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 about the 4th innings.

 

Advertisements

A closer look at centuries in first 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 first innings:

1st innings averages

And those who scored the most centuries in the first innings (9 and above):

Centuries in first innings

Ponting is just ahead of the overall leader in centuries as well as the second-placed.

Now let see who disliked the first innings. These players made the most centuries without ever making one in the first innings:

AD Mathews (8)

followed by Taufeeq Umar (7), WW Armstrong (6) and MG Burgess (5).

Mathews is still playing Tests so he may improve (?) on his record.

Conversely, there are those who love batting in the first innings. Apart from Ponting and his companions at the top of the table, there are those who scored all their centuries in the first innings:

JM Bairstow (5) He reached this mark in the last Test he played which was against New Zealand in 2018.

Next are AF Rae and Wasim Raja with 4.

Special mention to SP Fleming (8 out of 9 centuries in the first innings) and KC Wessels (5/6).

The second, third and fourth innings will follow.

 

 

More on Test centuries in different innings

We first look at this chart of leading century-makers in Tests:

25 and more centuries

Most of the leading century makers such as Tendulkar, Kallis and Ponting have scored centuries in all 4 innings, though Steve Waugh made 32 centuries without any in the 4th innings. You can see that most of those in the above table did not do too well in the 3rd and 4th innings, though there are exceptions such as Sangakkara. Let us see if there are any who did equally well in all 4 innings. One has to go quite low down the table to find someone who scored one century in each innings (1111). The only such player was the South African Alan Melville. What is more odd is that these 4 centuries were in successive innings (though World War 2 intervened between the first and the second centuries)

You can see the full details here: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/282968.html

When he returned to Test cricket in 1947 he scored centuries in both innings, then one more and no other century in his career. He thus equaled the record of 4 centuries in successive innings set by JH Fingleton. Soon afterwards, Weekes surpassed this with 5 and many years later Dravid also made 4 in successive innings.

If we go to those who scored 8 centuries, there is no one with an equitable 2222. The nearest approach would be by B Mitchell (SA) with 2321, CC Hunte 2312 and at a stretch DM Bravo (1331).

For those with 12 centuries, the closest are: AI Kallicharan (3531), AR Morris (5322), Ijaz Ahmed (3522) and JG Wright (4431). Also note Hanif Mohammad and JH Edrich with 4440.

16 centuries: H Sutcliffe (6433)

20 centuries: GA Gooch (7373), ME Waugh (7922), PA de Silva (5771)

24 centuries: GS Chappell (7-11-5-1), IVA Richards (8-10-4-2)

28 centuries: HM Amla (12-6-9-1)

32 centuries: AN Cook (8-10-12-2)

36 centuries: R Dravid is the only one, with a rather asymmetric 15-15-5-1.

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.

 

 

 

 

Review of Test centuries- September 2018

Data correct up to Sep 12, 2018 (after Eng-Ind 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.

The most recent addition was by AN Cook in his last Test.

 

Landmark-the 4000th Test century (Updated in July 2017)

 

During the long break between Test matches between mid-May and early August, one can look back at the landmarks passed during the 2016-17 season. Practically any Test series which starts between May and September is considered to be the 2017 season.

One landmark which went unnoticed was the neat round figure of 4000 Test centuries which was achieved by Roston Chase in his ultimately futile 101* in the fourth innings at Roseau.

Here are the landmark centuries, which can be easily identified through Statsguru. Here we have included the Aus v ICC World XI Test which started on 14/10/2005. And Matthew Hayden scored 111 in this match. Some may feel that this should not be counted as a “real” Test. That correction can also be made.

For the moment, we do include Hayden’s century in the list.

100th: J.Sharp, 105, Eng v Aus, match starting 09/08/1909

500th: RN Harvey, 178, Aus v SA, 31/12/1949

1000th: WM Lawry, 205, Aus v WI, 26/12/1968

1500th: GS Chappell, 115, Aus v Eng, 10/12/1982

2000th: ME Waugh, 137, Aus v Eng, 05/08/1993

2500th: RT Ponting, 144, Aus v Eng, 16/08/2001

3000th: W Jaffer, 100, Ind v Eng, 01/03/2006

3500th: KC Sangakkara, 168, SL v SA, 26/12/2011

4000th: RL Chase, 101*, WI v Pak, 10/05/2017

Note the high proportion of Australian batsmen in these landmark centuries.

Now if you disregard the ICC XI Test and Hayden’s century, the numbers from 3000 onward will change:

3000th: AN Cook, 104*,Eng v Ind, 01/03/2006 (and Jaffer moves to 2999. This was Cook’s Test debut)

3500th: TT Samaraweera, 102, SL v SA, 26/12/2001 (Sangakkara moves to 3499)

4000th: JT Root, 190, Eng v SA, 06/07/2017 (Chase moves to 3999)

Afterthought: These landmarks were found using Statsguru’s listing, going by the date of start of the Test and then in alphabetical order of the player’s names. But the order of completion of the century can be different. My old friend Sreeram Acehbdfg points out that if you take the order of completion of the century, then it was IM Chappell (165) who scored the 1000th century rather than his team-mate WM Lawry, in the Test between Aus and WI starting 26/12/1968.

Similarly, No 2000 appears to be R Mahanama, 151, SL v Ind, 04/08/1993. There might be other instances like this.