Ask The Spider #100

How many times has exactly 100 been scored in a Test?

As of this column there have been 142, the first by Johnny Tyldesley in the Third Test of the 1905 Ashes. There have been 7 so far in 2009/10, the most recent being Shakib Al Hasan’s, compiled a couple of days before this column goes to press.

Has anyone scored exactly 100 in Tests more than once?

Yes, quite a few people – in fact England’s Sir Leonard Hutton did it as many as 4 times! Australia’s Graeme Wood and Stephen Waugh both did it 3; and Colin Cowdrey, Mushtaq Mohammed, Lawrence Rowe, Gordon Greenidge, Kim Hughes, Salim Malik, Allan Border, Allan Lamb, Mike Gatting, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mark Waugh, Sourav Ganguly, Kevin Pietersen and Sachin Tendulkar have each done it twice so far (Tendulkar and Pietersen may yet join Wood and Waugh Snr. as both are still playing).

Has there ever been an instance of more than one player scoring exactly 100 in a Test?

There have been 6 so far, each involving one 100 and one 100*: for England against South Africa in the Second Test at Lord’s in 1929, Herbert Sutcliffe scored 100 in the first-innings, and Maurice Tate registered 100* in the second; for West Indies in India in the Fifth Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla in 1958/59, “Collie” Smith and Joe Solomon (batting at five and six respectively) hit 100 and 100* respectively in the West Indians’ only innings; again for West Indies in the Second Test of the bad-tempered series in New Zealand in 1979/80 at Christchurch, Lawrence Rowe made 100 and Collis King 100* in the second-innings; in the Third Test of the 1986/87 Ashes at Adelaide Oval, captain Mike Gatting made 100 in England’s first-innings, and his opposite number Allan Border hit 100* in Australia’s second; in the First Test of the England vs. India series in 1990 (much best remembered for Graham Gooch’s 333 and 123) Robin Smith scored 100* in England’s first-innings and Ravi Shastri launched India’s reply with 100; and in the First Test between the two in 2002, England’s second-innings featured 100 from Michael Vaughan and 100* from John Crawley. No two batsmen have ever yet been dismissed for 100 in the same match, and no more than two scores of a round 100 have yet been registered in the same game.

How many players have a best score of 100 or 100* in Tests?

The aforementioned knock from Shakib and one from Alviro Petersen a few days earlier were maiden Test centuries – we wait to see whether they will better them in due course. Of those whose Test careers are certainly or almost certainly over, there are 11 for whom it was their only Test century: Chaminda Vaas, Geraint Jones, Martin Love, Sanjay Bangar, Deep Dasgupta, the above-mentioned knock from Collis King, the above-mentioned knock from Solomon, AG Kripal Singh, Giff Vivian, the above-mentioned knock from Tate, and Arthur Richardson. Vaas and Love both made their scores against Bangladesh.

Of those who have scored exactly 100 or 100* in matches with deliveries faced recorded, has anyone done so off exactly 100 balls (i.e., a-run-a-ball)?

Not quite – the closest was Clem Hill, who scored 100 off 98 balls in the Fourth Test against South Africa in 1910/11.

Has anyone taken exactly 100 wickets in Tests?

Perhaps rather surprisingly, there are as many as six players who currently have 100 Test wickets – one (Irfan Pathan) still has plenty of opportunity to add to his tally, and another (Pakistan’s Abdurl Razzaq) may possibly yet do so. Colin Blythe should, many argued, have played many more than 19 Tests – and in fact he almost undoubtedly would had he not been tragically killed during the First World War. Dick Motz was found to have fractured vertebrae just after taking his 100th Test wicket and retired immediately; Nicky Boje would have played more than 43 Tests but for several injuries; and many would contend that Mohammad Rafique was fortunate to have the chance to play Test cricket at all, his country never really being strong enough throughout his career to merit the elevation they were given. But, by combinations of circumstances, those four will now stand forever as exact centurion Test wicket-takers.

Has anyone played exactly 100 Tests?

Graham Thorpe is the only one whose 100th Test was his last – to make matters worse, it came in a low-key, rather unimportant affair against Bangladesh. Mohammad Azharuddin was exposed as a match-fixer and banned for life with 99 caps to his name, and South African Gary Kirsten played 101; his former team-mate Makhaya Ntini may yet also remain on 101.

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