Batting October 25, 2010

Baker's dozen of epochal third innings

A look at few of the classic third innings batting performances over the years
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VVS Laxman: one of the top third innings knocks © AFP

After four or five fairly heavy analytical articles, I feel it is time I did an anecdotal post, this time from the heart. My Resident editor would also be quite happy since he has been pushing me for such articles once in a while. Sitting in cold Minneapolis, this would make Sriram's day.

The first innings of a test match is a completely open-ended one. What should one aim at. What is a good score. Should one consume time or attack more. Is 225 for 1 at close of play on the first day better than 300 for 4 or vice versa. No one can forecast with any degree of certainty the answers to these questions.

The second innings at least is more defined. There are some targets to aim at. If the opponents score 500 or thereabouts, the first target is to avoid follow-on. If the score in front is around 350, the normal target is to overhaul it. If the first batting has scored 200, the second batting team has to be wary of a difficult pitch but, in general, looks for a substantial lead.

The fourth innings is the purest one. Whatever the team started with is the winning target. It could be 1 or 836 (both are actual targets in test matches). This number is clearly available to both teams. While time/overs/weather are factors, this target never changes. In my earlier article I had looked at epochal fourth innings.

The third innings is the most fascinating one of all. If a team has followed on or trails by a substantial deficit, the first target is to clear the deficit and then build on setting a reasonable target. If the two first innings are comparable, then a substantial target score has to be aimed at. If the team is batting with a substantial lead, then it is only a question of timing the declaration, leaving enough time to win. However the third innings is the one where serious strategizing starts. The seeds of the result aimed for are sown here.

One constant factor which is present in most of these winning third innings knocks is that these do not lead to wins by themselves. It still requires great bowling efforts, such as that of Willis, Harbhajan, Trott and Hauritz et al to complete the winning process.

In this article I have looked at a baker's dozen of epochal performances in third innings. Before the reader sharpens his keyboard skills to shoot off a comment, note the adjective used, "epochal", not "greatest". These are my selections, mostly using objective analysis such as Wisden-100 tables, but also incorporating some from the lower reaches of the table, innings which were truly great.

Let me mention that most of the the top 10 from the third innings performances from the Wisden-100 table find their place here. The Wisden-100 itself is heavy with great third innings performances, with 4 of the top-6 coming in the third innings. There are 10 winning performances, 2 from drawn matches and 1 from lost matches. There is a fair distribution across ages and teams. If I have missed out a team, it is only because I am trying to push in a litre of liquid in a pint bottle.

As I have already said, this is my selection, 75% objective and 25% subjective. Readers will have their own favourite fourth innings and are welcome to send in their comments referring to these innings. The only requirement is that you have to take the trouble of looking up the concerned scorecard and give some details. Rather than posting comments such as "What about Inzamam's 95", the comments which are likely to get published are the ones where a better insight into the concerned innings are provided. Do not get upset that one specific performance is not in this list or in the nearly-made-it list. Put up your cases in a nice and emphatic manner.

Let us look the performances. These are published in no particular order so that no one says why is this in first position or not in first position.

1. MtId: 1171 (1991) 1 of 5 (Eng: 0-0) England won by 115 runs

Eng 198 all out.
Win 173 all out.
Eng 252 all out (Gooch G.A: 154*).
Win 162 all out.

After two sub-200 innings, England started 25 runs ahead. Then Gooch, an under-rated batsmen if ever there was one, played one of the greatest innings ever against a bowling attack of Ambrose, Patterson, Marshall and Walsh. He scored 154 out of 252. There were two other innings of 27 and nothing else. Look at the % of score, 61.1%. To boot, he remained unbeaten. He added 98 for the seventh wicket with Pringle. England won by 115 runs. I think this innings stands comparison with any of the modern classics.

2. MtId: 1535 (2001) 2 of 3 (Ind: 0-1) India won by 171 runs

Aus 445 all out.
Ind 171 all out.
Ind 657 for 7 wkts (Laxman V.V.S: 281).
Aus 212 all out.

What does one write about this innings. Half the cricket followers would anoint this classic as the best Test innings ever and they would not be far away from truth. The support of Dravid was as important as Harbhajan's bowling on the last day to effect this amazing win. In many ways this innings and win was the watershed in the Indian cricket teams' attitude and start of a new phase of self-belief.

3. MtId: 0257 (1937) 3 of 5 (Aus: 0-2) Australia won by 365 runs

Aus 200 for 9 wkts.
Eng  76 for 9 wkts.
Aus 564 all out (Bradman D.G: 270).
Eng 323 all out.

The first two days were played on gluepot pitches. England declared 124 behind in a bid to cash in on the treacherous nature of the pitch. Bradman countered by sending in his late order batsmen and Australia were 97 for 5. Then Bradman and Fingleton got together and added 346 runs. After that everything was downhill. Australia won by a massive margin of 365 runs. As much a tribute to Bradman's strategic skills as to his batting. It should not be forgotten that Australia were trailing 0-2 with 3 to play. Starting with this test, they won the next three tests and won the series 3-2. The only time this has happened in history of Test cricket, as mentioned in my last article.

4. MtId: 1716 (2004) 1 of 2 (Pak: 0-0) Sri Lanka won by 201 runs

Slk 243 all out.
Pak 264 all out.
Slk 438 all out (Jayasuriya S.T: 253).
Pak 216 all out.

A recent masterpiece. After two middling innings, Sri Lanka were behind by 21 runs. Jayasuriya anchored the innings with an outstanding effort of 253 in 348 balls. He was ably supported by two fifties from Sangakkara and Jayawardene. Jayasuriya's high innings was still nearly 60% of Sri Lankan score. Sri Lanka then won comfortably despite being without Muralitharan. It must be mentioned that this was at the feather-bed in Faisalabad.

5. MtId: 0905 (1981) 3 of 6 (Eng: 0-1) England won by 18 runs

Aus 401 for 9 wkts.
Eng 174 all out.
Eng 356 all out (Botham I.T: 149*).
Aus 111 all out.

A similar test to the 2001 Calcutta classic. England followed on 227 behind. Then the scripts diverge. Unlike Calcutta, England were soon hanging by a slender thread at 135 for 7. Botham counter-attacked and was ably supported by Dilley with 56 and Old with 29. Even then Australia were left with a meagre target of 129. Then Willis took over and England won by 18 runs. "Botham's Ashes" was born.

6. MtId: 1458 (1999) 4 of 4 (Eng: 1-1) New Zealand won by 83 runs

Nzl 236 all out.
Eng 153 all out.
Nzl 162 all out (Cairns C.L: 80).
Eng 162 all out.

This was an away match for New Zealand. Even though they took a first innings lead of 83, they slumped to 39 for 6 when Chris Cairns walked in. He counter-attacked, scoring 80 in 93 balls and added 40 with McMillan and 70 with Nash, departing at 149. He scored 80 out of 110 runs while at crease. New Zealand set England a task of 245 to win but won by 83 runs for a memorable away series win.

7. MtId: 1945 (2010) 2 of 3 (Aus: 1-0) Australia won by 36 runs

Aus 127 all out.
Pak 333 all out.
Aus 381 all out (Hussey M.E.K: 134*).
Pak 139 all out.

I would appreciate no snide comments on this test. Insinuations should not mar the wonderful innings played by Michael Hussey. Pakistan took a lead of over 200 runs and Australia were barely in front with 8 wickets down. Siddle played the unlikely support role to help Hussey add 123 for the ninth wicket. Hussey remained not out on 134 and gave his bowlers some chance against an unpredictable Pakistani batting lineup. They obliged by collapsing for 139.

8. MtId: 1444 (1999) 1 of 4 (Ind: 0-0) Pakistan won by 46 runs

Pak 185 all out.
Ind 223 all out.
Pak 316 all out (Saeed Anwar: 188*).
Ind 232 all out.

Pakistan recovered from 36 for 6 to 185, thanks to Moin Khan. India took a small lead. Then Saeed Anwar played a Gooch-type innings although the bowling was probably not comparable. He carried his bat for 188 and there was only one other fifty, by Yousuf. Saeed Anwar scored nearly 60% of his team's total. As often happens, the bowlers completed the job and Pakistan won by 46 runs. Spare a quiet thought for Srinath who is one of four bowlers who captured 13 wickets in a Test and still finished on the losing side.

9. MtId: 1169 (1991) 4 of 5 (Win: 1-0) West Indies won by 343 runs

Win 149 all out.
Aus 134 all out.
Win 536 for 9 wkts (Greenidge C.G: 226).
Aus 208 all out.

Two very small first innings led West Indies ahead by a mere 15 runs. Then the innings changed completely, thanks to Greenidge's patient 226, lasting over 11 hours. He was well-supported throughout, with five of the first six batsmen crossing 25. Not an innings as attacking as Jayasuriya's but no less valuable. The West Indian pacemen ensured that Greenidge's innings did not go in vain and they won quite comfortably.

10. MtId: 0058 (1899) 1 of 2 (Saf: 0-0) England won by 32 runs

Eng 145 all out.
Saf 251 all out.
Eng 237 all out (Warner P.F: 132*).
Saf  99 all out.

England were behind by 106 runs. Then Warner batted his way through the England second innings and scored 132, carrying England to a total of 237. Even then South Africa needed to score only 132 runs to win but collapsed for 99. Shades of this innings in Gooch's and Saeed Anwar's innings.

11. MtId: 0446 (1958) 1 of 5 (Win: 0-0) Match drawn

Win 579 for 9 wkts.
Pak 106 all out.
Pak 657 for 8 wkts (Hanif Mohammad: 337).
Win  28 for 0 wkts.

