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.

 

A closer look at centuries in third 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 third innings:

3rd innings averages

Bradman does not figure here, as he and his team-mates probably scored enough in the first and second innings so that they did not have to bat much in the third and fourth innings. So we have May, Kallis and Compton at the top of this table. There are also Amla and Azhar Ali from current players.

We now look at those who scored the most centuries in the third innings (5 and above):

Century in third innings

Sangakkara and Cook lead with 12, followed by Tendulkar, Kallis and Hayden with 10. Perhaps Cook will add to his tally.

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

SC Ganguly has the most (16) followed by AG Prince, M Vijay and TW Graveney with 11 each. Possibly Vijay, like Cook mentioned above, will be able to change his status.

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

R Subba Row (3). followed by ADR Campbell, GC White and JDB Robertson with 2 each.

Also WW Armstrong scored 5 of his 6 centuries in the third innings (which can be seen in the bottom of the above table).

To be continued with the fourth innings.

 

A closer look at centuries in second 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 second innings:

2nd innings averages

Bradman is still at the top, with Kohli his nearest rival. SPD Smith, KS Williamson and JE Root are also among the current players who have done best in the second innings.

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

Century in second innings

Tendulkar leads with 18, followed by Dravid and M Jayawardene (15 each) and the other long-haul men Kallis and Ponting with 14 each.

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

G Gambhir, KJ Hughes and SP Fleming all scored a total of 9 centuries without any in the second innings.

Next is F du Plessis with 8. He may add to this.

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

MJ Horne (NZ) and RT Simpson(Eng) scored all their 4 centuries in the second innings.

BA Edgar (NZ), Qasim Umar (Pak) and RG Sharma (Ind) similarly scored all their 3 centuries in the second innings.

Honourable mention to NCL O’Neill who scored 5 of his 6 centuries in the second innings.

To be continued with the third and fourth innings.

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.