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In the sport of
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bai ...

cricket
, a nightwatchman is a lower-order
batsman In cricket, batting is the act or skill of hitting the cricket ball, ball with a cricket bat, bat to score runs (cricket), runs and prevent the dismissal (cricket), loss of one's wicket. Any player who is currently batting is denoted as a batsm ...
who comes in to bat higher up the order than usual near the end of the day's play. The nightwatchman's job is to maintain most of the strike until the close of play (remaining in overnight after the end of the day's play, hence the name) and so protect other, more capable batsmen from being out cheaply in what may be a period of tiredness or in poor light at the end of the day, and then again the following morning when the batsmen have not yet ‘got their eye in', or when the early-morning conditions may favour the bowlers. The theory is that losing two top-order batsmen in quick succession would be worse than losing one top-order batsman and a tailender. However the nightwatchman's effort is not considered to be wasted, nor are they expected to play foolishly; otherwise they would not last very long. The role of nightwatchman is generally given to players who emphasise defensive technique over quick run-scoring. However, there have been occasions when nightwatchmen have made a big score, and six have made
centuries A century is a period of 100 year A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in Earth's orbit, its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the course of a year sees the passing of the seaso ...
in test matches. Generally speaking, the nightwatchman plays conservatively on the night, but the next day may be allowed a freer role to score runs. The tactic has its drawbacks - if the nightwatchman gets out before the end of the day, the batting team may need to send out a more capable batsman to prevent the loss of further wickets, thereby costing the team a wicket while negating any benefit from using the nightwatchman; and even if the nightwatchman does survive until the end of the day, the beginning of the next day's play will see refreshed bowlers with better light facing a less capable batsman. As a result, not all captains use the tactic;
Steve Waugh Stephen Rodger Waugh (born 2 June 1965) is a Australian former international cricket Cricket is a bat-and-ball gameBat-and-ball may refer to: *Bat-and-ball games Bat-and-ball games (or safe haven games) are field games played by two o ...
, for example, abandoned the tactic during his captaincy of Australia. The nightwatchman is not to be confused with the
pinch hitter In baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team (baseball), fielding tea ...
, a middle to lower order batsman who is promoted up the order in limited-overs games, or in first-class games where their team is looking for a quick
declaration Declaration may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Declaration'' (book), a self-published electronic pamphlet by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri * ''The Declaration'' (novel), a 2008 children's novel by Gemma Malley Music ...
, in the pursuit of quick runs without too much concern for their wicket.


Test centuries by nightwatchmen

There have been six
test Test(s), testing, or TEST may refer to: * Test (assessment) A test or examination (exam or evaluation) is an educational assessment Educational assessment or educational evaluation is the systematic process of documenting and using em ...
centuries A century is a period of 100 year A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in Earth's orbit, its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the course of a year sees the passing of the seaso ...
by nightwatchmen (), as recognised by
ESPNcricinfo ''ESPN''cricinfo (formerly known as Cricinfo or CricInfo) is a sports news website exclusively for the game of cricket. The site features news, articles, live coverage of cricket matches (including liveblogs and scorecards), and ''StatsGuru'' ...
: There has been debate about whether
Nasim-ul-Ghani Nasim-ul-Ghani (born 14 May 1941) is a former Pakistani cricketer who played in 29 Test cricket, Test matches and one One Day International between 1958 and 1973. At the time of his debut, aged 16 years, he was the world's youngest Test player. ...
(who later opened in a Test) and wicketkeeper
Boucher
Boucher
were genuine nightwatchmen – however, in the matches in question they both came in at No. 6, at the end of the day, ahead of more recognised batsmen, and
Cricinfo ''ESPN''cricinfo (formerly known as Cricinfo or CricInfo) is a sports news website exclusively for the game of cricket. The site features news, articles, live coverage of cricket matches (including liveblogs and scorecards), and ''StatsGuru'' ...
considers them to have been nightwatchmen.
Alex Tudor Alex Jeremy Tudor (born 23 October 1977 in Kensington Kensington is an affluent district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the West End of London, West of Central London. The district's commercial heart is Kensington High ...

Alex Tudor
of (
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
) was close to making a century as a nightwatchman; he made 99
not out In cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail ( ...
against
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...
in 1999 at
Edgbaston Edgbaston () is an affluent suburban area of central Birmingham, England, historically in Warwickshire, and curved around the southwest of the city centre. In the 19th century, the area was under the control of the Gough-Calthorpe family an ...

Edgbaston
, and was stranded one run short of his maiden
test Test(s), testing, or TEST may refer to: * Test (assessment) A test or examination (exam or evaluation) is an educational assessment Educational assessment or educational evaluation is the systematic process of documenting and using em ...
century A century is a period of 100 years. Centuries are numbered names of numbers in English#Ordinal numbers, ordinally in English and many other languages. The word ''century'' comes from the Latin ''centum'', meaning ''one hundred''. ''Century'' is s ...
when
Graham Thorpe Graham Paul Thorpe, (born 1 August 1969) is a former English cricketer who played for English cricket team, England internationally and Surrey County Cricket Club, Surrey domestically. A left-handed middle-order batsman and slip fielder, he appe ...
got the total to the point where a boundary was needed for the win with Tudor being on 95 runs, needing a six to reach his century. Tudor then hit the winning runs with a four, leaving him on 99*. Also close was
Harold Larwood Harold Larwood (14 November 1904 – 22 July 1995) was a professional cricketer for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and the England cricket team between 1924 and 1938. A right-arm Fast bowling, fast bowler who combined unusual speed wit ...

Harold Larwood
. In the final Test of the 1932–33 Ashes, Larwood made 98 as a nightwatchman, the highest innings made in the role up to that time.


References

{{reflist


External links


The Nightwatchman in Test Cricket: A Follow-up Analysis
– A review on the effectiveness of using nightwatchmen

– Statistical analysis aiming to debunk the concept of nightwatchman Batting (cricket) Cricket terminology