November 14, 2011

Test hundreds: everything anyone wanted to know ... and more

Evaluating various parameters of Test centuries including frequency, result of match and bowling quality
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Don Bradman: astounding frequency of double-centuries
Don Bradman: astounding frequency of double-centuries © Getty Images

I write three types of articles. The first, and the most often done, are the hard-core analysis, often sailing on uncharted seas. Examples are the Bowling quality and Series analysis. Then there are anecdotal articles which are normally my selections, with facility for readers to come out with their own. Examples are the the Test opening day performances and the innings bowling efforts. The third type of articles are rare. I take a single facet of the game and analyze it in depth but in a narrow manner, bringing out almost every aspect of that. Examples are the articles on Bradman and Muralitharan. The current article is one such analysis. The subject is Test hundreds. I would be very surprised if, after reading this article, the reader reverts with a possible analysis on Test hundreds I have missed.

1. Number of Test hundreds scored


SNo Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s

1.Tendulkar S.R 1989 Ind 182 51 2.Kallis J.H 1995 Saf 145 40 3.Ponting R.T 1995 Aus 154 39 4.Dravid R 1996 Ind 158 35 5.Lara B.C 1990 Win 131 34 6.Gavaskar S.M 1971 Ind 125 34 7.Waugh S.R 1985 Aus 168 32 8.Hayden M.L 1994 Aus 103 30 9.Bradman D.G 1928 Aus 52 29 10.Jayawardene M 1997 Slk 125 29


As anyone and their neighbour's cat are aware of, Tendulkar stands head-and-shoulders above all others with 51 Test hundreds, 99 in all. This might be 52 by the time this article is published. Kallis and Ponting would have to play about 50 Tests more to overhaul Tendulkar and it is very unlikely that this would happen. The modern greats are all there, along with the incomparable Bradman, who has 29.

2. Average value of hundreds


SNo Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s  Avge

1.Bradman D.G 1928 Aus 52 29 186.0 2.Zaheer Abbas 1969 Pak 78 12 179.8 3.Sehwag V 2001 Ind 90 22 176.3 4.Lara B.C 1990 Win 131 34 173.2 5.Amiss D.L 1966 Eng 50 11 170.8 6.Jayasuriya S.T 1991 Slk 110 14 168.3 7.Hammond W.R 1927 Eng 85 22 167.5 8.Gayle C.H 2000 Win 91 13 166.8 9.Sangakkara K.C 2000 Slk 103 27 165.3 10.Simpson R.B 1957 Aus 62 10 164.6 ... ... 108.Kallicharran A.I 1972 Win 66 12 122.2 109.Waugh M.E 1991 Aus 128 20 120.6 110.Katich S.M 2001 Aus 56 10 118.2 111.Lamb A.J 1982 Eng 79 14 117.3 112.Amarnath M 1969 Ind 69 11 113.8


Now for the average value of the hundreds made. This is an excellent measure to determine how big the hundreds were and have a handle on the propensity of the batsman concerned to "take a fresh guard", so to speak. Bradman, having the cushion of two triple and ten double in his 29, stands quite clear of the next with an average hundred score of 186. Zaheer Abbas, four of whose 12 hundreds were doubles, has a very high average hundred value of 179.8. Then come Sehwag and Lara. Both have two triple-hundreds, Lara has seven other doubles and Sehwag, four other doubles. Both of them also had the ability to go past 150 often. Their average hundred value is around 170+, as is Amiss's value. In the later half of the top-ten group, we have two Sri Lankans. There is also Gayle, would he ever play for West Indies again ?

The top-four century makers, Tendulkar, Kallis, Ponting and Dravid all have average hundred values around 145. Jayawardene, in line with the other Sri Lankan batsmen, has an average hundred value of 160.

The other end is interesting. Amarnath and Lamb did not exceed 150 at all. Katich and Mark Waugh, just once. This leads to an average hundred value of around 120.

3. Frequency of hundreds - Inns/hundred


SNo Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s  I/H

1.Bradman D.G 1928 Aus 52 29 2.8 2.Headley G.A 1930 Win 22 10 4.0 3.Walcott C.L 1948 Win 44 15 4.9 4.Sutcliffe H 1924 Eng 54 16 5.2 5.EdeC Weekes 1948 Win 48 15 5.4 6.Tendulkar S.R 1989 Ind 182 51 5.9 7.Hayden M.L 1994 Aus 103 30 6.1 8.Kallis J.H 1995 Saf 145 40 6.2 9.Sobers G.St.A 1954 Win 93 26 6.2 10.Chappell G.S 1970 Aus 87 24 6.3 ... ... 108.Hooper C.L 1987 Win 102 13 13.3 109.Laxman V.V.S 1996 Ind 128 16 13.4 110.Jayasuriya S.T 1991 Slk 110 14 13.4 111.Gatting M.W 1978 Eng 79 10 13.8 112.Stewart A.J 1990 Eng 133 15 15.7


Now for the frequency of hundreds. I have taken innings per hundred rather than matches per hundreds to avoid penalising the batsmen in stronger teams. Bradman scored a hundred every 2,8 innings, quite difficult to even visualize this type of frequency. Expressed another way, a hundred in less than every two Tests. Headley and Walcott are below 5.0. Sutcliffe and Weekes, just above 5.

Then comes Tendulkar. It is necessary to take this number of 5.9 in perspective. We should not forget that this has been achieved over nearly 300 innings. It is consistency of the highest order. Based on this measure, Tendulkar is currently going through a slump, 11 innings have gone by since his last hundred. But that might change soon and he might score two in two. Kallis has the same frequency as the great Sobers.

AT the other end, the surprise is Laxman whose frequency is a fairly high 13.4. But it must be said that many of his recent 50s have been match-winning and mean more than many a hundred. He makes his runs in difficult situations and does not necessarily gets as many hundreds as his compatriots do. His value will be known only when he retires.

Now a compilation of the hundreds total as % of the team runs for the concerned innings.

4. Hundred total as % of team total runs


SNo Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s %TtR

1.Hanif Mohammad 1952 Pak 55 12 44.4 2.Headley G.A 1930 Win 22 10 42.3 3.Gooch G.A 1975 Eng 118 20 41.9 4.Lara B.C 1990 Win 131 34 40.5 5.Amiss D.L 1966 Eng 50 11 40.0 6.Bradman D.G 1928 Aus 52 29 38.8 7.Sehwag V 2001 Ind 90 22 38.3 8.Gayle C.H 2000 Win 91 13 37.8 9.Flower A 1992 Zim 63 12 37.7 10.Hammond W.R 1927 Eng 85 22 37.3 ... ... 108.Gilchrist A.C 1999 Aus 96 17 26.9 109.Ganguly S.C 1996 Ind 113 16 26.8 110.Martyn D.R 1992 Aus 67 13 26.6 111.Bell I.R 2004 Eng 69 16 26.5 112.Clarke M.J 2004 Aus 72 15 26.3


How much Hanif Mohammad, Gooch and Lara meant to their somewhat weak teams is shown by this number. When they scored hundreds, these batsmen scored over 40% of their team score. Bradman and surprisingly Sehwag are there. And Flower is not a surprise. Hammond's hundreds were huge.

Three Australian modern greats are at the end of the table, their hundreds forming only around 25%, they probably taking off a few percentage points off each other. I must hasten to add that these tables were formed before the conclusion of the dramatic South Africa - Australia Test which ended just now. Clarke's % would have gone up and he might very well be off the bottom. Unfortunately the table formation for this particular article is such a major effort that I cannot repeat the same.

Now to recognize the hundreds made away from home.

5. % of hundreds scored away


SNo Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s Hm  Aw %Away

1.Amarnath M 1969 Ind 69 11 2 9 81.8 2.Saeed Anwar 1990 Pak 55 11 3 8 72.7 3.Asif Iqbal 1964 Pak 58 11 3 8 72.7 4.Barrington K.F 1955 Eng 82 20 6 14 70.0 5.Katich S.M 2001 Aus 56 10 3 7 70.0 6.Martyn D.R 1992 Aus 67 13 4 9 69.2 7.Hobbs J.B 1908 Eng 61 15 5 10 66.7 8.Hanif Mohammad 1952 Pak 55 12 4 8 66.7 9.Amiss D.L 1966 Eng 50 11 4 7 63.6 10.Shastri R.J 1981 Ind 80 11 4 7 63.6 ... ... 108.Vengsarkar D.B 1976 Ind 116 17 13 4 23.5 109.Compton D.C.S 1937 Eng 78 17 13 4 23.5 110.Lamb A.J 1982 Eng 79 14 11 3 21.4 111.Mudassar Nazar 1976 Pak 76 10 8 2 20.0 112.Wright J.G 1978 Nzl 82 12 10 2 16.7


The forgotten toughie of Indian Cricket, Mohinder Amarnath leads the table, with a stupendous % of 81.8, nine out of eleven hundreds having been scored away from home. He is nearly 10 percentage points ahead of the next batsman. And let us not forget that most of these were against tough Pakistani and West Indian attacks. A number of Pakistani batsmen, led by Saeed Anwar appear in the top-10. The only modern batsmen to get in here are the two Australians, Martyn and Katich. Their roles in the strong Australian line-ups has often been overlooked.

At the other end, Vengsarkar is a real surprise. He has only scored four outside, three at Lord's and one famous classic at Headingley.

The three Indian batsmen in the top-10 in the table of hundreds scored, Tendulkar, Dravid and Gavaskar have all scored more hundreds away. Lara has scored exactly half his tally away. Bradman has scored just over a third of his hundreds away. Kallis and Ponting, less than half.

6. Hundreds analysis based on Results


SNo Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s  W  D  L  WinF

1.Slater M.J 1993 Aus 74 14 11 3 0 0.89 2.Gilchrist A.C 1999 Aus 96 17 14 2 1 0.88 3.Greenidge C.G 1974 Win 108 19 14 5 0 0.87 4.Bradman D.G 1928 Aus 52 29 23 4 2 0.86 5.Hayden M.L 1994 Aus 103 30 23 5 2 0.85 6.Waugh M.E 1991 Aus 128 20 15 4 1 0.85 7.Hassett A.L 1938 Aus 43 10 7 3 0 0.85 8.Martyn D.R 1992 Aus 67 13 10 2 1 0.85 9.Smith G.C 2002 Saf 91 22 15 7 0 0.84 10.Bell I.R 2004 Eng 69 16 11 5 0 0.84 11.Ponting R.T 1995 Aus 154 39 28 7 4 0.81 12.Waugh S.R 1985 Aus 168 32 25 2 5 0.81 13.Langer J.L 1993 Aus 105 23 15 7 1 0.80 14.Inzamam-ul-Haq 1992 Pak 120 25 17 6 2 0.80 15.Hussey M.E.K 2005 Aus 62 15 10 4 1 0.80 ... ... 108.Collingwood P.D 2003 Eng 68 10 2 5 3 0.45 109.Shastri R.J 1981 Ind 80 11 1 8 2 0.45 110.Lamb A.J 1982 Eng 79 14 4 4 6 0.43 111.Lara B.C 1990 Win 131 34 8 12 14 0.41 112.Flower A 1992 Zim 63 12 2 3 7 0.29


Using the 2-1-0 base, I have determined the Win Factor for batsmen when they scored hundreds. Slater has an enviable 11 wins-3 draws in the 14 occasions he made hundreds. Gilchrist is almost there, with just a single loss. Greenidge is equally impressive. The table is stuffed with Australians, ten out of 15. Tendulkar has a Win Factor of 0.59 and Dravid, 0.64.

Spare a thought for poor Lara. 14 of his hundreds have been in a losing cause, almost always for no fault of his. A reflection of the lack of support from his team mates.

Now to the table which separates the hundreds into men and boys. This looks at the hundreds scored against the two top two bowling groups (BQI below 35.00). This is based on the article on Test bowling groups which I had done a few months back.

7. Hundreds against top two bowling groups


SNo Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s BQ5 BQ4         %TopGrp

1.Amiss D.L 1966 Eng 50 11 1 9 1 0 0 90.9 2.Martyn D.R 1992 Aus 67 13 8 3 2 0 0 84.6 3.Richards I.V.A 1974 Win 121 24 7 13 2 2 0 83.3 4.Kallicharran A.I 1972 Win 66 12 3 7 2 0 0 83.3 5.Atherton M.A 1989 Eng 115 16 4 9 1 1 1 81.2 6.Hussain N 1990 Eng 96 14 5 6 3 0 0 78.6 7.Chappell I.M 1964 Aus 75 14 4 7 1 1 1 78.6 8.Edrich J.H 1963 Eng 77 12 2 7 2 1 0 75.0 9.Umrigar P.R 1948 Ind 59 12 4 5 2 0 1 75.0 10.Thorpe G.P 1993 Eng 100 16 4 8 4 0 0 75.0 ... ... 108.Bell I.R 2004 Eng 69 16 2 2 4 5 3 25.0 109.Mudassar Nazar 1976 Pak 76 10 2 0 5 2 1 20.0 110.Hammond W.R 1927 Eng 85 22 1 3 3 8 7 18.2 111.Samaraweera T.T 2001 Slk 68 12 0 2 5 3 2 16.7 112.Morris A.R 1946 Aus 46 12 1 0 9 2 0 8.3


Amiss, having faced top class bowling attacks, throughout his career, leads with 90.9, ten of his 11 hundreds having been scored against top quality bowling attacks. Damien Martyn, the unsung Australian batsmen, in addition to scoring most of his hundreds away, has scored 11 of his 13 hundreds against top quality bowling attacks. And the incomparable Richards, although not having to face his own team's pace bowlers, has scored 20 of his 24 hundreds against the top groups. As did Kallicharran.

Tendulkar and Lara have scored upwards of 55% of their hundreds against the top two groups. Kallis, Dravid and Hayden have scored below 50% of their hundreds against similar attacks.

The other end is led by Hammond who feasted on sub-standard bowling attacks to the tune of 15 out 22 hundreds. Bell and Samaraweera are the modern batsmen who have done so. It is a clear pointer to the fact that Samaraweera's 50-plus Batting average is not really as valuable as it looks.

7-addl. Weighted average of BQI for 100s


SNo Batsman          Year Cty Mat Ins 100s AveBQI

1.Martyn D.R 1992 Aus 67 109 13 30.1 2.Asif Iqbal 1964 Pak 58 99 11 31.0 3.Hussain N 1990 Eng 96 171 14 31.5 4.Richards I.V.A 1974 Win 121 182 24 31.5 5.Kallicharran A.I 1972 Win 66 109 12 31.6 6.Botham I.T 1977 Eng 102 161 14 32.1 7.Thorpe G.P 1993 Eng 100 179 16 32.2 8.Lloyd C.H 1966 Win 110 175 19 32.2 9.Chappell G.S 1970 Aus 87 151 24 32.2 10.Chappell I.M 1964 Aus 75 136 14 32.4

This is based on the average BQI (Bowling quality index) faced by the batsman during his innings of 100 or more. This table draws from Boll's suggestion. The table also vindicates the enhanced stature of Martyn, whose averege BQi was 30.1, almost wholly Group 5. Asif Iqbal is a surprise Pakistani batsman in the second position. Hussain and Richards follow next. The top-10 group includes quite a few English batsmen of the 1990s, facing up to West indies and Australian attacks. Both the Chappells are there.

Tendulkar's average BQI is a very respectable 34.2, which puts him clearly in the Bowling group 4. Over 51 Tests that is very good. Ponting, Sewhag and Laxman are just below the 34 mark.

The other end is populated by five Englishmen, greats of 1920-1950s and ending with Ian Bell. The downloadable table has since been modifuied with this table. Samaraweers is just ahead of Bell.

8. Conversion of 50s to hundreds


SNo Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s 50s  %Con

1.Bradman D.G 1928 Aus 52 29 42 69.0 2.Headley G.A 1930 Win 22 10 15 66.7 3.Prince A.G 2002 Saf 62 11 21 52.4 4.Walcott C.L 1948 Win 44 15 29 51.7 5.Azharuddin M 1985 Ind 99 22 43 51.2 6.Hayden M.L 1994 Aus 103 30 59 50.8 7.Amiss D.L 1966 Eng 50 11 22 50.0 8.Ijaz Ahmed 1987 Pak 60 12 24 50.0 9.Vaughan M.P 1999 Eng 82 18 36 50.0 10.Morris A.R 1946 Aus 46 12 24 50.0 ... ... 108.Gayle C.H 2000 Win 91 13 46 28.3 109.Simpson R.B 1957 Aus 62 10 37 27.0 110.Atherton M.A 1989 Eng 115 16 62 25.8 111.Stewart A.J 1990 Eng 133 15 60 25.0 112.Laxman V.V.S 1996 Ind 128 16 71 22.5


When Bradman reached a 50, there was a 69% chance of having that converted into a hundred. Headley also has a high conversion rate. The top 10 batsmen all have conversion rates of 50 or higher. In other words their number of hundreds was at least equal to the number of fifties.

The conversion rates of almost all top batsmen in the hundreds table are between 40 and 50 with the exception of Dravid whose conversion rate is only 36%. A real surprise is Laxman at the end, with a conversion rate of less than one in four. Quite difficult to explain either of these.

Now we come to a series of tables which are not performance-oriented. As such these are ordered by the standard sequence of hundreds scored. The first is the one by innings.

9. Hundreds by Innings


SNo.Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s  1  2  3  4

1.Tendulkar S.R 1989 Ind 182 51 20 18 10 3 2.Kallis J.H 1995 Saf 145 40 18 12 9 1 3.Ponting R.T 1995 Aus 154 39 20 13 2 4 4.Dravid R 1996 Ind 158 35 14 15 5 1 5.Lara B.C 1990 Win 131 34 12 13 7 2 6.Gavaskar S.M 1971 Ind 125 34 11 12 7 4 7.Waugh S.R 1985 Aus 168 32 17 13 2 0 8.Hayden M.L 1994 Aus 103 30 10 9 10 1 9.Bradman D.G 1928 Aus 52 29 9 10 7 3 10.Jayawardene M 1997 Slk 125 29 11 13 2 3


Of special interest would be the fourth innings hundreds. Of the top-10, Ponting and Gavaskar have scored 4 hundreds in the fourth innings. Of course, we must allow for meaningless hundreds also. Of the others only the unlikely duo of Younis Khan and Sarwan have scored 4 second innings hundreds, indicating their value to their teams. Readers must remember that this is not an Innings Ratings analysis. Sacrilege it is, but Lara's all-time classic of 153* is considered in the same group as Boycott's 100 at Hyderabad against Pakistan during 1978.

Now for a very interesting analysis. This is based on the career split into three equal parts. Three seems the right number since it allows the starting period, settled middle period and (possibly) declining ending period to be looked into.

10. Hundreds by career split third


SNo.Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s  C1  C2  C3

1.Tendulkar S.R 1989 Ind 182 51 16 18 17 2.Kallis J.H 1995 Saf 145 40 7 16 17 3.Ponting R.T 1995 Aus 154 39 9 21 9 4.Dravid R 1996 Ind 158 35 9 14 12 5.Lara B.C 1990 Win 131 34 9 9 16 6.Gavaskar S.M 1971 Ind 125 34 16 10 8 7.Waugh S.R 1985 Aus 168 32 5 12 15 8.Hayden M.L 1994 Aus 103 30 11 9 10 9.Bradman D.G 1928 Aus 52 29 12 8 9 10.Jayawardene M 1997 Slk 125 29 9 7 13 11.Border A.R 1979 Aus 156 27 9 14 4 12.Sangakkara K.C 2000 Slk 103 27 4 12 11 13.Sobers G.St.A 1954 Win 93 26 9 9 8 14.Inzamam-ul-Haq 1992 Pak 120 25 5 10 10 15.Chanderpaul S 1994 Win 136 24 2 12 10 16.Mohammad Yousuf 1998 Pak 90 24 6 7 11 17.Chappell G.S 1970 Aus 87 24 8 8 8 18.Richards I.V.A 1974 Win 121 24 11 8 5 19.Javed Miandad 1976 Pak 124 23 7 7 9 20.Langer J.L 1993 Aus 105 23 7 9 7 21.Hammond W.R 1927 Eng 85 22 9 6 7 22.Cowdrey M.C 1954 Eng 114 22 6 10 6 23.Azharuddin M 1985 Ind 99 22 7 7 8 24.Sehwag V 2001 Ind 90 22 8 7 7 25.Smith G.C 2002 Saf 91 22 7 6 9 26.Boycott G 1964 Eng 108 22 5 10 7 27.Boon D.C 1984 Aus 107 21 7 7 7 28.Kirsten G 1993 Saf 101 21 5 6 10 29.Harvey R.N 1948 Aus 79 21 11 5 5 30.Barrington K.F 1955 Eng 82 20 6 6 8 31.Gooch G.A 1975 Eng 118 20 4 7 9 32.Waugh M.E 1991 Aus 128 20 7 9 4 33.de Silva P.A 1984 Slk 93 20 5 7 8


Tendulkar is amazing. Almost dead equal split of his 51 centuries, indicating wonderful consistency, possibly the trait he is identified with almost always. However note the wide variations with many others. Kallis has a poor start but then plateaus for the next two thirds. Ponting is still more bizarre. A very average start and end and a wonderful middle one third, during which he averages a hundred every two and half Tests. Dravid is like Kallis. Lara follows a different pattern. Nothing great for two-thirds and then an explosive end. There is still no answer as to why he quit or was made to quit. The West Indian Board specializes in losing their best players. Gavaskar is the mirror image of Kallis/Dravid: great upto two-thirds and then a drop. Hayden is almost like Tendulkar. Bradman, a little like Gavaskar, or should it be the other way around. Jayawardene is like Lara. Phew! what a lot of variations within the top 10 players.

