1

Younis Khan’s 175* at Sydney made him the first batsman to score Test centuries in 11 countries; this has only become possible relatively recently, since Pakistan have moved to their ‘second home’ in the United Arab Emirates. Michael Jones charts those who, as the number of countries hosting Tests increased, scored centuries in all those possible at the time.

Cricket fans and statisticians like to note which players have performed particular feats in the most different countries, or against the most different opponents: it demonstrates that a player can succeed in any conditions. Naturally, though, such records are biased in favour of the modern era, since Bangladesh only started hosting Tests, and Pakistan playing their ‘home’ matches in UAE, in the 21st century. We cannot penalise players of the past for not scoring runs in countries which did not stage Tests during their career — so which of them did the best they could, by making centuries in every country available to them?

As every fan of the game’s history knows, the first Test of all (or at least, the first match to be recognised as such retrospectively: the term ‘Test’ was not used at the time) was played at Melbourne in 1877, and it didn’t take long for the first century to be recorded: Charles Bannerman reached 126* by the end of the first day, and continued to 165 the next morning before being forced to retire when a ball from George Ulyett split his finger; his 67.34% of the team’s total remains the record for a Test innings. Bannerman, however, never played a Test in England, so he never had a chance to add to his tally of scoring a century in one country.

After two matches in that first series and a further one at Melbourne in 1879 — in which no one scored a century — the Australians made a return visit in 1880, and WG Grace’s 152 at the Oval was the first Test century in England. When Australia followed on, Billy Murdoch made 153* — the first away from home, the first by a captain and the first from the middle order. Neither Grace nor Murdoch, however, ever made one in Australia; instead AG Steel, with 135* at Sydney in 1883 and 148 at Lord’s the following year, became the first batsman to score Test centuries in two countries.

Major Robert Warton organised a private touring team to South Africa in 1888-89. Although it was never intended as a representative England side, the 2 matches played against a South African XI were subsequently classified as Tests (most of the others, in order to balance out the difference in strength between the tourists and local sides, involved teams of anything from 15 to 22 taking on the visitors’ 11). The highest score in the first match was Bobby Abel’s 46, but in the second Abel himself registered the first Test century in South Africa, and with 120 to the home team’s totals of 47 and 43, became the first batsman to outscore the opposition single-handedly. Abel scored 132* against Australia at Sydney three years later, making him the first player to score Test centuries in two countries other than his own — but his highest score in England remained only 94.

The first player to score them in three countries was Clem Hill, who, after previous hundreds at Melbourne, Lord’s and Bramall Lane — the only batsman to make one there, in the only Test played at the ground — completed his set at the earliest opportunity, in the first Test Australia played in South Africa.

When Australia and South Africa met in the 1912 Triangular Tournament, Charles Kelleway became the first batsman to make a Test century at a neutral venue; he also reached three figures both home and away against England, but never played in South Africa. Neither did Warren Bardsley, who scored two against South Africa on neutral territory and one at home, plus three away against England. Aubrey Faulkner, with one previous hundred against England at home and two in Australia, matched Hill’s feat.

After four decades had passed with only three countries hosting Tests, three more were added in quick succession: in 1930 England sent sides to New Zealand and West Indies simultaneously, neither of them even close to a full strength representative team. Stewie Dempster was the first to score a Test century in New Zealand, followed 3 overs later by his opening partner Jackie Mills.

Clifford Roach the first in West Indies — following Bannerman and Grace in scoring a hundred in the first innings of the first Test in the country.

In 1933-34 England visited India, and Bryan Valentine recorded the maiden century there. Thanks to the haphazard selectionof touring sides, and the infrequency of series not involving England, it was some time before anyone would even play in all six countries, never mind scoring centuries in all of them.

In 1932-33 England stopped off in New Zealand after the Bodyline tour. Wally Hammond flayed a weak attack for 227 and 336*, in the process becoming the first batsman to score Test centuries in four countries, but he never toured India, and failed to reach 50 on his only visit to the West Indies that involved Tests.

