What Makes A Perfect Number 3 In Cricket Of All Formats?

A perfect Number 3 batter should possess core responsibilities and is expected to act as the backbone of their team’s batting order.

What makes a perfect Number 3 in all Cricket formats – T20s, ODIs and Test?

A perfect Number 3 batter should possess core responsibilities and is expected to act as the backbone of their team’s batting order. Especially, the one-down batter at the Number 3 in all cricket formats namely the test, T20Is and ODIs requires special qualities and skills to face many challenges.

It requires a lot of courage to bat one down the order. Perhaps, it has been one of the prime reasons why a majority of batsmen shy away from batting at the 3rd position having the fear of facing huge failures. At the same time, there are high chances for a batsman to become the best cricketer in the world.

A few examples of successful batters who have created sensational records at the No.3 position include Don Bradman (AUSTRALIA), Kumar Sangakkara (SRI LANKA), Rahul Dravid (INDIA), Sourav Ganguly (INDIA), and Virat Kohli (INDIA).

In this article, you will be exploring the essential skills required that make a strong Number 3 batter in all formats of cricket.

6 Main Skills Needed for a perfect Number 3 Batter in all formats

These are the significant talents necessary to become a successful Number 3 batter across all the formats such as the limited overs like the One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) and the longest format such as test cricket: 

1. Defensive Techniques:

Particularly in the longer formats of cricket like the ODIs and T20Is, it is a huge test for a No.3 batter to play defensive shots and plan to develop strategies against the dynamic bowler for the first few minutes. It is because the bowler as well as the fielding side would have just begun warming up with the first wicket of an innings. Consequently, this technique drives a batter to play like a test match innings for the starting phase.

Also, every bowler of the opposition team would have a separate plan to break the defensive barrier of the batting side.

2. Adaptability:

To become the best No.3 batsman, you need to be adjustable according to the situation. For instance, if the first wicket falls at an early stage, you should have the capability to rebuild an innings, maintain risks at a lower level till you get settled and plan for the right moment to execute fierce shots. This is a simple concept where you have to wait longer to join among the power hitters in the middle order to play aggressive strokes.

In short, you need to play a constructive and destructive innings batting at number 3 position in all cricket formats.

Most importantly, you should have an excellent running speed between the wickets to grab quick singles and doubles in tough situations where scoring runs through boundaries seems impossible. Hence, it helps to maintain a healthy strike rotation and maintain the flow of runs.

3. Ability to Read Pitch:

Batting as a one-downer, you should be able to quickly learn the pitch behaviour towards the opening batter and their dismissal. Particularly, you have to understand the bounce and variations provided by the type of pitch you’re going to bat that helps to survive in the middle stage of an innings.

Mainly, it is the responsibility of the No.3 batter to be a role model on how his team members should perform on a particular pitch.

4. Best Player to tackle spin:

Especially on the Asian pitches, tackling the spin attack becomes a crucial requirement for a No.3 batter. Also, it becomes much more challenging for batsmen when the spinners are accompanied by fielders at the slip.

Despite the Number 3 batsman surviving the latest bowling spell from the pacers, the spinners with tricky spells pose formidable situations as the innings progresses, thereby producing huge variations and turns. Perhaps, it is the reason the non-Asian batsmen have often struggled to score runs in the Asian conditions.

5. New Ball Batting:

One of the main weapons in test cricket for the bowling side is the new ball effect that makes the opening batting pair tough to survive. Also, similar behaviour is witnessed even in white-ball cricket contests.

Sometimes, it becomes your complete responsibility as the one-down batter to revive the team’s innings from the front. Also, you must have the ability to adapt the bat’s swing to face off the swing of the new ball. 

6. Test Cricket Shots:

Playing test cricket shots can help you to score runs in the limited overs format as well. Especially, when you’re batting at the number 3 slot and find plenty of fielders at slips, leaving some gap at the mid-off or mid-on, you can execute shouts like the cover drive, straight drive and flick through the mid-wicket zone.

Consequently, you will have a smarter choice of accumulating runs through boundaries by batting at the vertical angle, which is the smarter and safer way of staying alive in the contest despite the most difficult batting conditions.

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Ultimately, the Number 3 is the most powerful position to bat on. But, it doesn’t mean that this position or the other slots of the batting order are easy to perform.

For instance, the former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly promoted the young MS Dhoni in the batting order by sacrificing his No.3 batting position. He felt that a player’s talent cannot be evaluated by making them bat at No.7 and No.8 positions. Also, it was a crucial match for MSD to prove his abilities and establish himself as the best batsman in the starting stages of his career after facing back-to-back failures. As a result, MS Dhoni gained huge stardom in the initial stages of his career by scoring 148 runs against Pakistan and his career-best unbeaten knock of 183 runs against Sri Lanka in ODIs batting at Number 3.  

From the example of MS Dhoni, you might have understood that batting at the number three slot is like walking steadily on a thin rope with utmost balance.

Overall, you need to know that every position in the batting order has its unique challenges and responsibilities.

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