Shikhar Dhawan – 173 v Bangladesh at Fatullah I’m well aware I am behind with the centuries, and the aim is to get up to date by the start of the Ashes. So here we have a relatively big ton which conjures up all sorts of potential for statistics. This was the mustachioed maestro’s third test ton, and his second largest, trailing his monstrous 187 on his test debut against Australia in Mohali. OK, it was Bangladesh, OK he was part of a 289 run opening stand, but he has a propensity to go big. A pity he seems not to have a propensity for the moving ball over here (ducks from Indian flak). This was the 14th test hundred made by an Indian against Bangladesh and the second highest. He trails Sachin Tendulkar’s 248* made in Dhaka in 2004 by a fair distance. Sachin has five of those 14 (15 if you include Vijay’s) and, of course, every single one of those 14/15 tons has been made in Bangladesh. Being India’s first test at Fatullah, Dhawan holds the Indian record there, but also the stadium record which he took from Adam Gilchrist who made 144 in a test where he famously pulled that great Aussie team’s arse out of the fire and kept them in a game they were being smashed in. So, Dmitri, how about a 173 in your collection? Well, I doubt it. I have a 175 and a 177, but not, to my knowledge, a 173. There is a famous 173, though, that all Englishmen recall fondly, and I remarked briefly about it in my Ashes memory of 2001. Mark Butcher’s crowning glory at Headingley in that year was the last unbeaten 173. There have been seventeen scores of 173 in tests, with the last by Virender Sehwag in 2010 against New Zealand. Viru has another score of 173 in his locker, making him the only man to make the score twice (the other against Pakistan in Mohali). Leeds, Lahore and Auckland have all seen two scores of 173. There is one particularly remarkable achievement in those 173s, and it belongs to a popular commentator who made that score batting at number NINE. Ian Smith did this at Auckland in 1990, undoubtedly also the fastest in terms of balls (136) for that score, and one of the top 100 innings in SimonH’s list earlier! The first 173 was made back in 1894 (well 151 of them were, the remainder were in 1895) by Andrew Stoddart of England against Australia in Melbourne. Once again with these feats, there seems to be something totally mad about the matches they took place in. In this case, on the opening day, England were bowled out for a brilliant 75! Stoddart was one of two to make it to double figures. Australia fared a little better, making 123, whereupon Stoddart became the only man in the second innings not to make double figures (by making triple figures). His innings allowed England to score 475, the Aussies followed with 333 and England went 2-0 up in the series. It seemed the first innings shenanigans were the result of a classic sticky:
The second of the test matches resulted in a well-earned win for the Englishmen by 94 runs. On the opening day the wicket was in a very bad state from the recent rain, and George Giffen, on winning the toss, put England into bat. His policy proved a wise one, the innings being finished off in two hours for a total of 75. The wicket had considerably improved when Australia went in, but Richardson bowled so finely that before the end of the afternoon the eleven were all out for 123, or only 48 to the good. A dry Sunday allowed the ground to thoroughly recover itself, and the Englishmen in their second innings batted under the most favourable conditions. It was not until the fourth day’s cricket was well advanced that they were got rid of, the total reaching 475. Mr. Stoddart, risking nothing, played a great game for his side, his innings of 173 lasting five hours andn twenty minutes. Australia wanted 428 to win, and when on the fourth day 190 went up with only one wicket down, the chances seemed against the Englishmen. Brockwell’s bowling, however, brought about a sudden change, and with several batsmen failing, the score for nine wickets was only 268. It then seemed as though the match would soon be over, but Iredale and turner added 60 runs together and played out time. On the fifth morning however, the end came in the second over, Iredale being bowled by Peel.
Stoddart was England’s captain, and it seems, quite a live-wire..
In 1886 he scored a world record 485 in 370 minutes for Hampstead against Stoics, all after spending the entire night before the game playing poker. But even then the indefatigable Soddart wasn’t tired – he spent the rest of the afternoon playing tennis and finished off with a dinner party in the evening.
There was a sad ending for Stoddart who, in declining health at age 52, took his own life. But he had a decent old career, and played rugby for England too. He was the first captain to insert the Aussies, and the first to declare an innings. A daring spirit, maybe…