Of the rest, look at Sangakkara, how much he has done after a very poor start. Richards has scored nearly a half of his hundreds in the first third of his career. The only perfect split is Greg Chappel's: 8-8-8 and Boon's; 7-7-7.

The last table is a special one. I have split the hundreds by the % of innings score. A hundred which is greater than 50% is a very special effort. The most famous ones are by Charles Bannerman, Laxman, Slater, Gooch and Greenidge. At the other end I have hundreds which formed lower than 25% of the team score. These represent almost always huge innings and the century maker would normally have played a secondary role.

11. Hundreds by % of innings score


SNo.Batsman          Year Cty Mat 100s 50+% Oth -25%

94.Hanif Mohammad 1952 Pak 55 12 5 7 0 31.Gooch G.A 1975 Eng 118 20 5 14 1 24.Sehwag V 2001 Ind 90 22 5 16 1 9.Bradman D.G 1928 Aus 52 29 6 22 1 6.Gavaskar S.M 1971 Ind 125 34 7 24 3 5.Lara B.C 1990 Win 131 34 6 26 2 37.Taylor M.A 1989 Aus 104 19 4 11 4 26.Boycott G 1964 Eng 108 22 4 16 2 ... ... 1.Tendulkar S.R 1989 Ind 182 51 2 43 6 2.Kallis J.H 1995 Saf 145 40 0 32 8 3.Ponting R.T 1995 Aus 154 39 0 34 5 4.Dravid R 1996 Ind 158 35 0 25 10 7.Waugh S.R 1985 Aus 168 32 0 20 12 8.Hayden M.L 1994 Aus 103 30 3 20 7 10.Jayawardene M 1997 Slk 125 29 2 20 7


I have ordered this, somewhat loosely, on the number of hundreds which were greater than 50% of team score. Hanif Mohammed has five such efforts, out of 12, indicating his immense contributions to Pakistani cricket. Sehwag has five such efforts, mainly because of his appetite for big scores and scoring rate. A number of others in the top group, like Gooch, Lara, Gavaskar have played in weaker teams. Gavaskar leads this table with seven such efforts, unfortunately including the inconsequential 103. Bradman has six such efforts.

Look at the four modern greats like Kallis, Ponting, Dravid and Steve Waugh who do not have a single such effort. Also the number of below-25% efforts of Dravid indicating the batting strength surrounding him.

And finally a bonus. Summary tables of the double hundreds scored by batsmen. The qualification criteria is 5 or more double hundreds.

12. Summary tables of double hundreds


Batsman           Cty  200s 300s 400s

Bradman D.G Aus 12 2 Lara B.C Win 9 1 1 Sangakkara K.C Slk 8 Hammond W.R Eng 7 1 Atapattu M.S Slk 6 Sehwag V Ind 6 2 Javed Miandad Pak 6 Jayawardene M Slk 6 1 Tendulkar S.R Ind 6 Dravid R Ind 5 Ponting R.T Aus 5

Batsman Cty Inns 200s Freq

Bradman D.G Aus 80 12 6.8 Hammond W.R Eng 140 7 20.0 Sangakkara K.C Slk 173 8 21.6 Lara B.C Win 232 9 24.7 Sehwag V Ind 156 6 26.0 Atapattu M.S Slk 156 6 26.0 Javed Miandad Pak 189 6 31.5 Jayawardene M Slk 207 6 34.5 Tendulkar S.R Ind 300 6 50.0 Ponting R.T Aus 265 5 53.0 Dravid R Ind 275 5 55.0

Batsman Cty 200s Runs Avge

Jayawardene M Slk 6 1581 263.5 Sehwag V Ind 6 1577 262.8 Lara B.C Win 9 2339 259.9 Bradman D.G Aus 12 3033 252.8 Hammond W.R Eng 7 1702 243.1 Javed Miandad Pak 6 1431 238.5 Sangakkara K.C Slk 8 1871 233.9 Dravid R Ind 5 1142 228.4 Ponting R.T Aus 5 1121 224.2 Tendulkar S.R Ind 6 1324 220.7 Atapattu M.S Slk 6 1297 216.2


Bradman leads the table of 200s with 12 and has a mind-blowing frequency of 4.3 Tests per 200. Would Sangakkara have a chance of overhauling him ? Most probably not. He needs to play in about 50 Tests more even to equal Bradman. That is about 6 years of Test Cricket. Quite tough. However he is very likely to overtake Lara. Look at the average of the 200 scores of the modern batsmen, Jayawardene, Sehwag and Lara. All have scored big 200s and their average of 200s is around 260. Tendulkar's 220 is not surprising considering that his highest score is 248. Atapattu is the surprise presence in this elite group.

To download/view the document containing all the 11 complete tables please click/right-click here.

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

  • pradeep patel067 on February 29, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    great work and the stats are arranged exceptionally well....awesome ....truely awesome !!!!!!!

  • Aman on November 27, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    Thank you for sharing this analysis. Really interesting. Is it possible to provide some data on the strength of the batsman that these greats batted with. Eg Kallis, Ponting, Tendulkar have all played in teams where most of the top 6 average in the 45 - 50 range. Where has Lara had did not have this luxury. [[ This is one analysis I have never done. What was the average of the other batsman a specific batsman played with. I have done Team strengths, but not this. Opens up interesting possibilities. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Narayan on November 25, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Pls analyze the coaches of the game and how they fared in their playing days. I am also looking forward to analysis of bowlers, wicket keepers, fielders, and all rounders. :) Form is perhaps some thing that is relevant too. When this is down we tend to write off a player. How often have batsmen bounced back from bad form? How far do they sink? Is there a point in players being supported based on their past performance even when they are on the decline. If there were a statistics based selection at all times, how often have statistically weak players selected and they vindicated their selection? How often have teams considered good based on their current averages been winning. What about consistency? We always use average. Do we use a standard deviation to rank players? Since standard deviation by itself makes less sense without the average, what is the -1 sigma level of the various players?.

    Just posting some points of views to analyze :)

  • Boll on November 24, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    @Kapil. Plenty of info available on statsguru for your suggestions.

    Most hundreds in a series goes to Walcott (5) in the 1955 series vs Oz. 4 in a series has been achieved 17 times, 3 by Bradman, most recently by Mohammed Yousuf in a 3-test series vs WI. Bradman holds the record (3) for most double centuries in a series - 1930 in England.

    Yousuf also holds the record for most centuries in a calendar year, (9) in 2006.

    Bradman (6) holds the record for centuries in consecutive matches. Everton Weekes (5) for centuries in consecutive innings.

    Bradman`s 19 centuries vs England is the most vs any team.

    Ashraful, Javed and Sobers are the youngest to score 100/200/300, Hobbs the oldest.

  • Kapil on November 24, 2011, 22:08 GMT

    Ananth,

    RE: Conversion Ratio

    The figure of 71 on my first post represents the 42 half centuries Bradman has to his name plus the 29 that he passed en route to his centuries. Simply, he raised his bat 71 times to acknowledge applause of his reaching 50 runs (one would hope). [[ No, I still do not get it. Bradman did not score 42 half centuries. He scored 13 half centuries in addition to the 29 centuries. Let us look at another way. He took strike at 0, a total of 80 times. The times he reached 50 are 42, leading to 52.5%. The times he reached 100 are 29, leading to 36.25%. He reached 50 a total of 42 times, no doubt about that. Out of this he reached 100, 29 times, leading to 69%. Where do we have this communivcation gap, I wonder. What is 71. It does not exist for Bradman. Ananth: ]]

    The way I see it is thus: conversion ratios represent the batsman's ability of converting 50s to 100s. This ratio must therefore compare the number of centuries the batsman has made to all instances of the batsman crossing the 50 run barrier. Most analyses, however, tend to account for only those instances where he fell shy of the 100 run mark.

    My suggestion goes against the traditional method of calculating conversion ratios.

    I ask you, sir, can you at all see the philosophy behind it?

  • Kapil on November 24, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    This piece is still playing on my mind! Other things to consider re hundreds:

    No. of partners, whether those partners were top/ middle/ lower order batsman [[ As I have already written in a recent response, it is impossible to determine when a batsman was out in the first 1500 or so Tests. The FoW information does not specify who was dismissed. It is easy to determine when the batsman came in but not when he was out if he was dismissed. Ananth: ]]

    No. of hundreds in match, series, calendar year or any random fixed time period

    Max and min innings between hundreds

    No. of hundreds versus venue [[ All the above three are very good suggestions and I will do this sometime. Ananth: ]] No. of hundreds versus climate (if you are extremely bored and freakishly inquisitive)

    I'll stop now!

  • Kapil on November 24, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Ananth,

    I much enjoyed reading through this analysis, it tells a lot about hundred scorers and exemplifies the versatility of the best.

    One area that I slightly disagree with is your calculation of conversions rates.

    You, as many others have, define conversion rates as the chance of having a fifty converted into a hundred. I agree with this but disagree with your maths.

    You wrote, "When Bradman reached a 50, there was a 69% chance of having that converted into a hundred". This is untrue since Bradman reached the fifty mark 71 times in his career. 69% of this is approximately 49, however, he did not reach this number of hundreds.

    I believe the following equation should be used:

    Conversion Rate (%) = 100* No. of 100s/ (No. of 100s + No. of 50s)

    Keep up the good work! [[ I am sorry to say that you are slightly off target. Bradman scored only 42 50s in his Test career so my statement on 69% is correct. The problem might very well be that this is not the normal way of representing 50s. Someone has already commented on this earlier and I changed the column heading. Ananth: ]]

  • anu on November 23, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    Ganguly name typed twice in my previous post was a typo error- it should be Salim Malik from Pak. I am nowhere saying in my post that Indians will lead the table 6. I have mentioned the names of Boycott, Hammond, Stewart who are english and non indians before Vishy and Ganguly. I have also asked why the west indian Greenhidge after playing 108 tests with 19 '100s' is at no.3 and Slater after playing 34 tests less with 5 hundreds less is at no.1? Rahul Dravid before England tour in summer of 2011 had 32 hundreds and 22 of which had come in indian wins and 1 had come in indian loss. Win factor as per ur logic was 0.69 before the england tour and 0.64 after england tour. As memoriesofthepast has pointed out-A hundred or 10 wicket haul is utilized if test is won or drawn and goes in vain if test is lost- it will be appropriate to have a century (or 10wicket haul) utilization factor instead of win factor. [[ I will again make a patient statement. You should read the article carefully first and then come out with comments. The cut-off was 10 hundreds. All the players who have reached 10 hundreds are considered. Then within this group different analyses are done. If Slater has scored 14 hundreds, won 11 and 3 drawn, his result % is 89 and he is on top. Forget about the Indian players. He is ahead of Ponting who has scored 39 hundreds, 28 wins and 7 draws. How can Slater be on top because, amongst all batmen selected, he has the highest result %. Pl try and understand this particular measure and how this works. If you want to suggest an alternate measure, by all means do do. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 22, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    Apologies, in my last post I meant to refer to Hayden as the only player of the 10 from Table 1 (number of test centuries)not to have captained his team.

  • Alex on November 22, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    @Ananth: I read Ashik Uzzaman's tables; these are available on the URL in his comment. It is pretty interesting. I was surprised at the similarities in the test numbers for Lara & Viv and the ODI numbers for Gayle & Yuvraj. Pl see if you can add the following to these tables:

    1. Add a RPI (runs/innings) column for the partnership ... you usually do this for individual batsmen analysis. 2. Add a column on the % of runs/match. This can be computed in two ways: - partnership average/ (batting average in the match) - partnership RPI/ (average RPI in the match). 3. Add a column on the variance (and not just average).

    People talk about match-winning innings by a batsman but I think 3 strong batting partnerships are more important for a win. If X% of the needed runs are scored in 3 partnerships, the chances of winning can be high, esp. in ODI's. Can you pl do an article on this for different values of X? [[ This will certainly break new ground since I have never analyzed partnerships. However there is a problem to be overcome since the information is not very clear for most matches. Whe the batsman came in is clear but not when he got out. Ananth: ]]

  • pradeep patel067 on February 29, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    great work and the stats are arranged exceptionally well....awesome ....truely awesome !!!!!!!

  • Aman on November 27, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    Thank you for sharing this analysis. Really interesting. Is it possible to provide some data on the strength of the batsman that these greats batted with. Eg Kallis, Ponting, Tendulkar have all played in teams where most of the top 6 average in the 45 - 50 range. Where has Lara had did not have this luxury. [[ This is one analysis I have never done. What was the average of the other batsman a specific batsman played with. I have done Team strengths, but not this. Opens up interesting possibilities. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Narayan on November 25, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Pls analyze the coaches of the game and how they fared in their playing days. I am also looking forward to analysis of bowlers, wicket keepers, fielders, and all rounders. :) Form is perhaps some thing that is relevant too. When this is down we tend to write off a player. How often have batsmen bounced back from bad form? How far do they sink? Is there a point in players being supported based on their past performance even when they are on the decline. If there were a statistics based selection at all times, how often have statistically weak players selected and they vindicated their selection? How often have teams considered good based on their current averages been winning. What about consistency? We always use average. Do we use a standard deviation to rank players? Since standard deviation by itself makes less sense without the average, what is the -1 sigma level of the various players?.

    Just posting some points of views to analyze :)

  • Boll on November 24, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    @Kapil. Plenty of info available on statsguru for your suggestions.

    Most hundreds in a series goes to Walcott (5) in the 1955 series vs Oz. 4 in a series has been achieved 17 times, 3 by Bradman, most recently by Mohammed Yousuf in a 3-test series vs WI. Bradman holds the record (3) for most double centuries in a series - 1930 in England.

    Yousuf also holds the record for most centuries in a calendar year, (9) in 2006.

    Bradman (6) holds the record for centuries in consecutive matches. Everton Weekes (5) for centuries in consecutive innings.

    Bradman`s 19 centuries vs England is the most vs any team.

    Ashraful, Javed and Sobers are the youngest to score 100/200/300, Hobbs the oldest.

  • Kapil on November 24, 2011, 22:08 GMT

    Ananth,

    RE: Conversion Ratio

    The figure of 71 on my first post represents the 42 half centuries Bradman has to his name plus the 29 that he passed en route to his centuries. Simply, he raised his bat 71 times to acknowledge applause of his reaching 50 runs (one would hope). [[ No, I still do not get it. Bradman did not score 42 half centuries. He scored 13 half centuries in addition to the 29 centuries. Let us look at another way. He took strike at 0, a total of 80 times. The times he reached 50 are 42, leading to 52.5%. The times he reached 100 are 29, leading to 36.25%. He reached 50 a total of 42 times, no doubt about that. Out of this he reached 100, 29 times, leading to 69%. Where do we have this communivcation gap, I wonder. What is 71. It does not exist for Bradman. Ananth: ]]

    The way I see it is thus: conversion ratios represent the batsman's ability of converting 50s to 100s. This ratio must therefore compare the number of centuries the batsman has made to all instances of the batsman crossing the 50 run barrier. Most analyses, however, tend to account for only those instances where he fell shy of the 100 run mark.

    My suggestion goes against the traditional method of calculating conversion ratios.

    I ask you, sir, can you at all see the philosophy behind it?

  • Kapil on November 24, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    This piece is still playing on my mind! Other things to consider re hundreds:

    No. of partners, whether those partners were top/ middle/ lower order batsman [[ As I have already written in a recent response, it is impossible to determine when a batsman was out in the first 1500 or so Tests. The FoW information does not specify who was dismissed. It is easy to determine when the batsman came in but not when he was out if he was dismissed. Ananth: ]]

    No. of hundreds in match, series, calendar year or any random fixed time period

    Max and min innings between hundreds

    No. of hundreds versus venue [[ All the above three are very good suggestions and I will do this sometime. Ananth: ]] No. of hundreds versus climate (if you are extremely bored and freakishly inquisitive)

    I'll stop now!

  • Kapil on November 24, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Ananth,

    I much enjoyed reading through this analysis, it tells a lot about hundred scorers and exemplifies the versatility of the best.

    One area that I slightly disagree with is your calculation of conversions rates.

    You, as many others have, define conversion rates as the chance of having a fifty converted into a hundred. I agree with this but disagree with your maths.

    You wrote, "When Bradman reached a 50, there was a 69% chance of having that converted into a hundred". This is untrue since Bradman reached the fifty mark 71 times in his career. 69% of this is approximately 49, however, he did not reach this number of hundreds.

    I believe the following equation should be used:

    Conversion Rate (%) = 100* No. of 100s/ (No. of 100s + No. of 50s)

    Keep up the good work! [[ I am sorry to say that you are slightly off target. Bradman scored only 42 50s in his Test career so my statement on 69% is correct. The problem might very well be that this is not the normal way of representing 50s. Someone has already commented on this earlier and I changed the column heading. Ananth: ]]

  • anu on November 23, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    Ganguly name typed twice in my previous post was a typo error- it should be Salim Malik from Pak. I am nowhere saying in my post that Indians will lead the table 6. I have mentioned the names of Boycott, Hammond, Stewart who are english and non indians before Vishy and Ganguly. I have also asked why the west indian Greenhidge after playing 108 tests with 19 '100s' is at no.3 and Slater after playing 34 tests less with 5 hundreds less is at no.1? Rahul Dravid before England tour in summer of 2011 had 32 hundreds and 22 of which had come in indian wins and 1 had come in indian loss. Win factor as per ur logic was 0.69 before the england tour and 0.64 after england tour. As memoriesofthepast has pointed out-A hundred or 10 wicket haul is utilized if test is won or drawn and goes in vain if test is lost- it will be appropriate to have a century (or 10wicket haul) utilization factor instead of win factor. [[ I will again make a patient statement. You should read the article carefully first and then come out with comments. The cut-off was 10 hundreds. All the players who have reached 10 hundreds are considered. Then within this group different analyses are done. If Slater has scored 14 hundreds, won 11 and 3 drawn, his result % is 89 and he is on top. Forget about the Indian players. He is ahead of Ponting who has scored 39 hundreds, 28 wins and 7 draws. How can Slater be on top because, amongst all batmen selected, he has the highest result %. Pl try and understand this particular measure and how this works. If you want to suggest an alternate measure, by all means do do. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 22, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    Apologies, in my last post I meant to refer to Hayden as the only player of the 10 from Table 1 (number of test centuries)not to have captained his team.

  • Alex on November 22, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    @Ananth: I read Ashik Uzzaman's tables; these are available on the URL in his comment. It is pretty interesting. I was surprised at the similarities in the test numbers for Lara & Viv and the ODI numbers for Gayle & Yuvraj. Pl see if you can add the following to these tables:

    1. Add a RPI (runs/innings) column for the partnership ... you usually do this for individual batsmen analysis. 2. Add a column on the % of runs/match. This can be computed in two ways: - partnership average/ (batting average in the match) - partnership RPI/ (average RPI in the match). 3. Add a column on the variance (and not just average).

