Trivia - batting March 6, 2008

Hanging in there after a hundred

It is well known that some batsmen are better than others when it comes to going on to very big scores after getting a start
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It is well known that some batsmen are better than others when it comes to going on to very big scores after getting a start. The differences between individuals can be surprising; for an extreme recent example look at two of today’s top opening batsmen, Matthew Hayden and Virender Sehwag. A comparison of the last 10 Tests centuries for each batsman shows a remarkable contrast.

Test hundreds by Hayden and Sehwag
Hayden Sehwag
138 130
111 195
118 309*
110 155
137 164
102 173
153 201
124 254
123 180
103 151

In this table, Sehwag has scored 912 runs after reaching 100, while Hayden has mustered only 219. In fact, Hayden has converted only one of his last 15 Tests centuries into a 150, whereas Sehwag has clocked up nine conversions in a row (a world record; not even Bradman managed this).

The contrast might be more understandable if Sehwag was by far the superior batsman, but of course this is not the case. Hayden scored his last ten centuries in the space of just 45 innings, where Sehwag needed 68 innings; Hayden averaged 60.0 in that time to Sehwag’s 54.2. Sehwag even spent some time on the Indian reserves bench in that time.

A deeper understanding of this might require an excursion into psychology; it’s better for the moment to leave it simply as an intriguing difference between two great players.

A wider examination of such differences is quite straightforward; just calculate the “century average” of all players. One way is to take a simple average of all Test centuries (ignoring the effect of not-outs); the leaderboard looks like this:

Average size of all scores over 100 (at least 10 Test hundreds)
Batsman 100s Average
Don Bradman 29 186.0
Kumar Sangakkara 16 180.9
Zaheer Abbas 12 179.8
Virender Sehwag 13 174.6
Brian Lara 34 173.2
Dennis Amiss 11 170.8
Sanath Jayasuriya 14 168.3
Wally Hammond 22 167.5
Bob Simpson 10 164.6
Marvan Atapattu 16 161.5
Herschelle Gibbs 14 159.0
Graeme Smith 13 158.6
Mahela Jayawardene 21 157.6

Now any measure of scoring that puts Don Bradman on top is all right by me, but there are better ways of doing this. Bradman, after all, made some very big scores in “timeless” Tests that would be curtailed under modern conditions, and that would bring down the average size. An alternative is to take a standard batting average of the centuries, accounting for not-outs.

Some care is required. For a proper comparison of the ability to progress beyond 100, the first 100 runs of each century must be set aside, otherwise anomalies occur. (For example, a batsman scoring 100 not out, 100, and 100 not out would end up with a century average of 300 even though he has never scored a single run past 100.) By ignoring the first 100 runs in each century, a score of exactly 100 becomes equivalent to a duck in a normal batting average, while a score of 100 not-out will have no effect on the average, equivalent to a score of 0 not-out. This is fair enough, since a score of 100 not-out tells us nothing about a player’s ability to score after reaching 100.

It is interesting that, when you calculate such averages, many batsmen come up with a century average similar to, or just a little higher than, their ordinary batting average (for example, Jacques Kallis 57.4, Greg Chappell 56.1, Allan Border 55.0, Sunil Gavaskar, 51.9, Adam Gilchrist 49.6, Marcus Trescothick 45.1; this applies even to Bradman, 108.0). However, there are notable exceptions, and Sehwag is among them.

Highest century averages (batting average of runs beyond the hundred
Batsman 100s Average
Kumar Sangakkara 16 129.4
Don Bradman 29 108.4
Andy Flower 12 100.0
Wally Hammond 22 99.0
Dennis Amiss 11 97.4
Zaheer Abbas 12 95.8
Javed Miandad 23 85.6
Dean Jones 11 82.7
Marvan Atapattu 16 82.0
Brian Lara 34 77.8
Garry Sobers 26 77.5
Virender Sehwag 13 74.6
Sachin Tendulkar 39 71.7
Len Hutton 19 71.1

When it comes to converting hundreds into giant scores, Kumar Sangakkara is a phenomenon. In his last thirteen Test centuries, he has been dismissed below 150 only once, while scoring six double-centuries plus that umpire-truncated 192 against Australia. It is also quite curious that, in addition to Sangakkara and Marvan Atapattu, the Sri Lankans Sanath Jayasuriya (68.3) and Mahela Jayawardene (67.2) are also in the all-time top 20.

Lowest century averages (batting average of runs beyond hundred)
Batsman 100s Average
Allan Lamb 14 22.0
Mohinder Amarnath 11 25.3
Mark Waugh 20 25.8
Mushtaq Mohammad 10 25.8
Andrew Strauss 10 26.5
Alvin Kallicharan 12 26.7
Damien Martyn 13 26.7
John Wright 12 28.0
Nasser Hussain 14 28.7
Colin Cowdrey 22 8.9
Michael Atherton 16 28.9

At the other end of the scale, while it is not surprising to see Mark Waugh (highest score 153) near the extreme, it is intriguing to compare his century average with his brother, who averaged 67.2. Honourable mention should go to Graeme Wood, who, with only nine centuries, did not qualify for the list, but whose century average was only 17.4. Wood was out for exactly 100 in three of his nine tons.

