November 26, 2011

Special Test hundreds: a look across and deep

A detailed analysis of various quantifiable aspects of the best Test centuries scored
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Brian Lara: an outstanding 153 in a successful fourth-innings chase © Getty Images

I had mentioned in response to one of the comments on the macro-analysis article on Test hundreds that in my follow-up article I would look at special hundreds, selected based on specific selection criteria. I had also made it clear that this would not be my own personal selections, as I normally do but one based on selection criteria in my computer program, with external additions in very very special cases only. Anyone finding fault with the three special additions is probably not a true follower of the game.

To answer the sceptics, I have also shown the actual program statement doing the filtering. Though it is a 'C' program statement, it will be crystal clear to anyone reading this article. So kindly do not come out with statements that this article has been written to specifically include or exclude one specific hundred.

If a nice new selection criterion is suggested I will have no problem doing that and adding the tables at the end. I have also toughened the selection criteria to make sure that there are approximately between 10 and 25 entries in the tables. This has been done to ensure that all the table entries are shown in this article itself. Hence everything is in the open in this article.

My own selections from out of the table entries are spread right through the article. Readers can come with their own selections.

Preliminary program work

score = matchdata[mat]->score[inns]; bqi = matchdata[mat]->weighted_ctd_bow_avge[inns]; mat_rpw = matchdata[mat]->rpw; runs = matchdata[mat]->pldata[inns][pos].batruns; balls = matchdata[mat]->pldata[inns][pos].batballs; score1 = matchdata[mat]->score[0]; score2 = matchdata[mat]->score[1]; score3 = matchdata[mat]->score[2]; score4 = matchdata[mat]->score[3]; if (follow-on) deficit = score1-score2; else deficit = score2-score1; if (follow-on) target = score2+score3-score1+1; else target = score1+score3-score2+1;

Normally I write special programs for each article when the number of tables is quite high and there are sorting and formatting requirements. My program reads the Match database record serially and sets the variables for use, as done above. Then a series of functions follow, doing the selections and form the tables. Afterwards the tables are sorted and printed. These are then incorporated, with appropriate narratives, into the Html file.

Now for the tables. I am not going to come out with the most obvious of tables, based on the score. It is shown anywhere and everywhere. My first table is one where the mark was set on the first day of Test cricket and that mark has yet to be breached. It has stood the test of about 10000+ days of Test cricket. This table relates to the % of batsman innings share in the completed innings. I have softened the criteria to losing 9 wickets or more since the last batsman is already in.

1. Hundreds which form a high proportion of completed innings

if (runs>=100 && (runs/score)>=0.6 && wkts>=9)

Ordered by innings %

MtId Year For Vs Batsman Score BP Runs %TS

0001 1877 Aus Eng Bannerman C 245/10 1 165* 67.3% 1439 1999 Aus Eng Slater M.J 184/10 1 123 66.8% 1481 2000 Ind Aus Laxman V.V.S 261/10 1 167 64.0% 0779 1976 Win Eng Greenidge C.G 211/10 1 134 63.5% 0542 1963 Nzl Eng Reid J.R 159/10 4 100 62.9% 0652 1969 Win Nzl Nurse S.M 417/10 3 258 61.9% 0846 1979 Aus Eng Yallop G.N 198/10 4 121 61.1% 1884 2008 Ind Slk Sehwag V 329/10 1 201* 61.1% 1171 1991 Eng Win Gooch G.A 252/10 1 154* 61.1% 0732 1974 Eng Win Amiss D.L 432/ 9 1 262* 60.6%


Bannerman stands supreme at 67.3% of the completed innings. To boot, he opened the innings and remained unbeaten, as did quite a few others in the table. If Slater had scored a single more, he would have overtaken Bannerman. Laxman's brave away innings launched a remarkable career. Amiss has come in because of my decision to include 9-wkt situations. This innings was played away, in West Indies, against not a great West Indian attack, but 230 in arrears.

2. Hundreds which have been scored a better than run-a-ball

if (runs>=150 && runs<=balls)

Ordered by Runs scored

MtId Year For Vs Batsman BP Runs Balls SR

1870 2008 Ind Saf Sehwag V 1 319 304 104.9 1937 2009 Ind Slk Sehwag V 1 293 254 115.4 1781 2006 Ind Pak Sehwag V 1 254 247 102.8 1594 2002 Nzl Eng Astle N.J 5 222 168 132.1 0765 1975 Win Aus Fredericks R.C 1 169 145 116.6 1742 2005 Aus Nzl Gilchrist A.C 7 162 146 111.0 1698 2004 Slk Zim Jayasuriya S.T 1 157 147 106.8 1782 2006 Pak Ind Shahid Afridi 6 156 128 121.9 1550 2001 Aus Eng Gilchrist A.C 7 152 143 106.3 1753 2005 Eng Bng Trescothick M.E 1 151 148 102.0 1561 2001 Slk Bng Jayawardene D.P.M.D 4 150 115 130.4 And a special entry 1045 1986 Win Eng Richards I.V.A 3 110 58 189.7


Now for quick hundreds. I could not just select all hundreds scored at better than run-a-ball. There were too many such innings, 49 to be precise. So I selected only innings of 150 or more runs. What does one say of Sehwag? Three of his 250+ innings have been scored at better than run-a-ball and are the first three entries. He certainly defies description. He has been the single most devastating match-winner during the past decade. Astle's break-neck 222 was essayed, with almost nothing at stake, but it worried the England team for a while. Then comes Fredericks' famous innings. Gilchrist is the only other batsman to have multiple entries. I have added Richards' hundred since it was scored at today's 20-20 scoring rate at a time when 200-ball centuries were considered quick.

3. Hundreds in matches with low match RpW

if (mat_rpw<20.0 && runs>7.5*mat_rpw)

Ordered by ratio of Runs and RpW

MtId Year For Batsman BP Runs MRpW Ratio

0001 1877 Aus Eng Bannerman C 1 165* 15.2 10.9 0201 1931 Aus Win Ponsford W.H 1 183 17.7 10.4 0032 1889 Eng Saf Abel R 1 120 12.3 9.7 0290 1947 Aus Ind Bradman D.G 3 185 19.2 9.6 1617 2002 Aus Pak Hayden M.L 1 119 13.6 8.7 0443 1957 Eng Win Graveney T.W 3 164 18.9 8.7 0023 1886 Eng Aus Shrewsbury A 3 164 19.4 8.5 0205 1931 Aus Win Bradman D.G 3 152 18.4 8.3 0076 1902 Aus Saf Armstrong W.W 1 159* 19.3 8.3 0007 1882 Aus Eng McDonnell P.S 5 147 18.0 8.2 0045 1895 Aus Eng Graham H 5 105 12.8 8.2 0049 1896 Eng Saf Hill A.J.L 1 124 15.5 8.0 0736 1974 Aus Nzl Redpath I.R 1 159* 19.9 8.0 1171 1991 Eng Win Gooch G.A 1 154* 19.1 8.0 0415 1955 Pak Nzl Hanif Mohammad 1 103 12.8 8.0 2016 2011 Aus Saf Clarke M.J 5 151 18.9 8.0 0058 1899 Eng Saf Warner P.F 1 132* 17.4 7.6 0037 1892 Eng Saf Wood H 8 134* 17.7 7.6


The above is a table of invaluable hundreds, made in matches where runs were at a premium. This is determined by using the match RpW figure. A match RpW value of of below 20 indicates a tough match for batsmen. The ordering is by the ratio of the runs scored and RpW figure. Hence this indicates a measure of out-performance compared to the other batsmen. I have used the overall match figure. Bannerman's century is on top with a whopping ratio of 10.9. Ponsford is next with 10.4. Most of these performances have been way back.

The two exceptions are Hayden's 119 in a match at Sharjah where Pakistan, in two innings, totaled 112 runs. The result could well have been "Hayden defeated Pakistan by an innings and 7 runs". The other is the recent Michael Clarke classic, a futile innings, but an outstanding one, without doubt. I am quite happy that an innings from what could have been one of the greatest of Test series, and could be called "The unfinished symphony", has found place in this elite list.

Out of 18 entries, Australia have accounted 10 for and England, 7, with the lone odd entry from Pakistan. My take is that this is possibly the result of the number of Ashes series, the quality of bowling attacks and the uncovered pitches. As many as nine of these efforts have been effected before WW1.

4. Hundreds by batsmen carrying their bat through completed innings

if (runs>=150 && batpos<3 && allout && batsman_notout)

Ordered by Runs scored

MtId Year For Vs Batsman Score BP Runs

0693 1972 Nzl Win Turner G.M 386/10 1 223* 1470 1999 Slk Zim Atapattu M.S 428/10 1 216* 0264 1938 Aus Eng Brown W.A 422/10 1 206* 0326 1950 Eng Win Hutton L 344/10 1 202* 1884 2008 Ind Slk Sehwag V 329/10 1 201* 0164 1926 Aus Eng Bardsley W 383/10 1 193* 0441 1957 Win Eng Worrell F.M.M 372/10 1 191* 1444 1999 Pak Ind Saeed Anwar 316/10 1 188* 1397 1998 Aus Saf Taylor M.A 350/10 1 169* 1939 2009 Win Aus Gayle C.H 317/10 1 165* 2006 2011 Zim Pak Mawoyo T.M.K 412/10 1 163* 0076 1902 Aus Saf Armstrong W.W 309/10 1 159* 0736 1974 Aus Nzl Redpath I.R 346/10 1 159* 1408 1998 Zim Pak Flower G.W 321/10 1 156* 0330 1951 Eng Aus Hutton L 272/10 1 156* 1171 1991 Eng Win Gooch G.A 252/10 1 154* 0947 1983 Pak Ind Mudassar Nazar 323/10 1 152*


Now for those warriors who stood at one end, scored millions (ok, hundreds) of runs and saw the 10 other batsmen lose their wickets. I necessarily have to limit this table since there are many hundreds by batsmen carrying their bat through. Hence I have limited the innings to 150+ scores. There are many stand-out innings in this collection. If I have to pick three out of this wonderful collection, I would nominate Saeed Anwar's 188* (a truly great match-winning innings, away), Sehwag's 201* (similar reason as Anwar's) and the best of all, Gooch's 154* (against Ambrose/Patterson/Marshall/Walsh and match-winning, to boot: only Lara and Laxman have played better innings).


5. Hundreds scored against top bowling attacks

if (runs>=100 && bqi<23.00)

Ordered by quality of bowling (increasing value of BQI)

MtId Year For Vs Batsman BP Runs BQI

0045 1895 Aus Eng Graham H 5 105 21.25 0852 1979 Ind Eng Viswanath G.R 4 113 21.39 0852 1979 Ind Eng Vengsarkar D.B 3 103 21.39 0345 1952 Win Aus Worrell F.M.M 3 108 21.80 0347 1952 Win Aus Stollmeyer J.B 1 104 22.30 0042 1894 Aus Eng Gregory S.E 6 201 22.40 0042 1894 Aus Eng Giffen G 3 161 22.40 1523 2000 Win Aus Lara B.C 4 182 22.52 0901 1981 Eng Win Willey P 7 102* 22.55 0466 1959 Aus Eng McDonald C.C 1 170 22.56 0036 1892 Aus Eng Lyons J.J 3 134 22.76 0908 1981 Aus Eng Border A.R 5 106* 22.83 0330 1951 Eng Aus Hutton L 1 156* 22.89 0044 1895 Aus Eng Iredale F.A 4 140 22.91 0444 1957 Aus Saf Benaud R 7 122 22.94


These hundreds are the ones scored against the very best bowling attacks. Look at the quality of English attack off which Viswanath and Vengsarkar scored their hundreds. Both were scored away in England. Similarly the two hundreds scored by Worrell and Stollmeyer, away, against the very strong Australian attack in 1952. Only one innings has come in from the current millennium, Lara's 182 against the Australian attack.

Hutton's 156*, which featured in the previous table also, leads my selection(against a big total and a formidable attack), followed by Lara's 182 (in only 235 balls, away, no other West Indian even reaching 50) and Willey's 102* (on the first day, away and against Roberts/Holding/Croft/Garner and batting at no.7).

Now for a selection of hundreds scored in different innings. I have not bothered with the first and second innings. The first innings is quite difficult to categorize. Also. facing a huge total in the second innings is not necessarily a mountain to climb since the pitch has been shown to be a reasonably batting-friendly one, scoreboard pressure notwithstanding. To select second innings hundreds, it would require a combination selection criteria, such as "Facing total > 400 && tough pitch/top bowling attack et al". I am not doing multiple criteria in this article.

6. Hundreds scored in third innings with team in huge arrears

if (runs>=160 && thirdinns && deficit>=250)

Ordered by Runs scored

MtId Year For Vs Batsman Scores 3rdInns BP Runs Res

0446 1958 Pak Win Hanif Mohammad (579-106) 657/10 1 337 Draw 1162 1991 Nzl Slk Crowe M.D (174-497) 671/10 4 299 Draw 0439 1957 Eng Win May P.B.H (186-474) 583/10 4 285* Draw 1535 2001 Ind Aus Laxman V.V.S (445-171) 657/10 3 281 Win 1269 1994 Pak Aus Saleem Malik (521-260) 537/10 4 237 Draw 2009 2011 Slk Pak Sangakkara K.C (197-511) 483/ 6 3 211 Draw 1562 2001 Zim Saf Flower A (600-286) 391/10 5 199* Lost 1511 2000 Zim Nzl Whittall G.J (465-166) 370/10 6 188* Lost 1162 1991 Nzl Slk Jones A.H (174-497) 671/10 3 186 Draw 0078 1903 Aus Eng Trumper V.T (285-577) 485/10 5 185* Lost 0352 1952 Ind Eng Mankad M.H (235-537) 378/10 1 184 Lost 0299 1948 Eng Aus Compton D.C.S (165-509) 441/10 4 184 Lost 0695 1972 Win Nzl Davis C.A (133-422) 564/10 5 183 Draw 1535 2001 Ind Aus Dravid R (445-171) 657/10 6 180 Win 0507 1961 Eng Aus Dexter E.R (195-516) 401/ 9 3 180 Draw 0723 1973 Eng Nzl Fletcher K.W.R (253-551) 463/ 9 4 178 Draw 0496 1960 Eng Saf Pullar G (155-419) 479/10 1 175 Draw 0731 1974 Eng Win Amiss D.L (131-392) 392/10 1 174 Lost 1481 2000 Ind Aus Laxman V.V.S (150-552) 261/ 5 1 167 Lost 0801 1977 Pak Win Majid Khan (194-448) 540/10 1 167 Draw 1420 1998 Eng Saf Stewart A.J (552-183) 369/10 4 164 Draw 0285 1947 Eng Saf Compton D.C.S (533-208) 551/10 4 163 Draw And a special personal entry, one of the all-time great innings 0905 1981 Eng Aus Botham I.T (401-174) 359/10 149 Win. This time another wonderful innings as suggested by Alex 1716 2004 Slk Pak Jayasuriya (243-264) 438/10 1 253 Win.


However the fun starts in the third innings. The batsmen may or may not be facing huge deficits and hundreds scored in these deficit situations are valuable. If a team has a huge deficit, the first target is to clear the deficit and then build on setting a reasonable target. These are hundreds scored when the deficit is greater than 250, irrespective of follow-on or non-follow-on situations. The bar had to move up to 160 since otherwise there would have been quite a few entries.

Spare a thought for the diminutive Hanif Mohammed, who, after Pakistan followed on over 400 runs behind, batted for over 16 hours to save the Test. The pleasing fact is that most of these back-to-the-wall efforts have been fruitful in that the matches have been saved and in two cases, needless to say which Test, the Laxman-Dravid epic, won. And the special personal entry, Botham's unbelievable 149 also set up the match win.

Laxman's 281 (Like Lars's, one sentence will suffice: in my opinion amongst the three best Test innings ever played) stands head and shoulders above all, followed by Botham's 149 (only loses sheen when compared to Laxman) and Hanif's 337 (arguably the best match-saving innings ever.

Now the the fourth innings which are the purest ones. the target being known right from the beginning. It could be 1 or 836 (both are actual targets in Test matches). This number is clearly available to both teams. While time/overs/weather are factors, this target never changes. There is no D/L creeping in Tests somewhere there, moving the goal-posts. The innings played which we never forget are also outstanding fighting ones. Great defensive innings, often as valuable as attacking match-winning innings are played in the fourth innings.

7. Winning hundreds scored in fourth innings with team chasing huge targets

if (runs>=100 && fourthinns && matchwon && (wkts>=6 || target>=350))

Ordered by Runs scored

MtId Year For Vs Batsman Scores 4thInns BP Runs Res

0302 1948 Aus Eng Morris A.R (496-458-365) 404/3 1 182 Win 0302 1948 Aus Eng Bradman D.G (496-458-365) 404/3 3 173* Win 1453 1999 Win Aus Lara B.C (490-329-146) 311/9 5 153* Win 1469 1999 Aus Pak Gilchrist A.C (222-246-392) 369/6 7 149* Win 1658 2003 Pak Bng Inzamam-ul-Haq (281-175-154) 262/9 4 138* Win 0178 1929 Eng Aus Sutcliffe H (397-417-351) 332/7 1 135 Win 1469 1999 Aus Pak Langer J.L (222-246-392) 369/6 3 127 Win 0822 1978 Aus Win Wood G.M (205-286-439) 362/7 1 126 Win 0822 1978 Aus Win Serjeant C.S (205-286-439) 362/7 5 124 Win 1812 2006 Slk Saf Jayawardene D.P.M.D (361-321-311) 352/9 4 123 Win 1797 2006 Aus Bng Ponting R.T (427-269-148) 310/7 3 118* Win 1355 1997 Eng Nzl Atherton M.A (346-228-186) 307/6 1 118 Win 1360 1997 Aus Saf Waugh M.E (209-108-168) 271/8 4 116 Win 0775 1976 Ind Win Viswanath G.R (359-228-271) 406/4 4 112 Win 1012 1985 Nzl Pak Coney J.V (274-220-223) 278/8 6 111* Win 1899 2008 Saf Aus Smith G.C (375-281-319) 414/4 1 108 Win 1899 2008 Saf Aus de Villiers A.B (375-281-319) 414/4 5 106* Win 1645 2003 Win Aus Sarwan R.R (240-240-417) 418/7 5 105 Win 0811 1977 Aus Ind Mann A.L (402-394-330) 342/8 3 105 Win 1704 2004 Eng Nzl Thorpe G.P (384-319-218) 284/6 5 104* Win 0074 1902 Eng Aus Jessop G.L (324-183-121) 263/9 7 104 Win 1645 2003 Win Aus Chanderpaul S (240-240-417) 418/7 6 104 Win 1898 2008 Ind Eng Tendulkar S.R (316-241-311) 387/4 4 103* Win 0345 1952 Aus Win Hassett A.L (272-216-203) 260/9 3 102 Win 0775 1976 Ind Win Gavaskar S.M (359-228-271) 406/4 1 102 Win 1795 2006 Aus Saf Martyn D.R (303-270-258) 294/8 4 101 Win 1593 2002 Aus Saf Ponting R.T (239-382-473) 334/6 3 100* Win And a few special entries, two of which have been suggested by readers 0990 1984 Win Eng Greenidge C.G (286-245-300) 344/1 1 214* Win 0320 1950 Aus Saf Harvey R.N (311-75-99) 336/5 5 151* Win 1883 2008 Saf Eng Smith G.C (231-314-363) 283/5 1 154* Win


These are defining match-winning played in the fourth innings. The process for selecting the hundreds is quite tricky. Hayden's 101* out of 171 for 1 hardly qualifies, but Greenidge's 214 out of 344 for 1 cannot be ignored. So I have a complex set of selection criteria. The win is quite tough if more than 5 wickets are lost. Hence I have selected all such hundreds. In addition, all hundreds scored in chases of 350 and above are selected.

My own selection amongst these would be Lara's 153* (A legend-one sentence will suffice: in my opinion amongst the three best Test innings ever played), Mark Waugh's 116 (series-winning innings, away and against a top attack) and Gilchrist's 149 (in only his second Test, a forerunner of things to come in many a Test). Bradman and Morris scored two huge centuries. Butcher's was in a dead rubber. Only the ease of the West Indian win keeps the special entry, Greenidge's 214, out.

