February 22, 2014

Twelve forgotten masterpieces

Anantha Narayanan
Dennis Amiss' double-hundred against West Indies in 1974 is arguably the best match-saving innings  © PA Photos

I have been doing so many analytical articles that it was high time, I decided, that I should do an anecdotal article. I love doing these articles and I know many readers also appreciate the change in intensity.

I started doing the preliminary work on Test Innings Ratings. My first cut of the tables showed some surprises: innings that were outside the top areas of the Wisden 100 list. I started looking into these and found that some of them were real classics. Some of these, the innings by Clem Hill, Azhar Mahmood and Kim Hughes were in the top ten of the original list. But I felt it was necessary to bring these forgotten and not-so-well-known innings to the spotlight. We tend to talk so much about 270/213/136/155/241/153/281/149/154 et al that we seem to miss out on other equally great efforts. Hence this list of 12 innings. As usual I will offer brief comments on each innings as I go along. These innings are presented in reverse chronological order.

1. Test # 1734.South Africa v England*

Played on 13,14,15,16,17 January 2005
  at  New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg.
England won by 77 runs

England : 411 for 8 wkt(s) South Africa: 419 all out England : 332 for 9 wkt(s) ME Trescothick 180 (1.95) South Africa: 247 all out

After two sizable first innings, there was nothing in the match for either team. Hence there was a need for England to put up a sizable 300-plus total so that their top-quality bowling attack could defend the total. Andrew Strauss was dismissed within minutes and Robert Key (who?) followed half an hour later.

Marcus Trescothick then played the innings of his life on a good bowling track against a very good South Africa attack. Michael Vaughan supported him in a third-wicket stand of 120-plus but soon England was tottering at 222 for 6. In the company of Ashley Giles, Trescothick counterattacked and took their total to 332. He faced only 248 balls and scored two-thirds of his runs in boundaries. Trescothick's HSI (High Score Index) was a creditable 1.95.

The fact that England won by 77 runs was a just reward for Trescothick's wonderful effort.

2. Test # 1716. Pakistan v Sri Lanka

Played on 20,21,22,23,24 October 2004
  at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad.
Sri Lanka won by 201 runs

Sri Lanka : 243 all out Pakistan : 264 all out Sri Lanka : 438 all out ST Jayasuriya 253 (2.71) Pakistan : 216 all out

Faisalabad: a batting paradise. Not really, during the autumn of 2004. The first two innings terminated either side of 250, Pakistan having a useful first-innings lead of 21. Marvan Atapattu was dismissed by a snorter from Shoaib Akhtar in the first over. Sanath Jayasuriya then played, what I feel, is one of the greatest innings ever played. I don't say this lightly. This innings deserves to be considered alongside many well-known classics.

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, with two fifties, supported Jayasuriya, but after Jayawardene departed at 216, Jayasuriya cut loose. He scored three-fourths of a near-century stand with Thilan Samaraweera. Then wickets fell steadily and Sri Lanka slumped to 337 for 8. Jayasuriya added 101 for the ninth wicket in the company of Dilhara Fernando, who contributed a solitary run. Jayasuriya was out after a superlative innings of 253 in 348 balls. The HSI for this innings is an excellent 2.71.

This match is similar to the previous one in many ways. Pakistan were deflated when they were set to score 417 and were dismissed for 216. Unfortunately in my previous Ratings work, this innings lost some of its sheen because of Faisalabad's numbers. I have corrected that now and am using the match level BQI/PQI (Bowling Quality Index/Pitch Quality Index).

3. Test # 1594. New Zealand v England

Played on 13,14,15,16 March 2002
  at Jade Stadium, Christchurch.
England won by 98 runs

England : 228 all out New Zealand : 147 all out England : 468 for 6 wkt(s) New Zealand : 451 all out NJ Astle 222 (1.57)

This is an innings straight from the fantasy land. New Zealand was dead and buried and the fat lady had started to practise her notes. As they were on the third day of the recent Wellington Test a few minutes after lunch, until Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling happened. On that summer's day in March 2002, New Zealand had reached 119 for 3, chasing 550 runs when Nathan Astle walked in.

I think I can insist that that this masterpiece should be in everyone's top 20 innings. Astle scored 222 in 168 balls, crossing the boundary 39 times, 11 of them aerially. Stephen Fleming gave him some support to start with and then Craig McMillan. But New Zealand moved to 333 for 9 when an injured Chris Cairns walked in. Then followed a period of 15 overs in which 118 runs were scored. I can tell you, the England team was shaken. Less than 100 runs were needed when Astle was caught behind. His single-handed effort overshadowed other excellent efforts from Graham Thorpe, Andrew Caddick and Matthew Hoggard. This was not just an innings of a lifetime. This was an innings which is talked of as one of the best sporting moments in their history, in a country in which cricket takes a back seat to rugby.

Trust New Zealand to produce such from-the-edge-of-precipice efforts. As I write this, I do not know how the Wellington Test will end. But if New Zealand win, McCullum's innings would be right at the top, challenging for a top-five position. The similarities between the Kolkata Test and the Wellington Test are many. Will India be at the receiving end tomorrow? PS: Not really. The pitch is still almost perfect, unlike the Kolkata one. McCullum's innings will not get the additional credit for match win. Note that he does not lose anything just because the match is drawn.

4. Test # 1403. South Africa v Pakistan

Played on 26,27,28 February, 1,2 March 1998
  at Kingsmead, Durban.
Pakistan won by 29 runs

Pakistan : 259 all out Azhar Mahmood 132 (1.62) South Africa: 231 all out Pakistan : 226 all out South Africa: 225 all out

This was a Wisden top-ten innings. However, I can never tire of elevating this gem to a pedestal. Azhar Mahmood walked in at 89 for 5. Saw the innings plummeting to 127 for 6, 142 for 7 and 153 for 8. He scored 132 of the 170 runs scored after he entered and added 117 runs with the late-order batsmen, their total contribution being 14. His innings was studded with 24 fours. All against Allan Donald, Fanie de Villiers and Shaun Pollock.

That Pakistan won a rare away victory, that too against the formidable South Africa, was again a tribute to Mahmood's wonderful innings. Mention must be made of a nearly equal effort from Saeed Anwar in the second innings, when he scored 118 out of 226.

5. Test # 1444. India v Pakistan

Played on 16,17,18,19,20 February 1999
  at the Eden Gardens, Calcutta.
Pakistan won by 46 runs

Pakistan : 185 all out India : 223 all out Pakistan : 316 all out Saeed Anwar 188* (2.08) India : 232 all out

Now Saeed Anwar is on his own. From 26 for 6, Pakistan recovered to 185 through Moin Khan and Wasim Akram, and still conceded a lead of 38. I am amazed at how similar this innings of Saeed Anwar is to those of Trescothick and Jayasuriya. One fifty as support. Nothing otherwise, and Saeed Anwar carried his bat through the innings, scoring 188 out of 316. The HSI was a creditable 2.06.

The strong Pakistani bowling line-up ran through India for 232 runs, winning narrowly by 46 runs. There is no denying the contributions of Akram, Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq. But the target would have been a nominal one but for Saeed Anwar's magnificent effort.

6. Test # 1129. Australia v New Zealand

Played on 24,25,26,27,28 November 1989
  at W.A.C.A. Ground, Perth.
Match drawn
Australia : 521 for 9 wkt(s) New Zealand : 231 all out New Zealand : 322 for 7 wkt(s) MJ Greatbatch 146* (1.43)

Mark Greatbatch, who later became famous for his attacking scoring as an ODI opener, played one of the greatest defensive innings of all time at the WACA in 1989. The first two innings followed the script and New Zealand started the third innings, 290 behind. Soon they were 11 for 2 and the writing of an innings victory was on the wall.

