2015 Test Century Watch #34 – Azhar Ali

Azhar Ali

Azhar Ali – 117 v Sri Lanka at Colombo PSS

We are getting into the realms of repetition now. This is Azhar Ali’s second test century of the year, and he is the second man to make 117. Steve Smith has both of these attributes, if that’s the right word, already in 2015. The great shame with that means I can’t tell the story of the first 117 again, scored by WW Read in 1884, from the highly regular batting position of number 10. Read about here on the Steve Smith 117 on HDWLIA. This is the 70th score of 117 in test matches.

Continue reading


2015 Test Century Watch – #33 – Asad Shafiq


Asad Shafiq – 131 v Sri Lanka at Galle

Asad Shafiq joins Steve Smith, Alastair Cook, BJ Watling and Kane Williamson in making his second century of the calendar year. Shafiq’s seventh test hundred and his second highest score in test matches. Shafiq isn’t doing well in the DBTA stakes – that is his average over 100, which is just 20. But it has to be remembered he is usually the last of the top line batsmen and is batting with the tail. Shafiq is certainly having a decent 2015!

Shafiq already had two half centuries at Galle (80 in 2012, 75 in 2014) so he’s had a record there. This was his fifth century away from the UAE and his second in Sri Lanka (he made 100 not out in Pallekele in 2012) which was his second test hundred. Continue reading

2015 Test Century Watch – #32 – Kaushal Silva


Kaushal Silva – 125 v Pakistan at Galle

In his 17th test match Kaushal Silva scored his second test hundred, his second highest test score, his highest score in Sri Lanka in tests, and without him Sri Lanka would have been in even bigger trouble than they ended up. It wasn’t a quick ton, but welcome nonetheless.

I expected 125 to be a pretty dull century watch, but it isn’t really. For instance, Silva is the first man to be dismissed on 125 in 7 years. The previous one was Thilan Samraweera, who made the score against the West Indies in Port of Spain. You expect this sort of score to be made much more frequently. This was the 36th instance of 125, with the last one being an unbeaten innings by Marcus North in 2009. Anyone remember that one at Cardiff. How topical….

Have you seen a 125, Dmitri? Nope. Just seven have been made since 2000 (1999 was a bumber year with three) and none in tests I’ve been at. Some notable 125s? Mike Atherton almost certainly has the slowest, with his monolithic effort in Karachi in December 2000, that , if I recall correctly one prominent cricket journalist berated for its sheer obduracy. We ended up winning that game. Ah, the press (now if only I can remember who it was without delving into old Wisdens). I remember watching Greg Blewett’s 125 at Edgbaston in 1997, when he and Taylor were starting to make a 350 run lead look vulnerable.

Desmond Haynes is the only man to make two scores of 125 in tests. One was at The Oval in the Blackwash series after he had a pretty raw time of it while all else about him was carnage, and the other was in his test dotage in 1993 against Pakistan in Bridgetown. I think Bourda, Georgetown is the only venue that has seen three scores of 125.

The first 125, and I always try to do the first of each score, was also, surprisingly, very late on in test cricket. The scorer of it was by Pieter van der Bijl in a rather famous test match played at Kingsmead, Durban in March 1939. This was, of course, the famous timeless test, when England were set the mere total of 696 to win a test, and had to leave the scene on 654/4 because their boat was sailing home. Van der Bijl’s innings of 125 was made in the first dig, when the hosts made 530 in a mere 202 overs – and these were 8 ball overs! England responded with 316, and instead of enforcing the follow on, the hosts piled on another 481 runs, at a better pace, with van der Bijl making another 97.

There is, bizarrely, a cricinfo report of this hundred!

To finish off, this was the 42nd century made by a Sri Lankan against Pakistan. This score places him 24th overall, the third highest at Galle in this match-up and the 12th highest in Sri Lanka. Sangakkara holds most of the records, so we’ll leave him to it. Except the highest score in tests between these two teams – Sanath Jayasuriya leads the way on that with 253 in Faisalabad in 2004. It’s the 226th century by a Sri Lankan in tests. It was the 53rd test century made at Galle.

Kaushal Silva’s century came up in 261 balls with 15 x 4.

2015 Test Century Watch – #31 – Steve Smith

steve-smith_1sf5t1glu2e9j1v73issyo604sSteve Smith – 199 v West Indies at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica

Let’s get stuck into this meaty little innings played at a venue with a long history of test cricket. A recipe for some severe stat-mining, let alone the symbolic nature of the score alone.

