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Tendulkar, and the wait for a maiden ODI ton

Wisden India logo Wisden India 14-07-2016

Everyone remembers Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th hundred – who it came against, when it was reached, and at which venue. Most people may also recollect his first international century – in the second Test against England in Manchester in August 1990.

But when it comes to One-Day Internationals, it is sometimes forgotten that the man with 49 hundreds in the format took as long as 78 matches to get to his first ton.

Surprisingly, a closer look at the batsmen with most centuries in ODI history reveals that Tendulkar is not the only one who took a while to get to the landmark for the first time.


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Matches: 463, 100s: 49 

Number of matches to first ton: 78

Among the top-eight cricketers with most centuries in ODIs, Tendulkar expectedly tops the list after a career that spanned 23 years from 1989 to 2012, and has played the most number of matches (463) as well. But it was only in his 78th ODI against Australia at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo in 1994 that he reached the 100-run mark for the first time in limited-overs cricket. India won the match by 31 runs and went on to win the trophy.


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Matches: 375, 100s: 30

Number of matches to first ton: 12

Ricky Ponting, the former Australian captain, was the quickest among the batsmen on this list to reach his first century in limited-overs cricket. It came in his 12th match, against Sri Lanka in Melbourne in the Benson & Hedges World Series in 1996. After his 123 in that match, Ponting went on to finish his 375-match career with 30 centuries to finish second to Tendulkar’s 49.


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Matches: 445, 100s: 28

Number of matches to first ton: 71

Sanath Jayasuriya, the former Sri Lankan opener who tormented bowlers around the world during his 12-year career, is third in the list of batsmen with most ODI tons, but he also had to wait for a long time before his first century, taking 71 matches to get there – against New Zealand in Bloemfontein in December 1994. His 140 in that match is his fifth-highest score in the format, in which he scored 28 tons overall.


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Matches: 404, 100s: 25

Number of matches to first ton: 86

Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from ODIs after the World Cup in 2015, has scored 25 centuries in the 404 matches he has played. But like Tendulkar and Jayasuriya, he too, took a long time (86 matches) to reach his first century. His 100 not out against Pakistan in Sharjah in April 2003 was his maiden ODI hundred.


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Matches: 269, 100s: 22

Number of matches to first ton: 31

Chris Gayle is tied at eighth spot – Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Sourav Ganguly – in the list of the men with most tons in ODI history with 22 centuries each. After a quiet start to his career, Gayle finally announced his arrival in his 31st match in the format with a scintillating 153 against Kenya in Nairobi.


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Matches: 311, 100s: 22

Number of matches to first ton: 32

Ganguly, the former India captain, needed just one innings to score a maiden Test hundred, but he had to wait for 32 matches to get to his first ODI ton, in a match against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 1997. Of the 22 centuries Ganguly scored in his career, four came against Sri Lanka.


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Matches: 327, 100s: 22

Number of matches to first ton: 95

Dilshan was the slowest among those in this list to reach his first ODI ton, taking as many as 95 matches to get there. It was finally in July 2006, after finishing unbeaten on 81 and 82 on two previous occasions, that Dilshan scored his first century – 117 not out against the Netherlands in Amstelveen.


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Matches: 171, 100s: 25 

Number of matches to first ton: 19

Virat Kohli was the second quickest after Ponting to get to his maiden ODI hundred. His unbeaten 102 against Bangladesh in his 19th appearance in Mirpur in January 2010 was the first of his 25 centuries so far.

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