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Thread: English Batsmen - Why don't they score "big" hundreds?

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    Norwood's on Fire GIMH's Avatar
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    English Batsmen - Why don't they score "big" hundreds?

    So this morning I was discussing last night's events with a colleague who hadn't seen the scoreboard. Told him of Ambrose's ton and how he got out the next over. He was hardly surprised. And why would he be?

    We have, batting as I type, two batsmen with good records and in their early Test careers both scored a lot of centuries. Seventeen between them in their first 50(ish) Tests - yet neither has passed 150. From memory, Cook's HS is 127 (I was there when he scored that ) and Strauss's is around the 147 mark.

    So I thought I would look into this over the last three years, starting with the 2005 Ashes. Here are the centuries scored since then:

    Code:
    Vaughan V Australia 166
    Strauss V Australia 106
    Flintoff V Australia 102
    Strauss V Australia 129
    Pietersen V Australia 158
    Trescothick V Pakistan 193
    Bell V Pakistan 115
    Pietersen V Pakistan 100
    Collingwood V India 134*
    Cook V India 104
    Strauss V India 128
    Pietersen V Sri Lanka 158
    Trescothick V Sri Lanka 106
    Pietersen V Sri Lanka 142
    Cook V Pakistan 105
    Collingwood V Pakistan 186
    Bell V Pakistan 100*
    Strauss V Pakistan 128
    Cook V Pakistan 127
    Bell V Pakistan 106*
    Pietersen V Pakistan 135
    Bell V Pakistan 119
    Strauss V Pakistan 116
    Collingwood V Australia 206
    Pietersen V Australia 158
    Cook V Australia 116
    Cook V West Indies 105
    Collingwood V West Indies 111
    Bell V West Indies 109*
    Prior V West Indies 126*
    Pietersen V West Indies 109
    Vaughan V West Indies 103
    Pietersen V West Indies 226
    Cook V West Indies 106
    Collingwood V West Indies 128
    Collingwood V India 134
    Pietersen V India 134
    Vaughan V India 124
    Pietersen V India 101
    Cook V Sri Lanka 118
    Ambrose V New Zealand 102
    In this list there are 42 centuries. Only two of these have been turned into doubles, and just eight have been over 150 (including the two doubles). Also, there are only five not outs, four of which are from Bell/Prior batting at 6/7.

    When passing 100 in this period, our batsmen average 142.68 per dismissal. This is actually a lot higher than I was expecting...however, i think if you look at our batsmen aside from KP/Colly, there seems to be a psychological trend of 100...job done. I believe that this is a major factor in our failure to dominate games in this period. We need players going on to 170, 180, and it just isn't happening. Cook is a great batsmen and I would never criticise a player who gets a century but getting out in the 100s and 110s...he should be doing better, carrying his bat through the innings and scoring a double century from time to time.

    Do I expect too much or is this fair enough? There are 19 scores below 120 in my list, admittedly including Bell's not outs, but still...I think this is an area we need to improve in. Thoughts?

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Biggest difference is we tend to drop the Jayawardenes and Sangakkaras of this World, hence allowing them to score the massive scores we tend not to be allowed to score, because when our batsmen give the chance on 130, it gets caught.

    Seriously - while there is something in what I said above, there clearly always has been a lack of application for long, long, long times from English batsmen. Why, I just don't know.
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    Norwood's on Fire GIMH's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was wondering if you could help me a little actually.

    From memory, I reckon Tresco was dropped in his 193, Vaughan got 2 or 3 lives in his 166, and Pietersen was dropped in most of his big scores. This would affect the average score when getting a ton and make us look even worse...do you know of any other big scores that have had a fair few chances?

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I'll go through that entire list and tell you exactly when each chance came (and which ones were chanceless) when I'm not watching the Test.

    You're right on all those you mention there BTW.


