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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Review of Test centuries-April 2018

Data correct up to Apr 3, 2018 (after the NZ-Eng and SA-Aus series).

A record of the most Test centuries:

25 and more centuries

We can see that Steve Waugh scored 32 centuries, with none of them in the 4th innings. And there are some who thrived in the 4th innings. There are some who scored all 5 of their centuries in the first innings. And so on. We will look at these more closely in the next few posts.

 

More on Test nineties

Hope you have read the previous post about 99s.

Nineties in both innings:

90 both innings

Clem Hill was particularly fond of 90s as he scored 99 followed by 98 and 97 mentioned above.

Nineties on debut:

90 debut

While Chipperfield and Christiani later scored centuries, Asim Kamal finished with his 99 on debut as his top score. VH Stollmeyer made 96 in his only Test innings, which was unfortunately just before WW2 broke out. His younger brother Jeff Stollmeyer had a longer run and captained the West Indies.

Another point of interest is LJ Tancred’s 97 which was the highest score on debut by a South African-until Kepler Wessels scored a century on debut  for Australia in 1982-83. The first “genuine” century on debut by a South African was 163 by AC Hudson in the comeback Test against WI in 1991-92.

A number of famous names narrowly missed a century on debut. They include Redpath, Worrell, Ponting, Dravid, SP Fleming  and FS Jackson. Many lesser names scored a century on debut and did nothing much afterwards.

PA Gibb (93 and 106) and CG Greenidge (93 and 107) scored a 90 and 100 on debut.

Several players have made two 99s. The latest addition to this club was Musbah-ul-Haq.

If you take all scores between 90 and 99, the record of 10 is shared by Dravid, Tendulkar and Steve Waugh. Next is MJ Slater with 9, with de Villiers, Inzamam and Kallicharan with 8.