Please note: Unless you’re a complete cricket statto nerd, this post is unlikely to be of the slightest interest to you. [Updated following comments. See below].
Many years ago, I used to take pleasure in setting questions that were hard to answer via Google.
My favourite example was this: In Test cricket, we are currently playing Test numbers 2197 and 2198. In each Test, we can have up to 44 “completed innings”, if all 11 players bat twice. So we have, as of today, a maximum of 2198×44 or close to 100,000 individual “completed innings” scores. In practice the total number of completed innings is much lower, probably closer to 50,000.
The lowest possible completed innings is 0. The highest achieved so far is Brian Lara’s 400. All the other innings completed so far are somewhere between 0 and 400.
Now imagine you have a Bingo card with all the numbers from 0 to 400. Imagine every completed innings to be a number called at the bingo session.
My unGoogleable question used to be: What is the lowest unscratched number on the card? But since I’ve written about it years ago, the answer is now easily discoverable. It’s 229. No batsman has ended a Test innings on 229 thus far.
Obviously this number moves. The last time it moved was when Herschelle Gibbs scored 228 almost exactly thirteen years ago.
When Gibbs scored 228, there were one hundred and seventeen unscratched numbers between 228 and 400.
This past year, 2015, was a bumper year for scratches. We lost 245 to Shoaib Malik, 263 to Alastair Cook, 269 to Adam Voges and 290 to Ross Taylor.
Here’s what has happened since Gibbs’ 228:
- 2003: Hayden scratches 280
- 2004: Tendulkar lays aside 241 and 248; Atapattu flays 249; Sehwag takes out 309; Jayasuriya removes 253; and Lara blasts 400. A record year, six scratched.
- 2005: Gayle hammers 317
- 2006: Jayawardene slams 374
- 2007: A fallow year
- 2008: Sehwag (again!) takes out 319
- 2009: Sehwag (yet again!) demolishes 293 and Younis does the same to 313
- 2010: Another fallow year
- 2011: Cook (who also shone last year) erases 294
- 2012: Fallow
- 2013: Fallow
- 2014: Fallow (though Sangakkara doubled up Sehwag’s 319)
- 2015: 245 (Shoaib) 263 (Cook) 269 (Voges) 290 (Taylor) disappear
So, since Herschelle Gibbs hit his 228, we’ve seen seventeen of the unscratched go, four last year alone.
Just one hundred more to go.