Greatbatch played a defensive classic, scoring 146 in 485 balls in nearly 11 hours of concentration and took New Zealand to safety at 322 for 7. Even at 234 for 7, New Zealand looked likely to lose. Then Greatbatch added 88 runs for the eighth wicket in 50 overs, in company of Martin Snedden, who faced over 140 balls. Let us not forget that this was against Terry Alderman, Geoff Lawson, Carl Rackemann and Merv Hughes. I would probably put Dennis Amiss, Michael Atherton and Faf du Plessis' efforts ahead of this in terms of match-saving innings.

7. Test # 1065. Australia v England

Played on 10,11,12,14,15 January 1987
  at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Australia won by 55 runs

Australia : 343 all out DM Jones 184* (3.14) England : 275 all out Australia : 251 all out England : 264 all out

A Test match of medium scores was won by Australia because of their above-par first-innings effort. On the opening day and continuing, Australia were struggling and could never come to terms with the pitch and the English bowling attack. Only one batsman, Dean Jones, mastered the conditions. He came in at 8 for 1, saw through steady fall of wickets and remained unbeaten on a final score of 343, which proved to be a match-winning score. There was very little support. This is shown by the very high HSI of 3.14.

The value of the 184* (and 343) can be gauged by the fact that three 250-plus innings followed and the final margin was only 55 runs.

Is this better than the energy-sapping 200-plus innings of Jones in Madras, four months previously, in that tie? I find it difficult to put one above the other. To carve two masterpieces in one season is something very few can boast about.

8. Test # 915. Australia v West Indies

Played on 26,27,28,29,30 December 1981
  at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Australia won by 58 runs

Australia : 198 all out KJ Hughes 100* (2.60) West Indies : 201 all out Australia : 222 all out West Indies : 161 all out

This, like Mahmood's innings, was in the top ten of the Wisden 100. One of the best innings ever played against the West Indian quartet (it does not matter who were the four) of pace bowlers. In this case it was Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner and Colin Croft. This was the defining innings of the match. Without Kim Hughes' unbeaten 100, Australia might not have crossed 100 and West Indies would have rolled them over. Coming in at 8 for 3, Hughes scored 100 out of the 190 runs that were added. He faced 200 balls, each one from an express fast bowler. The HSI of 2.6 indicates the lack of support, the next best score being 21.

West Indies secured a lead of only 3 runs and were dismissed for 161 while chasing 219, against Dennis Lillee - who achieved multiple milestones in this Test - Alderman, Lawson and Bruce Yardley. The fact that 40 wickets fell for 782 runs indicates the immense value of Hughes' innings.

9. Test # 788. India v England

Played on 17,18,19,21,22 December 1976
  at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.
England won by an innings and 25 runs

England : 381 all out DL Amiss 179 (1.15) India : 122 all out India : 234 all out

Touring India was a very difficult task during 1970s, with any three out of the four spinners ready to weave their magic on tailor-made wickets. Amiss may not be considered in the top-five group of England openers but he has played a few away classics and is the only one to appear in this collection twice. England slumped to 65 for 4 and 125 for 5 but recovered due solely to Amiss' epochal innings of 179 and the stands he essayed with Alan Knott and John Lever. He mastered the conditions and the bowlers beautifully.

A first-innings score of 381 was always going to be a huge score and proved enough. Lever destroyed India for 122, capturing 7 for 46. Was this the Vaseline match? Who cares? There was no nonsense of not enforcing the follow-on and England won comfortably by an innings.

10. Test # 732. West Indies v England

Played on 16,17,19,20,21 February 1974
  at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica.
Match drawn

England : 353 all out West Indies : 583 for 9 wkt(s) England : 432 for 9 wkt(s) DL Amiss 262* (4.62)

If I am asked what the best match-winning innings ever was, I might hesitate and take some time. But if I am asked what the best match-saving innings ever was, I will reply in five seconds: Dennis Amiss' 262 in Kingston in 1974. If anyone did not know about this innings, it is time they familiarised themselves with this classic.

England scored a very useful 353, with no big contribution from anyone. Then West Indies declared with a lead of 230. It must be admitted that this was not one of West Indies' vintage attacks, but still, Keith Boyce, Bernard Julien, Garry Sobers and Lance Gibbs do not constitute a weak line-up. England lost Geoff Boycott at 32 and John Jameson and Frank Hayes before 107. Amiss held the innings together and was unbeaten on 123 at an England score of 218 for 5 at close of the fourth day, still in arrears.

On the fifth day, with no real support, Amiss added 139 to his score out of the 214 added to England's score. At 343 for 8, England looked like losing. Then Pat Pocock scored an invaluable 4 in 88 balls and helped Amiss add 49 runs for the ninth wicket in nearly 30 overs. The last-wicket partnership added a further 40 runs. Amiss faced 563 balls in his near-ten-hour epic.

His HSI is a huge 4.62, the next highest score being 38 and he scoring well over 60% of his team score. Amongst hundreds, Amiss' HSI is bettered only by Charles Bannerman, VVS Laxman, Graham Yallop and Kapil Dev. His HSI is the highest amongst the double-centurions.

11. Test # 320. South Africa v Australia

Played on 20,21,23,24 January 1950
  at Kingsmead, Durban.
Australia won by 5 wickets

South Africa: 311 all out Australia : 75 all out South Africa: 99 all out Australia : 336 for 5 wkt(s) RN Harvey 151* (1.32)

This is one of my favourite Test innings. Australia went 236 runs behind. The follow-on was not enforced. Promptly South Africa were dismissed for 99: shades of Auckland 2014. Australia had the impossible target of 336 to achieve in the last innings against Hugh Tayfield and company, Tayfield having captured seven wickets for 23 in the first innings.

Neil Harvey essayed his career-best innings of 151 and took Australia to an unlikely five-wicket win. It was a tough task when they were 95 for 4 but Harvey added 135 and 106 runs for the next two wickets in the company of Sam Loxton and Colin McCool. Harvey mastered the difficult offspin of Tayfield completely. Because of the good support and the below 50% share of team score Harvey's HSI is 1.32.

12. Test # 56. Australia v England

Played on 29, 31 January, 1,2 February 1898
  at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Australia won by 8 wickets

Australia : 323 all out C Hill 188 (2.41) England : 174 all out England : 263 all out Australia : 115 for 2 wkt(s)

I never tire of talking about Clem Hill's magnificent innings, especially since most people, me included, did not know of this until the Wisden 100 appeared on the horizon. New Year Test at the MCG in 1898, a mere 115 years back. Jack Hearne runs through the Australian top order and they faced utter catastrophe at 58 for 6. Hill played one of the most significant pre-WW1 innings. He scored 188 and was dismissed at 303 for 9. In between he added 165 for the seventh wicket, 60 for the eighth wicket and took Australia to a match-winning 323.

The HSI of Hill's innings was 2.41 since he scored 60% of his team's score and the next highest innings was 46. English bowling was very good: Tom Richardson, Hearne and Johnny Briggs.

Finally a revisit of my own top ten. The core seven innings will always be there. Don Bradman's 270, Brain Lara's 153*, Graham Gooch's 154, Ian Botham's 149, Laxman's 281, Mahmood's 132 and Hill's 188. To which I will now add Jayasuriya's 253, Amiss' 262* and Saeed Anwar's 188*. Okay, let me make it a nice XI by adding Astle's 222. Do I hear "one more"? I will add Harvey's 151* and get to a round dozen.

