The Greatest Player of Every Decade
Charles Bannerman (AUS)
Only three Tests were played in the 1870s, with all three being dominated by the bowlers.
With England and Australia being the only two teams to play Test cricket before South Africa's induction in 1889, and with only five players from the two countries having played all three Tests in this decade, there are not many options to choose from.
However, the influence of the greatest player from this decade, Charles Bannerman, should not be underestimated.
The three Tests Bannerman played between 1877 and 1879 were the only three he ever played, but Bannerman's impact was profound.
Statistically, the 1870s remain the least fruitful decade for batting in cricket's history, but Bannerman averaged 59.75. This was largely due to his famed unbeaten 165 in the first Test ever played, where Bannerman not only became the first centurion in Test cricket, but the first Test player to retire hurt.
Remarkably, Bannerman's 165 accounted for 67.35% of the runs in Australia's first innings. No batsman since has scored a higher percentage of his team's runs. The innings that saw Bannerman face the first ever ball in Test cricket, therefore, remains one of the greatest in cricket.
Bannerman's century was the only one in Test Cricket in the 1870s, and the only first-class century Bannerman would score. Yet for that extraordinary innings alone, Bannerman earns his status as one of the most significant players in Test history.