This is the first of two innings which helped their teams draw the test from way-behind situations. Pakistan followed on, 473 runs behind, that too at Kensington Oval and few would have given them any chance of avoiding a massive innings defeat. Hanif, the other little master, had other ideas. In an amazing display of stamina, concentration and temperament, he batted for just over 16 hours and scored 337 runs before being 8th out at 649. Pakistan saved the test and this is the innings against which other rear-guard efforts should be measured.

12. MtId: 0732 (1974) 2 of 5 (Win: 1-0) Match drawn

Eng 353 all out.
Win 583 for 9 wkts.
Eng 432 for 9 wkts (Amiss D.L: 262*).
Win DNB.

This was similar to the previous test I have referred to. Only difference being that England trailed by 230 runs. Amiss remained not out with 262 after a near 10-hour vigil and England saved the test quite comfortably. The two interesting points on Amiss' innings were the high % of team score (60.6%) and the lack of support, the next highest innings being Jameson's 38. This innings certainly matches Hanif's effort. The series was kept alive and England manage to save the series by winning the last test.

13. MtId: 1206 (1992) 3 of 4 (Saf: 0-0) South Africa won by 9 wickets

Ind 212 all out.
Saf 275 all out.
Ind 215 all out (Kapil Dev N: 129).
Saf 155 for 1 wkts.

This is the lone third innings effort in this selection which could not save the test. I debated a lot between this innings of Kapil Dev and Asif Iqbal's 146 against England. Finally what tilted Kapil Dev's innings for selection was the fact that his brave effort was performed in South Africa and he helped India set a target of 155. Granted that South Africa achieved this comfortably but at least there was a total to defend. Asif Iqbal's effort is equally praise-worthy and another time I might select that. Kapil came in at 31 for 6 and Asif came in at 53 for 7. The South African bowling was, however slightly better.

Now for the innings which almost made it. All these are wonderful innings and would have graced the top selection list. There are given in no particular sequence. Before readers come in with their own selection, they are advised to check this list also.

155 Tendulkar     1405 (1998) IND vs Aus
180 Trescothick   1734 (2005) ENG vs Saf
144 Taylor        1170 (1991) AUS vs Win
102 Vengsarkar    1047 (1986) IND vs Eng
73  Flintoff      1758 (2005) ENG vs Aus
237 Saleem Malik  1269 (1994) PAK vs Aus
150 Randall        840 (1979) ENG vs Aus
76  Rhodes        1243 (1995) SAF vs Aus
118 Saeed Anwar   1403 (1998) PAK vs Saf
159 Armstrong       76 (1902) AUS vs Saf
152 Chamara Silva 1822 (2006) SLK vs Nzl
146 Asif Iqbal     623 (1967) PAK vs Eng
26  Gillespie     1714 (2004) AUS vs Ind

The last selection might cause a few eye-brows to be raised. I feel that this was an all-time classic late-order innings which saved the day for Australians who went on to win the series. If Gillespie had departed early on the fourth day, India would have won comfortably well before rains opened up. 165 balls on a turning wicket against Kumble and Harbhajan was no mean task. The dead-bat defensive technique of Gillespie is today emulated by another tall, gangly, long-haired fast bowler, Ishant Sharma.

As I have mentioned in my comment, I have started a "Readers' Bakers' dozen". The first cut is presented below. Will be fine-tuned as we go along. Not in any particlualr order.

Thorpe 200 vs Nzl
Sobers 198 vs Ind
Slater 123 vs Eng
Kirsten 275 vs Eng
Trumper 159 vs Saf
Hammond 177 vs Aus
Pietersen 158 vs Aus
Laxman 167 vs Aus
May 285 vs Win
Afridi 141 vs Ind
Nourse 231 vs Aus
Richards 110 vs Eng
Imran 136 vs Aus
Compton 184 vs Aus
M Crowe 299 vs Slk

and a tribute to the minnows (outside the Xiii).
Andy Flower's 199 or Whittall's 188
Ashraful's 114 vs Slk or Khaled Mashud's 103 vs Win

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AB on November 11, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    Thanks Ananth - well, in that case... gotta stick a couple of Alan Border match-saving classics in here two: (1) 2nd test v India melbourne 1985 - i think india with a lead of 180, and Border got 160-odd not out and prolonged the 3rd innings until tea with the tail to deny India the win (along with the rain) (2) 4th test v England Old Trafford 1985 - Eng huge lead after 1st innings, and AB just batted and batted - though weather helped... cant remember his score, maybe 140-ish not out Allan Border in the 1980s was the greatest 3rd innings matchsalvager in test cricket, I reckon! PS - Ananth, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your work

  • AB on September 13, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    doubtful that comments still open, but really wanted to put Derek Randall's 150 in the 4th Ashes test of 78-79 on the record here. True a packer-less aussie bowling lineup, but huge deficit and series on the line - I think singlehandedly got Eng up to 350 and a 200 run lead and they rolled the Aussies for 130-odd to win the game. If memory serves, Yallop devoted a chapter in his book to how he was plumb lbw to Dymock on not many - and that one decision cost Australia the Ashes! [[ It does not matter how late the comment comes. Valuable comments always get published. Ananth: ]]

  • craigmnz on November 14, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    Ananth

    Apologies for coming so late to the party (so to speak).

    Looking at all the postings I remembered one innings everyone else has failed to meantion and what's more I saw all of it.

    J. V. Coney 173* 1st test v. England 1983. Martin Crowe made his maiden test century in the same innings but after he left Coney still had to put on 100 for the 8th or 9th wicket to save the game for the Kiwis - setting up the debacle in Christchurch and our first series win over England.

    What made it even more impressive, Coney hadn't made a first class century for 6 years (let alone a test 100).

  • Abhishek Mukherjee on November 9, 2010, 15:21 GMT

    Harbhajan has broken through into this list!

  • mark adams on November 1, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    Something has to be said for Carl Hooper's 106 vs Pakistan in Karachi,1997 3rd test. It was a dismal tour for West Indies. They lost the test series 3-0 by wide margins. Yet examining the innings on its merit it has to rank as a top notch test innings against W. Akram,W.Younis,S.Mustaq and M.Ahmed. 77 balls faced, strike rate 117.77, 50% of WIndies innings total of 212. No other bat made more than 33% of his score. Might there not have been a consideration?

  • Gaurav on November 1, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    Ananth,

    A very interesting read. I love the fact that we have Almanack reports for all these matches old matches which took place before I was born. Just a general advice to make things easier for the readers - Instead of giving us just the match ID , could you make it a click-able link so that it redirects you to the match scorecard page? I am not sure how easy or difficult it is, but would definitely make things easier. Also, the 1999 Calcutta match, who can ever forget that ! Pakistan were actually 26-6, though eventually they did reach 36-6, as your article points out. Keep up the good work, look forward to your posts. [[ Gaurav I do not have access to Cricinfo's data base. So I do not know the link. They should provide the same although I fear it is a lot of extra work. Ananth: ]]

  • Michael on October 29, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    Another South African slightly disappointed that we didn't get a mention, especially as Kirsten's 275 following on is probably always going to be etched into my memory, that said I can't pick an innings you should drop so I reckon you have probably got it as spot on as possible. [[ Michael Don't forget Rhodes' 75 and Kirsten is now there in the Readers' XV. Ananth: ]]

    I would like to mention Kallis saving a test against the West Indies with a lone hundred in almost 6 hours (Test 1745) and also Taylor's excellent 176 to beat England after a first innings deficit, a lone effort which changed an otherwise low scoring game. (Test 148)

    As always thanks for entertaining me on Friday mornings

  • Bikram Singh Baital on October 27, 2010, 21:21 GMT

    What are you trying to say that you don't understand even the elementary hindi ? thats not real, plus this not about the language but the content of the post that is important [[ Why, is it a crime to say I do not understand Hindi. And how do I know the content if I do not understand what is written. And let me say with certainty, if a comment is to be published, it has to be in English. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on October 27, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    Ananth: I am not able to locate a link to your Baker's dozen in the 4th innings (batting). Did you include Jessop's 104 in it? Anyway, I gladly present more compelling golden age 3rd innings:

    1. Clem Hill: 160 vs Eng ("Timeless" Test #98). On Day 4, a flue-ridden Hill walked in at 180/7 (effectively 102/7) and pulled a Michael Jordan (Game 6 at Utah '97) on England.

    2. WW Armstrong: 159 vs SA (Test #76). To put it in perspective, the team-mates _and_ opposition, together, of this spiritual grand-father of Clive Lloyd made only 230 or so in both teams' second innings.

    Also worth a mention in Top-100 in this category:

    3. Patsy Hendren: 205* vs WI (Test #189) won the match. 4. G Headley: 176 vs Eng (Test #187) saved the match. These 176 runs, unlike SRT's, had no VVS to lend the support!

  • Alex on October 27, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    Ananth:

    1. If Gambhir's 137 is being talked about, shouldn't Crowe's 299 (Test #1162) deserve a mention? He walked in at 2 down with a deficit of 140 and batted out the last 2.5 days. [[ Yes, we all seem to have forgotten this Marti marathon effort. Ananth: ]]

    2. A must-have innings: Bradman's 212 (Test #258) ... what a Jan '37 he had! Back-to-back 3rd innings classics in 270 and 212!