8. Fighting losing hundreds scored in fourth innings with team chasing substantial targets

if (fourthinns && matchlost && (runs>=125 || (runs>=100 && 2*runs>=score))

Ordered by Runs scored

MtId Year For Vs Batsman Scores 4thInns BP Runs Res

1594 2002 Nzl Eng Astle N.J (228-147-468) 451/10 5 222 Lost 1847 2007 Slk Aus Sangakkara K.C (542-246-210) 410/10 3 192 Lost 0722 1973 Nzl Eng Congdon B.E (250- 97-325) 440/10 3 176 Lost 0800 1977 Eng Aus Randall D.W (138- 95-419) 417/10 3 174 Lost 1932 2009 Nzl Slk Vettori D.L (416-234-311) 397/10 8 140 Lost 0646 1969 Win Aus Nurse S.M (619-279-394) 352/10 7 137 Lost 1442 1999 Ind Pak Tendulkar S.R (238-254-286) 258/10 4 136 Lost 1925 2009 Aus Eng Clarke M.J (425-215-311) 406/10 5 136 Lost 0803 1977 Pak Win Asif Iqbal (280-198-359) 301/10 6 135 Lost 1223 1993 Eng Aus Gooch G.A (289-210-432) 332/10 1 133 Lost 0194 1930 Aus Eng Bradman D.G (270-144-302) 335/10 3 131 Lost 1688 2004 Slk Aus Jayasuriya S.T (120-211-442) 324/10 1 131 Lost 0159 1925 Eng Aus Sutcliffe H (600-479-250) 290/10 1 127 Lost 1843 2007 Pak Saf Younis Khan (450-291-264) 263/10 3 126 Lost 1306 1995 Pak Slk Moin Khan (232-214-338) 212/10 7 117* Lost 0900 1981 Eng Win Gooch G.A (265-122-379) 224/10 1 116 Lost 1205 1992 Win Aus Simmons P.V (395-233-196) 219/10 1 110 Lost


The selection criteria in lost matches has to be different. I have selected innings where the score is greater than 125 or comprises of more than half the team score. Note the last three innings, all very commendable efforts.

I would plump for Tendulkar's fighting and valiant 136, on a day when he was ill. The failure of the Indian late-order to score 12 runs should not take anything away from his master class. Randall's 174 which almost won the Centenary Test for England and Astle's 222 follow next.

9. Match-saving hundreds scored in fourth innings with team chasing huge targets

if (fourthinns && matchdrawn && (runs>149 || (runs>=100 && wkts>=7))

Ordered by runs scored

MtId Year For Vs Batsman Scores 4thInns BP Runs Res

0193 1930 Win Eng Headley G.A (849-286-272) 408/5 3 223 Draw 0854 1979 Ind Eng Gavaskar S.M (305-202-334) 429/8 1 221 Draw 0271 1939 Eng Saf Edrich W.J (530-316-481) 654/5 3 219 Draw 0289 1947 Saf Eng Mitchell B (427-302-325) 423/7 1 189* Draw 0248 1935 Aus Saf McCabe S.J (157-250-491) 274/2 3 189* Draw 1315 1995 Eng Saf Atherton M.A (332-200-346) 351/5 1 185* Draw 1760 2005 Aus Eng Ponting R.T (444-302-280) 371/9 3 156 Draw 1367 1997 Pak Slk Saleem Malik (331-292-386) 285/5 4 155 Draw 0824 1978 Win Aus Kallicharran A.I (343-280-305) 258/9 5 126 Draw 1025 1985 Slk Ind Mendis L.R.D (249-198-325) 307/7 5 124 Draw 1350 1997 Saf Ind Cullinan D.J (410-321-266) 228/8 4 122* Draw 0311 1949 Ind Win Hazare V.S (286-193-267) 355/8 5 122 Draw 1261 1994 Eng Nzl Stewart A.J (476-281-211) 254/8 1 119 Draw 1397 1998 Aus Saf Waugh M.E (517-350-193) 227/7 4 115* Draw 1005 1984 Aus Win Hilditch A.M.J (479-296-186) 198/8 1 113 Draw 1281 1995 Aus Eng Taylor M.A (309-116-255) 344/7 1 113 Draw 0281 1947 Eng Aus Washbrook C (365-351-536) 310/7 1 112 Draw 0373 1953 Eng Aus Watson W. (346-372-368) 282/7 5 109 Draw 0796 1977 Nzl Aus Congdon B.E (552-357-154) 293/8 3 107* Draw 1918 2009 Nzl Ind Taylor R.L (379-197-434) 281/8 4 107 Draw 0654 1969 Eng Win Boycott G (380-344-295) 295/7 1 106 Draw 1025 1985 Slk Ind Dias R.L (249-198-325) 307/7 4 106 Draw 1908 2009 Win Eng Sarwan R.R (566-285-221) 370/9 3 106 Draw 1672 2003 Eng Slk Vaughan M.P (382-294-279) 285/7 1 105 Draw 1281 1995 Aus Eng Slater M.J (309-116-255) 344/7 1 103 Draw 1096 1988 Pak Win Javed Miandad (174-194-391) 341/9 4 102 Draw 1232 1993 Saf Slk Rhodes J.N (331-267-300) 251/7 6 101* Draw 1392 1997 Saf Aus Kallis J.H (309-186-257) 273/7 3 101 Draw And a special reader entry: a 17-year old, playing away, saving a match for India, 1149 1990 Ind Eng (519-432-320) Tendulkar 343/6 119* 6 Draw


Drawn matches present their own characteristics. Scoring 100 out of 200 for 2 is no great effort. Since the match has been saved, the number of wickets lost is significant. I have selected innings in which 7 or more wickets are lost. These are the difficult matches. In addition, to recognize individual efforts, I have also selected hundreds which are 150 and above.

For me, Gavaskar's 221 stands tall, having taken India agonizingly close to a wonderful away victory. Atherton's 10-hour 492-ball epic of 185* and McCabe's 189* (if for nothing else, to do justice to one who was forgotten amongst the Bradman avalanche of runs) complete my trio of hundreds.

10. Hundreds scored which are the only ones in the match by either teams

if (runs>=200 && match100s==1)

Ordered by Runs scored

MtId Year For Vs Batsman BP Runs

0226 1933 Eng Nzl Hammond W.R 3 336* 1977 2010 Win Slk Gayle C.H 1 333 0215 1932 Aus Saf Bradman D.G 3 299* 1697 2004 Ind Pak Dravid R 3 270 1725 2004 Ind Bng Tendulkar S.R 4 248* 0631 1968 Nzl Ind Dowling G.T 1 239 0972 1983 Ind Win Gavaskar S.M 4 236* 0832 1978 Pak Ind Zaheer Abbas 4 235* 1710 2004 Slk Saf Sangakkara K.C 3 232 0256 1936 Eng Aus Hammond W.R 3 231* 1592 2002 Slk Pak Sangakkara K.C 3 230 0212 1931 Aus Saf Bradman D.G 3 226 1169 1991 Win Aus Greenidge C.G 1 226 1748 2005 Nzl Slk Vincent L 4 224 0417 1955 Ind Nzl Mankad M.H 1 223 1394 1998 Slk Zim Atapattu M.S 1 223 0473 1959 Win Pak Kanhai R.B 3 217 1470 1999 Slk Zim Atapattu M.S 1 216* 1723 2004 Aus Nzl Langer J.L 1 215 1478 1999 Nzl Win Sinclair M.S 3 214 1805 2006 Ind Win Jaffer W 1 212 1104 1988 Pak Aus Javed Miandad 4 211 0276 1946 Eng Ind Hardstaff jnr J 5 205* 1191 1992 Pak Eng Aamer Sohail 1 205 0365 1953 Aus Saf Harvey R.N 3 205 0893 1981 Aus Ind Chappell G.S 3 204 1379 1997 Zim Nzl Whittall G.J 4 203* 1151 1990 Pak Nzl Shoaib Mohammad 1 203* 1717 2004 Nzl Bng Fleming S.P 3 202 1884 2008 Ind Slk Sehwag V 1 201* 0910 1981 Aus Pak Chappell G.S 3 201 0932 1982 Pak Eng Mohsin Khan 1 200


The above table represents the list of century makers in matches in which they were the ones to do so. Except that the bar has been set quite high, only those who have scored 200 or more are considered. Remember that the next best score is below 100. The stand-out innings are Dravid's 270 (a match-winning innings, away against a good attack, Greenidge's 226 (after two low innings, this was responsible for a huge win, also against a very good attack) and Sehwag's 201 (a modern classic: an unforgettable Sehwag 231-ball epic and won the away match).

I will now go to a table which is available in any statistical section. However I have included the same in this to round off this article. This is the list of batsmen who scored hundreds in wach innings.

11. Two hundreds scored in a match

if (runs>=100 && otherruns>=100)

Ordered by match Runs scored

MtId Year For Vs Batsman BP Runs1 Runs2 RunsMat

1148 1990 Eng Ind Gooch G.A 1 333 123 456 0733 1974 Aus Nzl Chappell G.S 4 247* 133 380 1572 2001 Win Slk Lara B.C 4 221 130 351 0646 1969 Aus Win Walters K.D 5 242 103 345 0686 1971 Ind Win Gavaskar S.M 1 124 220 344 1562 2001 Zim Saf Flower A 5 142 199* 341 0693 1972 Win Nzl Rowe L.G 3 214 100* 314 0289 1947 Saf Eng Mitchell B 1 120 189* 309 1905 2009 Slk Bng Dilshan T.M 6 162 143 305 0159 1925 Eng Aus Sutcliffe H 1 176 127 303 0879 1980 Aus Pak Border A.R 6 150* 153 303 1623 2002 Aus Eng Hayden M.L 1 197 103 300 And the only batsman who has replicated his scores in each innings 0934 1982 Slk Ind Mendis L.R.D 4 105 105 210


Gooch is the only batsman to have scored a triple century and century in the same match, against India during 1990. The match total was 456, ahead of the next by a comfortable margin. Chappell's total stood for a long time. Chappell, Lara and Gavaskar achieved this feat in away locations. Gavaskar, in his debut series. Rowe did this in his debut Test. Border is the only batsman to have exceeded 150 in both innings.


12. Tests by nos 9, 10, and 11 (not yet there)

if (runs>=100 && batpos>=9)

Ordered by Batting position and runs scored

MtId Year For Vs Batsman BP Runs

0016 1884 Eng Aus Read W.W 10 117 1400 1998 Saf Pak Symcox P.L 10 108 0066 1902 Aus Eng Duff R.A 10 104 1139 1990 Nzl Ind Smith I.D.S 9 173 1971 2010 Eng Pak Broad S.C.J 9 169 0098 1908 Aus Eng Hill C 9 160 0623 1967 Pak Eng Asif Iqbal 9 146 1676 2003 Nzl Pak Vettori D.L 9 137* 1800 2006 Nzl Saf Franklin J.E.C 9 122* 0209 1931 Eng Nzl Allen G.O.B 9 122 0609 1966 Eng Win Murray J.T 9 112 1529 2001 Saf Slk Pollock S.M 9 111 1701 2004 Bng Win Mohammad Rafique 9 111 1573 2001 Nzl Aus Parore A.C 9 110 1541 2001 Saf Win Pollock S.M 9 106* 1349 1997 Saf Ind Klusener L 9 102* 0136 1921 Aus Eng Gregory J.M 9 100 0281 1947 Aus Eng Lindwall R.R 9 100


Finally the list of hundreds made in batting positions 9-11. No century has yet been made in position 11. Three centuries have been made in No.10. The most recent one, and the only hundred in the past 100 years, is Pat Symcox's 108 against Pakistan, in a rain-affected drawn match. Smith's 173 was against India helped New Zealand recover from 131 for 7 to 381. Broad's 169 is recent vintage helping England recover from 102 for 7 to 446 and led England to an innings win against Pakistan. For me, these two innings and Asif's 146, including a stand of 190 for the ninth wicket with Intikhab, stand out.

Readers' selections:

(Maximum of four per reader, to be given in the form
Tendulkar 155, Lara 277, Ponting 156, Hutton 202*
Also short names, not "cricket-follower-from-rajnandgaon" ???
Must be limited to a single line.)

Dave Bollen: Botham 149, SR Waugh 200, Lara 277, Laxman 167.
Gaur: Lara 153*, Tendulkar 136, VVS 281, Sehwag 201*.
Yogesh: Tendulkar 136, Gilchrist 149*, Laxman 281, Damien Martyn 104.
Alok:  Lara 153*, Laxman 281, Tendulkar 103* and Botham 149.
Andrew: Lara 153*, Trescothick 180, Pietersen 158, S Waugh ???.
Ravi M: Bradman 103*, Hughes 100*, Border 100*, Walters 104*
Navin A: Laxman 281, Lara 153*, Gooch 154*, Dravid 270 (closest to my own).
Gerry: Gavaskar 121, Sobers 132, Fredericks 169, Azhar Mehmood 132 (Saf).
Ghose: Lara 153*, Atherton 185*, Hughes 100*, Laxman 281
Sandeep: Sehwag 201*, Laxman 281, Dravid 270, Sehwag 151
Rachit: Tendulkar 136, Gooch 154, Lara 213, Laxman 281
Rakesh: Laxman 281, Lara 153*, Sehwag 201, Tendulkar 136
Ashtung: Laxman 281, Lara 153*, Pietersen 158, Tendulkar 136
Rex: Laxman 281, Sehwag 201*, Tendulkar 103*, Gooch 154*
Sarath: Bradman's 103*, Laxman's 281, Lara's 153* and Sachin's 136.
Andrew: Jessop's 104, Sutcliffe's 135, McCabe's 232* and Harvey's 151*.
Zain: V.Sehwag's 293, Sehwag's 201, S.Anwar's 188 and Broad's 169.
Trevor: Gooch 154, Tendulkar 136, Fredericks 169, Laxman 281.
Aaditya: Laxman 281, Tendulkar 155, Lara 213, Slater 123.
Alex: Slater 123, Greenidge 134, Taylor 144, Jayasuriya 253.
Vivek: Tendulkar 155, Lara 153*, Tendulkar 155, Gilchrist 102.
James: Lara's 153*, Laxman's 281, Mark Taylor's 144, M Waugh's 116.
Karthik: Lara 153*, Laxman 281, Gilchrist 149* and Botham 149.
Jaytirth: Laxman 281, Lara 153, Sehwag 201, Anwar 188
Kothandaram:Lara 153*, Laxman 281, ME Waugh 115, Tendulkar 136.
AB: Lara 153, Gooch 154, Laxman 281 and Dravid 233.
Oshada: Lara 153*, Jayawardene 123, Sangakkara 192, Greenidge 214*
Iain: Bradman 334, Gilchrest 160, S Waugh 200, M.Waugh 116
Bull: Lara's 153, Laxman's 281, Bradman's 103*, Clarke's 151.
Raghav: Laxman 281, Lara 153, Botham 149, McCabe 187
Sudarshan: Laxman 281, Sachin 136, Inzamamul 138* and Sarwan 105
Aditya: Headley 270, Gavaskar 101, Pollock 125 and ???.
Deepak: Ganguly 144, Mudassar 114, McCabe 232 and ???.
Jayanth: Hanif Mohd's 337,Gavasker's 221, Laxman's 281, Lara's 153.
krishna  : lara 153, kapil 119, laxman 281, steve waugh 200
Harsh: Lara153,Gooch154,Mcabe232,Pollock125
Vinish: Lara 153*, Laxman 281, Gooch 154 and Lara 213 (Author's privilege to select one of
three).
Obelix: S.Waugh 200, Border 98/100, Slater 106, Hilditch 70/113.

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

  • Syed on December 15, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    Articles like this make life so much simlepr.

  • Harry on December 15, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    First of all about characters limitation in comments. I think it can be avoided by opera mini, (I won't know for sure until I go beyond 1000, but at the start I had 5000 characters.) About Sarosh's comment, even if he overdid the significance part, I think the point he was making was despite having only a few entries in special hundreds, Sachin's popularity rise in 90s came not from mega innings but because many of his innings came when other team members failed. In that way his centuries were special & also inspired the next generation to do better than his 90s team members.

  • ObelixTheFat on December 15, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    @Sarosh You have overdone significance until it has become insignificant. All those innings are not significant, all I see is the same fixation you mentioned at the start of your piece. Significance doesn't mean a win, it's also about the when, where and who. The who has more importance. I'm sure making 200 vs Bangladesh doesn't carry the same weight as 100 vs WI with Marshall, Garner and co at PoS. In terms of the where and when that is where Waugh's 200 stands out. The England 2005 Ashes win was a supposedly similar event to the 1995 Aus vs WI series except England went and got whitewashed in 2007 and tainted the whole thing. When you do look at it the Ashes 2005 was entertaining but highly overrated. South Africa 2008/9 was of more significance. It put a red marker on Aus and opened doors that had been closed years ago. I don't see Dale Steyn's 76 at the MCG 2008 being mentioned or Duminy's 166 . Those were very significant, winning in Aus for first time in 16 years.

  • Sarosh on December 15, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    @ObelixTheFat You have come up with some of the best one-liners ever on the comments page. And along with them some comments worth reading. A lot of the comments esp. from the likes of Gerry etc . are simply the result of various fixations – which incidentally I too am guilty of. “ BQI is just a number, you can fail.” , “An inning is not just runs and pitches it's also about significance.” etc. Unfortunately your 2nd great one-liner is one which had been distorted to infer “signifance” = “WIN” Apparently if the match does not result in a win the innings has reduced or alarmingly no significance whatsoever. This is ridiculous – to put it mildly. “Winston Benjamin was in tears at tea, if that isn't effort and dedication then I don't know what is, WI threw everything at Waugh including the kitchen sink.” Beautiful- Winston Benjamin was in tears at tea not because the match was already lost. Cozier would have (or should have ) passed the very same comments he did about Waughs knock- Irrespective of the end result. Simply because was a batsman standing up to the WI. That’s all. That’s all a batsman can do. Period. ((Incidentally regarding all this stuff about the catched dropped of Lara. There were atually 2 dropped catches that I remember. Warne dropped a caught and bowled as well. Though much tougher than the Healy sitter). So, yes old fashioned Luck always plays a part. The function of a batsman is to give his all- that is all he can do. Sometimes the stars will be with him- sometimes they wont. A batsmans only function is to score runs. Period. Sure, in some rare innings he may actually hang around to finish off- if all goes well These may be memorable , but the anguish of close losses is memorable too. The final result is always the interplay of what the other 21 men in the game also do. Sunny Gavaskars knocks against the West Indies are celebrated not because the Indian team won. Does anyone even remember? No- they are significant because Gavaskar showed that the WI bowlers were not unplayable. Period. The rest of the team could not match up – too bad. This rubbed off on Tendulkar. And then through the ‘90s Tendulkars knocks rubbed off on the rest of the Indian team- That is the “significance” of a number of Tendulkar’s knocks. NOT whether the entire team finally won a match or not. Tendulkar’s knocks vs. quality opposition through the ‘90s instilled the “we too can do it” self belief and motivated numerous batsmen. Some recent stars of the Indian team including Dhoni and Sehwag even go so far as to say they started playing competive cricket because of Tendulkar. Tendulkar’s debut knocks in Pak (hit on the nose of Waqar, next two balls cover driven for fours etc) had “significance” to Indian cricket. His 114 at Perth had significance. Later his knocks vs.SA and Aus in ’96 and then Aus ‘98/’99 had immense significance- simply because they resulted in showing that the Aussie bowlers were not unplayable. The first Test of the 2001 tour where Tendulkar was the only Indian batsman to show up also had “significance” – “See? These guys are not unplayable whatsoever “. The WI batsmen have always been attacking. Frankly I don’t see how Lara’s 153 though a fabulous knock was of any “signifance” to WI cricket. The knock was very significant to Laras career.If anything the WI have detiorated further since. Tendulkar showed up conjoining Style, attack coupled with an amazing consistency that is almost always not the forte of attacking batsmen - all fused together in a manner never before witnessed in Indian cricket. Also how VVS 167 on the ‘98/’99 tour in the last dead rubber ranks higher than Tendulkars 116 in the previous match vs. an identical attack– I know not. Does anyone even for a second think that Tendulkar’s heart breaking 136 had any less significance to Indian fans and fellow batsmen because the match ended in a loss?. If anything, it perhaps spurred the team on more. Heres a guy with a broken back giving it all- and what are we doing? Infact, as an Indian fan that innings is to me the most memorable innings of the ‘90s. Not the best of Tendulkars knocks in terms of pure batting quality or the result- but in terms of being memorable it ranks right up there. Many many of Tendulkar’s innings ,including in ODIs have also had a “cumulative” signifance. I was wondering how no one mentioned Roy Fredericks knocks. Then there was a write up on cricinfo just the other day about it. Fredericks “significance” was that he lay the template in both style and attitude for future Carribean stars including Lara to emulate. So- the function of a batsman is simply to score runs. Also, although this will not sure up statistically – the “manner” in which he scores runs often too has great significance. The “significance” is NOT in the final result. It is simply to demonstrate to others that scoring runs vs. X,Y,Z on whatever pitch is possible. The “significance” of an innings may not actually manifest itself for several years. The significance is most often simply be the self-belief it gives other batsmen – and this self belief does NOT depend on the final outcome of a match. [[ Sarosh Someone is going to ask you how you have bypassed the 1000 character limit. Ananth: ]]

