The number 100 – it is the magical number in cricket.
England started their tour to India with a chance to upset the home team in the first Test before the Indians wrested initiative back with a comfortable win in the second Test.
Some dour batting performances helped the Indians to eke out an honourable draw. Among one such knock was Virat Kohli’s 49 not out. He may have missed a 50 but crucially consumed as many as 98 balls which helped India draw the Test.
This brings me to my hypothesis. That 100 is a magic number in cricket. Let us see in how different ways this is the case.
1 100 is a score a batsman aspires for as it is a century
Interestingly even if a batsman scores a 200 or even a 300 or a 400 (as Lara did), it is counted as one 100. The number of 100s is often used to discuss how batsmen are in comparison to one another and who is a better bat.
2 A 100 by a batsman means the team has at least an OK score
A 100 by at least one batsman in a Test match also means that usually the team has scored at least 275-300 assuming that others have put in even small but useful contributions.
This score ensures that a team in the longest format of the game has at least hung on. Very often we see if a team is say 150 or 160 all out that in just two sessions the match is gone. A 100 usually prevents this kind of collapse.
3 The opening partnership is required to survive at least 100 balls
This means 17 overs. Hence the premier quicks of the opposing team will not start off with wickets which will boost their morale. The spinners too when they start operating will bowl to set batsmen and not those who have just come in. 100 minutes is especially important and rather invaluable in the 1st day of a test match.
4 The openers must try to face 100 balls each
This is an extension of point number three and will help the team immensely. In the second Test versus India Cook and Hameed played 188 and 144 balls each. While it was not enough to save the Test as they had 150 overs to survive, imagine a situation where they would have to survive say 80 or 90 overs. Probably the match would have been saved.
5 The team must survive for at least 100 overs
If so then assuming a run rate of 3.2 or so they will reach 320 at least.
6 Partnerships should aim to be at least a 100 runs together
That will not only help the two batsmen but the others to follow by making them avoid any feelings about devil in the pitch. For the record, the highest partnership is 624 between Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene versus South Africa at Colombo.
7 For bowlers 100 wickets is a landmark, as is every multiple of 100 wickets thereafter
Bowlers strive to take 100 wickets in as least matches as possible so that they can enhance their usefulness to their team.
8 Bowlers should strive not to have a bowler’s century, which means conceding 100 runs in an innings
Normally a team plays four or five bowlers, and if a bowler concedes a bowlers century it means that the opposition team has scored 375 plus, which often makes them relatively safe in a Test match.
9 100 Test matches is a players dream
For the record, only 64 players in Test history have played 100 Tests or more. Only three current Test players Cook, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have this distinction. Playing 100 Tests shows how important a player has been to his team for a considerably long period of time. Sachin of course is the only player to have played 200 Tests . It seems as of now that Cook may exceed him , form and fitness allowing.
10 100 average is something no one has ever achieved
The closest one has reached has been Don Bradman with 99.94. It is certain that this record will never be broken.
11 For a wicketkeeper, 100 dismissals is a landmark
Only 39 players have achieved it. The player at the top is of course Mark Boucher with 555 dismissals in his glittering career which was stopped due to a freak eye injury.
12 100 matches as captain
This is something only Graeme Smith has achieved. The next is Allan Border with 93 and Stephen Fleming with 80.
13 100 catches in Test cricket is something which shows how safe a fielder is
There are only 35 fielders in Test history who have held 100 catches. The only three fielders with more than 200 catches are Rahul Dravid (210), Jayawardhene (205) and Jacques Kallis (200).
14 100% concentration
100% concentration is essential to do well in Test cricket, while batting, or bowling or fielding. Its the toughest format of the game and even a small lapse will see the opposition striking back. What better example to give for this than Gibbs dropping Steve Waugh, and potentially losing the World Cup for that costly miss.
15 100% Stamina and fitness
A test batsman should be fit enough to play multiple of 100’s balls and score 100 or 200 or even 300 without getting tired or fatigued. Also a test standard bowler needs to be able to bowl at least 100 balls (17 overs) in a day without significantly tiring or breaking down.
16 100 wickets per team in a 5 test series
This would be an ultimate success for a bowling team , getting the batting side all out in both innings for 5 test matches. It would mean that the opposition has not declared even once. Conversely one should aim to declare more and not be all out, or be all out on own terms after scoring adequate runs
17 100 career sixes
Only 2 Test cricketers have achieved 100 career sixes. These are only Brendon McCullum (107) and Gilchrist (100) and isn’t likely to be achieved again anytime soon.
18 100 first class hundreds
Only 23 players have scored 100 first class hundreds. The list is led by Jack Hobbs with 199 100’s. The 5 players with more than 150 hundreds are Jack Hobbs (199), Patsy Hendren (170), Wally Hammond (167), Phil Mead (153) and Geoff Boycott (151). The only player who has achieved it without playing English County cricket was Don Bradman with 117 hundreds. In fact all are English cricketers except Bradman, Viv Richards, Glenn Turner and Zaheer Abbas.
19 100 Test Wins
Ricky Ponting is the only player to be a part of 100 Test victories. It is unlikely if that will be matched anytime soon.
These then are my list of various ways in which the number 100 is special in cricket. Looking forward to see you add a few more.