Pakistan’s first home Test in 1954 (with Hanif Mohammad the first centurion there) brought the number of countries hosting them to seven, although politics meant that only players from England could possibly appear in all of them: South Africa neither toured nor hosted West Indies, India or Pakistan, while after thrashing New Zealand in a one-off Test in 1946, Australia did not bother playing them again for 27 years. Neil Harvey was too young to have played in that New Zealand match, and narrowly missed out in Pakistan with a highest score of 96 — but scored centuries everywhere else, the first to do so in five countries; he finished with at least three in each one.

With other teams either not playing each other often enough or in some cases not at all, the race to score centuries in six countries, then seven, was between two English batsmen, albeit one of them born in India. Colin Cowdrey made his debut in Australia in 1954-55, and was greeted by innings of 162 from Harvey and 153 by Arthur Morris, as Len Hutton’s decision to field first backfired spectacularly: the home team declared on 601, and won by an innings and plenty. Cowdrey stamped his mark on the series with 102 out of a team total of 191 at Melbourne in the third Test, as a Frank Tyson-inspired England bounced back from their thrashing in the first Test to take the series 3-1.

The home series against South Africa the next summer saw the debut of Ken Barrington, although after scores of 0, 34 and 18 he was dropped for four years.

Cowdrey took two years to score another Test century, with 101 at Cape Town in the New Year of 1957, then added his first at home the same year: 154 against West Indies at Edgbaston, as he and Peter May added 411 to save the match after England had trailed by 288 on first innings, and permanently blunted the previously deadly threat of Sonny Ramadhin.

In 1959 Barrington was recalled, made three consecutive scores in the 80s in the home series against India before finally breaking into triple-figures with 128 at Kensington Oval and 121 at Queen’s Park Oval in successive innings. Cowdrey also registered his first centuries in West Indies, with 114 at Sabina Park and 119 when the teams returned to Queen’s Park Oval. At the end of that tour Cowdrey had centuries in 4 countries to Barrington’s 1, but Barrington soon started making up the lost ground: he made one century in Pakistan and three in India in 1961-62, when a curious piece of scheduling saw England play 1 Test in Pakistan before a full 5-match series in India, then return to Pakistan for the second and third Tests of the first series, three months after the first; Cowdrey declined to go on the tour.

In 1962-63, England toured Australia and New Zealand; Barrington made his first Test centuries in both countries, while Cowdrey added another to his previous 2 in Australia, and scored his first in New Zealand, bringing both of them level with Harvey on 5 — Barrington, remarkably, had done so without yet making one in his own country.

In 5 matches against West Indies the following summer Barrington failed to break his barren run at home, so when Cowdrey toured the country of his birth in early 1964 his centuries at Kolkata and Delhi made him the first to score them in six different countries.

Barrington equalled him a few months later with his first hundred at home – grinding out 256 at Old Trafford in an innings which bored the crowd to tears, but which, in the face of Bob Simpson’s 311 and Australia’s total of 656, at least ensured that England would not lose the Test.

Later that year Barrington scored 148* and 121 in South Africa, making him the first to score centuries in seven countries. Pakistan was the only gap remaining on Cowdrey’s list, and he filled it in with a round 100 at Lahore in 1969 to equal Barrington’s record. The following year South Africa were banned from international cricket, preventing anyone else from matching their achievement in the immediate future.

Sri Lanka hosted their inaugural Test in 1982; the highest score in that match was David Gower’s 89, so the first century in the country had to wait until Australia visited the following year, when Kepler Wessels made 141 and David Hookes added 143* in the same innings. Seven countries remained the maximum achievable, though, since South Africa were still banned. Dave Houghton made the first Test century in Zimbabwe when they made their first appearance at Test level, then the visiting team from that match moved on to become the first Indian side to play Tests in South Africa.