  • ObelixTheFat on December 14, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    :) Ok point taken. I guess I will always have a bias for the team I support, things will always look shinier when they do it. [[ No problems at all. In each of these exchanges we get to know more. I knew about Waugh's innings but Slater's and Hiditch's douuble-efforts were not there immediately for me. And I am sure you probably got to know a little more about Laxman. I will put up your four as S.Waugh 200, Border 98/100, Slater 106, Hilditch 70/113. Ananth: ]]

  • ObelixTheFat on December 14, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    This has nothing with putting down peoples innings. Was Steve Waugh's 200 made on a flat pitch, the answer is yes. Did the WI attack fail, no just look at Waugh's bruises after, a lesser batsman would have given up and gotten out. An inning is not just runs and pitches it's also about significance. Tony Cozier has said a number on times on commentary that Waugh's 200 was the bane of WI cricket, it broke 15 years at the top. Winston Benjamin was in tears at tea, if that isn't effort and dedication then I don't know what is, WI threw everything at Waugh including the kitchen sink. I will list two innings that I rate highly by Laxman and Lara that I also think are better than the 281 and 153* Laxman 167 at Sydney 2000 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63867.html) Lara 132 at Perth 1997 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63733.html) Also I can only comment on innings I saw that's what my list includes. I won't go listing McCabe 232 etc I'm not qualified to comment. [[ Let me first say that I watched Steve Waugh's innings on TV and value his innings at the top drawer. One of the few innings which changed the way world cricket moved. Slowly West indies lost the dominance which, in turn, moved to Australia. Now I can afford to smile. I repeat your words even though it appeared in this comment itself. ""An innings is not just runs and pitches it's also about significance."" Exactly my point. Damn the pitch, damn the attack, the juggernaut is coming to the Test with a 16-0 record, after having won the previous Test easily, scores 400+, dismisses the home team for 174, (inadvisedly) enforces the follow-on and the batsman walks in at 52 for 1 and sees wickets fall regularly. Then he scores 281 and world cricket changes forever. If Australia had won that Test they would have won the next 10, probably. Laxman's innings gave India (and the rest of the world) the confidence. From that point I think it is the most important innings played in test cricket during the past 50 years. Laxman's 167 stands no comparison with his own 281. That was a shot fired at the Australian juggernaut. On the other hand the 281 was a howitzer fired at the tank. Would anyone who watched Lara's 153 even think about the pitch, the attack, the dropped chance etc. I have already mentioned this in my recent blog. If Lara had been dismissed at 145 and West indies lost by 7 runs, it would have been a great innings like Tendulkar's or Warner's but would not have attained immortality. Same way, if Australia had scored 175 for 5 on the last day at Calcutta, Laxman's innings would have lost much of its sheen. Same way, if Willis had captured 5 for 60 and Australia had scored 120 for 6 and won at Headingley in 1980, Botham's innings would not have been anything more than a brave one.. I will repeat. I will never put down Steve Waugh's innings because of the very reasons you have mentioned. Let me also say this. If West indies had scored 450 for 5 and drawn the Kingston match, Steve Waugh's innings would have lost much of the sheen. Cozier's comment would have been different. Ananth: ]]

  • ObelixTheFat on December 14, 2011, 12:56 GMT

    Errr I was under the impression that I can select "My" best 5 innings. I don't know what "attempt to put down innings" has to do with anything. Everyone has their bias in Sport, some like Sampras some don't. I also am not blaming the conditions in batting friendly conditions, I am blaming the bowlers as I said here "unless they have bowlers who can transcend that and those are few and far between. Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee and Richard Hadlee come to mind.". To put it simply what I am saying is that a) It was a good batting track and b) The Australian attack failed. BQI is just a number, you can fail. Had the attack been a WI attack with Garner, Marshall and Holding then I am very confident that India would have been thumped in that test. And like Ranga said "Could India do the same, if they faced that situation in MCG/WACA/Lords/Durban/Hamilton/Napier/Gabba?? I dont think. " As the saying goes there are "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" :) [[ First I had requested all readers to select 4 innings not 5. Even then you had selected 7/8 innings so I could not put it in. Please give me a list of four of your best. I will gladly put that in. I respect all the readers and certainly you. Let it go. You can select your innings without putting down other innings which have been considered top by most readers. And the reason you had given was that the track was flat. That was not the case. Then you say the Australian attack failed. So you were unwilling to give credit, be it to Lara or Laxman. When they batted well, either the track was flat or the Australian attack failed. Now let me take Steve Waugh's 200 at Kingston. It is a wonderful innings. Your selection is perfectly justified. Let me ask you. If one of the readers, I will not say it myself, had said that the Kingston pitch on 30 April and 1 May 1995 was quite flat and/or the West Indian bowling attack of Ambrose/Walsh/Benjamin/Benjamin had failed, despite the two 200 scores on the first and fourth day, how would you feel. That is what you have done with Laxman's knock and earlier with Lara's knock. Why bring in the stupid and silly comment on "Lies, damed lies..." into this discussion on readers' selection of their best innings. You are crossing the line then. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    @ Ananth: Thanks. But 2001 Eden, what were the ctd figures of Indian bowlers in that match? What were the ctd figures of Aussie bowlers in that match? I would rather say while India can STILL be forgiven for their 171 against an Aussie side coming in with a 16 match winning streak, You are right in saying Australia had no business to lose on the last day. This is why probably the match got into a cult status. While Top7 RPW of 43 indicates a fair batting friendliness, the ctd bowling figures of Aussies and the intangible of their ominous form coming into the match, coupled with Indian bowlers who played that series (like Bahutule, Kulkarni et al) India did manage to topple the aussiecart. The only thing I see as a negative is that we cant answer the question: Could India do the same, if they faced that situation in MCG/WACA/Lords/Durban/Hamilton/Napier/Gabba?? I dont think. [[ Australia had four excellent bowlers (ctd-25.90+20.94+21.85+35.00) leading to BQI of 28.8 and Group 5. India had good bowlers but at the start of their careers and had a BQI of 34.64, just about made to group 4). But the last day difference was Tendulkar, 3 Lbws. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    I fail to understand this. When batsmen score runs in bowler friendly conditions, we hail the batsman. When bowlers fail in batsman friendly conditions, how can we blame the conditions? Taking wickets on flat tracks is as key a skill as scoring on green tops. Agreed it is very tough. McGrath did take 15 wkts in that series in batsman friendly pitches(If we can call so - while Shaun Tait was clobbered in '08 on a pacy WACA). 2001 Eden Gardens - for all the flatness of the pitch, Ind had followed on. So the bowlers DID take 10 Indian wickets. Which means it wasnt all that averse to bowlers. If the pitch eased out by 3rd day, why couldnt Aussies draw the match? With their world beating side? I agree with Ananth's quantification of pitch conditions. It varies from match to match. Historically, India has flat pitches. It is a generic statement not true for 2001 Eden Gardens or 2004 Kanpur. Give credit to match situations. [[ One specific reason why I did not comment on Obelix's comment. I wanted a reader to comment on that. To say that a pitch on which the first two days 18 wickets were lost and the last day when 13 wickets were lost, the middle two days suddenly become flat. And any Tom, Dick and Harry could come and score either side of 200 runs. And forgetting that the bowlers were McGrath, Gillespie, Kaspro and Warne, the same attack which had dismissed India for 176, 219 and 171 in the three previous innings. Looks like match situations do not matter. This is only an attempt to put down great innings which are not played by specific countries. You would have noticed how much importance I give to match conditions, bowling quality, support received (or not), runs added with tail, match RpW etc. However let me add that the Top-7 RpW for this match was 43, indicating that, overall, this was a good batting wicket. This puts in perspective the Indian first innings and Australian second innings. India had no business getting out for 171 and Australia had no business getting out in less than 5 hours and losing 7 wickets after tea. But what is important is to realize that when Laxman and Dravid came together, India were 232 for 4, still 42 in arrears. Ananth: ]]

  • ObelixTheFat on December 13, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    Ok then I will list my best 5 innings I have ever seen. 1) Steve Waugh 200 vs WI at Jamaica 1995 2) Allan Border 98* and 100* vs WI at Port of Spain 1984 3) Andrew Hilditch 70 & 113 vs WI at Melbourne 1984 4) Steve Waugh 108 and 116 vs Eng at Manchester 1997 5) Michael Slater 106 vs WI at Port of Spain 1999

    I don't have much appreciation for Laxman and Dravid innings, the primary reason being it was a flat track. I think in general a bowling attack is only as good as the wicket they are bowling on unless they have bowlers who can transcend that and those are few and far between. Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee and Richard Hadlee come to mind.

  • Syed on December 15, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    Articles like this make life so much simlepr.

  • Harry on December 15, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    First of all about characters limitation in comments. I think it can be avoided by opera mini, (I won't know for sure until I go beyond 1000, but at the start I had 5000 characters.) About Sarosh's comment, even if he overdid the significance part, I think the point he was making was despite having only a few entries in special hundreds, Sachin's popularity rise in 90s came not from mega innings but because many of his innings came when other team members failed. In that way his centuries were special & also inspired the next generation to do better than his 90s team members.

  • ObelixTheFat on December 15, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    @Sarosh You have overdone significance until it has become insignificant. All those innings are not significant, all I see is the same fixation you mentioned at the start of your piece. Significance doesn't mean a win, it's also about the when, where and who. The who has more importance. I'm sure making 200 vs Bangladesh doesn't carry the same weight as 100 vs WI with Marshall, Garner and co at PoS. In terms of the where and when that is where Waugh's 200 stands out. The England 2005 Ashes win was a supposedly similar event to the 1995 Aus vs WI series except England went and got whitewashed in 2007 and tainted the whole thing. When you do look at it the Ashes 2005 was entertaining but highly overrated. South Africa 2008/9 was of more significance. It put a red marker on Aus and opened doors that had been closed years ago. I don't see Dale Steyn's 76 at the MCG 2008 being mentioned or Duminy's 166 . Those were very significant, winning in Aus for first time in 16 years.

  • Sarosh on December 15, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    @ObelixTheFat You have come up with some of the best one-liners ever on the comments page. And along with them some comments worth reading. A lot of the comments esp. from the likes of Gerry etc . are simply the result of various fixations – which incidentally I too am guilty of. “ BQI is just a number, you can fail.” , “An inning is not just runs and pitches it's also about significance.” etc. Unfortunately your 2nd great one-liner is one which had been distorted to infer “signifance” = “WIN” Apparently if the match does not result in a win the innings has reduced or alarmingly no significance whatsoever. This is ridiculous – to put it mildly. “Winston Benjamin was in tears at tea, if that isn't effort and dedication then I don't know what is, WI threw everything at Waugh including the kitchen sink.” Beautiful- Winston Benjamin was in tears at tea not because the match was already lost. Cozier would have (or should have ) passed the very same comments he did about Waughs knock- Irrespective of the end result. Simply because was a batsman standing up to the WI. That’s all. That’s all a batsman can do. Period. ((Incidentally regarding all this stuff about the catched dropped of Lara. There were atually 2 dropped catches that I remember. Warne dropped a caught and bowled as well. Though much tougher than the Healy sitter). So, yes old fashioned Luck always plays a part. The function of a batsman is to give his all- that is all he can do. Sometimes the stars will be with him- sometimes they wont. A batsmans only function is to score runs. Period. Sure, in some rare innings he may actually hang around to finish off- if all goes well These may be memorable , but the anguish of close losses is memorable too. The final result is always the interplay of what the other 21 men in the game also do. Sunny Gavaskars knocks against the West Indies are celebrated not because the Indian team won. Does anyone even remember? No- they are significant because Gavaskar showed that the WI bowlers were not unplayable. Period. The rest of the team could not match up – too bad. This rubbed off on Tendulkar. And then through the ‘90s Tendulkars knocks rubbed off on the rest of the Indian team- That is the “significance” of a number of Tendulkar’s knocks. NOT whether the entire team finally won a match or not. Tendulkar’s knocks vs. quality opposition through the ‘90s instilled the “we too can do it” self belief and motivated numerous batsmen. Some recent stars of the Indian team including Dhoni and Sehwag even go so far as to say they started playing competive cricket because of Tendulkar. Tendulkar’s debut knocks in Pak (hit on the nose of Waqar, next two balls cover driven for fours etc) had “significance” to Indian cricket. His 114 at Perth had significance. Later his knocks vs.SA and Aus in ’96 and then Aus ‘98/’99 had immense significance- simply because they resulted in showing that the Aussie bowlers were not unplayable. The first Test of the 2001 tour where Tendulkar was the only Indian batsman to show up also had “significance” – “See? These guys are not unplayable whatsoever “. The WI batsmen have always been attacking. Frankly I don’t see how Lara’s 153 though a fabulous knock was of any “signifance” to WI cricket. The knock was very significant to Laras career.If anything the WI have detiorated further since. Tendulkar showed up conjoining Style, attack coupled with an amazing consistency that is almost always not the forte of attacking batsmen - all fused together in a manner never before witnessed in Indian cricket. Also how VVS 167 on the ‘98/’99 tour in the last dead rubber ranks higher than Tendulkars 116 in the previous match vs. an identical attack– I know not. Does anyone even for a second think that Tendulkar’s heart breaking 136 had any less significance to Indian fans and fellow batsmen because the match ended in a loss?. If anything, it perhaps spurred the team on more. Heres a guy with a broken back giving it all- and what are we doing? Infact, as an Indian fan that innings is to me the most memorable innings of the ‘90s. Not the best of Tendulkars knocks in terms of pure batting quality or the result- but in terms of being memorable it ranks right up there. Many many of Tendulkar’s innings ,including in ODIs have also had a “cumulative” signifance. I was wondering how no one mentioned Roy Fredericks knocks. Then there was a write up on cricinfo just the other day about it. Fredericks “significance” was that he lay the template in both style and attitude for future Carribean stars including Lara to emulate. So- the function of a batsman is simply to score runs. Also, although this will not sure up statistically – the “manner” in which he scores runs often too has great significance. The “significance” is NOT in the final result. It is simply to demonstrate to others that scoring runs vs. X,Y,Z on whatever pitch is possible. The “significance” of an innings may not actually manifest itself for several years. The significance is most often simply be the self-belief it gives other batsmen – and this self belief does NOT depend on the final outcome of a match. [[ Sarosh Someone is going to ask you how you have bypassed the 1000 character limit. Ananth: ]]

  • ObelixTheFat on December 14, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    :) Ok point taken. I guess I will always have a bias for the team I support, things will always look shinier when they do it. [[ No problems at all. In each of these exchanges we get to know more. I knew about Waugh's innings but Slater's and Hiditch's douuble-efforts were not there immediately for me. And I am sure you probably got to know a little more about Laxman. I will put up your four as S.Waugh 200, Border 98/100, Slater 106, Hilditch 70/113. Ananth: ]]

  • ObelixTheFat on December 14, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    This has nothing with putting down peoples innings. Was Steve Waugh's 200 made on a flat pitch, the answer is yes. Did the WI attack fail, no just look at Waugh's bruises after, a lesser batsman would have given up and gotten out. An inning is not just runs and pitches it's also about significance. Tony Cozier has said a number on times on commentary that Waugh's 200 was the bane of WI cricket, it broke 15 years at the top. Winston Benjamin was in tears at tea, if that isn't effort and dedication then I don't know what is, WI threw everything at Waugh including the kitchen sink. I will list two innings that I rate highly by Laxman and Lara that I also think are better than the 281 and 153* Laxman 167 at Sydney 2000 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63867.html) Lara 132 at Perth 1997 (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63733.html) Also I can only comment on innings I saw that's what my list includes. I won't go listing McCabe 232 etc I'm not qualified to comment. [[ Let me first say that I watched Steve Waugh's innings on TV and value his innings at the top drawer. One of the few innings which changed the way world cricket moved. Slowly West indies lost the dominance which, in turn, moved to Australia. Now I can afford to smile. I repeat your words even though it appeared in this comment itself. ""An innings is not just runs and pitches it's also about significance."" Exactly my point. Damn the pitch, damn the attack, the juggernaut is coming to the Test with a 16-0 record, after having won the previous Test easily, scores 400+, dismisses the home team for 174, (inadvisedly) enforces the follow-on and the batsman walks in at 52 for 1 and sees wickets fall regularly. Then he scores 281 and world cricket changes forever. If Australia had won that Test they would have won the next 10, probably. Laxman's innings gave India (and the rest of the world) the confidence. From that point I think it is the most important innings played in test cricket during the past 50 years. Laxman's 167 stands no comparison with his own 281. That was a shot fired at the Australian juggernaut. On the other hand the 281 was a howitzer fired at the tank. Would anyone who watched Lara's 153 even think about the pitch, the attack, the dropped chance etc. I have already mentioned this in my recent blog. If Lara had been dismissed at 145 and West indies lost by 7 runs, it would have been a great innings like Tendulkar's or Warner's but would not have attained immortality. Same way, if Australia had scored 175 for 5 on the last day at Calcutta, Laxman's innings would have lost much of its sheen. Same way, if Willis had captured 5 for 60 and Australia had scored 120 for 6 and won at Headingley in 1980, Botham's innings would not have been anything more than a brave one.. I will repeat. I will never put down Steve Waugh's innings because of the very reasons you have mentioned. Let me also say this. If West indies had scored 450 for 5 and drawn the Kingston match, Steve Waugh's innings would have lost much of the sheen. Cozier's comment would have been different. Ananth: ]]

  • ObelixTheFat on December 14, 2011, 12:56 GMT

    Errr I was under the impression that I can select "My" best 5 innings. I don't know what "attempt to put down innings" has to do with anything. Everyone has their bias in Sport, some like Sampras some don't. I also am not blaming the conditions in batting friendly conditions, I am blaming the bowlers as I said here "unless they have bowlers who can transcend that and those are few and far between. Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee and Richard Hadlee come to mind.". To put it simply what I am saying is that a) It was a good batting track and b) The Australian attack failed. BQI is just a number, you can fail. Had the attack been a WI attack with Garner, Marshall and Holding then I am very confident that India would have been thumped in that test. And like Ranga said "Could India do the same, if they faced that situation in MCG/WACA/Lords/Durban/Hamilton/Napier/Gabba?? I dont think. " As the saying goes there are "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" :) [[ First I had requested all readers to select 4 innings not 5. Even then you had selected 7/8 innings so I could not put it in. Please give me a list of four of your best. I will gladly put that in. I respect all the readers and certainly you. Let it go. You can select your innings without putting down other innings which have been considered top by most readers. And the reason you had given was that the track was flat. That was not the case. Then you say the Australian attack failed. So you were unwilling to give credit, be it to Lara or Laxman. When they batted well, either the track was flat or the Australian attack failed. Now let me take Steve Waugh's 200 at Kingston. It is a wonderful innings. Your selection is perfectly justified. Let me ask you. If one of the readers, I will not say it myself, had said that the Kingston pitch on 30 April and 1 May 1995 was quite flat and/or the West Indian bowling attack of Ambrose/Walsh/Benjamin/Benjamin had failed, despite the two 200 scores on the first and fourth day, how would you feel. That is what you have done with Laxman's knock and earlier with Lara's knock. Why bring in the stupid and silly comment on "Lies, damed lies..." into this discussion on readers' selection of their best innings. You are crossing the line then. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    @ Ananth: Thanks. But 2001 Eden, what were the ctd figures of Indian bowlers in that match? What were the ctd figures of Aussie bowlers in that match? I would rather say while India can STILL be forgiven for their 171 against an Aussie side coming in with a 16 match winning streak, You are right in saying Australia had no business to lose on the last day. This is why probably the match got into a cult status. While Top7 RPW of 43 indicates a fair batting friendliness, the ctd bowling figures of Aussies and the intangible of their ominous form coming into the match, coupled with Indian bowlers who played that series (like Bahutule, Kulkarni et al) India did manage to topple the aussiecart. The only thing I see as a negative is that we cant answer the question: Could India do the same, if they faced that situation in MCG/WACA/Lords/Durban/Hamilton/Napier/Gabba?? I dont think. [[ Australia had four excellent bowlers (ctd-25.90+20.94+21.85+35.00) leading to BQI of 28.8 and Group 5. India had good bowlers but at the start of their careers and had a BQI of 34.64, just about made to group 4). But the last day difference was Tendulkar, 3 Lbws. Ananth: ]]

  • Ranga on December 14, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    I fail to understand this. When batsmen score runs in bowler friendly conditions, we hail the batsman. When bowlers fail in batsman friendly conditions, how can we blame the conditions? Taking wickets on flat tracks is as key a skill as scoring on green tops. Agreed it is very tough. McGrath did take 15 wkts in that series in batsman friendly pitches(If we can call so - while Shaun Tait was clobbered in '08 on a pacy WACA). 2001 Eden Gardens - for all the flatness of the pitch, Ind had followed on. So the bowlers DID take 10 Indian wickets. Which means it wasnt all that averse to bowlers. If the pitch eased out by 3rd day, why couldnt Aussies draw the match? With their world beating side? I agree with Ananth's quantification of pitch conditions. It varies from match to match. Historically, India has flat pitches. It is a generic statement not true for 2001 Eden Gardens or 2004 Kanpur. Give credit to match situations. [[ One specific reason why I did not comment on Obelix's comment. I wanted a reader to comment on that. To say that a pitch on which the first two days 18 wickets were lost and the last day when 13 wickets were lost, the middle two days suddenly become flat. And any Tom, Dick and Harry could come and score either side of 200 runs. And forgetting that the bowlers were McGrath, Gillespie, Kaspro and Warne, the same attack which had dismissed India for 176, 219 and 171 in the three previous innings. Looks like match situations do not matter. This is only an attempt to put down great innings which are not played by specific countries. You would have noticed how much importance I give to match conditions, bowling quality, support received (or not), runs added with tail, match RpW etc. However let me add that the Top-7 RpW for this match was 43, indicating that, overall, this was a good batting wicket. This puts in perspective the Indian first innings and Australian second innings. India had no business getting out for 171 and Australia had no business getting out in less than 5 hours and losing 7 wickets after tea. But what is important is to realize that when Laxman and Dravid came together, India were 232 for 4, still 42 in arrears. Ananth: ]]

  • ObelixTheFat on December 13, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    Ok then I will list my best 5 innings I have ever seen. 1) Steve Waugh 200 vs WI at Jamaica 1995 2) Allan Border 98* and 100* vs WI at Port of Spain 1984 3) Andrew Hilditch 70 & 113 vs WI at Melbourne 1984 4) Steve Waugh 108 and 116 vs Eng at Manchester 1997 5) Michael Slater 106 vs WI at Port of Spain 1999

    I don't have much appreciation for Laxman and Dravid innings, the primary reason being it was a flat track. I think in general a bowling attack is only as good as the wicket they are bowling on unless they have bowlers who can transcend that and those are few and far between. Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee and Richard Hadlee come to mind.

