COMMENT: Any Given Monday (Tuesday edition)
Here it is, more power rankings you desperately needed without ever knowing it.
All 87 test centuries scored between January 1, 2010, and the outbreak of coronavirus are ranked for you here.
Taller, broad-across-the-chest cricket fans with ferocious body odour and poor syntax might argue that a five-wicket bag is the equal of a test century but the rest of us know that to be untrue. The test century is the purest, most self-made cricketing expression of the phrase "job well done".
To that point, it is worth saying there is no such thing as a bad test century. If you recoil at the sight of your favourite player sitting low in the list, take solace in the knowledge that the record books, or databases, are not judgmental.
Not all centuries are created equal, however. Some win matches, some save matches; some just sit there in the middle of a scorecard during bore draws. Some are scored against world-class attacks; some are crafted in hostile conditions; some are compiled against Zimbabwe.
Centuries can be scored with a broadsword, or with a wand. Some sail way, way past 100, some stop abruptly.
You will notice a prevalence of familiar names. Nearly a quarter of all NZ centuries scored this decade have been compiled by Kane Williamson. Between them, Williamson, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham have 54 per cent of all centuries.
The most unlikely century maker this decade? Check out No 58. If you're anything like me you'll sigh, nod your head and think, "Man, that cat could play".
87. BJ Watling, 102* v Zimbabwe, Napier, 2012
You have to start somewhere so why not a ton scored against a woefully weak team in home conditions when the top order had already laid a match-winning platform.
86. Tom Latham, 105 v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 2016
85. Ross Taylor, 122* v Zimbabwe, Napier 2012
Scored in the same team innings as #87. The fact he retired hurt is the only noteworthy aspect.
84. Watling, 107 v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 2016
83. Henry Nicholls, 107 v Bangladesh, Wellington, 2019
82. Kane Williamson, 114 v Bangladesh, Chittagong, 2013
Williamson's least memorable century, scored in 210 balls during a bore draw.
81. Williamson, 113 v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 2016
80. Martin Guptill, 109 v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 2016
79. Williamson, 104* v England, Hamilton, 2019
78. Latham, 136 v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 2016
77. Taylor, 124* v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 2016
76. Williamson, 113 v West Indies, Kingston, 2014
Williamson had a shocker in the Windies two years prior – 49 runs in four innings – so this was cleansing. It was a real grind, too, taking up 298 balls on a sluggish surface.
75. Brendon McCullum, 104 v Australia, Wellington, 2010
McCullum didn't have it in him to score boring centuries, but this was the least significant of the nine he scored during this decade.
74. Latham, 109* v Sri Lanka, Dunedin, 2015
If the worst thing anybody says about you is that you're the master of scoring unobtrusive centuries against Asian attacks, then you're going to be just fine.
73. Taylor, 173* v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 2016
This was a two-test series played on the same ground. It was useful only for boosting the averages of batsmen.
72. Jeet Raval, 132 v Bangladesh, Hamilton, 2019
71. Latham, 105 v England, Hamilton, 2019
70. Corey Anderson, 116 v Bangladesh, Dhaka, 2013
69. Taylor, 129 v West Indies, Wellington, 2013
68. Dean Brownlie, 109 v South Africa, Cape Town, 2013
By rights, Brownlie's only test ton should be a lot higher, such was the skill, but the way he went out – slapping a long hop straight down the throat of deep point – left a bitter note. This was the test where NZ were dismissed for 45 after winning the toss and batting.
67. Williamson, 113 v India, Auckland, 2013
66. Latham, 103 v Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, 2014
New Zealand were humiliated in this test, but it wasn't Latham's fault as he scored his maiden century.
65. Watling, 103 v Bangladesh, Chattogram, 2013
64. Nicholls, 118 v South Africa, Wellington, 2017
His first, and they were tough runs, but it couldn't stave off a comprehensive defeat.
63. Taylor, 105* v England, Hamilton, 2019
A dreary test enlivened only by Taylor going four-six-six to bring up his century before the rain tumbled down.
62. McCullum, 113 v West Indies, Dunedin, 2013
61. Tim McIntosh, 102 v India, Hyderabad, 2010
Typically gritty effort made in the first innings of a test more noted for his opening partner McCullum's second innings double.
60. Guptill, 156 v Sri Lanka, Dunedin, 2015
59. Daniel Vettori, 110 v Pakistan, Wellington, 2011
NZ ballsed this test up big time, but it was notable for the last of Vettori's six test centuries.
58. Jesse Ryder, 103 v India, Ahmedabad, 2010
Breaks your heart to see it. The third and final Ryder test century, all scored against India. History might look more kindly at the southpaw when we understand that he didn't so much throw away his extraordinary talent as he manged to carve out a decent international career despite suffering a clear and obvious illness.
57. Taylor, 102* v Pakistan, Hamilton, 2016
An extraordinary test, but not one of Taylor's most extraordinary innings.
