The Wisden Cricketer - May 2008 August 2, 2008

From Grace to Hick

Patrick Kidd
How the other 24 beat Mark Ramprakash to the landmark

How the other 24 beat Mark Ramprakash to the landmark


1 WG Grace 1895

Grace is the first and oldest of the batsmen to reach three figures 100 times and he took the most innings. However, the old man celebrated in style, making 288 on his home ground at Bristol for Gloucestershire against Somerset in what was his 31st year of first-class cricket. He had been 'given' the hundred by Sammy Woods, who bowled a slow legside full toss to let the doctor reach his mark. The jubilation at the ground, which had been dusted with snow that morning, overshadowed the fact he had also taken five wickets in Somerset's first innings. However, like several of the players on this list, Grace's record was later amended by the statisticians. Two matches some 20 years earlier have been ruled as not first-class, so Grace actually scored his 100th hundred two weeks later against Middlesex.

2 Tom Hayward 1913

Hayward's first hundred of the summer of 1913 was a long time coming - he had to wait until the end of June to advance from 99 to 100, but the record came at The Oval against Lancashire with a patient innings of 139 that included 11 fours. Batting with him that game were Hobbs and Sandham, two who would eventually join him in the exclusive centenarians club.

3 Jack Hobbs 1923

Hobbs followed a first-innings duck against Somerset, as Surrey were bowled out for 91, with a crucial 116 second time around to set up a 10-run victory in Bath. His innings was especially crucial as Surrey were at one stage 45 for 4, four runs in arrears. At the start of his 19th year as a Surrey player, it was his first hundred against Somerset.

4 Phil Mead 1927

A tame draw at Kettering was the unfortunate backdrop for Mead's 100th hundred. The Hampshire man batted for two and a half hours to make exactly 100 not out in the second innings, at which point Lionel Tennyson declared, leaving Northamptonshire a target of 367 to win in just over an hour.

5 Patsy Hendren 1928

Hendren became the fifth man to the mark, on the MCC tour of Australia in 1928-29. There was a gloomy setting for the Middlesex batsman's feat with light drizzle falling for much of the day at the MCG - drizzle that turned to heavy rain the next day, meaning that the match with Victoria ended as a draw. Hendren made precisely 100 before John Scaife ran him out.

Frank Woolley in his pomp © The Cricketer International

6 Frank Woolley 1929

Woolley enjoyed a golden summer in 1929, hitting 11 hundreds from June 22 to the end of the season. The seventh of them, for Kent against Middlesex, brought him his membership of the 100 club, with a first-innings 176 at Lord's. It was more than Middlesex made between them in their first innings.

7 Herbert Sutcliffe 1932

At the time, it was thought that the Yorkshireman had reached the mark in the second innings of a win against Gloucestershire at Bradford. Sutcliffe hit Wally Hammond for six twice to signal his intentions and was caught in the deep for 132. However, it was later decided that this match was his 102nd hundred and that his 100th hundred was for the North v the South two weeks earlier. This was because two hundreds he had scored in Ceylon for the Maharaj Kumar of Vizianagram's XI were later ruled first-class.

8 Ernest Tyldesley 1934

Twenty-one years earlier, Tyldesley had scored his fourth first-class hundred at The Oval in the same match that Hayward scored his 100th. It was at the less glamorous location of Peterborough that Tydesley joined Hayward in the club, making 122 as Lancashire beat Northamptonshire by an innings. Tyldesley's greatest season was in 1926 when he scored seven hundreds in seven matches (four in consecutive innings) as his county won the Championship.

9 Wally Hammond 1935

Hammond scored 116 in the first innings on his home pitch at Bristol to become the youngest man, a week before his 32nd birthday, to reach the mark. His hundred took almost four hours, after play had been delayed to dry a wet wicket, and he was assisted in his patient occupation of the crease by Reg Sinfield, who took two hours and 20 minutes to make 31.

10 Andy Sandham 1935

Sandham reached his mark at Basingstoke a fortnight after Hammond had celebrated his own feat. It was the first county game at the Hampshire ground for 21 years, but the home side suffered on a drying pitch and were dismissed for 79. Batting was easier after lunch and Sandham reached his 100 for Surrey in three and a half hours before being caught for 103 at cover point off a full toss.

The Master, Don Bradman, in 1938 © Getty Images

11 Don Bradman 1947

Inevitably, Bradman reached his milestone in far fewer matches than anyone else before or since. However, the War did mean that he was almost 40 before he achieved the landmark. It came when playing for an Australian XI against the Indians at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He started slowly, reaching 33 without a boundary, but then accelerated so rapidly that by the time he was out for 172, he had been at the crease for just under three hours.