And what of Matt Hayden? His century average is 39.0, quite low, but it would be much lower still without his 380 against Zimbabwe. In fact, imagine if Hayden’s 380 had never happened, and we were to try to predict the major Australian batsmen most likely to ever make such a score. Hayden would have to be just about the least likely, with the exception of Mark Waugh.

Finally, here is a similar list for half-century averages, the batsmen most likely to go on to big scores after reaching 50.

Highest half-century averages (batting average of runs beyond the 50)
Batsman 50+ scores Average
Don Bradman 42 123.4
Dennis Amiss 22 86.1
Wally Hammond 46 85.3
Jimmy Adams 20 82.6
Virender Sehwag 26 77.0
Kumar Sangakkara 40 75.5
Marvan Atapattu 33 74.4
Garry Sobers 56 72.7
Dean Jones 25 69.8
Steve Waugh 82 69.2
Zaheer Abbas 32 68.6
Sachin Tendulkar 88 67.1
Brian Lara 82 65.8
Ricky Ponting 73 65.5

Postscript

My previous post on the fastest and slowest innings attracted some lively comments. Some thought that the calculation was too complex, others thought that it needed more sophistication. The numbers of these comments seemed about equal, so perhaps I was doing something right.

Some pointed out that, because the distributions are skewed, comparing scores of different sizes could be unreliable. This is valid, up to a point. One could probably normalise the distributions, perhaps by taking the logarithms of the balls faced. This is a nuance that must await some future day; this is a cricket blog, not a statistics journal. My gut feel is that the results would not be significantly different if a fancier approach was taken.

Someone asked about Hanif Mohammad’s epic 337 against the West Indies. This is tricky, firstly because we don’t know the balls faced, and secondly because there are so few innings of similar size to compare it with. However, the z-score can be estimated at 6.42.

If you like, check out a detailed analysis of this innings on my blog. Scroll down to 23 June 2007.

Inevitably, there are those who come onto blogs like this to cleverly inform us that “statistics don’t tell the whole story” (or words to that effect). I have been following cricket stats for 40 years or so, and I have never heard anyone, statistician or otherwise, claim that stats DID tell the whole story. Just enjoy stats for what they are, an important dimension of the game.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rowan Romayne on December 8, 2009, 5:12 GMT

    giday can someone tell me what is the lowest test score never scored please

  • manush on June 21, 2008, 23:14 GMT

    It is very good analysis, which goes to prove that if Viru, is more selective in shots and less flashy, will scale greater heights. Ponting and Moahamed Yusuf are missing in the analysis, who are potential competitors to Sachin in achieving higher milestones.

  • Aditi Verma on April 30, 2008, 15:33 GMT

    Very interesting analysis. Great work :)

  • Prashant on March 29, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    So what does the table look like after Sehwag's 319? :)

    Reply: Sehwag's century average is now 84.9

  • Anil on March 28, 2008, 17:19 GMT

    Fabulous piece of statistics, Keep the good work

  • viswa on March 20, 2008, 14:52 GMT

    Can you please do an analysis on the greatest batsmen with the quality of bowling taken into consideration, one simple example is the Westindies batsmen of the Marshall/Roberts/Holding/Garner era never faced those bowlers, so also for the Aussies never faced their own lillee, Thomson, Warne,the Pakis never faced Akram, Khan, Waqar, whereas the Gavaskars,Vengsarkar, Amarnaths, Dravids, Sachins, Laxmans, Laras,Aravindas,Azhars were fighting these bowlers, I hope I am conveying my message correctly,

  • proudAUSSIE on March 19, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    One important stat missing with regards to the Hayden/Sehwag comparison is that Hayden went on to make 380 - a then world record score. Surely this is the ultimate form of conversion!

  • smart_kiwi on March 17, 2008, 20:33 GMT

    very interesting analysis.. i wud just like to ask why people say the stats not genuine when you include test nations like zimbabwe and bangladesh..evry batter gets equal chances gainst them, so why not all of them scores big runs.. ive seen many good batters failing to score century against them..n also getting out for DUCKS.. isnt that balances the equation..

  • sabih ur rehman on March 17, 2008, 17:11 GMT

    what about mohammad yousuf? he also scored some big hundreds.

  • srinath on March 15, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    ur facts were very interesting...can u make a list of batsmen who hav scored 100s and their 100 averages in causes where their country has won...i think sachin or ponting would top the list for the post world war era.

