The List The ListRSS FeedFeeds  | Archives
George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

Daylight between the best and next

Michael Clarke's 329 was a 161-run improvement on his best Test score. A look at other batsmen who had a large difference between their highest and second-highest scores

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

January 11, 2012

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke is ecstatic after completing his triple, Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2012
Michael Clarke improved his best Test score by 161 runs at the SCG © Getty Images
Enlarge

Unlike two artistic Australian batsmen before him, Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn, who never made a double-century in Tests, Michael Clarke smashed the 200-run barrier and powered to 329 against India in Sydney. He could have more than doubled his previous highest - 168 against New Zealand in Wellington - but made what is fast becoming a legendary declaration instead. Clarke's difference of 161 is the fifth-highest between a batsman's best and second-best Test scores.

One of several records that fell during Clarke's innings was the one for the highest Test score at the SCG, which was Tip Foster's 287 against Australia in 1903. Foster's performance was on Test debut and it remains the best score by a debutant, as well as the highest by an Englishman in Australia. His partnership of 130 with Wilfred Rhodes remained the record for the last wicket until 1973. Foster never scored another century. In fact, his next best performance was in his final Test - 51 against South Africa at The Oval in 1907. The difference of 236 between Foster's best and next best scores is the highest in the table below.

After his first ten Tests, the last of which was in 1925, England opener Andy Sandham had scored 287 runs at an average of 19.13, with a high score of 58. His next appearance for England was five years later, when at the age of 40, Sandham travelled to the Caribbean for a four-Test tour. He began the series with 152 and 51 in Barbados, but failed in the second and third Tests, in Trinidad and Guyana. In the last match, in Jamaica, Sandham doubled his previous best during a record-breaking innings of 325, Test cricket's first triple-century. He followed up with 50 in the second innings as well, but never played for England again.

Largest difference between a player's highest and second highest Test score
Player Span Mat Inns Runs Opp Scorecard Runs Opp Scorecard Diff
RE Foster (Eng) 1903-1907 8 14 287 v Aus Dec 11, 1903 51 v SA Aug 19, 1907 236
ML Hayden (Aus) 1994-2009 103 184 380 v Zim Oct 9, 2003 203 v India Mar 18, 2001 177
A Sandham (Eng) 1921-1930 14 23 325 v WI Apr 3, 1930 152 v WI Jan 11, 1930 173
D Lloyd (Eng) 1974-1975 9 15 214* v India Jul 4, 1974 49 v Aus Dec 13, 1974 165
MJ Clarke (Aus) 2004-2012 78 129 329* v India Jan 3, 2012 168 v NZ Mar 19, 2010 161
L Hutton (Eng) 1937-1955 79 138 364 v Aus Aug 20, 1938 206 v NZ Aug 13, 1949 158
GB Legge (Eng) 1927-1930 5 7 196 v NZ Feb 21, 1930 39 v NZ Jan 24, 1930 157
DSBP Kuruppu (SL) 1987-1991 4 7 201* v NZ Apr 16, 1987 46 v Eng Aug 25, 1988 155
SFAF Bacchus (WI) 1978-1982 19 30 250 v India Feb 2, 1979 96 v India Dec 15, 1978 154
PBH May (Eng) 1951-1961 66 106 285* v WI May 30, 1957 138 v SA Jul 26, 1951 147
BA Young (NZ) 1993-1999 35 68 267* v SL Mar 7, 1997 120 v Pak Feb 24, 1994 147
JN Gillespie (Aus) 1996-2006 71 93 201* v Ban Apr 16, 2006 54* v NZ Nov 18, 2004 147
RM Cowper (Aus) 1964-1968 27 46 307 v Eng Feb 11, 1966 165 v India Jan 26, 1968 142
GS Sobers (WI) 1954-1974 93 160 365* v Pak Feb 26, 1958 226 v Eng Jan 6, 1960 139
Fawad Alam (Pak) 2009-2009 3 6 168 v SL Jul 12, 2009 29 v NZ Nov 24, 2009 139
BJ Hodge (Aus) 2005-2008 6 11 203* v SA Dec 16, 2005 67 v WI May 22, 2008 136
C Bannerman (Aus) 1877-1879 3 6 165* v Eng Mar 15, 1877 30 v Eng Mar 31, 1877 135
JH Edrich (Eng) 1963-1976 77 127 310* v NZ Jul 8, 1965 175 v Aus Jul 31, 1975 135
DS Atkinson (WI) 1948-1958 22 35 219 v Aus May 14, 1955 85 v NZ Feb 18, 1956 134
Hanif Mohammad (Pak) 1952-1969 55 97 337 v WI Jan 17, 1958 203* v NZ Apr 2, 1965 134

Brendon Kuruppu, the former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper, had a high score of 201 not out in Tests, and a second best of only 46. His double-century was made on debut, against New Zealand in 1987, and is the slowest in Tests, taking 777 minutes and 548 balls. Kuruppu played only three more Tests for Sri Lanka.

