July 8, 2011

They owned the first day: with the willow

A statistical analysis of the top Test innings played on the first day of matches
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Gordon Greenidge: 134 out of 211 against England in 1976
Gordon Greenidge: 134 out of 211 against England in 1976 © Getty Images

After a series of heavy analytical articles it is time for an anecdotal article. However let me assure the readers that this article also, as my other anecdotal articles have been, would be based on solid analysis and not just some subjective selection. This article has been on the anvil for the past two months.

During the past 134 years there have been over 1950 first days in Test cricket. The first day is the most important one in a Test match. The team which wins the first day goes a long way towards winning the Test. Stated in other words, the team which goes behind on the first day would always play catch up. This is the first of two articles on the players who helped their teams come out on top or reasonably well by their performances on the first day. My initial idea was to include both batsmen and bowlers in one article but have since separated the two in view of the length of the article and the complexity inherent in the bowling analysis.

The basis for selection of outstanding first day batting performances was not simple. Cricinfo stores the first day information in a particular manner and care has to be exercised in analysing this information. Each of the following situations is represented differently and has to be analysed individually.

- Where an innings is incomplete and two batsmen are batting at the crease.
- Where an innings is incomplete and one batsmen is batting at the crease (last ball dismissal).
- Where one innings has been completed by end of day's play.
- Where one innings has been completed by end of day's play and the other innings has started (again first two conditions).
- Where two innings have been completed.
- Where two innings have been completed and a third innings started.

In some cases the batsman score(s) have to be picked up from the Day 1 information, in some cases from scorecards with some intuitive working out of which batsmen have been dismissed and so on.

Now for selection of the performances. Only one innings is selected automatically. The 309 by Bradman, made on the first day. This is a performance that only a person with extreme guts, fuelled by bias, can keep out of the table. The chances that this effort would be repeated would probably be in between a bowler taking 10 wickets and a batsman scoring 400+ runs. While others have come close to achieving this aggregate in a day's play (Sehwag scored 284 on the second day against Sri Lanka), it is extremely unlikely that anyone would do so on the first day.

Regarding the other performances, the relevant factors, viz., the bowling strength, the number of wickets which fell, the support received et al have been considered and the performances selected. The Wisden-100 table has also been used as a guideline. The final ordering is purely my own preference. The reader may not agree, but should refrain from overtly criticizing the selection or the order. Again, as normally happens, readers can send their suggestions, but with adequate supporting material. Just a single statement pointing out a certain innings is unlikely to merit serious consideration. You have to take the trouble of a perusal of the Cricinfo (or alternate) scorecard and support your candidate.

1. 309* Bradman (Eng) 38.73

0196 (1930) - Australia 458/3 (Bradman 309*, McCabe 12*)

The only time a batsman has scored over 300 in a day's play. This was done by Bradman early in his career. There is no way this momentous innings can be anywhere but top of this list. Since the information on number of overs bowled during the day is unavailable, through extrapolation, I could say that this innings of 309 on the first day must have taken Bradman around 350-375 balls. The bowling attack was just passable. The match ended as a high-scoring draw.

2. 182* Hill (Eng) 35.64

0056 (1898) - Australia 275/7 (Hill 182*, Kelly 22*)

England had a middling attack. Australia started disastrously and slumped to 58 for 6. Hill played one of the finest Test innings ever played, essaying three memorable partnerships for the 7th, 8th and 9th wickets. He was ninth out, at 303, having scored well over 60% of the runs. He would have faced just over 250 balls. Only two other fifties were scored in the match and Australia won comfortably.

Incidentally the all-time classic by Hill is one of two innings in this selection which were in the top-10 of the Wisden-100 table. A very well-deserved place for an unforgettable effort.

3. 244 Bradman (Eng) 28.13

0237 (1934) - Australia 475/2 (Ponsford 205*, McCabe 1*)

This was an extraordinary day of cricket. Australia scored 475 for 2 and this contained an unbeaten innings of 205 by debutant Ponsford, but more significantly, a completed innings of 244 by Bradman, during which he faced only 271 balls. But for the unique nature of the 309, I would think of this innings as the best first day effort ever. The bowling was excellent and comprised of Bowes, Allen, Clark and Verity.

4. 202* Lara (Aus) 27.62

1773 (2005) - West Indies 352/7 (Lara 202*, Powell 7*; 90 overs)

The bowling was one of Australia's best, viz., McGrath, Lee, Warne and MacGill. The setting was away in Australia. Lara walks in at 19 for 2 and sees wickets falling regularly. He plays one of his best innings, not many people remember this as much as the big ones, 153, 277 and 213. Lara guides West Indies to 352 for 7, scoring well over half the runs. He ends at 202, finishes at 226 and, with the next highest innings standing at a low 34. No surprise that Australia win the match comfortably.

5. 132 Azhar Mahmood (Saf) 24.51

1403 (1998) - Pakistan 259/10

What does one say about this innings? Pakistan, playing away in South Africa, against a devastating attack of Donald, de Villiers and Pollock. The ground, the fear-evoking Kingsmead. Azhar Mahmood walks in at 89 for 5. He plays a wonderful attacking innings of 132, adding 170 runs for the last 5 wickets. He scored 132 out of 170, an unbelievable 78%. He faced only 163 balls. What was more important was that this innings helped Pakistan take a small first- innings lead and in the end they had a narrow win.

In my opinion one of the best innings ever, as also proved by the placing of this innings in the seventh position in the Wisden-100 list of the all-time great innings. This classic and Hill's equally wonderful 188 occupy nearby positions in the top-10 of the Wisden-100 table.

6. 126* Bannerman (Eng) 58.67

0001 (1877) - Australia 166/6 (Bannerman 126*, Blackham 3*)

This was the first day of Test cricket in history. In about 90-100 overs, Australia scores 166 for 6. Out of this low total, Bannerman scores 126, just over 75%. The next highest innings is 15, on the first day. But for this innings, Australia could have been dismissed for well below 100. Who knows what might have happened. But Bannerman defied the English bowlers single-handedly. I would say the ownership of the first day of Test cricket was probably the strongest of all 134 years since then.

7. 228* Sehwag (Pak) 29.06

1693 (2004) - India 356/2 (Sehwag 228*, Tendulkar 60*)

Against a fairly good attack of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohd. Sami, Shabbir Ahmed, Saqlain and Razzak, Sehwag scored 228 runs, on the way to the first of his two triple-centuries. 90 overs were bowled during the day and Sehwag must have faced around 250-270 balls during the day. India scored a mammoth 675 and went on to win by an innings. This was the match of the Dravid declaration when Tendulkar was on 194 and much fuss was made on this. However the sheen should not be taken away from Sehwag's unforgettable effort.

8. 153 Gooch (Win) 25.56

0902 (1981) - England 278/6 (Botham 12*, Downton 0*)

Gooch, as he was wont to do often, faced an attack of Holding, Marshall, Croft and Garner, that too at Kingston, Jamaica. With little support from the other batsmen, Gooch steered the England innings to a satisfactory 278 for 6. Gooch himself was dismissed just before the close of play. This was an innings nearly as good as the more famous Headingley classic of 154. Gooch scored quite quickly, taking about 220 balls. The match was comfortably drawn.

9. 169* Smith IDG (Ind) 37.44

1139 (1990) - New Zealand 387/9 (Smith 169*, Morrison 0*)

This was an extraordinary innings on an extraordinary day of cricket. New Zealand, playing at home against a good Indian attack led by Kapil Dev, slumped to 131 for 7 when Ian Smith walked in. He added over 100 with Richard Hadlee and 140 with Snedden and the day finishes at 387 for 9. Out of the 266 added while he was at crease, Smith scored 173 runs. In the ninth wicket partnership of 136, Smith scored well over 100 runs. This was arguably the best innings ever played by a No.9 in Test cricket.

In the second innings the established batsmen came to the party and New Zealand drew the match comfortably. Incidentally, Smith scored his 169 in 130 balls.

10. 155* Compton (Saf) 34.16

0410 (1955) - England 264/7 (Compton 155*, Lock 6*)

This was Compton at his best. A good South African attack reduced England to 75 for 4. Compton, with some support from May and then Bailey, steered them to respectability at 264 for 7, out of which he scored 155 runs. England went on to lose the match narrowly.

11. 134 Greenidge (Eng) 35.02

0779 (1976) - West Indies 211/10.

West Indies opened with Fredericks. The top 4 wickets fell for 26. Greenidge played, arguably, his best Test innings ever getting West Indies out of disaster. He scored 134 out of 211, the next best being King's 32. No other batsman exceeded 10. This was around 65% of the team total and was comparable to the Bannerman classic. Greenidge also scored a hundred in the second innings and West Indies won by a million runs.

11. 187 Hobbs (Saf) 29.40

0110 (1910) - England 406/7 (Thompson 48*, Tufnell 12*)

This was a very good South African attack, playing at home. Hobbs, opening the innings, held the innings together, scoring a masterly 187 and was fifth out at 327. He must have faced around 250 balls. England scored at a fair clip and went on to score 417, finally winning the match comfortably by 9 wickets.

11. 181* Langer (Pak) 37.98

1726 (2004) - Australia 357/8 (Langer 181*, Kasprowicz 4*, 86 overs)

The Pakistan attack was a fair one, at best. However Australia slumped to 78 for 5 and Langer, with support from Gilchrist, steered them to a good first innings total of 381. Then Pakistan failed twice and Australia won by nearly 500 runs. This innings was almost a carbon copy of the Hobbs effort, nearly a 100 years before. Incidentally, Langer scored 97 in the second innings. Langer faced around 260 balls.

11. 155 Tendulkar (Saf) 25.54

1564 (2001) - India 372/7 (Dasgupta 29*; 90 overs)

This was the first match of the (in)famous series, marred by allegations and scrapping of the third Test match. It contained a gem of an innings by Tendulkar. The bowling attack was led by Shaun Pollock, Ntini, Hayward and Kallis. India slumped to 68 for 4. Sehwag, the nervous debutant, walked in. Tendulkar controlled the innings in a beautiful manner and took the score to 288 for 6 when he was dismissed for an outstanding 155. This was, unlike some of the later efforts of Tendulkar, a fairly quick one, requiring only 184 balls. India lost comfortably in the end.

11. 136* Lara (Aus) 23.45

1523 (2000) - West Indies 274/4 (Lara 136*, Dillon 3*, 90 overs)

This is the the other sub-150 innings. The selection has been done based on the quality of the bowling attack, which was one of the best, led by McGrath, Gillespie and MacGill. As normally happened, Lara had very little support from the other batsmen and remained unbeaten on 136, having steered West Indies to a reasonable 274 for 4. However West Indies lost the match. This innings won the nod over the 176, mentioned later, because of the high quality of the Australian bowling.

11. 177 Vaughan (Aus) 24.43

1628 (2002) - England 295/4 (Butcher 22*; 89.3 overs)

Australia's bowling attack was a devastating one, comprising of McGrath, Gillespie, Bichel and Warne. Michael Vaughan , with very little support from his fellow batsmen, the next highest being 47, steered England to a reasonably safe 295 for 4 and was out to the last ball of the day. His 177 required 306 balls. As Australia was wont to do in those days, they scored at a furious pace and took a lead of over 200 runs. England lost by an innings.

The following innings came under serious consideration. They all have their strong points and could easily have replaced any of the innings grouped together at no.11.

Ponsford     205*  0237
Walcott      147*  0383
Sobers       152*  0502
Richards     200*  0781
Tilakaratne  115   1305
Moin Khan     70   1444
Jacobs        96*  1520
Lara         176   1749
Kamran Akmal 113   1783
Sangakkara   156   1822
Dravid       177*  1933

Given below are the four first days during which two batsmen stayed throughout. The fifth occasion when Wasim Jaffer was injured and India finished at 300+ for 0 against Bangladesh is not considered.

0420 - India 234/0 (Mankad 109*, Roy 114*)
0589 - Australia 263/0 (Lawry 102*, Simpson 137*)
1125 - Australia 301/0 (Marsh 125*, Taylor 141*)
1865 - South Africa 405/0 (McKenzie 169*, Smith 223*)

Given below are the 200+ scores scored during the first day, ordered by runs scored. There have been 21 occasions. Bradman has achieved this 5 times and Hammond 3 times and Graeme Smith twice, both times against Bangladesh.

309* Bradman D.G 38.73 (Eng) 0196 Australia 458/3 (Bradman 309*, McCabe 12*) 244 Bradman D.G 28.13 (Eng) 0237 Australia 475/2 (Ponsford 205*, McCabe 1*) 228* Sehwag V 29.06 (Pak) 1693 India 356/2 (Sehwag 228*, Tendulkar 60*) 223* Smith G.C 42.43 (Bng) 1865 South Africa 405/0 (McKenzie 169*, Smith 223*) 223* Hammond W.R 49.87 (Nzl) 0225 England 418/5 (Hammond 223*, Brown 12*) 223* Bradman D.G 49.49 (Win) 0203 Australia 428/3 (Bradman 223*, McCabe 1*) 228 Gibbs 33.18 (Pak) South Africa 445/3 (Gibbs dismissed). 219* Gayle C 40.62 (Slk) 1977 West Indies 362/2 (Gayle 219*, Chanderpaul 20*) 217 Hammond W.R 53.26 (Ind) 0254 England 471/8 (Fishlock 19*, Voce 1*) 210* Hammond W.R 44.01 (Aus) 0264 England 409/5 (Hammond 210*, Ames 50*) 209 Roach C.A 38.98 (Eng) 0192 West Indies 336/2 (Headley 60*) 205* Ponsford W 28.13 (Eng) 0237 Australia 475/2 (Ponsford 205*, McCabe 1*) 205 Aamer Sohail 43.73 (Eng) 1191 Pakistan 388/3 (Javed Miandad 59*, Moin Khan 7*) 203* Kanhai R.B 38.94 (Ind) 0463 West Indies 359/3 (Kanhai 203*, Butcher 87*) 203 Collins H.L 38.57 (Saf) 0146 Australia 450/10 202* Lara B.C 27.62 (Aus) 1773 West Indies 352/7 (Lara 202*, Powell 7*) 202* Kirsten G 38.44 (Zim) 1562 South Africa 414/1 (Kirsten 202*, Kallis 56*) 201 Bradman D.G 52.10 (Ind) 0294 Australia 370/3 (Hassett 39*, Miller 4*) 200* Richards I.V.A 33.15 (Eng) 0781 West Indies 373/3 (Richards 200*, Lloyd 15*) 200* Bradman D.G 44.82 (Saf) 0212 Australia 341/6 (Bradman 200*, Oldfield 3*) 200 Smith G.C 60.00 (Bng) 1619 South Africa 369/2 (Kirsten 113*, Kallis 1*).

