Petersen. Amla. Tendulkar. Sehwag. Laxman. Dhoni. Guptill. McCullum. Mahmudullah.
Three of those scored over 150, three of them were maiden centurions, one was a debut centurion, all of them were vastly different types of centuries. This is why I don’t like stats: as it stands, all those are recorded the same way, implying that they were somehow alike, which they weren’t. No two centuries ever are. I have no doubt that Tendulkar still feels the thrill when he notches up another one, but it can’t possibly compare to what someone like Alviro Petersen must feel, scoring a Test hundred on debut against the world’s #1 ranked team in an atmosphere like the one at Eden Gardens. I don’t know Petersen from Adam, but even I was overjoyed for him.
There is also, I would argue, a huge difference between scoring 115 runs and scoring 183, and so the latter should be recorded as a different level of milestone, but that’s an argument that’s been made before and I really have nothing new to add. I might just be having a Pollyanna moment, but it just seems a little unfair to the guy who’s sweated it out for two more hours and 70-something runs.
I am a touch disappointed that Shakib-al-Hasan’s name isn’t up there. He made it to 87 (insert superstitious muttering about the curse of being 13 short of a landmark here) before he edged one from Chris Martin through to the keeper. The way I feel about that is essentially the way I feel about Bangladesh v New Zealand overall – completely torn. I’m always thrilled when Chris Martin does well, as he is one of those players I am incapable of being objective about, but when he took that particular wicket at that particular moment there was a little voice in my head whispering, ‘Damn, Chris, you know I love you, but you couldn’t have done that juuust a few minutes later?’
But of course, there was V.V.S. Laxman to make everything all right by scoring his hundred. Sehwag is more fun to watch, Tendulkar is a legend and it shows, Dhoni was all grit and muscle, but there is nothing quite like a V.V.S. hundred. He doesn’t even need to score a hundred, really, for you to appreciate his batting, but you always want him to because that will mean you can watch him longer and he will be justly rewarded for putting on such an exquisite display of batsmanship. He’s all elegance, all timing; he’s just so damn pretty to watch. (And besides, Laxman being Laxman, it genuinely couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.) Everything about a V.V.S. hundred makes me happy – his strokemaking is a pleasure to watch, there’s no need to waste energy trying to separate the awesome cricketer from the douchebag personality beneath as it is so often necessary to do, and when the moment comes and he raises his bat to acknowledge the fans and his teammates, you have that fabulous smile to look forward to.