    Bradman also has a truly violent 3rd innings 167 vs SA in the face of a 200-run deficit. Such performances (and not just 99.94) are the reason why it is just plain wrong to compare any batsman to the Don. [[ Ha you are inviting trouble. But what you say is true. It is not that others did not produce such innings. It was the frequency with which he delivered these innings which sets him apart. I must say, not a great bowling attack, though. Ananth: ]]

  • AB on November 11, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    Thanks Ananth - well, in that case... gotta stick a couple of Alan Border match-saving classics in here two: (1) 2nd test v India melbourne 1985 - i think india with a lead of 180, and Border got 160-odd not out and prolonged the 3rd innings until tea with the tail to deny India the win (along with the rain) (2) 4th test v England Old Trafford 1985 - Eng huge lead after 1st innings, and AB just batted and batted - though weather helped... cant remember his score, maybe 140-ish not out Allan Border in the 1980s was the greatest 3rd innings matchsalvager in test cricket, I reckon! PS - Ananth, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your work

  • AB on September 13, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    doubtful that comments still open, but really wanted to put Derek Randall's 150 in the 4th Ashes test of 78-79 on the record here. True a packer-less aussie bowling lineup, but huge deficit and series on the line - I think singlehandedly got Eng up to 350 and a 200 run lead and they rolled the Aussies for 130-odd to win the game. If memory serves, Yallop devoted a chapter in his book to how he was plumb lbw to Dymock on not many - and that one decision cost Australia the Ashes! [[ It does not matter how late the comment comes. Valuable comments always get published. Ananth: ]]

  • craigmnz on November 14, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    Ananth

    Apologies for coming so late to the party (so to speak).

    Looking at all the postings I remembered one innings everyone else has failed to meantion and what's more I saw all of it.

    J. V. Coney 173* 1st test v. England 1983. Martin Crowe made his maiden test century in the same innings but after he left Coney still had to put on 100 for the 8th or 9th wicket to save the game for the Kiwis - setting up the debacle in Christchurch and our first series win over England.

    What made it even more impressive, Coney hadn't made a first class century for 6 years (let alone a test 100).

  • Abhishek Mukherjee on November 9, 2010, 15:21 GMT

    Harbhajan has broken through into this list!

  • mark adams on November 1, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    Something has to be said for Carl Hooper's 106 vs Pakistan in Karachi,1997 3rd test. It was a dismal tour for West Indies. They lost the test series 3-0 by wide margins. Yet examining the innings on its merit it has to rank as a top notch test innings against W. Akram,W.Younis,S.Mustaq and M.Ahmed. 77 balls faced, strike rate 117.77, 50% of WIndies innings total of 212. No other bat made more than 33% of his score. Might there not have been a consideration?

  • Gaurav on November 1, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    Ananth,

    A very interesting read. I love the fact that we have Almanack reports for all these matches old matches which took place before I was born. Just a general advice to make things easier for the readers - Instead of giving us just the match ID , could you make it a click-able link so that it redirects you to the match scorecard page? I am not sure how easy or difficult it is, but would definitely make things easier. Also, the 1999 Calcutta match, who can ever forget that ! Pakistan were actually 26-6, though eventually they did reach 36-6, as your article points out. Keep up the good work, look forward to your posts. [[ Gaurav I do not have access to Cricinfo's data base. So I do not know the link. They should provide the same although I fear it is a lot of extra work. Ananth: ]]

  • Michael on October 29, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    Another South African slightly disappointed that we didn't get a mention, especially as Kirsten's 275 following on is probably always going to be etched into my memory, that said I can't pick an innings you should drop so I reckon you have probably got it as spot on as possible. [[ Michael Don't forget Rhodes' 75 and Kirsten is now there in the Readers' XV. Ananth: ]]

    I would like to mention Kallis saving a test against the West Indies with a lone hundred in almost 6 hours (Test 1745) and also Taylor's excellent 176 to beat England after a first innings deficit, a lone effort which changed an otherwise low scoring game. (Test 148)

    As always thanks for entertaining me on Friday mornings

  • Bikram Singh Baital on October 27, 2010, 21:21 GMT

    What are you trying to say that you don't understand even the elementary hindi ? thats not real, plus this not about the language but the content of the post that is important [[ Why, is it a crime to say I do not understand Hindi. And how do I know the content if I do not understand what is written. And let me say with certainty, if a comment is to be published, it has to be in English. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on October 27, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    Ananth: I am not able to locate a link to your Baker's dozen in the 4th innings (batting). Did you include Jessop's 104 in it? Anyway, I gladly present more compelling golden age 3rd innings:

    1. Clem Hill: 160 vs Eng ("Timeless" Test #98). On Day 4, a flue-ridden Hill walked in at 180/7 (effectively 102/7) and pulled a Michael Jordan (Game 6 at Utah '97) on England.

    2. WW Armstrong: 159 vs SA (Test #76). To put it in perspective, the team-mates _and_ opposition, together, of this spiritual grand-father of Clive Lloyd made only 230 or so in both teams' second innings.

    Also worth a mention in Top-100 in this category:

    3. Patsy Hendren: 205* vs WI (Test #189) won the match. 4. G Headley: 176 vs Eng (Test #187) saved the match. These 176 runs, unlike SRT's, had no VVS to lend the support!

  • Alex on October 27, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    Ananth:

    1. If Gambhir's 137 is being talked about, shouldn't Crowe's 299 (Test #1162) deserve a mention? He walked in at 2 down with a deficit of 140 and batted out the last 2.5 days. [[ Yes, we all seem to have forgotten this Marti marathon effort. Ananth: ]]

    2. A must-have innings: Bradman's 212 (Test #258) ... what a Jan '37 he had! Back-to-back 3rd innings classics in 270 and 212!

    Bradman also has a truly violent 3rd innings 167 vs SA in the face of a 200-run deficit. Such performances (and not just 99.94) are the reason why it is just plain wrong to compare any batsman to the Don. [[ Ha you are inviting trouble. But what you say is true. It is not that others did not produce such innings. It was the frequency with which he delivered these innings which sets him apart. I must say, not a great bowling attack, though. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhij on October 27, 2010, 14:02 GMT

    Boll, Re. vijaysharma’s observation- perhaps it was a bit over the top (like all us tendulkar fans)- however, there is an element of truth in it- especially psychologically , which perhaps does not show up statistically for various reasons. One of these reasons is perhaps the pasting Warne got on his debut vs Tendulkar and Shastri.

    It is an old , old trick in cricket to target either the debutant spinner , the champion spinner, or the “weak-link” spinner. Warne has been through perhaps all these stages in his battles against Tendulkar!

    On his debut he was specifically targeted. And on the 98 tour as well he was targeted- this time as the Main threat and generally acknowledged worlds’ best spinner. The treatment started at the warm up , first class game before the tests.

    I vividly remember that all the prehype was about the Tendulkar – Warne battle. At that point in 98/99 Mcgrath was considered just another good bowler out of the australian stable. The whole thing was the Tenduklar – Warne show. And so it turned out to be.

  • Anand on October 27, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    Ananth:

    Fine list. Of course, when you pick exactly 13 among a sizeable number of innings, there will be some which people feel you have "missed out". I guess you will have an even more difficult job at hand picking epochal second innings and first innings performances. But please do not stay away from presenting that because of the challenge. My personal feeling about your presentation is that my memory is limited to the last 20-25 years of cricket, but some innings you mention were played even before my father was born and it is so good to read about them and know about some special innings in the early part of test cricket's history. Please keep the good work going. Are you going to invite reader's poll on epochal second innings? I have a list of 4-5 ready from my side :-).

    Will it be easier for you to do epochal one day innings? You have only 2 innings to deal with and probably have more access to all the data since they all started only in 70's. Would love to see your list. [[ Anand You could mail me at ananth.itfigures@gmail.com Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on October 27, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    Certainly not up there with the greats, but Steve Waugh has often spoken about Delhi 1996 (#1335) as perhaps the toughest innings he ever played - 67 off 221 balls in close to 5 hours, out of a total of 234 with a couple of others reaching 30. Incredible heat, Kumble virtually unplayable (5-67 in 41 overs in the 3rd innings) and `after what seemed like 10 hours of scraping and scratching and crawling for every run, I looked up and couldn`t believe we`d only been able to set them 60 odd to win`. No match-changer, but if Steve Waugh rates it as his proudest innings I`ll take him at his word.

  • Boll on October 27, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    @Karthik re. Laxman`s beautiful 167 in #1481 which I had the pleasure of watching live. Tough to include it among the greats for numerous reasons. 1) Series was already lost, Aus eventually won 3-0. 2) Test was already lost, Aus ended up winning by an innnings and something. 3) Aussies had just scored 5-550 odd, so it was no minefield. 4) Extremely attacking field throughout turned many singles into boundaries. 5) Even Ponting and Slater got a bowl!

    Still...one of my favourite cricketing memories. Turned a tedious 4th day cakewalk into something to remember, and I`m sure VVS can still hear the reception he got when he left the ground. (Not sure that Brett Lee was as appreciative of the SCG crowd cheering yet another boundary clattering into the cover fence though.) [[ Boll It was for this reason that I selected Kapil's 129 ahead of Asif Iqbal's 146 and Laxman's 167. Kapil gave his bowlers something to bowl at. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on October 27, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    @Vijay Sharma. I beg to differ my good man. You suggest that Sachin`s onslaught demolished Warne forever. However, a quick look at the stats shows that pre `99 Warne averaged a rather embarrassing 69runs per wicket vs India. Post `99 it dropped to an almost creditable 39. I would suggest that the hammering may have done him some good!?

    On second thoughts, Warne`s next return against India in Kolkata (#1409) was 0-147 in 42 overs, so the after effects may have taken some time to subside...

    It shouldn`t be forgotten that in #1405, Warne took 4 wickets in the 1st innings, including Dravid, Azha and Sachin (for 4) and got Dravid again in the 2nd. In his final test at the same ground he took 6 in his only innings(#1714) - a match more memorable for Kumble`s magnificent 13-181.

    cheers

  • AAlex on October 27, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Ananth - since Pataudi got mentioned, let me point out another brave effort in a losing cause (worthy of Top 100 in this category):

    Compton: 184 vs the "Invincibles" Aus '48 (Test #289).

    Compton in the 3rd makes one rub one's eyes: 31 Tests, 31 Inns, 7 NO, 1565, ave=65.20, 4 100's, 10 50's.

