January 13, 2010

So near and yet so far

Batsmen who made the most scores between 50 and 99 before getting to a century

Had Mohammad Yousuf placed someone else at point during Australia's second innings in the Boxing Day Test, and had Abdur Rauf not shelled a sitter, Shane Watson would have been dismissed on 99 and would have still been searching for an elusive maiden Test century. Watson passed 50 six times in 11 innings, and seven times in all, before finally scoring an unbeaten 120 at the MCG. This week we've looked at which batsmen made the most scores between 50 and 99 before making a century.

Had Rauf taken that catch, Watson by now would have been the player dismissed most times in the nineties before a maiden Test century. The dismissal on 99 would have been his third in the nineties. (And he fell for 97 in the next Test, against Pakistan in Sydney.)

Three batsmen made scores in the nineties thrice before reaching their maiden Test hundreds: Bob Simpson, Trevor Goddard and Hashan Tillakaratne. One of Goddard's nineties was a 99 against England at The Oval in 1960. He batted for six hours and 10 minutes, was dropped off consecutive deliveries from Brian Statham before Colin Cowdrey took a sharp catch at slip. The umpires consulted before sending Goddard on his way, one short of a first Test hundred.

Goddard and Simpson also made the most scores of over 50 before scoring Test centuries - 15 each. Simpson made 60 on debut, followed by scores of 92, 85, 75, 92, 76, 51, 50, 71, 91, 71, 55*, 58, 78 and 50 spread over 50 innings before finally reaching three figures. And when he got there, he made it count, scoring 311 at Old Trafford in 1964. It was the second-highest score for a batsman making his maiden hundred.

Most scores above 50 before making first Test century
Player Num Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 50 Score Opposition Start Date Scorecard
RB Simpson (Aus) 15 29 51 1653 92 35.93 15 311 v England Jul 23, 1964 Test 564
TL Goddard (SA) 15 32 61 1978 99 35.32 15 112 v England Jan 22, 1965 Test 575
RR Sarwan (WI) 14 27 48 1571 91 36.53 14 119 v Bangladesh Dec 8, 2002 Test 1630
S Chanderpaul (WI) 13 18 29 1232 82 49.28 13 137* v India Mar 27, 1997 Test 1363
ADR Campbell (Zim) 13 47 83 2031 99 25.07 13 102 v India Nov 25, 2000 Test 1517
AW Nourse (SA) 12 34 63 1639 93* 29.80 12 111 v Australia Nov 12, 1921 Test 146
WPUJC Vaas (SL) 11 96 140 2554 74* 22.40 11 100* v Bangladesh Jun 25, 2007 Test 1837
IR Redpath (Aus) 10 28 48 1491 97 33.88 10 132 v West Indies Feb 14, 1969 Test 646
JV Coney (NZ) 10 25 43 1173 84 31.70 10 174* v England Jan 20, 1984 Test 975
SR Waugh (Aus) 10 26 41 1099 91 30.52 10 177* v England Jun 8, 1989 Test 1121
SP Fleming (NZ) 10 22 38 1325 92* 36.80 10 129 v England Jan 24, 1997 Test 1351
MW Gatting (Eng) 9 31 53 1159 81 23.65 9 136 v India Nov 28, 1984 Test 1001
HP Tillakaratne (SL) 9 27 44 1297 93* 35.05 9 116 v Zimbabwe Oct 26, 1994 Test 1272
M Prabhakar (India) 9 35 52 1370 95 30.44 9 120 v West Indies Dec 10, 1994 Test 1278
HH Streak (Zim) 9 55 90 1576 87 21.01 9 127* v West Indies Nov 4, 2003 Test 1668
JB Hobbs (Eng) 8 11 22 786 93* 41.36 8 187 v South Africa Mar 11, 1910 Test 110
W Rhodes (Eng) 8 34 58 1202 77 27.95 8 179 v Australia Feb 9, 1912 Test 119
RW Barber (Eng) 8 22 35 1091 97 34.09 8 185 v Australia Jan 7, 1966 Test 599
GA Gooch (Eng) 8 21 35 1027 99 32.09 8 123 v West Indies Jun 19, 1980 Test 881
SM Pollock (SA) 8 50 71 1602 92 27.15 8 111 v Sri Lanka Jan 20, 2001 Test 1529

At least the players in the table above eventually got to their Test centuries after missing out several times, unlike the lot below.

