Successive world-record holders November 29, 2005

A record Bradman never had

At Adelaide, Brian Lara broke another elite run-scoring record by going past Allan Border's total of 11,174 Test runs

Some statistics, like Bradman's average and the number of centuries Gavaskar made, are known to pretty much every cricket buff. But The List will bring you facts and figures that aren't so obvious, adding fuel to those fiery debates about the most valuable middle-order bat, and the most useless tailender. If there's a particular List that you would like to see, e-mail us with your comments and suggestions.

Brian Lara: the record for most Test runs is in fitting hands © Getty Images

At Adelaide, Brian Lara broke another elite run-scoring record by going past Allan Border's total of 11,174 Test runs and cricket had the rare chance to watch the highest run-scorer take on the highest wicket-taker, Shane Warne.

This week, The List looks at the record-holders over the decades, who broke whom, and who took it back after losing it. By becoming the latest player to hold the record Lara joins a hallowed list of the most prolific run-makers of their times with the glaring absence of one Sir Donald Bradman.

The legendary Jack Hobbs had over 4500 runs by the time Bradman made his debut and Wally Hammond, had just under 500 runs after playing his first Test in December 1927, less than a year before Bradman. Hobbs retired in August 1930, with 5410 runs in 102 innings. At the time, Hammond had 1935 runs in 22 matches, maintaining his near 500-run head-start over Bradman who had 1442 from nine games. For a brief period during the fifth Test at Sydney 1933, Bradman went ahead of Hammond by 28 runs, but thereafter, by virtue of playing more often than Bradman, Hammond went on to break Hobbs's record and when he retired after playing 85 Tests and racking up 7249 runs, Bradman had 5773 runs from 42 Tests. Bradman played 10 more Tests and gave the record a valiant chase. In the end, he fell short by a mere 253 runs.

Who's the closest challenger to Lara's title? Sachin Tendulkar is the immediate contender, while Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid are the other best long-term bets. However, considering the amount of cricket played these days (witness Marcus Trescothick scoring his first 5000 runs in a shade over five years), you can't be too sure how long any of these players would hold onto the record.

Most Runs in Tests - Progressive Record Holders (since C Hill in 1902)
Player Runs Opposition Ground Match End Scorecard
C Hill (Aust) 1562 v England The Oval 13 Aug 1902 Test 74
C Hill (Aust) 3412 v England Sydney 1 Mar 1912 Test 120
JB Hobbs (Eng) 3497 v Australia Sydney 27 Dec 1924 Test 158
JB Hobbs (Eng) 5410 v Australia The Oval 22 Aug 1930 Test 198
WR Hammond (Eng) 5528 v New Zealand Lord's 29 Jun 1937 Test 260
WR Hammond (Eng) 7249 v New Zealand Christchurch 25 Mar 1947 Test 284
MC Cowdrey (Eng) 7256 v Australia Brisbane 2 Dec 1970 Test 674
MC Cowdrey (Eng) 7459 v Pakistan Birmingham 8 Jun 1971 Test 687
GS Sobers (WI) 7591 v New Zealand Bridgetown 28 Mar 1972 Test 695
GS Sobers (WI) 8032 v England Port of Spain 5 Apr 1974 Test 738
G Boycott (Eng) 8090 v India Delhi 28 Dec 1981 Test 914
G Boycott (Eng) 8114 v India Kolkata 6 Jan 1982 Test 916
SM Gavaskar (India) 8123 v West Indies Ahmedabad 16 Nov 1983 Test 967
SM Gavaskar (India) 10122 v Pakistan Bangalore 17 Mar 1987 Test 1073
AR Border (Aust) 10161 v New Zealand Christchurch 28 Feb 1993 Test 1215
AR Border (Aust) 11174 v South Africa Durban 29 Mar 1994 Test 1256
BC Lara (WI) 11204 v Australia Adelaide 29 Nov 2005 Test 1773

(*The player's first row shows the stats in which the player broke the record and the second, his present record)

Although Test cricket records were not maintained at the time, in hindsight we can see that up to six players vied for the batting record in 1902 before Clem Hill broke from the pack. Since then, it has been rather straight-forward with each batsmen holding the record until his retirement. The opposite is the case for the bowlers though, with there being three occasions since the start of the 20th century where a bowler has lost the record to a contemporary. The first was in 1963 when Brian Statham held the record for six weeks before losing it to team-mate Fred Trueman on the same tour of Australia and New Zealand.

