How England’s Jack Leach compares to other nightwatchmen
Jack Leach fell just short of becoming the first England nightwatchman to score a Test century on Thursday.
Leach made 92 in England’s second innings against Ireland at Lord’s before being pouched at second slip.
Here, PA looks at the stats surrounding other nightwatchmen in comparison.
Jack the lad
Left-arm Spinner Leach was sent in as nightwatchman at the end of the first day as England – 122 behind on first innings – had to face a single over. Little was expected of Leach, as he had managed only 55 runs in his previous seven Test innings with an average of 9.16. His previous highest score was 66 for Somerset against Lancashire in May 2018, yet he struck 16 boundaries in an extraordinary 162-ball stay.
England nightwatchmen appear to be cursed in the ‘nervous nineties’. Jack Russell (94), Eddie Hemmings (95) and Harold Larwood (98) were all out within touching distance of three figures, while Alex Tudor was left stranded one short. Surrey paceman Tudor made an unbeaten 99 against New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999.
The Test record score by a nightwatchman is held by Jason ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie. The Australia fast bowler scored an unbeaten 201 against Bangladesh at Chittagong in April 2006. Gillespie took the record from South Africa wicket-keeper Mark Boucher, the only man to score two Test hundreds as a nightwatchman.
Beating the best
Leach might have fallen just short of a hundred and a place on the Lord’s Honours Boards. But at least he beat five of the best at the ‘Home of Cricket’. Leach’s effort was better than Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar all managed at Lord’s during their illustrious Test careers.