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    Norwood's on Fire GIMH's Avatar
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    Do it in the tea break

    LOL...tbh lately I should probably worry more about our players getting 40s and 50s rather than 100s...given our recent conversion rates I guess I sound a little "my diamond shoes don't fit me" but I have high expectations.

    Not criticising Ambrose, btw, as he did a splendid job, along with Colly, in taking us from a bad position to a rather good one, but his 100 then out just seemed all to familiar to me.

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    Global Moderator Prince EWS's Avatar
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    English Batsmen - Why don't they score "big" hundreds?

    They're just not as good as Mathew Sinclair.

    Seriously though, I'd like to see if this was a trend that extended past just recent times, and how England compared to other countries. I could just coincidental that the batsmen currently in the England team do not have the concentration powers required to go on and make huge scores, and the problem could really have nothing to do with "cricketing upbringing" as such, but we'd need more data to make a call on that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    They're just not as good as Mathew Sinclair.

    Seriously though, I'd like to see if this was a trend that extended past just recent times, and how England compared to other countries. I could just coincidental that the batsmen currently in the England team do not have the concentration powers required to go on and make huge scores, and the problem could really have nothing to do with "cricketing upbringing" as such, but we'd need more data to make a call on that.
    Yeah it's an interesting point. Because in the last couple of years, I don't recall many big tons or doubles by Aussie batsmen either. Plenty of centuries overall but few big hundreds where one batsman has totally dominated.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    Seriously though, I'd like to see if this was a trend that extended past just recent times
    Oh, it is, beyond question. Only Nasser Hussain out of England's "big six" of the 2nd half of the 1990s (Butcher, Atherton, Hussain, Stewart, Thorpe, Ramprakash) scored a chanceless Test double-century (Thorpe scored one when he was dropped on 4, which in fairness is a chanceless 196* and Atherton got a 185*).

    But there's no doubting the last English generation of batsmen to be good at cashing-in big-time was the lot which played in the 1950s and 1960s. Even the likes of Boycott, Greig, Gower, Gatting, Lamb, Smith, etc. were far from excellent in this area. Only Gooch, more than ever later in his career, bucked this trend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    I'll go through that entire list and tell you exactly when each chance came (and which ones were chanceless) when I'm not watching the Test.

    You're right on all those you mention there BTW.
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    Big 100s are not pre-requisites for series wins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Seriously - while there is something in what I said above, there clearly always has been a lack of application for long, long, long times from English batsmen. Why, I just don't know.
    Perhaps it is because there are few featherbeds in County cricket and so batsmen simply do not get the mental experience in converting hundreds to big ones.
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    Heck, cannot comment on this without getting stats of other teams as well.

    At the look of it average of 142 looks very good. Maybe as well to do with the increased scoring rate, coach tells batsman, "ok son, you got the 3 figures, now you better go for the declaration"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pnottath View Post
    Heck, cannot comment on this without getting stats of other teams as well.

    At the look of it average of 142 looks very good. Maybe as well to do with the increased scoring rate, coach tells batsman, "ok son, you got the 3 figures, now you better go for the declaration"

    On the face of it it is like averaging 42 if you take 100 as the starting point. But then you've got to factor in the batsman's scoring stroke to get to 3 figures may have pushed that starting point beyond 100 so that lowers it to nearer 40. Then you've got to factor in the centuries would be more likely to happen on flatter pitches, so that makes it easier to achieve the '42' average. You also have the fact that the batsmen aren't going through that tricky period when they've just walked out to bat, if you take a Test class batsman's average after they've gotten 'in' then they'll generally average 50+ from that point on.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manee View Post
    Perhaps it is because there are few featherbeds in County cricket and so batsmen simply do not get the mental experience in converting hundreds to big ones.
    Thing is, pitches in domestic cricket have only been the current featherbeds since 2002 (added to the fact that a change of ball manufacturing process meant they swung much less between 2001 and 2006). And as I mentioned, the lack of really massive innings dates back much further than that.

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