    I guess if VVS had batted at #3, his record in the 3rd could have read better than Compton's but still! [[ Alex Sitting somewhere down under you decide "Hey let us make this guy Ananth's life a little more difficult" and come out with a gem. How could I have forgotten Compton's gem. I have got to get it in the Readers' Xiii. What to take away. A nice-to-have conundrum. Incidentally I have long treasured "Brightly fades the Don" by Fingleton. It is an all-time classic. I just now re-read his chapter on the Compton innings. Sheer poetry. If you have not read the book, please do so. I have a 1949 edition book, dog-eared and battered but still has a pride of place in my library. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on October 27, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    Ananth - I understand what you are trying to do but all these indicators --- whether the bowler was in good form, fast bowlers on fast track or not, etc. --- are best determined going into the match live ... not via a post-martem because you can deduce only so much from a score-card _alone_ (which will be the case here). I can give a detailed mathematical proof but will cite two extreme examples to illustrate this point vividly.

    Recall a recent anecdote told by Ian Chappell on how he agreed with Warne that Warne was bowling well in the 2001 Kolkata test but got demolished just because VVS-Dravid had one of those days. But, going just by the score-cards, we will probably think that he was out of form in that test/series. A real extreme example is Mohinder's telephone series vs WI in '83 (1 run in 6 innings) ... was the world's greatest batsman of fast bowling (bar Richards) out of form that badly or was it just the triumph of the skill & strategy of the WI fast bowlers? [[ Alex What you suggest can be done for one-off innings or sequences. But we always have to do analysis across tens of thousands of efforts. Then the only way out is something on the lines of what I have mentioned. If we get it 80% right that is pretty good. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on October 27, 2010, 2:18 GMT

    I have not published two comments so far on this article.

    The first one mentioned that this was only my own list and subjective. Fine and true. That is what i myself have said in the article and there was no need for anyone to repeat that.

    The second one was mostly in Hindi/Urdu. My understanding of these two wonderful languages is, at best, sketchy. I could easily get the comment translated.However that is not the point. This blog is in English and that is the language across the world. And that will be the language of this blog.

  • Youvi on October 27, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    I have been always fascinated with the India-England 1967 Headingley Test especially Pataudi's two innings. Off my head, Eng 550 for 4 dec (Boycott 246 no dropped next game for slow batting !), India fold up for 164 (Pataudi 64) and follow on and score 510 with Pataudi 148. Of course Eng beat India by some wickets but Pataudi's (two)innings worth considering esp the third inning century. [[ Youvi One of the bravest innings ever. Far better than many a two-eyed innings. What Pataudi would have achieved with two good eyes, we will never know. Ananth: ]]

  • Truth Teller on October 26, 2010, 23:27 GMT

    If you have to do such 'analysis' at least stop giving it a grandiose name like 'epochal' 'across the ages' and names like that. Just say this is my list what do you guys think. And stop putting down people when they dont' agree with your list. Everyone is allowed to have their own favorites.

  • Alex on October 26, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    Ananth - I suggest you stay away from computing the bowling index since it will never be as fool-proof as you want it to be ... it is like going for complicated atomic level models to explain events which are best explained by coarse grain modeling.

    The effectiveness a bowler depends on his form & ability, the pitch & environment conditions, the batsman's form & ability, etc. The latest example was in India's first innings vs Aus at B'lore. The innings folded as SRT's dismissal triggered a 5 wkts for 9 runs collapse. The same bowlers who couldn't take a wicket for 1 hour (and took only 3 in the entire Day 3) suddenly bagged 5 within the next 45 minutes ... nothing had changed except the pitch and the batsman at the striker's end! [[ Alex Extreme instances like this should not invalidate a process to determine the overall bowling strength of a team. It will only strengthen what I already have. Maybe not a perfect figure, which one anyhow is, but a tool to determine whether a batsman faced bowlers who are in good form (or not), who are familar with the conditions (or not), seamers on a seaming wicket (or feather-bed) et al. There is nothing recorded in any scorecard to indicate whether a wicket was turning square or there was no help at all. So we have to do this indirectly. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on October 26, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    Ananth, Good heavens...there is not the slightest allusion to you coloring any numbers. As you say, stats have their limits- and a "blanket" use of CTD or career stats obviously are far from perfect. This started coz you expressed puzzlement that all those accomplished batsmen couldn't get to double figures in the Tendulkar 122 inn. Someone else came up with the simple (and obvious) answer: In certain conditions( say english swinging), certain bowlers are far more dangerous than what their Career figures suggest.

    I gave the eg. of Anderson- and how in certain english conditions( not always, or all the time) he is quite deadly...

    So, in an anectodal post like this one good ol' fashioned cricket knowledge, and subjective experience should also have a say besides the cold, dry stats. [[ Abhi There is a need to do an extensive and intensive one-time exercise to determine the bowling quality for each match (why match, each innings). It could incorporate the following factors. 1. The bowlers who bowled in the innings and the extent of bowling they did. 2. The location - home/away/neutral. 3. The recent form. 4. The career-to-date bowling numbers. 5. The specific pitch where the match is played.

    The last factor is quite dicey since pitches change drastically over the years. Look at Hamilton. In test # 1633 the RpW was 14.1 and BpW was 29.5. Exactly one year later, in the next Test, the RpW was 40.1 and BpW was 72.2. What does one make of this.

    It is worthwhile putting in this effort and determine the composite Bowling Index. After that it remains the same since career-end figures are not used. Then the Bowling Index can be used in any analysis. This is more or less on the lines of your mail. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on October 26, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    Alex, Ha, you got me there!I actually saw that inn. first ball to last and it was a mighty fine inn. too. There seems to be some sort of notion that inspite of playing for 21 yrs ,with the exception of missing out on matches when injured , Tendulkar miraculously always played poor bowlers.

    Since at any point in time the selectors will almost always pick the best available I am not quite sure how this turns out to be.

    I sent in a long rant(not posted) basically on how we seem to "judge" the bowling quality more by bowler "reputation" than "present" performance.

    But ,in any case you are right.To me , a Tendulkar boundary- complete with zen like stance, min. effort etc etc...is equivalent to 2 boundaries of most other batsmen! [[ Abhi Please do not let your adulation for Tendulkar make unsound statements. I determine the bowling quality in any test by the career-todate numbers. Maybe not perfect. But as good as we can get. It would be a matter of a few programs for me to integrate recent form. Every analysis cannot also have very complex systems at the back. Recent form is a double edged weapon. Anything can be questioned. The same Abhi will question the recent form calculations, if it does not fit in with his expectation. Finally I suggest please get it out of your mind that I do anything to colour any players' figures. My comments are given based on the numbers, that is all. Ananth: ]]

  • Gans on October 26, 2010, 12:14 GMT

    8. MtId: 1444 (1999) 1 of 4 (Ind: 0-0) Pakistan won by 46 runs

    I dont think this match was played in 1999... can you please provide me with a link to the detailed scorecard.. unable to get the scorecard using the cricinfo stats archive [[ The match number is 1444. It was played during 1999. The link is http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63830.html Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on October 26, 2010, 11:14 GMT

    Ananth - Mention of SRT's excellent was in jest (Abhi, no doubt, will rate it pretty high). Two possible inclusions in the Top 50 in this category.

    1. Young Javed Miandad: 160 vs NZ '78 (Test #844). A low scoring match. [[ Alex, this is an excellent innings . Only problem is, as normal with New Zealand attacks, it was Hadlee + average bowlers. But a truly match-winning knock. Ananth: ]]

    2. David Boon: 184* vs Eng (Bicentenary Test, Test #1090). Batted 8+ hours to save the match and set the blue print for Gambhir to improve on. [[ 328 for 2 to draw a match hardly qualifies as a tough situation. Emburey and Hemmings were quite average even at Sydney. Ananth: ]]

    3. David Gower: 98* vs Aus (Test # 868). Eng lost convincingly thanks to G Chappell's own 98* but out of the 125 runs scored off tha bat while he was at the crease, Gower's contribution was 98. He lived dangerously but it all clicked after his initial jitters were overcome.

    BTW, excellent interview of Ian Chappell on the Cricinfo World XI on the cricinfo.

  • Venkatasubramanian K on October 26, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    what about Gautam Gambhir's 130 odd runs in India's follow on against New zealand in the second innigings of second test in 2009 (I think the venue is Wellington). I didn't check this info in Stats Guru. Being a ardent cricket fan for the past twenty plus years, plus a very enthusiastic follower for close to 9 years, I didn't cross check that. Yes the bowling was very ordinary with the likes of Chris Martin, Ian O'Brien and Jeetan Patel etc. But India was leading 1-0 in the series, without their first choice captain. They lost their stand in captain to a rash shot (That's the way he plays though), India were to climb a mountain for about 7 session. They did it convincingly though. Dravid as usual played second fiddle. There were useful contribution from VVS and Sachin as well. In a away series, (where India won a series last more than forty years, to keep the lead 1-0 intact was crucial). What i am more surprised is even though it is not mentioned in top 10, it is not mentioned. [[ Venkat Let us maintain our perspective here. Only two innings from drawn matches have been included. One is 337 by Hanif and the other is 262 by Amiss, both away in west Indies. Tell me how does 137 compare with these two huge innings made in similar circumstances. Ananth: ]]

  • Magesh on October 26, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    Hi ananth

    Really appreciate the good work you do. just a suggestion. how abt listing great sub 100 efforts seperately so that they dont get lost by sheer weight of nos. of other great knocks [[ Magesh Pretty good idea. Will probably add a separate table. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on October 26, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Ananth - VVS in the 3rd is the batting equivalent of Ambrose in the 4th. Apart from some jewels mentioned on this article+comments, note his record in the 3rd innings:

    48 tests, 44 innings, 9 NO, 2002 runs, ave=57.20, SR=50.74, 4 hundreds, 12 half-centuries.

