Kevin Pietersen’s achievements and experiences of the last two days have, understandably, been the subject of a lot of passionate writing. I want to record, dispassionately, some facts about his unbeaten innings against Leicestershire at the Oval.
The research to identify comparable (possibly, superior) innings to Pietersen’s was carried out by Allan Draycott, who tweets about history, politics and cricket as @allanholloway.
Pietersen scored at almost twice the rate of the other Surrey batsmen: 355 runs from 396 deliveries faced. The ten other Brown Caps contributed 185 runs from 395 balls. He was responsible for 70% of the runs scored while he was at the crease.
Pietersen outscored the second highest score of the innings – 36 by Sangakkara – by 319 runs. The highest differential between top and second top score in an innings was when Hanif Mohammed set the record for first class individual score for Karachi v Bahawalpur in January 1959. Hanif’s 499 was 396 runs higher than the next highest score in that innings.
Other notable differentials between top and second top scores in an innings are:
- Brian Lara’s innings that broke Hanif Mohammed’s record. Lara’s 501* for Warwickshire v Durham in June 1994 was 385 clear of the next highest score – the record for the County Championship.
- Bert Sutcliffe scored 385 for Otago v Canterbury in December 1952, which was 356 runs more than the second top score in that innings
- Graeme Hick’s 405 for Worcestershire v Somerset in May 1988 was 349 runs greater than second place.
Sutcliffe, like Pietersen, scored a triple-century in an innings when no other score above 50 was recorded. Allan Draycott identified the following other precedents:
- Vijay Hazare (309), the Rest of India v Hindus in December 1943
- Andrew Ducat (306*), Surrey v Oxford University in June 1919
- VVS Laxman (301*), Hyderabad v Bihar in February 1988
- Peter Fulton (301*), Canterbury v Auckland in March 2003
And, of course, Pietersen batted with the prospect of attending a meeting at the end of the second day’s play that would determine his fate as an international cricketer. It’s not the sort of fact that gets recorded on a scorecard, but it will always be associated with 355 not out.