A request to the readers. This is not a list of the best Test innings. I have only highlighted the innings which have gone off the radar. So please do not come out with comments like "Where is the 153?", "Why is the 136 not included?", "The 188 does not deserve to be included" and the likes.

Please click on the headers to view the match scorecard

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

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Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 22:45 GMT)

Do you intend to do one on ODIs? I'd like to see where SRT's knock against Pakistan in 2003 at Centurion Park rates...still gives me nightmares Similarly, I've had a few bold statements made from a close friend that Saeed Anwar's 194 should be discredited as we no longer allow the use of runners!!! I read somewhere Wisden has it has the 6th greatest ODI knock of all time. I'd love to hear your take on it Anath [[
I will not take even a coat of varnish away from the lustre of that innings. The rules were there and Saeed Anwar benefited from those. I have seen Salim Durrani completely missing an innings and walking in at no.3. As far as I am concerned one of the great ODI innings of all times. I am short of time now. I will revert on its ODI ranking in the Wisden-100 later.

Posted by dual.citizen on (March 4, 2014, 17:15 GMT)

Ah! I wonder why everyone has forgotten the longest vigil, nearly 16 hours and a triple hundred that fell short of world record by a solitary run against powerful west indian attack. Little master, Haneef is immortal, and by my book the best match saving innings EVER.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

While the article is about forgotten master"pieces", today a forgotten master walks his way back to the pavilion one last time. One of the most underrated openers who has an enviable record as a captain, as an opener, most importantly as a matchwinner, ends an era of excellence. At 33, probably, he could have stretched his career for a few more years, but then, he knows his body better than the rest of us. He for sure, played a lot of forgotten masterpieces (and his playing style - well, the lack of any "style", meant that most often than not, his innings are forgotten to either Amla or Kallis or AB or anyone but him). Added to his captaincy is his slip catching. Well known facts. But 2012-13 and now 14 have seen so many stalwarts bid adieu - Ponting, Laxman, Dravid, Boucher, Sachin, Pieterson, Swann, Kallis . . . An end of golden generation . . . . [[
In 2/3 years a host of great players have retired. Some totally irreplaceable. Smith, the fourth innings master. On his heyday, he might have sculpted a famous win or draw.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 22:22 GMT)

Test match 1783 retains one of my favourite innings if not favourite if you are talking about forgotten gems Anath. The first 2 tests of this series were high scoring bore draws. On the 1st morning of this test I awoke with anticipation to learn Pakistan would bat first, into that innings I.Pathan wreaked havoc and broke my spirit by claiming a hat-trick with the first 6 balls of an inning. His victims were Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammed Yusuf. Devastated I contemplating going back to bed but persisted as I had gone to the trouble of awaking at an ungodly hour to watch my beloved Pakistan play. What then unfolded was in my opinion Kamran Akmals greatest test match inning 113 which allowed Pakistan to consolidate and actually win the test match and series. [[
Osman, I can assure you that Kamran Akmal's innings is never forgotten, least of all by the Indians. You would see that quite a few Indians have referred to that innings. It was an unforgettable match with a first over hat-trick and then a loss for India. Don't mistake me. All the more why this innings will not find a place in my article.

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (March 2, 2014, 3:36 GMT)

Chris Gayle 165* in Adelaide. It was third innings, but it surely saved the match. Next highest score was less than 25 I think. [[
Qualifies in many ways barring the main one. But will add it to the collection from which I will be selecting later today.

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (February 28, 2014, 3:44 GMT)

Ariz, great that you remember. Anyone who does not know the scorecard of those 6 great tests of 1986-1988 is missing out on something great. They are the greatest matches ever played. Pakistanis showed the kind of courage I have never seen before or after. Miandad also batted well. But Greenidge's 75 in Lahore was outstanding, since it enabled West indies to make 218, enough for an innings victory.

Would also want to mention 120 by Wayne Phillips in Barbados in 1983-84. He came in at 6 down. He hooked Garner for 4 sixes. Powerful WI attack, and great batting line up (WI never lost a 2nd innings wicket in this series). He made 120 out of 166 when he was at the crease (including plenty of extras). In the company of the last 2 men, who made 5 runs, Phillips moved from 40 to 120.

Steve Waugh 63* in Port of Spain in 1994-95 was also brilliant for its courage. [[
Wayne Phillips was magnificent. Would look at it carefully. Sorry for publishing the comment without my remark. Cricinfo keeps on publishing comments despite telling them not to do do.

Posted by KishoreSharma on (February 27, 2014, 23:06 GMT)

The only innings that I would dispute would be Dean Jones' innings of 184 in 1987. The innings was played in the last test when the Ashes had already been lost to England. In addition, Jones was dropped a number of times in the innings. Jones had a great season that year, but that innings was far from his finest. In any case, it is nowhere near the innings at Chepauk at the beginning of that season. I was a student in England during that period and remember admiring Jones batting during that Australian summer but being disappointed at his sole century during the tests. [[
Two things, Kishore. One is that the number of times a player is dropped do not matter at all in my analysis. If he was dropped and still scored these magnificent runs, it tells a lot of his mental fortitude.
Second is that there is no thing such as a dead rubber in my lexicon. Recently there have been four 4-0, 4-0, 4-0 and 5-0 whitewashes. In each of these series, did the last Test lack even a little bit of intensity?

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 5:56 GMT)

Gerry, thanks for bringing Alec's twin centuries effort. It's just a coincidence that I was discussing about that not a week ago with one of my friend's. Just that you brought up Haynes 88*, how about Greenidge's 76 in the previous test? I keep in the same league as Sach's 136, Gavaskar's 96(Bangalore)/90(Ahmedabad) and Laxman's 96(Durban, best innings of the series). The innings I mentioned are 4 best innings from Indian's that I ever saw (not in any order- I might be missing some). Viv's effort in 79 Aust and that Pak series were simply amazing. especially considering that both were away series. In Aust the conditions were similar to Windies but there was something at stake, they had to win there to prove that they were the best. In Pak it was underprepared/spinning wickets. [[
Ariz, all great efforts indeed. However I am not sure whether the main criterion for qualification are met.

Posted by android_user on (February 27, 2014, 0:36 GMT)

same article for bowlers and tailender or epic test matches saved by tailender

Posted by lullina on (February 26, 2014, 16:50 GMT)

Great article, Anantha, but that can't be Dennis Amiss's 262* in 1974 as that's clearly Michael Holding in the background of the photo. In fact it's the Oval in 1976 where Amiss made 203 on his return to the England team before being bowled round his legs by . . . Holding (who took 14-149 in the match). The match was also notable for Viv Richard's highest Test score of 291. Funny how he never bettered that. [[
As I have already mentioned, photos are not my area. If Cricinfo chooses to put my photo holding a bat, that is their decision.

Posted by Anand_S on (February 26, 2014, 13:09 GMT)

Ananth: A very different but yet awesome article from you. I am sure you must have considered these innings, but just curious to know where they stood in your analysis. (i) Kamran Akmal's 100 against India at Mohali, 2005. Pakistan were 47 ahead with 6 down when day 5 started and went on to draw. Later the series ended 1-1. On hind sight, a series saving 100 !!! (ii) Mongia's 152 against Australia in Delhi, 1996. In the end he turned out to be the difference between the two sides (iii) Border's 163 against India in 1985-86 at Melbourne. Australia were 45 runs ahead with a full day to go and only two wickets in hand, when he played with no.11 (Gilbert) and took them to safety, ofcourse rain helped too ...but still a wonderful match saver ... (iv) Mohinder Amarnath's 101* against Pakistan at Lahore. An innings which the then president Zia-ul-Haq personally congratulated him for ... Saved a certain defeat ... (v) Mike Gatting's 185* against India at Edgbaston, 1986. Eng were 0-2!

