July 11 is significant in cricket history for a couple of reasons – It was the first ever time a player played his 100th Test and was also the first time ever a player scored a century on this monumental occasion. This feat was achieved by none other than former England captain Colin Cowdrey. Cowdrey struck a magnificent 104 in England’s first innings in the third Test of The Ashes 1968 at Edgbaston. The match was drawn and the five-match series ended 1-1. Bangalore-born Cowdrey went on to lead England in 27 Tests. Overall, he represented England in 114 Tests, scoring 7,624 runs at an average of 44.06, which included 22 hundreds and 38 half-centuries. With that, let us take a look at players, who have scored a century on their landmark 100th Test.
Javed Miandad: Miandad scored a majestic 145 against his favourite opponents India. This was just the second hundred in 100th Test and it was scored 31 years after the Cowdrey’s ton. However, Miandad was not the highest scorer in the innings. Shoaib Mohammad with his 203 not out, which helped Pakistan score 699 in reply to India’s 509 in their first innings. The series opener marked the international debut of one Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
Gordon Greenidge: Just four months after Miandad’s 100th Test, Greenidge too marked his century of Tests for the West Indies with a century. It was the series decider between England and West Indies in the Wisden Cup at Antigua. Opening the batting, Greenidge and Desmond Haynes gave West Indies the perfect start, putting on 298 for the first wicket, in replay to England’s 260. Greenidge went on to score 149, while Haynes finished with 167 as West Indies won the match by an innings and 32 runs. More importantly, they won the five-match series 2-1.
Alec Stewart: Stewart opened the innings for England when Greenidge scored his century in his landmark Test, but 10 years later in 2000, Stewart, playing his 100th Test returned the favour by slamming a ton against West Indies. Stewart scored 105 off 153 balls in England’s first innings to help England take a 146-run lead. This match was drawn, but England went on to win the series 3-1.
Inzamam-ul-Haq: Be it either Miandad, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam, Younis Khan or even Salman Butt, everyone loved scoring runs against India. For Inzamam, playing a century of matches and scoring a ton, it would have been secondary. What would have truly made it special for him would have perhaps been the fact that it came against arch-rivals India, in India. Pakistan were two down for just 7 in the Bangalore Test in 2005 when Inzamam walked in. He and Younis Khan then put on a mammoth 324-run stand for the third wicket. Inzamam was eventually dismissed for 184. Pakistan eventually won the match by 168 and levelled three-match series 1-1 after India had taken the lead after their win in the previous Test at the Eden Gardens. Inzamam is now Pakistan’s chief selector.
Ricky Ponting: If playing your 100th Test is not a big enough achievement, Ponting made it all the more special by becoming the first and only player in history to score twin centuries in 100th Test. His feat came against South Africa at the SCG in 2006. Replying to South Africa’s 451, Ponting’s 120 took South Africa to 359. However, South Africa declared at 194 for 6, setting Australia 287-run target. Ponting played a blazing innings in the chase, scoring an unbeaten 143 off 159 to help set up a comfortable 8-wicket win for his side. This win rounded off a 2-0 win in the series for the Aussies as well.
Graeme Smith: It was once again a case of a captain leading from the front. Smith was appointed South Africa captain at a very young age and he ended his career as the only player to have led his side in over 100 Tests. Smith led in 109 matches, winning 53 of them. However, talking about this match, Smith scored a magnificent 131 at The Oval against England in 2012. However, this match will be remembered for Hashim Amla’s 311. Taking nothing away from Smith, he just did not lead South Africa to a win in this match, but also led the team to a win in the next game at Lord’s to help Proteas win the three-match series 2-0.
Hashim Amla: Last but not least, one of the modern day greats, Hashim Amla is the latest player to score a century on his 100th Test, when Sri Lanka visited South Africa earlier this year. Coming in at his usual No. 3 position, Amla put on a mammoth 292-run stand with JP Duminy for the third wicket to put South Africa in command. Amla scored 134 as South Africa won the match by an innings and 118 runs after the Proteas put up 426 on the board in the first innings.