  • Ranga on December 13, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    I remember quite a few occasions when SRT has not finished matches and his wicket triggered the collapse. Be it Chennai 1999 or WC 1996 or Hyd 2009. Even the brilliant Sharjah double of 1998 was cut short and he didnt manage to stay on till the end. One thing I noticed in SRT is he does get bothered by a lot of things happening around him like wickets tumbling or sight screen motions and loses focus easily. Lara on the other hand, does fall cheaply early, but once set, he is a monk. I might tread into metaphysics, but when Lara bats, he visusalizes wins and he visualizes the next delivery when the bowler is in his run up. He knows the occasion and he knows that he could shape the destiny around him. In more ways than one, Lara knew that he would succeed and Sachin worked for success. Lara retired when he thought he could no longer shape his destiny around him. The external reasons are mere excuses. In that, Dhoni is one other person who visualizes and achieves what he has visualized.

  • Raghav Bihani on December 12, 2011, 11:21 GMT

    The similarity in the Warner and Tendulkar knocks is many like both being without much support and in a losing cause. I prefer Tendulkar's knock primary because of the bowling atack he faced and it was a "IND-PAK" test (that says it all).

    One thing that goes in favour of Warner vis-a-vis Tendulkar is that he remained not out and the others failed him. In madras, the Tendulkar wicket started the collapse. If sachin had not gotten out India would probably win. India panicked as only they can after that wicket.

    Since I saw the full match I cannot imagine that India would be all out with tendulkar stranded at one end. If that had happened we would view the tendulkar innings as much more heroic. It would make the wisden list etc. It would be like the boy on the burning deck. [[ Raghav, you have solved one problem I had today. Warner's innings was about 5-6% better rated than Tendulkar's. I was surprised since they are similar in many respects. Now that you mention it, it was because of Warner's staying at one end throughout, shepherding the tail and adding 40+ runs for the last 4 wickets. Ananth: ]]

  • ObelixtheFat on December 12, 2011, 4:39 GMT

    So Ananth, does Michael Slater's 123 at Port of Spain 1999 feature anywhere ? I see a 123 mentioned on your lists but it seems to be from the Ashes test. Personally I would rate that 123 higher than Lara's 153*. [[ Slater scored 106 not 123. His innings was a very good one, no doubt. However in a match in which the Top-7 RpW was 19.2, Australia started with a lead of 102, worth 5+ wickets. There was very little pressure. If they scored 150, that was enough. In fact nothing was needed. How can you compare this with a fourth innings effort, with over 300 needed, and all the scenarios I had unfolded in my previous response. This was a fifth day pitch, not a feather-bed as you have indicated. Anyhow your choice is your choice. No one would question your rights for doing that. And if you ask 10 neutral observes, the choice of 9 would be Lara's. Let me change to today. If Australia had won today, Warner's innings would have received substantial extra credit and would have comfortably walked into the top-25 of all time innings. Now it merely becomes a fantastic effort, similar to Tendulkar's Chennai innings. The fact that the other batsmen had failed does not mean anything. The cynic would say, why did not Warner try to hit a boundary. The fact is Lyon had batted very well and he took the percentage effort of taking a single. And no discredit to Lyon also. He batted very well. And the failure of the other batsmen, like the failure of the Indian tail at Chennai, would have a bearing on Warner's innings. That is an inescapable fact. Ratings are based on many factors with Result being an important factor. And finally, to put this to rest. If Lara had perished at 145 and Australia were all out for 303, the sheen would have gone off Lara's innings and it would not have featured in anyone's list of top-10 innings, leave alone Wisden top-2. Ratings are done on pure objective basis. One reason why they have been accepted. Also why I ask readers for their own selections since these have subjective elements incorporated. Take that route and declare your best four. If that has Slater's 106, wonderful. Try and not degrade an all-time performance. Why compare anyhow. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinish on December 11, 2011, 15:02 GMT

    My obvious THREE are: Lara 153*, Laxman 281, and Gooch 154. The battle for 4th one is between Lara 213 (even more pressure than on 153* with captaincy at stake), Border 100/98*, and Dravid 180 (same pressure that Laxman eluded against same team and in same match situation).

  • ObelixtheFat on December 11, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    The Greatest Innings ever played is Steve Waugh 200 at Jamaica in 1995. @Harsh Thakor I'm sorry but you said Lara made 153* on a malicious pitch. I get the feeling that you never watched the match at all. There was nothing malicious about the track it was, like any typical Bridgetown track, a good batting wicket. The primary reason it gets voted highly is because of the bowling attack and the lousy support Lara had, which ultimately lead to the nail biting finish with Walsh. If Lara had managed a century at Port of Spain in the first match of that same Series then I would have no reservations acclaiming the innings as the greatest ever. To me Lara 's 153* is overrated, Slater's 123 at PoS was better. It was a lousy wicket and you had Walsh and Ambrose in top gear. WI fell for 51 in the 4th innings of the match. [[ The ratings for all innings was done based on all the factors available in the scorecard and nothing more. I agree that it was not a bowler-friendly wicket with a Top-7 RpW for match being 33. I watched every ball of that innings. It is possible that the failures of the other batsmen made the rating of that innings higher but that is one of the reasons why the innings should be rated high. Coming in at 78 for 3, the score goes to 105 for 5, Adams departs with 75 runs still needed, two more wickets are lost, 60+ runs still needed and still the match is won. Lara scored 153 out of the 233 added while he was there. The bowling attack was at a BQI of 25.27 (the top group). It is possible for someone to say that the Calcutta pitch had eased out by the third day and Laxman and Dravid had it easy and rate Laxman's 281 in a lesser manner. However the scoreboard pressure was always there and that is reflected in the analysis. In Lara's case, this was the last innings. If he had got out at 305 for 9, the match was lost. Credit must be given to batsmen who nurse their teams through to a very unlikely win. I would appreciate if no one refers to the dropped catch. Lara's innings was similar to Laxman's at Mohali last year., but on a bigger scale, against a bigger target and against a much better bowling attack. Laxman's was, more desperate though. The Readers' list indicates that Laxman's 281 and Lara's 153 are the two most highly regarded innings. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 10, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Stan Mcabe tackled hostile blowing in manner Bradman could not

    McCabe's innings is great mainly because his aggression in that innings was sort-of unprecedented at the time and he did a brilliant job of shepherding the tail.

    The bowling was very good. But not exactly hostile. Bowes was not in the side. Farnes, Verity, Wright and Sinfield constituted the attack. Penetrative yes. But not hostile by any means on what was a very flat wicket.

    This was Sinfield's only test. His offbreaks seemed quite friendly in the newsreel footage of McCabe's innings!

  • Harsh Thakor on December 10, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    My best 4 are

    lara153,Gooch154,Mcabe232,Pollock125

  • Harsh Thakor on December 10, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    My top centuries in order of merit

    1.Brian Lara's 153 against Australia at Barbados in 1999 2.Graham Gooch's 154 against West Indies at Leeds in 1991 3.Stan Mcabe's 232 at Nottingham in 1938 4.Graeme Pollock's 125 at Trent Bridge in 1965 5.V.V.S.Laxman's 281 v.Australia at Calcutta 6.Gordon Greenidge's 214 not out v England at Leeds 6.Sunil Gavaskar's 221 at the Oval in 1979 7.Gary Sobers 132 at Brisbane in Brisbane in 1960-61 8.Viv Richards's 291 at the Oval in 1976 9.Bradman's 254 at Lords in 1930 10.Asif Iqbal's 146 not out at the Oval in 1967 11.Tendulkar's 155 not out at Madras V.Australia IN 1998 12.Vishwanath's 124 v.W.Indies at Madras in 1978-79 [[ A very nice collection. You have taken pains to go wide and not repeat one batsman. The only surprise is the absence of Botham's 149, which I figure should automatically come in once we go to a dozen. Ananth: ]]

    Stan Mcabe tackled hostile blowing in manner Bradman could not,Lara's 153 not out was played on a malicious pitch which won the match in a situation of a crisis,Gooch's 154 was on a most difficult surface compiling over 60 % of his team's runs against a great attack,while Pollock's display was a stroke of genius in the circumstance

  • JK on December 7, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    Very good articles.....It's quite surprised that The Indian Wal Rahul Dravid is not listed any kind of hundreds.....It seems that Indian centuries are divided in specialists.i.e. Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Sehwag.

  • Navin Agarwal on December 5, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    I think it is essential for one of the four stalwarts to play such an innings (a la 167/281/180/270/241/195/201) during the forthcoming tour to revive Indian cricket. The bowlers are too raw to do that.

    You forgot to include best Indian innings on Australian soil 233 and 72*. LOLZZZZZZ. [[ The person was there, but for an equally great innings way up north. Have since corrected. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on December 5, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    @Navin: Just about the only thing Ananth cannot account for is the skill factor: simply put, the mastery in VVS's 200 will be superior to that in Astle's 200. And I do value it. However, to account for it brings in a subjective emotional bias. E.g., the commentators kept saying "this is pretty good coming from someone with a career average of 24" during VVS's 167!! A remedy is to wait until the dust settles. On 01/01/2000, I would have found a way to nominate an Ambrose classic ahead of a McGrath classic (7 for 25 or 8 for 38?) for the 90's ... in 2004, I still would have done so but without any bias.

    @Ananth: Such an innings must come from Sehwag/Gambhir/Kohli/Sharma since they can play for the next 6+ years. Felicitating his coach Acharekar y'day, SRT said "I don't know how much cricket is left in me". I gasped while reading it. The end is unbelievably on the horizon now. [[ Alex, Sehwag was my fourth batsman. However I am only talking of a major spark now. I think it is unlikel;y to come from Gambhir/Kohli/Sharma. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on December 5, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    Indian media went ballastic specially "Aajtak" after that Wisden top 100 list was published because it does not included a batsman whose initials were SRT. Many years later came to know that your brains were behind it. I did love the list where a Vishwanath 97 was the only score below 100 to be included. Ask Gavaskar his toughest innings and he will not pick a innings among his 34 100's. Laxman's 96 last year in South Africa was better than many of his hundreds.

    The comments made in this blog are mainly based on reputation and personal preference and are short on logic.

    I Myself keenly follow matches involving India and would find it very difficult to give one superlative innings from an Aussie unless it was played against India. So some people do not always remember great innings involving 3rd countries unless it was "Out of the World" innings.

  • Navin Agarwal on December 5, 2011, 1:51 GMT

    Dear Ananth, Your comment "Unfortunately Gooch's 154 is not that well known.".

    First we were still some years away from live telecast era(of matches involving other countries). Most of the innings picked are either of televised era or for matches involving one's home country.

    Secondly British media does not like to revel in past like the Indian media does.

    Lastly, there are less English fans commenting here and more Indian fans.

  • Navin Agarwal on December 5, 2011, 1:44 GMT

    Dear Alex, I would like to put my observation on your this comment "McGrath started in 1994 but very few would have called him the bowler of the 90's in 1999 even though that became almost obvious in 2004."

    If somebody is doing an analysis for a decade on 1/1/2000 and does not pick "Pigeon" performance of 1997 but takes the same performance when doing the analysis on 7/1/2007 means he is taking reputation in consideration.

    Thats why Ananth's analysis are so much awaited, they care a shit for reputation. Any analysis could be fair only when it takes performance as the sole criteria. [[ That is one of the best compliments I have ever received. I leave my personal preferences aside and go solely on the numbers and interpretations. May ruffle many feathers and hurt many holy cows but at least I would not have to justify my work based on emotional or subjective basis. Ananth: ]]

  • love goel on December 4, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    After reading the praises of vvs 281 so many times in this article, I went back and watched the highlights of the innings again(I have already watched it many times before). Just 2 thoughts came to my mind.

    1. majestic! 2. who can hit Warne for an extra cover drive when the ball is pitching 2 feet outside the leg stump? is it for real?

  • Navin Agarwal on December 4, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    Dear Ananth, Coming back to comparison between Astle and Laxman innings. I place some comments and you would find that I am contradicting myself but both logics are correct.

    1.Laxman innings match was at stake(India lost by innings,Innings like Kolkata could have turned the match on its head, but Dravid's support was still a year far), In Astle innings it seemed that match was lost and he was purely playing as a gambler. That makes Laxman innings better.

    2.During Astle innings England started to feel that they can lose the match. At no stage Australia thought they can lose the match. (That makes Astle innings better)

    3.Laxman alien conditions, Astle home conditions.(Winner: Laxman)

    4.Laxman against Excellent attack.England attack was good.(Winner: Laxman)

    Both the innings were breath taking.

    Just cant compare that Gooch innings with any innings that did not win the match.Thats why that Gooch innings could only be in league of Lara 153*(maybe 213*) and Laxman 281 only. [[ Agree with everything. Based on the points you mention, I would place the Laxman and Astle efforts at par. One was better quality against a better attack. The other was more match-relevant and much bigger. However I think there is one big difference. Laxman's innings was far more significant and important than Astls's. Astle's innings did jack (I know it is a youngster's term) for Astle himeself or New Zealand cricket. Both went their merry middling ways before and after. However Laxman's innings was an adrenaline/steroid shot for Indian cricket. The Indians started believing in themselves and believed they could win, especially against Australia. Laxman's career took off skyward. I think this shot, reinforced by the booster dose at Calcutta in 2001 worked for 12 years. Unfortunately, like the steroid shot for my Tennis elbow, the effect is wearing off since April 2011. I think it is essential for one of the four stalwarts to play such an innings (a la 167/281/180/233/241/195/201) during the forthcoming tour to revive Indian cricket. The bowlers are too raw to do that. Ananth: ]]

  • Navin Agarwal on December 4, 2011, 17:51 GMT

    Dear Alex, Beg to differ on you regarding top performance for a decade. Yes obituary for Dravid was being written and he rose like a Phoenix but suppose he did not rise and was dusted in 2009 or 2010. Does it take back any credit from his innings at Headingley, Adeilade, Rawalpindi or Kingston. Answer is BIG NO. Yes his career got resurrected but these innings are unaffected whether Dravid finished with 29 centuries or 39 centuries. If pure top performace for a decade are to be chosen(suppose 2000's) then they can be chosen on 1st January 2010. It is not a feature film that flopped in theatre but whose value arises again after telecast on National TV (ala Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro).

  • Gerry_the_Merry on December 4, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    My top centuries of the 90s are (since i dont feel desperate to include Tendulkar's centuries, it may not qualify as an acceptable list at all, nevertheless let me take the risk). Gooch 154*, Gooch 135 (Headingley, 1992, Pakistan); Greenidge 226 (Australia, 1991), Steve Waugh 200 (WI, 1995), M Waugh 116 (SA, 1997), Atherton 185 (SA, 1995), Gilchrist 149* (Pak, 1999), Slater 123 (Eng, 1997), Lara 213, 153 (Aus 1999), Anwar 188* (India, 1999), Azhar Mehmood 132* (SA, 1997), Taylor 144, 169*, Azharuddin 121 (England, 1990). Among Tendulkar's centuries, 114 (Aus, 1991) was a very fine innings, played fearlessly. Later on in his career, he froze in sight of victory or under pressure, like in Madras in his 136, or in Super Six in 1999 WC against Australia, but in 1991, he was an outright attacker.

  • Alex on December 4, 2011, 2:30 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. I rate the 154 and Gooch himself among the very best.

    2. VVS' 167 is better than Astle's jaw-dropping 222. It was against a better team and the sheer batting quality was breathtaking. On the other hand, Astle's 222 was a milder version of Watto's 185*. Algorithm for Watto's 185* is roughly as follows:

    - get on front foot; - ground the right knee; - recall your previous incarnation in which you were a burly shot-put + javelin thrower; - swivel the torso in the trajectory of the ball; - using shoulders for max effect, give an almighty blow. [[ The 1999 Australian attack was at 5 level, around 24. However the Angland attack was not bad, 33.4 (Cad/Hogg/Giles/Flint). Ananth: ]]

    3. Pl do an analysis of year-wise performances in tests & ODI's, as I requested in your previous article. That captures the consistency very well. Surprisingly, SRT is far better than even Kallis & Dravid on it. Even this year, he has averaged 47 with 50+ scores in 33% innings albeit the last 2 seasons have been alarmingly sub-par.

  • Alex on December 3, 2011, 18:12 GMT

    @Navin & Ananth: Since England was terrible in tests in 90's, I overlooked Gooch's 154 in the "defining top 5" for that decade. It was well known to people who follow the game in earnest. In fact, Benaud called it the "under the circumstances, the best innings I have ever seen" (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN83JiFmwVU ).

    I avoid looking at % of runs since that favors a great batsman surrounded by mediocrity: e.g., Lara's 213 was vs almost as good an attack but has a lower % of team runs. To me, VVS' 167 is at least on par with Gooch's 154. [[ Alex The reason why I consider % TS as inportant is because of the following. 1. General lack of support. The next best is likely to be less than 20% of the batsman score. 2. Normally against a very good bowling attack. You do not see 125 out of 200 ao against Bangladesh 2010 or India 1984 or Nzl 1929. 3. Usually this type of innings sees a number of partnerships effected by the batsman. However I attach importance to results. From that point Gooch's 154 was far more valuable than Laxman's 167. I would compare Laxman's 167 with Astle's 222. Also I ignore the non-measurable factors like quality of batting, scratchy innings, played and missed, dropped catches etc since these are all subjective factors better left to the wonderful writers. I, belonging to the analyst class, should stick to the scorecards. Ananth: ]]

    We have to wait a year more before the dust finally settles on the 00's ... media foolishly left Dravid for dead in 2008 and suddenly discovered him alive & kicking 4 months back. McGrath started in 1994 but very few would have called him the bowler of the 90's in 1999 even though that became almost obvious in 2004.

  • Navin Agarwal on December 3, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    Dear Alex, Always love your unbiased comments. But to bring some faults for your comments posted on this time.

    Posted by: Alex at November 30, 2011 4:52 AM

    First you have ignored Gooch's 154 which was made in 1991 from your ninties list.

    Secondly you wrote that we have to wait for some years before we bring top 5 list for 00. To inform you that two years have passed since noughties have ended and we are into the new decade.

    The top 5 list for 90's could well be like this. 1.Gooch 154 2.Lara 213 3.Lara 153 4.Tendulkar 155 (at Chennai against Aussies) 5.Athertons 185.