By 1986 Allan Border had already made centuries in six countries; after missing out in the one-off match in Sri Lanka in 1983, he scored 106 at Moratuwa in 1993 to equal the existing record of seven, but he only had the chance of one series in South Africa before his retirement, and finished with a highest score there of 45.

As had been the case 30 years earlier, a batsman’s chances of scoring centuries in as many countries as possible depended on how much his team varied their fixture list, but this time it was England who displayed a reluctance to play in Sri Lanka or Zimbabwe, while other countries embraced them more readily.

The race to reach hundreds in eight countries — and then more — became a four-way contest, between two players from a team which spread its tours more widely, and two who grabbed their chanceson the rare occasions their countries visited the newcomers.

Steve Waugh was a slow starter: he made his Test debut in 1985 but took more than three years to score his first century. When he did, he did it in style, flattening England with 177* and 152* on Australia’s 1989 tour. He followed it up with a home century against Sri Lanka just as Sachin Tendulkar was taking his first steps in Test cricket. Waugh stalled after that, though, and by the time he added a third country to his list, Tendulkar already had five.

The match-saving 119* at Old Trafford started the ball rolling, then he added two in Australia in early 1992, one in India’s first series in South Africa later that year, one at home against England and one in Sri Lanka in 1993. Then, while Tendulkar made several more centuries in the same countries, it was five years before he did so in any new one, and in that time Waugh had drawn level with him on five, and two new competitors had joined the race.

Waugh’s first Test century in the West Indies could hardly have come on a bigger stage: the home team, undefeated in their previous 29 Test series, were on the cusp of losing that record. Their 59-year unbeaten run at Bridgetown had been brought to a dramatic end by England a year earlier, and Australia made it two losses in a row for them there, but Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh hit back for the home team at Port of Spain, rolling the visitors over for 128 and 105 to win by 9 wickets. The series was level when the teams arrived at Sabina Park for the final Test, and the match in the balance when Waugh joined his twin brother Mark at 73 for 3 in reply to West Indies’ first innings 265. They added 231, Mark making 126 and Steve carrying on to a round 200, his only double-century in Tests.

Australia won by an innings, one team’s reign as world-beaters was over and the other’s was just beginning. In 1997 Waugh made his first century in South Africa, and October 1998 saw him score 157 in Pakistan. Two months later Tendulkar scored 113 in New Zealand, giving him Test centuries in six countries to Waugh’s five.

Gary Kirsten made his Test debut soon after South Africa’s readmission, but took two years to score his first century; his 110 against England at Johannesburg in 1995 was trumped by Mike Atherton’s 185* in the same match. He scored a hundred in each innings at Kolkata in 1996-97, then added one apiece in Pakistan and Australia a year later, and got his first double at Old Trafford on the 1998 tour of England: centuries in five countries, within three years of his first.

Conceding a head start of more than six years to Tendulkar and almost 11 to Waugh, Rahul Dravid might have seemed an unlikely candidate to beat either of them to a milestone, but after narrowly missing a century on Test debut at Lord’s, he made 148 in South Africa a few months later.

India played a one-off Test in Zimbabwe in 1998, a chance that came infrequently to add that particular tick to a player’s list; Tendulkar made only 34 and 7, snared by debutant Neil Johnson in both innings, but Dravid top-scored in both with 118 and 44. It was not enough: Henry Olonga, Heath Streak, Johnson and Mpumelelo Mbangwa shared the wickets as Zimbabwe sealed only their second Test victory. Dravid soon added a hundred in each innings in New Zealand, and one in Sri Lanka, to take his tally to four.

The following year a new country was added to the mix: before Bangladesh made their own appearance on the Test stage, Dhaka hosted the final of the 1999 Asian Test Championship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka — the first Test to be played in a neutral country since the unsuccessful 1912 Triangular Tournament. Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq piled up double-centuries, the first three-figure scores in Bangladesh as an independent country (National Stadium, Dhaka had previously hosted Tests when it was in East Pakistan, and the first century in what is now Bangladesh was Hanif Mohammad’s 103 against New Zealand in 1955).

