In the final Test of 2017’s series between the BLACKCAPS and South Africa, Kane Williamson went past 5000 career runs before joining Martin Crowe with 17 Test centuries. Now, against the West Indies at Hamilton in 2017, Ross Taylor has joined the pair at that record mark.

Here, we look at the road these three star batsmen took through to 17 Test centuries.


 

Martin Crowe scored the majority of his centuries against Australia, England, and the West Indies – the latter being especially impressive as he faced them at the peak of their powers through the 1980s.

At Brisbane in 1985, in a Test match remembered for Sir Richard Hadlee’s 9-wicket haul, Crowe hit 188 and played as much of a role as Hadlee in securing a win which set up the BLACKCAPS’ first series victory in Australia.

Stats can only tell you so much about a player and, while Crowe is known as one of the most stylish batsmen to ever play the game, many of these innings saw him fighting hard to save the draw for New Zealand. 

One of these knocks came at Lancaster Park in 1987 where Crowe, after being hit and cut by a Bruce Reid bouncer on 51, returned to the field with stitches and completed an innings of 137.

Much has been made of his 299 against Sri Lanka, and what it meant to him seeing Brendon McCullum finally reach the 300-run mark, but his previous century deserves attention. Although New Zealand would lose that Test, against Pakistan at Lahore, Crowe defied Akram and Younis in their own backyard for over 9 hours – almost as long as he batted in scoring 299.

Martin Crowe
Century No.ScoreOpponentInningsStart DateResult
1100England3Jan 20 1984D
2188West Indies2Apr 6 1985D
3188Australia2Nov 8 1985W
4137Australia2Feb 28 1986D
5106England2Jul 24 1986D
6119West Indies3Feb 20 1987D
7104West Indies3Feb 27 1987L
8137Australia1Dec 11 1987D
9143England1Mar 3 1988D
10174Pakistan1Feb 10 1989D
11113India3Feb 22 1990D
12108*Pakistan3Oct 18 1990L
13299Sri Lanka3Jan 31 1991D
14140Zimbabwe1Nov 7 1992W
15107Sri Lanka3Dec 6 1992L
16142England1Jun 16 1994D
17115England3Jun 30 1994D

Kane Williamson started his career with a Test century, the eighth BLACKCAP to do so, but then endured a lean run by his standards, waiting 13th months before raising his bat again.

Since then he has been a dominant force in the New Zealand line-up, scoring at least one century in each calendar year and setting the country’s record with five in 2015.

His 14th Test century, against Zimbabwe in August 2016, gave him one against each of the other nine Test playing nations. At just 25 years old, he was the youngest player to achieve the feat by nearly five years.

But it’s not just numbers that define Williamson’s centuries, with the majority of his innings instrumental in securing wins or draws for the BLACKCAPS.

His 102* against South Africa at the Basin Reserve in 2012 was a coming-of-age-type knock that secured the grittiest of draws against a bowling attack which repeatedly demoralised New Zealand batting line-ups.

At the same venue in 2017, this time as captain, he hit 104* to lead his side in a final day run-chase that secured victory against Bangladesh.

Kane Williamson
Century No.ScoreOpponentInningsStart DateResult
1131India2Nov 4 2010D
2102*South Africa4Mar 23 2012D
3135Sri Lanka1Nov 25 2012W
4114Bangladesh1Oct 9 2013D
5113India1Feb 6 2014W
6113West Indies1Jun 8 2014W
7161*West Indies3Jun 26 2014W
8192Pakistan2Nov 26 2014W
9242*Sri Lanka3Jan 3 2015W
10132England2May 21 2015L
11140Australia2Nov 5 2015L
12166Australia2Nov 13 2015D
13108*Sri Lanka4Dec 18 2015W
14113Zimbabwe1Aug 6 2016W
15104*Bangladesh4Jan 12 2017W
16130South Africa2Mar 8 2017D
17176South Africa2Mar 25 2017D

 

Ross Taylor’s Test career started in 2007 with a lean run through two Tests in South Africa during one of the particularly nasty recent tours for BLACKCAPS’ batsmen.

However, once he got his feet back on home soil, against England at Hamilton during March 2008, he powered to his first Test century, helping the BLACKCAPS to a huge win.

Seddon Park, in Ross’ adopted home town of Hamilton, has become a happy hunting ground for the right-hander. Since that first century, he has added four more through a total of ten Tests.

Against the West Indies in 2013, he became just the second BLACKCAP (after Mark Burgess) to hit centuries in three consecutive Tests. With his 17th century following a narrow miss in 2017’s first Test against the same opponents, he has exemplified how much he likes playing the Caribbean side.

Two great knocks stand out in Taylor’s record: 142 as captain in a Test win in Sri Lanka in 2012 and his 290 against Australia at Perth in 2015 – off the back of eye troubles and a much-publicised rough couple of years within the national team since his Sri Lankan ton.

Ross Taylor
Century No.ScoreOpponentInningsStart DateResult
1120England1Mar 5 2008W
2154*England1May 23 2008L
3151India1Mar 26 2009D
4107India4Apr 3 2009D
5138Australia2Mar 27 2010L
6122*Zimbabwe1Jan 26 2012W
7113India1Aug 31 2012L
8142Sri Lanka1Nov 25 2012W
9217*West Indies1Dec 3 2013D
10129West Indies1Dec 11 2013W
11131West Indies2Dec 19 2013W
12104Pakistan3Nov 17 2014D
13290Australia2Nov 13 2015D
14173*Zimbabwe2Jul 28 2016W
15124*Zimbabwe1Aug 6 2016W
16102*Pakistan3Nov 25 2016W
17107*West Indies3Dec 9 2017TBD

Comparing players from different eras is a pointless exercise, but still one that cricket fans pursue with enthusiasm. We don’t do it to push the case for one being better than the other but, instead, hope to showcase the class of all three batsmen.

As you can see from the statistics below, not much separates the careers of these New Zealand greats at the point in which they reached the 17 Test century milestone.

 TestsInningsAge*RunsNot
Outs
AverageHigh
Score
50s0sHome/
Away
Win/Loss/
Draw
Martin Crowe7012031y, 9m, 13d52301147.982991788/92/3/12
Kane Williamson6111026y, 7m, 19d51161051.16242*1667/109/2/6
Ross Taylor8314933y, 9m, 3d62461948.0529028127/108/3/5**
*Age calculated on the day they reached their 17th Test century, all other stats to conclusion of innings in which their 17th century was scored
**Result of December 2017's NZ v WI Test at Hamilton still TBD

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