Monday, July 10, 2023

you batter you bowler you bet

During the vast aeons of time that (it seemed) Australian opener Usman Khawaja was batting during the first Test match of the current Ashes series, I had occasion to look up his player profile page on Cricinfo, the go-to resource for the stats-hungry cricket nerd. I had plenty of time to do this, as Khawaja's two innings of 141 and 65 in the match occupied 518 balls and 796 minutes and gave him 13th spot on one of cricket's more esoteric lists of batting feats: batting on all five days of a five-day Test match. As you can see from the list, it's not necessarily correlated with gargantuan feats of run-gathering, rather what you might call accidents of timing. In the most extreme example, Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara made just 52 and 22 in his two innings against Sri Lanka in Calcutta in 2017, but the various vagaries of the weather meant that the first innings of 52 was spread across three (very truncated) days.

If you're in the mood for more esoteric batting records, though, read on. Khawaja's five-day feat hadn't been completed at the time I looked at his profile, so the headline list of his batting records looked like this:

These are, arguably, less esoteric as they relate to actual feats of run-scoring, specifically centuries, combined with:
  • another century, making one in each innings of the same match
  • a score in the 90s, a sort of "near miss" companion to the first
  • a duck, as a sort of contrasting tears-and-laughter, light-and-shade thing
It struck me that I didn't recall seeing all three listed under a single batsman before, and I wondered whether this was unique to Khawaja. A quick look at each of the relevant lists (and some very rudimentary sorting in Excel) soon revealed that it was not, but at the same time not especially common. Here's the full list, comprising thirteen batsmen - the date represents the date they achieved the third of the three feats (obviously different batsmen will do them in different orders).

Batsman 100/100 100/90 100/0 Qualification date
Hanif Mohammad 1 1 1 December 1964
Garry Sobers 1 1 2 March 1968
Aravinda de Silva 2 1 1 April 1997
Brian Lara 1 1 1 June 2005
Jacques Kallis 2 1 2 October 2007
Andrew Strauss 1 1 3 December 2008
Ricky Ponting 3 1 1 December 2008
Tillakaratne Dilshan 1 1 1 August 2009
Kumar Sangakkara 2 1 1 March 2013
Younis Khan 1 1 1 October 2014
Hashim Amla 1 1 1 January 2016
Virat Kohli 1 2 1 August 2018
Usman Khawaja 1 1 2 March 2022

A couple of footnotes:
  • Andrew Strauss and Younis Khan are the only two batsmen on the list who combined these century-related feats with the further one of making a century in their first Test match.
  • Ricky Ponting's hundred-and-a-ninety feat is unique in this list for featuring a century and an innings of 99, against South Africa in 2008. The only other batsman to make a 99 and a century in the same Test match is Geoffrey Boycott, for England against West Indies in 1974. Ponting made the century first, Boycott the 99 first.
  • I haven't quite got into the gender-neutral thing of calling everyone "batters" yet, not out of any objection to the term (apart from possible pancake-related confusion), just habit. I haven't, after all, spent any part of the last 40-odd years bemoaning the use of the gender-neutral term "bowler" and insisting on "bowlsmen".

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