In the last couple of decades, cricket has undergone constant change. Cricket began with the longer format but as the game evolved, the shorter formats were introduced.
With the introduction of the T20 format, the mindset of the batsmen has changed completely. Modern-day batsmen are innovative, fearless and are always to ready to take risks. Thus, new-age batsmen make batting look effortless by scoring boundaries at will.
However, the case hadn’t been the same with yesteryear cricketers. They were very slow in their approach. Those days strike rates close to 100 would have been considered outrageous. In fact, there were some instances in the past where a batsman reached his ton without scoring a single boundary.
So, let us now take a look at three such instances where a batsman scored a ton just by running between the wickets.
#3 Alan Hill
Alan Hill is a former English cricketer and umpire who played for Derbyshire and Orange Free State in South Africa from 1972 to 1986 and 1976-77 respectively. Alan was a right-handed opening batsman and an occasional off-break bowler.
Alan has played 258 first-class matches and 155 List-A matches, scoring 12356 and 3518 runs at an average of 36.49 and 26.45 respectively. Hill scored a total of 22 tons and 80 in his first-class and List A career and picked up 9 wickets with the help of his occasional off-breaks.
Hill was one among the three cricketers who etched their names in the record books by scoring a ton without hitting a boundary. Hill achieved this rare feat when he scored 103 runs in a first-class match for Orange Free State against Griqualand West at Bloemfontein in 1976-77.
After retiring from cricket, Alan became an umpire at first-class and List A level. Later Hill started coaching cricket too.
#2 Paul Hibbert
Paul Anthony Hibbert was an Australian cricketer who played a solitary test for his country in 1977. After a strong 1974-75 club season during which he scored 486 runs at an average of 69, Hibbert was first picked into the Victorian squad. He was so good for the Victorian team that within 3 years after his first-class debut, he became a contender for a test call.
At the beginning of 1977–78 season, Indian team toured Australia for a two-match test series. India played a warm-up match with Victoria at Melbourne and Paul was a part of it. Paul made exactly 100 runs in that match but he reached that figure without a single boundary.
As Australia’s specialist openers were out of form for the series against India, Hibbert was picked in the team as an opener. But, Hibbert failed to live up to the expectations and was sacked from the team after that match. He had never got a chance to play for his country again.
#1 Bill Woodfull
Bill Maldon Woodfull was a former Australian cricketer of the 1920s and 1930s. He led both Victoria and Australia and was best known for his dignified conduct during the infamous Bodyline series in 1932–33.
Woodfull was known for his calm, unruffled style and his reliability in difficult situations. His opening pairing with his state-mate Bill Ponsford for both his state Victoria and Australia remains one of the most successful in the history of the game.
However, during Australia's tour of England in 1926 at The Oval, Woodfull scored his ton against Surrey without hitting a boundary. But, Bill could score one after reaching the three-figure mark before he ended unbeaten at 118. He was lauded by Wisden for his special skill to place the ball between short leg and mid-on, where most of his 61% of his 118 runs in the form of singles.
In his career Bill has played 35 tests and 174 First-Class matches, scoring 2300 and 13388 at an exceptional average of 46 and 65 respectively. He has also scored a total of 56 tons and 71 half-centuries in international and first-class careers combined