56. McCullum, 185 v Bangladesh, Hamilton, 2010
55. Guptill, 189 v Bangladesh, Hamilton, 2010
The tall right-hander is so good that it defies logic that he averaged 29 in 47 tests. His critics will point out though, that his big innings have come on the small occasion.
54. Williamson, 135 v Sri Lanka, Colombo, 2012
53. Williamson, 104* v Bangladesh, Wellington, 2017
Bangladesh declared their first innings at 595-8 but New Zealand still managed to secure a win deep into the final session. Williamson's 90-ball knock was a masterclass in scoring quickly without risk.
52. Taylor, 138 v Australia, Hamilton, 2010
51. Tom Blundell, 121 v Australia, Melbourne, 2019
A good ton in a hopelessly lost cause.
50. Mitchell Santner, 126 v England, Mt Maunganui, 2019
Scored in the shadow of #21
49. Williamson, 130 v South Africa, Dunedin, 2017
48. Taylor, 107* v West Indies, Hamilton, 2017
47. Neesham, 107 v West Indies, Kingston, 2014
Test tons in successive innings (see #30) – none since.
46. Nicholls, 162* v Sri Lanka, Christchurch, 2018
Big second innings runs against a tired attack already softened by Latham.
45. Blundell, 107* v West Indies, Wellington, 2017
Century on debut on your home ground in a big win. Nice.
44. Latham, 161 v Bangladesh, Hamilton, 2019
43. Taylor, 104 v Pakistan, Dubai, 2014
A test-saving century that would become important later in the series.
42. Latham, 177 v Bangladesh, Wellington, 2017
The Bangladeshi attack is no match for Latham on home soil.
41. Colin de Grandhomme, 105 v West Indies, Wellington, 2017
A 76-ball mugging.
40. Watling, 105* v Sri Lanka, Colombo, 2019
39. Williamson, 102 v England, Auckland, 2018
The first pink-ball century in New Zealand came in a brilliant win.
38. Williamson, 131 v India, Ahmedabad, 2010
A debut century and, when India were 15-5 in their second innings, a key part of what could have been a famous New Zealand victory were it not for VVS Laxman.
37. Taylor, 113 v India, Bengaluru, 2012
Classy captain's knock in a losing test notable for the emergence of one Virat Kohli (103 and 51*).
36. Williamson, 166 v Australia, Perth, 2015
It wasn't even his best knock in this series. It was typically excellent, but his old mate Taylor was busy at the other end compiling a monster on a flat WACA wicket.
35. Hamish Rutherford, 171 v England, Dunedin, 2013
Sparkling century in debut innings, which promised at riches to come. In 28 further test innings, the left-hander added just one more score of 50 or more (also in Dunedin).
34. Latham, 137 v Pakistan, Dubai, 2014
His second century of the series and a knock that saddled him with the "excellent player of spin on the subcontinent" label.
33. Watling, 142* v Sri Lanka, Wellington, 2015
Part of a world-record partnership and contributed to a sensational turnaround victory.
32. Nicholls, 145* v England, Auckland, 2018
Continued Williamson's fine work with a century that set up an emphatic victory.
31. Williamson, 108* v Sri Lanka, Hamilton, 2015
Williamson's most under-rated century. The No 3 calmed everyone's nerves with a technically brilliant, match-winning century on a difficult surface.
30. Neesham, 137* v India, Wellington, 2014
With Watling (#29), one of the men at the other end while McCullum did his triple thing. On debut, too.
29. Watling, 124 v India, Wellington, 2014
28. Nicholls, 126* v Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, 2018
Capitalised brilliantly on the platform set by Williamson.
27. Williamson, 192 v Pakistan, Sharjah, 2014
It is weird his third-highest score is not higher on this list but it was an eerie match all around.
26. Latham, 176 v Sri Lanka, Christchurch, 2018
This came in the midst of a period where Latham simply refused to be dismissed for less than 150. Sparkling stuff after both sides had struggled mightily in their first innings.
25. Williamson, 200* v Bangladesh, Hamilton, 2019
Man-of-the-match double ton in a huge victory, although not his most difficult assignment.
24. Taylor, 200 v Bangladesh, Wellington, 2019
23. McCullum, 225 v India, Hyderabad
Having given up the gloves in a bid to win a spot as an opening batsman, McCullum needed to make a big impression. This helped.
22. Latham 264* v Sri Lanka, Wellington, 2018
It looked like a match-winning unbeaten double until Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews came together to show just how benign the Basin was this test.
21. Watling, 205 v England, Mt Maunganui, 2019
A match-winning innings short of sparkle but full of all the qualities that made Watling the glue of the middle and lower order.
20. Taylor, 217* v West Indies, Dunedin, 2013
Should have contributed to the first test win of McCullum's captaincy, but Darren Bravo dug in and rain had the final say.
19 & 18. Peter Fulton, 136 & 110 v England, Auckland, 2013
A classic of the "he'll-always-have…" genre. Fulton played 23 tests, which is a lot more than he should have. For five glorious days, however, he was the king of Eden Park. The first was a 346-ball grind, the second a 165-ball dash. They should have added up to a win, but England improbably batted out the final day having started four down.