    Sobers was supposedly a king of the 3rd (bar Bradman) but VVS is probably better. [[ Alex Your request for an innings-level analysis is there staring at me from my to-do list. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on October 26, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    Ananth - as for your lament "where were you?", we poor readers play Kapil-like cameos in your SMG-like innings. A few gems: [[ Alex the cameos maketh the long innings. Ananth: ]]

    1. Ranji's 154* vs Aus in his first, and much hyped, test: ended in a close defeat and heralded the greatest bat of the golden era. [[ Yes, worthy of inclusion. Unfortunately I set myself the self-imposed limit of only one loss. Ananth: ]]

    2. Gomes' 100 vs Eng '84 in Marshall's 1-handed test: shaped the blackwash. [[ Gomes' effort was in the second innings of the match. Ananth: ]]

    3. Viswanath's 139 vs WI in '74: swung the exciting series in India's favor albeit WI would win it 3-2. [[ Yes, India came back to draw 2-2 from 0-2 but lost the decisder. Again two flat first innings and then the defining third innings. rated quite high in the table. Ananth: ]]

    4. Azhar's spanking 164* vs SA in '95: broke the match open and won the series 2-1.

    Also, I am surprised that Abhi missed this but ...

    5. SRT's 176 vs WI in '02: saved a gone match in the company of (who else but) VVS. [[ 358 & 497, followed by 471 for 8 makes this a fairly comfortable batting wicket. The less said about the bowling, the better. Ananth: ]]

  • shane on October 26, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    I have two nominations though I am not 100% sure they are 3rd innings.

    Border's unbeaten 100 against WI in 1984. Had a long unbeaten 10th wicket stand with Alderman to deny the Windies a victory. And this was after 98 not out in first innings.

    Greatbatch's century in Perth in 1989. Similar to the innings of Hanif and Amiss. Batted for about 10 hours and kept in company with tail (mainly Snedden) [[ Shane You bowled two Gatting-BasitAli-type deliveries. Both are in the third innings, are classics and will be considered for inclusion in the Readers' Xiii.

    Ananth: ]]

  • Sanchez on October 26, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    A simple request, whilst my comment was a bit in jest, I do think that maybe putting one innings from a Bangladeshi and a Zimbabwean would be nice. I dont think Ashraful's and Whittall's innings was better than any of the others, but when you consider how diabolical some of the batting has been from the two teams, it probably has a bigger impact. [[ Sanchez Very valid point. Has been included outside the Readers' Xiii. Ananth: ]]

  • Amit Kumar on October 26, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    its good to see that you reply to all the comments .. keep up the good work !!! [[ Amit Essential in an article of this type. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on October 26, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    The Readers' Bakers' dozen has been posted. Ananth

  • Ganesh on October 26, 2010, 4:41 GMT

    Ananth

    Wow !!! This article and the comments that have followed have bought out the beauty of cricket as the game. Gooch 154 was probably one of the all time classic innings , against an attack which had probably the finest bowling attack of all time .. Laxman's 281 is too much in everybody's memory to recount,but kapil's 129 against Donald was an underrated classic. In fact the "Tandav" pull against a Donald short ball is probably the most poetic shot that I have seen in 30 years of following the game. All other classics mentioned above just take me back into a time capsule, Anwar- 188. Afridi- 141, Vengsarkar-102, Slaters 123, Vishwanath - 139, Thorpe - 200 .

    Keep up the good work..

  • Amit on October 26, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    Awesome list! A few more - 1.Pataudi's 150 odd in a losing cause at leeds? On one eye and one leg (as my dad put it) 2. Vengsarkar 103 at lords under very difficult condition along with Vishy's 113 to save the match. [[ Amit Is there in the second Xiii. Ananth: ]] 3. Another lords test where vengsarkar got 155, but an absolute gem came from kapil dev getting 89 in 59? balls followed by 3 wkts in 3 overs to give india a sniff of victory when a massive innings defeat was a given.

  • Jayanta on October 26, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    Though you included (and others too) some great innings by Sachin already, the best 3rd innings I remember from him was at Basin Reserve, in 1998. Ind shot out for 208 (Azhar centurion), and conceded a lead of about 170. Sachin played without any support, and put a lead of 200+. India could win, but somehow could not dislodge McMillan / Cairns. What makes it special is the quality of the wicket (green, at its best), and I remember seeing it in the morning 3 am in a hotel in Nainital, at about 0c, with wrappers all around me except the eyes. :) [[ Jayantha 7 batsmen supported Tendulkar with 20+ knocks. Also it was wround one third of the Indian total. The pitch was nowhere near the diabolical pitches which turned up four years later.The two middle innings were 350+. Ananth: ]]

  • RS on October 26, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    ok..it is fine if it is just a relaxing exercise :) sorry about my earlier comment then..have fun buds [[ Rahul You also join in the fun !!! Ananth: ]]

  • kimmyjoe on October 26, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    Imran Khan's 136 against Australia at Adelaide - he did have support from Wasim Akram (123) and Salim Malik but Pakistan started their second innings 83 runs adrift, soon became 3 down for 7, then 4 down for 21 and the 5 down for 91 (effectively 5 down for 7) - Imran saw that through and ultimately set Australia a 4th innings target. [[ Kamran A very strong contender for the Readers' Xiii. Only reasons the match ended in a draw were Imran Khan and Wasim Akram. Only thing is the average quality of Aussie bowling, Hughes/Campbell/Taylor/Rackemann. So many gems being unearthed by readers. Strengthens my feel on such articles. The reader participation is great. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on October 26, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    I think it is a good idea for me to start a nice "Readers' Bakers' dozen". (Have just finished reading Lynne Truss's classic on English language punctuation, "Eats, shoots and leaves". So I hope I have got the apostrophes correct). I will get this going within a few hours and update as we move along. I feel Danny, Wapsting and Abhishek have given enough ammunition to launch this straightaway.

  • Rahul Sharma on October 26, 2010, 1:57 GMT

    How come Bradman's 270 and Laxman's 281 are ranked when in both there was a significant support role from other players while you have excluded other innings based this criteria? What is the basis for ranking of these articles that are do selected. I would really have you do intense analysis that you were attempting earlier than just provding a list of innings. I think you are so much smarter than this. Your fans, including me, deserve better. [[ Rahul The size of the innings takes care of this. And lest you forget I have not ranked the innings. Also how do you expect me to keep on proiducing heavy-duty analysis week after week. If I do not have a release article like this, I will probably have to quit. Madhu is there to provide you such articles when I do not do. I feel the readers love such anecdotal articles since they are able to participate. Not through some silly SMS comment but real digging in and coming out with gems. See the contributions of Abhishek, Waspsting and Danny. Ananth: ]]

  • danny on October 26, 2010, 0:45 GMT

    Laxman's 167 was futile in that the game was well lost. What it did do, was create a belief in the man of what he was capable of. The next time he played a gem in a futile situation, it turned out to be (in my book), the best knock ever played. So the epochal nature of an innings may not be seen in the match alone, it may instead manifest itself over a decade. [[ Danny I agree. The first was a fore-teller of the second. And the defiance showed the man of steel., who has been there until last fortnight. Ananth: ]]

    i witnessed live the 167 and knew he was special. Three times he has visited Sydney, and three times he has left us dazzled with a century (off topic i know). Tendy's 155* had a similar career effect on him and Warne, not sure how you integrate 'career effect' into such an analysis

    Gooch/Laxman (281) are top 2 in my book

    finally - Sehwag 151 was epochal because it was match saving and he wasnt known for this ability til then

    Crowe's 299 was epochal because any one getting 299 is going to be remembered forever

    trivia - Hayden (10) has more third innings hundreds than anyone else - but were any epochal? maybe not?

    keep it up

  • Sanchez on October 26, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    What about Glenn McGrath's 61 against NZ (and yes, that is a bit tongue in cheek)? :) [[ Sanchez McGrath's was in the second innings of the match. Ananth: ]]

    Been looking through Statsguru in third innings and I have been reminded of some gems. Jaffer's 212 against the WI in 2006 was amazing, considering they were down by 130 on the first innings, and he ended up scoring 7 runs in the next five innings. [[ Jaffer, the forgotten man. Goes to West Indies, scores a double century and then shows up in IPL, is ill at ease and then completely disapperas. Ananth: ]]

    And just to include a Bangladeshi, Mohammad Ashraful's 129* against SL in 2007. Bangladesh rolled for 62, SL put on 451, and he came in when 4-59. Still got pantsed, but a good innings.

    Guy Whittall batted superbly in 2000 against NZ. Following on nearly 300 runs behind, came in at 4-48, batted for 500 minutes, and 188 runs. Wasnt a great NZ attack by any means, with Nash, O'Connor, McMillan, Astle, Cairns and Wiseman.

  • Waspsting on October 25, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    Dear Ananth, i've been looking through some of your articles - they give real food for thought, and I think they're great. Let me just say how I appreciate you replying in person to a lot of the comments (and how happy I am you have the sense and authority to make sure the tone of the conversations remains to the point).

    Thanks for all the great work!

    Re: the comment of mine which you mistakenly deleted... it really made me laugh! I thought, "Here I am giving the stats master fun little stories... duh, of course he's not going to publish it".

    Will look through the bowling stuff soon.