Readers' selections

1. Slater 176 out of 329/4 vs England. Match 1275 (1994). (Gerry/Tom).
2. McCabe 127* out of 290/6 vs England (Bodyline). Match 0220 (1932)
(Shri/Sree-kanth).
3. Gibbs 228 out of 445/3 vs Pakistan. Match 1637 (2003). (Eagle eye of Venkat).
4. Kamran Akmal 113 out of 245/10 vs India. Match 1783. (2006) (Goel/Abbas).
5. Dravid 81 out of 200/10 vs West Indies. Match 1808 (2006). (Goel/Raghav).
6. Hughes 100* out of 198/10 vs West Indies. Match 0915 (1981)
(Arijit/Criccrazy).
7. Trumper 104 out of 299/10 vs England. 3-run win. Match 0073 (1902)
(Shrikanth/Alex).
8. Taylor 109 out of 182/10 vs England. Match 0130 (1913) (Alex).
9. Manjrekar 133 out of 272/6 vs England. Match 0351 (1952) (Pawan).
10.G.Kirsten 100* out of 239/10 vs Pakistan. Match 1382 (1997) (Arjun/Venkat).
11.Harvey 74 228/10 vs England. Match 0327 (1950) (Ravi).
12.BR Taylor 124 out of 323/10 vs West Indies. Match 0648 (1969) (Alex).
13.Jayasuriya 341/5 vs South Africa. Match 1504 (2000) (Alex).
14.Pollock RG 160* and Richards BA 140* out of 336/5 vs Australia .
Match 0671 (1970) (Venkat).
15.Mark Waugh 117* out of 355/5 against WIN (Amb/Pat/Wal/Mar!!!).
Match 1170 (1991) (Alex)
16. Walters 104 out of 221/10 off NZL. match 0736 (1974) (Arjun-the terrier)
17. Saeed Anwar 132* out of 253/8 vs Australia. Match 1424 (1998) (Vinish/Alex).
18. Kanhai 121 out of 224/10 vs Australia. Match 0590 (1965) (Alex).
19. Vishwanath 114 out of 237 ao vs Australia. Match 0895 (1981) (Gerry).
20. Richards 130 out of 241 ao vs India. Match 0775 (1976) (Gerry).
21. Kluesener 118 out of 260 ao vs Sri Lanka (away-win by 7 runs). Match 1505 (2000) (Arjun).
22. Nurse 93 out of 235 (out of 135 team) ao vs England. Match 0607 (1966) (Arjun).
23. Hooper 134 out of 294 vs Pak (IK/WY/WA/AQ). Test 1158 (1990) (Arjun/Alex).
24. Grace 170 out of 279/2 (out of team score 216) vs Aus. 0024 (1986) (Shri).
25. S.Waugh 108 out of 235 ao vs England. Match 1372 (1997) Ruchir.

This is one article in which the readers' contributions have enriched the contents immeasurably. I limited my first cut list to 150+ and then scanned the scorecards for the lower level innings. The first is fine. However when we come to the innings below 150, the readers, with their combined brainpower, have done much better than me in unearthing classics. Hats off to the wonderful lot, you guys. Take a collective bow. Venkat and Alex lead the pack.

The first day bowling spell analysis will follow later in another article. This is not as clear-cut as the batting analysis especially when incomplete innings are to be considered. Exact bowling analysis at end of day is quite elusive.

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

  • Ruchir on July 23, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    Not sure if the list is closed but I am surprised(because this was a damn good innings and a match winning one) and disappointed(because he was my favorite player) that this did not come up for discussion

    S Waugh: 108 out of a total of 235. (102 out of 224/7 on day 1) The English attack was not great (gough, Caddick and Headley) but this was a green top under overcast skies and Australia were down 1-0 in the 3rd test. Mark Taylor won the toss and shocked everyone by batting first because he wanted Warne to bowl last

    And as the rest of the match shows, the wicket remained quite helpful to the bowlers. This innings turned the series, really

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63756.html [[ Very much open and this is an outstanding innings, the defining one of the match. Will include it straight off. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 21, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    Apologies Ananth. no more discussion of all-rounders until a more appropriate time. Absorbing first session!

  • Alex on July 20, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. Let's remember Sanjay Manjrekar, rated the best batsman in the world @1990-91 by Imran & Wasim:

    Manjrekar: 108 vs WI, Apr 1989. Walked in at 68/4 and remained unbeaten on 93* as Day 1 ended with Ind on 281/7. He was never the sort who would score 70% of the runs scored while he was at the crease but faced this all-time great attack on a helpful wicket impeccably without giving a chance.

    Dravid delivered what was expected of Manjrekar. I think this is his best ever innings of Manjrekar.

    2. I am surprised that you count the 105* among SRT's 3 best innings (even if the sample set is reduced to first day alone). I watched it live and he gave 2 chances: at 16 and an unbelievable dead-drop at 73. On the whole, it was excellent and he was at his best on Day 2 scoring 29 of the final 30 runs. Let's hope #100 happens at Lord's this week!

  • Boll on July 20, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    cont`d. the only bias has been towards great batsmanship.

    re.`Flintoff is a massively over-hyped player whom the pom/Oz press would have ignored had he been born a Sri Lankan. My abiding memory of Flintoff is Yuvraj hitting him over the top for a six.`

    Yes, overhyped, but I can only assume you must have missed his brilliant 400 runs, 24 wickets series v Aus in 2005/06 - a supreme all round peformance against possibly the greatest team of all time.

    Finaly, @Alex, re. Sobers/Kallis. You admit that Sobers had more variety as a bowler, had a (considerably) faster scoring rate, and was a better fielder, and yet conclude that Kallis is the better all-rounder. For mine there is no comparison. As an opposition captain, Sobers would scare the hell out of me.

  • Boll on July 20, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    @Alex. re.`IMO, Aussies give too much importance to anyone from England. They compensate that by downplaying subcontinental players in general.`

    Come on. While the Ashes remains of great importance, I hardly think that has translated into a blind exaggeration of English players` abilities, or indeed a disrespect for players from the subcontinent. I would suggest that Australian supporters are very balanced, particularly in their support of great attacking batsmen.

    Australia has been probably the most difficult place for touring teams - no team from the sub-continent has ever won a series there; South Africa did for the first time only recently, after a century of trying; and England won in the recent Ashes series for the first time in 25 years. So, when visting batsman have performed, they have been given due credit. Richards, Gavaskar, Lara, Tendulkar, Laxman and Sehwag (honourable mention to Vaughan and Sanga) are probably the most fondly remembered of the past 30 years.

  • Arjun on July 20, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    Although not worthy of inclusion, Lara's 130(120 balls) ag. pakistan at barbados, 2005 is very good effort.

    in at 25/2, out at 214/4....scored almost 70% of team runs.

    Came in 10th over of the day, was out in 46th over.

    Just imagine what would have happened if he had stayed till the end.

  • Arjun on July 20, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    @.Rangarajan R

    But for result here are few of Tendulkar's 1st day classics.....

    97 vs SA (in at 39/2, out at 173/8) scored 72% runs against Donald, pollock, klusener, kallis etc.

    76 vs Aus scored 67% runs against Mcgrath, gillespie, fleming, warne.

    153 vs Aus at adelaide (124* on 1st day)

    109 vs Aus at nagpur

    109 vs SLK at delhi

    71 vs AUS at perth

    Ananth,

    What about DJ Mcglew's 'carried the bat' 127* in Test no. 515. Although NZ's attack was poor they dissmised SAF twice for 292 and 149. maybe pitch or batting conditions were tough. Also winning margin of only 30 runs. [[ Arjun, The NZL bowling attack was extremely weak. Motz(debut), Bartlett (debut), Cameron (1 @ 101.00), Alabaster (9 @ 51.78) and Reid (47 @ 35.38). They managed to somehow reach 56.43. Tough to consider the innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Pallab on July 20, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    @Ananth: I think you misinterpreted my posts. Post 1 just reiterated Kapil’s talents (which you would be well aware of and as I was a bit surprised at your sudden strong sentiments about Kapil as you rarely get heated about individual players) which can get overlooked cos of his comparable poor bowling record vis-à-vis the other 3. I was just pointing out why fans would choose such and such a player (not necessarily Kapil alone) based on their live watching of players on TV or at grounds. I NEVER mentioned Kapil should be a shoo in over Sobers in cricinfo X1 (just did not want to compare the 80s Big 4 with Sobers’ awesome batting average) who would obviously walk-in but was just pointing out the relative merits of the 80s all-rounders in a continuum of other’s comments here. Yes, we know Lara & Richards are your all-time favs. And I for one,will fight for Gavaskar over Sutcliffe/Hutton, if not Hobbs. [[ Pallabh, no problems. I will concur with you that Kapil stands very well in comparison with the other 1980s all-rounders. If one has to select one out of these four, I would never question Kapil's (or for that matter, any of the other three player's) inclusion. Maybe the all-time XI is a red herring which we can leave to a later date. I will agree with you that Gavaskar has the credentials to fight for a place with Hutton/Sutcliffe and again that selection would not be a problem. You have doubled my list of favourites adding the older gentleman to the list (!!!). Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan R on July 20, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    Thanks Ananth. My question was not to ask "Why didnt you include?" as I do realize that those included are definitely worth the mention! This was more of a rhetoric - a career spanning 20 years has very few "out of the world" knocks could be just the truth.May be as one of the readers pointed out earlier in a different post(Gerry?) that the machine in Tendulkar took over the artist in Tendulkar to give precedence of sustenance over substance. May be had Tendulkar produced 25 gems instead of 15, he might have ended up with an average of 49 and not 57. But those are mere speculations and what we have are pure numbers - which do tell some story.

    I do admit that the list given here do not even compel me to get into an exercise of trying to find out innings of Sachin's that could replace any of the above. If I do so, I would take the charm away from enjoying other good innings and would just end up trying to campaign for Sachin which is not what this article was meant for. [[ Ranga My selection of one of the three best innings Tendulkar has ever played would surprise you. It is the 106* out of 243 all out against Bangladesh during 2010. But for that innings India would have lost. Unfortunately no one seems to remember this innings. If this had been against the other top teams everyone would have waxed lyrical. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 20, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    Here's the match report on that remarkable Grace innings in 1886. It appears it wasn't such a great innings by the Old Man's standards.

    He might have given atleast 4-5 chances!

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/152998.html

  • Ruchir on July 23, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    Not sure if the list is closed but I am surprised(because this was a damn good innings and a match winning one) and disappointed(because he was my favorite player) that this did not come up for discussion

    S Waugh: 108 out of a total of 235. (102 out of 224/7 on day 1) The English attack was not great (gough, Caddick and Headley) but this was a green top under overcast skies and Australia were down 1-0 in the 3rd test. Mark Taylor won the toss and shocked everyone by batting first because he wanted Warne to bowl last

    And as the rest of the match shows, the wicket remained quite helpful to the bowlers. This innings turned the series, really

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63756.html [[ Very much open and this is an outstanding innings, the defining one of the match. Will include it straight off. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 21, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    Apologies Ananth. no more discussion of all-rounders until a more appropriate time. Absorbing first session!

  • Alex on July 20, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. Let's remember Sanjay Manjrekar, rated the best batsman in the world @1990-91 by Imran & Wasim:

    Manjrekar: 108 vs WI, Apr 1989. Walked in at 68/4 and remained unbeaten on 93* as Day 1 ended with Ind on 281/7. He was never the sort who would score 70% of the runs scored while he was at the crease but faced this all-time great attack on a helpful wicket impeccably without giving a chance.

    Dravid delivered what was expected of Manjrekar. I think this is his best ever innings of Manjrekar.

    2. I am surprised that you count the 105* among SRT's 3 best innings (even if the sample set is reduced to first day alone). I watched it live and he gave 2 chances: at 16 and an unbelievable dead-drop at 73. On the whole, it was excellent and he was at his best on Day 2 scoring 29 of the final 30 runs. Let's hope #100 happens at Lord's this week!

  • Boll on July 20, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    cont`d. the only bias has been towards great batsmanship.

    re.`Flintoff is a massively over-hyped player whom the pom/Oz press would have ignored had he been born a Sri Lankan. My abiding memory of Flintoff is Yuvraj hitting him over the top for a six.`

    Yes, overhyped, but I can only assume you must have missed his brilliant 400 runs, 24 wickets series v Aus in 2005/06 - a supreme all round peformance against possibly the greatest team of all time.

    Finaly, @Alex, re. Sobers/Kallis. You admit that Sobers had more variety as a bowler, had a (considerably) faster scoring rate, and was a better fielder, and yet conclude that Kallis is the better all-rounder. For mine there is no comparison. As an opposition captain, Sobers would scare the hell out of me.

  • Boll on July 20, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    @Alex. re.`IMO, Aussies give too much importance to anyone from England. They compensate that by downplaying subcontinental players in general.`

    Come on. While the Ashes remains of great importance, I hardly think that has translated into a blind exaggeration of English players` abilities, or indeed a disrespect for players from the subcontinent. I would suggest that Australian supporters are very balanced, particularly in their support of great attacking batsmen.

    Australia has been probably the most difficult place for touring teams - no team from the sub-continent has ever won a series there; South Africa did for the first time only recently, after a century of trying; and England won in the recent Ashes series for the first time in 25 years. So, when visting batsman have performed, they have been given due credit. Richards, Gavaskar, Lara, Tendulkar, Laxman and Sehwag (honourable mention to Vaughan and Sanga) are probably the most fondly remembered of the past 30 years.

  • Arjun on July 20, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    Although not worthy of inclusion, Lara's 130(120 balls) ag. pakistan at barbados, 2005 is very good effort.

    in at 25/2, out at 214/4....scored almost 70% of team runs.

    Came in 10th over of the day, was out in 46th over.

    Just imagine what would have happened if he had stayed till the end.

  • Arjun on July 20, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    @.Rangarajan R

    But for result here are few of Tendulkar's 1st day classics.....

    97 vs SA (in at 39/2, out at 173/8) scored 72% runs against Donald, pollock, klusener, kallis etc.

    76 vs Aus scored 67% runs against Mcgrath, gillespie, fleming, warne.

    153 vs Aus at adelaide (124* on 1st day)

    109 vs Aus at nagpur

    109 vs SLK at delhi

    71 vs AUS at perth

    Ananth,

    What about DJ Mcglew's 'carried the bat' 127* in Test no. 515. Although NZ's attack was poor they dissmised SAF twice for 292 and 149. maybe pitch or batting conditions were tough. Also winning margin of only 30 runs. [[ Arjun, The NZL bowling attack was extremely weak. Motz(debut), Bartlett (debut), Cameron (1 @ 101.00), Alabaster (9 @ 51.78) and Reid (47 @ 35.38). They managed to somehow reach 56.43. Tough to consider the innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Pallab on July 20, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    @Ananth: I think you misinterpreted my posts. Post 1 just reiterated Kapil’s talents (which you would be well aware of and as I was a bit surprised at your sudden strong sentiments about Kapil as you rarely get heated about individual players) which can get overlooked cos of his comparable poor bowling record vis-à-vis the other 3. I was just pointing out why fans would choose such and such a player (not necessarily Kapil alone) based on their live watching of players on TV or at grounds. I NEVER mentioned Kapil should be a shoo in over Sobers in cricinfo X1 (just did not want to compare the 80s Big 4 with Sobers’ awesome batting average) who would obviously walk-in but was just pointing out the relative merits of the 80s all-rounders in a continuum of other’s comments here. Yes, we know Lara & Richards are your all-time favs. And I for one,will fight for Gavaskar over Sutcliffe/Hutton, if not Hobbs. [[ Pallabh, no problems. I will concur with you that Kapil stands very well in comparison with the other 1980s all-rounders. If one has to select one out of these four, I would never question Kapil's (or for that matter, any of the other three player's) inclusion. Maybe the all-time XI is a red herring which we can leave to a later date. I will agree with you that Gavaskar has the credentials to fight for a place with Hutton/Sutcliffe and again that selection would not be a problem. You have doubled my list of favourites adding the older gentleman to the list (!!!). Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan R on July 20, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    Thanks Ananth. My question was not to ask "Why didnt you include?" as I do realize that those included are definitely worth the mention! This was more of a rhetoric - a career spanning 20 years has very few "out of the world" knocks could be just the truth.May be as one of the readers pointed out earlier in a different post(Gerry?) that the machine in Tendulkar took over the artist in Tendulkar to give precedence of sustenance over substance. May be had Tendulkar produced 25 gems instead of 15, he might have ended up with an average of 49 and not 57. But those are mere speculations and what we have are pure numbers - which do tell some story.