Anand [[
I am publishing the comment now. Will add my response later.

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (February 26, 2014, 3:14 GMT)

Alec Stewart 118 and 143 in the same test in 1994, leading to a victory over West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados, was remarkable. Just one century against West Indies was cherished, since they were a powerful attack even then, though the batting had started declining. Two in a test never otherwise happened against them in the period 1979-1995.

In this series Atherton also made 144 out of 322, but that is I think already in Wisden 100 (or was it Mark Taylor the previous year, also 144?). Atherton also made more than 500 runs in this series, a true captain's effort, if there ever was one. [[
Couple of excellent innings but I doubt whether these possess the X-Factor needed. From the point of view of 2x100s in the same Test, that is something. The unheralded Hick scored 93 in the Test. Also three catches and a key wicket.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 25, 2014, 21:57 GMT)

Lovely article and some wonderful innings. It is a great idea to look at some great innings that many fans know of, but are not so famous.

For me, Dennis Amiss's effort was immortalised in the book of the tour by the BBC's new cricket correspondent, one Christopher Martin-Jenkins who suggested that a statue should be erected to Amiss in Birmingham "as fore-square as the statue of Churchill in Westminster". That innings saved the Test and, ultimately, the series for England.

The Nathan Astle innings was an amazing effort, scored in a completely different way to Amiss's and utter stunning in its brutality, even if finally in vain.

There are a few innings here before my time and, more crucially, before TMS and CricInfo, although I have recollections of the remarkable 1976/77 series in India where Tony Greig charmed the hosts and England's seamers held sway. Ït's a pity that you don't work the "Peter Who?" story into the Dean Jones Test - what a remarkable match that was!

Posted by woodgreen on (February 25, 2014, 19:51 GMT)

Very enjoyable article.I was very fortunate to witness Nathan Astle 222 at Christchurch.As an Englishman i was pleased when we finally got him but as a cricket fan it would have beengreat to see another hour.How close would it have been then.Fantastic game of cricket from first to last(if my memory is correct i think Vaughan hit a 6 in the third over which set the tone for the game)and in the end the result of the game was rightly overshadowed by one of the great innings of all time.Glad to see it made the cut

Posted by godshand on (February 25, 2014, 16:48 GMT)

Ananth - A nice article on the unknown heroics from the willow. Can you create something similar for the bowlers as well. Thanks.

Posted by jw76 on (February 25, 2014, 16:47 GMT)

I'm not sure of the Test match number, but on Cricinfo it is found at Zimbabwe v India, at Harare, 2001, one of the greatest forgotten innings. Zimbabwe needed 157 to win, but they often choke in such situations and Andy Flower was injured. Stuart Carlisle was rarely rated highly, despite his two Test centuries, one against the might of Australia. Against India he took charge and with tremendous skill and determination steered Zimbabwe to their target with 62 not out. Without him Zimbabwe would almost certainly have lost. This is one innings that should never be forgotten by a determined, sometimes unfortunate cricketer of fine temperament from a backwater, who was nevertheless capable of a great innings when the need was greatest. [[
Yes, I agree with the high value assigned to the innings. Even at 119 for 5, the situation seemed dicey, with Flower yet to bat. But Andy Flower also played his part with 2 fours in a mini-cameo at the end. Carlisle was magnificent. 62 off 137 balls, more valuable than many a hundred. Not to forget Blignaut's 5-wkt haul and invaluable 35 runs in the first and 16 in the seccond innings. In fact Blignaut was the man of the match. But Carlisle was the man of the day.

Posted by Engle on (February 25, 2014, 15:53 GMT)

Let's not forget Andy Flower's twin scores of 142 (out of 386) and 199* (out of 391) vs S.Africa in 2001/02. Probably the only instance of a batsman scoring over half the teams runs in both completed innings (excluding extras). He was made MoM even though his team followed-on and lost by 9 wkts. At the time, this broke a 75 year record of most runs in a losing cause held by the great H.Sutcliffe in 1924/25 (176,127 vs Aus). Amazingly, within a month it was broken again by B.Lara vs S.Lanka.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

I must mention Laxman's truly forgotten Durban masterpiece in 2010. It was 5 for 93 when Pujara got out. Then, with almost no support from the other end, he carried the score to a matchwinning 228. Remember, the next highest score in the game was 39. And the next highest below that was Laxman himself with 38 in the first innings.

Posted by Sagarneel on (February 25, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

Great article. Made me nostalgic. I was at Eden gardens and saw Saeed Anwar score that century. Pure genius at work. What a fine batsman he was! Even though an Indian, as a kid watching cricket in '90s, Saeed Anwar and Arvinda D'Silva were the batsmen that fascinated me most.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 9:28 GMT)

well saeed's innings in terms of first innings duck infront of 100thousand people and so much sledging was a reall treat to watch , the pressure is one thing on 11 people but when the pressure is 100011 is another thing and yet he defied every odds and produced his highest score in test cricket he deserved a double hundred but still a real master piece , then the innings of azhar mehmood i saw donald on his knees many time in first innings that a world class bowler against a allrounder was helpless and from 89 for 5 to 259 with tail is some achievement , and astles's 222 was one of the most entertaining innings every watched

Posted by India_boy on (February 25, 2014, 5:57 GMT)

Sir, as far as forgotten inns. are concerned, I'm sure Dravid and Chanderpaul are right up there on top. Dravid's twin fifties on that treacherous pitch in WI are easily the best inns. played by an Indian batsman abroad (specially considering there was only a total of 4 50+ scores in the entire match while RD scored 2 of them.) I am a fan of cricket but not an expert like you, but I'm pretty sure considering the match and pitch situation, it is easily right up there. Also, Chanders has played quite a few inns. specially against SA in SA that have escaped our collective consciousness I believe? [[
Dravid's twin-50s have been brought to light many times and will be given serious consideration. Chanderpaul's innibgs has also been mentioned earlier.

Posted by Engle on (February 25, 2014, 3:30 GMT)

Which batsman scored more than 20 times the number of runs as the next best batsman of his team in a completed FC innings ? Glenn Turner for Worcester vs Glamorgan in '77. Glenn carried his bat for 141* out of 169 runs. Except for Norman Giffords 7, no one else could muster more than 5.

Posted by J.P. on (February 25, 2014, 1:13 GMT)

Ananth, How about Gordon Greenidge's 214 against England at Lord's in 1984? [[
Once-in-lifetime innings. Also very well known.

Posted by Sportz_Freak on (February 24, 2014, 23:36 GMT)

You could have such a list from the Waugh's alone...Steve's 200 against the Windies..he had a real tough 60 out of 100 odd in the 3rd test in that series where he faced down the mighty Ambrose...the twin 100s against england with a hamstring injury...the 100 on one foot in 2001...

Coming to Mark he was considered the *softer* waugh but he has played some amazing inns under pressure, the matchwinning knock against SA, the matchsaving knock against SA in Aus, the matchwinning knock against India in 98.

Couple of others - Butchers 173 was a great knock as well and Gilchrist's 149 is amazing considering that it was his second match and the match situation. I think that match (and WC99) gave the Aussies the confidence that they could win from any situation sparking their winning streak.

