In cricket, reaching 100 runs in an innings (a century) is a major milestone - the number of centuries a player makes in his career is a major statistic which is used in comparisons between batsmen. When Sachin Tendulkar became the first player to reach 100 international centuries the celebrations across India were huge.
We can test this theory quite simply by looking at the proportion of players dismissed in the 90s, compared to each of the other run-scoring 'decades'.
We will look at all Test innings from 2000 onwards, looking at each bracket of ten runs from 0-9 up to 200-209.
Firstly, we will just look at innings which end in a dismissal - i.e. ignoring that where the batsman finished not out. We can look at this selected year-by-year to see if there are any overall trends:
No distinct pattern presents itself. We can see that the way runs are scored appears to be quite constant, albeit with three years where less runs were scored: 2000, 2007 and 2015.
If we focus on the 90s (in yellow), we see that this section doesn't appear to be abnormally larger than those around it. However, we can get a clearer idea of whether the 90s are particularly significant by looking at the probability of being dismissed in each decade.
Likelihood of dismissal
To find the chance of a player being dismissed in each 10-run boundary, we first count the number of players who leave that group - either by being dismissed or by reaching the next decade. We then find the proportion of that group who were dismissed.
By looking at each decade within our sample, we get the following probabilities:
It's no surprised that received wisdom in cricket isn't always spot-on. You just need to see the antagonistic attitude of many cricket commentators and pundits to the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, primarily on the basis that they don't understand it, to get an idea of the lack of faith in numbers that many of the sport's old-boys network have.