    People talk about match-winning innings by a batsman but I think 3 strong batting partnerships are more important for a win. If X% of the needed runs are scored in 3 partnerships, the chances of winning can be high, esp. in ODI's. Can you pl do an article on this for different values of X? [[ This will certainly break new ground since I have never analyzed partnerships. However there is a problem to be overcome since the information is not very clear for most matches. Whe the batsman came in is clear but not when he got out. Ananth: ]]

  • west indies follower on November 22, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    also, an interesting article on the ESPN's change of evaluating passer rating in the NFL

    http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/analyzing-espns-total-quarterback-rating/?ref=football&gwh=AC71BA2FDCB08DAD3EAEEAE2D191E2C8

  • West Indian Follower on November 22, 2011, 14:55 GMT

    Ananth, fantastic article, can't tell you how much every 2 weeks my eyes light up amidst the drear of my a levels. This comment, while I hope significant, is not strictly relevant to this article. I am calling for a new evaluation of individual bowling quality, which could be call BII or Bowling incisiveness index. What this would take into account are all the usual stats e.g bowl average, strike rate ... but also could take into the account of the stats the man bowling in partnership with you takes. I believe this could better express the full effectiveness of a bowler, and could see whether credence is given to statements like 'Stuart Broad 's line and length helps to pick up wickets at the other end.' Also, It could explain why teams with seemingly weaker attacks on average might be more effective than another, e.g South Aficanvs English bowling attack, because you have individuals who are better to bowl with. You incoporate in BQI to see realstrength of bowling. Is this feasible? [[ Thanks. You have made my day as the young quartet of batsmen at Mumbai would have made your day. I now see daylight at the end of the dark tunnel which was West Indian cricket. Maybe Gayle should continue to play in the T20 tournaments like the one in Zimbabwe. The other young batsmen would grow up faster playing outside his shadow. Your suggestion is very fine. The only limitation I can see is that I can only combine this at the innings level since I do not have access to ball-by-ball data. So bowling together has to be in the context of the innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on November 22, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    @Boll: An interesting stat on Smith is that he scored some 4 hundreds in 4th inns - ALL in winning cause and most importantly, he averages around 95 in 14 wins of SAF as captain, chasing. Being an opener, averaging 95 is tremendous!! These 4 centuries included the record breaking chase in 2008-09 series and the recent Cape Town test. For all SAF's tag as chokers, when it comes to Tests, Smith has been one piller of strength for successful 4th inns chases. However Ricky Ponting, not surprisingly, has successfully chased in 12 matches @ 133 (Ave boosted by 7 not outs). . .But just 2 hundreds . . . Each one has shown one thing - That when it came to taking the opposition on and finishing the game for their team, these tough cookies come second to none!!

  • Boll on November 22, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    @Bull. Your question about captaincy got me interested. I think most of the great batsmen have captained at one time or another (Hayden the only one from the Top 10 not to have captained at all). However, I was very surprised, in a table dominated by Aussies, to see Graeme Smith top this. He heads a very impressive list.

    (most centuries as captain/inns per 100)

    G.Smith 21/7.2 R.Ponting 19/7.4 A.Border 15/10.3 S.Waugh 15/5.5 D.Bradman 14/2.7 B.Lara 14/6.1 C.Lloyd 14/7.9 G.Chappell 13/6.6

  • Ashik Uzzaman on November 22, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    Ananth, very forbidable work by you. Thank you. Have you considered adding a section for players who were involved in most number of partnership centuries? I think Dravid and Tendulkar are at the top followed by Ponting. I did some analysis last year and put them here - [[ This is only on individual hundreds. Ananth: ]]

    http://cricketinnumber.blogspot.com/2010/12/highest-parternships-centuries-in-test.html

  • anu on November 21, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    Point 6-hundred analysis based on match result-How come the names of Geoffrey Boycott, Wally Hammond, Alec Stewart, Gundappa Vishwanath, Saurav Ganguly and Saurav Ganguly are missing in the list? The 6 players have retired from cricket and each has played more than 80 tests for their side, scored more than 10 test hundreds and made more than 5000 runs. How does this list have M.J.Slater on no.1? Greenhidge deserves to be no.1 in that list. Name of a one-time tailender Ravi Shastri is included in the list at 109. Kapil Dev made 8 test hundreds only one of which came in match lost by India. VVSLaxman has made 17 so far only two of which have come in match lost by India. What about Kapil and VVSL? [[ Would be nice if the article is read properly before coming out with comments. The order is % of hundreds in won matches and it is obvious the Australians and West Indians, not the Indians would lead this table. Ananth: ]]

  • Rangarajan on November 21, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    @ Bull: Guess we can have a separate blog about captains and may not be right to mix additional parameters like captaincy, wicketkeeping, bowling, etc into a batting blog. As a matter of fact, for me even Table 6 doesnt add significance at all. Any score contributes to team wins and it doesnt decide a win. Ultimately 20 wickets do. If a batsman scores 250 in 270 balls (A Milestone and scored at rapid pace), and yet his team is incapable of taking 20 wicktes, do we say the batsman plays for his records and did not help in win? It is just a statsitical figure and doesnt help in any conclusion. Aside, the recent Aus/SAF header is turning out to be the sort of fillip test cricket badly needed! Yesterday was the 1st time in the series that 2nd New ball was taken! Wonderful to see ball dominating even on flat wkt. Ponting's LBW in 1st inns so much reminded SRT dismissals of late! (Ponting is growing to look more like SRT these days in all his strokes, but for the bat flourish before sq cut

  • Alex on November 21, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    @Ramesh Kumar: Let's consider what if Lara were born in India. He grew up in WI facing great pace bowlers and now loses out on that formative years' training benefit. But his real weakness was out 7 out fast bowling itself, which will not be a factor in India. His record in subcontinent is superb: ave=33 in 3 tests in India, 48 in 7 in Pak, and 100 in 4 in SL. He was perhaps the greatest ever vs spinners and a menace on flat tracks. So, I think he would have done very well, assuming he stayed focused on his game. I think too much is read in Lara's mid-career slump. In 1996-98, he scored only 3 centuries in 26 tests but averaged nearly 40. More important, he was near his zenith in ODI's, averaging 55 with 6 centuries. After '98, he focused on tests at the cost of ODI's & then the stats sort of reversed.

    @Ananth: My birthplacemate Anna Hazare has now asked for a BR for SRT ... surely Padma Bhushan for Dravid & VVS isn't too much to ask for now? What criteria are we using? [[ As long as he does not go on fast until the BR is given. Ananth: ]]

  • Bull on November 20, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    Hi ananth Nice stuff. Could you just add one more variable to this which is how many of these players captained their teams and their performances, in terms of 100's, while they held the additionAl responsibility of captaincy. Would be interesting to see if captaincy affected their batting in any which way

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 20, 2011, 13:14 GMT

    Ananth, my curiosity would not contain itself. Here they are: Team IInd Inn. Avg 27.7. Runs approximately 33% of the aggregate runs Team Ist inn. Avg 31.7, approximately 67% of the runs.

    Home: Avg 31.7, ~50% of the runs. Away / Nuetral: Avg 28.8, ~50% of the runs.

    Overall:Avg 30.2, ~1.87million runs for 71,000 wickets in 2018 matches.

    Home Ist, Home IInd, Away/N Ist, Away/N IInd can easily be calculated also. So perhaps a refinement over your current method could be to use the exact weights across 2018 tests. Or perhaps decade-wise, since pre-1940, it was mostly England and Australia, and home/away did not have much weightage. [[ Sorry, on the road and not able to do any detailed posting because of average network connection. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 20, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    Ananth, apologies for insisting. Just saw the great Ricky Pontings stats...averages 58 with 33 centuries in the first innings, and 42 in the second innings. I think only if credit for team IInd innings is given will the true picture emerge.

    I suggest an even simpler method. Just like you give a 5% home and away weightage, why not give a 5% (or whatever suitable) weightage for IInd innings and -5% for Ist innings?

    Would you please have the stats across 7000 test innings of home and away batting averages? What is the % difference? Similarly team Ist and team IInd? What is the % difference? Apologies if i have mixed up too many items in this.

  • IG on November 20, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    @Harish A - I couldn't agree more. I am tired of every cricketing blog/discussion getting hijacked by SRT fanboys. If the numbers betray them they resort to sheer verbal hooliganism. Then there are those who try to rationalize everything with 'Tendulkar being under pressure from the public all the time'. That argument is ridiculous because, he never has to justify his place in the team. He is the only player who would be guaranteed a place even if he doesn't score for 1 full year! He chooses the series he plays in and the position he bats in. I'm sorry, my domestic help is under more pressure than he is. Sorry if it comes across as a rant, but it's just plain irritating when people resort to personal abuse and insults just to make SRT appear better than he is.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 19, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    Alex,

    On Bharat Ratna, Chess never got into the phsyche of Indian public(for no fault of Anand's) and hence you can't see public display of support. He stays more time in Spain(correctly) and his exploits outside the world championships are not covered well. Though he matches with SRT in his off field behaviour, his is not seen as stand out unlike Cricket(again no fault of Anand). But panellists may choose him and if sportspersons get the nod for Bharat Ratna, he will be the second candidate after SRT. Why SRT is special in India and why not Dravid/VVS??Too many complex reasons are there and they will be beyond the scope of this blog and may unneccesarily bring in comments of all types which we can live without.

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 19, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    Alex/Victoria,

    Lara might have done well if he has played for India is a sweeping statement. The related points do not support the view. 1. Wickets are lousy to bat in India for stroke players contrary to the comments dished out in these columns. Slow & low don't make friends with attacking batsmen. 2. WI wickets of 90s & 2000s have been easier to bat than in India and no match for 70s/80s wickets of WIs. Being a home country, he could play more matches in WI 3. Lara's mental trauma during his mid point of his career does not make him a good candidate for the adulation which may come in his way in India. He may go off the rocks. 4. Whether he would have perfomed better if he is surrounded by better batsmen?? He did not change his game much due to environment and hence this can't be predicted. One thing is sure....he would have been more respected(if his off field image is good) and we Indians would take him any day.

  • Jaytirth on November 19, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    @Posted by: Victoria Baptiste at November 18, 2011 12:48 PM ------------------------------------------------------------- All hypothetical arguments. You might as well have said that if Lara had played tennis he would have played it better than Nadal as the ball is soft and Lara's backlift is amazing. This said, I must admit I am a big fan of Lara and definitely not interested in comparing him with anyone.

  • Alex on November 18, 2011, 23:46 GMT

    @Ananth: Your categorization of bowling attacks in Group 1, Group 2, etc. is nice but ignores the playing conditions. Group 1 bowling attack on tame wickets can be easier to face than a Group 4 attack on bowler friendly wickets. A remedy that might work is to account for the average # runs scored in that match. [[ This wasa point raised during the Bowling group analysis. However these are sepapration of these performances based on single measuring factors. No point in complicating this further. Someone might ask, how about match status or support from partners etc. Then it will become a Ratings exercise. One thing is also sure. As many top attacks have proved, the top attacks never become toothless. Ananth: ]]

    @Victoria Baptiste (a staggering name!!): I am pretty sure that Lara's career figures would have looked even better had he played for India. This assumes he would have stayed sane amidst all money and hype. That said, media obsession with SRT has more to do with how he has behaved off the pitch. So, I don't think Indian media would have obsessed as much with Lara. Of course, why it overlooks Anand is a mystery: I don't see anyone in media/politics lobbying for a Bharat-Ratna for him (or a Padma Bhushan for Dravid & VVS).

  • Pranav Joshi on November 18, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    (contd.)

    About the notion that Sachin fails on the big occasion almost every time. Check his stats in ODI finals. They are staggering. Look at the number of match winning hundreds. Also check his stats when the test series is 0-1, 1-1, or 1-2 against India. Look at his performances in the crucial deciding test of a series. The numbers are formidable. In fact it is he and not some of the others that come out trumps in that situation. E.g. in SA in 2010 (3rd test) and Aus in 2008 (4th test). Aus in 2004 (4th test)(all away from home too). He also has a better 2nd innings to 1st innings hundreds ratio, than most other greats. I will leave it here - I do not wish to make this a Sachin-argument forum.

  • Pranav Joshi on November 18, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    @ Victoria Baptiste

    Yes. Sachin made 3 fifties on that 1997 WI tour. All were in the region of 80 to 92 if I am not mistaken. And he was given out twice unluckily. Btw the attack was Walsh, Ambrose, Bishop if I am not mistaken. Very formidable. In India - only Kumble.

    6 innings is a fair number of innings to assess the performance of a batsman in a country, though not a huge number.

    Also, it is not fair to compare favourable parts of one batsman's career to unfavourable parts of another's. E.g. you can't compare Sachin of 2002-06 with Ponting of 2002-06.

    Lara might have scored heavily had he toured India again. But to say that he would have been better than Bradman if he had been playing in India all the time, is ludicrous. To substantiate my point I suggest you look at the home and away (outside subcontinent) records of all major Indian batsmen since 1970. Especially Sachin. If you were right, Sachin & Co. should have failed miserably away from home.

  • Som on November 18, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    @Victoria - I love your comments and you have a point here but in the big scheme of things such things get normalized. Now there could be discussions on whether under a really stringent condition someone's data could be considered material, and if one is creative enough, could actually come up with scenarios where almost everything can be so deeply analyzed that the generated data does not stay material enough or still retains statistical significance with that tiny bits of data of other comparable players. Here the bias is clearly towards generalization around such fine levels of granularity. In fact, it has always been. If you strip all the assumptions down around any analysis, its impossible to separate an Apple from an Orange. That's the nature of the beast. With neuroscience now entering the territory of consciousness and spirituality, and studies contemplating whether they are a result of chemical reactions, we are up for exciting times.

  • Victoria Baptiste on November 18, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    Anantha and Jaythirth, Your observations are very well taken re: Lara's possible average 'had he played the bigger share of his career on those graveyards in India". Remember the operative thought is 'bigger share of his career'. But Lara only toured India once and batted in 'six' innings with a highest score of 93, which he could have converted to a 100; but he 'walked' on an appeal knowing he touched one to the keeper which the umpire did not see; but that's the way he played - he walked. However in comparison, on SRT's first tour to WI in 1997, in the seven innings that he batted he did not score a 100 either - his highest score was 92. And in his first 'six' innings (matching eggs with eggs) his nominal average was also in the 30s. Hence, I was talking about a full career, not a few matches in unfamiliar conditions. And knowing Lara, when he gets acclimatised to batting conditions, bowlers around the world would tell you, he scares the hell out of all of them!

  • k rohit reddy on November 18, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    Great incisive article, loved it totally. All in all a great piece to show others whenever we argue about the greats.

  • Srinivasan Anand on November 18, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    You have not factored in certain important factors in your analyses. Kumar Sangakkara has kept wickets in 48 of the 103 Tests he has played.In those Tests, he averaged just 40 and got only 4 hundreds and 3117 runs. But in remaining 55 tests that he has played and when he did not keep wickets, he has averaged 72.20 and got 20 hundreds.Had he not kept wickets and concentrated only on batting, he might have even outshone Don Bradman. Jacques Kallis and Garfield Sobers also doubled up as specialist bowlers and carried bowling workload for their sides. So, their 57 plus average means probably more than even the Don's 99. Sunil Gavaskar opened the batting against a battery of top-class fast bowlers. Bradman/Tendulkar/Ponting/Sobers/Dravid/Kallis etc never opened. A middle order batsman coming in at 0 FOR 2/0 FOR 3 is not the same as opening an innings. An opener knows nothing about how the pitch is while middle-order batsmen get to watch what happens yo openers. [[ Please enlighten me how in an article focussing solely on Test hundreds, wicket-keeping can come in. Then some one will bring in Bowling efforts of Imran. Another one the captaincy commitments of Dhoni. Please try and understand the article and its scope. Ananth: ]]

  • chinni on November 18, 2011, 7:54 GMT

    Hi Anantha,

    that's a wonderful analysis. I was trying to find out who scored centuries while carrying the bat. couldn't get this on cricinfo (or may be my search technique is wrong) could you throw some light on this please?

    thanks [[ Will be done in my follow-up article on Special hundreds. Ananth: ]]

  • memoriesofthepast on November 18, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    6. Hundreds analysis based on Results and 9. Hundreds by innings. A test saved is an achievement. India never lost the test match in which G.R. Vishwanath (14) or S.C. Ganguly (16) scored a hundred. England never lost those 59 test matches in which Boycott (22), Hammond(22) and Stewart (17) made hundreds. Nobody thought that India will be able to even save the 1976 Port of Spain test where India had to chase 404 runs. Nobody thought India will win the 1981 Melbourne test where Aus required only 143 runs to win. Vishwanath was the centurion for India in these two tests and India won both these. A half century is equally valuable in test and can be match saving as well as winning. Vishwanath and Laxman have scored many valuable test 50's for India under pressure and difficult pitches and best bowlers. Performance in 4th innings is highly valued as day 4 or day 5 its advantage bowlers. Hundred/10 wicket haul in loss both go in vain. Focus on such individual records should be minimized. [[ These are analysis taking a single subject and going deep. As such why bring in so many other factors. Who is focussing on individual records. In my follow-up piece on Special hundreds I have also looked at hundreds in drawn matches and where batsmen save Tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Jaytirth on November 18, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    @Posted by: Victoria Baptiste at November 18, 2011 2:01 AM ---------------------------------------------------------- Lara averages in 30s in the matches played in India with not a single century. Turns out V Raju and Kumble gave him a hard time. Ponting's 'heroics' in India are well known. He averages around 26 in India. So much for the 'flat' tracks of India

  • Ranga on November 18, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    Hi Ananth . . . Just as you had published some futuristic articles before the world cup, how about a blast into the future types article on "Future Legends" . . . I know this would be a highly subjective article, but we could consider a 5 year period from 2007 where there would be a sort of mini-trend. Considering that on an average they would have played over 40 tests which would be a very good sample. I dont know if this would be a futile exercise (but I was tempted when we saw Cook's record, Bell coming up, Pieterson emerging, De Villiers and Smith already having made a mark, and of course, Bravo's uncanny similarities with his cousin)

    Who could be tipped to be the next legend? [[ I intend re-doing an article I did three years back. This was titled "How far ahead is the first". This presented various tables with the top placed player getting and the others getting proportionate numbers. Now I intend doing it again since three years have passed. I will also add one thing to this analysis. What effort/time will be needed by the lower placed players to catch up with the first placed one. This should answer some of your queries. Ananth: ]]

  • Victoria Baptiste on November 18, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    Charith, Based on some of the figures that I've seen, I think that country is inevitably going to be India. This is due to the regular practice of preparing pure 'bowlers graveyards' in that country. Did you see the one that India has just beaten the West Indies on? Another bowler's graveyard is the Antigua Recreation Ground. I'm sure you know what happened whenever Brian Lara, the best batsman of all time played there! Imagine if Lara was an Indian batsman who played the bigger share of his career on those graveyards in India! I think his average would have dwarfed Bradman's average by quite a couple feet. This is not to say that if Bradman also had that opportunity, he would not have had an average of more than a 100 too. [[ Most of the points are quite debatable. In the matches Lara played in india he did not exactly set the Hooghly on fire. He would have hated the low bounce dull wickets like Delhi. I think the limit for all modern batmen is 60.0 as far as Batting average is concerned. Don't forget that barring stray moments in the current top batsmen's careers, no one has reached 60.0. I think all talk about anyone reaching Bradman-type averages is absolute nonsense. To illustrate, I will consider the three current high-average batsmen, ignoring Ponting and Dravid who have already dropped to 52+. Tendulkar (15086@56.08) will need to average 94 in the next 31 innings to reach a career average of 60.0. Kallis (11949@57.17) will need to average 74.4 in the next 41 innings to reach a career average of 60.0. Sangakkara (9167@56.93) will need to average 68.4 in the next 59 innings to reach a career average of 60.0. This puts everything in perspective. Ananth: ]]

  • Harish A on November 17, 2011, 20:23 GMT

    Ananth, that was some seriously amazing number-crunching. I think we've all had a statgasm.