    Ananth, you asked for top 4 innings from readers and it seems that Lara's 153* and Laxman's 281 are listed most times. [[ A quick count reveals that Laxman(23) and Lara(19) are right there at the top as Readers' selections and then after daylight comes Tendulkar's 136 (9). I am very comfortable with this since the two classics by Laxman and Lara are the defining innings over the past 20 years. And Tenddulkar's 136 is a classic, despite the result, and is far ahead of the 155. Unfortunately Gooch's 154 is not that well known. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on December 3, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    @Ananth: Given sufficient time, legends organically grow to the state where the truth has the relevance of a human appendix ( "Mahabharata", for instance).

    I don't distinguish between "official" and serious "unofficial" tests, and have watched a film of Sobers' 254 (clips on YouTube also). It is an outright masterpiece. Still, even if only the Aussie soil is taken, I dare say Lara's 277 & 182, VVS's 167, & Sehwag's 195 can be considered equal or even just a shade better. The first 100 often contains the gist of a batsman. No coincidence that the 277 & 167 are so superlative.

  • shrikanthk on December 3, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    If and when the WSC Tests become official I will do the analysis to rate Sobers' 254

    That innings was not a WSC Supertest. It was an Aus vs RoW encounter. [[ I have asumed that if and when these matches get official status, all matches would come in. After all RoW is as good a team as ICC. Ananth: ]]

    Here's the video of the Sobers innings. I guess most ppl here might've watched it already.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JGdMKWZi7A

    One of the things you've to grant him is the relative slowness of the outfield (even his hardest hits take a while to reach the fence) and also the vastness of the MCG with no boundary ropes!

    With modern bats, faster outfields and shorter boundaries, this 254 could well have been 300+.

  • Alex on December 3, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    @Ananth: After watching SRT bashing, it is time someone put Sobers' 254 in its place. First, let us forget the virtuoso batting skill in the 254 (since we are supposed to forget it while analyzing SRT). Scorecard:

    http://static.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1970S/1971-72/WORLD-XI_IN_AUS/WORLD-XI_AUS_01-06JAN1972.html .

    Sobers scored 254 of the 360 odd runs scored while he was at the crease. Great stuff! But the pitch was easy and the Aussie attack only Lillee as a world class bowler. Plenty of big hundreds rival or better the 254 on that count. Of the recent vintage, I can think of Sehwag's 201*, Lara's 196 & 226, VVS' 167 ... comparable or better % of team's runs and, furthermore, scored against far far superior attacks.

    To sum up, the 254 was not so special. So what if Bradman called it the best innings he ever saw on the Aussie soil? The Don was prone to faulty judgment and hyperboles anyway ... didn't he declare in 1994 itself that SRT reminded him of himself? [[ I get the feeling that old innings which most of us have not watched grow in stature as time goes by and with each tale spun. This is said withoput in any wayy lessening the quality of Sobers' classic. If and when the WSC Tests become official I will do the analysis to rate Sobers' 254. Until then it must be a "cloud" innings. I am not comfortable rating anything other than true intrnationals. We do not know what drives these matches. Finally, all said and done, WSC was founded on money, both from Packer and player points ofview. For that matter I am not also comfortable with Test # 1768. If that got taken off the radar, Murali will fall to 795, Warne to 702, MacGill to 199 (???), Hayden will lose 188 runs incl a hundred, Lara/Dravid/Kallis will gain and so on. Ananth: ]]

  • krishna on December 2, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    krishna : lara 153, kapil 119, laxman 281, steve waugh 200

  • jayanth on December 2, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Thanks for replying and giving your comments.I wish to mention few great innings .Vinno Mankad's century against Eng.He was not in the original team ,he was included in the squad by chance and played such a great innings.P.Umrigar's 175 against the W.Indies pace of Hall,Griffith and others, when all the Indian batsman were literally scared of facing them and India lost all the 5 tests,he plays a heroic innings.Similarly in an era where Lilee Thomson created a terror among world batsmen ,S.patil scores 171 .I followed the match live ,beleive me i have not heard or seen another Indian batsman taking on the best aussie pace bowlers Lilee,Thomson with such disdain.

  • Jayanth on December 1, 2011, 18:56 GMT

    This article has displayed the best batting records of alltime in such a concise manner,is praiseworthy.My best great innings are Hanif Mohammad's 337,Gavasker's 221, Laxman's 281,Lara's 153 and Botham's 149 and one not mentioned inthe article Sobers 200 plus playing for a world X1 vs World champions Australia.Lilee and Thompson made fun of Sobers when hegot out for 0 inthe first innings and Sobers who was at the fag end of his career then,had to show his talent and Denis lilee later commented that he cannot forget the walloping he and other aussie bowlers received in that great innings by Sobers,to prove that he was the greatest alrounder.Another breath taking innings played by Viv Richards when he made 110 in 58 balls(100 in 56 balls) against England at St.John's in 1986,is also not mentioned.Hence there are many more great innings which could be included because of the criteria selected. [[ Jayanth, I have take the first four innings from your list. Reluctantly I am ignoring the wonderful WSC games. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on December 1, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    Graeme Smith 154* ENG, 125* NZ, 108 AUS, 101* AUS.

    All 4 chasing 100s. He is the only one to have 4 of them chasing and winning in the 4th innings. Ponting has 3 and then 3-4 players have 2 100s. Considering this it is a remarkable feat in itself. He is an opener and has stayed till the end in 3 of the chases. All good teams and not easy targets. None of them are defining innings but as a collection has no parallel. [[ The 154 stands comparison with anything else. Ananth: ]]

  • sarvesh golechha on December 1, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Hi Ananth ,

    But you did mention about LRD Mendis and his tally was 210. ? [[ Pl read the article carefully. The only reason Duleep Mendis' innings were mentioned was because he was the only one to score the same number of runs in each innings. Of couse hundreds. Ananth: ]]

  • Bull on December 1, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Popular hit songs by Beatles and defining songs from Dylan? Come on ananth that's as unfair a comparison as the people who run down Lara when comparing him to tendulkar or vice versa. The Beatles defined the sixties as much as Dylan did. Revolver, white album, pepper, abbey road compare that to blonde on blonde, highway 61, Bringing it all back home. They are two outstanding bodies of work by great artistes which defined the sixties [[ My sincere apologies. Wrote the first things which came to my mind. I am an out-and-out Beatles fan. I was brought up on them. Let us agree to a compromise. Let me leave Dylan there for defining songs. Let me take out Beatles. Pl push in your tuppeny-worth on the common-place popular songs of the sixties, Presley perhaps. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on December 1, 2011, 4:03 GMT

    @shrikanthk: The two most celebrated test innings of the 80's were hands down Botham's 149 and Greenidge's 214*. Among others, Gooch's 153, Lloyd's 161*, Viv's 110*, Hughes' 100*, and Chappell's 176 were immediately recognized as classics

    Oh yeah. Some fine innings out there. The defining one ought to be Greenidge's unbeaten 214 I think.

    By the way, Can't wait for the Aus series to begin. A lot depends on Sehwag/Gambhir. If Aus can consistently pick up those two before 50 is on board, then I'd fancy their chances.

  • Alex on December 1, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    @Ananth: What really bothers me is that, excluding year 2006, the last 2 seasons is the first time since 1991 that SRT has had back to back seasons of sub-50 average: 34 & 44. Barring one season, he always averaged 50+ season in season out. Hopefully, this is just the weight of the 100 and a purple patch will soon compensate. Barring one series, Dravid has always failed in Oz. So, SRT is a big key in the next series but I think he is under tremendous pressure right now. [[ And looking at the morning play today, Australia's second string pace bowling itself is quite fearsome. All of them are clocking excess of 140 quite regularly. My feeling is that both SRT and Dravid have to play very well for India to make their impact. Maybe Manjrekar is correct. The monkey on Tendulkar's back should have been jettisoned in the 5 ODI games. Now even if he comes back for the last 2 ODI games, it would be a tall order with great pressure, playing in India. Ananth: ]]

    @shrikanthk: The two most celebrated test innings of the 80's were hands down Botham's 149 and Greenidge's 214*. Among others, Gooch's 153, Lloyd's 161*, Viv's 110*, Hughes' 100*, and Chappell's 176 were immediately recognized as classics.

  • Boll on November 30, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    @Alex. Sure, but isn`t there an important difference between `defining innings` and `#1 innings`? Similarly, if we were discussing 1980s pop music, the `defining`song/songs need not necessarily be `the best`, merely memorable and in some way representative of the times. [[ Yes, I agree. The popular, selling and hit songs may be from Beatles, but the defining songs might have come from Dylan. Ananth: ]]

  • pardeep on November 30, 2011, 22:56 GMT

    nice article sir...How u come up with these stats?Is there any programming language used like C or something like that? And where you get all bunch of data? [[ I have my own very exhaustive and complex proprietary database which is virtually updated minutes after the match-end by me. I do all extraction through hundreds of 'C' programs. Virtually every day I write a program or two. This is the result of 20 years' work. The Cricinfo scorecard can be downloaded as a text file. That is in public domain. However to convert that to a database is next to impossible. You have to write complex translation programs. Simple names like Khan or Singh will create problems. Pl see also response to recent comment by Aditya in this article. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav Bihani on November 30, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    I realise it is very difficult if not impossible to select the memorable 50s using a given set of rules. It depends too much on the match situation, result, pitch, BQI, peer scores etc.

    May be you can attempt the 50s as one of your anecdotal articles.

  • shrikanthk on November 30, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    We have to wait a few years before making a similar decision on the top 5 innings of the 00's. VVS' 281 looks the #1 though

    I'd go with: VVS : 281 at Kolkata Gilchrist : 122 at Mumbai in 2001 Ponting: 156 at Old Trafford in 2005 Dravid : 148 at Headingley in 2002 and maybe one of Lara's solo efforts against a rampaging Muralitharan.

  • shrikanthk on November 30, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    Alex/Boll: Here's my list of decade-defining innings!

    Not overly familiar with the 1880s. So will leave it blank.

    1890s : Ranji's 154* on debut

    1900s/1910s : Trumper's 104 - century before lunch against a strong English attack

    1920s : Hobbs' 100 at the Oval in 1926 on a sticky. He was outscored by his partner eventually. But it was Hobbs' innings which sealed the Ashes in England's favour.

    1930s/40s : I'd go with Bradman's 103 at Leeds in 1938. An innings played in near darkness when nobody else could see the ball. It typified the 30s - a classic example of Bradman single-handedly putting Australia in a position from where they could force victory.

    1950s : May's 285*

    1960s: Sobers' 132 at Brisbane in the 1960 tied test

    1970s: Richards' 291 at the Oval in 1976 OR Gavaskar's 221 on the same ground depending on your biases ;)

    1980s: A decade that I'm not overly familiar with. Let Gerry and Alex fill this up!

    1990s: Lara's 153* at Barbados

    2000s: Laxman's 281 at Kolkata

  • Anil on November 30, 2011, 16:35 GMT

    Great analysis as always, Ananth, I know it must be hard work; thank you. It all puts the 100th-ton-seeker in perspective. One would have expected--based on his sheer numbers--his name to show up in every category. In actuality, his is a case of (debatable) multifaceted inflation IMHO. [[ I feel that the 100th hundred has been an unnecessary protracted distraction now. What Tendulkar has achieved outside this landmark is mind-boggling and far more relevant and significant. Ananth: ]]

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

    @Boll: I don't think the defining innings is likely to come from the most dominant team. However, someone from that team will almost certainly feature in the Top 5 or Top 10. E.g., the 00's was about white hot Aussie dominance, gradual rise of India from the abyss to the top, total decline of WI & Pak, individual brilliance from SL, SA's all-round excellence peppered with chokes attacks (which now seem more like a breathing pattern), run orgies, bowling attacks that were weakened on average but still fielded some of the greatest ever figures. Yet the #1 innings of the decade is certainly not by an Aussie.

    It is better to have a list of Top 20, of course. But even if we restrict it to Top 5 or Top 10, I think Lara's 400* merits an inclusion (as does Sehwag's 201* or 293). He himself has "better" innings than the 400* in that decade itself but the 400* is a better abiding memory of what he and the decade represent.

  • Alok on November 30, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    Ananth,

    A really nice article with good in-depth analysis. I believe you missed Yasir Hameed in table 11 (2 test hundreds in a test). He achieved this feat. on his debut, which was special and proved to be match winning, though it was against Bangladesh. [[ How many times will I tell this. the cut-off is 300 runs in the Test. That way UI have missed about 50 other instances of two hundreds in a Test. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 30, 2011, 13:48 GMT

    The Defining Innings of the 1900s

    V.T.Trumper(Aus): 104

    The Golden Age - the photograph of the legendary man on the drive and his century before lunch at Manchester.

  • Boll on November 30, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    The Defining Innings of the 1890s

    K.S.Ranjitsinhji(Eng): 154*

    Another century by a debutant, in a match, if not a series, which England lost. They remained, however, the dominant team of the decade, and the Cambridge-educated Indian prince was the precursor of so much to follow.

  • Sarfaraz on November 30, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    Excellent work, i am impressed.

  • Boll on November 30, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    The Defining Innings of the 1880s

    W.G.Grace (Eng): 152

    In this decade the legend of the Ashes was born and South Africa joined the fold. However, in the first test of the decade, the first ever played in England, at Kennington Oval, perhaps the most famous cricketer of all-time scored a century on debut at age 41.

  • Boll on November 30, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    The Defining Innings of the 1870s

    C.Bannerman(Aus): 165*

    An easy one. Only 3 tests were played in the decade. Only 1 century was scored - by the man who faced the very first ball. Part of cricketing folklore.

  • Sudarshan on November 30, 2011, 11:31 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    The most interesting aspect of reading your blog is that you answer most of the participants' queries.

    A good analysis.

    My 4 centuries are Laxman's 281 vs. Australia, Sachin's 136 vs. Pak, Inzamamul Haq vs. Bangladesh 138* and Ramnaresh Sarwan 105 vs. Australia.

  • Boll on November 30, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    @shrikanthk and @Alex. I love the idea of a decade-defining innings. As you both suggest, it`s likely to come from a player from the most dominant team of that decade. Perhaps more importantly though, it should display the characteristics for which that era is best remembered. I`m on the case!

  • bks123 on November 30, 2011, 8:55 GMT

    Excellent. As you are going to make an analysis on 100 based on pitch, I would like to suggest a table based on pitch as well as BQI. For example, bowlers with BQI 23 or 24 may not be as effective in flat tracks when compared to bowlers with a BQI of 26 or 28 in Perth or Kingsmead, Durban. [[ No, I am going to come out with a much bigger analysis, not just 100s. This will be a Pitch-based Runs scored analysis similar to the Runs scored against Bowling quality analysis. Ananth: ]]

  • Raghav on November 30, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    Nice and different collection of centuries.

    My Choices 1. Laxman 281 (One of the greatest modern day fairy tale) 2. Lara 153 (Epic against a class bowling attack) 3. Botham 149 4. Stan McCabe - 187(Bodyline Series - First test and first Australian to make a century in Bodyline series - And the one I did not get the previlage to see) [[ A wonderful selection. I might just about replace Botham's 149 with Gooch's 154, that is all. Again it is 51-49. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 30, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    @shrikanthk: The 50's was largely about Eng & Aus as the top 2 dogs with Eng at #1 and WI emerging as a major force. May has several back-against-the-wall 100's and his 285* can give VVS's 281 a run for money. It symbolized the 50's. I think its closest competitors for that title are: Hutton's 205, Worrell's 261, Walcott's 220, Sobers' 365* (which basically rules Hanif's 337 out), Compton's 278.

    We have to wait a few years before making a similar decision on the top 5 innings of the 00's. VVS' 281 looks the #1 though. In 90's, the choice of top 5 symbolic is clear now: Lara's top 2 innings (213 and either 153* or 277), top 2 defining 100's by Aussie batsmen, and a wild card. I nominate these:

    Lara's 213 & 153*, Slater's 123, Taylor's 144, SRT's 136 (or Anwar's 188*).

  • Muhammad Billal Naseem Dholla from Pakistan on November 30, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    A very interesting article indeed.. i think you should include 3 records as well namely 100 from a batsman who survived many times to reach his 100 and 100 from a wicketkeeper and thirdly, 100 by a captain who saved match. Thanks [[ The second and third are possible. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on November 30, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    KiwiPom: May 285*

    Nice selection. May's 285* is probably the defining innings of the 50s - a decade dominated largely by England.

    And May was probably the ideal personality to play the defining innings of that decade. Cultured, Stoic, orthodox, stickler for first principles, and a part of the establishment. These are the characteristics of that decade after all.

    It was an innings that tamed England's nemesis - Sonny Ramadhin. Nevertheless, an innings that was a product of its era. I wonder if May could've played a similar innings in 2011 what with DRS around to dismiss batsmen offering their pads with full stretch forward!

  • ObelixtheFat on November 29, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    Where is Steve Waughs' 108 and 116 at Manchester 1997 , when invaluable hundreds come up I always think of those two innings. [[ The number of times I have told that this is not a qualitative selection but a computer-analysis-based selection. Minimum criteria for 2x100s is 300 runs in Test. Ananth: ]]

  • KiwiPom on November 29, 2011, 22:13 GMT

    KiwiPom: Hanif 337, May 285*, Atherton 185*, Smith 173 [[ Lovely selection of innings of substance. And thanks for the perfect presentation. Ananth: ]]

  • Aditya on November 29, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    Good stuff!

    I'm an engineer by profession and love sports stats (especially cricket and baseball). I was curious - what is the input format of the data used for this analysis? Is the entire database available in public domain? I would love to slice and dice it and run some filters of my own :) Thanks. [[ Aditya, my Database is proprietary in that it is my own design and has been maintained over 20 years single-handedly. While I cannot make the source programs available to the public, I have no problems in offering my database and the master retrieval program, capable of generating about 40 tables, to the public free of charge, to start with. This can be run on the desktop. However the problem comes in delivery of updates, which, on an average, happens weekly. That is difficult to handle and I am trying to find ways and means of solving that problem. It requires maintenance of a quality site and regular upkeep of the same, as also a rigorous schedule of database maintenance. I do not have the resources, in people and financial terms, to do that single-handedly. Let me see what is possible. Ananth: ]] I can never forget the 167 by VVS down under. He got hit on the helmet and then just went ballistic on the Aussie attack. Overall that tour was a nightmare. Australia was at its glorious best (especially at home) and India had not quite become the fearless and competitive unit which it now is.

  • Aditya Nath Jha on November 29, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    My 4 favorite centuries outside those listed in the various tables: George Headley 270*(vs England), Sobers 254 (for RoW against Australia - i know, i know it isn't a recognized test match, but still), Graeme Pollock 125 (vs England at Trent Bridge) and Gavaskar 101 (vs England at Manchester)

    Anantha, you are cruel to limit us to submitting only 4 favorites! [[ Thank God that I did not end at what I started with, 3 hundreds. 5 hundreds would probably go past a single line. On such fickle facts lie these decisions. Anyhow this will make you go deeper. Unfortunately I have to exclude Sobers' 254. Then I have to include all selections including Donnelly's wonderful 133 for the Dominions, selected by Deepak Shah. I will only do three and add the fourth as you send me one. You have the Lord's innings of 163 amongst others to select. In fact , Deepak, I am going to push in your quirky threesome, requesting you to come out with a fourth one. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 29, 2011, 17:30 GMT

    @Ananth: As for your observation on blind adoration and undeserved criticism, Sehwag's post-match comments today contain this gem: "Whatever you tell No. 10 or No. 11, they always do what they want to do." It is pretty funny and universally applicable.

  • Dan on November 29, 2011, 16:21 GMT

    RE: Posted by: Ravi M at November 27, 2011 3:42 AM

    The pitch for the 2nd Test in the Bodyline series was not, 'so bouncy'. Mr Jardine actually accused the currators for underpreparing it because it was so slow!

    Hedley would certainly have played had it been known.

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 29, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    Poor Gooch is a victim of that one great innings. His 153 in Barbados was also great. But his 135 against Pakistan in Headingley was a stunner. 150 cut off has kept out many truly great innings. [[ The cut-off is necessary to keep the table to a reasonable size. Ananth: ]]

  • Vivek Tyagi on November 29, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    This program counts out innings (refer to section 100s scored against a top bowling attack) like 114 scored by Sachin Tendulkar on a pacy & bouncy Perth pitch when he was all of 19 years old against a good attack (if not very good attack. What are your views about the same? [[ Pl take the trouble of going thru earlier comments. This very innings has been addressed in full earlier. Ananth: ]]

  • Ayush on November 29, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    Excellent list. I have another question though. I was just looking at Andre Russell's innings of 92 vs India, and it got me thinking, what is the most out-of-character innings? How would that list go? For example, Wasim Akram's 257, offset by a very low average. Or Gavaskar's century at better than run-a-ball, as opposed to his ahem, slow scoring rate? Food for thought! [[ Tough one since out-of-character is a strong subjective statement. But a very nice suggestion. Ananth: ]]

  • Tony on November 29, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    Gooch's is the best innings I have ever seen, against Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh and Patterson on a green Headingley pitch which was doing all sorts. The only other player to make a score was an I.V.A.Richards and he made 60 odd. Tendulkar is awesome but I don't believe you can compare innings on indian featherbeds against average attacks to Gooch's knock in terms of skill and sheer guts. I understand Gooch's is the highest ever rated knock in ICC rankings, difficult to argue.

