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:
- Tom Latham – 207
- Ish Sodhi – 168
- Neil Wagner – 103
- Colin de Grandhomme – 97
- 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.