Lastly, while I havent watched the 70s and 80s I do know that Border has made some terrific 100s against the mighty WI and Pak attacks. [[
All very well known innings.

Posted by EdwinD on (February 24, 2014, 22:04 GMT)

Pedantic corrections - both Gooch's 154 and Botham's 149 were not out... [[
Thanks,. Will correct, if I can. Otherwise add a * to the innings in your mind.

Posted by ramesh_sound on (February 24, 2014, 18:47 GMT)

We automatically link VVS to the 281. Where would his 4th innings, match winning knock against Australia at Mohali feature? He made 78 not out I think. Just asking, because using some yardsticks, this is a match and series winning innings, against a decent attack.Jimmy Padams also played a couple of great knocks versus India in 1993. [[
73*. But I think it has been often enough discussed to miss qualification on that count. That and the 96 in South Africa rank there right at the top.

Posted by lardster on (February 24, 2014, 16:57 GMT)

Did you see a copy of Masterly Batting - 100 Great Test Centuries? It was published last November and includes 8 of the above. Hill and Trescothick were in the top 10 but I still like Saeed Anwar's the best. [[
Haven't seen it. Retail market for Cricket books in India is quite limited. Let me see whether I can trak the same. Thanks.

Posted by jb633 on (February 24, 2014, 16:25 GMT)

In years to come McCullum's recent innings will surely be the stuff of legend and when people look in isolation at the score it will never be done justice in terms of context. One innings I will never forget (although I know why it won't make the list due the HSI) is Dravid's v England 2002 at Hedingley. My respect for him never wavered after that and as an English fan I was always more pleased when he got out than Sachin. I would like to see how Graham Thorpe's innings v Sri Lanka in 2001 ranked on the HSI list as I can't remember too many other contributions from our lot. [[
Dravid's was one of three big 100s. To boot, another 50. These innings do not tend to stay with you. Having said that I know how valuable his innings was since most of it was played on the difficult first day.
Thorp's was a lovely innings with a high HSI of 2.19. He got the English first innings to parity and then inexplicably Sri Lanka, with Atapattu, Jayasuriya, Sanga, Jayawardene, Aravinda, Arnold and Dilshan collapsed, collapsed. But England nearly did not make the 74 needed. It needed Thorpe to come to the resue. Even the 32 has a good HSI of 1.09. Probably worth consideration.
Great innings are always about far more than the score itself. David Warner has been racking up 100's for fun in the second innings when the side is miles ahead, and nobody will remember those in 2 years. If you compare any of those 100's to that of BJ Watling you will know exactly what I mean. [[
Contrary to what everyone thinks, HSI is only an additional measure. That is all. I do not select based on HSI. It is part of my Ratings work. But we have to agree that Warner has scored two great 100s.


Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (February 24, 2014, 9:31 GMT)

Some small scores...

IVA Richards 67 and 72 in Faisalabad in 1980 were outstanding innings, leading to a great victory. He also scored the only century 120* out of 250 in Multan, in a series where no one else scored a century.

In 1986-87, Desmond Haynes scored a brilliant 88* out of 213 in the final test at Karachi. Bad light prevented the West Indies from winning.

Sobers scored 113* in Kingston on a terrible pitch against England, after following on, and reduced England to 60/8 to save the match.

Gavaskar's first double century was a pretty good innings. He made half the runs in the match, and converted a lost position in a 6 day test to a winning position, though our bowlers could not take the last two wickets. But he ensured our first serious series victory against a mainstream side in our entire history.

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (February 24, 2014, 9:19 GMT)

Ramesh_sound, 146* by Vengsarkar was a disaster. We failed to win the match due to his slow scoring. Unfortunately, this was one chase where Gavaskar got out early, and we came very close to the target. But we scored only 200 runs on the final day, and due to Vengsarkar and an uncharacteristically slow Vishwanath, we lost. I was heartbroken when Gavaskar got out since I knew that apart from him there was really no one else who could mount an attacking chase, as he had done at the oval the previous year in his 221.

This was Gavaskar's second big goof up - Imran was out injured in this innings. The exact same thing had happened in Adelaide 2 years earlier - Thompson was out injured and Gavaskar got out after a breezy start and India lost narrowly.

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (February 24, 2014, 9:12 GMT)

Today is Randall's birthday. His centenary test innings, for the sense of occasion, the quality of the opposition, and the magnitude of the challenge, comes close to Astle's, since you are not considering scoring rates here. [[
Gerry, my take is that the 174 is quite well-known because of the nature of the match. By itself it was a wonderful innings. Nowhere a lost cause as Astill's. Neverthless a lovely innings. By the by, where is Randall now and what he is doing now.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 8:19 GMT)

As a young reader it is always a pleasure to read about history of cricket and then search for it on You Tube and try to live the moment. I would suggest that you do an article on ''Brilliant test wins with brilliant captains in the pavilion with an injury'' - e.g the Bangalore Test between Pakistan & India, when Inzimam Ul Haq was not able to take the field and Younus Khan had to step in as the on field Captain. It would be nice to read and get to know about such incidents. Thanks & kr :) [[
Problem, Fahad, is the absence of the information. It is difficult to identify when a captain was injured and another took over.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 7:54 GMT)

A wonderful article Anantha-_I hope to read many more.I was on a family holiday in Cape Town in Dec 1966/Jan 1967,and witnessed Graeme Pollock's magnificent innings of 209.He surely must join Sir Garfield Sobers and Brian Lara as the 3 greatest left-handed Test batsmen to-date. Dennis Amiss' 262 was a truly epic innings,and the volume of Test runs he scored between 1973 and 1976,despite a poor record against Australia,are testimony to his skill;let us not forget his 203 against the West Indies at the Oval in 1976,a match which was dominated by Michael Holding's bowling.

Posted by FurqanKhan on (February 24, 2014, 7:44 GMT)

One of the innings i remember of Kamran Akmal's 113 of 148 balls in the 1st innings of third test of the 2005/06 series played in Pak vs India. Match was played from 29 Jan to 2 Feb where pakistan were struggling at 39/6 with series level at stake after two Draws. He played some lovely strokes on a surprisingly lively pitch in Pakistan with some help from Abdur Razzaq and then Shoaib Akhtar and got man of the match award. Pak made 245. India were allout on 238 and then pakistan made a huge 599/7 i think and india were all out for 265 with Pakistan winning by 342 runs. Impact wise that was huge and also a best from a pakistani i have seen for many a years considering the conditions. [[
I have already covered this in another response.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 7:18 GMT)

Brilliant article. I love the intricacies of this beautiful game. Thank you Ananth sir!

Posted by Andy_147 on (February 23, 2014, 21:53 GMT)

Peter Burge's 160 at Headingley in 1964, took Australia from a difficult position to a winning one, in a series they won 1-0. [[
A wonderful innings. A truly match-winning inngs since the Aussie middle order failed. The lead of just over 100 was very crucial.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 21:32 GMT)

An excellent list - I enjoyed learning about several innings which I was not previously familiar with. But as for Amiss's effort as the best match-saving innings ever... I certainly couldn't argue that it deserves to be among the top few, but surely Hanif Mohammad's 337 would be at the top? I still rate that as the best innings ever - slightly above the likes of Bradman, Gooch, Lara and Laxman - for its sheer scale: more than an hour and a half longer than any other Test innings ever played, saved the match from a first innings deficit of 473 with more than three days to play, and until last week it remained the only triple century in the second innings of a Test. [[
Michael, I could not agree with you more. I have already replied to another reader on the 337, 262 and 185. Let us all agree to three phenomenal match-saving innings, bracketed at the top.