1999 also saw Australia play their first, and to date only, Test in Zimbabwe; Steve Waugh seized his chance, making 151* as the visitors won by 10 wickets. Meanwhile South Africa paid a visit to New Zealand during which Kirsten scored 128 at Auckland, and Dravid made 144 against the same opposition at Mohali, his first Test century at home. As the 1990s gave way to the 2000s, there were ten countries in which it was possible to make a Test century, but no one had yet done so in more than the seven achieved by Barrington, Cowdrey and Border. Waugh, Tendulkar and Kirsten each had centuries to their name in six countries, Dravid five.

Australia toured New Zealand in 2000, and Waugh made 151* at Wellington — his first century in that country, equalling the existing record of seven. At the same time Sri Lanka visited Pakistan, and Younis Khan made 107 in the debut at Rawalpindi; a few months later Pakistan paid a return visit, and Younis made a century in Sri Lanka. He was not challenging any records yet, but it was a promising start.

On March 11, 2001 there were four Tests in progress around the world, and three of them saw a batsman make progress towards this particular record. After missing out with 91 in the first innings in Auckland, Younis made 149* in the second, his first century in New Zealand. At Georgetown, Gary Kirsten started the day on 80*, soon completed his first hundred in the West Indies, and carried on to 150; it was his seventh country, making him the fifth player to hold the joint record. It was not long before one of them broke away: on the same day, Australia batted first against India at Kolkata. After the top order had steered them to 193 for 1, Harbhajan Singh triggered a collapse, and Steve Waugh could only watch from the other end as Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne fell in consecutive balls to make Harbhajan the first Indian bowler to take a Test hat-trick.

By close Australia had limped to 291 for 8, and with only 29* to his name Waugh was probably not thinking of a century — but Jason Gillespie hung on for more than three hours in making 46, and Glenn McGrath held out long enough for Waugh to take his score to 110. It was his first Test hundred in India, and made him the first batsman to score them in eight different countries. The rest of the match is history: India were rolled over cheaply in the first innings, but then VVS Laxman and Dravid batted all day, 6 wickets for Harbhajan and 3 to Tendulkar in the fourth innings completed the turnaround and brought Australia’s record-equalling sequence of 16 consecutive Test wins to a halt in spectacular fashion. Later that year Kirsten made 220 at Harare, equalling Waugh’s record of eight countries.

In 2002 New Zealand and Sri Lanka had already declined to tour Pakistan due to security fears; West Indies, while willing to play, requested to do so at a neutral venue. UAE — already regularly used to host ODI tournaments — became the only country to date to have hosted Tests but not played them.

Yousuf Youhana (later Mohammad Yousuf) scored the first Test century in the country, with Rashid Latif following him in the same innings. An eleventh country was now possible, although eight was still the record. Younis, fresh from a century at Chittagong as Pakistan crushed Bangladesh by an innings, added one in the second match of the Sharjah series, taking his total to five.

Later that year Australia also requested a neutral series against Pakistan, arranging to play the first match in Colombo and the remaining two at Sharjah. Steve Waugh scored only 31 and 0 in Sri Lanka — blasted out by Shoaib Akhtar, who dismissed Ricky Ponting and both Waugh twins in the space of four balls — but he made 103* in the second Sharjah match, the first to make Test centuries in nine countries.

In the meantime India had toured West Indies, where both Dravid and Tendulkar recorded their first hundreds, and Dravid made up for his near-miss in England on debut with a three hundreds, one of them a double. At that stage both of them had centuries in seven countries, equalling the previous record but one behind Kirsten and two behind Waugh.