    Thanks again, bro, Cheers, [[ Majid In fact I loved your comments By mistake I hit the delete key but since I also get a copy of the mail, I cut and pasted. Your comment deserved that act. Ananth: ]]

  • etienne on October 25, 2010, 22:24 GMT

    hey King Viv Master Blaster, the fastest test century against England in 1986 at Antigua should be mentioned. It changed the course of a match heading for a draw! [[ Etienne While I agree on the ferocity of the innings It is not probably correct to say that the match was heading for a draw. England were all out early on the fourth day with a deficit of 164 and even a normal innings could have seen the declaration at the end of fourth day and a possible win on the fifth. But it must be agreed that the impact of the innings meant that England lost two wickets on the fourth day itself. Ananth: ]]

  • Anonymous on October 25, 2010, 20:45 GMT

    non sensical article..your big ego is showing big time..you r just passing judgement on greats of the game and their best performances when perhaps you would not know silly point from short leg. Get over your laziness and do some meaningful work. [[ When you make a comment like this, you should at least have some guts to give a name and mailid ??? But thanks anyhow. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on October 25, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    By mistake I deleted the following comment from Wapsting". My sincere apologies. Ananth I would second the nomination of Dudley Nourse's 231 on a spinning track against 3 great spinners. Read Fingleton's description of it - he was absolutely awestruck, thought it the best performance ever against O'Reilly, Grimmett and Fleetwood-Smith. tells a story of how the captain, Vic Richardson, asked his bowler - "Got any ideas about Dudley, Chuck?" Back came the answer - "yes. Shoot him"

    Taylor tells one about Tendulkar's 155 not out. Warne bowled a good lenght ball from around the wicket outside leg stump turning sharply. Tendulkar slogged it over midwicket for 6. Next ball was the same, and Tendulkar came down the wicket and went inside out over extra cover for four. Mark Taylor ran upto to talk to Warne. "Well, mate. What do we do now?" Said Warne, "We lose".

  • Umesh on October 25, 2010, 19:04 GMT

    hi....i m not tht good with the stats thing....but i read all the comments on this article..and its nice to knw tht even in this generation fans hv very good knowledge abt test cricket..and i wanted to thank u on such a wonderful article..

    its really tough to single out one special inning out of so many test matches played since 100 years..its not tht easy..but still u did a terrific job...thumbs up...for me...laxman's 281 is the best test inning of all time..not just it won us the match and the series..but also bcoz it differentiates the past era and the present. the new spirit, new attitude, the josh...i still and will always think...ganguly has been the best captain India ever got... this team and Indian cricket owes a lot to tht man... He taught us how to fight and how to believe in win...and then it just became habit... but it was rather sad to see such an end to a glorious chapter of Indian history. period..

  • Ravindra Marathe on October 25, 2010, 18:29 GMT

    Ananth, in the first quarter of 2006 Ponting made 2 hundred pairs: 2nd/4th innings in Sydney vs SAf and 1st/3rd innings in Durban vs SAf. I was talking about the latter in my previous post.

    And I don't know how I forgot Dravid's low-scoring high-impact masterclass vs Windies at Kingston 2006. That was the last test of the series, Dravid made 81 in the 1st inn, and 68* out of 171 in the 3rd inn. The second best from India was 19. The pitch was difficult to bat on and India won the away test. [[ Ravi And the away series. Dravid's 68 has got huge number of points compared to the runs but the competition here for selection is fierce. A truly match winning innings. And let us not forget the first innings effort of 81. Where, incidentally, is that Dravid now. Ananth: ]]

  • ABHISHEK MUKHERJEE on October 25, 2010, 18:23 GMT

    {{ Salman Butt's 122 at Multan. Again, "I would appreciate no snide comments on this test". [[ You know me well enough to be assured that I HAVE NEVER EVER MABE SNIDE COMMENTS ON ANY PLAYER. Ananth: ]] }}

    Ananth: Of course I know you well enough! I was merely quoting you from your description of the Hussey innings to stop OTHERS.

    By the way, awesome post. When do the third innings bowlers get their chance?

  • IronMan on October 25, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    A well compiled list Ananth....hats off to you. However, it's an interesting observation that you've made on Jayasuriya's innings at Faisalabad. As per you, the pitch was a featherbed. With all due respect sir, the pitch on which Laxman and Dravid scored those big hundreds against Australia at the Eden Gardens, wasn't a sticky dog either. In fact, the pitch had become so flat by the end of day 3 and 4, that a whole day passed without a wicket falling. Not a treacherous-spitting cobra of a pitch, surely. I imagine that those innings stand strong in the memory of the Indian people, but surely, to exalt it while belittling an other remarkable effort doesn't sound fair.

    Saluti [[ Ian Have you ever seen me belittle a player. I only mentioned Faisalabad's reputation. There is no doubt that Calcutta on the fourth day was quite easy to bat on. However the huge deficit and the fact that the top order had caved in probably counted a lot. Anyhow do not forget that I have selected Jayasuriya's stupendous effort, amongst probably 50 other efforts, as seen by the reader comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Kapil Kulkarni on October 25, 2010, 18:08 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Its awesome of you to reply to each and every comment. I mighty liked that.

    Also the line, "Anyhow why should all of us think alike." deserves a nod. Great work and super article.

    Cheers, Kapil

  • animesh kumar on October 25, 2010, 17:54 GMT

    tendulkar 136 against pakistan and laxman 72 against austrelia this year

  • ABHISHEK MUKHERJEE on October 25, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    Some other possible inclusions: Massie's 55 in the last Eng vs Aus test that wasn't an Ashes encounter. Duff's 104 batting at no. 10. Hill's 87 where no one else crossed 50. A great test. Umrigar's 172* shall possibly not make the cut because Durrani also got 104. Even then, a stupendous match effort, matching Mankad at Lord's. [[ You are making me feel nostalgic since this was a great innings by Durrani who I admired as a boy. Also away in West Indies. Ananth: ]]

    Amla's 123 won't feature because a high-scoring test, but it should be noted that South Africa didn't score too many (I mean, Amla had another hundred).

  • ABHISHEK MUKHERJEE on October 25, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    Just curious - if Gillespie's 26 gets mentioned, should we leave out Martyn himself? [[ Abhishek Probably tounge-in-cheek. However my personal feeling is that Gillespie facing and surviving 165 balls on a turning pitch was probably more significant than Martyn facing 210 balls. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on October 25, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    Adam Gilchrist made 144 and Martyn 151 in the third innings of Kandy test of 2004. Which one of these will you call a support innings. [[ Pawan A few flippant answers would be - what day of the week it is - which side of the bed you got out of - Do you like left handers or right handers. You understand what I am saying. It is very difficult. These should be considered as a siamese twin of innings. If pushed against the wall, I would say Martyn's was more valuable since although Gilchrist scored quickly he departed at 226 for 3 when Australia were only 130 ahead. Martyn held the innings together scoring 161 in 349 balls, a 7-hour effort. Ananth: ]]

  • waspsting on October 25, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    Technically not an 'official' test - but Gary Sobers' 254 against australia for the world eleven at Melbourne. good attack, great scene - and an absolute butchering. [[ Yes, Majid. If ever these tests were recognized this would stand right there in the top 10. Ananth: ]]

    Have to be a bit vague with the next suggestion - Boycott mentioned an innings Sobers played (I believe it was in the 3rd innings, probably in Barbados). he said the cracks were so big you could have put your hand in them, but Sobers scored a hundred anyway. [[ Sobers has not scored a third innings century at Bridgetown. However I get the feeling that the innings you are referring to is in match 629 (1968) at Jamaica. England 376. West Indies 143. West Indies 391 for 9 (Sobers 113*). England 68 for 8. When you see the second and fourth innings Boycott was probably referring to this. Ananth: ]]

    I like the different styles of innings here. I saw the Gooch one - it was a roughing it out thing, very un-fluent, but tremendously difficult. Whereas with Laxman, I don't think you can play much better than he did that day. Botham's famous knock i've always felt was a tad overrated - it was basically desperation stuff, and Willis should get more credit for winning that game. if it hadn't been an ashes match, probably wouldn't be remembered like it is. [[ Yes you are absolutely correct. However all these are non-scorecard subjective, albiet wonderful, facts. 154 out of 252 against that West Indian attack. I have always held that Willis deserves at least as much credit. If you refer to my fourth innings bowling article I have placed Willis' 8 for 42 as probably one of the best ever. Ananth: ]]

    Not snideness, but Hussey was dropped off of simple catches multiple times in his innings. Wouldn't call it "great". [[ I fully agree with you on the "great" term. However if we take the match at its face value and look at the scorecard, this is one of the truly outstanding innings. Australia were nearly as far behind as India at Calcutta or England at Headingley. Thanks for some lovely insights. Ananth: ]]

  • ABHISHEK MUKHERJEE on October 25, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    Continuing...

    Azharuddin's 163 at Kanpur. Brilliant match-winning stuffin a low-scoring match against a quality attack that gave them a serious drubbing the previous test. [[ Yes, an excellent innings, against, I would say, an average attack. Also lot of good support. But possibly the best innings played by Azhar for India. Ananth: ]]

    Afridi's 141 at Chennai. Possibly the second most overlooked innings since Arthur Morris' 196. [[ This probably lost out since I had already selected Anwar's 188 and Hanif's 337. But as innings go this is one of the best. Unfortunately overshadowed by Tendulkar's 136 but it must be said that Pakistan won, and a major reason was Afridi's innings. Nearly half the team runs, against an excellent bowling attack. Ananth: ]]

    Please tell me you've missed Slater's 123 erroneously. It couldn't have been on purpose. [[ Slater's classic 123 out of 188 is in the top-20 best third innings of all time. It was always under consideration. Only reason for non-selection was that Australia were not behind at any time. They had a good first innings lead. Also I was committed to 270 and Hussey's was such a coming-from-behind innings that I selected that. Anyhow this is the problem of plenty of quality and very few spots. Ananth: ]]

    Salman Butt's 122 at Multan. Again, "I would appreciate no snide comments on this test". [[ You know me well enough to be assured that I HAVE NEVER EVER MABE SNIDE COMMENTS ON ANY PLAYER. Ananth: ]]

    Collie Smith's 168. Possibly doesn't meet the cut because Worrell scored that fantastic 191* in the same match.

    Border's 163 vs India at MCG. You'd possibly mention the Indian attack and Greg Matthews' 100 in the first innings.

