By the Numbers: Final Test knocks
The pressure is immense, the player is usually not in good form, or a bit over the hill, and the opposition is beyond fired up and eager to remove said batsman. Here are the a few of the legendary batsmen's final scores.
All eyes will be on Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai for the rest of the week, and India fans will be hoping with all their orange, white and green hearts that Sachin Tendulkar plays a blinder. But the truth is, final Tests rarely see big scores.
The pressure is immense, the player is usually not in good form, or a bit over the hill, and the opposition is beyond fired up and eager to remove said batsman. Here are the a few legendary (and recently retired) batsmen's final scores.
<b>Sunil Gavaskar</b><br>Tests: 125<br>Runs: 10 122<br>Average: 51.12
The now-commentator and former India captain actually had a pretty good final Test, against Pakistan in Bangalore in 1987. He made 21 in the first innings, but followed that up with an agonising 96, falling to Iqbal Qasim on the 264th ball he faced. 'Sunny' was in decent form upon retirement too (aged 38), scoring back-to-back centuries just four months earlier.
<b>Donald Bradman</b><br>Tests: 52<br>Runs: 6996<br>Average: 99.94
The Don's final Test is probably the most famous, given he needed just four runs in his final knock to record an average of 100. But he was out for a duck to Eric Hollies at The Oval, in 1948, having scored a ton in his previous innings. He was 40 years old at the time, and averaged a ton every second Test.
<b>Ricky Ponting</b><br>Tests: 168<br>Runs: 13 378<br>Average: 51.85
Punter's final series, let alone his final Test, was a disaster. Playing against South Africa in late 2012, in Oz, the former skipper failed to reach 20 in the five innings he played. His final game, at the WACA in Perth, saw him record four and eight as the Proteas won the series.
<b>Andrew Strauss</b><br>Tests: 100<br>Runs: 7037<br>Average: 40.91
Like Ponting, Strauss' finale came against South Africa, this time at Lord's in mid-2012. The England skipper's head was not in the game, as he admitted afterwards, given the drama going on with Kevin Pietersen at the time. Strauss recorded 20 and one, and did not reach 30 in the six innings against the Proteas.
<b>Rahul Dravid</b><br>Tests: 164<br>Runs: 13 288<br>Average: 52.31
'The Wall' retired in January 2012 at the age of 39, with his final Test against Australia in Adelaide. It was not a successful outing for one of India's favourite sons, as he made just one and 25. His most recent century, one of 36, came just two months prior, against the West Indies. This Test was also VVS Laxman's last, but he only retired six months later.
<b>Brian Lara</b><br>Tests: 131<br>Runs: 11 953<br>Average: 52.88
BC Lara is a prime example of final Test trauma. He ended his career in 2006, in Karachi against Pakistan, with scores of nought and 49. He wasn't in bad form though, as in the Test prior to that he'd made a double ton, and in the one before that a ton and a fifty. He is still the only batsman to score 400 in a Test innings.
<b>Viv Richards</b><br>Tests: 121<br>Runs: 8540<br>Average: 50.23
The West Indies middle order batsman ended his Test career against England, in 1991, at the age of 39. He scored two in the first innings at The Oval in London, and followed that up with a 60 off 105 balls. England won the match by five wickets. Richards had last scored a ton two years prior.
<b>Javed Miandad</b><br>Tests: 124<br>Runs: 8832<br>Average: 52.57
The Pakistan batsman is the top Test run-scorer for his country, and when he retired in 1993 at the age of 36, he was quite far ahead of all his countrymen. Still, his final match, against Zimbabwe in Lahore, saw him bat just once and make 31. He'd last scored a ton, the last of 23, nearly 18 months prior.
So as we can see, Tendulkar will be a rare breed if he manages to make even a half century in his final Test, and a ton will be miraculous given he last made one in January 2011.
<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>
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