    Speaking of SRT-bashing; Am I the only guy who's sick and tired of Sachin Tendulkar fans? Not Tendulkar himself, but his fans. You can't go to any cricket discussion anywhere which isn't interrupted by someone using bad grammar and capital letters talking about Sachin. People need to be told that it is possible to like cricketers apart from Sachin!

  • kaushik on November 17, 2011, 19:53 GMT

    Very good analysis. One component that is missing, and possibly may add more value to the excellent analysis, is the separation of the scores in which the batsman was out versus those in which the centurion (or 50+ scorer) remained unbeaten while the rest of the team were bowled out or the innings was declared. This statistic could (possibly) explain why some middle-order batsmen (e.g. Dravid or Laxman) have lower values in Table 8.

    Overall, I would rate this article as one of your very best. Keep up the excellent work! [[ No. Kaushik, that will not explain the lack of conversion. But what is probably important to show, in table 8, the Batting position average, which is the average of the batting positions in all the innings. For Laxman it could very well be around 5, indicating that he batted in 6 quite often. Anyhow it should be clearly understood that these are not negative aspects. As far as I am concerned, no less than 15 of Laxman's 55 fifties would probably have an intrinsic value greater than many a 100. Should anybody worry how many times Steve Waugh was out in the 90s. Not at all. Ananth: ]]

  • charith on November 17, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    nice work ananth . Could you please consider doing an article about the easiest country to bat in and the most difficult.Naturally we tend to think NZ & ENG as the most difficult & the sub continent as the easiest but statistically are we correct??? [[ That is a valid point. Look at the batting from the point of location. Even in these locations, the home and away averages will matter. Let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 17, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    CONTD 161(#1688, gilchrist 144) – vaas, murali, zoysa, lokuaarrichi 104(#1714) – pathan, zaheer, kumble, bhajji 114(#1718, clarke 91) – zaheer, agarkar, kumble, karthik 100*(test#1726, langer 97, ponting 98) – soaib, sami, razzaq, kaneria 142(#1729) - soaib, sami, razzaq, kaneria 165(#1742, gilchrist 162) – martin, franklin, vettori, o'brien 101(#1795) – ntini, pollock, kallis, boje As i said, good bowlers all - but almost wholly group 5? [[ I have taken the trouble of locating the BQI of all of Martyn's 100s 8 of these are under 30. 3 between 30 and 35 1 at 36.3 1 at 37.1. Note how many are under 30 and 5 of these are under 28 also. That explains the very low BQI avge.. Total: 392.11 Avge: 30.1 Phew I know you mean well. But that was a tough ask. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 17, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    Dear Anantha,

    Much as I love Martyn, it was a bit of a surprise to see his centuries being scored against the best BQI on an average. Thanks to statsguru (and also thanks to the fact that he scored "only" 13 centuries), I could dig a bit deeper - and here are the two interesting things: one, almost everytime he scored a century,someone else from the team also scored a century (reflected in his lower %ge of team score); and two, the attacks he faced dont look like "almost wholly group 5". I have listed them here. What gives? 105 (#1550, steve waugh 105, gilchrist 152) – Gough, caddick, giles, white 118 (#1556, ponting 144) – gough, caddick, mullally, tudor 124*(#1576, langer 116) – pollock, hayward, ntini, kallis, kleusner, henderson 117(#1582, langer 126, hayden 105) – donald, pollock, kallis, henderson, boje 133(#1590, hayden 122, gilchrist 204*) - donald, ntini, kallis, nel, boje 110(#1685, hayden 130, lehman 129) – vaas, dharmasena, murali, chandana, jayasuriya CONTD

  • swarzi on November 17, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Anantha, the reason why your articles receive so much pro vs con SRT debate is a result of the way that the so called cricket experts report on cricket in the media. As you know, most of them have no background whatsoever as to how statistical analyses are interpreted. Hence, they put a layman's interpretation to every statistical presentation that they see. And, the basic principle of their understanding is that, 'who ever has the most is the best'. In addition, if their favourie(s) stands to benefit from the face value of the raw data that is presented, they hurriedly publicise it, whereby fans who unfortunately don't know any better are oftenly misguided. And most of these fans believe so much in these guys that they treat everything they say and write as the gospel! Hence, brilliant people like you would always be under fire when you do the admirable job that you are doing; that is, trying to educate those who are ignorant about the genuine facts that figures represent. Keep it up!

  • Ranga on November 17, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    @ Ananth & Mahendran: I wish it ends at 99 and not 100 or 103 or whatever . . . 1 more innings of 4* or 104 would have made it 100 and not 99.96 . . . but it ended at a whopping 99.96 and thats the truth which came out of a tough, but fine decision . . . The team needs master batsman who makes the bowlers shun his presence - not a milestone aspirant, weighed down by expectations, who gives even mediocre bowlers hopes of the most valuable wicket of modern day cricket . . definitely not down under . . . [[ The funny thing is that over the past 20 odd yeas I have been doing cricket analysis Bradman has helped me a lot by getting out at 0 and not at 4. I am able to allot 5 columns for Batting average (%5.2f every where) in very tight tables instead of 6. Ananth: ]]

    I am one of the most ardent followers of the great man and I feel, definitely, that the greatest service he can do to youngsters is to enable selectors give them the right break at the right time - which he himself got and thats why he is here.

  • Boll on November 17, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    @Jaytirth. My comment regarding Sachin`s `distinct superiors` referred to the significant statistical measures mentioned in the previous sentence, not test batsmanship (Bradman aside)on the whole.

    Examples of this would be Bradman`s centuries/double centuries to innings ratio, 4th innings averages etc. In no way should this be seen as an attempt to demean Sachin however. They are simple statistical facts, which (along with other measures where Sachin stands apart) place his record in perspctive.

    I think Ramesh Kumar expresses this, as per usual, very well. @`There seems to be two extreme views on SRT which have been irritating.` I would hope that I achieve some balance between the two.

  • Boll on November 17, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    Just looking at the recently added list for `Weighted average of BQI for 100s`. (Thanks again Ananth) Interesting to see how many of the greats from the late 60s-mid 80s figure - all bar Thorpe and Martyn really.

    I`ve been accused in the past of carrying a bit of a flame for the unofficial Supertests played during the late 70s, but many of these players also starred in those games, against some of the truly great bowling attacks of all time - Holding, Garner, Roberts, Croft, Lillee, le Roux, Imran, Walker et al. I`m sure that the centuries scored in those matches would reduce the average BQI for these players even further.

    In particular, G.Chappell`s 5 centuries (26inns), and Viv`s 4 (25 innings) are worthy of mention. Chappell in particular seems to be often forgotten during discussions of the greats. He was as good as anyone I`ve seen, and his presence on some significant tables here comes as no surprise.

  • Mahendran on November 17, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    @Ananth: I have a gut feeling that SRT will not retire from ODIs until he scores his 50th ton. [[ Then he should start playing in the ODIs. He has missed 38 of India's last 49 matches. Ananth: ]]

  • Shane on November 17, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    Apologies if I missed it but did you restrict the list to a minimum number of centuries (or tests, innings,etc). From example I believe that John Reid the NZ batsman of 1980s (not the more famous allrounder of the 50s) scored 6 centuries to 2 50s which would give him conversion rate of 75%. Also in some of your lists you have 112 entries - I would think more than 112 batsman have scored centuries.

    Thanks for your blog. Always enjoy reading them [[ The criterion for selection is 10 hundreds. These 112 are the batsmen who have scored 10 or more hundreds. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on November 17, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    [Out of context]The way some grt teams do succession planning is amazing. Aus kept getting in 2 decades of dominance because of succession planning. Every1 knew their time had to come at some point. From captain to the positions, they had their successors planned and also, gave the right exposure at the right time. They also lost a few in the process, but the goal was clear. Their players knew to move on. Yes they lost to SAF(which is one of the best teams anyways), but they also have done well, and werent humiliated. big 3, for all their greatness, could have stopped at least 4-5 Middle order batsmen. Yes there may not be a replacement TODAY, but if we compare SRT after 182 tests to a new comer, we are doing injustice. Today, they may bat better than anyone in the country, but they cant be doing it always. Exposure at the highest level is important for building teams. We are neither building teams nor building people. V are building bank balances for the board and castles in the media

  • Som on November 17, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    Ananth - I did some back of the envelop kind of scrappy math based on the tables you have put in here. Considered the ranking of some top players in these tables and the rank they got and added them up. The lower the total, the better. Assuming each table is considered to weigh equally (which I am aware is not, but just for the sake of it). The tables I considered are (#100s, Avg Val 100s, Freq 100s, 100 % Team, % Away, Results, Avg BQI, 50-100 conv). And this is what I got, ranked in this order of avg ranking of 8 tables (Bradman - 20.9, Sobers - 25.5, Chappell G - 29.8, Richards - 30.3, Lara - 30.4, Sachin - 33, Ponting & Sehwag - 33.8, Greenidge - 33.9, Smith - 35.8, Hayden - 36.6, Sanga - 36.8, Gavaskar - 42.8, Dravid - 44.4, Inzi & Yousuf - 44.8, Miandad - 48, Kallis - 48.4, S Waugh - 49.5, Gooch - 55, Border - 58.5). I didnt consider all players and its quite possible that some may slip in between this rankings. Does this look too bizarre the way players are placed? [[ Som, these are limited tables with 100s running through as the theme. What you did could be more valuable if the tables were across a broader spectrum of batsmen parameters. However these are still valuable and no one can find fault with the numbers. Another better way is to use the "How far ahead is the first" article of mine, referred to earlier in these set of comments. You could then add the actual postional values instead of ranks. Bradman, Sobers, Richards, Lara, Tendulkar. What a collection of batsmen in the top 5. All possible contenders in an all-time World XI, in positions 3-7. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 17, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    @Ananth: SRT fans & bashers would do well to remember that 42 tests of the first 3rd of his career (which is 62 tests) were played before he barely turned 23. Up to that point, he faced plenty of good to excellent bowling attacks away from India and averaged 53 with 10 centuries. Given this, his first 3rd is super.

    SRT's middle should have been spectacular with 25+ centuries but got saddled with injuries. He made a nice recovery since 2006 and must now be kicking himself for missing the WI tour this summer. I hope he plays the ODI's now and gets over that 100 beg, borrow, steal, cajole. Else, his Oz tour will be a horror show for all of us. [[ Excellent idea would be for SRT to get his 100 at Mumbai and then announce his retirement from ODI CRICKET. Alternately play the 5 ODIs, get the banker 100 and then announce his retirement from ODI CRICKET. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 17, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    Ananth, Jaytirth's comments on the "anti-SRT brigade" makes me reiterate this. If you developed two BQI, one home and the second away. On another plane, if you developed team 1st and team 2nd innings BQI. If you crossed the results, you would get 4 values - home team 1st, home team 2nd, away 1st, away 2nd, and would kill off these questions once and for all.

    Note that I am NOT saying that you should take 4 different BQI simultaneously, as that approach would be limited by sample size (e.g. there could be too few away 2nd innings for a particular bowler).

    Instead i am recommending that two sets of 2 BQI be developed and crossed. I would of course not consider this to be a trivial problem, but cant think of a cleaner way.

    Bottomline, it IS true that home bowlers have an advantage. and it IS true that in team 2nd innings, bowlers are better off.

  • Ranga on November 17, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    . . . . and SRT fans should realize that SRT has been actually kept at the highest pedestal by the author in THIS article(never mind his personal preferences). Statistically, SRT had an ave of 54 in 2007 and currently he averages 56, and to improve the average by 2 notches over such a long career is amazing and it has been reflected in the analysis (though in a different dimension). By one Ananth or one Boll or one Gerry not saying "He is the best" doesnt make SRT any less or for that matter, if they say he is the best, it doesnt make him better than someone else. [[ Very sensibly put. It is the same way if I have to do a Tennis analysis of, say, the greatest year a player has had in the past 25 years, I might have to put Djokovic of 2011 above Federerer of 2005, mainly because of the higher level of competition Djokovic faced. I would do this without losing a moment of sleep even though Federer is way-way above any other player in my book. The funny thing is that there is no such gap in Cricket. I might have a different favourite, but I admire Tendulkar, probably more than the Tendulkar-is-God brigade since my appreciation for him is founded on cricketing and non-cricketing factors. Ananth: ]]

    IMHO, If I feel he is the best, it is MY opinion, I neednt bash someone who doesnt say so. If I want him to deified and No. 1 in all dimensions, I can write my own blog and portray him as the unfalliable, unflappable, perfect, divine player who is heavens over the rest. I cant force someone else to do it for me, just because I am happy seeing my idol in that position.

    This obession with SRT is boring.

  • RANGArajan on November 17, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    Ananth - I guess you might have to do an analysis of things where Tendulkar can never be brought in like English county cricket (oops Yorkshire 1992) or best West Indies Domestic cricket!!!

    In fact neutral readers are also as tired, looking at the comments that assume that SRT has been put down. I would rather tell SRT fans: Let SRT show it in each and every possible way that he (or rather He in India) is No. 1 under ALL considerations . . . and the same to SRT bashers. Everyone has their own dimensions of strengths and performances which we have to give due credit. And there are reasons for someone to falter in any of these dimensions, which, frankly, need no justification (played for weak team or scored when the team lost, etc).

    We are not talking about SINGLE HANDED matchwinners which is not possible in Test crickt. We are analysing BATTING, not even winning!!! (Winning was a small dimension in one of the tables thats all!!)

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 17, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    Ananth, Boll & Others,

    There seems to be two extreme views on SRT which have been irritating. SRT fans want all analysis to have him on the top and bash up analysis and analyst for not doing so. But equally problematic is a group which say "from the tables, one can easily say SRT is not the best". Many of the Ananth's analysis bring out specific dimension of a performance and it is good to recognize forgotten heroes and get new insight on existing heroes. Most of them are not meant to say who is the best overall. To make sweeping statements is equally not acceptable and it is more irritating as while SRT fans can be dismissed as totally unsubstantiated, the other extreme has a "intellectual cover" to it as they quote the tables to support it.Both these views take away the debate/response to meaningless tit for tat responses. [[ Ramesh You are correct. And I am the one in the middle, constantl;y having to explain. Patience and understanding is needed from both sides. The added problem is that some comments, which are specifically in response to a reader comment, are addressed generally, seemingly addressed to me, making me, at times, see brown, if not red. Ananth: ]]

  • sarath on November 17, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    @Ananth Sorry. I should have mentioned @som for that. If you look at that table, even VVS only averages 28 and Ganguly 25. It shows high amount of correlation between our batsmen. And to interpret it as Chanders being better than Lara is, taking those numbers too far. If Chanders was batting instead of Lara in Bridgetown in 99, maybe they would have lost that and he would have remained not out. Maybe. But, for me at least, how I rate a great batsman is, how they setup a match and do it as a team. It's for bowlers to win it, Batsmen get you into good position, which most of the batsmen in the list did and continue to do. [[ No problems. I have already apologized. But I can now see your point with specific reference to that table. And Som has already changed the same. My next article, as you would have seen from my recent comment, will focus specifically on the match situation, match setting up, saving, winning, lack of support etc. This is a macro analysi of Test 100s. What I will do is a micro analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on November 17, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    @ Ananth. Though off the topic but I would like you to do 100 top performances of ODI and Tests both for batting and bowling which you did for Wisden in 2001. Its 10 years and I think it is time for a repeat exercise. Loved that piece and I really don't mind whether any Tendulkar innings is in top 100 or not. And please also keep the software and update the raw list every year and so without the analysis, so newer performances are updated every now and then. [[ Massive task since the 10 years' accumulated insights have to be introduced. But will do positively. I do not throw out one program. I have well over 500 'C' programs in my vaults. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on November 17, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    @Som Coming back to the list which has Knott on top. You can see Sangakarra on 2nd position. He has 242 runs in 4 innings with 192 as his highest, so he scored just 50 runs in other 3 innings. Thats why plain statistics are like "Mini Skirts, they hide more than they reveal" and we need somebody like Ananth to throw lights on them.

    Most people are unaware of such naunces of the figures and post derogatory comments which are unwarranted for.

  • Jaytirth on November 17, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    Most of SRTs centuries are in the 1st or 2nd innings when the fate of the match is still uncertain. None one should question his strike rate. So I am surprised when anti-SRT brigade says that he scores in dead draws and lost causes. A big first innings total often gives a team the confidence for the rest of the match. Sachin does not have many 150+ scores. So I don't think he is accumulating.

  • Som on November 17, 2011, 3:15 GMT

    Thanks Ananth...keep up the great work. I don't know how your schedule with Cricinfo works, but I would think most of your devoted followers would like to see such analysis more often. [[ In view of my other content delivery/writing commitments and the extensive post-publication work in this blogspace, I can do 2 or 3 articles a month . Beyond that this aging mind can take but not the aging body. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 17, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    There are many requests on individual 100s. Single hundreds for team, single hundreds in match, situation-based 100s, hundreds with no support, hundreds against top quality bowling, hundreds in low-scoring matches et al. All these cannot be done and incorporated in this article. Hence I have decided to do a “Special Test hundreds” article. This will highlight hundreds in various special/demanding situations. Since the keyboards are being readied for the “Tendulkar-bashing”, “analysis to suit pre-determined conclusions”, “favouring one player” et al type of comments, I am going to one thing. This will not be an anecdotal article like what I normally do wherein I select the innings myself using the tables only for guidance. I WILL USE A SPECIALLY WRITTEN COMPUTER PROGRAM AND ONLY THE COMPUTER PROGRAM to come out with the tables. The bonus will be that there will also be a Readers’ selection of their favourite hundreds. Ananth

  • Jaytirth on November 17, 2011, 2:56 GMT

    @Boll at November 16, 2011 3:20 PM SRT `fans` interpret the many statistical analyses (this article included) in which he is not NO.1 as obvious, and premeditated attempts to diminish him. This arrogance becomes incredibly frustrating. No-one argues that Sachin is not amongst the greats.By some measures he presently stands alone.By significant others he has had his equals and some distinct superiors. -------------------------------------------------------- The only thing obvious from this article is that no one among the modern batsmen is number one but SRT has the best Inn/Hund ratio and is the most consistent. I find it strange that anti-SRT brigade brings up the topic even in completelty irrelevant articles like 'Ponting's 100 Test Victories'. It is more because of Mcgrath and Warne than Ponting. Viv Richards name does not appear even in the top 15 of the 'Hundreds in Wins' table. Lara is almost at the bottom. SRT's DISTINCT superiors? None! [[ I am sorry, this is becoming tiring. I get the feeling that any article in which Tendulkar is not positioned in the SOLE top position in all tables is not acceptable. I suggest you re-read the article doing a search for "Tendulkar" and understand the compilmentary way in which he has been referred to. Ananth: ]]

  • Mike Deller on November 17, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    Dean Jones seemed to score a lot of tons in the dead rubber of a series.

    Is it possible to break out the best century makers in deciders and dead rubbers?

  • Sarosh on November 17, 2011, 2:31 GMT

    @Victoria Baptiste , Boll The stats seem to show that Lara's best period was the last third of his career. Which clearly busts one of the enduring Myths of cricket- That a batsman's stats suffer if in a weak team.The last third of Lara's career was when the Windies were at their weakest.

    Tendulkar's career split actually hides a well known fact. The middle third comprises centuries mostly against Bangladesh (The only team he could score off in the mid 2000s)...Disregard these he will still have the most centuries AND his BQI in centuries will be substantially higher.

    Boll: Re. your comment about "SRT `fans` interpret the many statistical analyses (this article included) in which he is not NO.1 as obvious, and premeditated attempts to diminish him..." etc etc...

    The point is that a "standalone" analysis hides numerous facets and distorts reality. Only a multilayered and more nuanced understanding will throw these up.

    For eg. the incessant harping about say Ponting's 4th inn avg. relative to SRT/Lara is easily understandable to those who have watched the game for a while. An eg. Is the stats I have posted in an earlier comment. i.e dig even one layer deeper and you get new insights. As compared to Ponting ,for SRT/Lara the situation was more often than not absolutely hopeless - in the 1st inn. There is normally some “hope”; The ‘90s 5th day wickets were invariably tougher; The team dynamics including 4th inn targets and bowlers both in own team and opposing team were radically different; the “mood” in the team was invariably one of being thrashed (esp. for India in the ‘90s when “away”) etc etc..

