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The defintion of "pressure" for batsmen in a test match

Days of Grace

International Captain
As part of my ongoing Test batsmen ratings, I want to do a study on how many "pressure centuries" the best batsmen in Test history have scored.

Just want to get some ideas on how "pressure" is defined.

Here are my four criteria.
a) Scored in any team innings under 400
b) Scored in the 2nd innings of a match in a team innings over 400, when the team was chasing a first innings score of over 400
b) Scored in a team innings of over 400 but the team went on to lose the match (very rare)
c) Scored in the 3rd innings of a match, except for when a team's first innings lead is over 150, and except for when by that stage a result is out of the question (which would be my own interpretation)
d) Scored in any 4th innings of a match (in some 4th innings' one could argue that a result is out of the question, but I figure that if one batsmen has time to score a century, then the bowling team has time to bowl his side out.)


What do you think?
 

aussie

Hall of Fame Member
Fair criteria's overall i guess. But on point A, i'm not sure if you should limit it to runs under 400 you know. I can immediately think of Waugh's hundred vs WI 99 & Ramprakash/Thorpe partnership in 98 vs WI as well. Both pressure hundreds, but the team score was over 400. So i guess you can be a bit more open with point A.
 

NUFAN

Y no Afghanistan flag
Interesting.

I wouldn't only consider final innings scores.

I can think of the match where Elliott made 199 and Ponting made 127, the score was 4/50 when Ponting came to the crease. The team ended up 501 due to the two big scores. Surely both centuries should be considered pressure ones.
 

fredfertang

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
What about the state of a series or even the batsman's career? - Mike Hussey's century at the Oval springs to mind as one where he had extra pressure as a result of his place being under threat
 

Days of Grace

International Captain
For point A, perhaps if at a stage in the innings, the team score is 3/30, 4/60, etc. then it can count as a pressure century.
 

Uppercut

Request Your Custom Title Now!
Yeah, when I think of pressure centuries I tend to think of something like Symonds at Sydney where he came in at about 85/5.
 

NUFAN

Y no Afghanistan flag
We should just have a CW panel and go through every single 100 in the history of cricket and vote on which ones appear pressure or not. :mellow:
 

Uppercut

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Haha.

It is a bit subjective. Some people feel pressure when there's a big crowd, some feel it when there's no one watching and it's just you and 11 fielders. Some bear the weight of expectation heavily when playing at home, others find partisan crowds in other countries hard to deal with. For some coming in at 60/5 is a nightmare scenario while for others chasing a target of 400 is impossibly hard to deal with mentally.

You know it's there, but I don't think you can define it.
 

andyc

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
Definitely agree with Uppercut. You also need to look at the context though; coming in at 5/60 in a dead rubber is a lot different than coming in at 5/60 in the deciding match in an important series. Plus, if the player's position and form are under scrutiny from the media, coming in at 2/200 could be just as bad. I'd say it's way too subjective to define well.
 

Uppercut

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Or, thinking of Kumar Sangakkara's big knock against Australia, is chasing an absolutely massive total a high-pressure scenario, or is it a low-pressure scenario because the situation is all but hopeless?
 

subshakerz

State Vice-Captain
Pressure is all about context. I think to the first test of the recently concluded Ashes series. Ponting came in at 60-1 facing England's first innings of 435. On paper it would look like a bit of pressure scenario but in reality the bowling was so woeful and the pitch so benign that it could hardly have been called such.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Pressure doesn't exist though - haven't you all read the Dickinson files?
You clearly haven't, because after all these years you're still trotting-out words I've never once said and putting it accross as though I had, purely because you'd like me to have said them. I'd be suing you for libel if there was anything to sue over, because misrepresentation of another's views as you do is unacceptable.

Anyway there is no definition of "a pressure situation", nor can there ever be. Pressure is not some sort of aura or field which encompasses everyone to the exact same degree, it's a mental feeling. Thus each person is different. What will be great pressure to one will be much less to another.