  • rowan Romayne on December 8, 2009, 5:12 GMT

    giday can someone tell me what is the lowest test score never scored please

  • manush on June 21, 2008, 23:14 GMT

    It is very good analysis, which goes to prove that if Viru, is more selective in shots and less flashy, will scale greater heights. Ponting and Moahamed Yusuf are missing in the analysis, who are potential competitors to Sachin in achieving higher milestones.

  • Aditi Verma on April 30, 2008, 15:33 GMT

    Very interesting analysis. Great work :)

  • Prashant on March 29, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    So what does the table look like after Sehwag's 319? :)

    Reply: Sehwag's century average is now 84.9

  • Anil on March 28, 2008, 17:19 GMT

    Fabulous piece of statistics, Keep the good work

  • viswa on March 20, 2008, 14:52 GMT

    Can you please do an analysis on the greatest batsmen with the quality of bowling taken into consideration, one simple example is the Westindies batsmen of the Marshall/Roberts/Holding/Garner era never faced those bowlers, so also for the Aussies never faced their own lillee, Thomson, Warne,the Pakis never faced Akram, Khan, Waqar, whereas the Gavaskars,Vengsarkar, Amarnaths, Dravids, Sachins, Laxmans, Laras,Aravindas,Azhars were fighting these bowlers, I hope I am conveying my message correctly,

  • proudAUSSIE on March 19, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    One important stat missing with regards to the Hayden/Sehwag comparison is that Hayden went on to make 380 - a then world record score. Surely this is the ultimate form of conversion!

  • smart_kiwi on March 17, 2008, 20:33 GMT

    very interesting analysis.. i wud just like to ask why people say the stats not genuine when you include test nations like zimbabwe and bangladesh..evry batter gets equal chances gainst them, so why not all of them scores big runs.. ive seen many good batters failing to score century against them..n also getting out for DUCKS.. isnt that balances the equation..

  • sabih ur rehman on March 17, 2008, 17:11 GMT

    what about mohammad yousuf? he also scored some big hundreds.

  • srinath on March 15, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    ur facts were very interesting...can u make a list of batsmen who hav scored 100s and their 100 averages in causes where their country has won...i think sachin or ponting would top the list for the post world war era.

  • nk on March 15, 2008, 5:20 GMT

    speaking of converting 100s to 150+ scores, i found that in converting 50s to 100s, only one batsman does better than azharuddin (don - no prize for guesses)..can anyone tell me of any other batsman other than these two, who has more number of 100s than 50s ??

  • nk on March 15, 2008, 5:17 GMT

    speaking of converting 100s to 150+ scores, i found that in converting 50s to 100s, only one batsman does better than azharuddin (don - no prize for guesses)..can anyone tell me of any other batsman other than these two, who has more number of 100s than 50s ??

  • Frank on March 15, 2008, 1:20 GMT

    Below is a simple way to represent the scoring pattern of Hayden and Sehwag - This will tell you who contributes better to the team's cause than all these big century analysis.

    Hayden - 100 100 100 100 100 Sehwag - 300 0 0 0 200

    To me the need of the hour is consistency not the big hundreds once in blue moon! Nevertheless your analysis was interesting.

    [Reply: I really don't know where your numbers come from.]

  • sameer on March 11, 2008, 15:03 GMT

    I am surprised Mohammad Yousuf doesnt make the cut here. He has quite a few double centuries and a record three 190s in Test match cricket. Surely, he has some sort of an average.

    [Reply: Mohammad Yousuf has a century average of 56.5]

  • Lohith on March 11, 2008, 8:11 GMT

    Shewag & Hayden are both good players. Hayden the more consistent, bleudgeoning the ball whereas shewag is a more flare player with a great eye. Both are not technically correct. we can say hayden is reliable, but i will not spend too much money watching his batting. whereas Shewag if he comes off (a big big big big iiiiifffff) he can be priceless.

  • Ankit on March 11, 2008, 5:18 GMT

    Fabulous analysis, but I would like to add that the difference between the bowling attacks and the playing conditions also matters. Also the kind of pressure on Sachin while playing his every match is too high than anybody else. After hitting 39 centuries he has a great average of 71 (runs after 100) and that too maintained over a huge career of 18 years he is a true masterpiece. I would love to see a thread for the centurions but consisting of the match conditions and bowling attack, along with the contribution by other players in the team when a great batsman hits a hundred. Hats off to your owrk, but I can't get what you wanted to prove here ??? Sehwag is very much uncertain about his career ahead and is never believable with his irresponsible shots. I suppose this analysis is good but to no particular target !!! :)

  • milindkumar on March 11, 2008, 2:51 GMT

    could you please provide the viewers the stats of all time great batsmen(say more than 4,000 test runs in the career - how many times they scored 50 or plus runs in a inning)this may gives us a clear picture about the consistency of a batsman through out his career rather than just scoring the runs in big volumes whenever he had favourable conditions.Can we expect so,please reply. thanks for your kind attention. with regards --- M.B.Mahajan

    [Reply: stats like this can be found in the Cricinfo records section or using StatsGuru.]