    I do admit that the list given here do not even compel me to get into an exercise of trying to find out innings of Sachin's that could replace any of the above. If I do so, I would take the charm away from enjoying other good innings and would just end up trying to campaign for Sachin which is not what this article was meant for. [[ Ranga My selection of one of the three best innings Tendulkar has ever played would surprise you. It is the 106* out of 243 all out against Bangladesh during 2010. But for that innings India would have lost. Unfortunately no one seems to remember this innings. If this had been against the other top teams everyone would have waxed lyrical. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 20, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    Here's the match report on that remarkable Grace innings in 1886. It appears it wasn't such a great innings by the Old Man's standards.

    He might have given atleast 4-5 chances!

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/152998.html

  • shrikanthk on July 20, 2011, 4:53 GMT

    Now, here's a truly remarkable entry, which should find a place in some list :

    WG Grace's second Test century - 170 against Aus at the Oval in 1886.

    Grace scored all his 170 runs on the 1st day. England finished at 279-2. Grace got out when the score was at 216!!!!! So, he scored nearly 80% of the runs while he was at the crease!

    Again, the overs lasted 4 balls. This was a much better Aus attack that included Spofforth and Giffen. [[ Shri, normally I am not able to come to any definite conclusion on any pre-1900 innings. However the circumstances, 170 out of 216, that too against Spofforth and Giffen (BQI-27.96) makes this a serious candidate and I would include this. Since the Readers' list is a bottom-less one there is no problem. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 20, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Okay. Here's one.

    WG Grace's 152 at the Oval 1880 : First test match ever to be played in England. WG Grace making his debut. And enabling England score 400 on the first day of test cricket on English soil. It might have been the first time in history that a team scored over 400 in a day!

    Not a special attack. No Spofforth in it. I'm not even sure whether all the bowlers bowled overarm! Nevertheless, an important innings on an important day for Test cricket. Grace scored 152 out of the 281 runs scored while he was at the crease.

    Cricket was different back then. It was a 3 day test. Overs consisted of 4 balls!

  • Pallab on July 20, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Plus Kapil was awesome in ODIs with a phenom SR of 94 in that era!As far as the other all-rounders go, feel sorry that T. Greig’s over- bluster personality and “mercenary”(depends on which side of the establishment you are on) approach to cricket with Packer and ICL sagas masks his superb record from the public eye. Cairns was world-beating against Aus. Ananth: One surprise all-rounder who should come up in your analysis blog(depending on your cut-off for runs scored and wickets) is Prabhakar with good shows in 4 consecutive series against Pak,NZ Eng,OZ.His record:168 runs @56 and 15 wickets against Pak,235 runs @58.75 and 5 wickets against NZ,132 runs @44 and 8 wickets against Eng, 224 runs @28 and 19 wickets against OZ.As for Miller, how many Indian fans (the overwhelming Indian numbers who might have voted for Kapil) would also remember WG Grace -both distant past now. [[ Why should you exclude Sobers. What are the obvious reasons. I am surprised at your acceptance that Kapil was the best all-rounder over the past 137 years or that Gavaskar/Sehwag combination is superior to Hobbs/Sutcliffe/Hutton. I will stick to my stand. This is a list created solely by the spread of enthusiastic and parochial Indian fans spread among the various parts of the globe. At the same time I blame the other supporters for staying away. Only one Indian player, Tendulkar, deserves and demands his place and is a MUST in ANY all-time XI. I will never accept an all-time XI without him, even though he is not my favourite player. If I have to, I will exclude my favourite player and include Tendulkar, so highly I rate his game. The other Indian players, they have to fight for their places. Also what relevance is Kapil's ODI strike rate in a discussion on Test all-time XI. Ananth: ]]

  • Pallab on July 20, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Hadlee was Akramesque in his batting (occasional great firing). But Hadlee was the most consistent, effective bowler amongst all 4 with Imran at his peak being the more incisive, penetrating one.Botham, of course was prodigious in early phase career in Eng.Other analysts have also pointed out that Imran unlike Botham and Kapil was not a genuine all-rounder(displaying 2 suits in 1 match consistently) all thru his career (with Kapil having the longest span as one) but a great bowler and fantastic batsman in distinct phases.But the FACTS now and what fans may remember is that Kapil and Imran unlike miserable Botham were the best performers against marauding WI teams–the best team of that era (and going by @BOLL’s criterion of negating Kallis as truly great cos of records against Aus). Kapil, as you would remember caned strong WI attacks and also took 89 wickets at 24- far better than his CTD average. Imran of course was a lethal bowler in the 2 titanic drawn series with WI in mid-80s.

  • Pallab on July 20, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    Ananth:Quite strong sentiments about Kapil.Partisan fans vote their favs on what they see/saw of their plays/exploits(why would all have to blend that with statistical records like us commenters here).Keeping aside your analyst/connoisseur hat;you would have watched Kapil and Imran from 1978 series onwards (first live telecast of overseas cricket).Botham in 1980Jubilee Test and boring 81-82 series.Hadlee in 1988.Would you not agree that Kapil was the most naturally talented batsman of the 80s? (along with Richards, Gower).I zealously followed all 4 all-rounders. Kapil was easily the most explosive, talented batsman among the Big 4(we will have to keep Sobers out for obvious reasons) even accounting for Botham’s awesome batting records and exploits b/w 1977-82.Imran could barely bat for 8 years in the 70s(only 1 50 in about 42 innings and I say this as an unabashed, retrospective Imran admirer)and helped his career batting averages with a 51 plus average plus average in last 10 years.

  • shrikanthk on July 20, 2011, 2:56 GMT

    But I stand by my earlier claim that the late, great Keith Miller was just as pure an all-rounder

    Stats notwithstanding, I think it might be a stretch to bracket Miller with Sobers. Miller was a fine, fine bowler. But as a batsman, I'm not sure he was all that special. Bob Simpson, for one, doesn't rate Miller's batting too highly.

    He may have averaged 37. But people who saw him bat say that he was a bit of a flat-pitch bully with a game that revolved around the front-foot drive. He may not have averaged 37 in the 70s/80s what with all the fast bowlers around.

    Sobers was different. People are often misled by that bowl.avg of 35. But that's because he bowled spin half the time, and he wasn't a particularly good spinner. As a purveyor of seam/swing, he was very, very good.

    Over a 6 year period '61 to 66, Sobers averaged 59 with bat and 27 with ball, in matches played over 4 continents!! To put that into context, I don't think any 60s bowler averaged less than 25 in tests! [[ Shri/Alex/Gerry/Boll et al, Why don't we keep the all-rounder discussions to a later stage. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 19, 2011, 21:34 GMT

    @Boll: Kallis only lacks Sobers' variety as a bowler and scoring rate as a batsman. Sobers was possibly a better fielder. Otherwise, Kallis is as good as (or maybe even better than) Sobers as an all-rounder. And, I wouldn't mention captaincy while talking about Sobers unless we were discussing his drawbacks!

    1. Flintoff vs Oz: As a batsman, averages 33 in 15 tests and 27 in 6 tests _in_ Oz. As a bowler, took 50 wkts in 15 tests at ave=33 including 18 in 6 tests at ave=33 _in_ Oz.

    2. Kallis vs Oz: As a batsman, averages 41 in 24 tests and 46 in 12 tests _in_ Oz. As a bowler, 48 wkts in 24 tests at ave=37 and 19 in 12 tests at ave=42 _in_ Oz.

    IMO, Aussies give too much importance to anyone from England. They compensate that by downplaying subcontinental players in general. Flintoff is a massively over-hyped player whom the pom/Oz press would have ignored had he been born a Sri Lankan. My abiding memory of Flintoff is Yuvraj hitting him over the top for a six.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 19, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    Ananth, yes, that innings of 177 of Richards was also a pretty good one, though not in the same league as 130/241. But WI were not all out on day 1.

    Also, in view of what the WI attack was to become later, Ian Chappell 156 vs WI in Perth, 1975 also deserves special mention. Greg Chappell rated it higher than Fredricks 169 and Lloyd 149.

    Finally, just wondering why Vishwanath's 97* in Madras 1975 against WI is not there - it should make any list. [[ Gerry, My initial selections have been dominated by the huge scores. Then the readers have sent many innings between 100-150. There are not many sub-100 innings and I have included the really great sub-100 innings. This certainly belongs to that category and will be included. It is also the highest sub-100 innings in the Wisden-100 list. Not the greatest pf West indian attacks (30.78) but this score was out of 190 (coming in at 24/2) and also let India win. Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan R on July 19, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    Hi Ananth - Nice article. I have a big doubt - looking at all these statistics and various other parameters, the best batsman according to many (and may be in the top 5 all time), Sachin, does not figure in many of these defining knocks. If i were to do a simple mathematical average of discouting his not outs, he still averages 50.66 in tests. Every third visit of his yields either a 100 or a 50 . . . but yet, he has managed just ONE decisive 1st day performance and very few series defining performances . . .

    Numbers dont lie . . . Those who support him also bring forth numbers and those who criticize also bring the same numbers . . . Even by probability, 290 innings and 177 tests could yield less than 10 defining innings? So he would have faced good and bad bowling and would have hit both good and flopped against bad in such a long career . . But how is it that he is unable to feature in any of the great knocks? This is a genuine doubt and no comparisons!!! [[ Since I do not want to get into details let me summarize some of the factors that might have resulted in Tendulkar's innings not getting into this list. Anyhow why should you expect 5 entries from SRT. There is one. Bradman has two, Lara two. 1. India's batting strength especially after the first few years. 2. Good opening partnerships. 3. There is no doubt that Tendulkar might have played around 80-90 first innings. Maybe 5-6 of these are great. But a number of these could have finished on the second day or even started on the second day. 4. You yourself have mentioned 10 defining innings. Those would have spread over 5 days. 5. Finally as so many readers have done why would you not present your case strongly with some innings of Tendulkar which I find difficult to ignore. See what Venkat/Arjun/Alex have done. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 19, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    Apologies for getting on the all-rounder caper, but I can`t help but mention Kallis. I note that many people were calling for his inclusion in the all-time XI. Wonderful player, extraordinary statistical record, and his recent performance against India was one for the ages.

    However, against the great team of his era, Australa, he couldn`t impose himself, as Cairns or Flintoff did. He didn`t scare them like Sehwag, Pietersen, Tendulkar, Laxman, or the incomparable Lara. vs Oz, batting at 40 (SR 40), bowling at 37, over 24 tests (and No1 vs No 2 battles) leaves him slightly short of greatness. For mine, the great players challenged (or would have challenged) that team, and Australia always felt they had his measure.

  • Alex on July 19, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    @Ananth: Another innings:

    Hooper: 134 (out of 294) vs Pak in Lahore, Dec 1990. Walked in at 37/3 and WI ended the day at 250/8 with Hooper on 107* facing Imran-Wasim-Waqar-Qadir on an eventful track. Unlike many others, I never found Hooper's batting elegant. However, he did post some very good scores vs the great Pak bowlers.

    Incidentally, this was Lara's long overdue first test. Pak has the honor of hosting the debut of SRT in Nov 1989 and of Lara in Dec 1990. Did anyone debut against them in 1988? Why, of course, Ambrose!! [[ The Pakistani attack, unfortunately placed at a very good 29.59, rather than a still lower figure, mainly because Qadir (32.54) and Masood (50+) bowled 32 of the 78 overs. However still an excellent innings. Probably deserves to get in especially as there were only two other fifties. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 19, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    For mine, Sobers is part of any World XI on the strength of his batting alone. His versatility as a bowler, captaincy, and well documented fielding brilliance place him as probably the most complete cricketer of all time. But I stand by my earlier claim that the late, great Keith Miller was just as pure an all-rounder (as per Ravi M`s criteria, and mine).

    Ravi mentioned that there had only been 7 instances since WWII of a player scoring more than 350 runs and taking more than 20 wickets in a series (Miller twice). On 2 other occasions he fell just short: vs Eng in 46/47, 384 runs at 77, 16 wks at 21; vs England 50/51, 350 runs at 44, 17 wks at 18 - batting at 5 and opening the bowling. Perhaps the supreme example of someone who could hurt you both ways every game. And due to the war, he didn`t play his first test until he was nearly 27. re. the recent cricinfo Fans XI - No Comment! [[ I would have expected "No xxxxxxxx comment". That wouldhave been very apt. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 19, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    @Ravi M. Nice to read your comments, particularly re. the Supertests of the early `70s. However, I think your criteria of 350 plus runs and 20 plus wickets in a series might be a little unfair to more modern cricketers, for many of whom the 4/5 test series has been a rarity. However you make a very good point, in that all-round statistics should be looked at in the context of a match/series rather than over a career as a whole. [[ Boll, as I have already mentioned, I would not make that mistake. It would be performance/test, but taken over a series. Ananth: ]]

    Imran for example, although indisputably one of the greats, was obviously a far better bowler early on and became a very good batsman only later in his career. Injury, and age, reduced his ability as a bowler, but he was good enough to become a batsman worthy of his place for that alone, even without his inspirational captaincy.

  • Alex on July 19, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. I think an all-rounder is supposed to be a batsman who can bat at least at #7 and bowl as at least the first-change option (or keep the wicket). Then, one metric of use is this:

    Player scores A runs in match/innings OR scores B% runs of his team in match/innings OR takes/catches C wickets in match/innings or takes/catches D% of wickets of the opponents in match/innings.

    I added "catches" since Sanga-Gilly can be viewed as all-rounders.

    2. Cricinfo's online poll all-time XI seems like a dull man's April fool joke that arrived in late July. However, Kapil over Botham is not that far-fetched ... Botham was brilliant till '82 and rank ordinary after that. Kapil used to bowl very well in Eng and Australia. [[ Alex, the joke is not Kapil over Botham. The greater and sicker joke is Kapil over Sobers or Imran. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 19, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    I am still at it...Richards 130/241 against India in Port of Spain, 1976. Except for Madan Lal, all other bowlers were world class, and it was a turning track. I think WI were almost bowled out. [[ You have come in late with some undisputed gems. The Indian bowling was a very good but spin-dominant 32.31. Helped also by the fact that Madan and Amarnath bowled only 9 overs. Richards comes in at 0 for 1 and stays on till 241 all out. Well over 50% of runs with scant support. I think this deserves to get in. What is amazing to see how close India came to winning this test against a full-strength West indian side. Also Richards scored 177 in the previous test. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 19, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    one serious contender

    Test # 1505

    Lance Klusner 118* agaisnt SRI, away, Vaas-Murli & co.

    in at 34/4, then 34/5.

    SA winning by only 7 runs [[ Arjun, almost all recent entries have been outstanding efforts. If nothing else, the closeness of result pushes this in. Sri Lankan bowling, a very good 32.23. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 19, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    On all rounders, the top three which immediately come to mind are Sobers v/s England 1966 (700 runs @103, 20 wickets @20, 10 catches, and all 5 tosses, and a 3-1 series victory). Imran v/s England in 1982, v/s WI in 1980, v/s India in 1983 are notable. Botham v/s Australia (triangular test series 1979-80, and Ashes 1981) are all spectacular feats (especially if you include the jubilee test against India) in recent 40 years (which is 75% of all matches played). Also Greig against WI 1973. Eddie Barlow also had some incredible feats.

