The fourth innings ‘ball hundred’

New Zealand v England (via Sky Sports)

Runs are not always the objective for a batsman. If a team finds itself behind in a game such that a win becomes almost impossible, the objective generally becomes survival. Similarly, if you’re one-nil up in a series and it’s the final Test, a draw means a series win.

In these scenarios, the meaningful unit of measurement is not ‘runs’ but ‘balls faced’ – hence the concept of the ‘ball hundred’. Facing 100 deliveries when your team is trying to bat out the final day is a significant contribution.

On the final day of the second Test between New Zealand and England, Ross Taylor made 13 off 23 balls. That innings was a great deal less good than Neil Wagner’s almighty seven off 103 balls.

Top scorers are irrelevant. The top facers from New Zealand’s triumphant innings were:

  1. Tom Latham – 207
  2. Ish Sodhi – 168
  3. Neil Wagner – 103
  4. Colin de Grandhomme – 97
  5. BJ Watling – 66

De Grandhomme will be disappointed to have missed out on a ball hundred when seemingly well-set. Latham will be delighted with his ball double hundred. England will be glad to play some Test matches at home.


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14 Appeals

  1. Cricinfo likes calling it a Cowan, if at a sufficiently low strike rate. Well Cowanned, New Zealand. Well Cowanned.

    • That is quite similar, it involves ‘centuries’ of deliveries as well. Usually with a ‘low score,’ which seems to stick out.

      Wagner’s innings is reminiscent of a few other single-digit scores from long innings, such as John Murray’s 3 from 100. Murray’s strike rate was slower than any other run-scorer in that match, of course. A more recent attempt was ‘Kamrul Islam’ from Bangladesh, who only survived 92 deliveries while on two runs. Curiously, against New Zealand.

      Someone should have reminded Australia that they invented this term. A run-out when trying to survive is towards the other end of the spectrum.

    • Now that Cowans gone, it should now properly be referred to as an Elgar

      • Probably unrelated, however the highest strike rate from the recent Pakistan v. West Indies T20 match was by a batsman known as ‘Fakhar.’

      • Changing the name from Cowans to Elgars might be a puzzling change…

        …indeed an enigma variation.

        Taking the lead from Stos, though, perhaps innings such as the seven-in-a-hundred-balls should be known as reverse-Fakhars.

      • Surely an ‘Elgar’ should be carrying your bat at a low strike rate?

  2. Amidst the doom and gloom afflicting English test cricket, is there anywhere else we can look in this age of 24-hour cricket for one tiny crumb of joy? Oh yes… a full-strength Australia side about to succomb to a 500-run reverse at the hands of big Vern. Thank you.

    • Reminiscent of a Viz cartoon of Scottish football’s greatest moments. It consisted of English players missing penalties.

      • I always thought John Gordon Sinclair’s terrible miming on Top of the Pops took that accolade.

      • Remember that song well. Never knew till now that he was the singer (albeit in the loosest sense of the word).

  3. I noticed a complete lack of Wagner blasted on the trumpet second innings. Surely that melodramatic noise would have got TGNW pumped up and hitting.

    Mind you, we couldn’t get him out in the first innings either, when the Wagner was blaring and TGNW was going for it at nearly a run a ball.

  4. jack leach looks like gordon freeman from half life (with less hair)

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