Posted by Krishna13 on (February 23, 2014, 21:23 GMT)

Dear Mr. Narayanan, Beautiful stuff. More so the readers' picks. I was fortunate to catch Astle's 222 on TV, which took me back to my personal Astle favourite. One of the best unsung innings I have had the fortune of watching live on TV was his 125 against Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop and this beast of a bowler called Patterson Thompson on a vicious Kensington Oval pitch in '96. Thompson was all over the place, but had serious pace and clattered a couple of Kiwis on their head more than once. (He also bowled more no balls in the match than several bowlers did in entire careers.) NZ started well behind in their 2nd dig thanks to a double by Sherwin Campbell. Patterson this time got his head together and was seriously troubling batsmen. But Astle then made 125 and put on 100-plus with Justin Vaughan, who contributed 20 or something. Even if this innings doesn't merit a place in your follow-up, I wd be grateful if you could give its HSI here in the comments section. Regds [[
A very respectable 2.23. I think the Test HSI article is overdue. It is one heck of a factor and many readers have realized the value and importance of the same.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 21:09 GMT)

Dennis Amiss scoring the best match saving innings?? I think this title belongs to Hanif Muhammad for scoring first triple century in a 2nd innings way back in 50s!

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 20:08 GMT)

how can I get hose 100 best innings warded by wisden. [[
Sooner, thgan later, I intend to publish a completely revised list.

Posted by craigm_NZ on (February 23, 2014, 19:57 GMT)

Can I suggest GM Turner 101 & 110* at Christchurch v. Australia 1973-74. Perhaps not the greatest Australian attack, but a bowler-friendly pitch. Without Turner's runs, NZ lose rather than win the match. [[
Couple of excellent inngs. But probably not great enough to be included in these elite lists.

Posted by red_forever on (February 23, 2014, 19:45 GMT)

Ananth, If you are wondering which Maxwell's innings a reader was referrign to, here it is. He scored a combined total 221 out of Victoria's match total of 404. No one scored more than 38 runs from his team in the entire match. A mindblowing performance by any yardstick. [[
Will look into it, Dinesh.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 18:14 GMT)

I request you to look into Pak vs WI 1974, when Sadiq Mohammed scored 98* at no 7, when he was seriously injured while fielding at short leg.

How that masterclass cannot make it here, is beyond me. [[
Fantastic innings. Will have very serious consideration. The non-scorecard factors are not that well known. Even if it does not make it to the list, it does not lower the class of it. But unsung masterpiece, it certainly is.

Posted by harykrishnan on (February 23, 2014, 17:45 GMT)

sir how abt kamran akmal 's century (113) in the famous ind in pak 05 test match where irfan pathan took a hattrick in the first over of the test match ! no one else scored fifty in the 1st dig where pak managed 245 powered by akmal...although in the 2nd innings ind bowlers were run amok ! match situation very similar to anwar 's 188 , in fact i remembered this innings only when u mentioned that pak were reeling at 26 for 6 during anwar's innings , since it brought back memories of pak being 39 for 6 on day 1 to winning the test by 341 runs ! [[
Another innings which deserves serious consideration. I am amazed at how many Pakistan innings meet the criteria. Asif Iqbal, Azhar Mahmood, Saeed Anwar, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi (at Chennai), Wasim Raja and so on.

Posted by Engle on (February 23, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

One trivia question I love to tease cricket fans is " Which batsman scored over half the teams total in a completed Test innings, batting at the lowest position ? " Ans : Asif Iqbal in Eng,1967 walked in at #9 with the score at 65/8 and contributed 146 towards the team total of 255 runs. [[
By the by, Asif Iqbal was in my 12 until the last day. I decided to replace his innings with Harvey's.
BTW Did anyone mention R.Fredericks 169 against Lillee and Thommo ? [[
No doubt a great innings. Will go into the melting pot for the second part.

Posted by 07sanjeewakaru on (February 23, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

Hanif Mohammad's..336..for saving a 6 day test with 470 odd behind.. Considering PAK paying abroad and infancy in Test Cricket!

Posted by Er-.S.R.shankar on (February 23, 2014, 13:35 GMT)

Dear Ananth There were Many Rahul Dravid innings which deserved listings. But there is one innings that has not hogged the limelight it deserved perhaps as iti was against Srilanka It wa son opening day of the First test when India were reeling at 17 for 5. Walelgedara knocked the stuffing out of the strong Indian top order. But DRavid at one drop stood like a warrior and crafted a brisk 176 by technical excellence and counter attack that ultimately led to test win for India and sweeping the series How could you miss Vishwanath's 97 not out against the fiery Andy Roberts & co in Madras in 1975 or century at Melbourne victory against Lillie & Pascoe in 1981 or Lara's innings against Australia with WAlsh? [[
Have you understood the idea of the article. Why have I not talked about Laxman's 281, Gooch's 154, Lara's 153, Botham's 149 et al. Pl read the article carefully once more. How could I miss *** is a question which does not make sense.

Posted by ramesh_sound on (February 23, 2014, 11:28 GMT)

Great List. Where do two of the very best from Dilip Vengsarkar feature? 146 not out against pakistan at Delhi 78/79 and 102 at Leeds versus England 1986? [[
Vengsarkar's 146 was a wonderful match-saving effort. Was nearly a match-winner. The Headingley innings is a Wisden-100 top-20 innings, possibly more well-known.

Posted by TATTUs on (February 23, 2014, 11:22 GMT)

I would like to the HSI of Sehwags 201 vs SL in SL [out 320 odd]. India won it solely because of that innings. I guess you did not include that because its 'not forgotten'. Or is the HSI low? Similarly there is Sachin at Edbaston albeit in a losing cause. But I guess again that anything to do with Sachin is not forgotten. But it would be good to know the HSI for that Sehwag innings. P.S: Although not at test level, what about Glen Maxwells recent 140 odd in shield cricket? [[
Sehwag's HSI was 2.27. A modern classic.
I don't know the Maxwell innings details.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 9:48 GMT)

What about Hanif Muhammad superhuman 337 in more then 16 hours as the best match saving innings of all time?

Posted by sifter132 on (February 23, 2014, 7:51 GMT)

Great article Ananth, always like reading more about innings I don't know about. Can't argue too much with your choices - all very worthy! Would just add my own personal touch...Arguably the best innings that I have seen is Michael Clarke's 151 vs South Africa in Cape Town, 2011 - the memorable match where SA were bowled out for 96, and Aus were 9/21 soon afterwards. Before Clarke came out Australia were 3/40, while Clarke was there Australia lost 7/93 (7/244 with Clarke's runs), after Clarke was dismissed just after morning drinks on day 2, 21 more wickets fell that day! I can't imagine a situation where a batsman has scored more himself than the next 2 innings combined - except where sticky wickets might have been involved perhaps. The other thing was the quality of the play. It wasn't a grinding, ugly 151 - it contained shots out of the top drawer against a very strong attack who were making the ball talk. It's #1 for me on innings that I've personally watched in my 25 yrs. [[
Couldn't agree with you more. Only thing is that it is very recent and discussed and appreciared at length.