This was the 91st century made at Sabina Park. Steve Smith became the first person to pass 163 and not make it all the way to his double hundred at this venue. That 163 was made by Roy Fredericks in 1972. 15 double hundreds (including two triples), so Smith slots in at #16. One boundary hit and he would have moved past two Aussie legends to become the innings record holder for his country at Sabina Park. Steve Waugh’s 200 in the series clinching win in 1995, and if it had been a six, Neil Harvey’s 204 in 1955 would have been shunted down to the minor placings. The highest score by a non-West Indian at Kingston is Andrew Sandham, and we’ve mentioned him before in Century Watch.

Only one player with three initials (SPD Smith) has made a higher score at Kingston in tests. Sir FMM Worrell was his name. Reasonable player. The two with just one initial to do it were both English. A Sandham and L Hutton.

This was Smith’s highest score in test cricket beating his 192 in the Boxing Day test against India just six months ago. It is his third score of 150 or above in seven months. No wonder he is world #1 at the moment. It was his first test hundred batting at #3 in the order. He now has 9 test hundreds.

So to 199. I’ve not seen one. I saw Vaughan get out in the 190s, and saw Hayden get out for 197 at Brisbane, so been close. This was the 75th score of between 190 and 199 in tests, and the list of those to make two scores in the 190s is as follows.

  • Mohammed Azharuddin – 199 and 192
  • Ian Chappell – 196 and 192
  • Rahul Dravid – 190 and 191
  • Herschelle Gibbs – 196 and 192
  • Brian Lara – 191 and 196
  • Mohammad Hafeez – 196 and 197
  • Mohammad Yousuf – 192 and 191
  • Ricky Ponting – 197 and 196
  • Sachin Tendulkar – 193 and 194*
  • Marcus Trescothick – 194 and 193
  • Michael Vaughan – 197 and 195 (in the space of four or so weeks)
  • Everton Weekes – 194 and 197
  • Frank Worrell – 191* (carried his bat) and 197* (captain declared on him – man, look at the scorecard.)
  • Younis Khan – 199 and 194
  • Steve Smith – 192 and 199

And with three scores in the 190s…

  • Kumar Sangakkara – 192, 199* and 192

That’s quite a list to be in.

So to the 199 score. This was the tenth in test cricket history. The first was made in 1984 by Mudassar Nazar for Pakistan against India in Faisalabad. This was in a turgid test series between the two rivals where a result never seemed on the cards. In this particular match, India made 500, and Pakistan replied with 674/6, and then everyone went home. Qasim Omar made a double hundred, and Mudassar was caught behind off the spin of Shivlal Yadav. The other eight 199s were made as follows.

  • Andy Flower v South Africa at Harare 2001 – not out
  • Kumar Sangakkara v Pakistan at Galle 2012 – not out
  • Mohammed Azharuddin v Sri Lanka at Kanpur 1986 – LBW Ratnayeke
  • Matthew Elliott v England at Headingley 1997 – Bowled Gough
  • Sanath Jayasuriya v India at Colombo SSC 1997 – Bowled Kuruvilla
  • Steve Waugh v West Indies at Bridgetown 1999 – LBW Perry
  • Younis Khan v India at Lahore 2006 – Run Out
  • Ian Bell v South Africa at Lord’s 2008 – Caught and Bowled Harris
  • Steve Smith v West Indies at Kingston 2015 – LBW Taylor

So three LBWs, two bowled, one caught and bowled, one run out, one caught behind and two not outs. Of those above, just Azharuddin and Elliott finished their careers without making a test double.

This was the 110th hundred by an Australian against the West Indies, and places him 10th equal with Steve Waugh. Australia are four away from their 800th century in test cricket. Smith’s 199, to put it into context, places him 68th=. Compared to England, where 199 (Ian Bell) places him 53rd (in 829 test centuries). Ian Bell has the 800th test century for England – 116* in the tedious Nagpur test in 2012 had that honour. I’m digressing!

Steve Smith’s 199 came up in 361 balls with 21 x 4 and 2 x 6 – his hundred came up in 200 balls with 13 x 4 and 2 x 6.

2015 Test Century Watch – #30 – Murali Vijay


Murali Vijay – 150 v Bangladesh at Fatullah

Second for Murali. Second highest score ever made in tests at Fatullah. Second Indian to make a test hundred at Fatullah. But another in the big ton bracket I like to see, and thus providing some of the more interesting stat work.