  • sooryaprakash n on November 17, 2011, 2:18 GMT

    How about doing a similar comparison when the century was made while there was limited or no support from teammates i.e. 1) no other century & 2) no fifty especially on foreign soil

  • Ravi M on November 17, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    ..

    Nice work.

    Out of curiosity, did you think of doing something to take into account the increase in averages for bowlers who played more often against Bradman.

    I can think of several quality bowlers whose averages were almost purely spoiled by Sir Don! [[ Nice thought. First time anyone has raised a word in support for those poor bowlers of the 30s. Very intriguing and worth looking at it further. Ananth: ]]

  • Vishvesh on November 16, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Fantastic analysis. Loved the details. However, can you also contribute data for half centuries - someone like VVS laxman, who hit most his half centuries to either win or save a test match for India. Such an analysis will actually add credibltiy to middle order batsmen who often dont reach triple figures due to lack of support from the other end.

    Cheers [[ I have hinted at something on these lines. Pl refer to some of the recent comments, esp that of Aditya Jha. Ananth: ]]

  • Shaurya Verma on November 16, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    For TABLE 8, I have a suggestion. Almost everywhere, number of 50s means a 50 to 99 score. (cricinfo, wikipedia, television statistics)

    So Bradman's list says 29 hundreds and 13 fifties. I notice that in your table, you've written that as 42 (29+13) fifties. People may be mistaken when they read this first. To avoid confusion, could you please clarify this in the main body of the article, preferably in the table. Perhaps have another column, for '50 plus scores' and list 50s in the conventional way. [[ Absolutely correct. When I think of Bradman's career the sequence 52-80-10-6996-99.94-334-29-13 come to me instantly (just reeled this off from memory). Not easy to perceive this as 29-42. One letter change is sufficient. Instead of 50s I will change that to 50+. Many thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 16, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    Ananth - Sarath is referring to the statsguru view I had provided earlier and that had Allan Knott on the top. I take his point, it would not be fair to include players who have played less than say 7 innings. So here it is: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;home_or_away=2;home_or_away=3;innings_number=4;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;opposition=6;opposition=7;opposition=8;orderby=batting_average;qualmin1=200;qualmin2=7;qualval1=runs;qualval2=innings;result=2;result=3;spanmin1=15+Mar+1971;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

    You will find Chanders, Vettori, Gooch and others, with Sachin at 20th position(last) in this list. In fact I am more surprised by Dravid at 19th. It goes counter to my perception that he is a lone warrior and tries to save games in the 4th innings which ultimately we lost (and thus were perhaps very hard to save). [[ Charitra's comment was so confusing I could not make anythin g. Thanks for the clarification. Charitra, if you had referred to Som's tabke, my apologies. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 16, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    Dear Sarosh...I went through the scorecard of each of these games, some which I had good recollection, some not. I would have to agree that for most of them, one cannot single out Sachin. In fact in most of those games, Sachin's contribution was better than any other batsman in the Indian team. My conclusion - Sachin is very much an aggressive accumulator who thrives in setting up scores, in the 1st inning of the teams batting and it would be unfair to compare him with defensive players who do better than him in the 3rd or 4th inning.

    Who are those rare players who do very well in all innings? Richards maybe...almost 50+ or 45+ across all innings (I think). [[ Again, Richards, playing for a strong team, would not have enough fourth innings "innings" to validate the average. But an exercise worth doing. Averages across innings and a statistical derivation across a player. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 16, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    Ananth - Yes, SD would be required. And if extended could be applied against the career aggregate runs to make it comparable across eras (in terms of parity of bowling). Would love it, whenever you get a chance. [[ One huge task. Will keep this on the plate. Som, you have come in recently but your comments are very telling. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

    I take back mindless accumulation, as there is also a run/time function which is important in a test match. In fact this would be an interesting area to investigate. What is the run/time maturity of a batsman with respect to his team and what run/time value is the most optimum for the best result(win and draws over loss). Sehwag, Gilchrist, Sachin, Gavaskar, Boycott, Dravid would all be great boundary conditions perhaps and given the context of the team and era they played in, would show whether a particular batsman's approach was out of sync and actually hurt more than his exemplary skills helped. For eg. - a Gilchrist in OZ is better than a maybe(?) Sehwag in India. A Dravid is better than Sachin (maybe).

  • Som on November 16, 2011, 16:43 GMT

    Ananth - Thanks for the additional table. This sets up this question - What is the average number of hundreds that are scored with a BQI of 22 say and how is it when it is 36. And how does that graph look like. If the average BQI of Martyn is 30, and his 13 hundreds were scored between BQI say 25 and 34, then what is the likelihood that given an average BQI of 34, how many career hundreds he would had scored. This data will help understand if one hundred against BQI 22 is equal to 1+ hundreds against BQI 34 say. [[ This is tough. How do we interpret this from a graph. We cannot derive a numerical conclusion unless otherwise the SD for each batsman be used. Ananth: ]]

    It would be interesting to measure, till what point the runs scored by the batsmen were a test for him when facing the bowlers in a match, and at what point it became an exercise of mindless accumulation. Lots of batsmen who have scored heavily and had a penchant for making their centuries count for bigger scores might have done that. In that light Sachin's number of 100's shows him in great light, because everytime he has to take stance anew. Would be interesting to see... [[ Mindless accumulation is a double-edged sword. You might say that of most triple hundreds. Let us say that West indiies are all out for 242 tomorrow (not likely but quite possible if couple of wickets fall early). India wins by an innings and 235 runs. Then the entire Dhoni innings and the 220+ partnership is mindless accumulation. The point is that the team batting first does not know what is the required total. So they go on and pile up the runs. Lara's 400 is pointed out often by people on similar lines. He batted on the third day and declared at 750+ and his personal score of 400. Pl look at the scorecard. That was the only way West Indies could have won, and almost did. England scored 285 and followed on. If Lara himself had caught Vaughan at 20., West indies would have won by an innings. England had still not wiped out the deficit finally. The 100 of Gavaskar in the third innings at Bangalore was meaningless, solely for the purpose of adding one to the hundreds count. That is all one can accept. Ananth: ]]

  • sarath on November 16, 2011, 16:25 GMT

    My point is against the size of database. From whatever stats you point, the other batsman on top of it have less than 10. But there is a clear trend you miss,that 4th innings is not the only the match result hinges in balance. His 169 against Sa in CT, or 155 in bloemfontein or 114 in Melbourne. Team 3 down for not too many. check all his overseas 100's before 2000. Most of them would have come with team in trouble. 10 100s in losses. This criteria of 4th innings is too shallow. Fact is, he sets up a match best after Bradman. Look at Dravid's average when India loses OVerseas. Its 23. Or Lara's - 25. And as per your criterion Alan knott is the best, and afridi is 3rd. There are cases when a match is lost and all batsman do is attack. With that size of database, ppl with 2 such innings can walk in. All I will interpret from that stat of yours is, lower a batsman's average in a loss, the more they rely on him. Sanga averages 60 with just 192 in Hobart. Shallow stats mate. [[ I am indeed sorry, I am stumped for the first time. Where does Knott come in, where does Afridi come in. What in tarnation are you talking about. Are we referring to the same tables. I did a listing of the fourth innings hundreds. Gavaskar and Ponting have 4. Tendulkar 3. That is all the data. That is all I have pointed out. I did not talk of averages nor of setting up matches, in fact about nothing else. I have presented the data, with no interpretations. You have done an imaginary interpretation of your own, totally nonsensical, ascribe it to me and then pull me down as if I made it.. This takes the cake. I think Boll is correct. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 16, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    Dear Anantha, I know you are planning to do an innings rating article. But, the debate about centuries keeps finding its way back to those scored under "adversity". Understandably, because there is romance and courage attached to performance under adverse circumstances. They are remembered for a long time (and cloud other stats; Lara's 153* masks all his failures in the 4th innings). Here is a suggestion. In table 9, introduce the concept of "centuries in adverse circumstances". For innings 1, it can be when your team is facing a series deficit. For innings 2, it can be when the opposition has scored 400+. For innings 3, it can be when you are facing a deficit of 100+. And for innings 4, it can be when you are chasing 275+. The adversities are not equal, and it does not take into account many other factors that you'll use in an innings rating, but it'll give a fair idea and will be interesting. If you are upto it, you can even make a %ge table - adverse centuries/adversity innings. [[ In fact, I determine a similar factor for my Innings ratings work. It will probably not be possible to add anything to this article. However in this case, the hundred factor should not come into the picture. Laxman's innings against Australia at Chandigarh HAS to come in. So I like the idea. But possibly a separate article with no innings size restrictions. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 16, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    Great to see some of the batsmen I remember from my youth up there on the new `Weighted Ave for BQI 100s Table` - Viv, Chappell brothers, Lloyd. Seriously great players. No surprise to see Lara and Sobers there either. Some English lads (Nasser/Thorpe) will be feeling pretty good about it as well.

  • Boll on November 16, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    @Harsh Thakor. Great to see mention of Stan McCabe amongst your lists, quite apart from others you mention (regardless of country or era). Nice you found time to give credit to Dravid as well. The older I get, the more I appreciate him. [[ My selection was what I had watched. Of course any one of McCabe's three great innings, 232, 189 and 187 could be considered. Ananth: ]]

    Back to the mighty Stan McCabe though. Only 6 test centuries (62 innings) means he doesn`t make the cut in this analysis. Nevertheless, two of those - his 187* in the first innings of Bodyline, and his 232 in 1938 (notable also for Bradman`s comments) undoubtedly remain as some of the truly great performances in test history.

    McCabe debuted at 19, averaged about 36 for his first 20 tests, averaged 60 for his next 20, war came (aged 28), Australia didn`t play another test for 8 years, and McCabe never played again.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 16, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    I must break my self imposed oath and mention Tendulkar. I almost agree with Victoria Baptiste. Except that to me, it often does not matter if the matches are won / lost. I appreciate performances under pressure. I thought Tendulkar's best century was 146 in Cape Town. He did not face the best bowling conditions, but after Laxman was tragically run out (but for which we would have won the series), there was a flurry of wickets, and Tendulkar's 146 saved the series for us, else we were goners. His century in Madras (126, in 2001) was similar, but others weighed in and we made a very big score. But in Cape Town, he saved the series. It is much bigger than winning a test. By the same yardstick, the 2nd greatest innings ever in the history of Indian cricket (1st is 281) is Gavaskar's 220. We won the first major series in our history, thanks to his single handedly batting WI in a 6 day test. So I NEVER look at won/lost tables for individuals. Ananth, perhaps a reader's list of such innings? [[ Not in this article. But possibly in the one I have sugested in response to Aditya. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 16, 2011, 15:20 GMT

    Ananth, thank you for the new table, and the more precise analysis than my original request. Very interesting reading -Martyn significantly ahead, and poor old Wally Hammond (who seems to have often suffered a similar fate) at the tail...

    @Jaytirth. I think you might be confusing centuries scored in wins, with matchwinning innings - a major difference.

    ...(cont`d) I think my extended discussion of SRT may have been lost in the ether. It boiled down to the point that, far too often, SRT `fans` interpret the many statistical analyses (this article included) in which he is not NO.1 as obvious, and premeditated attempts to diminish him. This arrogance becomes incredibly frustrating. No-one argues that Sachin is not amongst the greats.By some measures he presently stands alone.By significant others he has had his equals and some distinct superiors.

  • Victoria Baptiste on November 16, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    Anantha, well based on your reasoning, am I correct in saying that the most consistent among them, based o on the figures is Brian Lara? Because his graph shows that he has never wilted: 9 in his first 3rd, 9 in the second and a whopping 16 in the final. This shows that he was getting astoundingly better than everybody the longer he played! [[ One can draw one's own conclusions. The only thing I am certain is that Lara still had 2 years and possibly about 20 Tests at the highest level he was playing before he was made to go out. Ananth: ]]

  • Jaytirth on November 16, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    Table 6 'Hundreds analysis based on Results' is the most interesting table. SRT is often accused of not scoring a match winning hundred. By that logic 3 batsmen are better than Bradman with Slater the greatest ever. I think the truth is that the likes of Lara and SRT scored in difficult conditions when all other batsmen in their team failed. Also all the batsmen at the top of the table had the some best bowlers of their times. A surprisingly missing name in the top 15 is Viv Richards. Can anyone give a reason?

  • Jaytirth on November 16, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    I have a feeling that the best of SRT, his 'laxman' moment, will come in the next India tour of Australia.

  • Boll on November 16, 2011, 13:24 GMT

    (cont`d)...Unfortunately, many online forums are quickly hijacked by the aforementioned crowd of Sachin `fans` who see any statistical analysis in which he is not on top as a biased, and concerted, attempt to undermine him. I like to think of this as the `arrogance of the hero-worshippers`.

    This arrogance, which Ananth(a countryman and great admirer of the man) has been subject to, is of the nature of displaced egoism - The premise: Sachin is the greatest batsman of all time and heads all batting statistics. Therefore, statistical rankings/discussions in which he does not figure, or where he is less than excellent, are necessarily suspect. Furthermore, any statistics of this nature are correlated and distributed with the specific, premeditated intention of denigrating him.

    The facts of course are slightly different.(cont`d)

  • Victoria Baptiste on November 16, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    Anantha, your reply to Jaythirth re: Sachin's 100/inings cosistency is rather interesting: 'That's what sets him apart from most other batsmen". I think this is very strong statement to make, inlight of the main point of criticism about him. That is,'his hundreds are oftenly only of academic value, made when he's not pressured; as he's usually found WANTING when his team really needs him"! So, nobody is saying that he's inconsistent, but since cricket is a team game where all it's members should sometimes make self sacrifices for their team to win, it is very difficult for some of us who understand the importance of indepth value analysis to want to rate him as highly as those batsmen who CONSISTENTLY won/win matches for their teams. Your current analysis vindicates my view, as his name is absent from the top 10 in most of the tables that reflect 'real value' as a batsman. See tab: 2,4,6,7,11. Look it's Sehwag who sometimes spars with the real big wig batsmen - it should have been he! [[ Thank you for, even mildly, taking me to task for supporting Tendulkar. My point is that it is very difficult to maintain a very high consistency level over longer number of matches. Tendulkar's sub-6 innings is very commendable and deserves all accolades. You know my views on 100s. However, takes a s a cut-off, it is fine. If I do a proper innings ratings work, many 50s will overtake many 100s. But that is for a letr day. Frankly, as far I am concerned, I was not bothered that Tendulkar missed his 100 at Delhi. The match-winning 76 was probably more valuable than many a 100. Ananth: ]]

  • Shayan on November 16, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    WOW, amazing stats, great job :)

  • ObelixtheFat on November 16, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    When you consider that Bradman played on uncovered wickets without helmets then it makes his achievements even more amazing. He is a freak not simply a very good batsman.

  • Jaytirth on November 16, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    Surprising to know about Lara's centuries in lost matches. Not long back, Shoaib Akhtar said he considers Lara a better player because he has won more matches for his team. He should look at Inzy's statistics.

  • Harsh Thakor on November 16, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    Sorry,Ananth I forgot Rahul Dravid to me the best centurion of all when the chips were down.Bradman and Viv Richards were the ultimate match-winning centurions closely followed by Gilchrist.

    With his phenomenal scoring rate and ability to register mammoth scores Brian Lara would have joined the Bradman's and Viv Richards had he played for a champion team.Tendulkar was a master but still lacked the flair of Richards and Lara at their best and often his centuries lacked the killer punch to execute a win.We have to consider that Sachin faced more pressure than any great batsman ever in his career's first half and got no support.Still I consider Lara at his best a better match-winner.Inzamam's match-winning prowess was phenomenal with Adam Gilchrist.Gavaskar and Gooch were prolific against the great Carribean pace attack and so were Greg Chappell and Allan Border.When the chips were down Ian Chappell's centuries had more worth than Viv Richards or his brother Greg.

  • Harsh Thakor on November 16, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    The most vital factor was the contribution of a century to the team's performance.It is significant that like Wisden in your analysis of batsman you did not count the factor of centuries.Winning cane be misleading but the situation has to be taken into account.

    To me the great match-winning centurions were Don Bradman,Viv Richards,Jack Hobbs,Adam Gilchrist,Inzamaq ul-Haq,Gary Sobers,Walter Hammond and Rohan Kanhai,in thta order of merit.

    In a crisis the best centurions were Allan Border,Javed Miandad,Steve Waugh,Brian Lara,George Headley ,Ian Chappell and Jacques Kallis ,in order.

    In terms of quality of bowling faced the best centurions were Sunil Gavaskar,Greg Chappell,Graham Gooch,Stan Mcabe and Alan Border.

    Had Lara played for a champion team he may have been the ultimate match-winner with his flair while Tendulkar would have also been a great architect if not an executioner of many a famous win.

    Clinically,Bradman and Tendulkar at at the top.

  • Ananth on November 16, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    Boll, I have posted the Weighted BQI-based values table. It is exactly as one could have foreseen. Martyn is on top having scored 100s at a phenomenally lower BQI of around 30 (Group 5 level !!!). The complete downloadable table has also been updated and uploaded.

  • Boll on November 16, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    @Vikram. re.`any article of yours on batting makes me a little despondent because it turns into a Sachin bashing exercise.` I`m disappointed, and somewhat bemused, by your comment. I can`t remember any article on this site, based on the writings of the author or the posters, deteriorating into such a thing. Quite the opposite.

    In my opinion, this particular forum elicits very balanced comments on Sachin`s wonderful career. Certainly you rarely find members of (mentioned in a recent article on cricinfo) the `Sachin is God and da best 4eva` crowd. On the other hand, nor do you often encounter those from the `Sachin is a selfish, useless under pressure, record-chasing so and so` school of criticism.

    I think you`ll find that here his great career is looked at in context with the other greats to have played the game. Long may it continue...(cont`d)

  • Jitendra on November 16, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    Ananth: Personaly I feel great after going through your analysis....SRT the 'GOD' is featuring in almost all tables.

  • Sarosh on November 16, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    @Randolph Perkins Part of the “beauty” associated with associating a Hundred as an “achievement” is that it is an tacit acknowledgement by all that the conditions ( difficult or benign) have been mastered. Once that has been achieved there is no theoretical limit to what a batsman may go on to score. For that matter, as per your reckoning, Bradman may have been the first to 50 Hundreds. The “art” is largely in mastering initial conditions. Once a batsman is in things become exponentially easier. Of course continuing to milk conditions is another art altogether- however, it is different from getting to that the initial Hundred - why didn’t Lara get to 3 figures more often? A critical facet of batting is not getting out in the first place. So , in Test cricket especially Not Outs should be given at least full value . The least that can be done is utilizing them for the standard batting “averages” as we know it. For eg. As Dravid has recently shown- he may not be the most conventionally talented batsman around like a Lara, but simply staying put at the crease has a value all of its own in Test cricket.The runs will inevitably come. So , if a Dravid is N.O on say 20 , the odds of him scoring more are extremely high. It would be penalizing him to take such innings as having being terminated when computing batting averages. [[ Your points are valid. However do not forget that Lara played 232 innings and scored his 100s at 6.8, the same as Ponting, better than Dravid and worse than SRT. Only four batsmen are above him and he has played the fewest innings amongst these five. Ananth: ]]

  • Sarosh on November 16, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    Another obversation : Most post mid ‘80s are after batsmen have their highest number of hundreds at some point in the ‘2000s (Roughly gleaned from the three-way career split figures)- These include Kallis, Ponting, Dravid, Lara, Steve Waugh, Jayawardene, Sangakarra, Hayden, Inzamam, Chanderpaul.

    The exceptions are Tendulkar, Azhar, Mark Waugh, De Silva.

  • Sarosh on November 16, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Dear Som, One can always see whatever one wishes to see...and then set up filters as per one’s preconceived assumptions accordingly . As has been said - If You Torture The Numbers Enough, They’ll Tell You What You Want To Hear.

