Adelaide: The opening round of the World Cup witnessed 35 centuries compared to just six in the entire 1975 tournament, seemingly proving once and for all that one-day cricket is a batsman's game.
Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara heads the list of century makers, smashing four consecutive hundreds to become the first batsman in all one-day internationals to score four in a row. The 37-year-old left-hander is in the form of his life, scoring 105 not out against Bangladesh, 117 not out versus England, 104 against Australia and 124 in the game with Scotland.
Kumar Sangakkara. Pic/ AFP
Surprisingly it was non-Test side Afghanistan who got the better of him, dismissing the veteran for seven while Sangakkara managed just 39 in the first game against New Zealand. "It's one of the rarest things you can see, him playing four (hundreds) in a row. I'm lucky to be here to watch all four innings," said Sri Lanka chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya on Monday.
Sangakkara's team-mate Tillakaratne Dilshan, India's Shikhar Dhawan, Zimbabwe's Brendan Taylor and Bangladesh batsman Mohammad Mahmudullah have all notched two hundreds in the current tournament which kicks off its quarter-finals from Wednesday. Of the 35 hundreds in the 42 matches in the group stage, Sri Lanka had eight while South Africa had five, India saw four and the West Indies and Australia, three each.
Batsmen from Bangladesh had two (both by Mahmudullah) so did eliminated England, Ireland and Zimbabwe (both by Taylor). New Zealand, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Scotland all one century each. England's Dennis Amiss was the first batsman to score a World Cup hundred in the inaugural event held in England in 1975. There were just six centuries in that first tournament.
But bowlers dominated the second edition of the World Cup -- also held in England -- when only two hundreds were scored, both by eventual winners the West Indies. Gordon Greenidge hit a century against India in the group phase before master blaster Viv Richards sealed the title for the West Indies with 138 not out in the final against England at Lord's. The 1983 event -- also held in England - saw eight hundreds while the next edition, in 1987 in the sub-continent, had 11.
The number went down to eight in 1992 when Australia and New Zealand co-hosted the event for the first time. In 2003 in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, 21 hundreds were scored while four years later in the Caribbean, the figure dropped slightly to 20. The 2011 World Cup saw 24 hundreds in all on the flat pitches of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.