I’ve done a fair bit on India in Bangladesh in the Shikhar Dhawan piece, so we can concentrate on this one a bit. This was the 15th century made in Bangladesh by an Indian, and the 4th highest, trailing Sachin, Shikhar and Rahul Dravid (160). It was Vijay’s sixth test match hundred and his third highest, trailing 167 against Australia in Hyderabad, and 153 against Australi in Mohali (once again, in alliance with Dhawan). The lowest of his six hundreds is 139. Impressive DBTA numbers. He has made the fifth century at Fatullah, and this is his fourth country in which he’s made three figures (India, Australia and England the others).

So, Dmitri, any scores of 150 that you’ve seen? I know I’ve seen a 149, but not a 150, I don’t think. But it hasn’t been a long time since the last one… Imrul Kayes did it a month or so ago. As I mentioned the first ever 150 in that post, let’s look at the second ever score of 150 (this is the 31st, by the way)…

The scorer of the first, Jamie Zulch was in 1911, and we had to wait another 41 years before the next. The scorer of it was one of our finest ever players, Len Hutton, against India at Lord’s. England won the match quite comfortably, as India’s modest first innings score of 235 was overwhelmed by Hutton, and then put firmly to bed by Godfrey Evans who made a rapid lower order hundred. Vinoo Mankad, how made 72 in the first innings, followed it up with 184 in the second, but England got home by 8 wickets, with Hutton adding 39 unbeaten runs to his first innings 150.

England owed much to Hutton. Quite early he appreciated that the conditions were unfavourable to slow bowlers and he called for a prolonged effort from his three seamers. The second day was dominated by Hutton, who not only scored 150 but, when he was second out at 264 after batting five and a quarter hours, his side were already 29 runs to the good. It was his first Test century against India and the second hit by an England captain since the war–F. G. Mann scored 136 not out against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in 1949.

At first Hutton was extremely cautious and his mood had a restraining influence on Simpson and May. The two hours before lunch produced only 60 runs, but afterwards Hutton found his most scintillating form. Simpson played a valuable part by staying two and three-quarter hours while the first wicket realised 106–the same as India’s–and then came a brilliant partnership between Hutton and May, who put on 158 in two and a half hours.

As much as I love the memories passed down to be by my dad of Peter May, a man who once made 364 against the Aussies and possessed a superior career doesn’t get in a Sky Ashes song! But David Lloyd being hit in the bollocks does.

Two scores of 150 in the space of six weeks for Kayes and Vijay? Pah. Gary Kirsten and Ricky Ponting made 150s in the same week. Kirsten’s came against Bangladesh in East London (starting on 18 October 2002) and Ricky Ponting’s came against Pakistan in Sharjah (starting on 19 October 2002). Interestingly, both those players have two scores of 150! Kirsten completed his on the 19th, Ponting the 20th.

Murali Vijay’s century came off 201 balls with 10 x 4 and 1 x 6

2015 Test Century Watch – #29 – Shikhar Dhawan

Dhawan 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…

There’s also something else about him, that maybe ole Shikhar might admire too…. Stoddart Shikhar Dhawan’s hundred came up in a mere 101 balls, with 16 x 4. In total he took 195 balls and hit 23 x 4

2015 Test Century Watch – # 28 – Adam Voges


Adam Voges – 130 not out v West Indies at Roseau, Dominica

A debut century always gets the stattos on their uppers, and this one was one of the better ones. With due respect to Graham Thorpe and Alastair Cook, it was a first innings ton. With due respect to Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior, it came when his team were really up against it. With due respect to pretty much everyone, this bloke is a cricketing OAP.

The obvious starting point is that at 35 years and and 243 days he is not only the oldest man to make a test century on debut, he combined this with really pissing off Ian Chappell. The previous holder of this record was Dave Houghton of Zimbabwe, who was 125 days younger when he scored a hundred against India in Harare in 1992. I make it Voges is the 99th player to make a century on debut – there have been 101 debut centuries and Lawrence Rowe and Yasir Hameed made a hundred in each innings – and the fourth Australian this century to do so, following Michael Clarke, Marcus North and Shaun Marsh. Kirk Edwards was the last man to score a hundred on debut in the West Indies (at Roseau too), while Scott Styris was the last visitor to score a debut hundred in the Caribbean (he made his at St. George’s, Grenada). No Australian before Voges made a hundred in their debut test in the Caribbean. Other Aussies to make debut centuries are – Charles Bannerman, Reggie Duff, Roger Hartigan, our main man Herbie Collins, Bill Ponsford, Archie Jackson, Jim Burke, Doug Walters, Greg Chappell, Gary Cosier, Dirk Wellham, Kepler (pure dinkum) Wessels, Wayne Phillips, Mark Waugh and Greg Blewett.

