a minor non-googleable question

Yes, it’s about cricket. I noticed that the current Indian team has made 109 Test centuries between them. Last time around, in the first Test versus Australia, the inclusion of Kumble drove that number up to 110. [Oddly enough, Kumble has scored the same number of Test centuries as Dhoni!]

Now that’s a big number, it isn’t often that a team boasts a century of centuries. To put it in context, the current Australian team’s comparative number is 86. I went and looked at the team under Steve Waugh, at a time when it boasted Justin Langer, Mark Waugh, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Damien Martyn. When I look at the lifetime totals for that group (which also included Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath) the number exceeds 170. But when I try and find the highest total as an actual team in an actual Test, the best I can do is 91, in October 2002, versus Pakistan in Sharjah.  I think that’s the biggest, the others just didn’t score centuries quickly enough to afford the exits of the Waugh brothers.

Very unscientific, very anecdotal. But the number to beat is 110. As in the total number of Test centuries scored by a Test team as constituted in a real Test and only including efforts up to and including that Test.

Any offers? Enjoy your weekend trying to get to a Nelson or beyond.

An aside. Imagine what you would need from Cricinfo in terms of database access or web service or RSS feed, such that you could write a program that could work out the answer. Let me know your thoughts.

8 thoughts on “a minor non-googleable question”

  1. Yes … I think you’ve got me this time. I managed your last one, but this requires logic beyond a Google search box as currently put together.

  2. Haynes 18
    Greenidge 19
    Richards 24
    Lloyd 19
    Richardson 16
    Gomes 9
    Dujon 5

    Also 110.

    But this clearly doesn’t take a temporal context into play because this was 1983 when they first played together… and Lloyd was entering his sunset…

    Super Cat retired in Dec 1984 and Richardson the last of that line-up in 1995.

    Haynes(18), Richardson(16), Lara(34), Chanderpaul(19), Adams(5), Hooper(13), Murray(1) yielding 106 circa 1995 is pretty good too…

    I’d take the 1983 line-up any day though… :)

    As for the program…

    There have only been 1889 Tests ever played. So that means you have only a finite number of score-cards and batting line-ups to traverse.

    In addition to the line-up, statsguru publishes the batting innings list per player associated to the Test Match number. It goes all the way back to the great Wilfred Rhodes era players.

    With these two “feeds” published by cricinfo… one can attain what I like to call a PITT (Point In Time Tonnage) per player and the sum of that per scorecard = your answer.

    Also keep in mind that Test 1889 is still in action and therefore the PITT could increase beyond 110.

  3. Zubin, I did take a look at that scorecard before posting, but only the Australian side. They measured 86. I discounted the Rest of the World side, just don’t think of them as a “Test” team. But you’re right, if I include them, the number is 126!

    But I’m a pedant. So I won’t.

  4. Notwithstanding your pedantry, the decider must be whether or not the Australians received caps for that match. If they did, then the ROTW side are surely a test side.

  5. John, Zubin, I wish it were as simple as that.

    I have always kept with the view that a Test match is played between “Test playing nations”. Multinational representatives sides do not qualify.

    The 1970 England versus ROW series was originally granted Test status; later it was withdrawn.

    There have been a number of other such competitions, each time the principle has been upheld.

    The ICC was wrong to give October 2005 match Test status, overthrowing a number of critical precedents.

    I quote from Wikipedia:

    In 2005 the ICC ruled that the six-day Super Series match that took place in October 2005 between Australia and a World XI was an official Test match. This ICC decision was taken despite precedent (e.g. the ICC’s earlier ruling on the 1970 England v Rest of the World series) that only matches between nations should be given Test match status. Many cricket writers and statisticians, particularly Bill Frindall, have decided to ignore the ICC’s ruling and have excluded the 2005 match from their records.

    I’m with Bill on this issue. Good match. But not a Test. And that affects a number of other statistics, I know, but tough.

  6. Your initial set of constraints did not specify this.

    So it is, in fact, a possible answer.

    Cricinfo is the source you specified – not Bill “the bearder” Frindall :).

    Oh and the number to beat now IS Nelson. :)

Let me know what you think

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