Daryl Mitchell by St Paul's Collegiate School

Collegian News: Daryl Mitchell scores three hundreds in cricket

What's next for Daryl Mitchell (Hall 2005)– a knighthood?

Mitchell wasn’t among the Black Caps’ top five test batters when their tour of England started this month.

Now, he’s part of a group which includes Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Alistair Cook and Sir Andrew Strauss.

The only cricket people busier than Mitchell in June have been the statisticians, perusing the records for numerical proof of his phenomenal return from the three-test series against England.

Mitchell scored his third century in as many tests overnight (NZ time) on day two of the third and final test at Headingley, making 109 as New Zealand were dismissed for 329 in their first innings.

In doing so, he joined the elite list of batters with hundreds in three consecutive tests when playing away from home, featuring the afore-mentioned Sirs, along with Jack Fingleton (Australia), Neil Harvey (Australia), India’s Sunil Gavaskar (twice), Wally Hammond (England), Ken Barrington (England), Chris Broad (England), David Boon (Australia), Brian Lara (West Indies), Ricky Ponting (Australia) and Graeme Smith (South Africa).

Only 14 touring batters have scored three centuries in test series in England, with Mitchell becoming the first and therefore only player to achieve it in just three games.

Those who have achieved the feat this century were Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf (2006), Rahul Dravid for India in 2002 and 2011 and Australia’s Steve Smith in 2019.

Unsurprisingly, the 31-year-old set a new record for most runs – 482 – in a test series for New Zealand against England. The previous best mark belonged to Martin Donnelly, who tallied 462 in four tests in 1949, with team-mate Bert Sutcliffe scoring 423 on the same tour, while Martin Crowe made 380 runs in three tests in 1994.

Mitchell became the fifth New Zealand men’s test player to make centuries in three consecutive tests.

Mark Burgess was the first to achieve the feat, doing so in three different countries – Pakistan, NZ and Jamaica – while recently-retired Ross Taylor and Mitchell’s current test team-mates Tom Latham and Kane Williamson the others, while Andrew Jones made three test centuries in successive innings versus Sri Lanka at home in 1991.

Mitchell played three of NZ’s four home tests last summer when Williamson was injured but was still likely was behind Devon Conway and Henry Nicholls in the NZ middle-order list for selection before Nicholls injured a calf in training prior to departure.

Nicholls also caught Covid-19 in England, and those two setbacks allowed Mitchell – who had played nine tests prior to the start of the England series – to begin the first test at Lord’s at No 5 in the order.