Test cricket's first centurion, Charles Bannerman, is also in the table above. He made 165 out of Australia's 245 against England in the first-ever Test, at the MCG in 1877. His next best score, which he made in the second Test, was only 30.

Jason Gillespie's average of 15.64 was the third-lowest for a batsman before making a double-century. He had a high score of 54 not out in 70 Tests before he made an unbeaten 201 against Bangladesh in Chittagong in 2006. It turned out to be Gillespie's final Test as well. The ratio of 3.72 between Gillespie's best and second-best scores is the highest in Tests.

Highest ratio between a player's highest and second-highest Test scores (qualification: 20 innings)
Player Span Mat Inns Runs Opp Scorecard Runs Opp Scorecard 1st/2nd
JN Gillespie (Aus) 1996-2006 71 93 201* v Ban Apr 16, 2006 54* v NZ Nov 18, 2004 3.72
UWMBCA Welegedara (SL) 2007-2012 17 23 48 v Pak Oct 26, 2011 14 v SA Jan 3, 2012 3.42
RB Desai (India) 1959-1968 28 44 85 v Pak Dec 2, 1960 32* v NZ Feb 15, 1968 2.65
SFAF Bacchus (WI) 1978-1982 19 30 250 v India Feb 2, 1979 96 v India Dec 15, 1978 2.60
DS Atkinson (WI) 1948-1958 22 35 219 v Aus May 14, 1955 85 v NZ Feb 18, 1956 2.57
Ghulam Ahmed (India) 1948-1959 22 31 50 v Pak Oct 16, 1952 20* v Pak Dec 12, 1952 2.50
RW Blair (NZ) 1953-1964 19 34 64* v Eng Mar 1, 1963 26* v SA Feb 28, 1964 2.46
JJ Lyons (Aus) 1887-1897 14 27 134 v Eng Jan 29, 1892 55 v Eng Jul 21, 1890 2.43
Saleem Altaf (Pak) 1967-1978 21 31 53* v NZ Feb 16, 1973 22 v Eng Jul 8, 1971 2.40
RWT Key (Eng) 2002-2005 15 26 221 v WI Jul 22, 2004 93* v WI Aug 12, 2004 2.37
TW Jarvis (NZ) 1965-1973 13 22 182 v WI Apr 6, 1972 77 v India Mar 19, 1965 2.36
D Ramdin (WI) 2005-2010 42 73 166 v Eng Feb 26, 2009 71 v Aus Nov 17, 2005 2.33
Manjural Islam (Ban) 2001-2004 17 33 21 v WI Dec 16, 2002 9 v Zim Nov 8, 2001 2.33
JJC Lawson (WI) 2002-2005 13 21 14 v Aus May 9, 2003 6 v Ban Dec 16, 2002 2.33
WU Tharanga (SL) 2005-2007 15 26 165 v Ban Mar 8, 2006 72 v Pak Mar 26, 2006 2.29
IJ Siedle (SA) 1928-1936 18 34 141 v Eng Jan 1, 1931 62 v Eng Feb 13, 1931 2.27
JP Duminy (SA) 2008-2010 12 20 166 v Aus Dec 26, 2008 73* v Aus Mar 6, 2009 2.27
AB Agarkar (India) 1998-2006 26 39 109* v Eng Jul 25, 2002 48 v SL Dec 18, 2005 2.27
CMH Hathorn (SA) 1902-1911 12 20 102 v Eng Mar 10, 1906 45 v Aus Oct 11, 1902 2.26
CPH Ramanayake (SL) 1988-1993 18 24 34* v Eng Aug 22, 1991 15* v Aus Sep 8, 1992 2.26

The largest difference between a player's best and second-best ODI scores belongs to former South Africa batsman Dave Callaghan, who played 29 matches between 1992 and 2000. Callaghan made 45 not out in his second ODI, against India in 1992, and that remained his best score until December 1994, when he was recalled to the XI after an 11-month absence. At Verwoerdburg, as Centurion was previously known, Callaghan scored 169 off 143 balls against New Zealand, the fifth-best ODI score at the time, to set up an 81-run victory. He had nine more innings but did not make more than 23.