  • Jamie on March 11, 2008, 0:12 GMT

    The number of hatricks pre 2000 is alot lower. A stat from the game just concluded in Hamilton that I was at was in England test career there had been only 11 in total. That makes like one every decade or there abouts. If indeed those figures go back to the 1880's.

    [Reply: Hat tricks were most common in the early days of Tests. There were seven in the first 100 Tests. Hat tricks became strangely rare between 1961 and 1988, and at one point 326 Tests passed without one. However, since 1988, the incidence of hat tricks has been relatively steady at two or three per 100 Tests.]

  • Dimuthu Ratnayake on March 10, 2008, 16:21 GMT

    Thanks for answering my question regarding Aravinda. I was wondering though, can we the readers use StatsGuru to get these numbers? or will we need a direct connection to the database to run this sort of query? :) (or a combo of StatsGuru + a calculator?) I know you can filter it player by player to find his scores greater than 100. But can we use any engine in Cricinfo to compile lists?

  • shiva rajack on March 10, 2008, 15:59 GMT

    Lara is by far the greatest batsman when converting hundreds into very big ones i mean what is it 9 scores of 200, plus 2 of those are 300+...not to mention how many times more he crossed 150 and got out close to 200...please if bradman is the so called best at this, lara is running him a close second.

  • Jamie on March 10, 2008, 9:41 GMT

    I don't know where to do it. But can we get stats on Hatrick conversions etc. How many people have got two wickets in a rown and then how many convert them. Etc

    [Reply: for a very rough idea of the ratio of two in a row to three in a row, consider that since 2000, there have been 11 hat-tricks and 350 first-ball ducks. Thirty to one sounds about right]

  • S.SRINIVASAN on March 10, 2008, 8:24 GMT

    I have noted sehwag's record [9 consective 150 plus]when he scored century in adelaide. however, the question lingering on my mind for a long is : sehwag has scored atleast one 200 plus score in three consecutive series against one particular opponent - paksitan. Is it a world record or an Indian Record and had the great don has achieved this or more against england and if so, in how many consecutive series? expecting and awaiting your reply? S.SRINIVASAN CHENNAI

  • Peter Vincent on March 10, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    A very interesting and thought-provoking analysis. With regards to the comment about Jack Hobbs, he himself said that sometimes when the result of a match looked inevitable he would gift his wicket to a bowler friend, and thus allow someone else in the order to have a bat. He did not necessarily worry about whether he had a hundred first, either. However, he was not talking about Test matches!

    It is a little bit of a myth that he regularly gifted his wicket in this way, though. As Don Bradman once drily observed, if Jack Hobbs had such a policy it must have slipped his mind during his 15 first class double hundreds (one in Tests), and for a particularly prolonged period during his one triple hundred, 316* against Middlesex.

    Bradman himself, incidentally, was recorded on more than one occasion as gifting his wicket in inconsequential matches, though he did make sure of his hundred first. Of course, no Test is inconsequential.

  • Haris Munir on March 10, 2008, 7:05 GMT

    well i would like to touch a bit different topic that is it fair to caluclate the batsman's average by taking not-outs into account!!i mean take mike hussey for instance with no doubts on his ability,but if you get not outs out of the equation his one day average would be quiite lower than what it is today!!although remaining not-out is not an easy thing,but still the average doesn't look quite representative of what has happened actually.like rao iftikhar is a tail ender but once his average was over 40 in one dayers just because had a lot of not outs!!i want your opinion!!regards!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous on March 10, 2008, 4:54 GMT

    Blah! The player I like is not in this list! Put him in the list because I say he is good, despite skill not being the focus of your statistical analysis! Seriously people, stop this.

  • milindkumar on March 10, 2008, 4:29 GMT

    thanks a lot for the stats provided.could you please make some interesting statistical data for all time big batsman(say scored more than 5,000 test runs in career)that how many runs they ran for their partners.this may show how far they have paticipated for their teammates as well besides their own runs.do you have any specific data to know about wrong decisions made by umpires ? atleast after having the new modern technology of replays/slow motion -- if yes,will you be kind to provide it. with regards, M.B.Mahajan

  • milindkumar on March 10, 2008, 4:13 GMT

    it's really a big work done by providing such a statical analysis.thaks a lot.we many people are not upto the mark to accept the facts as they are & taking the stats otherwise as if it's to show who is great & who isn't? but please don't care for them & keep on providing this type of interesting data for us.can you please make sone analysis for the batsmen scores who had done extremely good work for their teams but the result went against their teams ( may it be test or ODI)this may help to see that many times a personal attempts are not matched by the team and they can't win;then it's difficult to digest that the performances were not important for getting the win to team.please reply can we expect something like it.with regards,---- M.B.Mahajan

  • Steve Babb on March 10, 2008, 0:15 GMT

    Brian Lara singlehandedly took on all teams and made all bowlers look ordinary, especially when the West Indies were under great pressure.he is the best.

