Virat Kohli's 50th international century: A comparison with Tendulkar, Ponting and Sangakkara
Virat Kohli skipped down the wicket, lofted a full-length ball over extra cover for six and roared into celebration – the shot brought up his fiftieth international century. A modern batsman with an immensely orthodox technique, Kohli hit a half-century of hundreds at the same ground and the same opponent against whom he got his first one – versus Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
The last time Sri Lanka toured India, the winter of 2009, in the fourth ODI of that series, Kohli strung together a massive 224 runs partnership for the third wicket with senior Gautam Gambhir as India hunted down 316 with nearly two overs to spare. Kohli hit 107 for his first international ton and started a journey where he would smash plenty more in the times to come.
Here we draw a comparison of Kohli with three other modern greats – Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Kumar Sangakkara – to see who reached the milestone of fifty hundreds faster.
The table clearly states that Kohli took 24 fewer innings than Tendulkar to achieve the landmark, while both Ponting and Sangakkara were far behind with an additional 71 and 240 innings respectively. Though the Lankan peaked more towards the latter part of his career, even the consistent efforts of Tendulkar and Ponting were not enough to eclipse Kohli’s marathon run-getting.
In terms of age, however, only Tendulkar beats Kohli. The former had not even turned 28 when he got his fiftieth ton in the year 2000. Kohli, though, was just past his 29th birthday when he reached the golden figure in Kolkata in the first Test of the series against Sri Lanka. The others, Ponting and Sangakkara, had both crossed 31 when they got to fifty centuries in the year 2006 and 2014 respectively.
Among the quartet, the least number of Test hundreds out of a total of fifty came from Kohli’s bat, having hit only 18 when he touched fifty. Contrastingly, 33 of Kumar Sangakkara’s fifty hundreds came in Test cricket with Ponting not far behind at 30 and Tendulkar 24. In fact, Sangakkara had accumulated more than 10,000 Test runs when he hit his 33rd hundred, in 117 games.
The undisputed master of limited-overs cricket, Kohli has left his competitors far behind, having smashed a whopping 32 centuries in just 194 ODI innings. Tendulkar comes next with 26 having used up 247 innings whereas Ponting and Sangakkara had 20 and 17 hundreds respectively by the time they struck fifty international hundreds.
Yet again, Sangakkara had amassed in excess of 10,000 ODI runs - 12,252 to be precise - when his 17th ODI hundred took him to fifty international centuries overall.
Tendulkar had not played a single international T20 when he reached fifty international hundreds - his only T20I for India came in 2006, six years after he achieved the feat - while both Kohli and Ponting came extremely close to a century in the format. Kohli's highest score remains 90* while Ponting raked up 98* in the first ever T20I international that was played in 2005.