Another example. In Adelaide, Iain O'Brien went in with his team 131-8, 134 runs away from making Australia bat again. When he was out 50 runs later, he'd been involved in the highest partnership of the innings, and he'd batted for longer than almost all of of New Zealand's top order. He made 0. How many was it worth? How well did he bat?
Neither of these is the inaugural Old Batsman Innings of the Year, an entirely arbitrary award of dubious logic consisting only of innings I've seen. But both contain its spirit. Traditionally, the ultimate test of a batsman is to play an unbeaten hand in the final innings of a Test, and the year had two true epics: Graeme Smith's 154* at Edgbaston and Sachin Tendulkar's 103* in Chennai. Both laid bogeymen to rest; Smith rode his luck - he was out at least twice, and Tendulkar reigned himself in to a degree he'd never managed before.
Smith made another ton in the last innings in Perth, a truer knock than Edgbaston, and AB de Villiers did too. AB's came on the back of his captain's and so it finished the slightest notch below Smith and Sachin.
Virender Sehwag, the world's most misunderstood batsman, copped the man of the match award for his 83 in Chennai, and for once he didn't deserve it. He set up the win, but Sachin won it. He produced another statistical marvel, 319, again in the arid paradise that is Chennai. It was a Herculean feat mitigated by the fact that 1498 runs were scored for the loss of 25 wickets in an endless draw. The most defiant Indian innings of the year came from Anil Kumble, 45* in the powderkeg of Sydney. Australia might not beat India again for some time.
JP Duminy announced himself with 166 in Melbourne, Ian Bell deceived with 199 against South Africa at Lord's. Sourav Ganguly made his prince's exit with a ton in Mumbai and two Englishmen saved their careers, Andrew Strauss with 177 in Napier and Paul Collingwood, perennial drinker in the last chance saloon, with 135 at Edgbaston.
KP made more Test hundreds than anyone except Graeme Smith, and none were more inevitable than the 152 in his first Test against South Africa or the 100 at the Oval in his first Test as captain. Viv Richards used to score hundreds on demand too.
But 2008 was when the shape of cricket changed. The IPL, with its effortless sense of occasion, altered everything from bank balances to the international calendar. It's partly the reason why England went back to India after Mumbai. It's a political and social force and the sheer vitality of its format has changed batting for the better.
In England, Graham Napier got a warp-factor T20 152 which made a permanent demarkation between hitting and slogging. And then, in the IPL's opening match, Brendan McCullum played its totemic innings, an innings that made the tournament's failure improbable, if not impossible.
His 158 from 73 balls came with 13 sixes and 10 fours at a strike rate of 216.43. Here was batting for the 21st century; heightened, spectacular, extreme, a nailed-on ratings winner.
With his 158, McCullum offered a fully realised vision of the future, and for that, the innings of the year is his.