17. Williamson, 161* v West Indies, Bridgetown, 2014
NZ needed to win in Barbados to claim their first series away from home against a top eight side for 12 years. They conceded a first innings lead, but Williamson's brilliant second innings intervention invited McCullum to boldly declare at stumps on day four and leave the Windies 308 to win. They fell 54 runs short.
16. Williamson, 132 v England, London, 2014
New Zealand made a pig's ear of this test, somehow losing after scoring 523 on the back of Williamson's pure-class century. It's at Lord's, too, so gains instant gravitas.
15. Taylor, 131 v West Indies, Hamilton, 2013
Taylor rates this as one of his best from a technical standpoint. Sunil Narine (6-91) had it spinning like a top both ways but Taylor held his shape. He monstered the Windies in this series.
14. McCullum, 195 v Sri Lanka, Christchurch, 2014
Test cricket returns to Christchurch after the quake, and does so with an enormous bang.
13. Latham, 154 v Sri Lanka, Colombo, 2019
Latham's most important test knock set up a convincing victory for New Zealand. He's not known for dominating attacks but when he was dismissed NZ was just 269, which gives you an indication as to how much easier he found batting than his teammates on this day.
12. Williamson, 102* v South Africa, Wellington, 2012
Williamson's second century was a coming-of-age moment. This was an outstanding Dale Steyn-led attack and New Zealand were given no price on batting through the final day to save the match, and less than zero when they were 83-5 midway through the middle session. Williamson stood firm even after copping one in the nuts from Steyn, his cracked protector a treasured memento.
11. Watling, 120 v England, Leeds, 2015
With fellow gloveman Luke Ronchi playing as an extra batsman, Watling played a very fluent, almost un-BJ-like innings to set up victory.
10. McCullum, 202 v Pakistan, Sharjah, 2014
This was the game where the players took a day off because of Phil Hughes' death. Pakistan were on top, collapsed and watched McCullum and Williamson blitz them. Yet the stadium was empty and the players looked like they'd rather be elsewhere. Even with that backdrop the brilliance could not be denied – and it changed the entire way NZ would play their cricket under McCullum from then on.
9. Williamson, 242* v Sri Lanka, Wellington, 2015
New Zealand conceded a big first innings lead and were in trouble in the second until Williamson and BJ Watling shared a then-world record unbeaten partnership of 365 for the sixth wicket. A remarkable turnaround saw them roll Sri Lanka for 196 to take the test.
8. Taylor, 142 v Sri Lanka, Colombo, 2012
Williamson and Taylor came together at 14-2 and Taylor departed at 276. Their partnership, and Tim Southee and Trent Boult's brilliance, secured a shock victory. That only tells a fraction of the story. It was not a good time. The team was fractured. This was to be Taylor's last act as captain… not a bad way to depart.
7. Williamson, 176 v South Africa, Hamilton, 2017
It wasn't a match-winning knock, but with the visitors 80-5 and miles behind going into the final day, it should have been. Rain prevailed but couldn't rinse away the class of Williamson's knock. Even Faf du Plessis described his performance across the series as "extraordinary".
6. McCullum, 145 v Australia, Christchurch, 2016
In isolation this remains one of the most incandescent displays of batting thuggery witnessed. The fact that it came in his last test and set a world record for fastest century in the process only adds to the legend. Unfortunately, New Zealand and in particular the bowlers, played fairly ordinary cricket to lose the match.
5. Taylor, 290 v Australia, Perth, 2015
It is an indication of how flat the WACA wicket was that Taylor managed this extraordinary feat against a class attack with dodgy eyesight. His tailenders probably should have done more to nurse him through to 300.
4. Williamson, 139 v Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, 2018
A sublime century took New Zealand from a losing to winning position, and secured a rare overseas series win in the process. A cover-driving clinic.
3. McCullum, 224 v India, Auckland, 2014
This brutal double-century set up a win despite second innings wobbles and served as an astonishing entrée for the main course in one test's time.
2. Williamson, 140 v Australia, Brisbane, 2015
History suggests visiting teams cannot bat on the Gabba (or bowl) and this was no different – apart from Williamson, whose impeccable 140 was a beacon. Scored in just 178 balls, this was a sublime example of the art of batsmanship against an attack that included the Mitchells - Johnson, Starc and Marsh - Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon. Even hardbitten Australian commentators were wowed.
1. McCullum, 302 v India, Wellington, 2014
An innings that spanned three days, this was momentous not just for the fact he saved a test that appeared long lost and in the process won a series, but the fact it felt like the entire country mobilised around televisions on a work day to watch him progress from 281 not out overnight to the elusive triple ton. It felt like the standing ovation at the Basin was never going to end when he back cut Zaheer Khan for four. Martin Crowe was moved to tears. Williamson rated it as the best innings he had ever seen – "the only way we were going to save that test was if Brendon got 300, and he did" – so that's good enough for us.