    I think Ananth's previous analysis included batting and bowling performance in the same match. This may be a bit harsh, so perhaps a series based performance as Ananth has suggested, or a 10 test streak measurement would bring this out clearly (just in case some series are 1 test, like Jubilee test, or 2 test, like several series these days). [[ Once certain minimal batting and bowling requirements are set, we would get many more series-level performances. Also with the varying number of matches, we must have average runs/wkts/catches per match as the basis for analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 19, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Gerry beat me to it!! I was about to post on this 1981 attack conundrum when I read Gerry's comment. [[ Eagle-eyes galore. Keeps me on my toes !!! Ananth: ]]

    his main theme being that the 1960s WI team was better than the 1980 WI team

    That's probably not as ridiculous as it seems. The WI teams of the early 60s were very good. Especially between say '61 and '66. They beat a good English side 3-1 in '63. Vanquished India 5-0 in '62. Defeated Aus in WI 2-1 in '64-65. Again defeated India in India 2-0 in '66-67. And yes, defeated England in England 3-1 in the summer of '66.

    So, I suppose they were practically unbeaten between '61 and '67, if I'm not mistaken. Suddenly, the decline happened starting '67, due to the retirement of Hall/Griffith and others.

    Once their strike bowlers retired, they were a rather weak side between '68 and '73.

    I think it's a shame that documentaries like Fire in Babylon talk as if WI cricket came of age only after Lloyd took over in the mid-70s!

  • Ravi M on July 19, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    I saw some comments about allround ability of Miller & 35+ batting & sub-25 bowling averages. It's remarkable, but to me, genuine allround ability must be measured match-by-match or series-by-series. What's the point of tagging someone an allrounder when he can't produce goods with both bat & ball simultaneously?

    Ian Botham had some superlative match performances in his pomp, but let's take a look at series performance.

    There have been only 10 instances where a cricketer took 20 wickets or more and scored over 350 runs in a series. 7 since the WW II.

    Sobers twice*, Miller twice and 3 Englishmen (Tony Greig, Botham & Flintoff)

    1. 722 runs @ 103 & 20 wkts @ 27 (away, Eng) 2. 424 runs @ 71 & 23 wkts @ 21 (home) *3. For RoW, 588 runs @ 74 & 21 wkts @ 22 (in Eng)

    Interestingly, Imran K took 20 wkts 4 times, never scored over 250 runs in the same series.

    Kallis took 20 wkts only once, but didn't even average 30 with the bat in that series!

    For me, Sobers > Imran = Miller > who cares?! [[ Ravi You have given me some idea. Since I have series information available now I can do a complete piece on the all-round performances during a series. In other words expand your work. With the virtual demise of 5-test series, this would be nice to do now. According to (let us say, 75%+ of) quarter of a million of misinformed, myopic, ostrich-in-sand viewers, Kapil Dev is greater than Sobers and Imran and Miller and Botham. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi M on July 19, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    Just capping off the "unofficial" Tests, 1970 RoW against England.

    Clive Lloyd's unbeaten 114 (2nd Test, Trent Bridge) and Basil D'Oliveira's 110 (3rd Test, Birmingham) were two significant contributions on day 1!

    Anyway, the reason I brought this up is I sincerely hope you somehow takes Sir Garfield's magnificent bowling performance on day 1 of that series into account in your next blog.

    20-11-21-6 on day 1 followed up with 183 in his 1st innings! Talk about genuine all-round performance!!!! [[ Ravi I will publish these as they have been given without introducing any of these innings in the list. I do not want to open that door. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi M on July 19, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Following on supertests:

    Too many from Greg Chappell to list; but the one stood out the most was in 1979 at St. John's against Holding, Roberts & Croft in the final Test.

    From 2-65 to to 9-224, Greg made 104!!!! Take that!

    But, the most spectacular innings of the late 70s LOW-scoring supertests for me was the one from David Hookes. 2nd match in Sydney 1977 against:

    Roberts Holding Wayne Daniel Garner Collis King

    (I probably need a helmet before typing all those names together on a keyboard)!

    Walked in at 4-67 and got retired hurt (broken jaw) when the team score was 176! Hookesy scored 81 out of those 109 runs!

  • Ravi M on July 19, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    I know this is a list of Test innings; but as Imran Khan, Lillee, King Richards and several other greats said, the world series Supertests were the toughest they ever played. There're many brilliant innings, but two players that stood out the most on day 1 were Greg Chappell & forgotten fighter Bruce Laird!

    Bruce scored 106 out of 204 on day 1 against World XI in Sydney in 78 in the first Test. Bowling attack included Andy Roberts, Procter, Garner, Underwood & Tony Greig! Match aggregate of 867 runs for 36 wickets. Only others to score OVER 50 were Barry and Viv Richards.

    Laird produced a better gem at Queen's Park Oval in WI next year in the 3rd Test. 110 not out at stumps 204/7 against Holding, Roberts, Croft & King. Greg Chappell produced even better innings (150 out of 256 going in at 2 wickets for no runs) on day 3-4 though in the second innings!

    For good measure, rest of the top order scored the following: 1 (Ian Chappell) 7 7 (Greg Chappell) 2 3

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 19, 2011, 3:15 GMT

    I think Richards 120 / 250 in the 4th test in 1980 in Pakistan deserves an honourable mention, if not the reader's list. It was a miserably low scoring match and series, with very strong bowling on both sides. [[ Pakistan bowling was fair at 33.54, with no one under 29, Imran being at 29.92. So I probably would not put this innings in. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 18, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    @Gerry: Depending on which team Sobers was talking about, the 60's did have a more balanced attack in Hall-Griffith-Gibbs-Sobers. Hall averaged 26 and Griffith averaged 28. Until 1970, Gibbs averaged 27. As a bowler, Sobers was a Kallis with more variety. So, this is an excellent well-balanced attack.

    The trouble is in batting (& captaincy: Lloyd was a great leader). Barring Lloyd's '84-'85 team which had Greenidge-Haynes-Viv-Richardson-Gomes-Lloyd as the top 6, WI have always had at least one weak link in its top 6 ... the only exception is the '79-'80 era in which boasted Greenidge-Haynes-Viv-Rowe-Kalli-Lloyd as the top 6. In fact, given that some of its great batsmen and bowlers were at their absolute peak in '79-'81, the 1979 team might be the best team of all time.

  • Alex on July 18, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    @shrikanthk: Pollock did not do that well in ROW vs Eng and ROW vs Aus series held between 1970-72.

    1. Against Eng, these are the averages of the ROW batsmen: Sobers (74), Lloyd (50), Kanhai (38), B Richards (37), G Pollock (32).

    2. Against Aus, these are the averages of the ROW batsmen: Sobers (49), Lloyd (31), Kanhai (70), SMG (29), Zaheer Abbas (29), G Pollock (42).

    Of course, the ban ended Pollock's career when he was only 26 yrs old. Still, on the whole, I think it is a big flattery to rate him alongside Sobers & Lara as the greatest ever left-handed batsman.

    @Gerry: What bothered me is that Sobers' recent book had a full chapter on Lara but not one word on SRT. On public forum, Imran may be just a bit critical about SRT (he loves to compare Inzy favorably with SRT) but he is spot on otherwise. His recent articles on SRT (Nov 2009 and March 2010) were a great read ... of course, Imran is my favorite too!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 18, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Ananth, just to recap a bit, how exactly is the 42 BQI for the Aussie Melbourne 1981 attack computed? Overall averages for Lillee, Pascoe, Higgs and Yardley were 23, 26, 31 and 31. CTD averages were 23, 24, 31 and 37. So how do we get to 42 (I mean, in the BQI is a bowling average, arrived at by different weightages, but a bowling average nevertheless). [[ Gerry, quick to identify the mistake. The number was the earlier BQI which was adjusted to work on the basis that the higher the number, the better the attack. I do not use that at all nowadays. The weighted BQI is 27.53, an excellent attack. My apologies. I should probably display on my scorecard only the active parameters. Now the GRV innings assumes great significance and value and will be added to the Readers' list immediately. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi M on July 18, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    Very good to see Neil Harvey finally making the list of some sort. Must be the lowest individual score to feature here.

    An off-topic comment:

    I remember in early 2004, "Inside Edge" magazine had this poll on greatest 50 innings by Australians (Test, ODI, WSC, WTD all combined). The poll was the largest of its kind undertaken in Australian cricket-publishing history at the time. The 30-man selection panel included Benaud, Alan Davidson, Chappelli, Mark Taylor, Sam Loxton etc. Neil Harvey had 6 of his innings in the top 50, whereas the batsGOD, Bradman, had 'only' 4. Gilchrist and Ponting would probably have made a few more entries if it's revised to-date.

    Anyway, most of us Victorians were brought up with more stories about Harvey, Miller & Ponsford than Bradman!!!!

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 18, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    Shrikanthk, Sobers does have the type of leaning you mention, and it comes out in the book "20 years at the top", his main theme being that the 1960s WI team was better than the 1980 WI team. That is a slightly different leaning than his views on Tendulkar. Imran Khan, has similar views as Sobers, including about Tendulkar, and Imran's tremendous personal popularity in India prevents him from being accused of insularity.

    I however dont think that it can be denied that the 2000-10 decade is a relatively batsman friendly decade. Even through 1990s,as Ananth's analysis points out, especially in the first 6 years, life was very tough for batsmen. But havent we already crossed the barrier to the cross era comparison through Ananth's last month's BQI bands based breakdown (of which hopefully the refined version is round the corner...)? [[ I loved those BQI graphs. These were a visual delight. I unfortunately have not had the time to even go back and look at comments and revise the graphs. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish Garg on July 18, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    *arijit dasgupta* has conveyed my feelings in the best possible words, when he said *when I read readers’ responses to other cricket blogs/websites, I feel you are so lucky to have the likes of Shrikanthk, Alex, Boll, Gerry, Abhi and the others....*

    Ananth, for last more than two years, I have not missed reading even a single comment on any of your post. Even during a World Cup final, an ashes test, or when Dravid is on 99*, I flip to your blog and comments before quickly getting back to the scorecard.

    Ananth, when you say *Let me see how we can re-organize the forum into a more exchange-oriented one..*, I wonder how will you set criteria for who is welcome and who is not. If it is open to all, it will again be like this blog space only! [[ I did not say that I would set criteria for coming in or not. I only meant an easier form of exchanging information. Maybe not the route of vetting every comment. Allow readers to post their comments directly. However that opens the route for very parochial and rude comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 18, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    Also would like to highlight another gem - also in Wisden 100 - also by a genius. Vishwanath was absolutely majestic in his 114 (Melbourne, 1981), and every other batsman struggled. Viswanath's innings has to be seen to be really appreciated - he seems to have SO MUCH time to play his strokes.

    There is a Viv Richards type of arrogance in his strokes, and this when India was rather a two batsman team, and on a pretty bad wicket. While we know what the pitch did on day 4 and 5, it was quite bad on day 1 itself, and settled down a bit on day 2 and 3. This pitch was a particularly lousy pitch and was changed to the one on which Hughes scored his 100*. The Australian attack was a fairly sharp one too. India were 0-1 down, and with the backs to the wall. [[ One reason why this innings was not considered for this table is the Australian bowling quality, quite poor at 42.83. Also the second and third innins were 400+ and 300+. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 17, 2011, 12:02 GMT

    I only meant that Weekes' extraordinary average of 58 in 48 tests spanning 10 years is not as clinching an evidence as, say, SRT's 57 in 160+ tests spanning 21+ years

    Agree.

    Then again, Sobers has never called SRT a great batsman

    Yeah :) Sobers is very much "in my day, things were better" type of guy, in the Bishan Bedi mould!

    I was particularly disappointed when he claimed rather categorically that Subhas Gupte is a better bowler than Shane Warne, just because the former had a slightly larger repertoire of deliveries, while completely overlooking the latter's remarkable match winning performances under severe pressure on a consistent basis.

    Even I have doubts about Pollock and Headley. Headley, in his Test career, never faced Tate, Larwood, Bedser, O'Reilly, Lindwall or Miller! Six of the best bowlers between 1930 and 1950. Bradman faced far better attacks!

    And Pollock never played against the "colored" countries - Ind/Pak/WI, as far as I know.

  • arijit dasgupta on July 15, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    A score of 73 may be too small to make the cut but let it get a mention here. Second Test of 82-83 series in Pak, Ist day. Imran & Co have India at 70-5 on fiery Karachi wicket. What a time to set the then world record for fastest Test fifty. Kapil hits 73 off 53 balls --- out of 98 scored. India fold for 169 and Pak slumps to 18/3, ending day at 57/3 (could have easily been four/five down but for several dropped catches). Of all the Test batsmen I’ve seen, only Viv could have played that knock. Current generation wouldn’t know what a batting talent Kapil had and how criminally he wasted it. Yes, he wasted it. And Ananth, when I read readers’ responses to other cricket blogs/websites, I feel you are so lucky to have the likes of Shrikanthk, Alex, Boll, Gerry, Abhi and the others writing to yours. You deserve them. Wish I knew all of them personally and had the chance to chat about cricket with them. Thanks to all of you. [[ Will look at Kapil's and the other innings pending, Nurse's in detail. I am privileged to have a set of wonderful, knowledgable and well-behaved cricket readers. Like you, for me also, they are names. I probably know a little more about them that is all. Let me see how we can re-organize the forum into a more exchange-oriented one. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 14, 2011, 14:05 GMT

    In 1966 ENG v WI series two separate awards were given, a) batsman of the match b) bowler of the match

    cricinfo scorecards have that information, in the same match higgs was the 'Bowler of the match'

  • Alex on July 14, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    @shrikanthk:

    1. I only meant that Weekes' extraordinary average of 58 in 48 tests spanning 10 years is not as clinching an evidence as, say, SRT's 57 in 160+ tests spanning 21+ years. One bad 5-test series and it can drop to 55 ... and at least a dozen batsmen have a higher career average than 55. This reservation does not apply to Bradman: he played for almost 20 yrs (13, after accounting for WW2) and how low can 99.94 drop after a poor 5-test series!?

    2. The same problem with Headley's and Pollock (23 tests): Sobers refused to call Pollock a great batsman since Pollock played in only 23 tests. I suspect he holds the same reservations on Headley as well but has never said that aloud. Then again, Sobers has never called SRT a great batsman!

    As said, I don't argue for Kanhai/Lloyd over Weekes. Personally, Lloyd was my boyhood hero (alongside SMG) and Kanhai has always intrigued me ... we don't value VVS on ave=48 and a somewhat similar adulation applys to Kanhai.

  • Vinish on July 14, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    Alex, thanks for supporting Anwar's innings that I suggested. Ananth, thanks for following up and as always, so very professionally and with a smile.

  • Arjun on July 14, 2011, 7:24 GMT

    Test # 607.

    13 wkts fell on 1st day. SM Nurse scored 93 out of 135 team runs (68 %) in at 80/3, left at 215/8 against very good english attack of snow, higgs, underwood, R illingwoth, D'Oliviera.

