April 1, 2009

Fighting the follow-on

Highest team totals after following on, and batsmen who average the most in such innings

The follow-on has been an endangered species in Test cricket ever since Steve Waugh's decision to enforce it backfired so spectacularly at Eden Gardens in 2001. And the events in Napier this week will have weakened its case further. Leading by 314 runs in the first innings, New Zealand asked India to bat again. The visitors responded by batting 180 overs - Gautam Gambhir did not budge for nearly 11 hours - and scoring 476 for 4. It was the 12th highest total in a follow-on.

The highest total in a follow-on is 657 and both Pakistan and India have scored it. Pakistan were playing West Indies for the first time in Tests, at the Kensington Oval in 1958, and they were bowled out for 106 in 42.2 overs. They began their second innings on the third of six days, trailing by 473, facing a seemingly impossible task. However, Hanif Mohammad entrenched himself in the middle and played the longest innings in Test cricket. He defied an attack comprising Roy Gilchrist, Eric Atkinson, Collie Smith, Alf Valentine and Garry Sobers for 970 minutes and scored 337 - the highest individual score away from home and the only triple-century to date in a team's second innings. At the end of the third day, Pakistan were 162 for 1, trailing by 311 runs. By stumps on the fourth, they were 134 behind with eight wickets in hand, and by the end of the fifth, they were only 52 ahead with seven wickets left. Pakistan reached safety only on the final day and declared on 657 for 8 after batting for 319 overs, the second-longest innings in Tests.

India's 657 came against Australia in Kolkata in 2001, after facing a deficit of 274 because they had collapsed for 171 in the first innings. India slipped to 232 for 4 in the follow-on before VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid added 376 for the fifth wicket. Laxman made 281, while Dravid made 180, and they scored quickly enough to allow India to declare on the fifth day with a lead of 383, giving their bowlers enough time to bowl Australia out.

Highest Test totals after following on
Team FO Diff Score Lead Opposition Result Margin Ground Season Scorecard
Pakistan -473 657/8d 184 v West Indies drawn Bridgetown 1957/58 Test 446
India -274 657/7d 383 v Australia won 171 runs Kolkata 2000/01 Test 1535
South Africa -210 572/7 362 v England drawn Durban 1999/00 Test 1480
England -325 551 226 v South Africa drawn Nottingham 1947 Test 285
England -341 538 197 v Australia drawn The Oval 1975 Test 763
Pakistan -261 537 276 v Australia drawn Rawalpindi 1994/95 Test 1269
Sri Lanka -359 537/9 178 v England drawn Lord's 2006 Test 1802
England -280 529/5d 249 v Sri Lanka drawn Lord's 2002 Test 1603
India -386 510 124 v England lost 6 wickets Leeds 1967 Test 618
Zimbabwe -227 503/6 276 v India drawn Nagpur 2000/01 Test 1517
England -223 497/5 274 v India drawn Kanpur 1961/62 Test 514
England -266 477/4d 211 v India drawn The Oval 1990 Test 1150
India -314 476/4 162 v New Zealand drawn Napier 2008/09 Test 1917
South Africa -207 472/8d 265 v Australia drawn Johannesburg 1921/22 Test 146
India -209 463/5d 254 v New Zealand drawn Mumbai (BS) 1964/65 Test 582
South Africa -400 452 52 v Australia lost 10 wickets Sydney 2001/02 Test 1582
England -261 437 176 v Australia won 10 runs Sydney 1894/95 Test 42
Australia -247 427/6d 180 v England drawn Nottingham 1938 Test 263
India -247 422 175 v West Indies lost 7 wickets Port of Spain 1961/62 Test 528
England -466 422/5 -44 v West Indies drawn St John's 2003/04 Test 1696
New Zealand -319 413 94 v England lost 9 wickets Birmingham 1965 Test 591
Australia -212 413 201 v India drawn Delhi 1979/80 Test 858
Australia -314 408 94 v England lost 9 wickets Sydney 1897/98 Test 53
South Africa -204 401 197 v Australia lost 7 wickets Sydney 1910/11 Test 115
South Africa -346 393/3d 47 v England drawn Lord's 2008 Test 1880
West Indies -233 391/9d 158 v England drawn Kingston 1967/68 Test 629
Zimbabwe -314 391 77 v South Africa lost 9 wickets Harare 2001/02 Test 1562
South Africa -408 390 -18 v England lost inns & 18 runs Birmingham 1924 Test 153
England -281 387 106 v Australia lost 5 wickets Melbourne 2002/03 Test 1634
Australia -259 387 128 v England lost 3 wickets Nottingham 2005 Test 1762

Laxman made a vital contribution during India's follow-on in Napier too. He came in early on the final day, with India trailing by 54 and only seven wickets in hand, and scored a fluent century. It was his second three-figure score in a follow-on; he has a half-century against New Zealand in Mohali as well. Laxman has an aggregate of 493 runs in the four times he has batted in a follow-on, and his average of 246.50 in such innings is by far the highest.

Michael Vaughan has scored three hundreds in follow-ons, the most by any batsman. The first was against Sri Lanka at Lord's in 2002, the next against Australia at the MCG in December that year, and the third against West Indies in Antigua in 2004, the game in which Brian Lara scored 400.