Indian opener Chetan Chauhan made 16 half-centuries in 40 Test matches but never reached a hundred - his highest, 97, came at the Adelaide Oval in 1981. He was the first batsman to score 2000 Test runs without a century. Chauhan's opening partner, however, had no trouble at all notching up hundreds - Sunil Gavaskar made 34 in all.

Chauhan's record of scoring the most runs without a Test century now belongs to Shane Warne, who finished his 145 Tests with 3154 runs. Warne passed 50 a dozen times and even entered the nineties twice. His highest of 99 came against New Zealand in Perth in 2004, and he also made 90 in a tense draw at Old Trafford in 2005.

Most scores above 50 without making a Test century
Player Span Num Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 50
CPS Chauhan (India) 1969-1981 16 40 68 2084 97 31.57 16
KD Mackay (Aus) 1956-1963 13 37 52 1507 89 33.48 13
SK Warne (Aus) 1992-2007 12 145 199 3154 99 17.32 12
DL Murray (WI) 1963-1980 11 62 96 1993 91 22.90 11
BM Laird (Aus) 1979-1982 11 21 40 1341 92 35.28 11
HB Cameron (SA) 1927-1935 10 26 45 1239 90 30.21 10
FJ Titmus (Eng) 1955-1975 10 53 76 1449 84* 22.29 10
JE Emburey (Eng) 1978-1995 10 64 96 1713 75 22.53 10
MD Marshall (WI) 1978-1991 10 81 107 1810 92 18.85 10
DD Ebrahim (Zim) 2001-2005 10 29 55 1225 94 22.68 10
RF Surti (India) 1960-1969 9 26 48 1263 99 28.70 9
JM Brearley (Eng) 1976-1981 9 39 66 1442 91 22.88 9
AC Bannerman (Aus) 1879-1893 8 28 50 1108 94 23.08 8
Asif Mujtaba (Pak) 1986-1997 8 25 41 928 65* 24.42 8
UC Hathurusingha (SL) 1991-1999 8 26 44 1274 83 29.62 8
Asim Kamal (Pak) 2003-2005 8 12 20 717 99 37.73 8
TR Veivers (Aus) 1963-1967 7 21 30 813 88 31.26 7
GRJ Roope (Eng) 1973-1978 7 21 32 860 77 30.71 7
G Miller (Eng) 1976-1984 7 34 51 1213 98* 25.80 7
KS More (India) 1986-1993 7 49 64 1285 73 25.70 7
GJ Rennie (Zim) 1997-2002 7 23 46 1023 93 22.73 7
Rajin Saleh (Bang) 2003-2008 7 24 46 1141 89 25.93 7
Harbhajan Singh (India) 1998-2009 7 80 111 1525 66 16.75 7

Gavaskar, however, had some trouble scoring an ODI hundred. He scored a half-century 27 times, made over 75 on eight occasions, and entered the nineties thrice in 100 innings without reaching three figures. Finally, in his penultimate one-dayer, he led India to victory over New Zealand in the 1987 World Cup, scoring an unbeaten 103 off 88 balls.

Sachin Tendulkar, who presently has 43 one-day centuries, also took his time scoring his first. He went 78 matches, making 17 scores of over 50, before scoring 110 against Australia in 1994. He hadn't even entered the nineties until then, with 84 against New Zealand in Dunedin in 1992 being his highest score.

