There are few better ways to celebrate the landmark of the 100th test than scoring a century in it. Of the 67 men to play 100 test, only 9 have achieved this remarkable symmetry.
Colin Cowdrey was the first man to play 100 tests, and what better way to mark the occasion by making his 21st test hundred, only behind Bradman, Hammond and tied with Harvey at the time. It was fitting for a man with the initials MCC.
Cowdrey had been a servant of the international English game for 14 years at that point, and captained the side 23 times at that point. It was typical Colin. Tough and unflinching even after straining his leg, which necessitated a runner for him, though the choice of Boycott probably made the wait longer.
It was also laden with his signature cover drives. In the course of the innings, he became the second player to reach the milestone of 7000 runs, not too shabby an achievement. While that match was drawn and England would lose the series, resulting in a fractious end to his tenure as captain.
It would be 21 years and 9 further cap centurions before another one of them would score a century in their hundredth test. It would, once again, come against the old enemy. However, it was a different team’s old enemy. Javed Miandad walked out to a completely bare Lahore, having made 100s in his first and fiftieth tests.
Miandad was obsessed with making one here too, his hundredth, which also happened to be the scene of his famous debut hundred. Miandad was also the first Pakistani to reach the landmark of 100 tests. The pitch was quite flat, as evidenced by the score line (India: 509, Pakistan: 699-5) and the fact that no fewer than 9 fifties were scored, which included 4 centuries (which also included 2 doubles).
But nothing can take away the fact that Miandad did make a century, and the fact that it had come against India in his 100th test only added to the speciality of it.
As more and more tests began to played, more and more people reached the landmark of one hundred tests. So, more and more people had the chance to make a hundredth test hundred.
The next player to do so after Miandad was Gordon Greenidge, who achieved only 14 tests and less than a year after Miandad, at Antigua. Greenidge was the very next player to notch up a century of caps, and it once again came against a team of significance to him: England.
Greenidge had grown up in England, and you could see it quite easily. From his accent to his education, Greenidge seemed comprehensively English, just minus the skin colour.Not treating it as anything special, he played a typical Greenidge innings. Scoring at over 70 runs per 100 balls, he put on 298 with Desmond Haynes, their fourth, final and largest double century partnership.
The sheer pace of that innings played a crucial part in the innings win, and was the first of the hundred in the hundredth test club to win their hundredth test.
10 years later, Alec Stewart walked out to the Old Trafford pitch, ready for his 100th test. Stewart had made his debut in the same series where Greenidge played his 100th, then as an opener. Since then, he’d been floated around the order because he could keep, and while he batted best as an opener without the strain of the gloves, he was a fairly decent keeper.
Stewart also captained in that time, but was sacked under a year before this Manchester test. After Dominic Cork and Andy Caddic had laid waste to West Indies’ batsmen, Stewart joined Marcus Trescothick at the crease after Walsh took 3 early wickets. Stewart would be the next man to fall, 179 runs later.
Stewart was incredible against pace, and that was on full display here, tearing into Rose and King, the weak links in the West Indian attack. Supported ably by a young Marcus Trescothick, Stewart wrote his name into the history books. While the match would be drawn, Stewart had reason to celebrate.
India-Pakistan encounters have always been things to savour in the 21st century. With the increasingly political backdrop to the cricket, these series have been cancelled time and time again. But when they happen, they’re usually memorable, even the tests which, by now, have moved past the borefests of the 80s.
So, when Pakistan came down to Bangalore in 2005 for the final test, people were expecting a result. Pakistan were 1-0 down after excellence from Rahul Dravid (two hundreds) and Anil Kumble (10 wickets) gave India a win at Kolkata. There was something a bit special for Pakistan in that Bangalore test though.
It was their captain’s hundredth test. Inzamam-ul-Haq had been having a decent series up till that point, but with the series on the line, he knew he had to step up and go big. And go big he did. Joining Younis Khan at 7-2, the pair were indefatigable, piling on 324 in just under 90 overs. Inzamam made 184 of those, still the highest score by a batsman in his hundredth test.
It set the base for a series leveling win, so Inzi would not have to hold his head in shame heading back to Pakistan.
South Africa came to Australia in the summer of 2005-06 quietly confident about their chances. But a draw at Brisbane and a defeat at Melbourne meant that they wouldn’t be winning this time.
However, a share of the spoils with victory at Sydney would be better than nothing. Things were looking good when they declared at 451-9. Even better when Australia subsided to 53-3 at stumps on day 2. But Ricky Ponting was determined. Playing in his 100th test, he went about it as any other, notching up hundred number 27, and taking his average to above 57, being well supported by Adam Gilchrist and Michael Hussey.
Australia were still 92 behind, and needed 287 in 76 overs as South Africa chased victory. But Ponting had other ideas. Going on the offensive once again, he slammed 143* at just under 90, finishing the game with an hour to go. The pair of innings were characterized by Ponting’s signature shots and were innings of a man in the form of his life. Ponting is still the only player to make twin hundreds in his 100th test.
The number one test ranking was up for grabs when South Africa came to England in the summer of 2012. The first, at the Oval, would also be captain Graeme Smith’s 100th. England might have thought that 385 was good, but things never looked up from 1-1.
First, Smith and HashimAmla put on 259, then Amla and Kallis made 377* together. Amla had 311*, the only triple by a South African, Kallis, 182*, and Smith became the 7th player to score a hundred in his 100th test, making 131. Characterized by Smith’s signature grit, he was unbreakable. Whatever pressure he had about playing his hundredth test and facing off in a de-facto world championship evaporated as soon as he walked to the ground for the toss.
Early on day 3, he’d be dismissed having faced 273 balls and having another hundred to his name, setting the wheels in motion for a 2-0 win and the number one ranking.
Hashim Amla had been having a bad time. An average of under 38 since 2015, which plummeted to 17.69 away from home. His average dipped below 50 for the first time since 2012, although he had looked better since Sri Lanka came to South African shores.
A big score seemed right around the corner during those first two tests, and it finally came at Johannesburg, the site of his 100th test. He survived some spirited bowling by the Sri Lankan attack before feasting on their exhausted deliveries after lunch.
Ably supported by JP Duminy, he ended his droughts, first of 50s, then 100s, before falling for 134 early in day 2. It was pure Amla after lunch on day 1, his classical and gorgeous strokes on full display. It set the stage for the bowlers to run riot and take 20 exhausted Sri Lankan wickets in under 90 overs.
All the Cricketers who achieved the feat were legendary cricketers. It;s expected that Cricket will see many other talented players achieving this milestone.