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England v West Indies

Dig in: England’s slowest ever Test centuries

slowest England Test centuries
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Dom Sibley recorded the seventh slowest century (in terms of balls faced) by an English batsman in Test cricket since records began on the second morning of the second West Indies Test. Here’s a look at the 10 slowest ever Test centuries for England, where the data is available:

10. Geoffrey Boycott (303 balls) v Pakistan, Hyderabad, 1978

No surprises to see Boycott on this list. Boycott shared 185 for the first wicket with Mike Brearley in England’s second innings at Hyderabad, a partnership that lasted more than 80 overs as England batted out the last day for a draw.

9. John Edrich (306 balls) v Australia, Perth, 1970

England effectively found themselves 58-4 in their second innings after John Gleeson and Froggy Thomson dismissed Boycott, Keith Fletcher and Colin Cowdrey in quick succession. The tourists faced an uphill battle to keep themselves in the Test. Edrich battled through to the end of the innings, ending on 115* as England secured a fairly comfortable draw in the second Test of the tour. England eventually won the seven-Test series 2-0.

8. Mike Atherton (310 balls) v New Zealand, Nottingham, 1990

Richard Hadlee trapped Graham Gooch lbw off the first ball of the England innings but that was as good as it got for New Zealand. Atherton took 310 balls to reach his first home hundred in a rain-affected draw.

7. Dom Sibley v (312 balls) v West Indies, Manchester, 2020

In his second Test on home soil, Sibley calmed proceedings after a turbulent first morning that saw Jofra Archer dropped from the England XI for breaking bio-security protocols.

6. Mike Atherton (315 balls) v West Indies, The Oval, 2000

Atherton’s last home Test hundred. England went into the fifth Test of the series with a 2-1 lead and emerged from The Oval with the series win, thanks in part to Atherton’s performances over both innings. After scoring 83 in the first innings, Atherton was the only England batsman to pass 30 second time round as he batted through the England innings to finish on 108.

5. Mike Atherton (317 balls) v Pakistan, Karachi, 2000

Less than four months later, Atherton was at it again. A famous England win made possible by Atherton’s first innings 430-ball 125. As important as it was, the speed of Atherton’s knock almost led to his demotion down the order in England’s second innings in their pursuit of 176 in fading light.

4. Tony Greig (324 balls) v India, Kolkata, 1977

An innings that helped set up England’s first series win in India in over 40 years. Greig batted for over seven hours as England crawled to 321 off 178.4 overs having bowled India out for 155 in the first innings.

3. Mike Atherton (326 balls) v Australia, Sydney, 1991

The slowest of Atherton’s four hundreds on this list. At 22, Atherton lasted 349 deliveries for his 105 at Perth to keep the series alive. It delayed the inevitable though, with Australia eventually winning the series 3-0.

2. Nasser Hussain (343 balls) v South Africa, Durban, 1999

A real captain’s innings from Hussain. Hussain endured a tough start to life as skipper, overseeing a home defeat to New Zealand in his first summer on the job. The South Africa tour didn’t start much better either; England lost by an innings in the series opener in Johannesburg and clung onto a draw in Port Elizabeth. While they also drew in Durban, at least they were on the front foot this time, with Hussain’s hundred putting England into a position where they could enforce the follow-on on day three.

1. Clive Radley (396 balls) v New Zealand, Auckland, 1978

Radley only ever played eight Tests for England but he certainly left his mark on the team in Auckland, etching himself top on the list of slowest Test centuries. Radley, in just his second Test, batted for nearly 11 hours in scoring 158 in a drawn encounter.

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