    Infact won the 'Batsman of the match' award inspite of Buthcer scoring double hundred in 2nd innings. [[ That is news since the match scorecards do not carry the BoM information. However he deserved that since he scored 93 invaluable runs and then 53.Bowling was 36.xx, about average. Touch and go. Let me see. No doubting the value of the innings. Other than Lashley's 49, there was no worthwhile support. Also WIN won. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 14, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    @Ananth: I will not take a bow simply because that expression has become such a cliche in the trite commentary of Ravi Shastri, always delivered with an annoying sense of superiority complex. [[ You can be sure that, coming from me, the words have a genuine sense of appreciation compared to the topied phoney. Ananth: ]] However, I will bow to Rohan Kanhai: 121 (out of 224) vs Aus, May 1965. On a terrible pitch on which this match did not last even 7 sessions, Kanhai walked in at 0/1 and left at 202/8. In addition, the class of his batsmanship must have been superlative. [[ That looks like an innings which should walk in automatically. Support only from nos 8/9/10. Conforms to my current criteria of "only innings of substance". Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 14, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    His sample set of 48 tests in 10 years is too small to declare a clear verdict

    People use similar arguments against Bradman! Let's not get overly cynical. Also, Cricinfo tells me that his performance against England in '57 (one of his few failures) was "blighted by poor health".

    would you rate VVS (ave=48) below Sanga (ave=56)? Or Gooch (ave=42) below Graeme Smith (ave=50)?

    Well, this is a somewhat leading question! Not a lot to choose between VVS and Sanga.

    Gooch vs Graeme Smith is easy. Gooch played nearly all his cricket against strong WI, Aus and Pak bowling sides. In contrast, Smith has plundered very heavily in the large number of games played against fairly weak Bangladesh and WI sides.

    Neither of these comparisons are a parallel to Kanhai vs Weekes. Barring NZ perhaps, none of the attacks faced by Weekes were as weak as the WI or B'desh attacks of 2000s. I can't subscribe to the idea that Kanhai faced far better bowlers than Weekes did.

  • Alex on July 13, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    @Ananth: Vinish's nomination of Anwar's 145 vs Aus, in 1998, deserves a second look. He ended Day 1 on 132* out of 251/8 vs McGrath-McGill. [[ Alex, take a bow for following up on someone else's recommendation. An outstanding innings. Regular wickets falling, 140 for 8, adds 120 with Mushtaq. Certainly an innings which goes in. Vinish, I thank Alex on your behalf. Ananth: ]] As said earlier, I like Inzy's 135 vs WI (in 2000) as well. It looks like a difficult wicket and WI had aging/aged Walsh-Ambrose. He came in 12/2 and Day 1 ended on a decent 221/5, rescued from a precarious 39/5. In all, Inzamam scored 117* on Day 1. Wisden almanac report has waxed lyrical on the class of Inzy's batsmanship that day. [[ It is only the fact that Pakistan finished at 221/5 with Inzy on 117 and Razzak on 80 that dissuades me from pushing in this innings. Razzak's role in the recovery is huge. Anyhow let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 13, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    @Ananth, I think you might have missed my cunningly inserted `at one time` proviso on Waugh`s high scores. And yes, I`m sorry I didn`t click to that classic innings against the Windies. I believe this was the innings in which they were calling him a coward for backing away to leg and hitting bouncers over the slips for four. Steel and grace - a simply wonderful player,and perhaps my all-time favourite. As shrikanthk mentioned, probably best remembered for those 3 magnificent 2nd innings centuries against South Africa, although that effortless century on debut, and astonishing slip-fielding remain in the memory. Who wouldn`t like to have been able to bat like Mark Waugh? [[ You are one Australian smartie, fooling me with the easily overlooked "at one time". Yes you caught me, alright. Mark Waugh is not my all-time favourite only because another left-hander from Santa Cruz, Trinidad has taken that place. But surely, amongst right-handers, he is there at the top. Grace everybody knows. His deceptive exterior hid a lot of steel. I would go on to say that he had as much steel as his elder brother. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 13, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    Richards faced very difficult batting conditions in 1980, Pakistan, and came out trumps. There was a vast gap between him and other batsmen on both sides, many frontline batsmen averaging in their teens. Such batsmen cannot be judged by numbers, i feel, as they played at a higher level when confronted with tough situations. Look at the quality of spin from Pak in that series...in one of the matches Imran played as the lone fast bowler. They were all really nothing more than dirt tracks.

    Also i suppose, all top 100 first day innings in Wisden 100 must feature here eventually. There must have been at least 15 such first day first innings innings, assuming a reasonable 1/2/3/4 innings distribution. [[ Gerry, not that type of number. After all we are only talking the first day. Many a first innings which has been considered to be a Wisden-100 might not have flowered on day 1. However both innings in the top-10 (Azhar and Hill) and the eleventh (Hughes) have been included. Ananth: ]]

  • Venkat on July 13, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    Thank You Ananth! Here are some Kallis' classics.

    1. SA vs IND. Match no:1951. Coming in at 6/2 and ending the day at 291/2. Kallis remained unbeaten on 159 and Amla who scored 253* ended the day on 115. IND had a good attack. Zak, Ishant, Harbhajan & Mishra.

    2. SA vs NZ. Test no:1514. SA ended the first day on 270/3 out of which Kallis scored 153*. He was dismissed for 160 on the second day. Nz bowling was an okayish one. Connor, Tuffey, Martin, Walker, Astle & McMillan.

    3. SA vs ENG. Test no:1946. SA ended the first day on 279/6, Kallis was 108* eventually dismissed for the same score the next day. ENG Bowling Anderson, Onions, Broad & Swann.

    4. SA vs ENG. Match no:1420. SA batted first and scored 237/1 @ stumps day 1 out of which Kallis scored 117* & Kirsten was 98*. ENG bowling, Gough, Fraser, Cork, Croft & Giles.

    5. SA vs ENG. Match no: 285. SA ended the day @ 376/3. A.Melville was 183* & D.Nourse 149 out. ENG bowling, Bedser, Edrich, Hollies, Martin & Cook. [[ Venkat, you would know by now that I include only exceptional innings in the 100-200 range. For that matter there are 17 200+ innings excluded. You yourself should do some filtering and bring out only exceptional innings. These certainly are not "coming in at 16 for 2 and ending the day at 150*". For that to be included there have to be exceptional circumstances, such as 150 out of 270 for 8 or the bowling to be 25.xx and so on. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 13, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    re.Mark Waugh. He also must hold some sort of record for, at one time, having as his 4 highest test scores 140, 139*, 138, 137. [[ Ah! Boll, you missed out. Somewhere there Mark decided that he be not in the company of Ranatunga and crossed 150 at Bangalore one spring day during 1998. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 13, 2011, 2:45 GMT

    @Ananth: I didn't understand your trick question on highest score lt 150. Pl re-phrase it. [[ Above 5000 only one and above 4000 four. Ananth: ]]

    1. As I recall, Mohinder, Geoff Marsh, and Larry Gomes had the highest score less than 150. They all batted at No. 3-5 at some point in their careers. [[ You have forgotten Lamb. He also scored over 4000 and had a hs of 142. What about Vettori. Over 4000 runs and hs of 140. Amarnath, of course, had a hs of 138. Ananth: ]] 2. If you are looking for the "career runs > 5000+" category, the answer is Ranatunga and Boucher! [[ We should exclude Boucher and Knott (lt 5000) from these lists. They were wk-batsmen. Ananth: ]] Mark Waugh exuded class as a fielder and as a batsman. He averages only 42 ... he was never a glutton on poor attacks but I suspect he faced quality opposition a lot more than many others who have scored more than, say, 6000 career runs.

  • shrikanthk on July 12, 2011, 18:28 GMT

    2. M Waugh: 139* vs WI, May 1991. Facing an all-time great WI attack

    Gosh! Thanks for pointing this. I should've made a note of it, given that I'm probably one of his biggest fans!

    However, the innings didn't register immediately as I was too young back then to have followed it!

    It ought to be better acknowledged given that Waugh is generally remembered fondly for his latter-day match-winning efforts against Cronje's South Africa. This innings is hardly cited by M.Waugh fans surprisingly. [[ Mark W had more steel than people imagined. His pproach belied his skills. For a long time I thought he would be one of three batsmen who would finish their careers with a highest score below 150. But he redressed that at Bangalore. Dave/Others, who are the other two. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 12, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    @Ananth: Smith actually managed 140 in the final session of that Day 1 (see http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/452792.html). Vettori is second with 127.

    Of course, the most anyone ever scored in a single session on any day is 173: Compton vs Pak in 1954.

  • Arjun on July 12, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    Ananth,

    Of all the 1st day efforts, has anyone performed as exceptionaly as D Walters in Test no.736.

    18 wkts fell on the opening day that include 12 batsmen dissmised for single digit score. In at 37/4. remained notout on 104 of only 138 balls. scored 104 out of 184 team runs. Against Test BQI 30.8.

    if criteria is '18 wkts to fall in a day', how many batsmen have score more than 100 runs ? dosn't matter if it is 1st, 2nd or last day.

    isn't this innings worthy of inclusion ? [[ Thanks for reminding me of this innings. I had pencilled in Walters' innings but missed out when I finally entered the innings data. Somewhere I would have come around to it. In fact 27 out of 40 wickets were single digit scores. Anyhow thanks for persisting. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 12, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    Test # 1759 Is Vettori's 127 highest innings in a single session on a opening day ? [[ He came in the 55th over. That must be presumably after tea. He left before close of play after scoring 127. So these were scored in one session. However these days, with 200+ minute third sessions, anything is possible. But this looks like the highest score in a session. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 12, 2011, 5:13 GMT

    @shrikanthk: You may be right on Weekes ... he only failed in 2 series in his career (excluding a 2-test series). His sample set of 48 tests in 10 years is too small to declare a clear verdict. Weekes averages 10 runs more than Kanhai and Lloyd but they had longer and more varied careers. No doubting Weekes (and the other 2W's) but would you rate VVS (ave=48) below Sanga (ave=56)? Or Gooch (ave=42) below Graeme Smith (ave=50)?

    I don't argue for Weekes one way or other over Kanhai/Lloyd but personally prefer these two. Sobers-Viv-Lara definitely go ahead of him though.

    My all-time WI XI: Greenidge, Viv, Lara, Headley, Sobers, Lloyd(c), Dujon, Marshall, Holding, Gibbs/Roberts, Ambrose. 12th: Kanhai (who can keep if needed). Managers: Worrell and Constantine.

  • shrikanthk on July 12, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    Weekes over Viv in subcontinent?? Viv did so well in '74 in India and in '86 vs full strength Pak. IMO, Kanhai & Lloyd should be rated higher than Weekes

    Alex: I'd give averages their due. Weekes averages about a dozen runs more than Kanhai/Lloyd. That's a LOT. Also, he was rated very highly by anyone who saw him. Bradman rated him as the finest WI batsman he ever saw, if I'm not mistaken.

    Agree that Sobers, Lara and Richards ought to be ranked higher than him. But I guess he's as good as anybody else among the rest.

    With May vs Barrington, it's different. I have not heard anybody rate Barrington ahead of May or even the early Colin Cowdrey notwithstanding his figures. But Weekes is highly regarded universally. Pretty much a perfect career, barring a couple of failures against good attacks (Aus in '51-52 and England in '57).

  • shrikanthk on July 12, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    I think The Don (even at age 39) may have claims to be the most successful however. 6 innings, 4 centuries (1 double), 1 fifty (not out) at an average of 179 is hard to top.

    Boll: Yeah. But Bradman faced second string Indian attacks unlike Weekes who played against the best Indian spinners in India.

    Bradman didn`t play in India of course, which has prompted some to question his credentials against spin

    We needn't worry too much about his "credentials" against spin, because Bradman's generation played so much of it. They were weaned on spin in contrast to modern Aus/English players who are weaned on pace. In general, players of that era played spin better than modern Aussie/English players. The practice of getting to the pitch of the ball used to be a habit back then. With modern players it is an exception rather than the rule. They prefer staying on the crease and dominating spinners with cross-batted slog-sweeps!

  • Alex on July 12, 2011, 1:23 GMT

    @Ananth: I can't believe the following 2 escaped everybody's notice so far.

    1. M Waugh: 138 vs Eng, Jan 1991. Walks in at 104/4 and departed at 295/6 in a glorious debut. England didn't have a great attack but this was a most talked-about innings in those days.

    2. M Waugh: 139* vs WI, May 1991. Facing an all-time great WI attack, Waugh walked in at 158/4 and scored 117* of the next 147 as Day 1 closes on 355/5. What a match this was ... it also featured Mark Taylor's all-time classic 144 in Aussie's 2nd innings. [[ Alex In both innings, Mark Waugh added 22 runs the next day. Both were wonderful innings overall. In one the attack was average but it was Mark's debut Test. In the other the attack was devastating (25.98). Let me see. There are so many 100-150 innings on my plate. I will select and post by day-end. Mark Taylor's 144 was out of 265. Great selections, as always. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 11, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    OK, just to finish, how about the 9 who`ve averaged more than 30 with the bat and less than 30 with the ball - some notable casualties (and no cheating)! [[ Imran Miller Shaun Pollock Goddard Noble Botham Chris Cairns Rhodes Kapil (in the order of Batting avge-Bowling avge). The absentees are Sobers (Bowling), Kallis (Bowling), Hadlee (Batting), Faulkner (Bowling). Ok, my database gives me this table in 4.27 seconds. That is not cheating. Finally my tuppenny-worth on the Dominica fiasco. With two great defensive batsmen on board, did India fear defeat. Run-a-ball chases are difficult, but not impossible. 5 more overs could have been played. If India had scored 25 runs and lost no wicket they could have tried for a win. If India had lost two wickets, West Indies could have tried. Why did both captains not give this option a try. Anyhow how can the two captains be given the option to shake hands when there was the possibility of result. It is a travesty. The captains must take some responsibility but ICC is also partly responsible. Ananth: ]]

  • Venkat on July 11, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    I was about to mention that G.Kirsten's inns @ Faisalabad but Arjun posted it. How about these knocks? [[ Kirsten's innings is gaining momentum. Ananth: ]]

    1. Match no : 595. SA vs ENG. G.Pollock scored a majestic 125 @ a S.R of 86. Total of 12 wkts fell on first day. SA were all-out for 269 and G.Pollock was the last man out. This is probably THE best knock of Pollock's career at-least according to me. ENG had a very decent attack. [[ All 200+ scores. Pollock comes in at 16 for 2, sees score go to 80 for 5 and scores more than 50% of runs added. Larter/Snow/Cartwright/Titmus-37.85 (not so great), but wonderful innings in the way he shepherded the tail. Ananth: ]]

    2. Match no : 671. SA vs AUS. The famous series. SA's last before isolation. Two Legends batted the aussies out of the game. In this test with Barry scoring a whirlwind 140 @ a S/R of 85 out of which 94 came in the first session. He would have scored the ton before lunch had A.Bacher didn't get out. The second session which everyone knows Pollock & Richards just hammered the aussies into pieces. Pollock scored 274 out of which 160 were scored on the first day. SA's finest hour came in this test. The first hour after lunch in which the legendary pair added 103. AUS attack wasn't great but was good. [[ Average bowling attack (38.66). 386 for 5, out of which Richards scores 140 and Pollock 160. What do I do. Maybe Include both !!! You and Arjun have made my life (deliciously) difficult. I am going to take a day to decide which of these 100-150 innings to include. Great investigative work. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 11, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    Ananth, I sincerely hope you had to refer to cricinfo stats to pull out those figures. The alternative frightens me. [[ Imran Khan was straight out of my head. Greig required a quick view into my database. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 11, 2011, 13:29 GMT

    Ah the great Miller, one of only 2 men to have averaged more than 35 with the bat, and less than 25 with the ball - and perhaps the purest all-rounder of them all.The other of course being...? [[ You are teasing me. Imran with 37.79 and 22.81. Better than Miller by a run. Ananth: ]]

    I was looking through the list of players to have scored more than 1000 runs and taken more than 100 wickets the other day. These days with the amount of cricket being played even batsmen such as Ambrose and Waqar make the grade; but from memory only 3 players amongst those had averaged more than 40 with the bat - Sobers (worth a place in a World XI as a batsman alone), Kallis, and a surprising other...Very decent average with the ball too! [[ Ah! another teaser. Greig 40.44. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 11, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    Test # 393

    Cowdrey's 102 vs AUS(in at 21/2 gets out at 181/8) scores 102 out of 160 team tuns against very highly rated test attack with very little support from other batsman. [[ The fourth century you have uncovered. All great innings worthy of further consieration. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on July 11, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    @shrikanthk. Greetings old mate. I must admit I wasn`t aware of Weekes` great record against India - 7 centuries in 10 tests at 107 suggests he might have had their measure. I think The Don (even at age 39) may have claims to be the most successful however. 6 innings, 4 centuries (1 double), 1 fifty (not out) at an average of 179 is hard to top.