Any number of factors which potentially contribute, and can go either way, most of which have already been mentioned. For some the pressure might feel on, for some it might feel off: big\small crowd, the position of your career, the position of your team in the match\series, the score (progressively as you go, not just when you come to the wicket), in a limited-overs game there's the scoring-rate (some also suggest this applies in Tests - not to a well-rounded mind it doesn't, at least not in the vast majority of circumstances). It all contributes. But there's no way you can say what pressure the batsman is feeling, because it is neither quantifiable nor aught but unique to an individual.

Of course, the ability to not feel pressure where many would is a huge natural asset in the game of cricket, even though it isn't a physical talent. It's some of what made Stephen Waugh so good. Lack of it is just about all of what made Mark Ramprakash at Test level from 1991 to 1995/96 so utterly hopeless. The ability to keep your game intact despite feeling under huge pressure is also a huge natural asset.
 
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PhoenixFire

International Coach
Yeah, when I think of pressure centuries I tend to think of something like Symonds at Sydney where he came in at about 85/5.
I'd tend to think he'd be under less pressure because everyone else had failed, so he wouldn't stand out as having failed.

The most impressive innings pressure wise are IMO when someone is fighting for their place in the team and chasing a high score where everyone else in the team does relatively well, but they still go onto to get a high score.
 

Uppercut

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That's taking the view that Symonds is selfish (perhaps reasonable, but he really did hate losing). At 85/5 you're looking at a situation where if you don't manage to score runs, you've pretty much lost the game. Make or break time. If you bat at 4 you at least know that if you don't fail there's another couple of batsmen to come that could make runs.

It's like walking a tightrope without a safety net. You fail, and the game's gone.
 

fredfertang

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
The more I think about this the more difficult (or do I mean impossible?) it is - problem illustrated by Ian Botham's 149* Headingley '81 - looking at the scorecard it could easily be assumed to be a high pressure situation but as we've all heard him say time and again he just went out and treated the circumstances as an excuse to enjoy himself
 

Days of Grace

International Captain
Yeah, pressure is very subjective. I guess, to make it more objective, I could define as "the team is under pressure" which could be stretched to situations when it looks in all likelihood that the team is going to lose.

What I'm basically saying is that any century scored in any match apart from a boring draw or where your team wins by an innings or 300 runs should count as a "pressure" century.
 

silentstriker

The Wheel is Forever
Yea, it's about how much pressure the person feels, which is very often very subjective and depending on personal circumstance. I don't think it can be defined as a criteria that we can select against. Even in a blowout, if you're fighting for your place, that could have much more pressure than being 90/5 knowing you're going to lose anyway and going out and enjoying yourself, like Botham.
 
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tooextracool

International Coach
Nasser Hussain claims in his autobiography that he felt under less pressure if he came in when the score was 10/2 than when they were 200/2 for the simple reason being that in the 10/2 situation if he failed, he wouldn't be the only one in the side to have done so and therefore the expectation on him to perform would be less. Similarly, if he got out quickly in the 200/2 situation, it could very well have resulted in a collapse which he may have triggered. I can relate to this idea because the fact is I would almost always prefer to bat at 10/2 than 100/2.

Point being that 'pressure' is very much subjective and it really depends on the player as to what is a pressure situation and what isn't. In the example with Nasser, it goes a long way to showing why he excelled in circumstances where the team was struggling, but does that make him a good pressure player when he himself claims that he struggled in what he describes as his own pressure situations?
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Yeah, pressure is very subjective. I guess, to make it more objective, I could define as "the team is under pressure" which could be stretched to situations when it looks in all likelihood that the team is going to lose.

What I'm basically saying is that any century scored in any match apart from a boring draw or where your team wins by an innings or 300 runs should count as a "pressure" century.
Again you can't have the team being under pressure because pressure is a feeling, and teams do not have feelings. You can give different degrees of difficulty of situation in which the team is in (even that is open to some things that are essentially impossible to quantify) but that's different to being under pressure.
 

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