  • bull on November 29, 2011, 8:29 GMT

    Nice article on cold hard numbers. However I think statistics don't work too well on this. IMHO it is impossible to compare 100s made across eras. How does one compare a 100 made in the 1930s when players took arduous trips by sea to get to their destination stayed in poor lodgings and travelled by rickety buses/trains across the country. Similarly batting against the quicks in the pre-helmet, chestguard, elbow guard era required a totally different technique. Just the same for the modern era players who have to play so much more cricket (across formats) and play in so many varying conditions and countries compared to say Bradman who played only in england and australia. My list of 4 greatest 100s is purely subjective Lara's 153 which was a great effort Laxman's 281 a text book innings on how to construct a mammoth test innings Bradman's 100 in Bodyline since it was a new beast he dealt with Michael Clarke's recent hundred in SA just for the pressure he soaked up

  • Ramesh Kumar on November 29, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    Very good work. coupled with some of the readers' comments, gives excellent insight into many centuries. Good extension could be an analysis on significant partnerships which will recognize a few other heroes. Not able to put 281 in a pedestal without taking Dravid's effort along with it. Not to mention Harbhajan as 9 wickets fell between tea and close. Once you are done with bowlers, may be you can look at Batting/Bowling combination.

    Alex..Your analogy is very interesting.Doingsystematic,structural improvement is very tough-it does not win elections and history may not always treat it well as many decisions may not sound great in hindsight. Same holds good for SRT. His career span, total runs, average, centuries, 50s across tests/ODIs together may be an outlier and tough to do rather than the individual bits where you may have many more heroes. Interestingly nobody questions greatness if Viv/Lara miss out on some tables across various Ananth's posts-reserved for SRT only? [[ That seems to be the problem. Blind adoration on the one side and undeserved criticism on the other side. I get the feeling one automatically attracts the other. Ananth: ]]

  • Sivakumar/Silattur on November 29, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    Great stuff,However i would be happy see more indian test legends name.

  • Iain on November 29, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Love it ananth. My top 4 are all australian innings. ADMITTING BIAS Bradman 333 (300 of which in one day) Gilchrest 160 od v pakistan S Waugh 200 V WI M Waugh (score unsure) winning the test in SA on a crumbling pitch.

    On a side note I would love to see a ranking of batting partnerships, laxman & dravid calcutta, gilchrest & langer hobart, taylor & marsh (1989 ashes comes to mind. categories could include match saving, % by one batsmen, match winning, from a bad position like 5 for for 20.

  • shrikanthk on November 29, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    in all likelihood, Bradman's 334 was scored at better than a run a ball as well. After all, he scored over 300 of those runs in a day.

    No. Check out the scorecard. The balls faced information is available. 334 off 448 balls. Strike rate of 75. Over 120 overs were bowled on the first day, enabling the "300 in a day" achievement. It was a different era when the game was a lot more fast paced in terms of over-rates unlike the soporific pace of today!

  • Alex on November 29, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    @Ananth: I had been meaning to write this and Ash Zed's comment is a perfect cue. Recent analysis of the US economy debacle shows a vanishing middle class and a propensity of the society to try out radical things to "make it big" as opposed to working systematically to improve the position, which is considered a pitiful middle class character. The analysis argues for the re-establishment of a large segment of proper middle class for the US economy to improve. It made sense to me.

    Likewise, SRT's lack of the so-called outliers (100 in a session, 25+ runs in over, 300+ highest score) can be viewed as a major plus for the Indian cricket. He could have aggressively gone for it like Sehwag but refrained - either consciously or subconsciously. No need to pat him on back for it but no need to bash him for it either. All in all, he is not that far ahead of the next best but, together with Lara, is the best batsman of the 1989-2012 era ... that is a grand enough achievement. [[ To his credit, Tendulkar does not seem to have any problems in contributing silently and staying in the background. It is only the media and followers who do not give him the space, a space Dravid has been given. Ananth: ]]

  • jayantha on November 29, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    ananth i congratulate you for your hard work but i have following objections

    1) you always west your energy in searching records where sachin looks small as compared to lara, dravid or ponting.

    i am agreed that only one person can not be great in every scenario but sachin is greatest because

    1) he has dedication towards the game more than anybody else 2) he has played 22 years contenously 3) highest run getter in odi and tests.

  • Mike on November 29, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    Can you do a similar analysis on bowling too? Special wicket hauls or something?? Bowlers are usually missed. [[ My next article is on 5-wkt hauls in Tests. I can promise you that it will cover quite a few new angles. Ananth: ]]

  • Charudatta on November 29, 2011, 3:12 GMT

    I guess you have missed out on mentioning Mark Butcher's hundred in the 4th innings chasing Australia's big score.. [[ No, you have missed out on the criteria. Quite understandable. For the fourth innings, it is either 350+ runs chase or loss of 6 wkts or above. Butcher's chase was part of 315 for 4, missing on both counts. Anyhow I have referred to Butcher's innings in the narrative which comes after. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on November 29, 2011, 2:37 GMT

    Ganguly - 144 Brisbane - Made India believe that you don't go to Australia just to be rolled over

    Well. A lot depends on the kind of Australian team you are up against. If we're made to play against the Aus team of the 1999 vintage yet again, "being rolled over" will still remain a distinct possibility!

    Ganguly's 144 was against a rather iffy Aus attack bereft of McGrath and Warne. One mustn't forget that. A fine innings nonetheless. [[ This Aussie attack was quite a good one. Gillespie (24.55), MacGill (26.30), Bichel (30.28) and Bracken(debut), playing at home, led to 29.66 and a very good attack, top bg. Ananth: ]]

  • Oshada on November 29, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    Lara 153*, Jayawardene 123, Sangakkara 192, Greenidge 214*

    As you can probably tell, I'm a Sri Lankan fan :) [[ Finally the Lankans have started coming in. Ananth: ]]

  • pardeep on November 29, 2011, 2:30 GMT

    nice article ananth..but i only could find sachin 1 or 2 times in the tables.So does it mean that he is not a match winner.What would say? [[ What a comment. Comes just after the previous one diametrically opposite. Ananth: ]]

  • Ash Zed on November 28, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    It is very clear from your work you really want to promote some specific players. Your special mention is also reserved for your favourite players. Unfortunately you do not like any any criticism and it seems you believe whatever you have come up is absolute correct and can not be challanged..... Although the results show SRT as very insignificant player because I don't find him in any list for winning cause yet he is being praised as if he is better than everyone... Even Bradman and WG Grace..... just imagine someone with 50 test centuries but hardly any notable winning innings!!!!!! [[ Mr.Zed, you have made my day. Normally I am accused, by my countrymen, of not favouring Tendulkar. Ah! how many such comments have I received and answered. Now, for some strange unspecified reason, you have accused me of favouring Tendulkar. You have every right to hold your opinion and express those. However do not expect that evetryone should also have those. This is an article in which the facts have been stated without any bias. I suggest you read Ranga's comments. I do not know ahat your grouse is. Whatever it is, you have allowed that to cloud over your sense of understanding this. Anyhow I will now be accused by someone that I published this comment to put down Tendulkar. The plight of the columinst !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Anand T R on November 28, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    Two hundreds scored in a match

    why is dravid's 190 and 103 not out not included in this list.test number 1438 [[ Already asked and answered. Pl see earlier comments. Total below 300. Ananth: ]]

  • Deepak Shah on November 28, 2011, 17:00 GMT

    My four "quirky" choices Ganguly - 144 Brisbane - Made India believe that you don't go to Australia just to be rolled over Mudassar Nazar 114 Lahore - Cured my insomnia forever McCabe 232 Nottingham - I wouldn't like to argue with Bradman about batting Martin Donnelly 133 Lord's (Not quite a test match)...But allowed a cricket lover to die happy. [[ Donnelly's innings (Dominions vs England (1945), its quality notwithstanding but overshadowed by Miller's 185) prevents me from pushing this into the Readers' list. Ananth: ]]

  • Swapnil on November 28, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    amazing analysis as always. I think that Ponting's two hundreds in his 100th Test to win the match and series against South Africa should be included in section 10. [[ Fabulous pair of innings, no doubt. However the total of 263 falls 37 short of the qualification criteria. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 28, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    @Ananth: Sanath has not recd his share of limelight outside SL. As an MI fan, I always compensate for it. True, he needed some help from the track to be truly effective but even McGrath called him one of the 11 most important players of his era. His career was studded with all-time great demolition acts (340, 148, 131, 213, 189*, 85 off 26 balls, etc.) but I think the 253 was his finest hour. [[ I like Jayasuriya a lot DESPITE his MI connections. Ananth: ]] Astle's 222, Watto's 185*, and Smith's 173 deserve a category of their own. Dictionaries could use these as illustrations for the word "bewildering". Such remote possibility events materialize every once in a while with no good explanation and the 4-hour period in the recent SA-Aus test was possibly a case of this only. [[ One could extend this and include the 6 hours at Mumbai on 26 November 2011. Ananth: ]]

  • Vijay on November 28, 2011, 16:09 GMT

    MA Azharuddin 163* v RSA @ Kanpur (the next highest score in the Test was 61) deserves an honorable mention; Hazare's twin 100s v Australia are worth much more than SMG's 220+124 v a weak WI attack at Port of Spain; John Reid features once in your lists for his 100/159, but his 142/259 (v RSA) was also quite special; in all likelihood, Bradman's 334 was scored at better than a run a ball as well. After all, he scored over 300 of those runs in a day.

  • Victoria Baptiste on November 28, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Anantha, the request for readers participation as suggested here, would only end up just as what happened when they were asked to select the 'ALL TIME ELEVEN'. The biggest population that read Cric/Info is from the subcontinet and India especially. Hence, the responses were inevitably skewed to favour players from the subcontinent. The only how you may get a relatively fair take on the opinions, you may want to give equal allotments of responses to all the major countries where the sport of cricket is played. The whole Caribbean region would be seen as one country - to represent the West Indies. [[ Don't take this too seriously. There is no attempt to do some all time best 100s. This is just a way for the readers to open up. A wall on which they could paint what they want. Having said that you will agree that the readers' selections, even though over 50% from Indians, have been very fair and Lara's 153 is the leading innings. That shows that the discerning Indian fan appreciates greatness irrespective of the source. Ananth: ]]

  • AB on November 28, 2011, 12:33 GMT

    Always brilliant reading, Ananth. Qn - having chosen the criteria, maybe one could choose a weighting between them and a relative calibration within each so as to arrive at a weighted score across all criteria? This probably like what Wisden 100 list did, but also allows for an innings that just misses out on a bunch of criteria to get recognition (eg Bradman 270) I would guess on such methodology that Gooch's innings might well come out on top - as its present in quite a few of the extracts (but also Bannerman perhaps!). Anyway (and u dont have to include in your reader's lists as I know I am cheating).... (a) my four greatests in the post-Tendulkar era: Lara 153, Gooch 154, Laxman 281 and Dravid 232(?) at Adelaide (b) my four greatest in the post-Gavaskar era (my lifetime): Gavaskar 221, Botham 149, Border 98*/100*, Randall 150 (c) greatest I never saw but wish I could have: Hanif 337, Bannerman 165*, McCabe 232*, [[ I will take the first list. Ananth: ]]

  • sarvesh golechha on November 28, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    Very fascinating article, I love reading numbers :), in serial number 11, hundreds scored in each innings, you missed out on Rahul Dravid's effort against Pakistan which I think is an effort too good to leave out, I have copied the link of the scorecard. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64126.html.

    cheers [[ The criteria was 300 runs in the match. Ananth: ]]

  • Highveldhillbilly on November 28, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    G Smith's hundred to win the 3rd test in England in 2008. Surely one of the best 4 th innings hundreds I've ever seen, especially after SA were 90 or 100 odd for 4. Surprised it didn't meet make a list. I think it's cause you limited 4th innings 100s to a score of 350 or more. [[ However this innings has been mentioned as a special add-on one. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 28, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    @Ananth & Peter:

    1. Viv-Holding partnership was in an ODI: final 14 overs & 106 runs with Viv hitting 93 of those off 57 balls. Perhaps Ananth can give us a list of 100+ partnerships in which a batsman's share exceeded, say, 75%?

    2. In the entire international cricket history, I doubt if anything comes close to the Sanath-Fernando combo in Sananth's memorable 253 vs Pak. It was as game changing as the Viv-Holding partnership and even more one-sided. For the 9th wicket in an away match, they added 101 runs off 17 overs with Fernando contributing a glorious 1 run off 23 balls before getting out! This stuff was McCabe-FleetwoodSmith (FS contributing 5* to the 77 run last wicket partnership) raised to n-th degree. Had the batsman been SRT/Lara, Sanath's innings would have attracted as much press as any other. [[ I seem to have forgotten that innings. You are going to chastise me "how could you". I looked at the scorecard and reports. Jayasuriya almost carried his bat through. The two first innings were at par and then came this blitz. It was played away and opened the door for a win. Yes, I agree with you, a much underrated and unheralded innings. The Sri Lankan readers should really be pushing that innings. I think it deserves an honourable mention in the tables. Unlike Astle here everything was at stake. Ananth: ]]

  • Jaytirth on November 28, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    These tables should give shock to many Indian fans. Sehwag dominates the tables more than any other Indian (or should I say any other modern batsman). He has several huge scores unlike many bastmen who have only one. To make it more exciting for Indian fans many of them are against their arch rival Pakistan. You can also include one more table of highest test innings run record for every test playing nation and the result of the match.

  • Ranga on November 28, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    Is it possible to do a similar work on the great spinners who mesmerized the batsmen with their guile? I remember recently articles on pace bowlers, like they ruled day 1 with ball. I haven't seen as many articles on spin bowling (but for a tribute to Murli).

    Do you have plans of having such an analysis? [[ In fact my next article is a similar one on the 5-wicket hauls. And the possibilities foir bowlers are endless and more interesting than those for the batsman. Ananth: ]]

  • Kothandaram on November 28, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    wonderful work Ananth. lot of stats, analysis... there are so many great knocks to choose from.. Lara's 153 not out is among the best ever. Tendulkar's knock at WACA in 1991-'92 must qualify as one among the best knocks. Dravid's 270 is another. As for indians, there is none to beat laxman's 281 at Kolkata, which probably changed the course of Indian cricket

  • Kothandaram on November 28, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    My selection

    Lara 153*, VVS Laxman 281, ME Waugh 115, S Tendulkar 136

  • Ranga on November 28, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    @ My Previous comment: I stand corrected for my previous question as you had fitered out for wkts lost <9)> However, my observation(that you havent included anyone just for the heck of it) is still true!!!

    Interesting to note the absence of a solid 4th innings century from one of my favourite cricketers, Dravid. For all his exploits in absorbing pressure, he has not managed to set the 4th innings on fire. Equally pleasant was the surprise to find Sehwag having 6 entries (not 6 tables) out of the 12 categories . . . He played on flat pitches alright, but still he made them count. His 196 v Oz @ MCG was one of his best,of course not great bowling though (may not feature here, as it misses the cut-off as well).

    Interesting to note Test cricket's record kept getting better after the advent of ODIs (most of the records were improved after ODI Cricket was launched, highlighting the increase of result orientation in batsmen's mindset)

  • Jaytirth on November 28, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    Nice article. My favorites are 1. Laxman's 281: No one who watched it can forget it. India has lost the first test in Mumbai. Australia had won 16 test in a row. Bishen Singh Bedi had remarked that Indians have forgot how to play cricket. After the follow on in the second test everyone lost hope. No one will forget what Laxman did. Sadly Dravid's 180 are often eclipsed by it. 2. Lara's 153: I did not watch this match but read a lot about it. 3. Virendra Sehwag's 201: No match winners list can be complete without the name of Virendra Sehwag. A maverick batsman who scores at a rapid rate to give the often mediocre Indian bowlers enough time to take wickets. 4. Saeed Anwar's 188: A batsman who never got the credit he deserves. I think it is the same match when Akhtar struck Dravid and Tendulkar of consecutive balls. How we remember Akhtar but forgot Anwar.

    Jaytirth: Laxman 281, Lara 153, Sehwag 201, Anwar 188

  • Ranga on November 28, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    Ananth - Each time I read your articles, I'm extremely impressed by the unbiased approach. Table-1 would be a great proof, where you haven't brought in Lara,playing for a weakend WIN team, even as a special mention. He would have scored like that on quite a few occasions, but may have lost on the cut off. You could have mentioned as special entry, which you didnt. Knowing your admiration for the living legend, it wouldnt be seen biased at all by anyone. But you didnt. It surprises how some people still call you biased. By the way, his 375 out of 593 (63% - declared is also completed inns right?). I agree they werent all out but the inns was closed and complete right?. [[ That is a very nice compliment. No, I have been very particular to take only innings which were part of team innings of 9 or 10 wickets as otherwise the % of TS does not come in as something very very special (very apt, you can see). Ananth: ]]

  • Bob Loblaw's Law Blog on November 28, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    Going from the test matches I have seen my best 4 innings are: Lara's 153* vs Aus (of course) Laxman's 281 vs Aus Mark Talyor's 144 vs WI Mark Waugh's 116 vs SA and a special mention to Ijaz Ahmed's 137 vs Aus (as you can see these matches all involve Australia, but being Australian most of the matches i have sen involve Australia)

  • Karthik on November 28, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    Ananth- Great article again...I can now appreciate some of the important 100s scored well before my time. I'm spoilt by choice here and am frankly quite depressed to choose only 4. If my life depended only on 4, they would be: Lara 153*, Laxman 281, Gilchrist 149* and Botham 149, with Sachin's 136 just barely missing out for no fault of his.

    On the other hand, I'd have liked to see Sachin's 114 at Perth find a special mention in your list considering how young he was to play such a breathtaking innings on a lightning pitch in a match that was pretty much one-sided! [[ Kartik, I have not considered any first or second innings at all. So there was no scope or place to mention Tendulkar's Perth innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Peter on November 28, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    Always interesting to read these articles. Is India asleep as 2/3 comments are not about SRT (sarcasm if you haven't spotted).

    Still recall finishing golf and seeing Nathan Astle go ballistic. Magic. What readers may not realise is that due to injury the "number 11" was no less than Chris Cairns. England, despite having almost 100 runs spare at victory were starting to seriously have concerns. No pressure so not necessarily a great innings - but probably the most entertaining partnership of all time.

    Correction to the above - Viv Richards last wicket partnership with Holding in an ODI, surely the most spectacular ever.

  • anshu_n_jain on November 28, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    Hi Ananth,is the overall match RpW calculated INCLUDING the batsman's performance or excluding it? [[ It is the match RpW. Excluding the batsman's figures would have thrown all ratios out of sight. Ananth: ]]

  • Farooq Rasheed on November 28, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    Sachin's appearecne in 3 tables only prove that he is not a match winner. [[ No way such a conclusion can be derived. Many players do not have their names appearing. These are special tables and generalized inferences should not be drawn. Ananth: ]]

  • Abrar on November 28, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    1. Kamran Akmal made a hundred in Karachi when opposition bowler (Yusuf Pathan) took a Hatrick in first over of the match. I think thats happened only once in the history. [[ Possible, but I am not sure. Ananth: ]]

    2. Yasir Hamed and WR Hammond are the only ones who made hundreds in both innings in the history of game. [[ Not very clear what you are trying to say. Please be more specific. Ananth: ]]

  • D.V.C. on November 28, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    Should not Bannerman's innings also be on list 4? [[ Pl see earlier comments. He had retired hurt. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 28, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. Your work on yearly lists now on might help Cricinfo awards committees.

    2. Greenidge is best known for 214* & 134. His 226 is an overlooked gem. Aus fought WI keenly and WI was only 1-0 up entering the 4th test. After both teams bundled out for small totals, the 3rd innings saw Greenidge bat 12 hrs for 226 that won the match & the series. Aus would score a consolation win in the final test, thanks to two all-time classics: Waugh's 139* & Taylor's 144. Sanath's 253 was a solo act that squared the 2-test series.