Highest Test batting averages after following on
Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 Won Lost Draw
VVS Laxman (India) 2001-2009 4 4 2 493 281 246.50 2 1 1 1 2
KC Bland (SA) 1964-1964 2 2 1 212 144* 212.00 1 1 0 1 1
WL Murdoch (Aus) 1880-1883 2 2 1 170 153* 170.00 1 0 0 2 0
ER Dexter (Eng) 1961-1963 2 2 1 161 126* 161.00 1 0 0 1 1
A Flower (Zim) 1993-2001 7 7 3 635 232* 158.75 2 3 0 6 1
CN Frank (SA) 1921-1921 1 1 0 152 152 152.00 1 0 0 0 1
RA Woolmer (Eng) 1975-1975 1 1 0 149 149 149.00 1 0 0 0 1
DN Sardesai (India) 1962-1965 3 3 1 287 200* 143.50 1 1 0 1 2
KWR Fletcher (Eng) 1973-1975 2 2 1 137 86* 137.00 0 2 0 2 0
G Kirsten (SA) 1999-2002 4 4 0 495 275 123.75 2 1 0 3 1
H Sutcliffe (Eng) 1926-1930 2 2 1 122 94 122.00 0 1 0 0 2
BW Luckhurst (Eng) 1971-1973 2 2 1 120 108* 120.00 1 0 0 1 1
DG Bradman (Aus) 1934-1938 4 3 1 239 144* 119.50 1 1 0 3 1
G Pullar (Eng) 1961-1961 1 1 0 119 119 119.00 1 0 0 0 1
AN Cook (Eng) 2007-2007 1 1 0 118 118 118.00 1 0 0 0 1
S Ranatunga (SL) 1994-1995 2 2 1 118 100* 118.00 1 0 0 1 1
CC Hunte (WI) 1960-1961 1 1 0 110 110 110.00 1 0 0 1 0
KS Ranjitsinhji (Eng) 1896-1898 4 4 1 313 154* 104.33 1 2 0 4 0
HM Amla (SA) 2008-2008 1 1 1 104 104* - 1 0 0 0 1
IR Redpath (Aus) 1967-1970 3 3 1 207 80 103.50 0 3 0 2 1

Apart from Dravid and Laxman, India had another person in their dressing room this week who had experience of forcing a draw against the odds. Their coach, Gary Kirsten, played the second longest Test innings to draw a match against England at Kingsmead in 1999. Kirsten batted 878 minutes and scored 275 - the third-highest score in a follow-on - to help South Africa wipe out a deficit of 210 and surge into the lead. Their total of 572 for 7 was also the third-highest score in a follow-on.

Highest individual Test scores after following on
Player Runs Opposition Result Margin Ground Season Scorecard
Hanif Mohammad (Pak) 337 v West Indies drawn Bridgetown 1957/58 Test 446
VVS Laxman (India) 281 v Australia won 171 runs Kolkata 2000/01 Test 1535
G Kirsten (SA) 275 v England drawn Durban 1999/00 Test 1480
Saleem Malik (Pak) 237 v Australia drawn Rawalpindi 1994/95 Test 1269
A Flower (Zim) 232* v India drawn Nagpur 2000/01 Test 1517
DN Sardesai (India) 200* v New Zealand drawn Mumbai (BS) 1964/65 Test 582
A Flower (Zim) 199* v South Africa lost 9 wickets Harare 2001/02 Test 1562
GJ Whittall (Zim) 188* v New Zealand lost 8 wickets Harare 2000/01 Test 1511
DC Boon (Aus) 184* v England drawn Sydney 1987/88 Test 1090
R Dravid (India) 180 v Australia won 171 runs Kolkata 2000/01 Test 1535
PR Umrigar (India) 172* v West Indies lost 7 wickets Port of Spain 1961/62 Test 528
KF Barrington (Eng) 172 v India drawn Kanpur 1961/62 Test 514
OG Smith (WI) 168 v England drawn Nottingham 1957 Test 441
AJ Stewart (Eng) 164 v South Africa drawn Manchester 1998 Test 1420
DCS Compton (Eng) 163 v South Africa drawn Nottingham 1947 Test 285
RB Kanhai (WI) 158* v India drawn Kingston 1970/71 Test 680
DI Gower (Eng) 157* v India drawn The Oval 1990 Test 1150
DB Vengsarkar (India) 157 v England lost 7 wickets Lord's 1982 Test 928
EAB Rowan (SA) 156* v England drawn Johannesburg 1948/49 Test 307
KS Ranjitsinhji (Eng) 154* v Australia lost 3 wickets Manchester 1896 Test 51
WL Murdoch (Aus) 153* v England lost 5 wickets The Oval 1880 Test 4
G Kirsten (SA) 153 v Australia lost 10 wickets Sydney 2001/02 Test 1582
CN Frank (SA) 152 v Australia drawn Johannesburg 1921/22 Test 146
MW Gatting (Eng) 150* v Pakistan drawn The Oval 1987 Test 1079
JW Zulch (SA) 150 v Australia lost 7 wickets Sydney 1910/11 Test 115
IT Botham (Eng) 149* v Australia won 18 runs Leeds 1981 Test 905
RA Woolmer (Eng) 149 v Australia drawn The Oval 1975 Test 763
MAK Pataudi (India) 148 v England lost 6 wickets Leeds 1967 Test 618
MJ Greatbatch (NZ) 146* v Australia drawn Perth 1989/90 Test 1129
VS Hazare (India) 145 v Australia lost inns & 16 runs Adelaide 1947/48 Test 294

Click here for the full tables.

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George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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