    Bradman didn`t play in India of course, which has prompted some to question his credentials against spin. I`m reminded of Richie Benaud`s comment to the great Keith Miller, (Benaud had a wonderful record in India - 52 wickets in 8 tests at 18) re.how much he regretted not having had the opportunity to bowl to Bradman, having entered the game just as Bradman was retiring. Miller replied, `Everyone has their lucky break son, that was yours.` [[ Ha!Ha. I am laughing out loud (you note, not LOL). Great tale. Benaud replied "Keith old boy, you were lucky that you were born in Victoria, not Manchester". Ok, my concoction. Ananth: ]]

  • Tom on July 11, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    I think Peter May's place in the pantheon of English batting is obscured by the number of great pre-war batsmen and the long series of accomplished post-war openers who occupy the mind as "great English batsmen" without actually making up a top six. Among postwar middle-order players, May's real rivals are Compton, Barrington, Dexter, Cowdrey, Edrich, Graveney, Gower, Pietersen and arguably Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell and Graham Thorpe. His average is higher than all non-current players save for Barrington, Compton and Dexter.

    Given the competition I would certainly include May in my postwar England XI (as captain). In an all-time list he might lose out to Jardine, but only narrowly.

  • Arjun on July 11, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    Test # 1382.

    Gary Kirstan's 100*, 'carried the bat' against Akram, Waqar, Mushtaq and Saqlain. 12 wkts fell on 1st day. [[ On the face of it this looks a difficult innings. However this was at Faisalabad. Then looking at the scorecard I find the scores 239, 308, 214 and 92. So this was Headingley masquerading as Faisalabad. Arjun, you have thrown three classics at me. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 11, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    test # 1158, low scoring draw.

    Carl Hooper's 134 against wasim, waqar, imrankhan, Qadir.

    In at 37/3, scores 107* out of 250/8 on 1st day.

    Ananth, is this the test with 'best ever' combined bowling attacks ? WI had Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, Marshall. [[ At least I don't chastise you !!!. While throwing Hooper's classic at me, you have also opened up a line of analysis. Qadir at 32.54 lowered Pakistn attack to 27.20. West Indies was 25.2. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 11, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    test # 1120 N Sidhu's 116. Opening the innings retires hurt at 219/4, is dissmised next day without adding to overnight score. High number of extras indicate he scored 60 % of team runs against Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, Marshal. [[ This inns, played at Kingston, against a top-class attack deserves serious consideration. Let me see. You guys are conspiring to make my life difficult !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 11, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    @shrikanthk:

    1. On YouTube, Benaud called PBH May the best post-WW2 batsman produced by England ... he qualified it by saying that he viewed Hutton & Compton as pre-WW2 batsmen.

    2. Weekes over Viv in subcontinent?? Viv did so well in '74 in India and in '86 vs full strength Pak. IMO, Kanhai & Lloyd should be rated higher than Weekes.

    I have often wondered if Hick was a watered down version of Weekes. Hick did play a few excellent Day 1 innings in early-mid 90's ... his 178 on Day 1 vs Ind was all poise and glory vs a mediocre attack on a flat track.

  • Venkat on July 11, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Sorry ran out of characters.

    Match no : 1666. PAK vs SA. Gibbs again. Scored 98 in 256/9. PAK didn't have a great attack but an okayish one Shabbir, Razzaq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Kaneria & Malik. Match agains ended in a draw.

  • Venkat on July 11, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    Thank you Ananth for considering that Gibbs' knock. What about these knocks?

    1. Match no : 1569. IND vs SA. Gibbs scored a fantastic 196 in which 155 came in the first days play. SA ended their first day on 237/5 with Gibbs 155 not out. IND bowling had Srinath, Agarkar, Kumble & Harbhajan. But the match ended in a draw and marred by controversies of Ball-Tampering etc.

    2. Match no : 1659. ENG vs SA. Gibbs scored a brilliant 183 at a S/R of 71. SA were 362/4 @ the end of first day. ENG bowling attack had Anderson, Harmison, Flintoff, Giles & Bicknell. SA lost this match.

    3. Match no : 1651. ENG vs SA. Two men actually dominated the first day. Gibbs made a breezy 179 with a S/R of 76 and Smith scored 277 with a S/R of 75 in the first inns out of which 178 were scored on the first day. ENG bowling line up had Anderson, Flintof, Harmison, Gough & Giles. Match ended in a draw! [[ Venkat At this rate the Readers' list will become a Gibbs-dominated one. All are good fast innings, I concede. However let us get in a varied selection, especially thoise sub-150 gems. Ananth: ]]

  • best on July 11, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    narayan, improve your general knowledge a bit. you don't deserve to write a word about cricket if you don't know about sehwag's 280+ score against sri lanka. people like you should be thrown out . [[ Your idiotic response confirms the following. 1. You know nothing about cricket. 2. You have not read the article. You do not know what it is about. 3. You do not know how to read a scorecard. Sehwag made 284 on the SECOND day against Sri Lanka. If you cannot respond in an acceptable manner, as all other readers do, I suggest stay out of this blogspace. Ananth: ]]

  • Pallab on July 11, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    Aanath:In another context, should we discount Dravid’s 231, SRT’s 241, Ganguly’s 144, VVS’s 2 100s in same series because of the OZ attacks in that series?

    “I don't think there has been a more successful batsman in Tests against India EVER than Weekes”

    Shrikanth: From top of the mind, I can recall Zaheer Abbas (though he was miserable against India in India), Chanderpaul, Miandad (over a longer span and more Tests) and Andy Flower (94 plus average ) also having humungous records against India in Tests. Though of course Weekes hit 7 100s in 10 Tests.

  • Pallab on July 11, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    gainst attacks of same vintage have been stodgier. Hughes scored that brilliant 100 at SR @50. Other Notables:Test 1562. Gary Kirsten scoring 200 plus against Zim attack of Streak, Friend (quite pacy) effective Hondo and always parsimonious Price (though he was hammered here). This was the famous one-man army Andy Flower test scoring 142 and 199*! But going by Shrikant’s comment about “overplaying efforts of players in weak outfits”, supreme overachievers like Hadlee,Flower,Murali,Lara,90s Tendulkar need not be spoken about. Ananth, Gooch faced almost the exact seam Indian attack for his 333 (The bowling was just about okay (37+)) that I Smith did for his 169 (India played those series back-to-back in 1990). I also see that you discounted Sehwag’s blitzing 195 in Melbourne cos of the attack. From what I remember, Lee and MacGill featured among your 24 Great Australians in that OZ blog. And Bracken had been OZ’s 3rd best pacer in ODIs after McGrath and Lee for years. [[ Why should you rate Bracken ahead of Gillespie in Tests. Numbers do not lie. That Aussie attack was pegged at 36.19, no more than fair. Gooch sailed smoothly on that Lords' day, unlike Smith. Re Gavaskar;s innings, that has become famous since it was a defensive player's telling the world what he was suppressing and SMG's 29th century. Purely by cricketing factors, probably does not deserve to get in. Ananth: ]]

  • Pallab on July 11, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    Ananth:How’s you? 1 month seemed interminably long! Easily the most attractive,attacking knock by a batsman against Marshall, Holding (along with W.Daniel was a brute bowler in a shortish career. W. Davis was probing medium-fast)-Gavaskar’s virtuoso 121 against WI in Delhi in 1983 scored at an astonishing rate of 94 and he was out just an hour after lunch with Vengsarkar scoring 114* on same day. Significance being equaling then hitherto thought impossible to break Bradman’s record of 29 centuries; match being a draw against rampaging, vengeful WI after World Cup loss! SMG coming roaring back after getting his skull cap knocked off by a brutish, kicking Marshall delivery in Kanpur; questions raised about his unbreachable immaculate technique and calls for his retirement at 33. Moreover, unlike Dravid and S. Manjrekar resorting even more to defensive batting technique to tide over bad form, SMG could pull out strokes at will from his wide repertoire. Gooch’s 2 150 plus knocks CONT.

  • Ravi M on July 11, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    ..

    CTRL + F for "Harvey" gives zero result!!!!

    An all-time list and several comments without mentioning arguably the greatest crisis batsman of all-time is quite surprising!!!!

    Fair enough to say that most of Harvey brilliance weren't on day 1; yet Australia's first Ashes Test after Bradman's retirement was 'an affair to remember'. 34 wickets fell for only 450 runs in the entire match, spanning over a mere 129.2 overs (172.2 in 6-ball overs)!

    Hutton takes a brilliant catch at back-ward short leg to remove one of Australia's opener and Neil Harvey walks in to join Arthur Morris with no runs on board. Harvey scored a brilliant 74 (out of 118, i.e. 63% while batting with dynamic Arthur Morris and explosive Miller) in a match where only Sir Len Hutton managed to score a half-century.

    Harvey was unfortunate to get out when glancing Sir Alec Bedser off the middle of the bat. To-date many believe that it was the finest team fielding performance ever shown on a cricket field. [[ Ravi You would have seen how difficult for a low innings to be included. However seeing what transpired over the next three days (228, 68/7, 32/7, 122) this innings desrves serious consideration. A match of 22 single-wicket dismissals (out of 34) must surely mean a 74 is worth well over a 100. Many thanks for identifying the gem. Hopefully within the next day Ctrl-F will show Harvey in his Gabba glory !!! Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 11, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    Tough for Weekes to displace anyone from Lara, Sobers, Richards. and Headley

    Yeah. Very tough. Though Weekes did face slightly better bowlers than Headley (who played a lot against second string English attacks).

    It depends on the conditions as well. I may pick Weekes over Richards on slow subcontinental pitches. But not against a rampaging Lillee/Thomson at Perth!

    One can draw an analogy with say Barrington vs Peter May. Barrington had a better record thanks to very heavy scoring on slow Asian pitches. But May was undoubtedly a better all-round batsman - an amateur batsman who distinguished himself against all types of attacks! In fact, a case can be made for Peter May as the best all round English batsman since the War. Yet, nobody talks about him thanks to his average of 47. But that's misleading for a number of reasons. Firstly, the average suffered in his last year due to injury troubles and secondly, the man was an old-school amateur who probably wasn't greedy enough! [[ Yes, P.B.H.May as against Peter May. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 11, 2011, 2:55 GMT

    I think, much like Hammond, Weekes was a bully on benign tracks and vs benign attacks ... this innings was tailor-made for him.

    Interesting observation. Weekes was a very, very heavy scorer against India and NZ. I don't think there has been a more successful batsman in Tests against India EVER. The Indian attacks back then weren't too weak, what with the triumvirate of Mankad, Gupte and Ghulam Ahmed. So obviously he must have been a very good player of spin.

    But he didn't really have a great record against England and Australia in England and Australia! He did alright against England in 1950 when England still relied too heavily on that determined medium pacer, Alec Bedser. But failed in his two toughest assignments - Australia in 1951-52 (with Lindwall and Miller at their absolute peak) and England in 1957 (arguably the best English attack ever).

    So yeah. A close perusal makes it clear why it is not possible to regard Weekes among the top 2-3 WI batsmen of all time. [[ Tough for Weekes to displace anyone from Lara, Sobers, Richards. and Headley (!?!) Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on July 10, 2011, 22:27 GMT

    One innings i would like to point out is a Vijay Manjrekar innings in the Leeds test which is best remembered for India's second innings scoreline 0-4. Day 1, Manjrekar comes into bat at 42-3, and scores 133 against an attack of the highest quality-Bedser,Trueman, and Laker (no 351). [[ Looking at India's state in world cricket then, this innings deserves almost certain inclusion. That too, Manjrekar outscoring other batsmen like Hazare. Many thanks for unearthing this gem. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 10, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. A surprise that SL fan like you did not mention the following.

    ST Jayasuriya: 148 vs SA, July 2000. Sanath opened the innings and got out at 211/2 in 47th over! He tonked Ntini-Pollock-Kallis-Klusener at SR=95. SL finished the day healthy at 341/5 with Mahela batting beautifully. So, % of Sanath's runs is low (this should please shrikanthk!). SL won this match with Murali getting the MoM award. [[ The problem is those 2 runs. I did a filter at 150 for automatic selection and consideration because of the high numvber of 100-150 scores. One reason why you would see that almost all Readers' selections are below 150. Ananth: ]]

    2. Yet another interesting second innings on Day 1:

    Nasser Hussain: 207 vs Aus (full strength attack), June 1997. Aussies bundled out for 118 in 32 overs and Eng ended Day 1 at 200/3 with Nasser on 80* and Thorpe on 83*. Wisden says that Thorpe (eventual score = 138) batted better than Nasser on Day 1.

  • Sancho on July 10, 2011, 19:52 GMT

    Ananth - i realize this may be a sligtly pedantic comment and i am sorry...but just had to ask. You say for the bradman 244 "But for the unique nature of the 309, I would think of this innings as the best first day effort ever." Why is the Hill innings at number 2 then? Sancho [[ Ah there goes the lynx-eyed reader. I initilly had the Bradman innings at no.1 and 2. Then decided that Hill's deserved the second place but forgot to change the wording. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 10, 2011, 15:24 GMT

    @Yash: "Best" 2nd innings on Day 1 is quite subjective. I had mentioned 3: Hayden, Hanif, and Weekes, among which Hanif's contribution (68* out of 113/5) looks the most impressive. Ananth has pointed out two more innings. However, it is almost a certainty that only Weekes ever managed a second innings ton on Day 1:

    Weekes: 123 vs NZ, Feb 1956. Note: it was a *4-day* match. NZ were all out for 74 in 62.2 overs. WI ended the day at 234/3 with Weekes on 123*. Weekes had arrived at 30/2.

    I think, much like Hammond, Weekes was a bully on benign tracks and vs benign attacks ... this innings was tailor-made for him. [[ Yes, Alex/Yash, I stand corrected. Weekes indeed is the only centurion in the second innings on the first day. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on July 10, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Anand

    How about:

    - Azharuddin's innings in Basin Reserve in December 1998? Coming in at 16 for 4 on seaming wicket, he stroked 108 out of team total of 203. [[ Excellent innings worthy of serious consideration. A very good Kiwi attack. Although the second and third innings crossed 350 runs. Ananth: ]]

    - Saeed Anwar's 132* out of team total of 253/8 against McGrath and co. at Rawalpindi in 1998?