    Here’s the matches you mention in your link with Tendulkar in the 4th inn: Test 1148: Eng won by 247 runs Test 1184: Aus won by 38 runs (Yr. 1992) Test 1186: Aus won by 300 runs Test 1347: SA won by 328 runs Test 1349: SA won by 282 runs Test 1363: WI won by 38 runs (Yr. 1997- unplayable minefield -HS 19) Test 1476: Aus won by 285 runs Test 1479: Aus won by 180 runs Test 1604: WI won by 155 runs Test 1610: Eng won by 170 runs Test 1783: Pak won by 341 runs Test 1825: SA won by 174 runs Test 1855: Aus won by 337 runs Test 1857: Aus won by 122 runs Test 2000: Eng won by 196 runs Test 2001: Eng won by 319 runs

    i.e. it could be said that India lost the above 16 matches by a grand total of 3512 runs. That works out to an average of 219.5 runs per match. Needless to say that even if Tendulkar avg. 100 in the 4th inn. of the above matches you (and a “merry band” comprising certain other worthies in here) would use the very same stats but turn them around to harp on about how useless and valueless Tendulkar’s Hundreds are. How they are scored in situations where in any case there is no chance etc etc.

    So, as is usual, No Win situation for poor Sachin. [[ I like your effort and the time you have put in. The problem is that if you did this for almost every other batsman, you will get similar results. Most wins are Team wins. I am almost certain NO WIN would be a single-player win. At least another player or two would come in. Unlike ODIs, where a single player (Richards 189*/Kapil 175*/Vaas 8w) would be deemed to have won matches almost single-handedly. And most losses are Team losses. One player, even if he drops a catch at 100 for 9, needing 101 to win, is not the one solely responsible. It is amusing to read your description of Tendulkar as "poor". I know the context in which you have used the word. But someone who has accumulated, give or take a few millions, about 100 million dollars, "poor" !!! Don't take this too seriously. Ananth: ]]

  • Jaytirth on November 16, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Wonderful analysis! Glad to see that SRT has the best innings/hundreds ratio among modern batsmen. [[ Yes, to maintain a hundred every 5.9 innings OVER 300 innings is what sets him apart from most other batsmen. Ananth: ]]

  • Santosh Sequeira on November 16, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    Ananth

    Another masterpiece from you. May I suggest you to compile something on other skills like wicket keeping or fielding/catching or even running between the wickets if possible, as Bowling and Batting have been given enough attention.

    regards

    Santosh [[ The wicket-keepers have been analyzed recently. I cannot really do filedling or running between wickets. Where is the data. Ananth: ]]

  • charith on November 16, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    as always nice work by Ananth . my only disappointment is that you seem to give more credit to away centuries which seems very unreasonable to me.Using an index of pitch quality & bowling quality is much better than just saying that away centuries carry higher value.for example if you saw the century scored by Mahela in the 1st test at Galle against Aussies in a raging turner I think You will agree that it was a better effort than samaraweera's double hundred at karachi.Personally I think that if you have a better average at away then you should consider that you are performing well below your capabilities at home which is a shame, I really can't see why most people glorify batsmen who have better away averages. [[ Charith You have just shown me two innings. For every tough home innings you point out I can point out to ten easier home ones. Similarly for every easy away innings I can point out ten tougher ones. The point is that, in general, it is easier for players to play at home. How difficult it was for Indian batsmen to score in England. If a Test series is played now in Incia, Indian players might well come through and they might win, say 2-1. If a batsman scored a tough home century against a good attack, this may not come iunder Away categorybut may come under the top Bowling group column. Raging turner. Not really. Australia had a debut spinner who, despite 5 for 34 in the first inns, took 1 for 74 at an rpo of 4. the wickets were really captured by Harris/Watson/Johnson. he Aussie bowling attack was nothing great, in fact, quite ordinary. And do not forget, MJ and Mathews scored 200 and the rest of them scored 53. So I will accept that it was a fighting innings but not a great one. Ananth: ]]

  • RANDOLF PERKINS on November 16, 2011, 3:11 GMT

    Anantha, I think that since after every testmatch, each innings per batsman is permanently terminated (not the same for a bowler - his final ball in the final innings of a match can set him up for a hatrick in the next match)then all batsmen should be assessed on their 'Nominal' averages (total No. of runs per total No.of innings) instead of their 'Real' averages (total No. of runs per total No. of dismissal innings). I think 'Real' averages make sense if the batsman is allowed to carry on a notout innings to the next match. However, the implications of the rules now are: whether the batsman is dismissed or not the innings is absolutely closed - hence, the reason why all averages should be nominal. There's a similar case with batsmen who have scored multiple 100s but have to count them as single 100s - a serious anomaly which should be corrected. Do you know that if multiple 100s were given their full value, Lara would have been the first to reach fifty 100s? How about doing the figs.? [[ The Average vs Runs/Inns debate is a never ending one. The Average, used in almost all situations, favours the middle-order against the early batsmen. Instead of answering your comments I will direct you to one my earliest article, link provided below. I developed a new measue called Extended Batting Average (EBA) which did a theoretical extension of a not out innings into a dismissal situation. My simple assumption was that the batsman would have scored at least his Career Runs/Innings more runs, subject to no one going past 400. Radical idea it was and received enthusiastic response. http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2007/11/the_new_improved_batting_avera.php Ananth: ]]

  • Billy on November 16, 2011, 0:54 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    Having been to the Bradman Museum in Bowral, Australia, and seen an exhibit of the equipment the great Sir Don used, I'd love for you to do a similar analysis of scores based on the weight of the bat used.

    Just joking, well done for another fascinating piece.

  • Girish on November 15, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    Good article. I like your personal choice of the top 3 hundreds. Perhaps you should take a poll of the reader's choice for their top 10 favorite hundreds. This could be the 13th table. [[ I think that has to be a planned exercise. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on November 15, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    Ananth: Fantastic article. Your article brings out a fact that great players should not be compared but admired for the different strengths they bring in. Like Sachin is amazingly consistent and the Don is the ideal batsman to have (makes a hundred one in three innings, makes them big 100s and the team wins). Sehwag and Zaheer Abbas are big 100 players as we have seen several times and Lara and Gooch are lone rangers, while Mohinder was the toughie of his times. Loved your observation on Martyn and Katich. [[ Yes, that is the attitude to take. We do too many comparisons at the cost of appreciating other greats.All of us have, and must have, our favourites. That should not deter us from savouring others. Admire different facets of different greats. Ananth: ]]

    Is there a way we have a table for 100s (or even 70+) in a crisis. Crisis is very subjective, but surely we can set few thresholds for the score, number of wickets and recent number of wickets, Example, Steve Waugh was the non-striker when Harbhajan picked the hatrick. Although the score wasnt really a crisis (252-8), the sudden hatrick can make it look like a crisis. Here we will see some gritty tough players ...

  • Som on November 15, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    When the situation is such that you could lose a match if you did not bat well in the 4th inning, and eventually you did, how has Sachin compare to others:

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;home_or_away=2;home_or_away=3;innings_number=4;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;opposition=6;opposition=7;opposition=8;orderby=batting_average;qualmin2=200;qualval2=runs;result=2;result=3;spanmin1=15+Mar+1971;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

    He has the lowest batting average of 36 players who cross the bare cut offs (his avg is 21.06). And he has played the most number of such innings, for the data to be material

    Note where Chanderpaul is. The best of the best in such trying circumstances. Way better than Laxman, Lara, Dravid.

  • Som on November 15, 2011, 18:32 GMT

    @Sarath - If at least 5000 career runs is a good baseline for achievement, in overseas conditions in 4th innings, 625 runs in career could be the cutoff. When running these numbers for all cricketers in the last 40 years (where the opposition is now Zim or Bang), the tally looks like this:

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;home_or_away=2;home_or_away=3;innings_number=4;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;opposition=6;opposition=7;opposition=8;orderby=batting_average;qualmin2=625;qualval2=runs;result=1;result=2;result=3;result=4;spanmin1=15+Mar+1971;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

    Gavaskar has 4 hundreds, 67+ avg. Sachin placed last in this list of 9 super bats, has avg of 28.86.

    The number of innings Sachin played is 27, which is very much material.

  • Y2SJ on November 15, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    I am very glad that Mohinder Amarnath gets the respect he deserves in this section. He was a gutsy batsman and a good one too.

  • sarath on November 15, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    Somebody was commenting on Sachin averaging 30 in 4th innings and saying lots of players triumph him on that criteria. I would like to point out what a shallow criterion that would be to judge somebody based on just 27 innings (excluding Zim and Ban) when he has played more than 300 innings. He still averages 46 in 3rd innings. And this 4th innings criterion also does not take into effect some of his 100s scored in 3rd innings but was last innings of the match. Like his 100 against SA in Nagpur and centurion or his 91 and 92 against Eng in oval 10 and Trent bridge 02. Just consider the raw fact, 27 inn out of 300. How biased is that? [[ If you take 300 innings, which includes Zim/Ban then you must include Zim/Ban in fourth innings count also. I have not done any independent verfication of the figures but just interpreting your numbers. Ananth: ]]

  • shivt on November 15, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    Dear Ananth, Could you please tell me how the division of a batsman's career into three stages was done? One factor should be the age, I feel. In the middle of his career, Tendulkar was about 27 whereas Hayden was well into his thirties in the middle of his, at an age when the reflexes are none too quick. Crucially, Tendulkar's made twice as many hundreds as Hayden in the middle phase. [[ Absolutely linear division. For Tendulkar, it is 61-61-60. For Dravid it is 53-53-52. For Border it is 52-52-52 and so on. All numbers refer to Tests played. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhijeet on November 15, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    Fantastic article! Though the unsatisfied fan in me wishes if there was an analysis of based on the position the batsmen came to bat on. [[ One more possibility. Ananth: ]]

    I think a low conversion rate of vvs laxman can be explained by his hilariously poor record pre-281, constantly changing batting positions which means a lot of times he has to bat with tailenders and also the fact that he is not too good at farming the strike. If i could make a very subjective personal observation about Dravid's conversion rate: his not too crazy strike rate and his ability to soak up the pressure of good bowling (if any) means that in a partnership more often than not the guy at the other end will end up outscoring Dravid in the same no. of balls played (considering about 50-50 split of balls). Maybe the pressure of scoring quick runs (having a whole bunch of hitters around him in the lineup) and the fact that his approach sometimes allows the bowlers (good ones) to settle down and get a good delivery in ends up in his undoing.

  • Vikram on November 15, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    Ananth, being a frequent visitor, not a regular one, I find your work really amazing. Having said that, any article of yours on batting makes me a little despondent because it turns into a Sachin bashing exercise. He never claimed to be the best, nor did he create the media hoopla around him. Let the guy be. [[ I am amused by people like you. Point me ONE STATEMENT in this article which can be taken as Tendulkar-bashing. This is the one article where everything is just stating of facts. Of course, if you mean that the facts do not put Tendulkar on top and I point to that fact, that is as far from Tendulkar-bashing as possible. I suggest you also read some of my responses. Where Tendulkar has to be given credit I have given the same unreservedly. The problem is that supporters like will treat that as normal. However if I make a statement that Tendulkar's average -100 is only 146, that is Tendulkar-bashing. Incidentally I am not part of the media which you talk about. I hate the media, especially visual, which does not let go of anyone, especially Tendulkar. I am sick and tired of people saying that I sit and do articles with this stupid objective of putting down Tendulkar. If you take away your colured glasses, you will see that he is the one I respect most as a cricketer. You are mixing up some comments with my article. Ananth: ]]

    Every good player has strengths and weaknesses, ok leave the Don aside. Lara didn't score centuries when he had a good batting team around him. Maybe he likes the ego of being the great in a poor team. My point is that every facet can be seen in multiple ways.

    I can divide Sachin's performance into pre and post 1998, not because of his best period but simply because how he modeled his game. He has many glittering innings pre 1998, any of which can be counted among great batting exercises. Post that, he became a team man, acting, along with Dravid, as the steadying hand between a Sehwag who goes missing in the 2nd inning and a Laxman who goes missing in the 1st. A team man?

  • Faraz on November 15, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    I think for the first time you got me wrong here ananth. By duration of stay I mean the runs scored while the batsman is at the crease along with the batting team's Batting Quality Index and the % of runs scored by the batsman while at the crease. If such an analysis is possible,it might alleviate the dead centuries effect altogether. A 4th innings chase can be set as a standard according to team batting index and the runs scored by a batsman. Further,there was another suggestion,the Bowling Quality index of a team where we are analysing matches won or drawn by a batsman. This would tell us how strong his bowling line up was and if alone his century setup the win. [[ Faraz, I also interpreted the "while at crease" as runs. That information is not available for most matches. Ananth: ]]

  • sumanth on November 15, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    First of all, Thanks for excellent analysis. I am interested to see same kind of analysis for ODI if it is possible.

    Thanks Sumanth

  • Ravi on November 15, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    Phew what analysis! Simply superb. Thank you Ananth

  • RANDOLF PERKINS on November 15, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    Hi again Ananth. You know that you're my favourite columnist, because you provide substance when you write; while most of the others only write bias rubbish! As you know, we can only talk genuinely about who is better than who in our comparisons after we have carried out creditable scientific statistical research and analyses. However, it's my view that in this piece, a 'No of Innings' column would be more useful than a '[No. of] Matches'column. I think that it can help the reader to do his/her own further statistical analyses (eg calculation of %, etc). In fact, No. of Matches could also have a column, but 'No. of Innings' brings home the point better. Let me use a practical examples to show you why: Table No.8 is captioned 'Conversion of 50s to hundreds'; but the table shows 'Matches'; and since 50s are converted on an innings by innings basis, I think that 'Innings' should have been given priority - remember more than one 50 can be converted to 100s in 'one' match. [[ I think both matches and innings are relevant. Unfortunately I created a master table from which these were extracted and there just was not enough space. Ananth: ]]

  • Gareth on November 15, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    Wow a very interesting read, you have put in a lot of detail, most of which would usually go unnoticed by the average cricket lover. It certainly puts a few players in a different light. I particularly thought Damien Martyn's stats were interesting, considering how his career is often reported in the media.

    I did pick up in the 100s split into thirds of career (number 10), that you mentioned Boon was the only player with a perfect split (7-7-7). I also noticed that Greg Chappell too, had a perfect split of 8-8-8. An easy thing to miss amongst all these numbers I'm sure :) [[ Someone else had also pointed this out and I forgot to correct the same. Have done since. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

    Thank you, a great read.

    Gareth

  • R Jagannathan on November 15, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    Hi anantha

    Hundreds scored against best bowling group should be topped by Gavaskar, as he had scored maximum centuries against ferocious West Indians Roberts, Holding, Marshall, Daniel and also Lillee, Thompson, Hadlee, Imran, Sarfraz, Willis, Snow, Old., etc. In my opinion no batsmen in the history of cricket faced such formidable pace bowling around the world. This is despite that being an Indian, he always played only against mediocre / slow medium fast bowlers in the domestic circuit. This makes his records incredible. [[ No point in generalized. You are speaking from a subjective point of view. My analysis is based on actual Bowling quality. Every single one of Gavaskar innings/100 has been analyzed based on the bowlers who bowled against him. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on November 15, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    Ananth, I like the fact that the statistics are quote *comprehensive*. Though users have suggested variations, but any such analysis is like designing a website template; it is a kind of never-ending untill we draw a line. :)

    I would love to see a table that includes the *balls played (in match/innings)* variable. I am sure you will agree that many a times a 125-ball-55-run knock is more useful than a 76-ball-60 run.

  • Faraz on November 15, 2011, 10:24 GMT

    From your responses to comments I make out that you would probably be adding a few more things to the analysis.While you are at it why not answer another question for cricket readers who are intense(Since your analysis covers a lot,a little more may integrate it in an unbiased data form)Other than lone centuries,an analysis of the BQI of the bowling side for which the batsman scored a century to suffice queries of those who maintain that certain centuries for a batsman would have gone waste because their bowling did not have enough to bowl out the opposition twice.We could better analyse wins directly attributable to batsmen.Further more,other than lone centuries,I think it would help to analyse the score of the team where a batsmen walks out and scores a century and his contribution during his stay (as %)along with the Batting Quality Index of the team as a whole.This exercise would probably wipe out any (if) doubts towards the importance of a batsman and his century to the team. [[ The problem is that the duration of the batsman stay at the wicket can only be gauged for 25% or so of matches. In is no problem but Out is for the first 1500 matches. Ananth: ]]

  • Grey on November 15, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    One thing I'd really like to see is consecutive hundreds in excess of 150.

    Gary Kirsten for example had a 150+ century-run in which his scores were as follows.

    275 180 150 220 153 150 160

    That's 7 in a row : ie - with no centuries below 150 recorded in that run.

    I'm sure there must be other similar runs of high-scoring but its very hard info to find. [[ Grey, it does not need an analysis from me. The most famous streak in is Sehwag's 11-hundreds sequence. The scores were 195, 309, 155, 164, 173, 201, 254, 180, 151, 319 and 201. The average score of these 11 hundreds was a value of 211, Bradmanesque, to say the least. And all probably at a strike rate of 85+. Ananth: ]]

  • Sunil on November 15, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    Dear Cricinfo, i thoroughly enjoyed this piece. There is always a danger that plain statistics might get boring but the manner in which the various groupings were done made it quite interesting. Could we have a similar one for the ODIs too? [[ Yes, will do. You can address the comment to me personally. Ananth: ]]

  • Ahmed B. Sheikh on November 15, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    I am impressed with Analysis. I belive Hanif Mohammed emerges out to be most amazing TEAM PLAYER. He played for a relatively weak time and performed against the best teams.

  • Ravi Sharma on November 15, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    Excellent tables. Better yet, you did not offer conclusions, you presented the numbers. I hope that "fools" who talk of "winning centuries" understand that the amount of runs made and the amount of centuries made are dependent on the BATSMAN while the WINNING CAUSE is TEAM DEPENDENT. So, the worthiness of a batsman CANNOT be determined by how many centuries result in a win.

    Also, Shewag, scoring quiclky and at a health rate does not mean that the other batsmen underperformed. This is so because when there is healthy score on the board, you play to win, in which case, the rest of the batsmen go in with the intention of scoring fast NOT big.

    Also, Shane Warne is a better bowler on Indian pitches than he is on Australian pitches. As such, some batsmen will get UNFAIRLY high scores, according to your tables. Eg, when SRT scored BIG on Shane Warne in India. While away or at home has certain merits, you have to consider runs scored on a pace bowler on pace-wickets/spin bowlers n spin wks

  • Abhijeet on November 15, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    This is a little off-topic but I was wondering if an analysis can be done which considers the context of the innings and by extension, the match. 30 runs in 30 balls by a No 6 batsman is great if team score is 500/4, but if the score is say 100/4, a 40 in 120 balls is a lot better in that scenario. I understand that this analysis would be a lot more useful for ODIs where strike rate is more important. [[ As and I re-do my Innings Ratings work all these factors will be considered. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhijeet on November 15, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    In response to Aditya, you mentioned that there are so many zero-value fourth innings around. I was wondering why is that. Fourth innings generally has a realistic target to chase and if that is not the case, there is always a possibility of collapsing and losing the match. So most high scores in fourth innings would atleast help the team in saving the match if not winning it. Third innings however might feature plenty of useless hundreds where instead of declaring or scoring fast, the batsman is busy making a throroughly good for nothing century. [[ I only meant hundreds which have very little values, such as Gavaskar's third innings effort and Boycott's fourth innings effort. The match is a dead draw and someone labours towards a hundred. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhijeet on November 15, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    Hi Ananth, It has been a very long time since I read an article on this blog and commented. I think Table # 6 is stuffed with so many Australians from the same era because there were multiple century makers in the same match. That coupled with great bowling used to win matches for Australia. This is also exactly why none of those players are in Table # 11. Since all of them used to score, percentage of runs scored by an individual in an innings was fairly low for all of them. Fair to say that centuries in wins/draws/losses are farily irrelevant stats and speak a lot more about other players in the team than the century makers.

  • Shafiq on November 15, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    Always pleasure reading you, unless complex statistics gets involvement.

