Alastair Cook – 162 v New Zealand at Lord’s
After Kane Williamson, Alastair Cook becomes the second player to make his second test century of the calendar year, and there was much rejoicing. You don’t have to be reading this blog for long to know how much I’ve gone off him, but this was a really good knock, anchoring the innings. So let’s stick to the stats, and the rule of thumb is that the bigger the ton, the better the stats. Here goes.
This was Cook’s 7th highest score in test matches, and his 8th score over 150. This beat his highest score against New Zealand, which was 130 at Headingley in 2013 (his last home test hundred). It was his third hundred against the BlackCaps, and coincidentally, all have come in the third innings of the game (his other was 116 in Dunedin which went a long way to saving that match). 7 out of Cook’s 150s have come in this decade, as he did have a bit of a habit of scoring small hundreds. This is Cook’s third highest score as captain, trailing his two knocks on the tour of India.
This is the 17th highest score by an England batsman against New Zealand. It is the third highest at Lord’s against this opposition, with the top three all pillars, yes pillars, of the Essex Cricket Hierarchy (see Essex Mafia, Chelmsford Cosa Nostra) – Gooch leads with 183 made in 1986, with Keith Fletcher’s 178 in 1973 in second. Again, like Cook, both of these were made in the third innings of the game. The record score against New Zealand is Walter Hammond’s 336* in Auckland, while John Edrich holds the record score in England of 310*. Neither of the two other Essex scores at Lord’s were their best against New Zealand. Both of them have made a double hundred against the Kiwis, of the seven made by England in this fixture. This was the 107th century made by an English player against New Zealand.
Have you seen a 162 Dmitri? No. There’s been 17 all-time in tests, although the last one didn’t come a long time ago. Steve Smith made this score in his emotional knock at Adelaide Oval against India last December. There had been five years between 162s before then. 162s that people might remember include Chris Broad’s innings at the WACA in 1986, when he and Athey put on 200+ for the opening partnership. Jacques Kallis’s 162* at Durban in 2004 was also a brilliant innings on a deck that started with a flurry of wickets on the first two days. The only other Englishman to make 162 is Ian Bell, in his first test century at Chester-le-Street against Bangladesh in 2005. Some may also remember South African Kepler Wessels making 162 on debut at the Gabba in 1982 against England, but of course, that’s all right because he did it for Australia. This was the second 162 made against New Zealand – Adam Gilchrist made the first at Wellington in 2005. Adelaide and Brisbane have seen two scores of 162, while Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Cairns have seen one, making Australia the 162 capital of the world. This was just the second 162 made in England – the other being Ian Bell’s at Chester-le-Street.
The first 162 was made in 1921 at Adelaide by Herbie Collins. This was a timeless test that had six centuries in it, England make 447 in the first innings and take a 90 run lead, and still lose by over 100 despite scoring 370 in the 4th innings, Wisden seems to indicate that Collins’ innings was a little fortunate. Herbie, also known as Horseshoe, made four test centuries for Australia, with a best of 203 against South Africa in Johannesburg. He finished his career with a test average of over 45.
Alastair Cook’s 100 came up in 206 balls and contained 12 x 4.