This was the 36th highest score made by a batsman on debut, and the 9th highest by an Australian. The leader in that field is the longest standing record in the game. Charles Bannerman’s 165* still leads the way, with Archie Jackson (164), Wayne Phillips (159), Kepler Wessels (162) and Doug Walters (155) all within 10 runs of that record. Others above Voges include Mark Waugh (138), Shaun Marsh (141) and Michael Clarke (151). It is the 8th highest unbeaten hundred on debut, with that lead being held by Jacques Rudolph who made 222* on debut against Bangladesh. The highest debut hundred remains Tip Foster’s 287 in Sydney for England in 1903.

This was the 109th test century by an Australian against West Indies. At the time it moved into 41st= in the overall scores list, level with another maker of 130*, Kim Hughes. It was the 55th scored in the Caribbean, and at the time, it placed him just in the top 20. The best is by Bill Lawry, who made 210 in Bridgetown in May 1965. It is the 4th highes by someone batting 5 for Australia in the West Indies (Steve Waugh holds the top two slots with 200 and 199), and is one of just two unbeaten tons from number 5 in the West Indies by an Aussie – the other being Adam Gilchrist. All pretty decent names.

Voges was the second Australian to make a century at Windsor Park. Matthew Wade made 106 on the Aussies previous visit in 2012. He became the fifth man to make a hundred there, and the scorer of the 6th overall – Chanderpaul (2), Edwards, Wade and Gayle the others. 130* is the test record for this venue.

Have you seen a 130, Dmitri? Given the two scores of 130 made in London were before I was born, this makes it unlikely, and that’s the case. The last England man to make 130 was Alastair Cook, at Leeds in 2013 – you remember the one. That hundred made before his drought. Other 130s of note include Eoin Morgan’s very forgotten century against Pakistan on a difficult pitch at Trent Bridge. The last 130 before this was made by Imrul Kayes in November last year. The last one by an Aussie was by Michael Clarke against India in Chennai in 2013. Jacques Kallis has ben not out 130 on two occasions. Brian Lara has been dismissed on 130 on two occasions.

The first 130 in tests was made on 17 July 1899 by Tom Hayward. Coming in at 47-4 at Old Trafford, Tom Hayward eased the England score up into the 300s with his knock. Wisden waxed lyrical…

On the first day England stayed in until just after six o’clock their total reaching 372. Nothing in the early cricket gave promise of such a score, the start being so disastrous as to threaten a repetition of the failure at Lord’s. Despite fine weather in the morning the ground kicked a good deal during the first hour, and at the end of fifty minutes’ play four wickets were down for 47. Things changed a little when Hayward joined Jackson these two batsman staying together for an hour and twenty minutes and in that time putting on 60 runs. Jackson was caught at slip off a bumping ball at 107, and though Brockwell played a very bright innings he only remained in while 47 runs were added when he left England’s position was a very bad one, the only dependable batsman left to help Hayward being Lilley. These two had saved the situation at Leeds and again they did brilliant work together, putting on 113 runs in something over an hour an a half.

When Lilley was lbw at 267 a speedy end to the innings was expected, but the Australian bowling had now lost its keen edge and some rare hitting followed. Hayward and Young took the score to 324, and after the ninth wicket had fallen Young and Bradley added 35 runs in as many minutes. Sadly disappointed at the turn the game had taken the Australians became a little demoralised. Hayward’s innings of 130 was in every way magnificent. Rarely or never in the whole series of England and Australia matches in this country has a more remarkable display of batting been given. Up to lunch time he took an hour and a half to make 20 runs, but so completely did the character of his cricket change when things were going better for his side that after the interval he added 110 runs in rather less than two hours and three-quarters.

This was on Hayward’s three centuries for England. Another great Surrey man….

22nd January 1929:  Tom Hayward (1871 - 1939) played for England (1893 - 1914) and Surrey.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
22nd January 1929: Tom Hayward (1871 – 1939) played for England (1893 – 1914) and Surrey. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Two Adams scoring test tons within the space of a few days. How coincidental.