    What is meaning of meaningless 4th inning hundred associating with younis khan? Don't you think it will jeopardize everything if we go in that debate. [[ I was quite surprised to see why a comment complimenting Younis Khan should get you upset. Then I re-read and the interpretation could be different. Let me add that the useless hundreds comment DID NOT apply to Younis/Sarwan. I have amended the wordings suitably. Pl check it out. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr. talha on November 15, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    @BOLL..I think Ananth has given my reply. "They were all fair to good attacks, while i am talking about all time greats. Sachin and Lara played in an era when the best (in the history of the game) of every type of bowling existed. May it be offspin, legspin, reverse swing etc.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 15, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Aditya, i meant that for a weak batting team (table 11) a group 3 attack also may be a big challenge at times. It may be instructive to add a column in table 11, showing the BQI group against which the centuries which were >50% of teams total were scored. But since there are multple centuries (Gavaskar 7, Lara 6 etc.), this may be tough to display except as a weighted average. [[ I still feel the two are not relatable (if there is a word like taht). The >50% centureies could be against West Indies 1991 (Gooch's 154) or New Zealand 1933 (Hammond's 336).If anything it is more likely that this would happen against the stronger bowling attacks since this is a reflection of other batsmen failure and they are more likely to fail against the stronger bowling attacks. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 15, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    @Engle. Asif's conversion rate of fifties into centuries is 47.8%, just outside the top 10 mentioned. (11 centuries:23 times over 50). [[ Thank you, Boll. I missed answering the query. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on November 15, 2011, 2:34 GMT

    By the way, one name who is going to loom large in many of these tables if and when you repeat this analysis in 10 years time is Alastair Cook.

    19 Hundreds already! Does anyone want to place a bet on Cook beating either Tendulkar's run aggregate (15K+ runs) or his 51 centuries? Long shot. But possible. England slated to play a hell of a lot of test cricket over the next 7-8 years. If he can play on till 2020, it is possible.

    Anyway, he's nowhere near the player Tendulkar is. Bound to have lapses of form. So, he'll need many more innings than Sachin to reach these landmarks, at a much lower average.

    But I wouldn't put it past him. Hardy farmer's stock this Cook ;) [[ If you allow for form changes and peg Cook's Inns/Test as 7 (6.6 now) and cap SRT at 54 (Do I see more than this: No), it would require 375 innings. That is three times the 125 he has played until now. Taking this madcap exercise further, this takes us to 215 Tests which means another 143 Tests and 10 years. Now we see daylight. As you say, quite possible. Ananth: ]]

  • Avi on November 15, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    Just a note...another category of "400" needs to be made ie another column for Lara other than 200 and 300s [[ Will do if you are particlular. In general, the 400 nowadays is taken as a triple. Ananth: ]]

  • Youvi on November 15, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    Laxman has a 100:50 scores ratio greater than 1:3. Of course many of his 50s were invaluable to his team. It is therefore remarkable that he has 100s frequency of 13.4 as you allude to it. Sadly 50s are often not as well remembered even the priceless ones. I feel batsmen with 100:50 ratio of, say, 1:2.5 or more are worthy of analysis separately as a group for their 50s alone. I think Vishwanath would fall into that category as well. I would think most others are closer to 1:2 ratio or less for 100:50 scores. By the way, thanks to Cricinfo for that lovely picture of Sir Don stepping out to bat incl the crowd. Nothing to beat the old b&w pictures of legends. As always great analysis and much interesting info and interpretation. Tx

  • ananth on November 15, 2011, 2:06 GMT

    Hats off to the readers. When I did this article I was telling myself in a self-satisfied manner that I have covered everything to be covered re 100s and there could be very few requests. Ah! you, my readers have given me a nice kick in the appropriate region. Within 24 hours I have had the following suggestions. 1. Hundreds weighted by BQI. 2. Inclusion of innings to various splits to get a better insight. 3. Sole centuries in innings/match. Sincere thanks to all of you. Will do all these. This response covers a few of the recent comments. Ananth

  • Yogesh on November 14, 2011, 22:50 GMT

    Another commendable effort Ananth. Comments on two tables 5 & 7 :

    On Away Hundreds : Shouldn't you rather consider 100s/away innings played ? Sachin has 29/168, Dravid 21/158, Amarnath 9/63. The current way of Away/Home hundreds is also rewarding poor home record (Amarnath has 2 in 50 home innings). I think one should solely focus on away record.

    Nearly the same quesiton about BQI. Wouldn't #100s vs BQI/#innings vs BQI be a fairer measure ? Of course, as some have said a weighted 100 would be great but that is a lot more analysis.

    I think players like Martyn & M. Waugh weren't given due credit because people saw them as purely stylish batsman amidst the bunch of tough Aussie run-getters. Toughness is rarely associated with stylish batsmen. These two were probably the only two stylish batsman of those line-ups and that went against them.

  • Engle on November 14, 2011, 21:11 GMT

    Re : Table 8, Conversion Rate of 50's to 100's

    Asif Iqbal from Pakistan scored 11 Test hundreds and 12 50's, leading to a conversion rate of over 90%, but is not listed. Am I missing something ?

  • Sandeep on November 14, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    Absolutely brilliant analysis Ananth. There could not have been a more comprehensive dissection of centuries than this article. Personally I feel that centuries are an over rated statistic- a match winning 60 or 70 on a difficult pitch is far more worthy than a useless hundred on a flat pitch ending in a tame draw. But still, people remember centuries more for whatever reasons, and an excellent analysis from you. Again, unsurprisingly, Bradman is right on top on most lists. I always wonder how many runs and centuries (double, triple and possibly quadruple ones) Bradman would have ended with if he had played something like 150 tests

  • Milind on November 14, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    Dravid scored three hundreds against England watching 28 wickets fall. It would be interesting to see a table sorted by the average number of wickets witnessed by the centurion.

  • varun on November 14, 2011, 19:38 GMT

    Cricket is a statistician's delight, no other sport provides you with this much numbers to crunch. One of the main reasons for which I love cricket. Thanks for the article. And by the way how can I get these data (not the final data) if I want to do some number crunching myself.

  • Sumit on November 14, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    Another brilliant piece Ananth. Great work. I have a few points to mention though:

    1. In table 2, have you accounted for matches where captains have declared the moment a particular batsmen reaches his century? I guess this would skew the average per hundred in favour of batsman, although i agree they should be acknowledged for scoring those runs in the first place. Perhaps 100s in such a situation can be omitted although 200s, 300s should be accounted for.

    2. In table 12, you have not accounted for 300s when calculating the frequency for 200s, even though for table 3 you have accounted for aggregate no. of 100s.

    3. In table 6, we can add another sub table of solitary hundred's in a match by a batsmen and account for them by result. I think this will, albiet subjectively, mitigate factors like feather beds, week bowling attacks etc. and put the spot light on tough conditions, good bowling attack, lack of performance by peers etc.

  • shrikanthk on November 14, 2011, 19:07 GMT

    It's amazing that Bradman's record of 12 double centuries hasn't been broken and is not likely to be broken for a long time.

    Nearly all his "aggregate" stats have been broken. Run aggregate, number of centuries etc. But this one remains. Remarkable.

    And if I'm not mistaken, he also holds the record for the most number of double centuries in first class cricket (37 I think)

  • shrikanthk on November 14, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    Bradman had the advantage of playing the same bowling attack home and away

    If that's such a huge advantage, how do you explain his 117 first class centuries in 234 games??? In the first-class circuit, he played on quite a lot of grounds in varying conditions against all kinds of bowlers, familiar and unfamiliar. That didn't impact his run-getting.

    The man was a freak. Period.

    By the way, Bradman didn't face the same attack over and over again. He faced Tate and Larwood in '28-29 and '30, Constantine and Griffith in '30-31, Larwood and Voce in '32-33. Verity, Bowes and Clarke in '34. Farnes and Allen in '36-37. Bowes, Farnes, Verity and Doug Wright in '38. Bedser and Laker in '48.

    That covers a decent range of bowling styles and approaches. And ofcourse, he did face bowlers as varied as Grimmett, Fleetwood-Smith, Tich Freeman, Ted McDonald and Eddie Gilbert in first class cricket. Nothing similar about this lot.

  • Faraz on November 14, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    Thanks Ananth for heeding to my suggestions. You are a real gentleman. By the way you may or may not incorporate what I suggest now because I know you have already gone through some cumbersome exercise. For unbeaten centuries on part of batsmen i think there should be a separate criteria, for it is no fault of theirs that they ended up unbeaten but their century and double century averages are formulated on the basis of a complete innings. For example, Miandad's 280* and 203* are two such knocks. Similarly, Lara's 400* and 153* end abruptly as a complete innings when they are not. However, you have already done enough and I wouldnt request too much. Just a food for thought. [[ Thanks for a very nice compliment. Pl see response on this very issue given to Mohanlal, the previous comment in fact. Ananth: ]]

  • mohanlal on November 14, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    Sir, another very good analysis.But i feel that excluding not outs when calculating the avg: of 100+ scores is an injustice to the concerned batsman.It is to batsman's credit that he didn't get out and hence should be valued. [[ Mohan, that might be the traditional way of deriving an average. However the hundreds are different. The 100s have all been the product of rather long innings. Whether a batsman was out at 256 or remained not out at 256 they are the same. The idea is to determine how big the hundreds were and that idea would be scuttled by not outs. Also note that it is the "Average value of 100s" and not a Batting average of 100s. A batsman who scores 150 and 150 woul;d have a value of 150, correctly. He cannot be overhauled by another onw who has scored 100 and 100*. The later batsman should have a value of 100, not 200. Ananth: ]]

  • shobhit on November 14, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    Great analysis or rather dissection of atom...i however have failed to sense the rational behind: "gavaskar is miror image of kallis/dravid: great upto two thirds and then drop." I dont see a decline yet in third triplet of kallis(provided u dont take his nought at capetown rather more seriously), even your table proves otherwise....yet another observstional error in the same table:you forget even greg chappel has perfect division of his 24 tons. [[ First you are right about Greg Chappell. Will add that. Thanks. I am afraid I have probably not been clear. I meant that Gavaskar was the mirror image of Dravid/Kallis, in other words, the other way around. What I meant was that Kallis was low, high, higher while Gavaskar was higher, high, low. Ananth: ]]

  • Anadi on November 14, 2011, 17:30 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    I have been reading your analyses of the game for some time now and I truly enjoy the unbiased perspective you bring and the equally unbiased fan following you have (from reading the comments section of each of your posts).

    I found this analysis to be wonderfully thorough. However, this comment is to put forth a request to you for a future analysis. Recently, I have come across a number of articles that have reference to who can break Sachin's runs and centuries records and the like. This brought me to think of how valuable a stat truly is. One of the more obvious ways of checking this value for a player would be by comparing it quantitatively with those of others. For example, the value of Sachin's 15000+ runs is highlighted by the fact that he is ahead of the next person (Dravid) by 16%. Based on this line of thinking, could you come up with a list of the top-ten most valuable stats? This number should end up at the top: Bradman's test average (ahead of Pollock by 63.9%) [[ Exactly this work has been done by me in this blogspace two years back. The link is given below. http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2009/09/how_far_ahead_is_the_top_one.php There is a similar article on bowlers also. However there is probably a need to update these articles. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 14, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    Ananth - Based on all the analysis you have done about test batsmen and bowlers, what would be the composition of your top two best ever 11's across the era.(mind you a lot of folks bring their perception of someones ODI excellence to give brownie point to test performance, and Sachin is one who has benefitted largely, who just does not fit in the best ever 11 at all and I think could just make it or maybe not in the second 11 - do you also see that?). [[ Som, that will be a digression to the current analysis. Let us keep that to a different time. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 14, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    @Ananth. Perhaps a fairer way of rating Table 7. `Hundreds against top bowling groups` would be to provide an average rating of centuries scored.

    For example - multiplying the number of centuries in each category by the BQ, adding those scores together, and dividing by total number of centuries.

    Bradman: 8/6/8/4/3 (Total:99) divided by total centuries (29) = 3.41

    Tendulkar: 9/20/12/7/3 (Total: 178) divided by 51 = 3.49

    Result - Tendulkar has scored his centuries against (just) slightly better attacks.

    Ponting: 8/12/17/2/0 (Total: 145) divided by 139 = 3.72, against slightly better ones.

    Fairly neat, no? [[ I do not like these abrupt changes. A bowling attack of 29.99 will be BG5 while an attack of 30.00, BG4. Better way would be to simply add the BQIs and divide by the number of centuries. Can be easily done and I will post the results by tomorrow. Ananth: ]]

  • IG on November 14, 2011, 16:41 GMT

    "Bell and Samaraweera are the modern batsmen who have done so. It is a clear pointer to the fact that Samaraweera's 50-plus Batting average is not really as valuable as it looks. "...

    Ananth, if you notice, only 2 of Samaraweera's 12 hundreds have come in draws (and 2 in defeats), compared to 10 out of 22 for Sehwag (and 5 in defeats). To me, a draw is a greater indicator of batsman friendly conditions (and hard fought draws have been few and far between off-late), as opposed to a result. Add to it, Sehwag's ordinary performances in South Africa, England and New Zealand and I'd be compelled to apply the same rider to his 50+ avg, as you have done for Samarweera's (and you're probably right in doing so). I'm not trying to belittle any player, but I think that sometimes, numbers reveal a lot more than we think.

  • R. Narayan on November 14, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    Speaking of conversion rates of 50s into 100s, the really strange one is the case of Australia's Michael Slater. If I remember, his test career included 11 hundreds and 19 fifties, or a respectable split of 37%/73%. However he was out in the 90s nine times.. If he'd converted those, his split would have been 20/10, which is incredible, or should I say Bradmanesque! [[ Very good point, RN. Slater's career record was 14 hundreds out of 35 fifties, a conversion rate of 40%. Even if he had converted 4 of those 90s into 100s, he would have got 18 out of 35, just over 50%. Quite good, but not Bradmanesque. All 9, 23 out of 35, would have been 66%, yes, near Bradman. Ananth: ]]

  • Som on November 14, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    Ananth - Great work as usual. As someone already noted, I too would be interested in knowing how the top batsmen over the last 40 yrs have fared against the opposition in opposition or neutral countries, more so with respect to their 3rd and 4th innings performance. I took a very high level stab at it and found that Amarnath, Gavaskar, Sanga, Kallis, Border, Smith, Thorpe, Gower, Lloyd, Inzi, Gayle, Laxman, Dravid, Langer, Richards, Hayden, Younis, Greenidge, Ganguly, Haynes, Chanderpaul and Miandad, all trump Sachin. Sachin has a batting average of less than 40. How does he justify that? If you consider who has been a more all round better test batsman in all conditions, I guess Gavaskar, Sanga, Kallis, Richards etc trump Sachin by far. In fact since Dravid's debut, Sachin has scored less test runs than Dravid, so pure aggregate runs cannot be a big consideration.

    And if you take 4th innings performance, Sachin has a batting average of 28.86, when Gavaskar, Smith, Richards all > 50

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 14, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    Ananth,

    Very interesting stuff. Thanks for another good one.

    One possible reason for Laxman's coversion problem could be his batting position. Can't explain Dravid. In the table no 10, how does the equivalent 50 to 100 conversion look like? If there are more 50s during lean 100 period, it might make sense. The other question is--is there a way to determine optimum range amongst the centuries to increase the probability of results-winning or losing?It may not be 200s or 300s and it may be probably around 150s. [[ I have been reading a book by Mathew Reilly, the Australian writer. His books are full of high-tech weaponry and such. Your last point looks like the gas expanding bullets which expand furiously on entry. But a unique idea worth expanding further. ScoreRange-Result correlation possibly. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 14, 2011, 16:12 GMT

    @Dr.talha re.`Bradman had the advantage of playing the same bowling attack home and away.`

    You`re obviously not talking about the West Indian/Indian/South African attacks which Bradman faced for only 1 series each and took for 10 centuries in 17 innings, so I presume you`re talking about the English bowling.

    Which of the (Larwood, Tate, Hammond, White) combination from 1928, or the (Farnes, Geary, Mitchell, Verity) combination from 1934, or the (Bedser, Young, Laker, Yardley) combination from 1948 are you referring to exactly? [[ Going by Boll's correect numbers, Bradman scored 19 centuries in 63 innings against England's fair-to-good attacks, a fall from his own lofty standards, but still way above anyone else. Ananth: ]]

  • akpy on November 14, 2011, 16:06 GMT

    ananth.one measure that comes out is the 'overall' quality of bowling attacks which has deteroriated in 2000s and pitches have flattened too...so, a lot of current day batsmen who have played over 10 years are capitalising whereas batsmen who played between 1980-2000 faced much better bowling attacks on livelier pitches..someone like gavaskar would have plundered runs in the 2000s..in a way, sachin and lara are the only connection to that quality period as ponting, dravid, kallis, etc blossomed in 2000s.. [[ I have adjusted for the bowling quality and flatter pitches in many other analysis. However I have made this a base data centric analysis to avoid any subjective conclusions. Of course when I do the Test innings analysis, all these and other relevant factors. My take is that the top-10/15 great batsmen would have shone in any other era, subsequent to variations not exceeding 10%. Ananth: ]]

  • Alok on November 14, 2011, 15:56 GMT

    Excellent analysis and most enjoyable to read.

    It's an interesting point that Cardus throws up in the context of Bradman - that there were very few quality bowlers who really tested the man. Your analysis here re: BQI would probably bear that out.

    The counter to that would possibly be that probably Bradman was *THAT* good. Considering how few teams played, Bradman's efforts alone could increase a bowling group's BQI and make it look less ordinary than it is.

    Perhaps this dispute will be resolved in a Cardusian Valhalla where Bradman's Invincibles play the great West Indian team of the 80s and the Aussies of the 00's in a Test tri-series. [[ No need to go to Cardusian Valhalla. My own simulation programs have done such simulations. YUou probably missed the following artcle. I have to get my suite of simulation programs updated and working properly. Then I can do a three-way simulation between Australia 48 and West indies 84 and Australia 2005.

    http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par.php

    http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2010/04/a_test_series_for_the_gods_par_1.php

    Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 14, 2011, 15:39 GMT

    Very interesting to see Table 6. `Hundreds analysis based on Results`. Based on raw figures I believe Ponting is a fair way ahead, with close to 30 centuries in victories.

    The predominance of recent Australians is testament to their great success, the changes in the way cricket is played nowadays, as well as the way those Australian teams changed the approach to the game. Quite simply no team has won more often, or sought to win every game with such single-minded purpose.

    However, as a way of comparing individual players (as often seems to happen in the interminably tedious Dravid vs Tendulkar debates)Ananth`s table proves the complete inadequacy of this measure.

    The mighty Lara, one of the very few (and I would suggest greatest since Bradman) true matchwinners, languishes in 2nd last place. Nuff said. [[ You are correct. I would suggest that that table could be used to determine the contributors to the winning teams like Australia, West Indies. Lara's position only indicates the helplessness of these greats. Ananth: ]]

  • arch on November 14, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    Superlative, as always. I notice that the batsmen's performances dip in the 3rd and 4th innings as the pitch breaks up (of course in many situations the 4th innings does not happen). Is there a way of weighing that by seeing how many 4th innings the batsmen actually played? Also, conversely, is it possible to analyze the first (and maybe second) inning performances of bowlers. It stands to reason that if a batsman's performance deteriorates in the last two innings to produce standout work, a bowler does standout work in the first two innings? Just a thought, and might be a good study to execute. And Martyn really was unsung. good to know how valuable he was. [[ The problem is that if I have to determine the batsman's no of innings by innings, I should do the same for the other aspects, home/away, bowling groups, results etc. Let me see what can be done. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 14, 2011, 14:56 GMT

    I note that Bradman`s conversion of 50s to 100s was around 70%. Perhaps even more sickening for the bowlers is that his conversion of 50s to 200s was about 30%, and 12% of the time he went on to score 250 plus. I can only imagine the murderous looks received by those poor blokes who dropped him early in an innings. [[ And if Jardine had been the captain, possibly to be left behind in Australia. Ananth: ]]

  • rohit on November 14, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    hey ananth i know this question is somewhat out of the blue but am really curious to know as you talked so much about 100's. which one's are your personal favourite 100's scored in the last decade?? talk about unsung heroes, inzamam , mike atherton and graham thorpe.. I liked all three of them and after reading your article all i can say is i could not be more right. [[ My personal favourites, clearly in order of my own preference, are Lara's 153*, Laxman's 281 and Gooch's 154. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 14, 2011, 14:30 GMT

    As people have mentioned, Damien Martyn`s figures look very impressive on a number of counts.

