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In the sport of cricket, a batsman reaches his century when he scores 100 or more runs in the innings. The term is also included in "century partnership" which occurs when two batsmen add 100 runs to the team total when they are batting together. A century is regarded as a landmark score for batsmen and a player's number of centuries is generally recorded in his career statistics. Scoring a century is loosely equated in terms of merit to a bowler taking five wickets in an innings, and is colloquially referred to as a ton.

Earliest known centuries

Centuries were uncommon until the late 19th century because of the difficulties in batting on pitches that had only rudimentary preparation and were fully exposed to the elements. There is doubt about the earliest known century but the most definite claim belongs to John Minshull who scored 107 for the Duke of Dorset's XI v Wrotham at Sevenoaks Vine on 31 August 1769 . This was a minor match.

The first definite century in a major or first-class match was scored by John Small when he made 136 for Hampshire v Surrey at Broadhalfpenny Downmarker in July 1775 Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744-1826), Lillywhite, 1862. The earliest known century partnership was recorded in 1767 between two Hambledon batsmen who added 192 for the first wicket against Caterham. It is believed they were Tom Sueter and Edward "Curry" Aburrow and it is almost certain that at least one of them scored an individual century, but there is no confirmation in the sources.

When Hambledon played Kent at Broadhalfpenny in August 1768, the Reading Mercury reported: "what is very remarkable, one Mr Small, of Petersfield, fetched above seven score notches off his own bat". Unfortunately it is not known if Small did this in one innings or if it was his match total . Hambledon batsmen Tom Sueter and George Leer are the first two players definitely known to have shared a century partnership when they made 128 for the first wicket against Surrey at Broadhalfpenny Down in September 1769 .

Highest total of centuries

W G Grace was the first batsman to score 100 career centuries, reaching the milestone in 1895. His total of 124 (or 126) centuries was passed by Jack Hobbs who made 199 (or 197) centuries including domestic first class matches.

Test cricket centuries

The first century in Test cricket was scored by Charles Bannerman. Playing in the first ever Test between Australia and England, (Melbourne Cricket Groundmarker, March 15-19, 1877) Bannerman scored 165 retired hurt.

The first century partnership was put on between WG Grace and AP Lucas, batting for England, in the first innings of the only Test match between Australia and England on the 1880 tour (Kennington Ovalmarker, September 6-8 1880). The partnership realised 120 runs before Lucas was bowled by Alec Bannerman for 55.

As of March 19 2009, the holder of the world record for most centuries in Test cricket is Sachin Tendulkar of India, with 42 centuries.

References

  1. G B Buckley, Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket, Cotterell, 1935
  2. H T Waghorn, Cricket Scores, Notes, etc. (1730-1773), Blackwood, 1899
  3. Ashley Mote, The Glory Days of Cricket, Robson, 1997
  4. H T Waghorn, The Dawn of Cricket, Electric Press, 1906
  5. see Variations in first-class cricket statistics
  6. Test #1
  7. Test #4
  8. Test centuries



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