Waugh failed to add any more countries to his tally before his retirement in 2003-04: Australia did not make their first tour of Bangladesh until two years later, and his only series in Sri Lanka, in 1999, was not a happy one; he did not reach 20 in three innings, and both he and Gillespie had to be taken to hospital by helicopter after a collision in the field broke Waugh’s nose and Gillespie’s leg.

2003 brought a rare barren run for Tendulkar, which he ended in style with 241* at Sydney the following New Year to spoil Waugh’s farewell party — although the veteran’s 80 in his last innings ensured that Australia saved the match, and he famously silenced Parthiv Patel’s attempts at sledging by reminding the keeper than he had been less than a year old when Waugh made his Test debut.

The same series saw Dravid’s monumental 233 at Adelaide, which enabled the visitors to win despite conceding 556; it made him the third batsman, after Waugh and Kirsten, to score centuries in eight countries. Kirsten could not add to his total either; he never toured Bangladesh, and had a highest score of 55 in his only series in Sri Lanka.

March and April 2004 saw India make a rare visit to Pakistan. At Multan, Virender Sehwag scored his country’s first triple century in Tests, Tendulkar made 194* and Dravid — who scored only 6 himself — provoked howls of protest from Tendulkar fans by declaring with him short of 200. Tendulkar became the fourth batsman to score hundreds in eight countries; two weeks later Dravid compiled his highest Test score of 270 at Rawalpindi, making him the second to do so in nine.

Neither had managed three figures when India travelled to Dhaka for Bangladesh’s inaugural Test — Dravid 28 and 41*, Tendulkar 18 — but both rectified the omission when they returned in December 2004. At Dhaka, Tendulkar plundered 248* — equalling Waugh and Dravid with nine countries — but Dravid, after making a duck in the first match, scored 160 at Chittagong a week later, the first to make three-figure scores in ten countries.

Although both of them continued playing for some years afterwards, neither was able to add to their tally since India are yet to play a Test in UAE (and have not played Pakistan anywhere for nine years). Curiously, it was Zimbabwe that remained Tendulkar’s Achilles heel: he got off to a bad start in the country’s inaugural Test by spooning back a full toss from the 45-year-old John Traicos to be caught and bowled for a duck. The best he managed after that was a couple of fifties in the 2001 series; he missed the 2005 tour after having an operation on his elbow, and India haven’t been back there since.

Younis continued to tick countries off his list. In 2005 he scored 147 and 267 in India, and 106 in West Indies, his sixth and seventh — at a time when he only had 9 centuries in total. Filling in his remaining gaps would take rather longer: Pakistan only toured South Africa and Australia infrequently, and Zimbabwe had gone into self-imposed exile from Test cricket after most of their best players had left the country and the standard of those who remained made the national team an embarrassment. He did visit South Africa in 2007, but failed to reach three figures.

Meanwhile other batsmen were building up their own lists: Jacques Kallis had made centuries in five countries within the first few years of his career, and by 2007 had raised his total to eight. Innings of 135* and 105 when South Africa played Pakistan in the UAE in 2010 gave him his ninth, but he failed to match Dravid’s ten; his best score in two series in Sri Lanka was 87, and he did not reach 50 in three innings in Bangladesh.

Ricky Ponting also made nine, but could reasonably argue that it was a lack of opportunities that prevented him achieving the last two: he played only one match in Pakistan, at Peshawar in 1999, before they moved their ‘home’ matches to UAE. Ponting scored 76* and 43 in the Peshawar match, thus achieving an average of over 100 in Pakistan even though he never made a century there. He played in Australia’s solitary Test in Zimbabwe to date, but could not match Steve Waugh in taking his only chance, falling to Heath Streak for 31.

Mahela Jayawardene had slowly been building his tally of countries: in 2009 he scored his first centuries in Pakistan and India, and made both of them into doubles — 240 at Karachi and 275 at Ahmedabad.

In 2011 Kumar Sangakkara went from six countries to nine in the space of six months, with his first centuries in England, UAE and South Africa, but stuck on that figure for two years.

