This is the WTC standing on September 3:

Ind v WI WTC table

We can see that neither England nor Australia can catch up after their series concludes.

We now go on to individual records, starting with

Batting:

Most runs (750 or more):

I v WI most runs

Gavaskar has scored the most centuries (13) and the next is 8 by Richards and Sobers.

Gavaskar also has the most 50+ scores (20) followed by Lloyd with 19 and Dravid with 18.

Kohli is the only current player here.

Highest innings (150 or more):

I v WI innings

Both sides have not recorded a score above 150 since 2016 (200 by Kohli).

Best batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, 30.00):

Ind v WI bat average

Sobers is far above the others. Darren Bravo is the only current player here. He also became the second batsmen to warrant a concussion substitute in the second innings. Blackwood batted in this place, making this the first Test scorecard with 12 batsmen.

12-man scorecard

Best strike rates (Minimum 1000 balls faced, all instances):

Ind v WI strike rate

As in many of the older series, full details of balls faced are not available for matches before the 2000s. But it seems clear that no one would have surpassed Sehwag. Kohli and Ashwin (!) have the highest among current players.

To be continued

Two fifties in a match in India-WI Tests

GH Vihari became the latest to make two scores of 50+ in a Test for India against the Wes Indies. Here is the full list of those who have achieved this:

Two fifties I v WI

This includes 3 matches of Gavaskar in the 1971 series, where he made his debut on 06/03/1971. He is the only debutant here.

In 1962, Umrigar added a fiver to his two fifty-plus scores.

Two cases of centuries in both innings by Gavaskar (1971 and 1978).

The corresponding performances for the West Indies against India:

Two fifties WI v I

Only 23 such performances, compared to 33 by India.

They include Weekes’s pair of centuries in 1948, as part of his five in  successive innings.

And Sobers added a fiver to his century and fifty in 1962.

Lloyd and Greenidge were making their debuts.

Only Weekes made centuries in both innings.

A tale of two hat-tricks

Here is a list of all hat-tricks in World Cup matches, as on June 22 2019:

WC hat trick

Live link: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/1190325.html

The first as well as the most recent instances were by Indian bowlers.

The first one was by a bowler who is not always given the credit he deserved. He is unfortunately remembered more for a last-ball six by Javed Miandad in a crucial match.

It may not be remembered that he is still the only Indian bowler to take a 10-for in a Test in England. And that he is one of the few Indian tailenders who scored an ODI century when tried in the middle order.

See the overview:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/33949.html

And his World Cup hat-trick in 1987. No one else had taken a hat-trick in the World Cup until then in matches starting from 1975.

See the scorecard:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8039/scorecard/65114/india-vs-new-zealand-24th-match-reliance-world-cup-1987-88

That match on Oct 31, 1987 was critical, as it was India’s last match in the group and needed to defeat New Zealand by a large margin to ensure that they topped the group. If they came second, they would have to face Pakistan in the semi-final (which, by prior agreement, would have been held in Pakistan if the two teams were to meet).

New Zealand won the toss and batted first. They made steady and unspectacular progress until they reached 182/5. One of their key batsmen Ken Rutherford was batting along with pinch-hitter Martin Snedden. Chetan Sharma had not taken a wicket at that stage.

He then had Rutherford bowled, followed by bowling No 8 Ian Smith (a Test centurion) and No 9 batsman Ewan Chatfield (capable of stubborn batting). This would be one of the relatively rare all-bowled hat-tricks in international cricket.

From 182/8, they got up to 221/9 in 50 overs.

This is still the only World Cup hat-trick where all three dismissals were bowled.

The Indian team knew the required run rate. Sunil Gavaskar had not been much of a success as an ODI batsman, but seized the occasion to score his only ODI century, an unbeaten 103. Srikkanth (75) and Azharuddin (41*) also ensured that India met the required run rate. Gavaskar and Sharma shared the Man of the Match award.

So it was India vs England at Bombay, and Pakistan vs Australia at Lahore. We all know how THAT turned out. So there was an Ashes final rather than a South Asian final at Calcutta, where Border’s unheralded team won by a narrow margin.

Hat-tricks in World Cup matches remained scarce, with no instance in 1992 and 1996. The next instance was by Saqlain Mushtaq in a Super Six match against Zimbabwe in 1999.

Forward to 2019. Mohammad Shami had made a good beginning to his Test career (with a 9-wicket haul against an admittedly weak WI team) but was generally felt to have performed below expectations. He did score a fifty in a Test batting at no 11. Injuries and domestic issues played their role.

There was even some kind of fudging in his records as his birthplace was initially shown to be in Jonagar in Bengal. No such town can be found in the map. Later his birthplace was mysteriously changed to Amroha (near Moradabad in UP) which is generally considered to be correct.

From the table in the beginning, we see that hat-tricks in the World Cup had become more common since 1999, with Malinga going a step beyond with 4 in 4. That is the only such dismissal in ODIs (or Tests). Malinga also took two regular hat-tricks later.

As I write this on June 23, the result of the 2019 World Cup is unknown. The only thing we know definitely is that Afghanistan (0 points in 6 matches) cannot qualify.

Points table after matches on June 22, 2019:

Points Table Jun 22 2019

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8039/scorecard/1144510/afghanistan-vs-india-28th-match-icc-cricket-world-cup-2019

In this match India batted below par and finished with 224/8, primarily due to lower-order failures. Shami’s dismissal was typical as he scored 1 off 2 balls.

Some time later the unthinkable seemed likely as Afghanistan made good progress towards the modest target. Shami had earlier taken the first wicket of H Zazai. With an over left, Afg was 209/7 with Nabi and Ikram going strong.

The upsets by Bangladesh against WI and Sri Lanka against England were fresh in viewer’s minds.

16 in the last over was difficult but not impossible (as Dinesh Karthik would testify). With the 3rd ball, Shami had Nabi caught by Pandya for 52 (213/8). 12 to get off 3 balls with 2 wickets in hand.

Surely that was the end for Afghanistan’s hopes? Shami made sure of that by bowling No 10 (Aftab 49.4) and No 11 (Mujeeb, 49.5) and taking India’s second hat-trick in the World Cup, over 31 years after the first. He finished with 4-40.

Also see this: https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/27035426/mohammed-shami-reveals-ms-dhoni-advice-world-cup-hat-trick-ball

However, it was JJ Bumrah (2-39) who was Man of the Match as his wickets were probably more critical.

 

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.

 

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.