  • Sharad Singhania on March 9, 2008, 16:57 GMT

    I would like to see some comparison on the %age runs scored in 4's and 6's - as that will indicate the state of mind and the extent of tiredness by "running" the other runs. Another twist, for the fun of it, can be added by comparing the runs scored by the partner - during the first 100 - hence adding to the tiredness factor for "running" for his partners runs. At the end - Stats are stats - and so they would be.

  • Sushil Gupta on March 9, 2008, 13:54 GMT

    well! good stats. but what i know is it doent show the pressure in which different player score their runs. compare Hayden wen he comes out to bat everytime he has no pressure at all as he knows if he didnt deliever there are too may after him who can deliever the goods. compare that with someone like Sachin tendulkar who throghout his career was on the Crease at 20/2 with not much batting to come.

  • Sushil Gupta on March 9, 2008, 13:53 GMT

    well! good stats. but what i know is it doent show the pressure in which different player score their runs. compare Hayden wen he comes out to bat everytime he has no pressure at all as he knows if he didnt deliever there are too may after him who can deliever the goods. compare that with someone like Sachin tendulkar who throghout his career was on the Crease at 20/2 with not much batting to come.

  • Aubrey Faulkner No.1 allrounder on March 9, 2008, 13:04 GMT

    Don has made an interesting observation there. I guess you also have to look at the context in which the runs are made and how well they contribute to a team's performance. Assuming both Hayden and Sehwag average the same (I haven't checked) sure Sehwag can churn out a 300 score but for every one of these he has 5 very ordinary performances to bring him back to earth. Hayden on the other hand, who doesn't make big hundreds (except for a 380 against the first-class level bowling attack of Zimbabwe)does put them together much more often- wasn't he the fastest player to 30 centuries? As a captain you would have to ask yourself what quality you want most from your opening batsmen and I think the answer there is definitely consistency. Hayden's ability to more regularly put on 100+ stands with his partner and in so doing take the shine of the ball would seem to make him more valuable on that front.

  • eddy on March 9, 2008, 12:03 GMT

    Lara, 9 double tons! inc 1 triple and 1 quadruaple. Thats all the stats i need.

  • Seshan on March 9, 2008, 10:51 GMT

    An excellent compilation, and I like your comment about stats not giving the full picture. Yes, batting is about scoring runs - and statistical analysis gives you the story on consistency. What I like much more is the poetry in motion of some innings that appeals to the aesthetic senses. The natural limitation of figures is their inability to convey the beauty of great batting. Ram earlier gives examples of some of my favourite innings. Also, figures can't tell the difference between elegance / class which count more than brutal clubbing of the ball - at least to my mind. Figures therefore are like the bones and muscles of the human body, while batting style is the soul that gives meaning to the body.

  • Don on March 9, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    The Hayden-Sehwag comparison has other anomalies. For example. Sewhag scored 4 of his centuries against Pakistan and 3 against Australia (averaging well above his general average against both teams). He has not done nearly as well against South Africa or England or even New Zealand. Hayden, on the other hand, scored 6 centuries against India, 6 against SA, 5 against England and 5 against WI. Going back to that psychology aspect, it is well known some players only bring out their "A" game against "A-class" opposition. Sehwag could be one of those. Give him Bangladesh, Zimbabwe or New Zealand and he may not perform. Show him the green and gold or a Pakistan flag, and out comes a master-class performance. However, Hayden tends to perform fairly equally against all comers (barring Zimbabwe, where he truely a bully. Hayden has the better record, but is not necessarily the more valuable player. This is true for other players as well.

  • aakinchan sharma on March 9, 2008, 7:29 GMT

    how can u do all those calculations? aren't they time consuming. i think it needs greater patience. thank you for providing such facts and calculations so that we are able to know different aspects of game and player in numeric forms rather to c them and say good shot, well bowled or great fielding. thank you for your work. well done fren. hope u will continue such works. can u present us some numerical facts about players getting Man of Match award and Man of Series awards as per their performances in different field bowling bating and fielding. hoping for your co-operations. thanks once again.

  • Ram on March 9, 2008, 4:15 GMT

    Great stat analysis. No doubt. Nonetheless we need to remind ourselves that stats don't reveal 'class' and/or 'criticality' of any batman's innings. Gavasakar's 96 at Blore against Pak in a landmine of a pitch, Sachin's 116 at Perth in 1992 and 155 at Chennai against Aussies, Viswanath's 96 n.o. at Cheapauk against WIs in 1976, Gavaskar's heroic 220 n.o. at Oval in 1979 in a losing cause, Viv Richards' massacre of English attack in 1976, Laxman's epic 284 at Eden Gardens, Sandeep Patel's defiant 172 against Aussies in 1980, Lara's single-handed counterattack against the Aussies overall, etc. For connoseiurs of cricket, stats matter but class matters much more.

