Sarwan's double hundred against Bangladesh has made me wonder if making a double century become very easy now? In this list of test match double hundreds
, out of the 243 double hundreds made since Bill Murdoch's first one in 1884, 46 have been made since Jan 2000. In all of the 1990s, only 34 double tons were made while 32 were made in the 1980s. Incidentally, by my count, Tendulkar's double century against Zimbabwe at Nagpur
4 years ago was the 200th 200!
This trend does indicate that making a double century now is far more easy than it was, say a decade ago. The recent flood of triple hundreds
is also an indicator that batsmen have never had it so easy. The influx of teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe as well as the total downslide of the West Indies has meant that batsmen really have to contend with very few quality bowling attacks. Australia, and to some extent Pakistan, have been the major bowling attacks for much of the last 15 years with South Africa coming in closely behind them. New Zealand, India and England have bowling attacks which are works in progress while Sri Lanka has been just a one-and-a-half man bowling force for the last decade.
Will a two tier system for test cricket help make records more meaningful? Perhaps it might. Then again, what happens when say Bangladesh wins the second tier championship and gets promoted to the top tier? The top guns keep blasting their bowlers all around the park and records keep piling up. Perhaps one of the options for the promotion & relegation in the multi-tiered championship would be for a team to be promoted only if it wins the lower level title twice in a row. Similarly, a team can be relegated only if it comes last twice in a row. This could prevent any one-off upsets creating havoc with the points system.