Most scores above 50 before making first ODI century
Player Num Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 50 Score Opposition Start Date Scorecard
A Ranatunga (SL) 29 152 144 4100 98 34.74 29 101* v Pakistan Dec 2, 1994 ODI 953
SM Gavaskar (India) 27 106 100 2985 92* 34.31 27 103* v New Zealand Oct 31, 1987 ODI 474
MA Taylor (Aus) 27 97 94 3066 97 32.96 27 105 v India Oct 21, 1996 ODI 1129
RG Twose (NZ) 20 74 69 2437 97 41.30 20 103 v South Africa Nov 4, 2000 ODI 1655
SR Waugh (Aus) 19 186 166 3863 86 30.41 19 102* v Sri Lanka Jan 16, 1996 ODI 1039
Younis Khan (Pak) 19 102 98 2666 90 31.36 19 144 v Hong Kong Jul 18, 2004 ODI 2147
MV Boucher (SA) 19 219 159 3183 76 26.52 19 147* v Zimbabwe Sep 20, 2006 ODI 2420
SR Tendulkar (India) 17 78 75 2126 84 32.70 17 110 v Australia Sep 9, 1994 ODI 924
GW Flower (Zim) 17 66 64 2030 91 33.27 17 112 v Sri Lanka Jan 26, 1998 ODI 1286
BRM Taylor (Zim) 17 89 88 2399 98 29.98 17 118* v Bangladesh Nov 5, 2009 ODI 2922
KR Rutherford (NZ) 16 102 97 2481 79 27.87 16 108 v India Oct 28, 1994 ODI 939
HH Dippenaar (SA) 16 62 51 1810 93 42.09 16 110* v Pakistan Oct 3, 2003 ODI 2046
JG Wright (NZ) 15 104 103 2660 84 26.07 15 101 v England Mar 16, 1988 ODI 508
PA de Silva (SL) 15 76 73 1907 96 28.46 15 104 v India Dec 1, 1990 ODI 644
GC Smith (SA) 15 58 57 2021 99 36.74 15 105 v England Feb 4, 2005 ODI 2221
AP Gurusinha (SL) 14 90 88 2255 90 26.52 14 117* v New Zealand Apr 18, 1994 ODI 909
RB Richardson (WI) 13 53 52 1521 99* 36.21 13 109 v Sri Lanka Dec 3, 1986 ODI 405
RS Mahanama (SL) 13 71 68 1654 98 27.11 13 107 v New Zealand Dec 13, 1992 ODI 778
N Hussain (Eng) 13 71 71 1839 95 30.14 13 115 v India Jul 13, 2002 ODI 1856
BB McCullum (NZ) 13 133 109 2417 96 27.78 13 166 v Ireland Jul 1, 2008 ODI 2727

How many ODI centuries do Graham Thorpe, Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan have between them in 256 matches? One. Hussain made 115 in the NatWest Series final against India in 2003 - his 71st match. Thorpe averaged over 37 and made 21 fifties, but never got past 89 in ODIs, while Vaughan's unbeaten 90 in Bulawayo in 2004 was his best effort out of 16 half-centuries in 86 matches.

Most scores above 50 without making an ODI century
Player Span Num Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 50
AH Jones (NZ) 1987-1995 25 87 87 2784 93 35.69 25
GP Thorpe (Eng) 1993-2002 21 82 77 2380 89 37.18 21
KJ Hughes (Aus) 1977-1985 17 97 88 1968 98 24.00 17
Mudassar Nazar (Pak) 1977-1989 16 122 115 2653 95 25.26 16
MP Vaughan (Eng) 2001-2007 16 86 83 1982 90* 27.15 16
JC Adams (WI) 1992-2001 14 127 105 2204 82 28.62 14
Habibul Bashar (Ban) 1995-2007 14 111 105 2168 78 21.68 14
Aftab Ahmed (Ban) 2004-2008 14 80 80 1874 92 25.32 14
HH Streak (Zim) 1993-2005 13 189 159 2943 79* 28.29 13
S Matsikenyeri (Zim) 2002-2009 13 105 102 2177 90 23.15 13
Moin Khan (Pak) 1990-2004 12 219 183 3266 72* 23.00 12
E Chigumbura (Zim) 2004-2009 12 103 96 2093 79 24.05 12
GJ Whittall (Zim) 1993-2003 11 147 142 2705 83 22.54 11
MO Odumbe (Kenya) 1996-2003 11 61 59 1409 83 26.09 11
TM Moody (Aus) 1987-1999 10 76 64 1211 89 23.28 10
Javed Omar (Ban) 1995-2007 10 59 59 1312 85* 23.85 10
SC Williams (Zim) 2005-2009 10 41 40 983 75 29.78 10

If there's a particular List you would like to see, email us with your comments and suggestions.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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