Posted by its.rachit on (February 23, 2014, 7:50 GMT)

How about the first ever test century - 165* by charles bannerman .. 140 years and 2000 tests later, it still has the record for most runs% in an innings by a batsman .. total 645 runs scored in the match and no other aussie made more than 20 ... for sheer weight of contribution (25% o0f the entire matcj total), it shud be among wisden top 5 according to me ... and similarilty hayden's 119 in sharjah .... defeated pakistan by an innings on his own ... [[
Bannermann's innings is one of the most well-known innings ever. But no doubt it is one of the best ever. The highest HSI am0ongst 100s: 6.38.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 6:22 GMT)

How about Sehwag's 201* out of 330 against Murali and Mendis at Galle in 2008? Azharuddin's Lord's masterpiece in 1990, Dravid's twin half centuries on a dreadful Sabina Park pitch in 2006, Tendulkar's brutal 155 at Centurion in 2001, as also his masterful 146 in Cape Town 2011 are some Indian innings which spring to mind.

Posted by CricIndia208 on (February 23, 2014, 6:10 GMT)

GR Vishwanath - 114 against Australia in Melbourne, 1980 - India won by a few runs after bowling out Australia for 83 in the last innings.

Laxman - 96 in Durban 2010 - India won by 75 runs

Sehwag - 200 and 50 in Galle - India won

Laxman - 75, Perth 2008 - India won by 72 runs

Dravid - 81 and 60, Jamaica 2006, India won by 40 odd runs

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 6:01 GMT)

How can Hanif Mohammad's 337 against the West Indies (1957/58) NOT be considered the greatest match-saving innings of all time, with Pakistan following on with a deficit of 473 runs? This is with reference to the claim on Dennis Amiss' 262. [[
These are personal views. I may say Amiss' 262, you may say Hanif's 337 and Arjun may say Atherton's 185. All of us are correct. Some may even say Gambhir. So there is nothing to get worked about.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 5:48 GMT)

I am glad that you have mentioned Jayasuriya's 253 there. The most remarkable thing about that innings was how un-Jayasuriya-like that innings was. You dont usually expect him to curb his attacking instincts,play the anchor role and shepherding the tail like the way he did there. On the other hand you have the 213 he scored at the Oval which a lot of people consider to be his best Test Innings. But then, at the Oval, you needed someone to score big (and quick) at the top of the order to get a substantial lead and it was a perfect scenario for his kind of game. But in Faisalabad, he delivered when he was not exactly feeling at home. P.S : I am a huge Sanath Jayasuriya fan :) [[
The Jayasuriya innings has come out on top, as the best ever innings in some of my calculations.

Posted by harshthakor on (February 23, 2014, 4:15 GMT)

Sorry Ananth more innings that come to my mind. 1.Carl Hoopers match-winning century v England at TRinidad in the 1st test on a difficult wicket in the 4th innings

2.Alan Border's 98 and 100 at Trinidad that saved Australia from Imminent defeat in the 2nd test .

3.Graham Gooch's 153 at Kingston in 1980-81-One of the best counter-attacks against great pace bowling.

4.Wasim Raja's match-saving 117 at Barbados in 1977 which almost won a game that seemed lost.

Posted by harshthakor on (February 23, 2014, 4:10 GMT)

Ananth,although India lost I still rank Mohinder Amarnath's 80 and 91 at Barbados in 1982-83 amongst the finest counter attacking batting efforts against great pace bowling.He simply stood like a rock blending defence with controlled.agression .Sandeep Patil's 129 1982 at Old Trafford and 174 at Adelaide in 1980-81 come to my mind where he launched a spectacular counter -attack in the most difficult situations.Another forgotten classic was vishwanath's 124 at Madras in 1979-80 v West Indies when greats like Gavaskar failed and his 83 and 79 at Dunedin in New Zealand in 1976.Finally I will include Mark Waugh's classic match-winning 124 in the 2nd test of the 1996-97 series in South Africa ,in the most difficult conditions.

Posted by aus_trad on (February 23, 2014, 3:55 GMT)

Someone might have already mentioned it, but the photo is actually from The Oval in 1976, where Dennis Amiss made his "other" double century aginst WI (Michael Holding wasn't in the team yet in 1974). Speaking of Dennis Amiss, he played probably the best non-century innings I have seen in a test: 90 against the full fury of Lillee & Thomson in the drawn 3rd test in 1974-75 (Melbourne, test # 749). Whereas Tony Greig scored 110 against them in the Brisbane test, using highly unorthodox methods, Amiss' knock was utterly classical. In effect it saved the match, because Aus were a few short of victory when time ran out. Furthermore, only two other batsmen passed 20. [[
The photos are Cricinfo responsibility. I do not get into that.
Yes, I agree 90 was in a class of its own. But decent support. I would put it alongside the 97 by Vishvanath, 96 by Laxman, 62 by Hutton in 1950, Cairns' 80 at Oval, Dravid's Kingston 81 et al as the great sub-100 innings.

Posted by BangbangKohli on (February 23, 2014, 3:55 GMT)

It is really surprizing that you have not included a single Indian batsman, not sure why. Let me refresh your memory 1. 97 by Viswanath in Madras, 1975 against mighty west Indies and match winning 139 at Calcutta 2. 221 by Gavaskar against England drew at Oval 3. Mohinder Amarnath 101 against Pakistan 1978 4. Sandip Patil's 174 against Lillee, Pascoe in Australia 5. Dravid, Laxman against Australia in Kolkata and Adelaide

And by the way, Kohli is one of the best match winner India has ever seen. specially in one dayers and there is nothing wrong in aggression and assertiveness. Most Indian cricketers are too defensive and passive that is the major problem

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 23, 2014, 3:48 GMT)

Ananth, Delighted to see DL Amiss receiving due credit for his brilliant efforts. Kudos to you. Growing up, I was a huge fan of Amiss, was privileged to see him bat hundreds of times at domestic level for Warwickshire. Had Amiss played in the last 25 years, he would have received far more press.

Problems against Aust counted against him but his partnership with Randall in the Melbourne Centenary Test went a long way in making it one of the great Test matches.

The '76 Oval Test is fondly recalled for Holding's 14 wkts but Amiss' magnificent double ton (203) in that Test is, sadly, rarely mentioned. A comeback inns, he sought the advice of Warwicks and England legend, EJ "Tiger" Smith (then 90 yrs old) suggested Amiss shuffle across his stumps open chested just before the bowler's delivery to combat the WI quicks. Just 2 inns later, he posted the great 179 you mention above, and just a further 14 inns later, he was amazingly never considered again. A brilliant limited overs batsman too

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 23:54 GMT)

Thank you for this. The Dennis Amiss effort (40 years ago yesterday) was the best EVER rearguard action by An Englishman. superb player against all players except D.K.Lillee. i still believe his final half century for England (64 in the Centenary test) in 1977 was one of his best innings for England considering the pressure he was under..
Yes, Duncan. Randall's 174 is so well-known that it overshadowed Amiss' invaluable and patient 64. The partnership of 166 set up the game. In that match at least he mastered Lillee and finally fell to Greg Chappell. Thanks for the memories, Duncan.

Posted by yoadie on (February 22, 2014, 22:17 GMT)

Something is wrong with this list, if Brian Lara's 213 in the WI-Australia Test at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica which began on March 13, 1999, is not on it.

Posted by Satish.V on (February 22, 2014, 18:09 GMT)

Does cricinfo have a list of the greatest hundreds scored in Ranji cricket? If not, do you plan to compile one? I am sure there would have been some real masterpieces over the years.

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (February 22, 2014, 17:33 GMT)

Great read...its always a pleasure to read your articles...I wonder why Astle's inning should be considered as "Forgotten" ..but yes, its a fact that its not spoken about as frequently as it should be!!

Thanks Ananth for the wonderful work!

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 17:10 GMT)

G R Vishwanath's efforts always miss the "stats"!! Anyways, he was simply a treat and what an innings of 97 it was out of 190!! Way above the other little batsman!
Let me say this. I have talked about GRV's classic many times. In fact it was the highest sub-100 innings in the Wisden-100. So I did not include it.

