The Dickwella phenomenon

Niroshan Dickwella is sometimes the subject of jokes involving his surname, but has attracted the attention of cricket enthusiasts for his puzzling inability to score a century.

Let us first look at:

Most 50+ scores without a century (8 and above):

Dickwella tops this list with 22 fifties, going far ahead of the previous record held by India’s CPS Chauhan which stood since 1981 until the 2020s. MA Starc is the only current player here, and may yet make a hundred near the end of his Test career.

Also note Shane Warne whom we will meet again in this post.

Now we look at the

Most runs without a century (1500 and above):

Dickwella is 2nd here after Warne. Chauhan is in 3rd place. Current players are Southee and Starc.

Next we look at:

Highest batting averages without a century (Minimum 20 innings and 30.00):

This is headed by the lesser-known Asim Kamal, who made 99 on his Test debut. Dickwella is further down this list, in 10th place. His neighbours include current players C Green (Aus), HE vd Dussen (SA) and Faheem Ashraf (Pak). S Gill (Ind) also has an average above 30.

Still, Dickwella has made 96 in a Test. But there is a surprisingly large number of Test players whose top score is between 96 and 99:

9 players have a top score of 99, besides AJ Tudor who was left on 99 not out in a winning 4th-innings chase. Similarly there are many with 96, 97, 98 and 99. There are a few current players here such as MA Starc (again !), van der Dussen, Nauman Ali and newcomer J Overton who made 97 in his debut innings. They are followed by W Sundar and N Dickwella.

But the current players who have not made a Test century yet should not lose heart. Some have made their maiden centuries after a long wait. (This list may not be exhaustive):

Notes from the Johannesburg Test

This was the 6th Test played by India at this venue and their first defeat:

It is however difficult for South Africa and other teams to chase 200 or even 150 at this venue. Their 243/3 is their highest winning chase here. These are the only times it has happened:

Winning chases over 150 at Johannesburg:

The SA captain Dean Elgar was left on 96 not out at the end. There are several instances of being stranded in the 90s in a winning chase:

While there is only one 99 here, there are 98s by several including SC Ganguly and other famous names such as Hutton, GS Chappell and Atherton.

AL Wadekar was another Indian player who got up to the 90s when the target was reached.

Onwards to Cape Town:

India has never won at this venue. But if one fortress fell at Johannesburg, perhaps another can fall at Cape Town:

India vs SA at Cape Town:

India has 2 draws and 3 losses here.

Shardul Thakur’s record:

Here are the best innings bowling performances in India-South Africa Tests:

SN Thakur’s 7-61 in SA’s first innings was the best for India v SA. The previous best was 7-66 by R Ashwin at Nagpur in 2015. The previous best for India v SA in SA was 7-120 by Harbhajan Singh at Cape Town in 2011.

His match bowling figures of 8-108 were not so impressive.

Markram again

AK Markram has played 28 Tests. 17 were won by SA, 11 lost and none drawn.

His 28 Tests are the most played by anyone who has not seen a draw. Next is GA Lohmann from 19th-century England, whose 18 Tests included 15 wins and 3 losses.