In 1986, Richard Hadlee was in the New Zealand team when Ian Botham broke Dennis Lillee's record of 355 wickets, and Botham was the outright leader until Hadlee joined him on 373 wickets at the end of 1987. Hadlee then injured himself in New Zealand's next Test (coincidentally against England, but with no Botham, who was busy playing for Queensland instead) and then with Botham injured for the entire 1988 series versus West Indies, Hadlee chose to tour India in November that year to claim Arun Lal as his 374th wicket. The pair had been tied for 318 days.

After the third Test against Australia in Colombo in 2004, Muttiah Muralitharan had 513 scalps and Warne had 517. But Murali took eight wickets in his next Test against Zimbabwe to pip Warne to Courtney Walsh's record of 519. Warne went ahead against a Murali-less Sri Lanka in the first Test against Australia at Cairns, but was overtaken again. It would have been a fascinating game of cat and mouse had a shoulder injury not sidelined Murali, allowing Warne, who is having the most productive year of his career, to surge ahead. Syd Barnes held the record for 22 years, the longest reign till date, but with Warne and Murali going great guns, one of their records looks a good bet to beat Barnes.

Most Wickets in Tests - Progressive Record Holders (since H Trumble in 1904)
Player Wkts Opposition Ground Match End Scorecard
H Trumble (Aust) 126 v England Melbourne 5 Jan 1904 Test 79
H Trumble (Aust) 141 v England Melbourne 8 Mar 1904 Test 82
SF Barnes (Eng) 150 v South Africa Durban 17 Dec 1913 Test 130
SF Barnes (Eng) 189 v South Africa Durban 18 Feb 1914 Test 133
CV Grimmett (Aust) 193 v South Africa Cape Town 4 Jan 1936 Test 249
CV Grimmett (Aust) 216 v South Africa Durban 3 Mar 1936 Test 251
AV Bedser (Eng) 218 v Australia Leeds 28 Jul 1953 Test 375
AV Bedser (Eng) 236 v South Africa Manchester 12 Jul 1955 Test 410
JB Statham (Eng) 241 v Australia Adelaide 30 Jan 1963 Test 538
JB Statham (Eng) 242 v Australia Sydney 20 Feb 1963 Test 539
FS Trueman (Eng) 250 v New Zealand Christchurch 19 Mar 1963 Test 542
FS Trueman (Eng) 307 v New Zealand Lord's 22 Jun 1965 Test 592
LR Gibbs (WI) 307 v Australia Adelaide 28 Jan 1976 Test 768
LR Gibbs (WI) 309 v Australia Melbourne 5 Feb 1976 Test 770
DK Lillee (Aust) 315 v West Indies Melbourne 30 Dec 1981 Test 915
DK Lillee (Aust) 355 v Pakistan Sydney 6 Jan 1984 Test 974
IT Botham (Eng) 357 v New Zealand The Oval 26 Aug 1986 Test 1051
IT Botham (Eng) 373 v Pakistan The Oval 11 Aug 1987 Test 1079
RJ Hadlee (NZ) 373 v Australia Melbourne 30 Dec 1987 Test 1087
RJ Hadlee (NZ) 431 v England Birmingham 10 Jul 1990 Test 1147
N Kapil Dev (India) 431 v Sri Lanka Bangalore 30 Jan 1994 Test 1245
N Kapil Dev (India) 434 v New Zealand Hamilton 23 Mar 1994 Test 1255
CA Walsh (WI) 435 v Zimbabwe Kingston 28 Mar 2000 Test 1492
CA Walsh (WI) 519 v South Africa Kingston 23 Apr 2001 Test 1544
M Muralitharan (SL) 521 v Zimbabwe Harare 8 May 2004 Test 1698
M Muralitharan (SL) 527 v Zimbabwe Bulawayo 17 May 2004 Test 1699
SK Warne (Aust) 527 v Sri Lanka Cairns 13 Jul 2004 Test 1706
M Muralitharan (SL) 532 v South Africa Galle 8 Aug 2004 Test 1709
SK Warne (Aust) 537 v India Chennai 18 Oct 2004 Test 1714
SK Warne (Aust) 645 v West Indies Adelaide 29 Nov 2005 Test 1773

(*The player's first row shows the stats in which the player broke the record and the second, his record when he was equalled or overtaken)

Statistics upto and including:
• Test # 1773: Australia v West Indies at Adelaide, The Frank Worrell Trophy 3rd Test, Nov 25-29, 2005
• ODI # 2300: India v South Africa at Mumbai, 5th ODI, Nov 28, 2005

If there's a particular List that you would like to see, e-mail us with your comments and suggestions.

George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo