Somehow, from the depths of their prolonged period of mediocrity, Australia appear to have found their way in ODI cricket.
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In the first Test against New Zealand, David Warner joined Ricky Ponting as the only Australian to score hundreds in both innings of a Test three times, with Sunil Gavaskar the only other player to achieve that feat.
Warner, like Gavaskar, has also batted through an innings – so far as I can see, the only other players who have both scored twin centuries and carried their bat are Warren Bardsley, Glenn Turner, Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart, Gary Kirsten, Grant Flower and Rahul Dravid.
I’m not saying they’ve done both of these things in the one game (I don’t think anyone has), but they’re the only ones to have done both at some points in their careers.
As a small sop to Kiwi cricket supporters, who can’t be in a terribly good place at the moment, Glenn Turner is actually unique here – he’s the only player ever to have scored twin hundreds (which he did once) and to have batted through twice.
You have to have been a pretty decent player to have batted through twice – the only other ones ever were Bill Woodfull, Len Hutton and Bill Lawry, and the only player ever to bat through three times was Desmond Haynes. But none of Woodfull, Hutton, Lawry or Haynes ever managed twin hundreds in a game.
If Warner can manage to bat through again at some stage he’ll really be in rarified company.
Warner’s other stat that should be mentioned is that he also has one of the all-time highest rates of getting to 50 (what I’ll call a ’50 rate’ – the proportion of times you get to 50 in all the innings you play).
If you look at the list of all-time highest Test run-getters on Cricinfo, everyone who has scored 5000 or more runs is listed – Warner doesn’t make that list yet.
If you look through that list, most of the players take around three to four innings to get a 50 – expressing their 50 rate as a decimal, that would be from 0.333 down to 0.25. Looking through the list, if your 50 rate is anywhere around 0.3, you’re a very good player.
As you might expect, Don Bradman is way ahead of everyone else on that list, with 42 scores of 50 or more in 80 innings, or a 50 rate of 0.525. So far as I can see, only two other players on that 5000-run list exceed a 50 rate of 0.4 – Jack Hobbs (0.4215) and Ken Barrington (0.4198).
Warner currently comes in at 0.3975. That’s 83 innings for 33 fifty-plus scores, which would put him next on that list, if he was on it. Of course, by the time Warner gets to 5000 runs his 50 rate might have gone backwards.
It also should be noted that some great players who did not get to 5000 runs above or very close to Warner’s 50 rate – Graham Pollock had 0.439 from 41 innings, Everton Weekes had 0.4198 from 81 innings, and Clyde Walcott 0.3918 from 74.
The outstanding one to mention in this context is Herbert Sutcliffe, who as well as being one of the handful to average above 60 after playing more than 20 Tests, also got to fifty no fewer than 39 times in 84 innings for a 50 rate of 0.4643 – putting him the closest I can see to Bradman.
However, looking at the list of players who have a better 50 rate than Warner and remembering that there’s no-one else between him and them suggests that Australia’s senior opener should be looked at as considerably more than just a good player.