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You can't beat a good bowling attack, and you sure can be exposed without one. Here, Cricinfo recalls 11 of the less successful packs that haven't so much hunted as grunted and often without reward
Andrew Miller and Martin Williamson
March 28, 2006
Victoria is the state in possession of the two highest first-class scores in history, but this weekend they were very much on the receiving end, as Queensland racked up a massive total of 900 for 6 declared in the Pura Cup final. Cricinfo recalls 11 of the most overwhelming team performances ever recorded outside of the Test arena. Can you think of any others? Send them to feedback.
843 - Australians v OU and CU Past and Present, Portsmouth, 1893
It may have been the sight of so much blue blood or so many jazz hats, but in grinding out a massive 843, the Australians batted into the third day of the three-day match against a weak combined side of past and present Oxford and Cambridge students. At the time, it was the largest first-class score ever recorded, but they failed by 77 to surpass the overall record of 920. Although the innings lasted two-and-a-bit days, they spent just 10 actual playing hours at the crease. The large Government House lunches, courtesy of the Duke of Connaught, might have contributed to their reluctance to field, and the combined side easily held out for a draw.
886 - Yorkshire v Warwickshire, Edgbaston, 1896
Yorkshire's lengthy innings - it occupied the first two days of the three-day Championship fixture at Birmingham - cost them any chance of victory, but did set a new first-class record for a team total and was also the first instance of four batsmen making hundreds in the same innings. The top scorer was allrounder Bobby Peel, dropped on 17, who made an unbeaten 210 in seven hours. With Lord Hawke, he added 292 in four hours for the eighth wicket. Like the match at Portsmouth in 1893, the only boundaries that counted were fours, regardless of the size of the hit.
803 - Non-Smokers v Smokers, Melbourne, 1886-87
In 1884 at Lord's, the Non Smokers had beaten the Smokers by nine wickets. In the second - and final - meeting of the two factions, at the East Melbourne ground, the Smokers held on for a draw, but only because the Non Smokers rattled up 803, a world record, even though they were a man short. In reply the Smokers made 356 and were wheezing on 135 for 5 when the game ended. William Scotton blocked the last ball of the match, and seeking a souvenir, picked up the ball. The fielders appealed and Scotton was given out handled the ball. William Gunn showed how giving up smoking can be good for you. In 1884 he played for the Smokers, scoring 18 and 43, but after packing in, he made 150 for Non Smokers in the second match, and was even fit enough to bowl 18 overs.
1094 - Melbourne University v Essendon, Melbourne, 1897-98
Played over three Saturdays and then finished on a Wednesday, Melbourne University recorded the first four-figure total in history, in a match that unsurprisingly petered out to a draw. They batted for the first three days - and an hour into the fourth - by which time at least three of the XI who had started against Essendon had found more rewarding ways to occupy their time. On the second Saturday, a chap called Miller reached his double-hundred and was then allowed to retire to enable him to catch a train, along with a team-mate, to play for Melbourne University in an inter-varsity match against Sydney University. He returned the following week but added just five to his score.
863 - Surrey v Lancashire, The Oval, 1990
Stringent new regulations for the preparation of first-class pitches, coupled with the reduction of the width of the seam on the ball, turned 1990 in an annus horribilis for bowlers throughout the British Isles. Nowhere, though, was the slaughter as pronounced as it was at The Oval in May, during Surrey's first home fixture of the season. They thought they'd set themselves up quite nicely by rattling along to 707 for 9 declared, but Lancashire, denied of even the remotest prospect of victory, responded with a gargantuan 863. Neil Fairbrother led the charge with 366 - two runs more than Len Hutton's ground record that had stood since the 1938 Ashes - with Mike Atherton helping him add a non-insubstantial 364 for the third wicket.
810 for 4 dec - Warwickshire v Durham, Edgbaston, 1994
In the spring and summer of 1994, Brian Lara rewrote the history of batsmanship by clubbing his way past record after record. In Antigua in April, he had helped himself to a new Test record of 375, and then, having joined Warwickshire for the start of the county season, he launched into a run of seven centuries in eight innings, including this - the small matter of 501 not out, the first quintuple century in first-class cricket. The loss of the third day's play against Durham meant that the match would inevitably finish as a draw, and so Lara set out his stall to bat and bat and bat. The wicketkeeper, Chris Scott, committed the most costly fielding error of all time when he missed Lara on 18, but hardly a chance was offered thereafter as Hanif Mohammad's record was overhauled with just one ball of the match to spare.
944 for 6 dec - Hyderabad v Andhra 1993-94
The history of Indian domestic cricket has been littered with obscenely large feats of run-making, but no team effort has - as yet - surpassed that of Hyderabad against Andhra in the Ranji Trophy. A non-descript sort of a fixture was in prospect when Andhra slipped to 263 all out in the first innings, with GN Srinivas's 99 the talking-point of the first day. By midway through the fourth, however, Hyderabad had bulldozed to an impregnable position of 944 for 6. Maturi Sridhar made 366 and Vivek Jaisimha and Noel David both made double-hundreds. It was the first time that three batsmen had passed 200 in the same innings, and David had achieved the feat in only his second first-class match.
951 for 7 dec - Sind v Baluchistan, Karachi 1973-74
Was this the most one-sided fixture in the history of first-class cricket? At the National Stadium in Karachi in February 1974, Sind bowled Baluchistan out for 93 in just 45 eight-ball overs ... and responded with a hulking great 951 for 7 declared. The central figure in the slaughter was Sind's captain, Aftab Baloch, whose epic 428 was at the time the sixth-highest score in first-class history, and the seventh in excess of 400. He was assisted by centuries from Bashir Shana and a young Javed Miandad, who was run out for exactly 100, and went on to make 163 on Test debut against New Zealand two-and-a-half years later. Baluchistan rallied in their second innings, but were still routed by the hideous margin of an innings and 575 runs.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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