In a new blog post at Cricinfo, Joe Hotten brings up that Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting and Kallis have just a highest test score of 54 between them at Lord’s and no centuries. That’s striking, not because I hold any particular attraction for Lord’s than I do for Adelaide or Eden Gardens but because it is a weird statistic. An anomaly as Hotten puts it?
Let’s dissect a bit.
Apart from the first test Tendulkar played at Lord’s, nearly 25 years ago in 1990, where Shastri and Azharuddin, both managed centuries, the Indians have been poor batting wise at the Lord’s test. In 1996, in that test where Ganguly and Dravid made their debut, no other Indian managed more than Tendulkar’s 31, 8 of the 10 wickets going to Mullaly, Cork and Chris Lewis. In the 2002 Lord’s test, Ajit Agarkar managed a century among Indians but no specialist batsman did. In 2007, no Indian scored a century. In 2012, only Dravid scored a century among Indians.
Only Shivnarine Chanderpaul has managed to score a century in the 3 tests that West Indies has played at Lord’s.
Only Mark Waugh and Michael Clarke scored a century each in test’s at Lord’s for Australia in the 4 tests Ponting played at the venue. South Africa hasn’t faced such a problem though and they have had centuries in each of their 3 tests in which Kallis featured in.
The Lord’s test is usually the first or the second test in a series and batting early in the season in England is not easy. There is also the Lord’s slope to contend with. I think this is a bit more than an anomaly though. You would think the best batsmen of a generation would be able to adopt to such things, just like say McGrath would be able to adopt to subcontinental wickets. They all have adopted to conditions in England and have fine records in England. However, in the first or second test, with the best bowlers raring to go against the opposition’s best batsman, it can be difficult for even the greats to adopt.
This all means that the Lord’s century has value, not just in terms of the name being etched on the Honour’s Board at the ground.