    10/2/1 centuries in W/D/L

    9 of 13 centuries scored away from home (2 vs Eng, 2 vs SL, 2 vs SAf, 2 vs Ind, 1 vs NZ)

    8 centuries (more than anyone else listed) vs BQ5, 3 vs BQ4, 2 vs BQ3.

    It was a great pity that he copped the blame for the collapse (fairly minor when compared to recent events!?) and subsequent loss to SAf in 1993 at Sydney and didn`t play another test for 6 years. His career ended in somewhat unfortunate circumstances as well. He was a wonderfully talented player and a pleasure to watch. [[ My abiding memory of Martyn is his 104 at Chennai, the match of the bearded wonder also, saving the match for Australia. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 14, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    Once again a memorable piece, Ananth. Thank you.

    G`day Vic. I`m not so sure that players from the 50s /60s are under-represented. Obviously where total numbers are significant (Tables 1,9,12 for example), there are very few players pre-90s due to the fewer tests played. I think in most others though, those who played predominantly in the 50s and 60s do as well as any.

    Apart from Amiss; Simpson, Walcott, Weekes, Sobers, Morris, Hanif, Boycott, Barrington, Umrigar, and Asif Iqbal are all prominent.

    It`s hard to know where to begin a discussion, as each table seems to throw up so much of interest.

    Kudos again ananth, my good sir. [[ I think I make your day in Kasuga and you make mine in Bangalore. Thank you for the kind words. I needed that great Federer win at Paris to overcome the Newlands nightmare. The galling thing was that it was not Steyn, who for a change looked the third member of the attack,but the seemingly innocuous Philander. I liked Clarke's sharp reactions especially dismissing his wonderful century as inconsequential. My respect for him as a batsman and captain have gone up. Ananth: ]]

  • James Selvakumar on November 14, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    A wonderful article Anand. Enjoyed every bit of it. This has increased my respect for all these greats. They are great in different aspects. And it's a great privilege to watch SRT, Dravid, Ponting, Kallis, Sanga etc playing in our times. Thanks for all the hard work.

  • Pawan Mathur on November 14, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    This is indeed a nice analysis. However I suggest that you can further incorporate two more interrelated tables 1) Number of balls faced/ Strike Rate (subject to availability) of hundreds ,2) Percentage of boundaries hit in centuries This would lead to a better analysis of extent of batsmen dominating the bowling attack and would further help in classifying the batsmen as accumulators like Dravid, Gavaskar or destroyers like Richards and Gilchrist) [[ The first will be very limited. Do I do an analysis covering about 30% of the matches. Same as above. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 14, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    Dear Ananth,

    I am puzzled by your reference to an inconsequential Gavaskar hundred in 4th innings at Bangalore. His 4 fourth innings hundreds are - 117* vs WI chasing 335 (drew) in '71, 102 vs WI chasing 403 (won) in '76, 113 vs Aust chasing 340 (lost by 16 runs) in '77 and the 221 vs England chasing 438 (drew) in '79. [[ Thank you, Aditya. It is a mistake by me in mixing up the totally inconsequential third innings with the fourth innings. It was indeed in the third innings and I will correct the article. There are so many zero-value fourth innings around. Ananth: ]]

    I think Gerry's point about the limitation of table 7 is along these lines: if a batsman scores a century against a strong bowling attack but ti doesn't get reflected as a really high percentage of team score (table 11), then it means that others have scored reasonably well too against that attack in that innings. Which brings us to other factors like the pitch. When do we have the pitch factor analysis, followed by the mega analysis/rating combining all factors? [[ As Cecil Rhodes said on his death-bed, hopefully I am not there yet, "So much to be done: So little done.". Will do. Ananth: ]]

    Thanks Aditya

  • Nitin on November 14, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    Good analysis Ananth !! It's a request that can you do a analysis on the how these gr8 batsman fared in different countries(conditions). For me the best batsman is who performed in all conditions, against all kind of attacks. One who can play spin and fast bowlers equally well. In this process we can't evaluate batsman from past as at that time cricket was played on few countries only. But you can do for last 4 decades atleast. You can check there stats in 7 top test playing countires except Zim, ban ... For a sub continent batsman avg of 40 and above should be considered good and similarly for a Aus batsman avg of 40 in India can be considered good.. I think it will be interesing analysis. What you views on this ? TIA [[ I think I have done so many articles that I have to check the archives to see whether I have already done the analysis you have asked for. Will do. Ananth: ]]

  • Rakim on November 14, 2011, 13:23 GMT

    Yet another stat confirming Sachin's highly over-rated! [[ A completely shallow interpretation of the analysis. No one has his consistency, his Inns/100 is very high and his win factor is well above 50 and so on. Ananth: ]]

  • Tony on November 14, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    What is a goo bowling attack?Have you simply taken South Africa and Australia as the two best bowling attacks?What about SA and AUS players then? Have you taken the third best as the second best for these players?And is not the two best bowling attacks differ for different players?For an Australian player facing Indian bowlers in India is extremely difficult while facing them in Australia relatively easy. And the two best bowling attacks have varied widely even in the last two decade if we focus on the current or recently retired greats.For example Windies and Pakistan attacks were great till the last century, not so in the new one. How have you factored all this?Or have you simply assumed all these factors will get cancelled out for players who have played sufficiently long? [[ I suggest you read my article on Test Bowling groups published during May 11. Most of the answers are there. This analysis just takes the groups derived from that analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • IG on November 14, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    contd..To add to P Satish's point - A lot of people seemed to discredit hundreds scored in a lost cause. No doubt, hundreds scored in victory should be rated the highest, but hundreds scored in losses are often scored in very difficult circumstances, where the fact that you have lost means the opposition has actually been able to take 20 wickets, ergo the conditions (and/or skills of the bowlers) haven't made batting very easy, and the batsman who has scored the hundred has, to a certain extent countered the bowler's dominance (Laxman's 167 against Australia in India's 2nd innings at Sydney in 2000 comes to mind). Therefore most hundreds in lost causes should command some amount of respect (one exception I can think of is Tendulkar's 100 against South Africa at Centurion, where the pitch had become totally flat, with SA scoring 620 and India scoring over 450). However, its the hundreds that are scored in '600/6 dec plays 580/5 dec' type of draws that should be rated the lowest.

  • Vic on November 14, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Great article! I noticed that the second table in section 12 of this article, viz. Sehwag's and Atapattu's Frequency of innings per double ton-both have different frequencies with the same no. of innings, which cannot be possible. [[ Thanks (and corrected). Mistake because it was manually entered by me. Ananth: ]]

    I do think batsmen like Bradman & Hammond need to be acknowledged that they played in different times as compared to batsmen such as Tendulkar/Ponting and co. I also noticed a relative dearth of batsmen who played predominantly in the 1950 and 60s (with the exception of Amiss) reaching the highest spots in each of the tables. Perhaps a period analysis could shed some light on this?

  • IG on November 14, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    Hi Ananth, I've been an ardent reader of your blog, and often browse through without actively commenting. This particular analysis of yours, is out of the drop drawer! The stand-out tables for me are Tables no. 7 and 11. Table 7 highlights how good a player was when faced with quality bowling,with the likes of Martyn, Kallicharan and IM Chappell getting due credit, and table 11 shows how good he was with respect to his team-mates (all within the context of having scored a hundred of course- someone's 51 might have been more than what the rest of the team managed altogether)..contd.. [[ As I have already mentioned, the stars of this analysis are the forgotten ones like Amarnath, Martyn, Katich et al. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 14, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Faraz, The 200s table has been corrected to have the number of innings as the basis. Thanks for that. Ananth

  • prakash on November 14, 2011, 11:49 GMT

    Hi Anantha

    Have been a regular reader of your blog. This is the first time i am posting a comment. Thoroughly enjoyed the article.

    Table 10 does reveal a lot. Sachin's consistency is mind boggling. I think people should keep in mind when they compare Tendulkar with Dravid, POnting & Kallis , that each of these is a great in his own right and Tendulkar's hallmark is his consistency..

    One statistic that catches the eye is, Lara's in Table 10. He has played close to 50 tests less than Sachin. However the number of 100s in 1/3 of the 131 matches is 16 !!, just 1 less than Sachin. He finished very well and as you rightly pointed out, WI administrators have done a great disservice to the game by pushing him out.. [[ Thank you. I like the nuances readers are bringing from a very prosaic collection of analytical segments. Lara did not even have any feud with the WI board as Gayle seems to have. Ananth: ]]

  • Suhayl on November 14, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    Hi Anantha

    Excellent analysis, it is one which I really enjoyed

    Regarding table 11, I think that openers have a definite advantage when it comes to scores greater than 50% of the team total. 6 of the 8 batsmen you picked were/are regular openers, the two which arent being Bradman (where does he not feature) and Lara (didnt play in a strong batting lineup). By contrast, Steve Waugh frequently came in to bat at number 5. [[ That is a very valid point. However let us also contemplate that the openers often have the toughest 10 overs to face and may fail more often than middle order batsmen who come in at, say, a benign 150 for 2 situation. Ananth: ]]

  • rohit on November 14, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    hi Ananth The detail you go into your analysis is just amazing. I am watching cricket since 1996 world cup so never had the chance to see players like gavaskar, richards or zaheer abbass but youe article surely increases my depth of knowledge about cricket. IF it wasn't for your article i would have never known what an amazing deal was mohinder amarnath to indian cricket. 9 away hundreds out of 11 is just amazing. [[ Yes, as I have already responded, Amarnath's contributions have been forgotten, even by people like me who have watched him play. Ananth: ]] on a second note this article also tells that IAN BELL is not such a great people as english people are going nuts about him. Tendulkar deserves applaud for his consistency and lara just suffered from being in a weak team. he surely was a match winner. [[ I would not puit down Bell's numbers at all. He is an excellent player, especially of spin. However it is true that six of his last seven hundreds have been against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India, with below-average bowling attacks. Ananth: ]]

    All in all looking forward to your next article.

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

    Hi Ananth, This is a great article. I read all your articles and must say they all are amazing. I really appreciate your efforts.I really like comments on your article especially given by - Shrikanthk, Gerry_the_merry, Alex, Ramesh kumar, Boll and many more. Keep up the good work

  • dhanush on November 14, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    Excellent piece.. But I have one doubt with respect to Table 11... Does it include Centuries where only few batsmen have lost their wicktes? For example, in the test match against Pakistan where Shewag scored run-a-ball 250 out of Indias 450, does it come under 50% contribution? [[ Yes, this includes Greenidge's 134 out of 211 and his own 214 out of 344 for 1, two extremes. I would rather answer this comment than do an arbitrary assumption that I would consider only innings of, say, 5 wicklets and above. My feeling is that one in five of these greater than 50% centuries would be the easier ones. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on November 14, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    Wonderful to be back in white flannels. On the whole, the article revisits the multiple dimensions in 100s & everything together, have to be considered. There has always been Lara V SRT, Ponting v SRT, Dravid v Kallis, etc. And the arguments always took different directions. And the naysayers considered the paradigm most convenient to them, to put another idol down. This brings in all the flavors and all angles. As the old story of the blind men trying to understand the elephant, most of the arguments revolved around convenient sides and this article has put things in perspective. Greats are greats, though disputed. And beyond Bradman, everyone else can be disputed. I find more than 20 greats in this legendary list and quite a few from the currrent generation (or just concluded generation). Greatness exists beyond Lara, SRT, Ponting, Dravid & Kallis. Wonder why there is always a bitter fight the moment these names come up!! [[ Ranga. you are correct. Until I did this article I myself was unaware of Mohindar Amarnath's contributions. And guilty of underestimating Martyn's. Ananth: ]]

  • Shan on November 14, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    Wow .. very thorough and comprehensive and just shows that the Don is THE greatest batsman the game has ever known ... can u do a similar piece on bowlers as well say 5 wicket hauls? [[ Yes, of course, will do. Will have to be looked at differently because of the upper limit of 10 and 20. Ananth: ]]

  • P Satish on November 14, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    "Spare a thought for poor Lara. 14 of his hundreds have been in a losing cause, almost always for no fault of his. A reflection of the lack of support from his team mates."

    :-) Something we never seem to consider when we talking of "winning centuries" in Tests. One man cannot pull the team through which is possible in ODIs and T20s.

    And I am not really surprised by DBV's away performances. Bell in the bowling group breakdown probably puts things in perspective.

    I thought one other category you could have had here was the number of sole hundreds in innings for these century makers. That would be probably then cover - poor team/good bowling attack/difficult conditions. I expect Lara to be quite high there. [[ There is something in what you say. let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Faraz on November 14, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    By the way, for some odd reason, I cannot view or download the complete list link given at the end. Can you help me out or let me know another link where I may get it from? [[ You are correct. My apologies. The file name was changed by mistake. Has been corrected since. You can now dowbnload the same. Ananth: ]]

  • Faraz on November 14, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    A highly commendable effort. I believe you have covered almost every aspect that could be of such a worthy club. However, like the centuries I would have loved to see the 200+ scores being analysed on the basis of innings rather than tests. Would have been a much clearer indicator of who had the clearer appetite for a longer one and how frequently he could do it. Another indicator in this regard could be the quality of opposition in scoring those 200+ scores. Nevertheless, its one of the best pieces I have come around. Hats off to you! [[ You are absolutely correct. I should have used the same basis. The fact is I had done the 200s analysis for another article a few days back and transported the tables. I would correct this to innings basis within the hour. Ananth: ]]

  • soban on November 14, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Amazing sir. Just amazing.

    Numbers are real fun in cricket :) And you sir, please carry on bringing this joy to us.

    For next article, if it is possible to do, please show us how many bowlers would have done better if they had good supporting fielders. [[ Not possible. Good fielders ??? what is the basis. Runs saved or catches. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr. talha on November 14, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    Dear Anantha kindly specify whom did u considered good bowling attack? [[ I can only repeat two statements from the article explaining this segment. I am not sure what more is needed. Also pl try and go over the Test boaling grpups article published during May 2011. ""This looks at the hundreds scored against the two top two bowling groups (BQI below 35.00). This is based on the article on Test bowling groups which I had done a few months back."" Ananth: ]] I think sachin stands out when we talk about scoring hundreds. Lara is equaly good. They have got hundreds against a vast variety of bowling attacks and pitches. They have scored hundreds against the best reverse swing bowlers in the history of the game Wasim and Waqar, the best off spinner in the history of the game Murali, the best leg spinner ever Warne. Bradman had the advantage of playing the same bowling attack home and away. [[ Accepted. But that would not explain the near 50% difference. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 14, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Ananth, very interesting. Table 11 shows the limitation of table 7. [[ Two different aspects captured. Table 7 is to group the hundreds by the recent rage in theis column, the Bowling group. That indicates the hundreds scored against the better attacks. Table 11 is on the support or lack of, provided by other batsmen. There seems to be very little connecting the two. Ananth: ]]

  • rohan on November 14, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    [[ Your comments will be published if those are not personal derogatory comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Nitin Gautam on November 14, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    mindblowing & I must say everytime you post a blog & everytime I am more amused with the kind of work & analysis you bring to the table truly appreciable & a treat to read.

    however just could not understand why you have to justify about 4th Inning 100s. though Lara's 153 is an all time classic but its still is 4th inning which is the group of this analysis. It was quiet obvious.. [[ No. Nitin, you have not understood what I said. I have done the comparison of the 153 and 103 only to bring out the fact that this is not an innings rating work, but these two extreme innings have got dumped into the same group. That is all. Ananth: ]]

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Nitin Gautam on November 14, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    Hi Ananth

    mindblowing & I must say everytime you post a blog & everytime I am more amused with the kind of work & analysis you bring to the table truly appreciable & a treat to read.

    however just could not understand why you have to justify about 4th Inning 100s. though Lara's 153 is an all time classic but its still is 4th inning which is the group of this analysis. It was quiet obvious.. [[ No. Nitin, you have not understood what I said. I have done the comparison of the 153 and 103 only to bring out the fact that this is not an innings rating work, but these two extreme innings have got dumped into the same group. That is all. Ananth: ]]

  • rohan on November 14, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    [[ Your comments will be published if those are not personal derogatory comments. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 14, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Ananth, very interesting. Table 11 shows the limitation of table 7. [[ Two different aspects captured. Table 7 is to group the hundreds by the recent rage in theis column, the Bowling group. That indicates the hundreds scored against the better attacks. Table 11 is on the support or lack of, provided by other batsmen. There seems to be very little connecting the two. Ananth: ]]

  • Dr. talha on November 14, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    Dear Anantha kindly specify whom did u considered good bowling attack? [[ I can only repeat two statements from the article explaining this segment. I am not sure what more is needed. Also pl try and go over the Test boaling grpups article published during May 2011. ""This looks at the hundreds scored against the two top two bowling groups (BQI below 35.00). This is based on the article on Test bowling groups which I had done a few months back."" Ananth: ]] I think sachin stands out when we talk about scoring hundreds. Lara is equaly good. They have got hundreds against a vast variety of bowling attacks and pitches. They have scored hundreds against the best reverse swing bowlers in the history of the game Wasim and Waqar, the best off spinner in the history of the game Murali, the best leg spinner ever Warne. Bradman had the advantage of playing the same bowling attack home and away. [[ Accepted. But that would not explain the near 50% difference. Ananth: ]]

  • soban on November 14, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Amazing sir. Just amazing.

    Numbers are real fun in cricket :) And you sir, please carry on bringing this joy to us.

    For next article, if it is possible to do, please show us how many bowlers would have done better if they had good supporting fielders. [[ Not possible. Good fielders ??? what is the basis. Runs saved or catches. Ananth: ]]

  • Faraz on November 14, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    A highly commendable effort. I believe you have covered almost every aspect that could be of such a worthy club. However, like the centuries I would have loved to see the 200+ scores being analysed on the basis of innings rather than tests. Would have been a much clearer indicator of who had the clearer appetite for a longer one and how frequently he could do it. Another indicator in this regard could be the quality of opposition in scoring those 200+ scores. Nevertheless, its one of the best pieces I have come around. Hats off to you! [[ You are absolutely correct. I should have used the same basis. The fact is I had done the 200s analysis for another article a few days back and transported the tables. I would correct this to innings basis within the hour. Ananth: ]]

  • Faraz on November 14, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    By the way, for some odd reason, I cannot view or download the complete list link given at the end. Can you help me out or let me know another link where I may get it from? [[ You are correct. My apologies. The file name was changed by mistake. Has been corrected since. You can now dowbnload the same. Ananth: ]]

  • P Satish on November 14, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    "Spare a thought for poor Lara. 14 of his hundreds have been in a losing cause, almost always for no fault of his. A reflection of the lack of support from his team mates."

    :-) Something we never seem to consider when we talking of "winning centuries" in Tests. One man cannot pull the team through which is possible in ODIs and T20s.

    And I am not really surprised by DBV's away performances. Bell in the bowling group breakdown probably puts things in perspective.

    I thought one other category you could have had here was the number of sole hundreds in innings for these century makers. That would be probably then cover - poor team/good bowling attack/difficult conditions. I expect Lara to be quite high there. [[ There is something in what you say. let me see. Ananth: ]]

  • Shan on November 14, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    Wow .. very thorough and comprehensive and just shows that the Don is THE greatest batsman the game has ever known ... can u do a similar piece on bowlers as well say 5 wicket hauls? [[ Yes, of course, will do. Will have to be looked at differently because of the upper limit of 10 and 20. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on November 14, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    Wonderful to be back in white flannels. On the whole, the article revisits the multiple dimensions in 100s & everything together, have to be considered. There has always been Lara V SRT, Ponting v SRT, Dravid v Kallis, etc. And the arguments always took different directions. And the naysayers considered the paradigm most convenient to them, to put another idol down. This brings in all the flavors and all angles. As the old story of the blind men trying to understand the elephant, most of the arguments revolved around convenient sides and this article has put things in perspective. Greats are greats, though disputed. And beyond Bradman, everyone else can be disputed. I find more than 20 greats in this legendary list and quite a few from the currrent generation (or just concluded generation). Greatness exists beyond Lara, SRT, Ponting, Dravid & Kallis. Wonder why there is always a bitter fight the moment these names come up!! [[ Ranga. you are correct. Until I did this article I myself was unaware of Mohindar Amarnath's contributions. And guilty of underestimating Martyn's. Ananth: ]]