  • abdul muthaleef on March 9, 2008, 3:45 GMT

    I think Brian Lara tops everyone all in this list including Bradman, bcos he had played more than double the innings & venues in which Bradman Played and everybody knows abt his batting (almost batting with tail enders) , but still he holds 173.2 is amazing is'init ?

  • nigel jawahir on March 9, 2008, 1:29 GMT

    i think it will be a different picture if you discount innings without zimbabwe and bangldesh, another piont is that most of these guys play in the sub continent, where there are flat pitches, i don't understand how brian lara counld be so far down your list when he has made a double century against every major cricketing nation, who else has done that, or who else have scored 2 tri[ple centries, apart from bradman, or a quadriple century, and if you want to look at first class level, 500 runs

    [Response: the average century against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, since 1999, has been worth 144 runs. The average century against other countries is worth 139 runs. This is not a big difference, and since most players play only a small number of Tests against these countries, it has little effect on century averages for most players. For example, only 7% of Australia's centuries since 1996 have been against these two countries. A possible exception is Sri Lanka, which has for some reason played a lot of Tests against them, and this partly accounts for prominence of Sri Lankans in the lists.]

  • Warwicks fan on March 8, 2008, 19:42 GMT

    It was interesting to note Dennis Amiss being very high up on several lists. I had noticed this feature of his scores myself. While he is not considered one of the greatest batsmen, he could certainly bat on once he got a start!

  • Anonymous on March 8, 2008, 13:37 GMT

    The Great Cricketer Dravid is missing in the list

    [Response to this and others: it was not the aim of this analysis to identify the Greatest Batsmen, but to look at a characteristic of performance that varies to a very surprising degree between top batsmen. If your favourite batsman is not on a list, it is because he is not particularly exceptional in this one characteristic, not because he is not a great player.]

  • jamal Mohideen on March 8, 2008, 12:18 GMT

    azhar had made good conversion of his 50's into hundred than any one, any comments , why no article on this conversion

    [Response: Azharuddin's half-century average was 58.2, which ranks him in 35th place out of 165 batsmen who have scored at least 20 half-centuries.]

  • rajeev on March 8, 2008, 9:51 GMT

    Viru is a great batsman,never get's the credit he deserves.With all the great batsmen India has produced, surpriseingly only Viru has scored 300 hundred run's (and bat's at an average of over 50.00 )and people still daought his ability and SHAME on thous selector's and captain's that keep him on the bench in Test match cricket.Hope they don't get confused again with One Day cricket.

  • joe christopher on March 8, 2008, 9:46 GMT

    what about azharuddin. I think he very often went on to score a 100, if he was past fifty. so whats his average like in the innings that he went past fifty?

  • hadrium on March 8, 2008, 6:30 GMT

    Can u post oneday list aswell

    [Response: not at the moment]

  • S T Jitendran on March 8, 2008, 5:01 GMT

    I wonder what happened to Viv Richards in this list?

    [Response: Viv Richards century average is 59.2]

  • VSR.Nanduri on March 8, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    Where are Dravid and Lakshman? I believe they scored more centuries than Sehwag. Particularly Lakshman is known as a big scorer in India. Many senior players wrote that.

    [Response: Dravid century average 69.1, Laxman 58.6]

  • Malcolm Charles on March 8, 2008, 2:43 GMT

    "since a score of 100 not-out tells us nothing about a player’s ability to score after reaching." with that being said, wat about batsmen's not out scores in excess of 150? do those count, u havee ppl like Brian Lara etc who have a few scores in excess of 150 where they went not out. For example 400*, i think that should count. As for being critics of batsmen who heavily against Bangladesh & Zimbabwe, even if the are the weaker opponents. Other batsmen get chances against them too and dont take advantage or cant do so. A batsman should be given credit for a hundred regardless of who he does it against.

    [Response: scores of 150 not out do count towards a century average, equivalent to 50 not out in a normal average. 400 not out is equivalent to 300 not out.]

  • Nigel on March 8, 2008, 2:16 GMT

    I've heard that Jack Hobbs used to throw his wicket away after reaching 100 yet he's not on the list

  • Robert Dawning on March 7, 2008, 23:10 GMT

    This works as a base to argue that Sangakkara is the most under-estimated batsman in the world.. As seen by his amazing 192 against Australia, he is probably ending up the greatest batsman of the decade 2005-15 since hes still in his early thirties and one of the greatest of the modern era..

  • SAMUEL BOODHAN on March 7, 2008, 17:04 GMT

    What about Brian Lara, not much is said about his numerous large scores and his lust for scoring huge hundreds.

  • Dharmin Desai on March 7, 2008, 17:03 GMT

    Can you please show Sangakarra's stats minus the runs he scored against Bangladesh. Didnt he score heavily against them?