In 2013 Pakistan toured both South Africa and Zimbabwe, two of Younis’s three remaining gaps, and he proceeded to fill in both of them with 111 at Cape Town and 200* at Harare, becoming the second player, after Dravid, to score centuries in ten countries.

At the start of 2014 Jayawardene and Sangakkara were both on nine, and Sri Lanka’s fixture list for the first months of that year gave both of them a chance to fill one of their gaps. Jayawardene got there first: after a poor series in UAE in 2011, he scored 129 at Dubai this time.

Sangakkara had failed when Sri Lanka visited Bangladesh in 2006, and had to wait eight years for another chance there; he missed out with 75 at Dhaka, but made up for it in emphatic style with 319 and 105 at Chittagong. Both of them ended their careers with a solitary gap in their records: Jayawardene fell agonisingly short with 98 in South Africa, while Sangakkara never made more than 75 in West Indies.

After scoring 87 at Melbourne in the 2004 Boxing Day Test, Younis missed Pakistan’s next series in Australia in 2009-10 after resigning as captain and opting to take a break from the game, tired of the infighting in the team, although he returned for the ODI series which followed. It would be twelve years before Younis finally played another Test in the country — but he took the chance when it came.

First to score Test centuries in ‘n’ countries Australia England South Africa New Zealand West Indies India Pakistan Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Bangladesh UAE Completed
1 Charles Bannerman Australia 1877 165* vs England, Melbourne 15.3.1877
2 AG Steel England 1883 1884 148 vs Australia, Lord’s 22.7.1884
3 Clem Hill Australia 1898 1899 1902 142 vs South Africa, Johannesburg 14.10.1902
4 Wally Hammond England 1928 1929 1931 1933 227 vs New Zealand, Christchurch 24.3.1933
5 Neil Harvey Australia 1948 1948 1950 1955 1956 140 vs India, Mumbai 29.10.1956
6 Colin Cowdrey England 1954 1957 1957 1963 1960 1964 107 vs India, Kolkata 2.2.1964
7 Ken Barrington England 1963 1964 1964 1963 1960 1961 1961 148* vs South Africa, Durban 5.12.1964
8 Steve Waugh Australia 1989 1989 1997 2000 1995 2001 1998 1999 110 vs India, Kolkata 12.3.2001
9 Steve Waugh Australia 1989 1989 1997 2000 1995 2001 1998 1999 2002 103* vs Pakistan, Sharjah 20.10.2002
10 Rahul Dravid India 2003 2002 1997 1999 2002 1999 2004 1999 1998 2004 160 vs Bangladesh, Chittagong 17.12.2004
11 Younis Khan Pakistan 2017 2006 2013 2001 2005 2005 2000 2000 2013 2002 2002 175* vs Australia, Sydney 5.1.2017

 

Test centuries in most cricketing countries
11 Younis Khan Pakistan
10 Rahul Dravid India
10 Mahela Jayawardene Sri Lanka
10 Kumar Sangakkara Sri Lanka

What prospect is there of anyone beating Younis’s record in the near future, or even equalling it? The only new country which has any realistic chance of hosting Tests in the next few years is Ireland (if Afghanistan are awarded Test status, they would presumably also use UAE as their ‘’home’ venue), and if or when the ICC eventually grant them Test status, any particular player’s chances of scoring a century there will depend on their board’s willingness to schedule tours — just as they have every time a new team has been admitted to Tests.

Pakistan have been the Test-playing country most willing to play Ireland, with three ODI series there in the last six years, so they might well be first in line to play Tests there — but they would probably come too late for Younis to add to his collection.

With no Tests played in Pakistan for eight years and no sign of them resuming any time soon, the only players with a chance of emulating Younis’s full set would be any still active who already have one there — and there are not many.

Mohammad Hafeez has two in Pakistan, but in only four other countries (Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and UAE). He is currently not in the Test team, and if he returns to it at all, certainly will not do so for long enough to score centuries in the remaining six.

