The third test match between India and Australia saw both India and Australia competing hard to get a result. At stumps on Day 5, India successfully managed to draw Australia and their final score was 334/5. India witnessed batting heroics from the likes of Rohit Sharma 52 (98), Cheteshwar Pujara 77 (205), Rishabh Pant 97 (118), Hanuma Vihari 23* (161), and R Ashwin 39* (128) who helped draw the test match. Rishabh Pant missed his hundred by just 3 runs which could have been his second fourth innings century. When the Sydney test entered the last day, India desperately needs someone to hold the fort and score a century in the last innings of the match. It didn’t happend but Nevertheless, that was a brilliant effort by the Indian team. Below we bring something special about Fourth-innings centuries in tests:
* There have been 247 centuries that have come in the fourth innings of tests, out of a total of 4210 centuries in test history in percentage terms, that is only 5.9% of all hundreds. Out of the 247, only 75 have resulted in wins, which is 30.4% of the fourth-innings hundreds. There have been an equal number of fourth-innings hundreds in losses and drawn matches which is 86 each.
* There have been 180 batsmen who have scored centuries in the fourth innings. In comparison, 393 players have scored hundreds in the third innings, 506 in the second innings and 546 in first innings of the test. In terms of frequency, batsmen score a century in the fourth innings once every 48.6 attempts, while the corresponding numbers in the third, second, and first innings are 25.4, 17.5 and 15.3.
* Younis Khan has scored 5 centuries in the fourth innings of tests the most by a batsman. Sunil Gavaskar, Ricky Ponting, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Graeme Smith have scored four tons each.
* Graeme Smith has scored 4 fourth-innings hundreds for South-Africa in wins, the most by a player. Ponting has three centuries in successful chases while four others have two such hundreds: Conrad Hunte, Justin Langer, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Kane Williamson.
*There have been 4 fourth-innings hundreds in wins for India and Sri Lanka, which is the lowest among the top eight teams. Australian batsmen have scored 20 centuries in successful chases, the most for a team, followed by 12 each for England and West Indies. Out of the four centuries by Sri Lanka batsmen in successful chases, two came in 2019 Kusal Perera’s famous unbeaten 153 in Durban and Dimuth Karunaratne’s 122 against New Zealand in Galle. India have the lowest percentage of fourth-innings centuries that resulted in wins, 14.29% (4 out of 28) while Australia have the highest, 45.45% (20 out of 44).
*There are 5 players who have scored a 200 in the fourth innings. Incidentally, four of the five double-hundreds were scored against England while the other one was by an England batsman. George Headley’s 223 in Kingston in 1930 was the first double-ton in the fourth innings, and it remains the highest score when batting last. The only double-century in a successful chase is Gordon Greenidge’s 214 not out at Lord’s in 1984. Nathan Astle’s 222 in Christchurch in 2002 is the only fourth-innings double hundred in a defeat. Bill Edrich’s 219 in Durban in 1939 and Sunil Gavaskar’s 221 at The Oval in 1979 were in drawn matches.
*There are 7 batsmen who scored centuries in the fourth innings on their test debut. The last to do so was Faf du Plessis in Adelaide in 2012, while the first was Abbas Ali Baig against England at Old Trafford in 1959. Nasser Hussain is the only batsman to score a century in the fourth innings of his last Test. Hussain scored 103 not out at Lord’s against New Zealand in 2004.
*There are 11 Instances of two batsmen scoring centuries in a successful fourth-innings chase. The last was by Younis Khan and Shan Masood against Sri Lanka in Pallekele in 2015. Australia have had three such instances, which is the most. There have been six instances of teams losing when two batsmen scored hundreds. The last such occurrence was in 2018 after a gap of more than 35 years when K.L Rahul and Rishabh Pant scored centuries against England at The Oval in an unsuccessful chase of a 464-run target.
By Paramdeep Rathee