12 Les Ames 1950

The only wicketkeeper on the list, the Kent man scored his 100 in as many minutes in the second innings against Middlesex in Canterbury week. He hit two sixes and 17 fours in his two-hour innings of 131 before being caught at long-off with Kent just four runs away from securing a four-wicket win.

13 Len Hutton 1951

At The Oval, where 13 years earlier he had made the record Test score of 364, Hutton got his 100th hundred against Surrey, driving the bowler through the covers elegantly to bring up the landmark. The innings ended for 151 when he was bowled by Tony Lock. Yet needing just 43 to win, Yorkshire were struggling on 30 for 6 in their second innings when the match ended as a draw.

14 Denis Compton 1952

Compton achieved the feat at Lord's against Northamptonshire, the same opponents who gave him his first hundred 15 years earlier. He reached the century by hitting a four off Freddie Brown, his former England captain. Compton also picked up five wickets in the match as Middlesex won by 23 runs.

15 Tom Graveney 1964

Graveney became the 15th man to join the club on a dry pitch at Worcester with an innings full of typical grace and flowing swings of the bat. He hit 19 fours in his 132, raising wistful sighs from the correspondent of The Times that the England selectors had set him to one side. In fact, Graveney would earn a recall to the national side two years later and had five more England hundreds in him.

16 Colin Cowdrey 1973

Cowdrey's powers were waning by 1973 and he was allowed to make exactly 100 not out before Mike Denness declared Kent's first innings against Surrey at Maidstone. Cowdrey and Asif Iqbal put on an undefeated 202 together for the sixth wicket to rescue the home side from following on.

17 John Edrich 1977

Like many in the 100 club, Edrich stumbled towards the landmark and it wasn't until July of 1977 that he advanced from 99 to 100 with a second-innings century for Surrey at The Oval against Derbyshire. He had made a duck in the first innings. Graham Roope was in the middle, acting as a runner for Geoff Howarth, when Edrich passed three figures. One month later, Roope was again in the middle when this happened ...

18 Geoffrey Boycott 1977

Only Boycott would have the brass neck to score his 100th hundred in his 100th Test at his home ground of Headingley against Australia. Some setting, some innings. "Go to it, Geoff" had been the headline on the local evening newspaper and Boycott went for it, straightdriving Greg Chappell for four just before six o'clock to reach the hundred. He was dropped once and survived what the Australians felt was a very good call for a catch behind, but Boycott had imposed his will on this match and would not be moved. During the inevitable pitch invasion after the fateful boundary, someone stole Boycott's England cap. Unsurprisingly, he refused to carry on until it was returned. Unsurprisingly, it was returned.

19 Glenn Turner 1982

Turner's tally of hundreds began and ended with Worcestershire, despite having started his firstclass career with his native Otago. Fourteen years after Turner first reached three figures, he celebrated his 100th hundred in style, making 311 not out - in a day - against Warwickshire at New Road. His 99th hundred was a big one, too: 239 not out against Oxford University.

20 Zaheer Abbas 1982

Like Boycott, Abbas reached his 100th hundred in an emotionally charged Test match, for Pakistan against India at Lahore. It was a big one, too. His innings of 215 helped Pakistan from 126 for 3 to 485 by the end of day two, but the match ended in a draw.

21 Dennis Amiss 1986

The Warwickshire batsman made a match-saving unbeaten 101 in the second innings at Edgbaston against Lancashire. It was one final tussle with Clive Lloyd, the Lancashire captain who had been in the West Indies team that Amiss scored three hundreds against for England in 1973-74 and captained West Indies during Amiss's innings of 203 in 1976.

22 Viv Richards 1988

Strangely, Richards didn't add to his tally of hundreds during West Indies' 4-0 Test series win over England in 1988. He was marooned on 98 until the winter of 1988-99, when he scored 136 against South Australia and 101 against New South Wales. Glamorgan were the main beneficiaries of his hundreds thereafter.

23 Graham Gooch 1993

Like several other players, there is uncertainty over which was Gooch's 100th hundred. Was it the 102* against India Under-25 at Cuttack or the 105 against Cambridge University seven innings later? Everything hinged on the legitimacy of an innings of 109 that Gooch made on the rebel tour of South Africa in 1982, with the ICC ruling shortly before his innings at Cuttack that it should not have been counted as firstclass. So, Fenner's was the scene for his landmark. Even though the 'rebel' hundred is not recognised by ICC, Wisden and the Association of Cricket Statisticians include it in their records.

24 Graeme Hick 1998

Hick was greeted with a glass of champagne by Tom Graveney on emulating the latter's feat of reaching the landmark at New Road. He has since gone on to make 34 more hundreds - and may have a couple more left in him before retirement - but his innings that day, the second hundred he made in the match, rather overshadowed Vikram Solanki's maiden century for Worcestershire.