Adam Voges century came up in 187 balls and contained 9 x 4 and 1 x 6

2015 Test Century Watch – #27 – BJ Watling


BJ Watling – 120 v England at Headingley

Bradley-John Watling’s second test century of the calendar year was a hugely important one. Playing in this test as a batsman only, he dug in, then expanded and put his team firmly on top. It’s the sort of innings to wax lyrical about, and different to his more legendary “dig-in” knocks to save tests. At the time of this innings he was the third man to make a second test century in 2015 – alongside Kane Williamson and Alastair Cook. With this innings he took his average to over 40, and made his 5th test hundred in just his 53rd innings. To put that in some context, Matt Prior made 7 centuries in 123 innings, and we’ve recently lauded him as a modern powerhouse.

Mind boggling fact #1 – BJ Watling’s hundred is the first made by a New Zealander at Headingley in test cricket. His 120 beat the previous best of 97 by Stephen Fleming in 2004. Luke Ronchi’s 88 was 4th best when he made it. It was the 23rd hundred made by a New Zealander in tests in England, and the second man to make 120 for his country here (Stewie Dempster did it at Lord’s in 1931). 120 is the 8th highest score made in England by a New Zealander. 14 of those 23 hundreds were made at Lord’s.

Have you seen a test 120, Dmitri?  Well, there have been 58 of them since the first test match. The answer is, a little to my surprise, yes. It was a century totally overshadowed by a legendary one later in the innings. It was a hot summer’s day in 2001 at The Oval, and after a lengthy opening partnership between Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer, Mark Waugh strolled to the crease. He did what he did when in nick. He made 120 look easy. Then his twin came in on one leg, made 157 not out, and everyone forgot Waugh (and Langer’s) ton.

The first 120 in test cricket was made by a man who saw one of his long standing records nearly broken a few weeks ago. Bobby Abel, of Surrey and England, made 120 against South Africa in Cape Town in 1889. This is an astonishing score card, because Bobby himself beat the hosts by an innings and 30 runs. England posted 292 and Johnny Briggs then took 7 in South Africa’s first and 8 in the second to bowl the hosts out for 47 and 43. 14 of those wickets were bowled and the other LBW. This is brilliant stuff. Bernard Tancred carried his bat for 26 in the first innings. If he’d played for my school 2nd XI in 1985, he’d have been dropped (30 years on and yes, I’m still bitter!)

I’ll let the almanac describe the state of affairs…

The last match of the tour and a complete triumph for the Englishmen, who outplayed their opponents at every point, and won in an innings with 202 runs to spare. It was the second eleven-a-side fixture, and was more decisively won than any other match during the trip. The South African team, with the exception of Mr. Tancred could do absolutely nothing against Briggs, batsmen who had scored well in earlier matches failing dismally. The Lancashire bowler met with wonderful success, taking in all fifteen wickets for 28 runs – a worthy finish up to his briliant exertions during the trip. Abel, too, wound up in splendid form, making his third hundred during the tour. He went in first and was out seventh, making 120 out of 287.

No frippery or waxing lyrical. Well batted Mr. Tancred. Martin Williamson’s Cricinfo article is brilliant in explaining the circumstances behind this test .and the impact it had on South African cricket. There were three England players in that team that played their only first class games on this tour. But what is even more sobering is the fate of England’s young captain (he was 23):

Bowden, however, was an altogether sadder story. At 23 years 144 days, he was and remains England’s youngest captain, but he never even knew he had represented his country, or even saw his homeland again. In 1891 he headed north with Rhodes where he was incorrectly reported to have been killed. Not long after he was found to be alive, he did die, in a remote a mud hut in Umtali. The final indignity was that his body had to be protected from marauding lions – prior to being interred – in a coffin made from whisky cases.

I may be a bit down on Alastair Cook, but…

Bobby Abel’s famous record is the 357 he made for Surrey in 1899 against Somerset. It is said on Wikipedia that the England selectors were unwilling to choose him after 1896 over concerns about his eyesight. Seems to have more in common with KP than we think!

Other 120s that caught my eye included the previous one made in tests, which has also semi-legendary status. We’re talking about Ben Stokes at Perth. The only century made by an Englishman in the international part of the tour. The one that he needed to be persisted with because of it!

Bob Caterall of South Africa made two scores of 120 in test matches, within a fortnight of each other. In June 1924 he followed up his 120 at Edgbaston with the same score at Lord’s. Fellow countryman Bruce Mitchell also made two 120s against England, but they were separated by 17 months and the distance between The Oval and Newlands. Michael Vaughan has two 120s, with the first being his first test century against Pakistan at Old Trafford, and the other against Bangladesh at Lord’s in the run up to the 2005 Ashes.

