But statistics only mean anything if they allow for some kind of adjustment: no-one denies Grace his status despite a Test average of 32.29. Watching Ricky Ponting score a sublime, chanceless ton against England last night, another adjustment seems due.
It really doesn't need saying that Ponting and Tendulkar are not just contemporary greats, but worthy of comparison to anyone who's played the game. They are due that accolade of 100 centuries.
Ponting has 72 by the current measure, Sachin 69. But it feels like it's time to start counting their one-day international hundreds, too: Ponting has 28 of those, Sachin 44 [44!].
The argument against has always been that ODI hundreds were scored in reduced circumstances. Bowlers were limited in the number of overs they could send down, fields have been restricted, powerplays introduced and so on. Yet could anyone watch Ponting deliver last night, or in the World Cup Final of 2003 and say that those were innings any less brilliantly constructed, any less dominant or wilfull, any less pressured or easier than a nice afternoon knock in the LV county championship division two? Was the bowling any worse, the fielding any poorer?
Between them, Ponting and Tendulkar have played 763 ODIs - almost two solid years' worth. The structure of their careers will not allow them to get a hundred hundreds in the conventional manner, so maybe the conventional manner should change with the times.
If it did, Sachin would already be there, Ponting would have arrived last night, via a glorious knock in an international game. And it's not as if the change would open the floodgates: the great Lara would still have fallen short.