    Regards Vinish

  • Yash Rungta on July 10, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Which is the best innings played by a player in the 2nd innings of the match(out of the 4 innings) on the 1st day? Obviously this is only possible if Team batting first is dismissed quite quickly? [[ Pl see Alex's mail on Pakistan-Australia match and Hayden's innings. Let me also do a perusal of scorecards and will revert. The best seems to be in Test 0050 (1896). Australia were dismissed for 53. Then England finished at 286 for 8. Grace scored 66 but Abel played very well and scored 94, the nearest to a 100. This innings is probably the best "second" innings on the first day and closely followed by Hayden's 74*. Thank you for an intriguing comment. Ananth: ]]

    Also, which of these innings have come after the opposition has fielded first? [[ This is tough since I do not process Toss at all. I might not even have complete Toss information for early matches. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 10, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    Okay. Enough of "Golden Age" ranting! [[ I am a great fan of the olden days as evidenced by my taking the trouble of perusing each scorecard you guys refer to and responding. In the bargain I learn more. Ananth: ]]

    Closer to our own time: I notice you've included Richards' 291 against England at the Oval (1976). Great innings no doubt. But it was the 5th test of the rubber. And England were already thoroughly demoralised. Still worthy of inclusion.

    However, there is another Richards innings from the same rubber that could be ranked perhaps even higher. His 232 against England in the 1st test at Trent Bridge. He was only 143* at the end of the 1st day. But it was a more significant innings. At the start of the series, Tony Grieg had talked of making the West Indians "grovel". Everyone was expecting a fairly close series. But Richards on that 1st day clearly set the tone for WI ascendancy, with a commanding show against Snow/Old/Underwood.

    By the 5th test, England were a demoralised lot. Also, the bowling attack at the Oval was weaker than it was at Nottingham. There was no Snow, no Hendricks and no Old at the Oval, all of whom played in that 1st test! [[ All things being equal, other than the sries-status, I went for the bigger innings. Anyhow that also only made to the also-considered stage. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 10, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    @shrikanthk: By the very nature of Ananth's approach, % of runs scored is an important metric here ... the "quality" of batting - which can never be captured by scorecards - does not figure in, except perhaps indirectly. Incidentally, I had looked at Trumper's 104 and Hughes' 100 but didn't post those in comments since some other efforts ranked better on % runs in more dire settings.

    If the quality of batting is given its due, I doubt if BR Taylor's 124 or IDG Smith's 169 will make the All-Time Top 100 of Day 1 ... Pollock's 160* (of 274) will probably beat those hands down. Likewise Trumper's 104 is an all-time classic. [[ Okay, I buy all the arguments. Both Taylor and Trumper are in. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 10, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    Shri, For once you have missed out

    Ananth: Sorry. Should've perused the list more slowly!

    Your comments seem to be like those of people who downplay Murali's wickets or Lara's runs.

    No. I am not downplaying his efforts. But, let us not downplay the efforts of players who played for stronger sides, or overplay the efforts of players who featured in weak outfits. You may argue that it is easier to perform while in a strong side. I don't know about that. In fact, it could be easier to perform in a weak side given that there is less pressure on you to retain your place (with less bench strength).

    The 1913 English attack looks brilliant thanks to one man - Sydney Barnes. Now, he was a great bowler no doubt. But his figures greatly improved post 1910. Till 1910, he averaged about 21 in Tests against strong Aus sides (similar to Lockwood's avg). Post 1910, the SA games made his overall avg look unworldy!!

    Sadly, Lockwood and Richardson didn't play as many games against SA!

  • shrikanthk on July 10, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    English bowling was rated at 36.44, all bowlers in their early part of their careers

    Ananth: Fair enough. But bowlers in the early part of their careers have often been more penetrative than in the latter part of their careers! Rhodes was at his best as a bowler during those early years (1899-1904). In his later years, he began to concentrate on his opening batting! Similarly, Lockwood may not have played too many tests. But he was probably England's best bowler in the 1902 series. In fact, that was his last test series.

    Lockwood was one of England's greatest bowlers of his era, by the way. Many great judges including WG Grace and Ranjitsinhji ranked him ahead of the great Tom Richardson!

  • shrikanthk on July 10, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    2. Taylor: 109 out of 182 vs Eng, Dec 1913. Opened the innings and was out on 181/9

    I just get a feeling we are paying too much attention to the "share of runs". The higher the proportion of the team's runs scored by a batsmen the "higher" it should be ranked.

    I don't agree with this line of reasoning. Taylor naturally featured in a lot of tremendous solo efforts in his career, because SA Batting = Herbie Taylor during those years. No wonder his innings will seem more impressive than many innings played by Hobbs or Trumper around the same period, as a part of much stronger batting lineups.

    If you leave aside a rampaging Barnes (on matting pitches), the rest of the English attack wasn't all that special (Rhodes had started to concentrate more on his batting by 1913). So, I doubt if this English attack can be ranked higher than the 1902 attack against which Trumper scored his 104. It's just that Taylor's innings looks more impressive since the batsmen around him were hopeless. [[ The English bowling was a very good 31.5.The Trumper attack was 36.44, 20% lower. Your comments seem to be like those of people who downplay Murali's wickets or Lara's runs, saying that the others were no good, so he had to take wkts/score runs. This seems to be unfair to players who performed with scant support. It was not their fault that they achieved a share well above the normal numbers. Anyhow Taylor's was an excellent effort against a very good bowling side. There is nothing wrong if it is considered higher than Trumper's. Ananth: ]]

  • shane on July 10, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    Ananth, one innings that I have always been interested in is Hammond's 240 vs Aus at Lords 38. At stumps on first day he was 210 not out after England had been 3/31. In books and articles on Hammond I have heard it frequently described as his best innings. The Aus attack was not great but it did have O'Reilly. [[ The Aussie attack was an average one. Even with O'Reilly, it was at 44.01. Probably a very good innings, though. I have also worked on the basis that barring the 309 and 244, the innings has to have very strong factors pushing it. Ananth: ]]

    And just a small correction, in no. 3 you mentioned that Ponsford was playing his first test. It was actually his last. [[ Shane You are correct. The mistake is because in my scorecard I highlight both first and last tests of players in different colours. At times colour-blindness sets in (!!!) and I write the wrong thing. In fact this was the last test of Ponsford, Woodfull, Kippax and Walters, Wooley and Clark. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 10, 2011, 4:03 GMT

    @Ananth: A few minutes back, scorecard archives showed these two gems which look deceptively un-extradaordinary:

    1. BR Taylor: 124 vs WI out of 323, March 1969. Arrived at 152/6 and left at 315/9 ... I guess IDS Smith's 169* vs Ind was an echo of this super knock. WI attack comprised Hall, Gibbs, and Sobers. [[ Yes this seserves a further look. 124 at no.8 out of 163 runs only. Your earlier query on % of score also comes in. However the problem here is the absence of when the player was out. However even if we take it as 323-152, it is a very high %. Ananth: ]]

    2. Clem Hill: 91* out of 252 vs SA, Nov 1902. Arrived at 100/1 but the game changed when Trumper left at 121/2. From that point on, Hill scored 91* when, at the other end, 8 others combined to score just 46.

    Hill played a few all-time great innings. This one might have been a bit like GRV's 97* vs WI. [[ Bowling attack 40.57. Otherwise a wonderful effort. Noble's 133 in the same series also deserves a second look in. Here I am, trying to fill a quart in a pint container !!! Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 10, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Another gem :

    Jack Hobbs' 187 against South Africa in 1910 at Cape Town.

    Hobbs scored 187 out of a total of 417. England scored over 400 runs on the 1st day!! It wasn't a weak SA side. SA actually won the series 3-2! The Bowling attack included Vogler and Faulkner - two of the best back-of-the-hand googly bowlers of the era.

    I like this innings, because it reveals so much about the way Test cricket was played back then. Games often lasting for 3-4 days, played at a tempo very much comparable to that of Ponting/Waugh's sides of the early 2000s.

    Also, the innings demolishes certain myths about Hobbs. He is often remembered as a stodgy technician. But actually, he was one of the most attractive strokeplayers of his time! [[ Shri For once you have missed out. This innings is already in the main list itself, just after Greenidge's 134. It is unlikely that I would have missed out any innings above 150. It is only for those 100-150 innings that the perusal of the scorecard seems necessary. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 10, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    Here's one :

    Victor Trumper 104 against England (1902 at Manchester) : One of the greatest Test matches of all time, with Australia pulling it off by 3 runs.

    It was a 3-day affair. Trumper became the first man to score a century before lunch in the history of Test cricket. Though the wicket did get difficult later in the match, it was a featherbed at the start and Trumper made the most of it. The attack included Wilfred Rhodes (the greatest spinner of the era) and Bill Lockwood (the greatest fast bowler of the time). Not bad at all.

    Perhaps not a brilliant innings. But legendary given that it was all scored before lunch! Something that hadn't been done before. [[ If you see Alex's mail, in the same year there was Clem Hill's 91 and Noble's 133. English bowling was rated at 36.44, all bowlers in their early part of their careers. But considering what happened in the later of the match, this was a match-winning innings. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit dasgupta on July 9, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    Kim Hughes's unbeaten 100 out of 198 all out, coming at 3 down for 8, against Roberts-Holding-Garner-Croft on dodgy MCG wicket on first day of first Test in 1981-82 (Test No. 915). In a low-scoring Test, the first day ended with West Indies at 4 down for 10, which means 14 wickets fell for 208. Second-highest score: 21. Australia won the match and Windies could barely save the three-match series 1-1 after last-day heroics in the third Test. Regards [[ How did I miss this gem. Probably because I did not put in a special condition for such coming-in-at-poor and remaining-not-out situations. A match RpW of 18.5 and two bowling attacks, around 24. This goes in straight. Many thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 9, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    @Ananth: For fun, a few more overlooked innings including a real surprise.

    1. Yallop: 121 vs Eng, Feb 1979. Aus lost this must win final test in the series. Yallop came in at 19/2 and was out on 198/9. [[ Yes, an excellent one, reminiscent of Hughes' innings (probably against a better attack), Greenidge's classic and Kamran Akmal's 100. Deserves a second look. What about Botham's 74 out of 169 in the same series. Ananth: ]]

    2. Taylor: 109 out of 182 vs Eng, Dec 1913. Opened the innings and was out on 181/9. [[ And against an attack of Barnes+Rhodes. Again deserves a look-in. Ananth: ]]

    3. Sutcliffe's 74 out of 125 vs Eng, March 1955.

    4. Nurse: 258 vs NS, March 1969. A great innings but he scored only 122* out of 212/2 on a rain-marred Day 1.

    5. Pollock: 274 vs Aus, Feb 1971. Scored 160* in just over two sessions on Day 1.

    Now, the surprise:

    6. Hayden: 119 vs Pak, Oct 2002. This was the second innings actually but Pak managed just 59 runs in its first in scorching heat. Aus finished Day 1 at 191/4 with Hayden on 74* ... he won the MoM award. Hanif Mohammed's 103 vs NZ (68* off 113/5) is a similar story just that it happened on Day 4 because rain washed out the first 3 days!! Likewise, Weekes' 123 vs NZ, Feb 1956. [[ Yes I had looked at this match since I was aware of the circumstances. If Hayden had crossed 100 (just a number, I can assure you) it would have come under consideration. Ananth: ]]

  • criccrazy on July 9, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    A great list..but don't you think you're missing Kim Hughes' outstanding MCG ton against Roberts, Garner, Croft, Holding. That has to be one of the finest efforts against one of the greatest attacks from a perilous 8/3 and 26/4 soon after. [[ How did I miss this gem. Probably because I did not put in a special condition for such coming-in-at-poor and remaining-not-out situations. A match RpW of 18.5 and two bowling attacks, around 24. This goes in straight. Many thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • praveen on July 9, 2011, 17:41 GMT

    Test no. 1863 Sachin scored 126* on day 1 out of 309/5 of fourth test against Australia. This is against Brett Lee at his very best.Might not make into the list but worth mentioning [[ There are probably hundreds of better innings. This certainly was good but nowhere near the top 4 other fifties including one each by Harbhajan and Kumble. A match RpW of around 50 on a very good batting strip, even on the first day.. Ananth: ]]

  • Ram Kakkar on July 9, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    Surely, the lack of interest and star cast in the ongoing India West Indies series, should not be a reason for not even mentioning Laxman’s 85 in test no. 1998 on June 28 this year? Following are my submissions in this regard:

    1. Laxman walked in at 2-8 and while the West Indies’ bowling attack could be argued to be only average, the pitch and conditions made them almost metamorphise into the attack 70s and 80s. Please note that the 2-8 was in 10.1 overs. 2. Rahul Dravid was back into the pavilion at 8-2; the 4 other in the top 6 had a mere 25 tests between them. Surely with no Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir, the onus on Laxman cannot be ignored. 3. 231 runs came in the day for 13 wickets - just over 17 a wicket. 4. History- West Indies has had a 59 year unbeaten streak in Barbados! India had lost 7 and drawn 1 (I may be corrected on these). [[ Frankly I do not care a tuppence about the missing stars. For me the Tests are fascinating as I look for someone to lift up West Indian cricket. The fact is I returned on 29th and immediately completed the list, without taking into account the on-going list. Even then I feel Dravid's 81 probably ranks ahead of Laxman's on a few counts. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 9, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    Test # 736.

    D Walters's 104* off only 138 balls on 1st day; he remained unbeaten on a day during which 18 wkts fell. against a good test attack. [[ Coming in at 37 for 4 against a pretty good attack, away, scores 101* out of 184 added. Certainly deserves a real look. Thanks for unearthing a gem. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on July 9, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    An article by you after a long gap. Worth the wait.

    Dravid's innings deserves to be part of the list. Though the runs are only 81, each one was precious for India. The contest of the match and other players performances makes Dravid stand out. [[ A match RpW of 17 and Dravid scores 81+68. I think I will include this and Kamran Akmal's century in the Readers' list. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 9, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    Test # 515.

    DJ Mcglew's 127*, 'carried the bat' on opening day. SAF won the low scoring match(852runs for 40 wkts) by only 30 runs. [[ Problem, Arjun, was the Kiwi bowling attack. Over 50.00, in the last 10% of all attacks. The best bowler was Reid at 37+. This is patly mitigated by the pitch conditions over the 4 days. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Abbascheema on July 9, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Pak were 39-6 on a green pitch when kamran akmal scored 113 against india in karachi n pak managed 243 against bowling of pathan,zaheer,kumble n harbajan.pak won the series decider.this is the best test inings on 1st day Pak were 39-6 on a green pitch when kamran akmal scored 113 against india in karachi n pak managed 243 against bowling of pathan,zaheer,kumble n harbajan.pak won the series decider.this is the best test inings on 1st day [[ I will include Kamran Akmal's century in the Readers' list. Although the Pakistan second innings of 599 showed that the pitch was a good one, on the first two days the conditions were quite different. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 9, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    Another acknowledged 1st day classic is Gary Sobers' 132 at Brisbane in 1960. Again, it may not rank too high if one looks at it purely "objectively". The bowling attack was passable if one discounts Davidson.

    Nevertheless, people who saw that innings acknowledged it as one of the finest ever displays of aggressive batsmanship in Australia. I'd rate it highly given the historical context of the innings.

    Cricket was in a crisis during the late 50s. Australia had thrashed England 4-0 in 1958-59. But it was one of the dullest Test rubbers ever played. In the previous Test match held at Brisbane in '58-59, only 142 runs were scored on the 1st day!!! Audiences were dwindling. So were the overrates. So, the expectation in 1960 from the Aus-WI series wasn't too high.