Salman Butt has one at home and two in Australia, and is now eligible for the national team again following the end of his spot-fixing ban — but if he is recalled, would still be the small matter of nine countries short of matching his compatriot.

No player from any other country has a Test century in Pakistan and is still active in the longest format, although MS Dhoni has one and is still playing limited-overs, while Yuvraj Singh (two) has just been recalled to the ODI squad.

For the time being, then, it looks like the most countries anyone other than Younis can aim for is ten. Alastair Cook has nine, and his one remaining stumbling block is England’s fixture list: they have not played a Test in Zimbabwe since 1996 and have shown no intention of doing so in the foreseeable future — whether this is because of moral objections to playing there while Robert Mugabe remains in power, or simply that they cannot be bothered with a tour which would never bring as  much income for the board as one to Australia or India, is unclear — so Cook may never get a chance to add to his collection.

Unlike Cook, Hashim Amla has toured every other Test-playing country, but has yet to make a century in West Indies, New Zealand, Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. AB de Villiers is also on six, having made three in West Indies but none in Sri Lanka.

As a number of fans pointed out after Younis’s feat, the statement that he is the first player to score Test centuries in eleven countries rests on the use of the usual cricketing definition of ‘country’. The situation is somewhat different if the definition is that used for most non-sporting purposes.

Unsurprisingly, counting all the Caribbean nations separately benefits West Indians, and more specifically recent West Indians — since for the team’s first 50 years of Tests, it kept to the major centres of Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana and Jamaica. Antigua hosted its first Test in 1981, St Vincent in 1997, Grenada 2002, St Lucia 2003, St Kitts 2006 and Dominica 2011.

No one has scored centuries in all of them, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s eight the best; he missed out only in Grenada (2 Tests) and St Vincent (1, in which he laboured for five hours to reach 85* against Bangladesh before his captain declared, disinclined to let him try for a century if he was going to take that long to get there).

Brian Lara made centuries in seven Caribbean countries: he failed to do so in one match each at Grenada and St Kitts, and retired before Dominica hosted its first Test. Chris Gayle recorded six; the most possible before 1997 was five, which Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge and Richie Richardson all accomplished.

Lara also scored centuries in seven countries outside The Caribbean (Australia, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Pakistan), giving him a total of 14 centuries, the most any batsman has managed under the wider definition of ‘country’. Chanderpaul only reached three figures in five countries away from home (India, South Africa, England, New Zealand and Bangladesh), for a total of 13.

[Thanks to Charles Davis for spotting an error in the original version of this article, which omitted one country from Lara’s total].

Among non-West Indians, Sunil Gavaskar has the most Test centuries in the Caribbean with seven, but they came in only three different countries (Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad). Ricky Ponting made five centuries in four Caribbean countries (Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica), giving him an overall total of 12; Rahul Dravid’s three centuries in the West Indies were all in different countries (Guyana, St Lucia and Jamaica), making him the only other non-West Indian with 12.

Test centuries in most independent countries
14 Brian Lara West Indies
13 Shivnarine Chanderpaul West Indies
12 Rahul Dravid India
12 Ricky Ponting Australia
11 Younis Khan Pakistan

It is worth noting that Ponting also made 150 at Cardiff in 2009, which would give him an extra country if England and Wales were to be counted separately — but to do so smacks of cherry-picking in order to extend the list of Test-hosting ‘countries’ as much as possible, since it would require using two different definitions: each sovereign state in the Caribbean being treated as one country, but in the case of the United Kingdom, one sovereign state being treated as two.

Steve Waugh’s four hundreds in the Caribbean were in two (Jamaica and Barbados), bumping him up to 10. Younis has only made one century in the West Indies (Jamaica), so his total is not affected by counting the island countries separately; neither are those of Jayawardene (one – Guyana) or Sangakkara (none).