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