Posted by Raghav_Bihani on (February 22, 2014, 16:57 GMT)

I love your anecdotal articles and this is no exception. I remember watching the 188* by Saeed Anwar at the Eden. Though this match was the first in Asia Test Championship, fans were treating it as a decider after the IND-PAK series was tied 1-1.

Though the HSI was not very high, I rate the 96 & 38 by VVS at Durban. The highest score on either side after this was only 39. VVS played as only he can and I feel it is one of the best performances under 100.

Another one is dravid in Kingston with 81 & 68. These 2 combine to give him an HSI of over 1 for a match with 2 completed innings. Is this high when 2 full innings have been finished. whatever be the case the knocks were gems and won India the series. They were top 2 innings from all 4 innings combined.
Recently I have talked about the 96 a lot. Also as a matter of common sense I excluded Indian batsmen because great Indian innings tend to get a lot of coverage. I may be wrong.

Posted by sreni on (February 22, 2014, 16:44 GMT)

" March 2002, New Zealand had reached 119 for 3, chasing 550 runs when Nathan Astle walked in...." I doubt this in 2002 or 2007..pls.check
Match no 1594, played at Jade Stadium, Xhristchurch, starting 13 March 2002. I remember because I was doing my television work in Delhi covering the India-Zimbabwe series.

Posted by Cricketfan23 on (February 22, 2014, 16:11 GMT)

Two of the finest innings played by Dravid but which hardly get any mention anywhere were the 2 fifties he made on a very difficult pitch at Jamaica in 2006(test 1808). Sachin wasn't on that tour & only Dravid looked like a batsman who could score runs in that match. Even Lara looked like a novice on that pitch. India won that match & with it the series. Also Sachin's 122 out of 219 against ENG in the 1st test at Edgbaston. The next highest score in that innings was 18.
Pl see my response to Raghav. Excellent innings by SRT. The HSI was a mind-boggling 4.03. Don't worry. This will get appropriate coverage when I do my Test HSI article.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 16:02 GMT)

Personally I see the Dravid/Laxman innings against a touring Australian No.1 side in 2001, that turned around the fortunes of indian cricket on international scene as much as winning spirit is concerned, as one of the most notable of innings in modern cricket history.
Again, I am sorry to say that you have not understood the idea of the article. Will you read the introduction carefully.

Posted by Muhammad.Usman4321 on (February 22, 2014, 15:04 GMT)

In terms of match saving, I would place Hanif Muhammad's 337 vs West Indies in 1958 ( test no. 446) as the best. With a deficit 473, he batted for more than 3 days to save the match against a formidable WI attack including Sobers.

Posted by Shyam__B on (February 22, 2014, 14:28 GMT)

This innings by Mohinder Amarnath strikes me as underappreciated - team would have struggled to cross 50, maybe even 26 without it.Extra points for playing beamers. 60 out of 97/5 innings closed

Posted by alialamdar on (February 22, 2014, 14:14 GMT)

There's a monumental innings that you might have forgotten, Hanif Mohammad's 337 in the west indies. You mentioned the greatest innings to save a match, this is one of them if not the one. Its an innings that doesnt get much attention, He was facing a deficit of 473 against a decent attack. Until recently (Thanks to Brendon) it was the only triple hundred in the 2nd innings of a match.
I have no problems at all including the 337. But I was working with 12 innings and almost everyone knows about the 337 and the 16 hours and 13 minutes that Hanif played.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 13:15 GMT)

Well written article. Thank you :)

Posted by McWheels on (February 22, 2014, 12:54 GMT)

It's nice to see this kind of thing, but I wonder if we ever talk about magnificent bowling performances that didn't necessarily sway a match or win it. I remember reading a report of an Australia-SA test where Aus were doing well, but the reporter summed it up simply by saying "Donald was magnificent, beating the bat at least once an over.' We can remember Flintoff's epic spells against Ponting, but the previosu Ashes tour in Aus, where Anderson had some spells where he was nearly unplayable. Very difficult to statistically quantify, but often stick in the mind as epic performances without reward or recognition.
Will do a bowling piece. But in bowling the problem is that the performances always take a back seat.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 11:56 GMT)

surprised to see that 2 test matches won by Pakistan by 14 runs each (or so) are not mentioned here, both against INDIA in INDIA.................the criteria is not understandable.
I give up !!!

Posted by Charith99 on (February 22, 2014, 11:16 GMT)

i started watching cricket during early 90's. i was amazed by watching anwar bat. his wrist work was silky smooth.these days its mostly upper body strength and heavy bats but anwar hit many sixes using pure timing.We always talk about modern great batsmen like sachin,lara,kallis and ponting but batsmen like anwar,inzi,de silva,astle deserves more credit than they usually get.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 11:13 GMT)

How would you rate Majid Khan's 167 at Georgetown against the might of Andy Roberts, Joel Garner and Colin Croft. Pakistan were around 250 behind. Majid enabled Pakistan to avoid a certain defeat. He started with taking four boundries off the first over from Croft who had taken 8/29 in the previous test against Pakistan.
The 167, out of 540, is not that high a level of contribution. The HSI is only 0.69. Look at the support received. 48, 80, 60, 35, 25 and 25. So I would say that it was a team effort.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 10:53 GMT)

Kamran Akmal played an exceptional match-saving innings in Mohali and an even better match-winning knock in Karachi, both against India, in the space of a year. He's seen as a bit of a joke now, but it's forgotten how good a cricketer he was for Pakistan in the first half of his career.
The innings selected here are all exceptional. I agree Kamran Akmal's innings could come near that qualification. I doubt it, though.

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (February 22, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

These are all in winning causes. Some hundreds in losing causes, which during the innings, and even after its end, seem to be heavily contibuting to voctory, cna be perhaps considered.

One such innings is Micheal Clarke's 151 against South Africa in 2011-12. He scored all alone, and in the second innings, the famous "collapse of Cape Town" happened, Aus 47 all out, and Clarke said "my innings was utterly useless, since we did not win the match, and I forgot about it after 5 min".

Test 732 - India England - this was one of the lowest scoring series ever. I remember as a small boy feeling humiliated that our entire team did not score as much as one Englishman.

In this series, Gavaskar top scored in both innings in Madras, on an extremely fast and spiteful wicket, but unfortunately with scores of 39 and 24 only. He averaged 39 for the series, which sadly was the highest in the Indian team, by some distance. We were soundly thrashed, before Chandra pulled one back in the 4th test.

Posted by J751 on (February 22, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

Azhar Mahmood certainly fancied the South African bowling.His debut hundred against them was a pretty decent effort too,coming late down the order.The beginning of his career was sensational with three hundreds.He had to compete with Abdul Razzaq for the all rounder's slot and this restricted his opportunities.He had enough talent to play purely as a batsman.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 9:01 GMT)

what a pity that no indian batsman ever played a match winning innings in tough situations
It is clear that the objective of the article has escaped you.

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Anantha Narayanan
Anantha spent the first half of his four-decade working career with corporates like IBM, Shaw Wallace, NCR, Sime Darby and the Spinneys group in IT-related positions. In the second half, he has worked on cricket simulation, ratings, data mining, analysis and writing, amongst other things. He was the creator of the Wisden 100 lists, released in 2001. He has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket, and worked extensively with Maruti Motors, Idea Cellular and Castrol on their performance ratings-related systems. He is an armchair connoisseur of most sports. His other passion is tennis, and he thinks Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman to have walked on earth.

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