Other players to have made 120 twice in tests include West Indian wastrels Viv Richards and Brian Lara and Sri Lankan wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.

In 1987 fellow Kiwi Jeff Crowe made 120 not out against Sri Lanka. It took him 609 minutes and nearly 400 balls. This was the same test that Brendon Kurrupu batted 777 minutes for 201. If time had not expired, lord knows how long Crowe would have taken to get to that, and the slow century award on this site could be called the Crowe (Jeff) Award! This looks like five days of thrilling cricket!

This was Watling’s third highest score in tests, his highest test score not made at the Basin Reserve, and the fastest of his test tons.

BJ Watling’s hundred came up in 136 balls with 13 x 4 and 1 x 6.

2015 Test Century Watch #24 – Alastair Cook

  REUTERS/Philip Brown
REUTERS/Philip Brown

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.

2015 Test Century Watch #23 – Kane Williamson

Kane TwoKane Williamson – 132 v England at Lord’s

Test century number two for the year for Kane Williamson as his reputation was enhanced with a cool and brilliantly compiled century at the home of North London cricket. It was the 14th test  century made by a New Zealander at Lord’s and moved him into 4th in the highest scores made there by a BlackCap. It was the highest score for 21 years by a New Zealander, and he trailed Martin Crowe (142 in 1994), Bevan Congdon (175 in 1973) and Martin Donnelly (206 in 1949) for scores made there.

This was the 229th test century made at Lord’s. He moves level with Ajit Agarkar, and one ahead of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting. Did you know that Robert Key has the 6th highest test score made at Lord’s. But enough of that… It’s the 104th ton by a visiting player to the MCC’s private club venue.

So Dmitri, have you seen a 132? No. There have been 29 in total in test matches, with the previous 132 made by Graeme Smith in St. Kitts against the West Indies in June 2010. The “nearest” I came to seeing one was when Marcus Trescothick made that score at Durban when England set about a large deficit in the first innings to almost turn a terrible position into a win. I flew into South Africa than night, and went to the next test in Cape Town.

Three players have made 132 twice in tests. Marcus Trescothick is one (his other was at Headingley against New Zealand in 2004), as are Graeme Smith and Patsy Hendren. The first ever 132 was made by a relatively topical name, even if the 132 was made in 1892. It was an unbeaten score made at Sydney, and the scorer of it was the man who holds the record first class score for Surrey, Bobby Abel.

The “Guv’nor” was a great crowd favourite for many years at the Oval, where he was the one reliable bat in a strong Surrey side. Of small stature (5’4″), and serious demeanour, he had an unconventional technique, with a bent for cross batted shots. “He gathers runs like blackberries everywhere he goes” said CB Fry. He possessed great patience, but generally scored quickly, driving and cutting well, but particularly adept at forcing the ball off his legs. An excellent slip fielder, he also bowled off-spin with considerable skill, but was rarely used in a strong Surrey attack.

His 357* was recently challenged by some one no-one can trust, but his 132 not out at Sydney came in a remarkable match. Australia were bowled out for 144 in the first innings, with George Lohmann taking 8/58. England made 307 in reply with Abel carrying his bat and putting on 72 for the 10th wicket. England were in a strong position, but let it slip. John Lyons made a very brisk century, Alec Bannermann took anchor for 91, and Australia set England 229 to win. Abel made just 1 as England fell 72 runs short.

The second of the three big matches produced one of the finest performances in the history of Australian cricket, a performance, indeed, fully comparable to the seven runs victory at The Oval in 1882, or the great, but unsuccessful fight on the same ground in 1850.

Read the Wisden report here.

This was the first score of 132 at Lord’s, by the way. The last 132 made by a visiting player was by Jacques Kallis at Manchester in 1998. Bevan Congdon has the only 132 by a New Zealander, made against Australia in Wellington in 1974.

I did a bit on Kane on HDWLIA when he made his big double hundred at the beginning of the year. This is his 10th test hundred, his first against England, his 7th outside of New Zealand, and his 5th highest overall. His previous best against England was 91 in Wellington on our last tour in 2013.

This was the 25th hundred by a Black Cap in England. 14 have been at Lord’s, 5 at Trent Bridge, 5 at Old Trafford and one at The Oval. Martin Crowe is the only New Zealander to have made three centuries in England. One bets Kane might get close to that.

Kane Williamson’s 100 came off 148 balls and contained 12×4.