    3. The prize for "the utterly ignored invaluable century in the last 5 years" must go to Dravid's 182 vs SL ('09).

    4. The two most surreal centuries I ever saw (this includes blinders from Viv, Gilly & Sehwag): Astle's 222 & IDS Smith's 173. These were "knocks" in the true sense of the word. The hitting was as bewildering as Watson's 185* in ODI's. I doubt anyone who saw these 3 innings will ever forget those. [[ I did not see Smith's innings but saw Astle's blitz. I was doing the Television shows and the Ind-Zim tour was on. Luckily March 16 2002 had a day/night game and I was in the hotel. The 3 hours of unbelievable mayhem, with the commentators telling that the innings had to end sometime but hoping for the greatest of miracles, was surreal. The story does not end with Astle. Chris Cairns, injured, comes in at no.11, scores 23 off 29 and helps add 118 for the last wicket. The innings scoring rate is 4.82. All off Caddick/Hoggard/Flintoff/Giles. I wish Ray Robinson had lived to tell the tale. After that Yuvraj's 80 off 60 in the evening seemed quite flat. And to boot, my fellow-show-participants, Charu, Paul Strang and Baig had missed the innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Vivek on November 27, 2011, 23:39 GMT

    Top 4: Tendulkar 146 vs RSA (2010) Lara 153 vs Australia (1999) Gilly's Second Fastest Hundred vs Eng Tendulkar 155 vs Australia 1998

  • Amritesh on November 27, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    Nice work done. Any chance of combining these results in just one table to get the best of all.Try formulating pressure index(bowling attack,wickets falling,runs trailing,players_strikerate / matchavg_strikerate,etc) centuries which added to a win should be given a slight advantage over wasted centuries.And if any case can you include penalties for dropped catches. Thanks [[ Tht is the Innings Ratings analysis which has been done quite a few times, including the Wisden-100, but will be done incorporating the 10-year accumulation of insights sometime early next year. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 27, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    @Ananth:

    1. I opt for naming 4 outstanding performances from class batsmen who often get easily forgotten:

    Slater's 123 vs Eng ('99), Greenidge's either 226 vs Aus ('90) or 134 vs Eng ('76), Taylor's 144 vs WI ('90), Sanath's 253 vs Pak ('04). [[ Since you have allowed me to select, I will plump for that stupendous single-hander from Greenidge, 134. Ananth: ]]

    2. On a bright note, Cricinfo now has nominees & winners for the best batting/bowling performances for every year. This helps recognize some gems before those are forgotten in favor of big names. Inexplicably, Gambhir's 150* (the best ODI batting of 2009, IMO) was not even nominated in 2009. However, thankfully, several best batting performance nominees of 2010 were sub-100 scores, including two from VVS: the eventual winner was his 96 vs SA. [[ Maybe I can do a year-end article on the performances. Ananth: ]]

  • Aaditya Aggarwal on November 27, 2011, 19:23 GMT

    I can only talk about innings that i have seen,so i will focus on the last decade.my selection- 1. laxman 281vsAus-it was an innings that changed the whole scenario of the game,and could be called as a turning point in india's improved performances in the last decade.he took the attacking option vs warne to a new level. 2. tendulkar 155vsSa-the wkt was seaming around,ind were 60-4,when sachin-sehwag added 220 in 45 overs against pollock,ntini,kallis(not no.1 attack,but certainly no pushovers).155 off 184 balls,& sachin attacked the bouncing ball not by hooking,but by using the pace & hitting over 3rd man.must have hit some 7-8 boundaries there.great counter-attack! 3. lara 213 vs aus,again an attacking inngs with a flamboyance only lara can play with.0-1 down,34-4 lara scored half the team's score.from a hopeless situation,helped WI win by almost an inngs. 4. slater 123 vs eng,1st time i was following the ashes,& the decider on knife's edge,& slats spanked eng into submission.

  • Trevor on November 27, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    1.Gooch 154 for the quality of the West Indies bowling attack. 2.Sachin Tendulkar 136 again for the quality of the bowling attack and his back pain. 3.Fredericks 169 For the shear entertainment value of the knock and the conditions, not to mention the bowling attack. 4.Laxman 281 For the shear magnitude of the knock orchestrating one of the greatest come-from-behind victories.

  • Zain Munawari on November 27, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    Absolutely superb article. Impressive work done by Anantha, great collection. Your article tells us that how interesting is test cricket. I love it. Extreme least amount of flaws, but it should be ignored.

    Over all, 5 Stars ***** for your articles.

    My top favorite 4 hundreds are:

    V.Sehwag's 293 v/s Sri Lanka V.Sehwag's 201 v/s Sri Lanka S.Anwar's 188 v/s India S.Broad 169 v/s Pakistan

  • Andrew B on November 27, 2011, 16:25 GMT

    To go alongside Laxman 281, Lara 153 and Gooch 154 as three great modern innings, I've opted for 4 great innings from further back:

    1. Jessop's 104 in 75 minutes out of 263-9 (1902), 2. Sutcliffe's 135 on a sticky wicket at Melbourne (1929), 3. McCabe's 232* at a run a minute in 1938 - if Barnes and Bradman call an innings the best of all time, that's good enough for me, 4. Harvey's 151* at Durban in 1950. [[ Ray Robinson's writing on the three McCabe innings is probably the best Cricket writing I have ever read. A great selection. Ananth: ]]

  • Rex on November 27, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    Hi Ananth- long time since I commented on any of your articles. I have been reading them often though.

    Good article- gives us an overview of the most useful Test centuries around. A century not falling into any of those categories would have been a pointless one.

    Can you tell me why Tendulkar's maiden century at Old Trafford in 1990 didn't make it to the list of 4th innings match-savers?

    Chasing 408, he came in at 109/4 (which soon became 183/6) scored an unbeaten 119* against a good attack (England thumped India in the 1st Test at Lords setting a similar target).

    I believe this is one his most under-rated hundreds and that it is merely known to many as his maiden hundred.(That is, not many remember the match situation or the value of this hundred) [[ As I have explained quite a few times, this is not an Innings Rating exercise. So coming in at 109 for 4 type of facors do not come in. This is a peculiar situation. The conditions are either 150+ scores or 100+ and 7-wkts or more lost. In this case Tendulkar scored 116 and India scored 343 for 6. However looking at the situation, away, 17-year old player on his first tour, this innings deserves a special inclusion. Will do so. Ananth: ]]

    And here's my fav 4: Laxman 281, Sehwag 201*, Tendulkar 103*, Gooch 154*

    I just picked hundreds that I have personally seen. I haven't seen Lara's 153* or many of the other gems on here. (I did follow Clarke's 151 on Cricinfo)

  • arijit on November 27, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    A little surprised that Bradman's 270 didn't make any of the lists. Wasn't it picked the No. 1 Test innings in history by Wisden (and didn't you draw up the list)? Sorry if I am misinformed on any of these points. [[ Yes, I was the creator of that table. The funny thing is that Bradman's 270 does not qualify on any of the selected conditions. Aus 200/9, Eng 76/9 decl. Aus leads by 124 runs. Bradman sends his bowlers in and comes in at 97 for 5 and scores 270. Unfortunately this innings does not qualify under any category. The match RpW was 35.4. England BQI was a good but insufficient 28.63. As a special entry, probably yes. That is all. Ananth: ]] Also, it's eye-opening how many crucial lists Gooch's 154 qualifies for. He remains underrated because of our tendency to value overall consistency far far above a player's ability to reach sublime heights at his best.

  • Sarath on November 27, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    My entries would be Bradman's 103* Bodyline. And my pick over last Laxman's 281, Lara's 153*,Sachin's 136,Ponting's 156 in Old Trafford. Kallis twin 100s in CT this year deserves a mention. I wish there was a table where batsman scored 100s despite injuries. Like Laxman's 100 in SL last yr, Kallis earlier this year, Sachin's 136 so on. But it's a tall order to get such info!! Great work :)

  • Ashtung on November 27, 2011, 11:49 GMT

    Great work Ananth. Being a huge Sachin fan, it was a tad disappointing to not see his name appear more often. Notwithstanding, I understand it's all a statistical exercise and hence contains no room for emotional bias.

    For the 9th table, I understand you cannot include the number of balls played but can the amount of time spent on the wicket be included? To me, it's an almost fair alternative to number of balls faced. Furthermore, I'm quite confident that it will include 2 of my favorite match saving efforts - Gambhir's Napier grind and Mike Atherton's 185* against SA. [[ Even the minutes played is not available for many matches. Ananth: ]]

    My picks - Laxman 281, Lara's 153*, KP's 2005 Ashes century (don't remember his score) and Sachin's 136 [[ Pietersen made 158, his favourite score !!! Ananth: ]]

  • RNZ on November 27, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    If you would know how much embarrassment that defeat would have caused and how tough the situation was, with last 2 players, you would have included Inzamam's 138 as an epic match saving and match winning century as your selection [[ What do I do but laugh. Instead of suggesting that I select Inzamam's 138, a truly wonderful innings, as my selection, why would not you do a selection of your own and put this innings as the first one. I would gladly add this in the Readers' selection. You should not imply that my selection of Lara's 153, Gilchrist's 149 and Mark Waugh's 116 are in any way biased against or for any entity. All have been played by non-Indians. It is almost certain that if I had made 5 selections, Inzamam's innings would have come in. Ananth: ]]

  • Rakesh on November 27, 2011, 10:53 GMT

    Laxman 281, Lara 153*, Sehwag 201, Tendulkar 136 - Rakesh

    As an Indian fan I watched 3 of those centuries and they were pretty impressive considering the attack they faced and the conditions. Lara's was also backs to the wall stuff.

    Only two other centuries I loved watching more are the Astle 222 and gilchrist 167 both in the last innings in an awesome counterattack. Astle's innings came with short boundaries(though his striking was awesome) and gilchrist got the benefit of the umpires many times during that innings.

  • Raghav Bihani on November 27, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    Ananth: Great article as usual.

    Since all my favourite 100s are already included by you and covered by readers I will mention a collection of 50s which I loved more than most hundreds.

    1. Dravid 81 & 68, Kingston, WI 2006. (He had the top 2 scores of the match). Shows the grit and resolve of the criketer to fight it out. The match defined him THE WALL.

    2. Sehwag 83 vs England, Chennai 2008. Sheer audacity. It changed the way India chased down totals in tests. Also put fear in minds of captains looking to declare.

    3. Laxman 96 vs SAF, Durban, 2010. (He nearly had the top 2 scores of the match). Elegance personified. Everyone struggled and VVS looked as if he was playing on a different pitch.

    4. Gavaskar 96 vs Pakistan, Bangalore, 1987. Determination not to give up. One of his best.

    Extra: Ganguly 98* vs SL, Kandy 2001

    I know my selection is strictly Indian, but I would love to know about innings from others. Can a program bring out these lovely fifties from the mountain of data. [[ Tough to work out the criteria for 50s selection. I tried a few options. Did not seem to work out. Let us see. Ananth: ]]

  • rachit on November 27, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    my 4

    1. Sachin's 136 India at chennai ... the greatness of the innings is often diminished by the fact that India lost ... but isin't that the real charm ... i find it amazing ... in most cases, greatness get magnified when other around you fail, but the opposite happened in this case ... this innings according to me has the same touch as bradman's almost 100 average, and at the risk of being killed, sachin ending his career at 99 hundrers ... 2. Gooch's 154 - possibly the highest quality innings, if not the best innings ever ... 3. lara's 213 (in the match preceding 153) .. in terms of sheer quality, this innings is almost equal to 153 ... and this came in the very next innings after they were shot out for 51 ... so the stakes were a little higher i guess ... 4. Laxman's 281 - takes the cake over botham's 149 ... people almost always think of the circumstances .. follow on and stuff ... but the boqling attack was almost invincible .. mcgrath, warne, gillespie at his peak .. [[ Excellent collection. Ananth: ]]

  • Nyameko on November 27, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    I am puzzled as to why Greame Smith's 156 against England in 2008 to win a series away for the 1st time is 33 years is not included here against a good attack?? Anyway super article [[ Almost similar to the Raghunath comment. Smith exceeds 150 runs, the chase less than 300 runs and won with 5 wickets to spare. Probably like Harvey, deserves a special mention. Ananth: ]]

  • shrikanthk on November 27, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    Bradman was up against 4 of the 5 best English bowlers of Bradman's era before the war! Verity didn't play only because the pitch was so bouncy and England wanted to see blood on the pitch and they did by breaking Oldfield's skull and Woodfull's chest

    This is not entirely accurate. The Melbourne pitch was pretty flat and favoured spin! Bill O'Reilly won the game for Australia with a 10 wicket haul.

    England misjudged the pitch and thus left out Verity to play 4 quick bowlers. This was the only time Bradman faced a four-pronged pace attack in his career.

    Also, Larwood had problems with his foot during this innings which reduced his effectiveness. Not to take away anything from Bradman though. A great innings. Period.

    By the way, Woodfull and Oldfied were struck on the heart and head respectively during the Adeleide test which followed. Not in the Melbourne test.

  • Sandeep on November 27, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    my selection will be sehwag vs Sl 201* laxman vs aus 281 dravid vs pak 270 sehwag vs aus 151 top 2 match winning rest two match saving. [[ India-centric, but a wonderful quartet neverthless. Ananth: ]]

  • IG on November 27, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    Hi Ananth,

    A fine piece to continue the thought process from the previous article. While table no. 4 (carrying the bat), by its own nature can only account for Opening batsmen, I have a concern about table -2 - hundreds scored at less than a run-a-ball. I believe figures for exact number of balls faced are not available for matches played before the 70s, with only no. of minutes at the crease accounted for. Did you consider such innings' (extrapolating minutes at the crease to balls faced) for table no.2? And if you did, did you find any innings that might have been worth a mention? It's just that I feel this table will obviously include names for whom records of number of balls faced is available. (I believe once Charles Macartney once scored 151 in 172 minutes for England v Australia, Headingley in 1926, which might have taken less than Trescothik's 151 in 148 balls). [[ This is an occupational hazard, the number of Tests for which the balls played information is not available. Re Macartney, extrapolating, I can see nearly 120 overs bowled on the first day, during which 366 runs were scored. The 3-hour innings would have required about 60 overs and Macartney should have scored at or better than run-a-ball. Ananth: ]]

    My top 4 hundreds would be:- Lara 153* vs Aus ,Atherton 185* vs SA, Hughes 100* vs WI, Laxman 281 vs Aus

  • VJRaghunath on November 27, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Hi Ananth 1950 january-Durban SA 311(Eric Rowan 143).Australia 75 all out(Tayfield 7wkts) SA99 all out.Australia requiring 336 get it losing 5 wkts-Neil Harvey 156 not out against Tayfield,Mann and McCarthy-one of the finest hundreds and best 4th innings in test cricket. Does it not qualify because they won by 5 wkts? Raghunath [[ Yes. If you look at the selection statement carefully, it reads "wkts>=6 || runs>349". In other words a tough chase either because 6 or more wickets had been lost or more than 350 runs had to be scored. This innings falls just below. But Harvey's innings deserves inclusion especially because the innings itself exceeds 150. I will include it. Incidentally this Test bears a very close resemblance to the recently concluded first Test. Reasonable first and fourth innings and two sub-100 middle innings. Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 27, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    My 4 are Gavaskar 121 in Delhi v/s 1983 West Indies; Sobers 132 in Brisbane, 1960; Fredericks 169 in Perth; Azhar Mehmood 132 v/s South Africa in Durban. All unique. These are some of the less famous knocks also. The first three were exceptionally fast centuries considering the bowling and the times (1960 century of Sobers was a game changer after a decade of slow scoring), and the last was a unique effort with the tail. [[ When my Wisden-100 table rated Azhar Mehmood's 132 in the 7th position, this was the innings, along with Clem Hill's 188, which I had to explain to many people. One modern classic which many people were unaware of. What happened to Azhar. He played 21 Tests and had three top quality hundreds, all against South Africa. Trust Pakistan to somehow squander away talent like Azhar's. Ananth: ]]

  • kedar on November 27, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    Great article Ananth..

    I don't know if this is the right place to post this..but I was wondering if this is possible for Cricinfo..

    Some people believe that in ODIs, Tendulkar slows down his innings when he approaches a century..is there a way to get some stats on his strike rate from 0-85 and 85-100 in his centurion innings? [[ Not with my database. I do not have and do not have access to the ball-by-ball database. I will forward your request to Rajesh, the Stats Editor. My gut feel is that the window of 85-100 is too narrow. Also it is the pattern for players to have a slower start and then speed up. It may be a better idea to compare the scoring rates for hundreds, for the career and the non-100 innings, which I myself can do, will do and post the figures. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 27, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    @Ananth & shrikanthk: I don't understand why the readers are asked to contribute (if they want) at most 4 "best" innings. That is futile since it tough enough to choose 200 "best" innings. You had articles on the best 1st/2nd/3rd/4th innings, and each recd over 100 suggestions from the readers (I batted heavily for Ranji's 154* back then and it still did not make the cut). Those are very good suggestions and can help you revise the Wisden 100. So, I fail to understand why readers are now encouraged to nominate 4 "best" innings. [[ For once, Alex, you are off the mark. Where have I said that ereaders should nominate the four "best" innings. I have asked readers to come out with their own selections. That is all. Until now not one selection of four has been similar to someone else's. This is not a silly popularity poll from which I would do a compilation and nominate one as the best innings. I would have to have lose most of my marbles before contemplating such a process. If your four are "Agarkar's 100, Redmond's 100, Symcox's 100 and AL Mann's 100", I would respect your selection as quirky but your own in terms of unlikely hundreds and publish the same. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi M on November 27, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    ..

    My apologies about the "blood" part!

    Woodfull got hit under the heart at MCG, but Oldfield's skull incident was Adelaide in the next Test!

  • Ravi M on November 27, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    ..

    [continues]

    4. Doug Walters 104* vs NZ @ Auckland, in 1974

    To put that innings in perspective, 18 wickets fell on day 1 for 306 runs when Walters made that attacking 100 against Sir Richard's bowling on wet pitch after the curator let the watering of the pitch too late in its preparation!

    Walters went in to bat at 4 for 37; and scored an unbeaten 104 off 138 balls with 15 FOURs. In the first two innings of the Test, only 3 other batsmen scored more than 13; and nobody else made even a 50!

    Not to mention, series was leveled!

    Honourary mention:

    Bruce Laird's 122 against WSC West Indies (attack: Holding, Roberts, Croft & Collis Kind). Laird opened the batting and Australia were 5 for 32 at one stage with other 5 scoring: 1 (Ian), 7, 7 (Greg Chappell), 2, 3!!!!

  • Navin Agarwal on November 27, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    My selection are as following 1.Laxman 281 2.Lara 153* 3.Gooch 154* 4.Dravid 270 [[ I would be proud to own this selection. Ananth: ]]

    Laxman because he turned the Indian fortune to make it No.1 side 9 years later. Lara was simply great. Gooch did not watch it but since Wisden top-100 in 2001 had learned so much that cant keep it out.Dravid's 270 made sure that gates were shut on Pakistan for India's first series triumph on their soil.(Though his 148 at Headingley was much braver innings).

  • Ravi M on November 27, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    ..

    [continues]

    When Aus were 9 for 155, Hughes was on 71. Kim played some marvellous strokes, reaching his hundred with a breath-taking square cut for 4 off Garner in the series opener. As always, DK Lillee captured the day by bowling King Richards off the last ball of Boxing day, leaving West Indies at 4 for 10 - before going on to break Lance Gibbs' Test record of 309 wickets by taking his last career 10-fer! Once again, only win for Australia in the series.

    3. Allan Border's 100* (& 98*) vs WI @ Port of Spain, in 1984

    If a career can be defined by one match, this was IT for AB!

    98* and 100* in almost 600 balls spanning 11 hours against Marshall, Garner & Wayne Daniel in Port of Spain without offering a single chance to keep the series alive.

  • Ravi M on November 27, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    ..

    1. Bradman's 103* vs Eng @ MCG (during bodyline)

    40 wickets for 727 runs in a match involving Bradman, Hammond, Sutcliffe, McCabe should tell enough about the pitch!

    Bradman was up against 4 of the 5 best English bowlers of Bradman's era before the war! Verity didn't play only because the pitch was so bouncy and England wanted to see blood on the pitch and they did by breaking Oldfield's skull and Woodfull's chest.

    Worth noting that Bradman was bowled for a (golden) duck in the first innings (for him) of the bodyline Test. Obviously, nobody else scored a 100! Only two innings of 35+ from both sides. Series-levelling 100 and was the only Test Australia won in that entire series!

    2. Kim Hughes' 100* vs WI @ MCG, in 1981

    This time, 782 runs for 40 wickets in a match involving Border, King Richards, Haynes, Lloyd! Walking in at 3 for 8, and soon 4 for 26! Forget all that!

    Bowling attack of: Holding, Roberts, Garner, Croft at bouncy and pacy MCG!

  • shrikanthk on November 27, 2011, 3:13 GMT

    Good to see my boyhood idol Mark Waugh featuring in these tables. A very underrated player who probably hit as many match-winning hundreds as anybody else during the 90s, generally against better attacks.

