Kings of the fourth-innings chase (Revised-Sep 2021)-Pt 1

The fourth-innings chase is often regarded as the ultimate challenge for a batter. Let us see who have done the best in successful chases.

Most runs: (400+):

GC Smith is the clear leader here. He also has the most centuries (4) and most 50+ scores (10, followed by contemporaries Hayden, Ponting and JL Langer with 7). Also note CG Greenidge’s 214*.

Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag have the most runs for India.

Williamson and Karunaratne are the only current players here, with Amla, Cook and Younis from recent years.

Bradman is not here (but when he batted, a fourth innings chase was often not needed by Australia).

Highest scores in these cases (115 and above):

A total of 76 centuries have been scored here.

Only two double centuries, with KR Mayers scoring his on debut. The next highest in recent years was 153* by K Perera in 2019. There are Morris and Bradman in the same Test at Leeds in 1948, which was the only successful 400+ chase until India followed in 1976. (Years later, MA Butcher emulated Bradman’s 173* at Leeds).

The highest from India are not in the above list.

Viswanath (112) and Gavaskar (102) made their centuries in the same match in 1976, while Tendulkar and Laxman have made 103*.

Highest averages (Minimum 15 innings):

These 21 entries are the only ones with 15 or more innings. GC Smith leads here as well, with Ponting close behind.

From the recent past there are Cook and Amla. Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag represent India.

Kisrsten and Dravid are among those who did not score a century, although Hutton has a 98*.

We will take up bowling in 4th-innings wins in the next part.

Lord Mayers of Chattogram

The West Indies has had many levels of aristocracy, such as Baron Constantine and Sir Frank Worrell. And the calypso men such as Lord Kitchener, Lord Beginner and Lord Relator.

So the tabloids in Barbados may well refer to Kyle Mayers as Lord Mayers of Chattogram.

(They might also be interested in what their heroine Rihanna says about India 🙂 )

Also his partner Nkrumah Bonner whose parents must have named him after the Ghanaian leader Kwame Nkrumah.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/player/348056.html

https://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/player/314650.html

Both of them have been prominent in domestic cricket for a while, but would probably not been on this tour if not for Covid.

Here are some of the records set during the chase of 395:

Most runs on debut (innings scores):

5th position here among the 6 who scored 200+

Most runs in a match on debut:

4th among the 12 who have made 200 in their debut match. Yasir Hameed did not score a century after making two on debut. Others such as Foster, Umar Akmal and Kuruppu did not last long, and Rowe somewhat under-performed though he played Tests up to 1980. He did make 302 against England in 1974.

Most runs in 4th innings on debut:

Mayers does top this list, surpassing India’s AA Baig who had provided a small silver lining to the 5-0 sweep in 1959. None of the other debutants except Yasir Hameed figured in successful chases.

Highest partnerships in successful chases (not only for debutants):

6th in this all-time list. No other instance where both were debutants. Gilchrist was playing his 2nd Test.

Most runs in unbeaten innings in successful run chase:

Here too Mayers is far ahead of the rest. No one else scored a century under these conditions. Next in line is a recent player Bancroft who was part of the Smith-Warner axis and probably will not play again.

This list also includes Lloyd, Lewis and Gimblett against India, besides Gavaskar for India against the West Indies. Maybe in some cases they hit the winning runs, but we need to check accounts of the match or commentary transcripts if available. It can be seen that Mayers did hit the winning run (a single).

Finally, we look at the cases of unbeaten 100+ scores in successful run chases (all instances, not only debutants):

Here Mayers is second only to Greenidge. India has Tendulkar and VVS near the bottom. There are also Haynes, Richards and Mark Taylor against India. But the next highest debutant after Mayers is Bancroft, as described above.

Tail piece: The WI captain Kraigg Brathwaite recorded his first win. His first 5 Tests as captain were losses.