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.

 

 

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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.

Those who captained in only one Test

There are as many as 49 Test players (starting with HH Massie in 1885 and ending with TD Paine in 2018) who captained their sides in exactly one Test. Of these, 5 were playing their only Test, the best-known being the future Hollywood resident CA Smith. Let us have a closer look at how they did.

In many cases they happened to captain the side when the regular captain was unavailable due to injury or illness (or other reasons, as in 2018). In the earlier years some teams such as South Africa were not quite settled and had to frequently make changes. And West Indies in the early years had an informal rule that the captain for a particular Test had to be from the country where it was being played.

11 of these captains won the only Test they captained in:

Only win

A short list, with some well-known players such as Brown, Harvey, Shastri and Rahane. Mortaza was particularly lucky as he was injured for most of the match while Shakib deputised for him in Bangladesh’s second Test win and the first away from home. Of these, only Rahane might captain his team again. But that would only be if the incumbent is unavailable for some reason.

22 lost the only Test they captained in:

Only loss

A number of well-known players are here who had long careers but were not considered as regular captains for various reasons. DB Carr did play in only 2 Tests but this one Test was India’s first-ever victory. Afridi the unpredictable captained his only Test at Lord’s.

Everyone here from Hafeez downwards might captain their teams again (except Watson who as retired from international cricket).

And 16 drew the only Test they captained in:

Only Draw

A sprinkling of well-known players here. Headley should have captained the West Indies earlier but for the long-established principle that only white men could captain the side. Adhikari’s draw made him a hero at that time as India had just lost 3 Tests in a row, all by heavy margins.

As the last such event was in 2001, there is no current player who might captain his side again.

More cricket calypsos

Many of you would be familiar with “Cricket, lovely cricket” first heard at Lord’s in 1950 and probably the one about Gavaskar after the 1971 series. There are, in fact, a number of other cricket-related calypsos which are summarised. Lord Kitchener was living in Britain through the 1950s and sang tributes to Alec Bedser (during the 1953 Ashes) and Frank Tyson (after the 1954-55 Ashes). All of these (besides the long version of “Rally Round the West Indies”) can be seen here:

https://silvertorch.com/cricketsongs.html

Background reading here:

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2002/jun/28/nottinghillcarnival2002.nottinghillcarnival

Personal note: My father came to Britain from India through the Tilbury Docks a few months before the SS “Empire Windrush” docked. He remembered the newspaper seller yelling “Extra! Read all about it! Gandy killed by Hindu gunman!”. Coincidentally his first grandchild was born exactly 39 years later.

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

Brdman 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-April 2018

Data correct up to Apr 3, 2018 (after the NZ-Eng and SA-Aus 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.

 

Review of SA-Aus Test series, 2017-18 (II)

Continued from Part 1.

Another new record in this series was the margin of victory in the 4th Test:

Highest margins of victory in all Tests:

Margins of victory

South Africa recorded its highest margin of victory by runs, surpassing the 358-run win against New Zealand in 2007-08. Australia still holds the record for the heaviest defeat by 675 runs in 1928-29. That marked the debut of DG Bradman (18 and 1) who was made 12th man for the next Test (but ended up fielding most of the time) and then made 79 and 112 in the third Test.

South Africa’s heaviest defeat of Australia until now was by 309 runs in 2012-13.

Now we return to individual records-bowling:

Most wickets (40 and above):

Most wickets

Steyn and Johnson have the highest among contemporary players, while Morkel retired a little behind them. It is possible that Steyn will not play in Tests against Australia again, so it remains to be seen if Philander can catch up.

Innings bowling (including all instances of 7wi and better):

Innings bowling

A lot of entries by Grimmett, though Philander’s 6-21 in the final Test just gets in.

Match bowling (including all instances of 10wm and better):

Match bowling

Rabada’s 11-150 is the best for SA v Aus at home, surpassing the century-old 10-116 by CB Llewellyn in 1902-03. SA’s best against Aus remains Tayfield’s 13-165 in 1952-53.

Best bowling averages (Minimum 2000 balls, all instances):

Bowling average

Philander, MG Johnson, Steyn, Morkel and Lyon all find their place here.

The best average is by Grimmett followed by the lesser-known WJ Whitty.

The best economy rate is that of TL Goddard (1.72) followed by Grimmett.

The best strike rate is that of WJ Whitty (41.1) followed by Steyn.

Now for fielding records:

Most dismissals (25 and above):

Most dismissals

AB de Villiers is in second place with a combination of keeping and fielding dismissals. He might have a chance of displacing Boucher. de Kock is still working his way up. Ponting has the most catches by a fielder (35), just ahead of de Villiers (34, plus 17 as keeper). Kallis and GC Smith (33) are just behind.

Most innings dismissals (5 and above):

Innings fielding

While Grout and Lindsay have made 6 dismissals each, 3 others are among several who share the world record of 5 catches by a non-fielder. VY Richardson, maternal grandfather of the Chappells, was the first to do this in any Test back in 1935-36. The next to do this was Indian debutant Yajurvindra Singh in 1976-77. SPD Smith achieved this in what will be his last Test for some time.

Most match dismissals (7 and above):

Match dismissals

de Kock equalled the record of 8 dismissals in this series, while Paine took 7. No fielder has taken more than 6 catches in a match.

Best dismissal rate (minimum 20 innings, minimum 0.650):

Dismissal avg

Haddin has the best average among contemporary players. Simpson and MA Taylor have the best averages among non-fielders, though the “hybrid” ABD has a higher average.

All-round overall performances (see criteria below):

AR overall

Johnson, Goddard and Benaud lead Philander and others. Although Tayfield was not a recognized batsman, he did well enough to qualify for this list. Oddly enough Shaun Pollock and Kallis did not do too well against Australia.

All-round match performances (fifty-plus and 5wi-plus):

AR-match

A number of good performances with PJ Cummins¬† standing amidst the ruins of Australia’s collapse in the last Test. There are instances of 100/5wi by Kelleway (in one of the neutral Tests) and Benaud. And Steyn achieved the less common feat of 50/10wm, making his highest Test score.