Largest difference between a player's highest and second-highest ODI scores
Player Span Mat Inns Runs Opp Scorecard Runs Opp Scorecard Diff
DJ Callaghan (SA) 1992-2000 29 25 169* v NZ Dec 11, 1994 45* v India Dec 9, 1992 124
XM Marshall (WI) 2005-2009 24 24 157* v Can Aug 22, 2008 35 v Aus Jun 29, 2008 122
CK Coventry (Zim) 2003-2011 37 34 194* v Ban Aug 16, 2009 74 v India Sep 4, 2005 120
JAH Marshall (NZ) 2005-2008 10 10 161 v Ire Jul 1, 2008 50 v SL Dec 31, 2006 111
JF Kloppenburg (Neth) 2002-2003 6 6 121 v Nam Mar 3, 2003 18 v Zim Feb 28, 2003 103
RJ Nicol (NZ) 2011-2011 3 3 108* v Zim Oct 20, 2011 14 v Zim Oct 25, 2011 94
TM Chappell (Aus) 1980-1983 20 13 110 v India Jun 13, 1983 22 v Zim Jun 16, 1983 88
N Kapil Dev (India) 1978-1994 225 198 175* v Zim Jun 18, 1983 87 v WI Dec 8, 1987 88
D Mongia (India) 2001-2007 57 51 159* v Zim Mar 19, 2002 74 v WI May 29, 2002 85
RB Kerr (Aus) 1985-1985 4 4 87* v Eng Feb 17, 1985 4 v WI Feb 12, 1985 83
W Larkins (Eng) 1979-1991 25 24 124 v Aus Oct 19, 1989 44 v NZ Dec 7, 1990 80
Karim Sadiq (Afgh) 2009-2011 16 15 114* v Scot Aug 16, 2010 34 v Can Aug 9, 2011 80
MK Tiwary (India) 2008-2011 6 6 104* v WI Dec 11, 2011 24 v Eng Oct 25, 2011 80
BM McMillan (SA) 1991-1998 78 52 127 v Zim Oct 21, 1995 48* v India Nov 24, 1993 79
S Jyoti (Can) 2006-2010 14 13 117 v Scot Jul 7, 2009 38 v Afgh Feb 18, 2010 79
DN Chudasama (Kenya) 1996-1999 20 19 122 v Ban Oct 10, 1997 51 v Pak Oct 2, 1996 71
KJJ van Noortwijk (Neth) 1996-2003 9 9 134* v Nam Mar 3, 2003 64 v Eng Feb 22, 1996 70
CB Wishart (Zim) 1996-2005 90 82 172* v Nam Feb 10, 2003 102 v India Sep 30, 1998 70
Khurram Khan (UAE) 2004-2008 4 4 78 v Ban Jun 24, 2008 8 v SL Jul 17, 2004 70
L Vincent (NZ) 2001-2007 102 99 172 v Zim Aug 24, 2005 102 v WI Mar 1, 2006 70

West Indies batsman Xavier Marshall once held the record for most sixes in an ODI innings, until Shane Watson took it from him. Marshall hit 12 during his unbeaten 157 against Canada in August 2008. That effort was a more than four-fold improvement on his previous best, which was only 35, against Australia two months before.

Highest ratio between a player's highest and second-highest ODI scores (qualification: 20 innings)
Player Span Mat Inns Runs Opp Scorecard Runs Opp Scorecard 1st/2nd
XM Marshall (WI) 2005-2009 24 24 157* v Can Aug 22, 2008 35 v Aus Jun 29, 2008 4.48
DJ Callaghan (SA) 1992-2000 29 25 169* v NZ Dec 11, 1994 45* v India Dec 9, 1992 3.75
RGD Willis (Eng) 1973-1984 64 22 24 v Pak Jun 16, 1979 7* v Aus Jan 16, 1983 3.42
R Rampaul (WI) 2003-2011 65 28 86* v India Dec 2, 2011 26* v Zim Dec 2, 2007 3.30
TN de Grooth (Neth) 2006-2011 31 30 97 v Ber Aug 18, 2007 32 v Scot Aug 6, 2006 3.03
W Larkins (Eng) 1979-1991 25 24 124 v Aus Oct 19, 1989 44 v NZ Dec 7, 1990 2.81
C Sharma (India) 1983-1994 65 35 101* v Eng Oct 25, 1989 38* v NZ Feb 2, 1986 2.65
Tahir Naqqash (Pak) 1980-1985 40 23 61 v NZ Feb 16, 1985 23* v WI Jan 12, 1982 2.65
BM McMillan (SA) 1991-1998 78 52 127 v Zim Oct 21, 1995 48* v India Nov 24, 1993 2.64
JM Parker (NZ) 1974-1981 24 20 66 v EAf Jun 7, 1975 25 v Eng Mar 9, 1975 2.64
M Ntini (ICC/SA) 1998-2009 173 47 42* v NZ Mar 2, 2004 16* v Pak Oct 5, 2003 2.62
CK Coventry (Zim) 2003-2011 37 34 194* v Ban Aug 16, 2009 74 v India Sep 4, 2005 2.62
GB Brent (Zim) 1996-2008 70 54 59* v SA Aug 22, 2007 24 v India Apr 9, 1998 2.45
HK Olonga (Zim) 1995-2003 50 27 31 v Pak Dec 1, 2002 13* v Pak Nov 23, 2002 2.38
DBL Powell (WI) 2002-2009 55 25 48* v SA Apr 10, 2007 21 v Aus Jun 27, 2008 2.28
AY Karim (Kenya) 1996-2003 34 24 53 v Zim Oct 19, 1997 24 v SL Sep 28, 1996 2.20
D Mongia (India) 2001-2007 57 51 159* v Zim Mar 19, 2002 74 v WI May 29, 2002 2.14
Aaqib Javed (Pak) 1988-1998 163 51 45* v SA Apr 13, 1996 21 v SL Oct 1, 1995 2.14
DM Benkenstein (SA) 1998-2002 23 20 69 v WI Feb 2, 1999 33 v WI Feb 5, 1999 2.09
DN Crookes (SA) 1994-2000 32 23 54 v India Apr 17, 1996 26 v India Apr 19, 1996 2.07

Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for ESPNcricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: George Binoy

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by DEDKIK on (January 12, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

Re my earlier post-actually Saqlain Mushtaq has the lowest average (14.48) of Test century makers. Agarkar actually is 8th with 16.79, while the recent WI player J.Taklor has 15.72. Of those with at least 2 centuries, the lowest average is 18.65 by Harbhajan.

Posted by DEDKIK on (January 12, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

Another way of doing this is to look at "lowest test average for someone who scored at least one century" This may take a few minutes on Statsguru, but I suspect that Agarkar would top this list.

Posted by Venkatb on (January 11, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

Wasim Akram too had a 134 run difference between his top 2 scores!

Posted by ssenthil on (January 11, 2012, 14:06 GMT)

I guess he took top 20 for the list hence missed out Wasim who also have 134 runs difference. The 2 other player with 134 runs difference were before Wasim hence they were in the list

Posted by swamistyle on (January 11, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

vikram501 its because Foster only played 14 innings which didn't satisfy Basevi & Binoy minimum 20 innings qualification for the ratio tables. They had to impose this minimum otherwise the table would be filled with players who played only 2 or 3 innings that would be skewed to ridiculously high ratios & render the whole table irrelevant.

Posted by jazzaaaaaaaa on (January 11, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

Tip Foster isn't in the list because he only played 14 innings and so doesn't pass the 20 innings qualification. And Akram isnt in the list because his ratio is too low (257/123 = a ratio 2.07).

Posted by iDontLikeCricket on (January 11, 2012, 12:27 GMT)

@vikram501 - because it has a minimum qualification of 20 innings

Posted by nat._ on (January 11, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

Hayden, Hutton, Sobers & Mohammad - love it when your second best score is a double century!

Posted by vikram501 on (January 11, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

Why is Tip Foster not heading the list based on Ratios (1st/2nd). 287 / 51 is more than 5!!!

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

Where is the legend Wasim Akram?

Comments have now been closed for this article

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
George BinoyClose
George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket

Inzamam had a lot of time to play his shots

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Inzy's technique

    'If I'd stayed captain, Bangladesh would have done better'

Habibul Bashar talks about the team's early days, landmark wins, and the current squad

    Big-hearted, broad-shouldered Davo

Alan Davidson was a fine allrounder, who has spent his life serving Australian sport in various capacities. By Ashley Mallett

    Dubai-Dhabi-Doo

Rob Steen: Who knew the Middle East would one day become the centre of a cricket-lover's universe?

A song called Younis

Ahmer Naqvi: For a country torn by internal strife, he offers hope with his magnanimity, humility and cheerful disposition

News | Features Last 7 days

November games need November prices

An early start to the international season, coupled with costly tickets, have kept the Australian public away from the cricket

The inherent dangers of batting

The sickening blow that struck Phillip Hughes is a reminder of the ever-present dangers associated with facing fast bowlers, even while wearing a helmet

Hope for Hughes, feel for Abbott

It is impossible to imagine how Sean Abbott must feel after sending down that bouncer to Phillip Hughes. While the cricket world hopes for Hughes' recovery, it should also ensure Abbott is supported

Dhawan's bouncer problem

Why the Indian opener would be well advised to shelve the hook and pull in Australia

A two-decade long dream

In 2011, MS Dhoni helped end a 28-year wait for India and gifted Sachin Tendulkar something he had craved throughout his career - to be called a World Cup champion

News | Features Last 7 days