Home > Features > Moments in history >

The day 12th man, Kevin Innes scored a hundred

Kevin Innes © Getty Images
Kevin Innes © Getty Images

May 21, 2003. The start of the county match between Sussex and Nottinghamshire that saw a 12th man score a century for the first time. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the day which saw Kevin Innes take advantage of a curious new ECB regulation, notch up a hundred and put his feet up.

A twelfth man’s job is largely unenviable. He is the bloke who is in charge of the menial chores — carrying the drinks, bats and helmets, while performing occasional fielding duties as the privileged eleven are entrusted with the coveted roles of batting and bowling.

However, on one summer day of 2003 at Hosham, tables were turned and 12th man Kevin Innes enjoyed something even the amateurs had dreamed of during the early days of cricket — batting with gay abandon and then not requiring to field.

The quirky rule

It was a season which saw Sussex discover new, seldom used clauses in the rule-book and implement them with a flair alien to the world governed by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

A week earlier, at Hove, they had switched on the floodlights to play on in cloudy gloom during their First-Class fixture against the visiting Zimbabweans.

And now, they latched on to the new England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regulation. It allowed players released from England duty on the eve of Test matches to replace nominated substitutes. So, even as James Kirtley made his way over from Lord’s, Innes entered the fray and started stroking the ball with glee.

On the morning of May 22, the Sussex fast-medium bowler Kirtley was informed that he would not be making his Test debut at Lord’s that morning. With James Anderson, Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison already in the side for the match against Zimbabwe, the selectors opted for Yorkshire’s Andrew McGrath — a decent batter with the ability to bowl a few overs as the fourth seamer. It later turned out to be an inspired choice — McGrath batted just under two and a half hours to score 69 and captured three second innings wickets.

To return to our side of the story, on May 22, Kirtley left Lord’s a little after 11:15 to start on his journey to Horsham. By the time he reached, his substitute Innes was already at the wicket against Nottinghamshire — and having the time of his life.

Overnight 330 for five, Sussex lost wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose at 378. Matt Prior, playing as a specialist batsman, was joined at the wicket by Innes the locum. A medium pacer not really known for his batting skills, Innes had nevertheless cracked two half centuries the previous season. Now, with this unexpected opportunity to bat in a match that he was not officially playing, he started to cart the bowling about with not a care in the world.

As Kevin Pietersen and Bilal Shafayat sent down innocuous overs, Prior blazed away, scoring 35 off the last 11 balls before lunch, going into the break at 133 not out with 15 fours and six sixes. Innes and he had added 157 off 27 overs in the morning.

Prior was caught at the fence immediately after resumption, but Innes continued on his merry way. Dropped on 45, he pulled with aplomb as the Notts bowlers showed a penchant for banging them in short. Alongside, he played Stuart MacGill will considerable ease and irreverence — in the end the leggie’s 50 overs produced three for 172.

When Innes swung Pietersen to the boundary to complete his maiden century he could hardly stop himself from grinning widely. Skipper Chris Adams declared as soon as this curious feat was achieved and Innes walked back unbeaten on 103. At 3:25, four hours after leaving Lord’s, Kirtley opened the bowling and the centurion watched from the comfort of the dressing room.

Later Innes said, “A few of the lads had told me yesterday that I could get a century and then put my feet up. I’d been thinking of playing golf, but it’s nice to go out to bat and then not have to field.”

The situation was incredible to say the least. The ECB computers did not have the option of considering more than 11 players in a side and credited the runs to Kirtley. At least one local paper did so as well. There was some hasty manual tinkering to the database tables.

What followed

In response to the mammoth 619 posted by Sussex, Nottinghamshire rode an explosive 166 by Pietersen to reach 421. But, it was not enough to save the follow on. Mushtaq Ahmed proved far more effective than MacGill, picking up 12 wickets in the match. The second Notts innings was much shorter.

Sussex knocked off the few runs to win without losing a wicket.

Brief Scores:

Sussex 619 for 7 dec (Richard Montgomerie 105, Tony Cottey 58, Tim Ambrose 55, Robin Martin-Jenkins 49, Matt Prior 133, Kevin Innes 103*) and 52 for no loss beat Nottinghamshire 421 (Guy Welton 50, Kevin Pietersen 166, Bilal Shafayat 71; Mushtaq Ahmed 6 for 163) and 247 (Darren Bicknell 61, Jason Gillian 44, Chris Read 42, Steve Elworthy 45; Mushtaq Ahmed 6 for 81) by 10 wickets

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Shaun Udal on India vs England 3rd Test

South Africa win series against Sri Lanka 1-0 ; move to No 1 in ICC Test rankings

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 2 at Southampton: India end Day 2 at 25/1, trail by 544 runs

12 little-known facts about Garry Sobers

Pankaj Singh and other Test cricketers from Rajasthan

Mike Griffith: My choice of Mike Gatting as President of MCC was all about timing

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

India vs England 3rd Test at Souhampton: Wicket is easy for batsmen, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

India vs England 3rd Test at Souhampton: Have been playing well, was frustrating without big score, says Ian Bell

ECB defends Moeen Ali wearing wristbands in support for Gaza

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: Ageas Bowl Day 2 Session 3

India’s many dropped catches at slips against England

Moeen Ali wears ‘Save Gaza’ band: Other cricketers who have made political statements on the field

India vs England 3rd Test at Southampton: Jos Buttler’s blitz, Ian Bell’s century and other highlights from Day 2

India’s many dropped catches at slips against England

South Africa: The fourth innings champions

Sourav Ganguly-Jagmohan Dalmiya saga timeline

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

Entertainment song Teri Mahima Aprampaar: Udit Narayan’s rendition reminds you of old Akshay Kumar songs!

“F**k You, Xiaomi” – A great price for a great phone isn’t enough if you don’t respect your customers

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Spotted: Kareena Kapoor in a stunning avatar during Singham Returns promotions!

OnePlus One headed to India: Here’s why it is a flagship killer

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here