    It is in this context that Sobers' innings ought to be judged. It set the tone for the tied Test match. And it set the tone for a rubber that was perhaps the most entertaining played till then for over a generation! [[ Shri, I know of this wonderful innings. However 359 for 7 with two supporting 60s means that the innings was not comparable to many other single-handed efforts. Purely by the first day's scoreline, this does not deserve a place. However it deserves a look-in because of the history you have woven around this effort. Ananth: ]]

  • Venkat on July 9, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    Hello Anantha Narayanan! I think you've totally forgotten one inns. H.Gibbs scored 228 in 240 balls with a S/R of 95 vs PAK. Pakistan's bowling attack had Waqar, Sami, Zahid & Saqlain. Total runs scored on the first day were 445/3 (JH Kallis 19*, HH Dippenaar 8* were the batsmen at the crease and 89 overs were bowled). Smith scored 151 with a S/R of 70. Does this Gibbs' knock deserves a mention here? [[ I plead guilty. The peculiar combination of circumstances, two batsmen scoring over 150 and both dismissed threw the program off track and extracted only Smith. My apologies. This was also a very good bowling attack. I am going to make up for this mistake by straightaway including Gibbs' innings. Many thanks for the invaluable contribution. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 9, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    @Ananth: It would be good if you can give us tables on how often it has occurred that a batsman has scored over 60%, over 65%, over 70% of team runs on Day 1, etc. This info is not available easily. Also, I hadn't seen these but do these merit a minor consideration?

    1. Inzy: 135 vs WI, May 2000. Walks in at 12/2 and is 117* at the end of Day 1 out of 221/5. Match ended in a draw after rain washed out Day 4 and Day 5.

    2. GRV: 97* vs WI, Jan 1975. Walks in at 24/2 and remains not out when innings fold at 190 off 58.5 overs on a bowler's pitch. WI finished Day 1 at 36/3. India won the match to level the series 2-2.

    3. SRT: 97 vs SA, Feb 2000. Walks in at 39/2 and departs at 173/8. India fold at 225. SA won the test by 4 wickets. [[ This info has been considered while making the selection and has been referred to in the write-up. See AzharMahmood/Greenidge/Bannerman's stories. To incorporate this information in the current article would be difficult. I can certainly do this work and add the high % table to the Bowling performance article. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 8, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    @Ananth: Great to see you back.

    1. Lara's 196 vs SA in April 2005 was probably better on situational and stroke-play scale than his 176 from the same series. WI lost both tests, of course. In this one, Lara walked in at 14/2 and was 159* when Day 1 ended with WI at 281/6. [[ Out of the 196, 159 was scored on the first day with the score at entry at 13 for 2. The 176 was scored on the first day with the score at/after entry 12 for 3. Similar bowling. So I think the 176 was the better effort. Ananth: ]]

    2. Sehwag's 195 off 233 deliveries vs Aus in Dec 2003. Was out on Day 1 itself with the score at 311/4 off 78 overs. Aus won the test. [[ I have already talked about this. Look at the bowling attack. Ananth: ]]

    3. Sehwag's immortal 201* vs SL in Sept 2008. Only 44 overs were bowled on Day 1 and India finished at 211/4 with Sehwag on 128* off 100 deliveries ... this was the 2nd test in the 3-test series and Ind had lost the first. India won this test. [[ Sehwag was 128* at close. A great effort, even at this point. At least deserves a look-in. Ananth: ]]

  • mehfuj ansari on July 8, 2011, 20:12 GMT

    sourav ganguly 144 at gaba against aus [[ Not on the first day. Ananth: ]]

  • Pawan Mathur on July 8, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    Sehwag at Melbourne 2004 (no 1678) and Hayden at Chennai 2001 ( ( no1539) deserve a mention. Both the innings had put there team under total command the first day, but still both innings came in a losing cause due to batting collapses later. [[ Sehwag's 195 was considered by me very seriously and not included mainly because the bowling was Lee/Bracken/Williams/MacGill. Hayden 147* out of 326 for 3 just does not make the cut. Too many other great efforts. Ananth: ]]

  • Sreekanth on July 8, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    Thank you for nominating Greenidge's 134. People often forget this classic in any discussion of Greenidge.

    I too nominate McCabe's 187 in a baker's dozen collection. [[ McCab's 197 has been included in the Readers' list. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on July 8, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    kamran Akmal 113 National Stadium, Karachi Test no. 1783

    very fine innings. Changed the match altogether [[ Goel You will see this innings in my list of innings seriously considered. It was within a whisker of getting into the main list. A strong contender for the Reaer list. Ananth: ]]

  • Arjun on July 8, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Test # 1806

    Sehwag' 180 of 190 balls (dismissed just after tea at 300/3, scored 60 % of team runs)

    Bowling attack a fair one; P collins, J taylor, bravo , collymore, bradshaw.

    India couldn't finish the match even after WI followed on. [[ To some extent this is somewhat similar to Gooch's and Hayen's innings. Even the 195 I have not included because the bowling was quite ordinary. Ananth: ]]

  • basab ray on July 8, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    well come back. please narrate the year of innings. good piece. regards

  • love goel on July 8, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    Rahul Dravid 81 vs WI Sabina Park Test no. 1808 Rahul Dravid 110*(148 total) vs England at Headingley Test no. 1613

    Both test ended in Indian Wins

    May be not the second one, but first one is really in a class of its own [[ Dravid's 81 was a very fine innings comparable to Moin Khan's Calcutta effort of 70 and Jacobs' 96*. Very low scoring match and Dravid was simpley outstanding. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on July 8, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    Though the inning was not that great and hence should not be included here but I remember from watching the stands and enjoying the sheer strokeplay of Md.Azharuddin versus England in January 1993 at Eden Gardens. He ended the day at most probably on 114 and resumed the innings next day. He was out for 182 of probably 198 deliveries. What joy he provided to spectators and was provided a standing ovation by around 60000 spectators on ground. I was only 15 then. Infact all the matches in which Azhar scored century at Eden have been watched by me (whether it was for a day or five)but havent watched a single minute of the match in which he hasnt scored century at his fav hunting ground.You can say I was his lucky mascot in Kolkata. :) [[ Navin, Unfortunately your eloquent prose is not enough to push Azhar into serious consideration zone. The problem is that there are hundreds of innings like that. Ananth: ]]

  • Tom on July 8, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    Although not as accomplished as many of the innings above, I think Michael Slater merits a passing mention for the Brisbane Test in 1994. The England attack wasn't great (Gough; Tufnell, DeFreitas, McCague and part-timers) but neither was it awful, and he took them for 176 at a strike rate of 72.13.

    There were only two other scores above 20 in the Australian first innings (albeit including another century) and England made fewer runs in total in their first innings (167) than Slater had alone. It set the tone for the series- and the decade. [[ I think Slater's deserves inclusion, not just consideration. McCabe's might get in next. Ananth: ]]

  • Sifter on July 8, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    I was reading about the Vaughan innings the other day (while I was searching for those who had managed more than 1 good innings against the Warne/McGrath/Gillespie trio...not many...) While the Aussie attack that day was good (on paper at least, I can't remember their precise performance on the day), he had a bit of luck. Reports say Australia dropped 6 catches on that day, Vaughan dropped on 56 and 151 and probably out caught on 19 by Langer in the gully, but the while replays seemed to be OK, he was given the benefit of the doubt, as often happened with any referred catches in those days. But just because he gave 3 chances doesn't mean he didn't play some lovely shots though. He was a great player to watch.

  • Anand on July 8, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    Ananth:

    Great article once again. Any particular reason why Graham Gooch;s 194* vs India (Test no. 1148, England ended with 359-2. Gooch eventually made 333 and England won by 247 runs) was not listed or not mentioned in the list of other innings that came seriously close to consideration? Is it because the quality of Indian bowling was very poor? Gooch not only made lot of runs but also made them very quickly. England maintained a rate of almost 4 on day 1 and after that there could be only one winner in that match or a stalemate. [[ The bowling was just about okay (37+). Also the fact that it was a rather one-sided day. Other than the top two innings of Bradman I have looked for some degree of contest. And we should not be influenced by Gooch's final score. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 8, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    Ananth, also Slater's 176, Hayden's 197. these were not only the first day of the test, but the first day of the series as well, and crushed the English morale and finished off the contest even before it began. [[ Similar arguments as Gooch's Lord's innings for Hayden's 186*. Slater's 176 is probably a more important innings and has to be considered seriously. Ananth: ]]

    Also wonder if there is any way to also display, along with test number, the year and venue (most of us remember tests that way). Else one has to go to cricinfo to find out the scores. [[ I will try to do it. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 8, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    Nice to be back!

    Re Bradman's 309 : The information on balls is available in the Match scorecards. His 334 took him 448 balls. So, I suspect the 300 came up in roughly 400 deliveries.

    It was a very good batting wicket. By one account, Tate's first delivery to Bradman whizzed past his off stump! Thankfully for history, Bradman survived and made the most of it.

    We've discussed this bowling attack in the past. I still think "passable" is a slightly harsh adjective. Larwood, Tate and Geary all have sub-30 career averages. The BQI looks bad due to the bowling of part-timers (esp Leyland) in the closing stages of the 1st day. [[ Other than Tate, the others were at the beginning of their career. Passable could become fair-to-middling, but not more. Ananth: ]]

    Another innings worthy of inclusion is Stan McCabe's 187 at Sydney in the 1st Test of the Bodyline series. He was 127* at the end of the 1st day. It was a testing attack. The BQI may not be great since Verity was starting out. Nevertheless, the fact that they bowled Bodyline makes it a more significant innings than it seems on the surface. [[ Since the score was 290 for 6 and the bowling attack was a hammer-head type, McCabe's innings deserves serious consideration. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin on July 8, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    The Tendulkar innings came in the Bloemfontein match. The infamous match marred by several allegations including ball-tampering was the next one, that India struggled to draw. The third Test was the one that was made unofficial as a result. [[ Nitin, I stand corrected. The ball-tampering etc happened in the Port Elizabeth match. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

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  • Nitin on July 8, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    The Tendulkar innings came in the Bloemfontein match. The infamous match marred by several allegations including ball-tampering was the next one, that India struggled to draw. The third Test was the one that was made unofficial as a result. [[ Nitin, I stand corrected. The ball-tampering etc happened in the Port Elizabeth match. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on July 8, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    Nice to be back!

    Re Bradman's 309 : The information on balls is available in the Match scorecards. His 334 took him 448 balls. So, I suspect the 300 came up in roughly 400 deliveries.

    It was a very good batting wicket. By one account, Tate's first delivery to Bradman whizzed past his off stump! Thankfully for history, Bradman survived and made the most of it.

    We've discussed this bowling attack in the past. I still think "passable" is a slightly harsh adjective. Larwood, Tate and Geary all have sub-30 career averages. The BQI looks bad due to the bowling of part-timers (esp Leyland) in the closing stages of the 1st day. [[ Other than Tate, the others were at the beginning of their career. Passable could become fair-to-middling, but not more. Ananth: ]]

    Another innings worthy of inclusion is Stan McCabe's 187 at Sydney in the 1st Test of the Bodyline series. He was 127* at the end of the 1st day. It was a testing attack. The BQI may not be great since Verity was starting out. Nevertheless, the fact that they bowled Bodyline makes it a more significant innings than it seems on the surface. [[ Since the score was 290 for 6 and the bowling attack was a hammer-head type, McCabe's innings deserves serious consideration. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on July 8, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    Ananth, also Slater's 176, Hayden's 197. these were not only the first day of the test, but the first day of the series as well, and crushed the English morale and finished off the contest even before it began. [[ Similar arguments as Gooch's Lord's innings for Hayden's 186*. Slater's 176 is probably a more important innings and has to be considered seriously. Ananth: ]]

    Also wonder if there is any way to also display, along with test number, the year and venue (most of us remember tests that way). Else one has to go to cricinfo to find out the scores. [[ I will try to do it. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on July 8, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    Ananth:

    Great article once again. Any particular reason why Graham Gooch;s 194* vs India (Test no. 1148, England ended with 359-2. Gooch eventually made 333 and England won by 247 runs) was not listed or not mentioned in the list of other innings that came seriously close to consideration? Is it because the quality of Indian bowling was very poor? Gooch not only made lot of runs but also made them very quickly. England maintained a rate of almost 4 on day 1 and after that there could be only one winner in that match or a stalemate. [[ The bowling was just about okay (37+). Also the fact that it was a rather one-sided day. Other than the top two innings of Bradman I have looked for some degree of contest. And we should not be influenced by Gooch's final score. Ananth: ]]

  • Sifter on July 8, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    I was reading about the Vaughan innings the other day (while I was searching for those who had managed more than 1 good innings against the Warne/McGrath/Gillespie trio...not many...) While the Aussie attack that day was good (on paper at least, I can't remember their precise performance on the day), he had a bit of luck. Reports say Australia dropped 6 catches on that day, Vaughan dropped on 56 and 151 and probably out caught on 19 by Langer in the gully, but the while replays seemed to be OK, he was given the benefit of the doubt, as often happened with any referred catches in those days. But just because he gave 3 chances doesn't mean he didn't play some lovely shots though. He was a great player to watch.

  • Tom on July 8, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    Although not as accomplished as many of the innings above, I think Michael Slater merits a passing mention for the Brisbane Test in 1994. The England attack wasn't great (Gough; Tufnell, DeFreitas, McCague and part-timers) but neither was it awful, and he took them for 176 at a strike rate of 72.13.

    There were only two other scores above 20 in the Australian first innings (albeit including another century) and England made fewer runs in total in their first innings (167) than Slater had alone. It set the tone for the series- and the decade. [[ I think Slater's deserves inclusion, not just consideration. McCabe's might get in next. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on July 8, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    Though the inning was not that great and hence should not be included here but I remember from watching the stands and enjoying the sheer strokeplay of Md.Azharuddin versus England in January 1993 at Eden Gardens. He ended the day at most probably on 114 and resumed the innings next day. He was out for 182 of probably 198 deliveries. What joy he provided to spectators and was provided a standing ovation by around 60000 spectators on ground. I was only 15 then. Infact all the matches in which Azhar scored century at Eden have been watched by me (whether it was for a day or five)but havent watched a single minute of the match in which he hasnt scored century at his fav hunting ground.You can say I was his lucky mascot in Kolkata. :) [[ Navin, Unfortunately your eloquent prose is not enough to push Azhar into serious consideration zone. The problem is that there are hundreds of innings like that. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on July 8, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    Rahul Dravid 81 vs WI Sabina Park Test no. 1808 Rahul Dravid 110*(148 total) vs England at Headingley Test no. 1613

    Both test ended in Indian Wins

    May be not the second one, but first one is really in a class of its own [[ Dravid's 81 was a very fine innings comparable to Moin Khan's Calcutta effort of 70 and Jacobs' 96*. Very low scoring match and Dravid was simpley outstanding. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • basab ray on July 8, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    well come back. please narrate the year of innings. good piece. regards

  • Arjun on July 8, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Test # 1806

    Sehwag' 180 of 190 balls (dismissed just after tea at 300/3, scored 60 % of team runs)

    Bowling attack a fair one; P collins, J taylor, bravo , collymore, bradshaw.

    India couldn't finish the match even after WI followed on. [[ To some extent this is somewhat similar to Gooch's and Hayen's innings. Even the 195 I have not included because the bowling was quite ordinary. Ananth: ]]