Kohli equaled Tendulkar’s record in 174 fewer innings, but how do their numbers compare across eras?
Sampath Bandarupalli05-Nov-2023 • 30 mins ago
Virat Kohli’s journey to equal Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most ODI centuries has been a quick one: Kohli took only 15 years to get to 49, while Tendulkar’s ODI career spanned 22 years.
Kohli has scored a century every 5.65 innings on average, while Tendulkar had one every 9.22 innings. Though that difference looks sizeable, their century-scoring frequency is similar when compared to the averages in their respective eras.
A total of 237 centuries were scored in the 463 ODIs played by Tendulkar, which is one century every 1.96 matches. For Kohli, the number is 229 centuries in 289 games, which translates to 1.26 matches per hundred. In the matches that Tendulkar played, there were 131 centuries from Indian batters, while the corresponding number for Kohli is 137.
Kohli’s edge in chases
Kohli has 27 hundreds in ODI chases, with 23 coming in wins. Tendulkar had 17 centuries while chasing, of which only three ended up in defeats. Tendulkar does lead Kohli at scoring hundreds while batting first, with 32 against 21.
The increase in India’s win percentage in the last 15 years did have an impact on the results of their centuries. India won only 50.54% of matches when Tendulkar played, while it is 61.46 when Kohli is in the XI. As a result, only 33 of Tendulkar’s 49 hundreds came in wins, while Kohli has 41 centuries in victories.
Where did they score their centuries?
Tendulkar scored 20 hundreds at home while Kohli has 23 out of 49 in India. However, there is a difference in the number of hundreds scored in away games, with Kohli scoring 21 while Tendulkar had only 12. A decrease in the number of ODI tournaments, especially at neutral venues, meant Kohli did not have the opportunity to play outside of the first ten full-member countries.
About two-thirds of his ODI matches have been in bilateral series, while for Tendulkar it was about 40%. Kohli has scored at least one ODI hundred in each of the nine countries he has played in. Tendulkar, on the other hand, played ODIs in 16 different countries and scored hundreds in 12.
However, the number of venues where they scored centuries is similar: Tendulkar scored at least one hundred at 34 grounds, while Kohli did it at 32 venues.
Scoring against the best
Tendulkar had hundreds against 11 different teams, with 44 coming against nine full-member nations. He also had five tons against associate teams – four against Kenya and one against Namibia.
Kohli, however, has never scored a century against an associate nation as he had the opportunity to play them only six times in his career so far. All 49 of Kohli’s hundreds have been against the first nine full-member countries.
Tendulkar has five or more hundreds against six teams, with nine against Australia being the most by him against any team. The most ODI centuries Kohli scored against a team is ten against Sri Lanka, an ODI record. He also has five or more hundreds against six different countries.
How did others perform when they score hundreds?
Tendulkar had 32 hundreds when he was the lone centurion of the game, which is 11 more than Kohli’s corresponding tally of 21. Only nine times did an Indian batter get a century in the matches where Tendulkar also scored one, while Kohli had 13 instances when one of his team-mates also got a century.
On nine occasions, Tendulkar scored a hundred when no other Indian batter even managed a fifty, while Kohli has had eight such tons. However, only five of Tendulkar’s nine came in completed innings, compared to six for Kohli. The two batters are level on six for the centuries scored when India were bowled out.
Sampath Bandarupalli is a statistician at ESPNcricinfo