    There was a commonly held belief in those days that when Mark Waugh hits a test century, Australia cannot lose. And they seldom did!

    If only he had the hunger to make big hundreds (which he never did), he'd have a much better average. [[ The casual manner of batting camouflaged the inside which had as much steel as his elder brother. Ananth: ]]

    A great 3rd innings hundred that's not there on the list is Ranji's 154* on debut at Old Trafford in 1896. Agree it doesn't satisfy your criteria. But it's worth a mention given that he had little support at the other end and the follow-on rules were different then.

    Must've been a great innings under pressure. There was a lot of racial opposition to his playing in that test. It's too amazing for words really that a colored Indian man was allowed to play for the mother country when Queen Victoria was still enthroned! [[ Yes, I can see where this comes from. Following on 181 behind, scoring more than 50% of the team's total and almost setting up an England win. Unfortunately this selection will require complex multi-factor work which I have stayed away from. Ananth: ]]

  • Amit on November 27, 2011, 3:07 GMT

    Ananth, yet another wonderful analysis. My comments/suggestions: 1. Filter out dead rubber centuries (for example laxmans 167). With very little at stake, these should not be rated. 2. Surprised to see so little of Kallis. You might want to include a category that gives special weightage to the context of the century. For eg: Kallis's hundred to practically save the series single handedly on a very difficult pitch after his side was effectively 60-5 on day 4 against #1 team India early in 2011 should have been in the list. (Which was also his second century of the match). [[ Amit, this is not a Innings Ratings analysis. It is a collection of tables containing special hundreds. As and when I do an Innings Ratings work all these factors will come in. Anyhow what is a dead rubber. If you saw the last Tests of the Eng-Ind and Ind-Win series the last Tests had something at stake. Ananth: ]] 3. Tendulkars 118 at Melbourne in 1999 was against possibly one of the best quality of bowling ever (Mcgrath, Fleming, Warne and Lee, who was lethal on his debut).Not sure why this didn't make it. Thanks Amit [[ The Australian attack was very good and came in with a BQI of 24.89, just above the cut-off. Lee's debut Test so he gets his career avge which is 30.82. This pulls down the BQI. The other three were 25.41, 23.77 and 22.90. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi M on November 27, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    ..

    Nice work again, Ananth!

    Since a few others are going to mention, I'm gonna "ignore" Harvey's 151* against South Africa in 4th innings and Bradman's 270 in the 3rd Test against England when they were 0-2 in the series! Scorecards should explain the brilliance of both innings. But, it'd be interesting note that that was the only series in which Australia lost a Test match (or two) under Bradman's captaincy when batsGOD himself managed to bat at least once in the Test! ;)

    Best 4 amongst the ones that aren't listed so far (tough, but just going with the ones that came to my mind):

    Bradman 103*, Hughes 100*, Border 100*, Walters 104*

    1. Bradman's 103* vs Eng @ MCG (during bodyline) 2. Kim Hughes' 100* vs WI @ MCG, in 1981 3. Allan Border's 100* (& 98*) vs WI @ Port of Spain, in 1984 4. Doug Walters 104* vs NZ @ Auckland, in 1974

    Brief description for each innings is to follow:

  • Andrew on November 27, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    Great Article, many thanks. Been watching Test cricket since the early 90's. My top four hundreds are:

    1. Lara 153* v Australia 2. Trescothick 180 v S. Africa 3. S. Waugh v England (forgot the score - got the hundred in the last over of the day - Sydney I think). 4. KP v Australia '05 - 158. [[ At Sydney, during 2003, Steve Waugh scored 102 when Gilchrist also scored a 133 in 121 balls. Pl confirm whether you mean that. For the time being I will keep S Waugh and leave the score yet to be filled. Ananth: ]]

  • Ravi on November 26, 2011, 22:42 GMT

    Ananth, what a fantastic article. This one brings out some real batting gems. Do the following qualify? Ponting 120&143* vs SAF 2006 [#1780] Ponting 103&116* vs SAF 2006 [#1792] Ponting 149&104* vs WI 2006 [#1769] Inzamam 109&100* vs Eng 2005 [#1772] Dravid 110&135 vs Pak 2005 [#1741] [[ Ravi, these are all two hundreds in a match. These do not meet the 300-run cut-off. If you want to send your selections, those should be individul hundreds. Ananth: ]]

  • David on November 26, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    Bannerman shouldn't be included in table 4: he retired hurt at seven down and didn't resume his innings. [[ Thanks, David. This is similar to Greenidge's case, as pointed out by Arijit and Gavaskar's as pointed out by Gerry. I have since removed all three innings. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on November 26, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    May I strike a personal note? I work on a newspaper desk and leave office around 3-4am, which means I would ordinarily have entirely missed watching Lara's 153*. In late March 1999, however, I was laid low very badly with chicken pox. Amid the pain and fatigue, switched the TV on in the evening meaning to watch for an hour or so. Lara kept me awake till the early hours --- to my family's consternation. Even today I am thankful to the virus. [[ I too stayed up and watched every ball. Died a thousand (okay, 120) deaths during the last 20 overs. I gave up when Ambrose was dismissed. How Walsh survived those 5 balls, is still the greatest miracle. Ananth: ]]

  • Alok on November 26, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    Lovely article once again!

    As much as statistics are part of the context of an innings or a game, I think they can't form the whole of it. It is difficult to pick *only* four great centuries, and as an Indian born in the eighties, I fear my choices will seem too obvious. Lara 153*, Laxman 281, Tendulkar 103* and Botham 149.

    Yet, I think cricket's two most significant centuries are may not seem so obvious statistically, but they are significant because of what happened next: Basil D'Oliveira's 158 (at the Oval) and Kapil Dev's 175 (at Tunbridge Wells). Without that century, D'Oliveira's case to be included in the team on pure cricketing terms could possibly not have been made, and without Kapil's century, 1983 would never have happened.

    Perhaps a column on centuries that changed the game, and maybe, the world as we know it? (: [[ Unfortunately, a very subjective term of reference. Ananth: ]]

  • Sandeep on November 26, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    Another excellent analysis. It is always the special hundreds that fans remember- not the boring ones in tall scoring matches where even the 3rd innings does not get completed. Lara's 400 does not find a place in any list and just as well, as it had no impact on the match. [[ I differ slightly. If you see the scorecards carefully, the 375 was a no-value innings while the 400 match was almost won, but for Lara's own dropping of Vaughan at 23. Ananth: ]]

    Btw how about another selection criteria- hundreds that resurrected careers. You could include top batsmen whose careers were on a downward spiral with no tons in more than a year, and then, one ton propels their career forward. Mark Taylor's ton against England and Lara'a 213 which preceded his unforgettable 153 agaianst Australia come to mind.

  • Manohar on November 26, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    When are you going to do a similar one for bowlers? [[ Will do soon. Let us say, before the end of the year. Ananth: ]]

  • Syed Mustafa on November 26, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    Grant and Andy Flower's hundreds against a Pakistani attack comprising of the two Ws in 1994-95 cannot be left out especially considering the fact that it enabled the babes of Test cricket to win their 1st Test. Similarly, Aamer Sohail's 105 against Craig McDermott, Glen McGrath and Shane Warne the same season was scored when Pakistan had their backs against the wall. Aamer had a stiff neck and hence came in at no. 7 and shared a 196-run stand with Saleem Malik to save the match (and the series) for Pakistan [[ If these are your selections, pl form a single line of 4 selections as done by Boll, Yogesh et al. Ananth: ]]

  • Yogesh on November 26, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    For what it is worth, my four in my preferred order : Tendulkar 136, Gilchrist 149*, Laxman 281, Damien Martyn 104.

    If the same question had been put to me some other time, except for Tendulkars and Laxmans, I would come up with different names. Lara's 153*. Ponting's 156. Sehwag's 201*. Kallis's 109*, Azhar's 109, G. Smith's 154*, Clarke's 151 and many more.

    Nice article Ananth. Though i would be happy to see your articles starting without disclaimers of unbiasedness et al. I understand that there are accusations of bias et al but are they going to change despite your explanations ? [[ While this may be an irritant to a few readers, I have at least managed to reduce such comments. One reason why this is constantly emphasized. If I never read any of the comments, as many Cricinfo columnists do, I would never bother. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on November 26, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    @Ananth: Super article.

    1. Table 3 can be improved by adding one more column: ratio computed using RpW of the stronger side (stronger = more RpW in that match). This discounts big 100's scored vs poor teams. [[ I am not ure about this. Since my next article is on "Batting performances by Pitch quality", a long-awaited article, I have been looking at RpWs, since this is the single defining measure. The match RpW is the only correct basis. Take the first Saf-Aus Test. The middle two innings' RpW value is 7.1, a way-out figure.. The first and last innings' RpW value is 43.3, again way-out, for the match. On the other hand, the match RpW is 18.9, almost perfect, placing Clarke's and Amla/Smith's innings in perspective. Still better is the Top-7 batsman match RpW, which is 23.4. Ananth: ]] 2. Table 9 could include 3rd innings enforced by follow on. Gambhir's 11-hour classic certainly saved the match vs NZ. [[ Let me see. The bar is now 250. If I change to 200 there would be many entries. However in Gambhir's case, it was not this deficit which was the problem. That was 314. It was the size of his innings, 137. The cut-off is 160. Only way out is to look at Blls faced. Then wnat about such efforts during 1950s. A conundrum. The 155 was suggested only as an example. The 136 was against a much better bowling attack. Ananth: ]] 3. You suggested SRT's 155 as an example. It is an excellent but majorly hyped up innings, IMO.

  • Altamash on November 26, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    Nice article Ananth, the selection criteria in most cases is easily understandable and the numbers do most of the explaining.

    I like the fact that you have included Viv Ricahards fastest century in Table number 2. But the fact that the fastest century was just a special mention at the end of the table suggests that the criteria can be modified or improved.

    I suggets that in addition to 250+ score, centuries scored at a strike rate of 150+ should also be included (I am sure it will not make the table too long). Otherwise the Table should be named "Only big hundreds at better than a run a ball". [[ Not a problem at all. It can be a either or selection. Will update the table by morning. Ananth: ]]

  • Amol on November 26, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    Great Analysis! I think it's going to take multiple readings to get it completely. For now just a couple of comments: 1. In list #6 I was looking for Tendulkar's 176 at Kolkata against WI in 2002 and also Laxman's 100 in the same innings. Any reason that's not there? [[ The arrears faced by India was only 139. Ananth: ]] 2. I also wonder how Gavaskar's or M Amarnath's 1983 centuries against WI don't figure in list #5. Similarly Tendulkar's Melbourne 100 in 1999 or his 1992 centuries in RSA. [[ In 1983, the Windian BQI values are 24.3, 26.6, 24.1 and 30.6. Excellent attacks but outside the cut-off value of 23.0. At Melbourne Australia BQi was 24.9. Again very good, but outside. Ananth: ]] 3. M Waugh's Port Elizabeth 100 in 1997 not in list #9 for some reason? (In fact that 100 is so similar to SRT's at Chennai in 1999. I guess the difference is only what the remaining players did after the main guy got out) [[ Mark Waugh's 116 was in a winning cause and is in table 7. It is in fact one of my three selections in this table. Table 9 refers to match saving innings. Ananth: ]]

  • arijit on November 26, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    Ananth, regarding Greenidge's 154* out of 550 in table 4, are you sure he carried his bat? Cricinfo scorecard says "retired not out" while it later has Andy Roberts not out with 1. The fall-of-wickets shows 1-296 (Haynes) followed by 1-301* (Greenidge, retired not out). I checked because Greenidge appeared not the sort of batsman to have plodded to 154 while his team-mates blasted 396 at the other end. I remember Greenidge retiring in a Test to attend to his ailing daughter after a massive partnership with Haynes, but don't remember if it was this Test. [[ I think this time I have to accept your suggestion. For me remaining not out is both "not out" and "retired hurt". For this table, I should have developed my selection parameter as "batsman_notout = notout" and not "batsman_notout = noy out or retired hurt". Silly oversight, but easy to do. Will remove Greenidge's entry since he has "retired hurt" and is not "not out" unlike Gavaskar, as pointed out by Gerry, who has remained "not out". Probably I would remove both. Ananth: ]]

  • Gaur on November 26, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    Great effort, as usual, Ananth.

    My selection: Lara 153* at Barbados vs Aus Tendulkar 136 at Chennai vs Pak (2Ws, Saqlain, Afridi, Nadeem) VVS 281 at Eden Gardens vs Aus Sehwag 201* at Galle vs SL [[ India-centric, but your selection will be respected and given its due place. Ananth: ]]

    PS: IMHO, fate / fortune played a part in separating Lara' brilliant, matchwinning 153* from Tendulkar's 4th innings epic 136. Healy dropped Lara off Gillespie when ~8 runs were needed, and the edge off McGrath just went past 1st slip when 3 were needed. On the other hand, Tendulkar (battling back spasms) was caught off Saqlain's doosra by Akram at mid-off when 17 were needed, and thereafter India's last 3 wickets collapsed for 4 more runs. Tendulkar made more than 50% of the target (271) after coming in at 6/2 and then seeing India fall to ~80/5, but the rest of the side made only 122. A great Test match despite the tragic finish for Indian fans.

  • Faraz on November 26, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    In the table where batsmen with two centuries in the same match I find it surprising that Javed Miandad'd name does not appear. He cracked 104 and 103* in what was the 1000th Test Match in the history of test Cricket against NZ in 1984-85. Can you have a look at it? [[ The cut-off is 300 runs from the two innings combined. Ananth: ]]

  • rachit on November 26, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    Hi ananth .... great work as always .... awesome amount of hard work ... i have no conflicts with nething written in the article ... just 1 query ... where does dravid's 180 in kolkata fit in the list of great innings??? just because laxman made 100 more runs (in a way it is just the number of runs that makes laxman's innings the best 3 of all time), does not mean dravid's effort is completely sidelined to a mere statistical detail .. it surely is (in my opinion) dravid's 2nd greatest innings (behind the twin 60s in bridgetown 2006) ... i personally would keep 232 at adelaide behind them as the bowling attack was not great ... we have seen how the absence of a certain mcgrath from the auusie team inspired the opposition men (edbagston 2005 being the best example) ... [[ No one consigns Dravid's innings to the sideline. However it must be agreed that 100 runs is a lot. Ananth: ]]

  • zero_knowledge on November 26, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    even though you have limited it to scores above 150 i'd also like to add rahul dravid's 146* in the oval against england to the carrying bat through the innings section as he isn't a regular opener and also the bowling attack was pretty good [[ The better idea is for you to contribute to the Readers' Entries selection. Ananth: ]]

  • zero_knowledge on November 26, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    did rahul dravid's 190 and 103* in hamilton miss out the two hundreds in a match due to a 300 runs total cutoff? [[ Yes, the line had to be drawn somewhere. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashok on November 26, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    I've been dying to get some stats. Let me know if you're okay with me asking for some stats from you. Take it as an "audience-request-for-an-article"

  • Boll on November 26, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    A maximum of four? Hmmm - a little like sitting in the restaurant of the gods and being allowed a taste of only four dishes...and upon finishing wishing you`d ordered the lamb chops, or the garlic mushrooms, or the oysters naturale with a bit of lemon. Ah well, here I go. In no particular order, without explanation or apology, with an obvious bias towards those I watched live, with the great Dizzy Gillespie`s Double Ton still clear in my mind, here they are.

    Botham 149, SR Waugh 200, Lara 277, Laxman 167 - Dave Bollen [[ Being in a position of some control, I have nicely taken the way out by distributing my selections across the article. The wrong hundreds for the two L's, but there lies the charm. Yours will be the first RE in. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashok on November 26, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Fantastic article and stats Ananth. It surely does help in opening people's eyes that no of hundreds is not so important when compared to situations under which the hundreds are scored. Having a good technique and punching the best of the balls to the boundary does is eye catching but should not get anyone the "status-of-god".

  • Avinash on November 26, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    Yet again ,a confirmation that V.Sehwag is among the greatest(if not the greatest) watch winners of all times. An analysis of the one day format on the same lines would be interesting too.

  • Dinesh on November 26, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Hi Ananth, A very nice article indeed.but i think u should have considered the both number of balls faced/Runs scored for TABLE 6 because this will include the low runs scored by Gambhir in Napier,though he played 430 balls thats almost 70 overs and saved the match for india and will include all those which are mentioned in the above table..in this way u can get more number of innings.Jus think about this suggestion. [[ I have made this comment quite a few times. Balls played info is available only for about 25% of tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 26, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    A typically biased article from you Ananth, obviously designed to highlight your usual favourites - Read, Astle and Morris. [[ Let the tongue come off the cheek !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 26, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    Very interesting. I feel Gavaskar's 100 should be removed from table 4 as he retired hurt, then came back, then stayed not out. So not a genuine case of carrying the bat. [[ No, Gerry, I am not going to do it. The scorecard says Gavaskar not out 166 and the scorecard (the official file) does not have the retired hurt information. What you say is almost certainly true but I am going to leave this in since what do I know what happened in one of the earlier Tests. How do I verify. Pl let go of this. Ananth: ]]

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  • Gerry_the_Merry on November 26, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    Very interesting. I feel Gavaskar's 100 should be removed from table 4 as he retired hurt, then came back, then stayed not out. So not a genuine case of carrying the bat. [[ No, Gerry, I am not going to do it. The scorecard says Gavaskar not out 166 and the scorecard (the official file) does not have the retired hurt information. What you say is almost certainly true but I am going to leave this in since what do I know what happened in one of the earlier Tests. How do I verify. Pl let go of this. Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on November 26, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    A typically biased article from you Ananth, obviously designed to highlight your usual favourites - Read, Astle and Morris. [[ Let the tongue come off the cheek !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Dinesh on November 26, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Hi Ananth, A very nice article indeed.but i think u should have considered the both number of balls faced/Runs scored for TABLE 6 because this will include the low runs scored by Gambhir in Napier,though he played 430 balls thats almost 70 overs and saved the match for india and will include all those which are mentioned in the above table..in this way u can get more number of innings.Jus think about this suggestion. [[ I have made this comment quite a few times. Balls played info is available only for about 25% of tests. Ananth: ]]

  • Avinash on November 26, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    Yet again ,a confirmation that V.Sehwag is among the greatest(if not the greatest) watch winners of all times. An analysis of the one day format on the same lines would be interesting too.

  • Ashok on November 26, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Fantastic article and stats Ananth. It surely does help in opening people's eyes that no of hundreds is not so important when compared to situations under which the hundreds are scored. Having a good technique and punching the best of the balls to the boundary does is eye catching but should not get anyone the "status-of-god".

  • Boll on November 26, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    A maximum of four? Hmmm - a little like sitting in the restaurant of the gods and being allowed a taste of only four dishes...and upon finishing wishing you`d ordered the lamb chops, or the garlic mushrooms, or the oysters naturale with a bit of lemon. Ah well, here I go. In no particular order, without explanation or apology, with an obvious bias towards those I watched live, with the great Dizzy Gillespie`s Double Ton still clear in my mind, here they are.

    Botham 149, SR Waugh 200, Lara 277, Laxman 167 - Dave Bollen [[ Being in a position of some control, I have nicely taken the way out by distributing my selections across the article. The wrong hundreds for the two L's, but there lies the charm. Yours will be the first RE in. Ananth: ]]

  • Ashok on November 26, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    I've been dying to get some stats. Let me know if you're okay with me asking for some stats from you. Take it as an "audience-request-for-an-article"

  • zero_knowledge on November 26, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    did rahul dravid's 190 and 103* in hamilton miss out the two hundreds in a match due to a 300 runs total cutoff? [[ Yes, the line had to be drawn somewhere. Ananth: ]]

  • zero_knowledge on November 26, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    even though you have limited it to scores above 150 i'd also like to add rahul dravid's 146* in the oval against england to the carrying bat through the innings section as he isn't a regular opener and also the bowling attack was pretty good [[ The better idea is for you to contribute to the Readers' Entries selection. Ananth: ]]

  • rachit on November 26, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    Hi ananth .... great work as always .... awesome amount of hard work ... i have no conflicts with nething written in the article ... just 1 query ... where does dravid's 180 in kolkata fit in the list of great innings??? just because laxman made 100 more runs (in a way it is just the number of runs that makes laxman's innings the best 3 of all time), does not mean dravid's effort is completely sidelined to a mere statistical detail .. it surely is (in my opinion) dravid's 2nd greatest innings (behind the twin 60s in bridgetown 2006) ... i personally would keep 232 at adelaide behind them as the bowling attack was not great ... we have seen how the absence of a certain mcgrath from the auusie team inspired the opposition men (edbagston 2005 being the best example) ... [[ No one consigns Dravid's innings to the sideline. However it must be agreed that 100 runs is a lot. Ananth: ]]