    [Good point. Excluding Bangladesh, Sangakkara's Century Average is 107.2, still extremely high but it would lose him the #1 spot to Bradman.]

  • Suresh on March 7, 2008, 16:28 GMT

    While comparison of Hayden & Sehwag is appropriate, it is not so to put other batsmen together - these two are opening bats, and they have better opportunities to convert hundreds to big ones. Same goes for Sangakkara. For others, say, Sachin who comes in at 4 has to contend most of the time with the tail and bat accordingly. May be we should also look at comparing people at the same positions as they bat.

  • Hemant Nayak on March 7, 2008, 16:18 GMT

    Not batter's fault if the side folds up with him being 101* or like in Laxman's case where he sheperd's the tail time and again. These numbers will make sense if you can combo it with %age runs scored out of the total AND the # he got out. That way Jayasurya's 300+ and Sunny's 127* are kind of on level playing field. Also there's gotto be a way of filtering Zaheer's 235,215 against India(Pak umpires etc) as well as Sachin's 200s against Bangla & Zimbabwe.Stan Mcabe's 200+ or Trumper's 100+ were untouchable.Maybe you need to give wightage to Wisden 100s and THEN give value. Anybody can make 248* against Bangla. Why not combine avg 100+ with

  • Dimuthu Ratnayake on March 7, 2008, 13:07 GMT

    My brother and I used to talk about Sanath and Marvan having a big appetite for runs once they get a 100. Sanga is now king! Mahela's doing well too. I was wondering though How Aravinda de Silva would fit into this. He's the missing Sri Lankan great from the All time top 20.

    [Response: Aravinda de Silva's Century Average was 49.6]

  • Arun on March 7, 2008, 12:32 GMT

    Interesting analysis, but what are you trying to prove? I know for a fact that we are witnessing the golden age of batting, at no point of time in the history of the game have ew seen such high scores and so many batsmen with high averages. This probably has to do with declining bowling standards and pitches being in favour of batsmen all over the world. It's time we brought back some balance into the game. Having watched cricket in the 80s I certainly like the bowler dominated games than the slogathon we are seeing now

    Thanks Arun

  • Abeer Agrawal on March 7, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    A fascinating analysis.. hats off to you. How about a 50+ analysis on the same pattern?

  • srivathsan on March 7, 2008, 9:57 GMT

    It is interesting that ponting &dravid,finest one down batsmen are not figuring in this.Hence these averages means nothing when it comes to contribution to a team in its win.

  • Sanjeev Sathe on March 7, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    I had thought that Dilip Vengsarkar would figure pretty high in the list of "Least Average after a Hundred", given his habit to throw his wicket away after reaching a hundred!

  • Ananth on March 7, 2008, 2:38 GMT

    As a fellow blogger I could not agree more with the comment that this is one heck of a post. Charles, hats off to you.

    As a standard table to my downloadable Database, I had also done an average of the hundreds scored, quite some time back. However Charlie's taking away the fixed value of 100 before averaging escaped me and I must agree that that has sharpened the analysis significantly.

  • pod on March 7, 2008, 2:25 GMT

    brilliant stuff... keep these interesting stats coming

  • Aaron on March 7, 2008, 1:21 GMT

    This is the first of your stats articles that I have completely agreed with. It is simple enough to be comprehendable and useful, whilst it is complex enough to include all the obvious candidates.

  • Douglas Cumming on March 7, 2008, 0:36 GMT

    It seems strange to me that someone that has shown so much promise finds difficulty retaining a consistent starting position, similar to Carl Hooper.

  • eddy on March 6, 2008, 23:06 GMT

    when it comes to scoring big look no further than the DON, and in the modern era, Lara. no one can touch these two greats...end of story.

  • Pranav on March 6, 2008, 22:55 GMT

    Very interesting analysis. Absolutely fabulous!

  • Satish on March 6, 2008, 21:11 GMT

    What about Sunil Gavaskar? How come he is not in any of your list??

    [Response: Gavaskar's century average was 57.2]

  • prabhu on March 6, 2008, 20:45 GMT

    you are incorrect-don bradman never played in a timeless test-please check your facts

    Response: Every Test in Australia from 1882 to the end of the 1936/37 series was a Timeless Test, ie played without a time limit. Bradman also played three Timeless Tests in England: the Oval Tests of 1930, 1934,and 1938.

  • Timothy Hodge on March 6, 2008, 17:57 GMT

    Fascinating stuff! Thanks for doing the analyses and dont be deterred from the naysayers, who statistically will be present 100% of the time!

  • Navin on March 6, 2008, 16:57 GMT

    I think the figures would be true if we remove tests versus Bangladesh and Zimbabwe

  • Brian Clifford on March 6, 2008, 16:53 GMT

    I note that if Alastair Cook were included, he would have an average of 13.5, the lowest by some distance! He doesn't qualify at present as he's only got seven centuries, hopefully his next three test centuries will be big ones....