    Hazare's 145. An epic effort, given the fact that he had a hundred the previous DAY.

    Gavaskar's 127* against Imran, Sarfraz and Qadir. Yes, I know Amarnath scored 78.

    Lara's 130, following his 221 in the same test. [[ This is the nearest Lara comes to consideration. But a lost match. More than half of the 688 in this test. Ananth: ]]

    To round things, Haynes' 143. I agree that a raging Allan Border was the only threat, but still... [[ Many thanks for making my job very difficult. You could have created 13 innings on your own. Ananth: ]]

  • Vats on October 25, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    (1) Vinoo Mankad, 184 vs. England, Lord's, 1952 184 out of 270 scored in 4-and-a-half hours, with India trailing by 302, against Trueman, Alec Bedser and Laker in their own backyard, in a match where he also top-scored for his team in the 1st innings AND took a 5-fer in the opposition's first dig. Surely one of the great solo efforts of all-time. [[ Already commented. Ananth: ]]

    (2) Dilip Vengsarkar, 102 vs. England, Leeds, 1986 Admittedly after a big 1st innings lead, but on a wicket where the next highest score by any other batsman was 35. [[ It is in the second table, the fourth entry. Ananth: ]]

    (3) Albert Ward, 117 vs. Australia, Sydney, 1894 Following-on 261 behind, scored at the top of the order out of 217 scored while he was at the crease. Good enough to gain England victory by 10 runs. [[ Look at the support. 9 other batsmen reached double figures and gave good support. But nice of you to remember such innings forgotten by most people, for that matter myself. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • ABHISHEK MUKHERJEE on October 25, 2010, 16:36 GMT

    One immediate innings that comes to my mind is VVS' 167. It seems inconsequential given the result, but it's definitely one of the best innings one ever gets to see. It was a tough opposition, a lost case and yet one of the most beautiful displays of batting you'd get to see. [[ Yes, Abhishek Laxman's 167 could easily have walked in as the "losing" innings. I selected Kapil's 129 because it gace the bowlers a total to defend. Ananth: ]]

    Albeit great support from Cowdrey, I thought May's 285 deserves a mention somewhere. [[ May's innings deserves serious consideration. However I had decided on only two drawn innings and look at the two innings selected. Hanif's 337 and Amiss' 262. Ananth: ]]

    Dudley Nourse's 231 was possibly overshadowed by McCabe's 189* in the fourth innings, but it was a classic. [[ Yes, Nourse's 231 was made against Groimmett/O'reilly/Fleetwood-Smith/McCormick. However the previos explanation applies here also. Ananth: ]]

    Hendren's 205. I know Ames scored 105, but Hendren's innings made the victory possible.

    Sardesai's super-200*. India followed on and almost won it. Borde scored a hundred as well, though, and the Kiwi attack wasn't great. [[ Drawn match, but a very good innings, that too after a follow-on. I heard the complete commentary of this.Sardesai classic. In the end India almost won and the unpires were running between ends to get as many overs as possible. Ananth: ]]

    Mankad's magnum opus - his 184. Possibly not THAT great if you consider only that innings. [[ A very brave effort. Bedser/Trueman/Laker/Jenkins. Ananth: ]]

    A double mention: Gilchrist 144 and Martyn 161 at Kandy. Would miss out probably because there were two of them. I'm not mentioning Hayden's 130 at Galle because there were two others. [[ Yes, Gilchrist and Martyn fought with each other for credit. Ananth: ]]

    To be continued... :D

  • Karthik on October 25, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    How about these innings?? Azhar 163* Test#1344 Azhar 102 Test#1486 (his last innings) G Viswanath 137 Test#666 (debut) G Viswanath 139 Test#750 Laxman 167 Test#1481 in a lost case Laxman 69 Test#1720 on Mumbai milefield Ravi Shastri 107 Test#1118 Vengsarkar 157 Test#928 Vengsarkar 102 Test#1080

  • Ravi on October 25, 2010, 15:49 GMT

    I like this article Ananth. Dravid played a good hand v Pak at Kolkata 2005 with hundreds in the 1st and 3rd innings (supported by Sachin's 52 and Karthik's 93) and India won. Of course there was Kumble with 7 scalps in the 4th innings.

    And Pontings' hundred pairs v SAF in 2006. Haydens hundred brings this one down a bit. But a forceful inning nevertheless. [[ Ravi Ponting's pair was posted in the second and fourth innings. Hayden's is a good innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Ryan on October 25, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    A bit dissapointed to see no south aficans in the list, so thought i would throw in gary kirstens 275 against england at durban in 1999. Batting for nearly 15 hours.. [[ Ryan I agree that Gary's 275 deserves serious consideration. In fact it is in the top-20 in the third innings performances. You would see that I have included Rhodes' 76 in the second XIII. Ananth: ]]

  • Ram Jane on October 25, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    What a pity that you excluded sachin's 120 at Edgbaston because in your opinion you thought that Dominic Cork, Mullally at their best in typical swinging english condition were worst then what Mike Hussey had to face in a match that was mired in controversy and a very depleted/demoralized attack. [[ I did not exclude Sachin's 120. It never came into the picture. I only gave an explanation to Abhi's comment, that is all. Anyhow why should all of us think alike. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on October 25, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Where does Laxman's 79 stand (winning margin only 72 runs)? (at perth, came in at 125/5, india added 160 odd runs aganist lee, tait, jhonson and S.clarke). First time ever an asian team had won at perth. [[ It gets way above points for 79 runs but nowhere near the top. The bowlers were all, barrinmg Lee, in the early part of their careers. Ananth: ]]

    On similar lines, a separate article is needed to look at greatest partnerships in 3rd/4th innings, this will also recognise the support innings that are left out.

  • love goel on October 25, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    I don't know what wrong did Andy flower to, that he keeps missing all the list. Was especially disappointed to not see him even considered for Cricinfo XI. Two of his great 3rd innings performances

    Zimbabwe in India : Match drawn Test no. 1517 | 2000/01 season

    A Flower† not out 232 544 444

    South Africa in Zimbabwe Test Series South Africa won by 9 wickets Test no. 1562 | 2001/02 season

    A Flower† not out 199

    These 2 innings certainly deserve a mention, comparable to inning 12/13 respectively

    None by Lara! That's a bummer. Will check it out sometime

    [[ Goel Lara has not been that great in the third innings. The first innings of Andy Flower was in a match in which 1500 runs were scored for 22 wickets. It was an out-and-out batsmen's wicket.The second innings was a far better effort. One support by Masakadza and nothing else. However only an average bowling attack. But still a RpW value of 56.

    Ananth: ]]

  • suffianbutt on October 25, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Test no. 1738

    i usually don't comment but i couldn't help it the innings that razzaq and kamran played against India at Mohali

    i know it was a team effort with fifties from Inzamam Yousuf but when razzaq arrived the team was in trouble and the way razzaq handled the pressure and supported young kamran was unforgettable

    it was an "epochal" performances in the third innings :) [[ Suffian Yes I certainly agree. Only thing is that both played equally well and shared the credit. Don't forget that there were 5 other good knocks. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on October 25, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    Sachin 122, Edgbaston, 1996.

    India got walloped... But it was an absolutely classic innings- somehow never finds a mention anywhere.

    But , all in all, when VVS's 281 will be the first to mind in most cases. [[ Ha! Abhi, I was waiting for you. 122 out of 200 at crease, next batsman scoring in a not-so-high scoring match. Only major problem was the bowling. Against Lewis/Cork/Mullally/Irani/Patel how did these batsmen fail. One of the worst English attacks in recent times. But Tendulkar's was a classic. Ananth: ]]

  • Tom on October 25, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    Any chance that KP's 2005 knock at The Oval would be in with a chance, Ananth? Sure, it was a drawn match, but the quality of bowling was high and the series was in the balance. Perhaps not top-13 but might it deserve a place on the possibles list? [[ Tom Again it is a question of putting in 25 great innings into 13 slots. Pietersen's innings is certainly in the top-100. Also the series situation was important. The draw was earned only by Pietersen's innings. Else the series would have been drawn. Maybe I should have a third XIII. Danny has pointed out so many innings and so have everyone, including you. Ananth: ]]

  • Vijay Sharma on October 25, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    Nice one Ananth. However I have a few quibbles here. I'd liked to have Sachin's 155 ahead of Kapil's 129 (in spite of the fact that Kapil is my very own schoolboy hero) because Sachin's 155 not only won the Test for India, it also demolished Warne forever...he never recovered from that pounding to have any respectability against any Indian batting line up. People like Nayan Mongia hammered Warne and made him look like a third rate Ranji spinner ever since Sachin took his case. [[ Vijay Kapil's innings was included, as a losing innings. I wanted one losing innings and I evaluated between this and Asif Iqbal's 146. You must see the scorecard to see the impact of this innings. Some of the factors you mention are factors which are subjective conclusions. Ananth: ]]

  • Kapil on October 25, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    Gavaskar's 220 against the West Indies on a bouncy track, where West Indies nearly lost the test. How is that not there. [[ Kapil Only reason was the West Indian bowling attack (not one great bowler) and the batting orientation of the test. But I have to admit that it was in his fourrh test is not considered. Ananth: ]]

  • Thakur Baldev Singh on October 25, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    Dear A,

    If someone truly trying to win a test or save from a certain defeat, the support innings are necessary. A great inning should not be counted out because someone else played well too. But if there is no support and the team loses then you don't consider it to be good enough for that reason r more appropriately Wisdon does not show it. It is a double whammy.

  • Danny on October 25, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    hi

    great blog

    some others to consider

    Graham Thorpe's 200* was a near run a ball effort that transformed a match (and is even more memorable for the Astle fireworks that it set up) - it was match winning too and came after two low scoring innings and away from home [[ Danny An excellent response throwing light on many gems. Thorpe's effort was an excellent one, but overshadowed by Astle's blitz. I would say it deserves consideration in the second XIII at least. Ananth: ]]

    Sobers 198 against India - mainly because it was match winning, away from home and also because it was Sobers [[ Again many positives. - Dead equal first innings. - Against Subash Gupte but a few other average bowlers. - Came in at 0 for 2, soon 83 for 4. - Admittedly good support from the next three batsmen. Again a candidate for inclusion in either table. Ananth: ]]

    Fleming 174* vs Sri Lanka - though someone else got a hundred, it was an early career defining knock for the kiwi - maybe not a true great, but also scored on foreign soil [[ ALso a wonderful innings. Away, against Murali and gang. Excellent support from McMillan. Away win. Certainly worth considering. Ananth: ]]

    Trumper's 159 in 1910 scored at a run a ball (100 years ago) and also helped Aussies to win after conceding a 150 run lead on 1st innings. Scored in less than three hours and out of 237 while he was at the wicket, perhaps the most underrated third innings knock of the last 100 years. [[ Danny This is an innings I am going to get in, come what may. The only thing pegging it back was the early-stages Soutrh African attack and the fact that it was a batsmen's test, barring the last innings.In fact it is in the top-40 in Wisden-100 list. Ananth: ]]

    Finally, Hammond's 177 vs Australia in 1929 - his second ton in the match, set up a close victory (won by 12 runs), and faced over 600 balls, showed his class [[ Good scores all round. But a wonderful innings and finally England won only by 12 runs. Truly invaluable innings. Bowling, is however, Grimmett + not-so-great bowlers. Also 21 for 2 to 283 for 2 with Jardine's support made the situation not so deadly. Probably not as great as Trumper's but worth a look for the second table. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING UNTIL NOW. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on October 25, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    Ananth - good to see you back on familiar turf! I suggest Lloyd's 163 vs Ind @Bangalore '74 and Gambhir's marathon 134 vs NZ '08 as contenders for Top 50 in this category. [[ Alex Yes I can see Lloyd's innings proclaiming its credentials, viz., - Against the Indian spinners, - Flat two first innings, - Came in at 75 for 3, - Led to an important win, only a 3-2 win in the series. I am not that sure about Gambhir's innings only because there was excellent supprt, 124 by Laxman and three fifties by RD/SRT/YS. Ananth: ]]

  • Anush on October 25, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    I think Mahela Jayawardene's 119 against England at Lord's in 2006 is worth a mention. It's one of those draw-the-Test-from-way-behind kind of innings. Sri Lanka, after following on still trailing by 360 odd runs, managed to save the Test by not allowing ENG to bat in the 4th innings. [[ Anush I am sorry, you are way off mark. Jayawardene scored 119 out of 537 for 9 and there were 6 scores of 50+ supporting him. This innings does not come anywhere near the top. Ananth: ]]

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  • Anush on October 25, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    I think Mahela Jayawardene's 119 against England at Lord's in 2006 is worth a mention. It's one of those draw-the-Test-from-way-behind kind of innings. Sri Lanka, after following on still trailing by 360 odd runs, managed to save the Test by not allowing ENG to bat in the 4th innings. [[ Anush I am sorry, you are way off mark. Jayawardene scored 119 out of 537 for 9 and there were 6 scores of 50+ supporting him. This innings does not come anywhere near the top. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on October 25, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    Ananth - good to see you back on familiar turf! I suggest Lloyd's 163 vs Ind @Bangalore '74 and Gambhir's marathon 134 vs NZ '08 as contenders for Top 50 in this category. [[ Alex Yes I can see Lloyd's innings proclaiming its credentials, viz., - Against the Indian spinners, - Flat two first innings, - Came in at 75 for 3, - Led to an important win, only a 3-2 win in the series. I am not that sure about Gambhir's innings only because there was excellent supprt, 124 by Laxman and three fifties by RD/SRT/YS. Ananth: ]]

  • Danny on October 25, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    hi

    great blog

    some others to consider

    Graham Thorpe's 200* was a near run a ball effort that transformed a match (and is even more memorable for the Astle fireworks that it set up) - it was match winning too and came after two low scoring innings and away from home [[ Danny An excellent response throwing light on many gems. Thorpe's effort was an excellent one, but overshadowed by Astle's blitz. I would say it deserves consideration in the second XIII at least. Ananth: ]]

    Sobers 198 against India - mainly because it was match winning, away from home and also because it was Sobers [[ Again many positives. - Dead equal first innings. - Against Subash Gupte but a few other average bowlers. - Came in at 0 for 2, soon 83 for 4. - Admittedly good support from the next three batsmen. Again a candidate for inclusion in either table. Ananth: ]]

    Fleming 174* vs Sri Lanka - though someone else got a hundred, it was an early career defining knock for the kiwi - maybe not a true great, but also scored on foreign soil [[ ALso a wonderful innings. Away, against Murali and gang. Excellent support from McMillan. Away win. Certainly worth considering. Ananth: ]]

    Trumper's 159 in 1910 scored at a run a ball (100 years ago) and also helped Aussies to win after conceding a 150 run lead on 1st innings. Scored in less than three hours and out of 237 while he was at the wicket, perhaps the most underrated third innings knock of the last 100 years. [[ Danny This is an innings I am going to get in, come what may. The only thing pegging it back was the early-stages Soutrh African attack and the fact that it was a batsmen's test, barring the last innings.In fact it is in the top-40 in Wisden-100 list. Ananth: ]]

    Finally, Hammond's 177 vs Australia in 1929 - his second ton in the match, set up a close victory (won by 12 runs), and faced over 600 balls, showed his class [[ Good scores all round. But a wonderful innings and finally England won only by 12 runs. Truly invaluable innings. Bowling, is however, Grimmett + not-so-great bowlers. Also 21 for 2 to 283 for 2 with Jardine's support made the situation not so deadly. Probably not as great as Trumper's but worth a look for the second table. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING UNTIL NOW. Ananth: ]]

  • Thakur Baldev Singh on October 25, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    Dear A,

    If someone truly trying to win a test or save from a certain defeat, the support innings are necessary. A great inning should not be counted out because someone else played well too. But if there is no support and the team loses then you don't consider it to be good enough for that reason r more appropriately Wisdon does not show it. It is a double whammy.

  • Kapil on October 25, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    Gavaskar's 220 against the West Indies on a bouncy track, where West Indies nearly lost the test. How is that not there. [[ Kapil Only reason was the West Indian bowling attack (not one great bowler) and the batting orientation of the test. But I have to admit that it was in his fourrh test is not considered. Ananth: ]]

  • Vijay Sharma on October 25, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    Nice one Ananth. However I have a few quibbles here. I'd liked to have Sachin's 155 ahead of Kapil's 129 (in spite of the fact that Kapil is my very own schoolboy hero) because Sachin's 155 not only won the Test for India, it also demolished Warne forever...he never recovered from that pounding to have any respectability against any Indian batting line up. People like Nayan Mongia hammered Warne and made him look like a third rate Ranji spinner ever since Sachin took his case. [[ Vijay Kapil's innings was included, as a losing innings. I wanted one losing innings and I evaluated between this and Asif Iqbal's 146. You must see the scorecard to see the impact of this innings. Some of the factors you mention are factors which are subjective conclusions. Ananth: ]]

  • Tom on October 25, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    Any chance that KP's 2005 knock at The Oval would be in with a chance, Ananth? Sure, it was a drawn match, but the quality of bowling was high and the series was in the balance. Perhaps not top-13 but might it deserve a place on the possibles list? [[ Tom Again it is a question of putting in 25 great innings into 13 slots. Pietersen's innings is certainly in the top-100. Also the series situation was important. The draw was earned only by Pietersen's innings. Else the series would have been drawn. Maybe I should have a third XIII. Danny has pointed out so many innings and so have everyone, including you. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on October 25, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    Sachin 122, Edgbaston, 1996.

    India got walloped... But it was an absolutely classic innings- somehow never finds a mention anywhere.

    But , all in all, when VVS's 281 will be the first to mind in most cases. [[ Ha! Abhi, I was waiting for you. 122 out of 200 at crease, next batsman scoring in a not-so-high scoring match. Only major problem was the bowling. Against Lewis/Cork/Mullally/Irani/Patel how did these batsmen fail. One of the worst English attacks in recent times. But Tendulkar's was a classic. Ananth: ]]

  • suffianbutt on October 25, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Test no. 1738

    i usually don't comment but i couldn't help it the innings that razzaq and kamran played against India at Mohali

    i know it was a team effort with fifties from Inzamam Yousuf but when razzaq arrived the team was in trouble and the way razzaq handled the pressure and supported young kamran was unforgettable

    it was an "epochal" performances in the third innings :) [[ Suffian Yes I certainly agree. Only thing is that both played equally well and shared the credit. Don't forget that there were 5 other good knocks. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on October 25, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    I don't know what wrong did Andy flower to, that he keeps missing all the list. Was especially disappointed to not see him even considered for Cricinfo XI. Two of his great 3rd innings performances

    Zimbabwe in India : Match drawn Test no. 1517 | 2000/01 season

    A Flower† not out 232 544 444

    South Africa in Zimbabwe Test Series South Africa won by 9 wickets Test no. 1562 | 2001/02 season

    A Flower† not out 199

    These 2 innings certainly deserve a mention, comparable to inning 12/13 respectively

    None by Lara! That's a bummer. Will check it out sometime

    [[ Goel Lara has not been that great in the third innings. The first innings of Andy Flower was in a match in which 1500 runs were scored for 22 wickets. It was an out-and-out batsmen's wicket.The second innings was a far better effort. One support by Masakadza and nothing else. However only an average bowling attack. But still a RpW value of 56.

    Ananth: ]]