  • Abhi Tiwari on March 6, 2008, 16:32 GMT

    This is an interesting analysis. This also shows that the batsman who are better player when they are playing with less pressurize condition.

  • timinus on March 6, 2008, 14:05 GMT

    what about alistair cook he's got 6 or is it 7 centuries withou only a top score of 127 from memory, where does he fit into this list?

  • Venkat on March 6, 2008, 13:41 GMT

    Gr888... Exactly the same... This is a reflection of what i wanted to tell abt sehwag.... He is unbelievable... Am his greatest fan... Am so happy that u wrote this blog... hats off!!!!!

  • Paul on March 6, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    I see that you have limited your analysis to players with 10 centuries or more, which is fair enough (although it admits only 3 New Zealanders - M Crowe, J Wright and N Astle, with Fleming on the verge of this group). If you remove the limit, then surely the most remarkable case is Matthew Sinclair: 49 innings, 3 centuries (150, 204*, 214) ,giving an average century of 189 (ignoring not outs), and an average beyond 100 of 268! He has 6 scores above 50 (69, 74, 76 and the 100s) giving an average beyond 50 of 97.4. Unfortunately Sinclair only gets 50 once every 7 innings.

  • Sid on March 6, 2008, 13:36 GMT

    Perhaps this analysis could be extended to compute a batsman's 'escape velocity', i.e. the score from which the batsman is most prolific. It could be a clue to the score a batsman 'launches' his innings from. For Sehwag, these launch scores seem to be 14 and 49. For Tendulkar, there's no such thing... he gets more prolific with every run he scores, at least until he gets to 104, and then to 119. Interesting, don't you think?

  • prashanth varadarajan on March 6, 2008, 12:08 GMT

    Well.. Viru does make a huge hundred, if he gets there... but there is a biiiiig "IF" to it... As far as big hundreds are concerned, one should also look at Greame Smith and Younis Khan...

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  • prashanth varadarajan on March 6, 2008, 12:08 GMT

    Well.. Viru does make a huge hundred, if he gets there... but there is a biiiiig "IF" to it... As far as big hundreds are concerned, one should also look at Greame Smith and Younis Khan...

  • Sid on March 6, 2008, 13:36 GMT

    Perhaps this analysis could be extended to compute a batsman's 'escape velocity', i.e. the score from which the batsman is most prolific. It could be a clue to the score a batsman 'launches' his innings from. For Sehwag, these launch scores seem to be 14 and 49. For Tendulkar, there's no such thing... he gets more prolific with every run he scores, at least until he gets to 104, and then to 119. Interesting, don't you think?

  • Paul on March 6, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    I see that you have limited your analysis to players with 10 centuries or more, which is fair enough (although it admits only 3 New Zealanders - M Crowe, J Wright and N Astle, with Fleming on the verge of this group). If you remove the limit, then surely the most remarkable case is Matthew Sinclair: 49 innings, 3 centuries (150, 204*, 214) ,giving an average century of 189 (ignoring not outs), and an average beyond 100 of 268! He has 6 scores above 50 (69, 74, 76 and the 100s) giving an average beyond 50 of 97.4. Unfortunately Sinclair only gets 50 once every 7 innings.

  • Venkat on March 6, 2008, 13:41 GMT

    Gr888... Exactly the same... This is a reflection of what i wanted to tell abt sehwag.... He is unbelievable... Am his greatest fan... Am so happy that u wrote this blog... hats off!!!!!

  • timinus on March 6, 2008, 14:05 GMT

    what about alistair cook he's got 6 or is it 7 centuries withou only a top score of 127 from memory, where does he fit into this list?

  • Abhi Tiwari on March 6, 2008, 16:32 GMT

    This is an interesting analysis. This also shows that the batsman who are better player when they are playing with less pressurize condition.

  • Brian Clifford on March 6, 2008, 16:53 GMT

    I note that if Alastair Cook were included, he would have an average of 13.5, the lowest by some distance! He doesn't qualify at present as he's only got seven centuries, hopefully his next three test centuries will be big ones....

  • Navin on March 6, 2008, 16:57 GMT

    I think the figures would be true if we remove tests versus Bangladesh and Zimbabwe

  • Timothy Hodge on March 6, 2008, 17:57 GMT

    Fascinating stuff! Thanks for doing the analyses and dont be deterred from the naysayers, who statistically will be present 100% of the time!

  • prabhu on March 6, 2008, 20:45 GMT

    you are incorrect-don bradman never played in a timeless test-please check your facts

    Response: Every Test in Australia from 1882 to the end of the 1936/37 series was a Timeless Test, ie played without a time limit. Bradman also played three Timeless Tests in England: the Oval Tests of 1930, 1934,and 1938.