The major landmarks in cricket

Recording the records

A look at some of the major statistical milestones and how well they've stood the test of time

S Rajesh

December 9, 2011

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Virender Sehwag's 219 in Indore meant the 200-run mark, which had never been breached in 2961 ODIs and 51,478 innings by batsmen, had been passed twice in less than two years. (Click here for the list of progressive record holders for highest scores in ODIs.) It's also the third-highest score in a List A game. Here are some of the major records in cricket - some changed hands more than once recently; others have stood the test of time, and may continue to do so.


Virender Sehwag is pumped up after his one-day double-ton, India v West Indies, 4th ODI, Indore, December 8, 2011
Next target for Virender Sehwag: six sixes in an over in a Test © AFP
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Highest team score in ODIs
This one looks like it's under threat more than once every year, but Sri Lanka's 443 has stood for more than five years now - it's 1984 days since they made that total against Netherlands in Amstelveen. Since then there have been seven 400-plus totals, but none more than 440.

Highest partnership for any wicket in Tests
The 451 runs that Bill Ponsford and Don Bradman added for the second wicket remained a record from 1934 to 1990 (though Mudassar Nazar and Javed Miandad equalled the mark in 1983). When Andrew Jones and Martin Crowe finally went past it, adding 467 against Sri Lanka in 1991, the Ponsford-Bradman record had stood for a whopping 20,623 days. So stung were Sri Lanka by that humiliation that they twice inflicted greater torture on their opponents. First, Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama added 576 against India in 1997, which exceeded the previous record by as much as 23%, and then Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene smashed that mark too, adding 624 against South Africa. That record has so far stayed for 1959 days.

Most Test wickets in a year
In 1981, Dennis Lillee took 85 Test wickets. That stayed the record till 2005, when Shane Warne took 96. Muttiah Muralitharan threatened it by taking 90 the following year, but since then Warne's mark has looked safe. Dale Steyn topped with 74 in 2008, Graeme Swann had 64 in 2010 and Mitchell Johnson 63 in 2009. So far in 2011, no one has managed even half of Warne's record: Saeed Ajmal is on top with 44.

Murali didn't quite get the record in 2006, but Mohammad Yousuf took the batting equivalent that year, for his Test aggregate of 1788 at a Bradmanesque 99.33.

Highest individual score in Tests
As the list of progressive record holders shows, this one passed hands fairly regularly till 1958, when Garry Sobers scored his undefeated 365. That was in Test No. 450. For the next 808 matches, which spanned 13,196 days, that record stayed unbroken, till Brian Lara scored 375 on April 18, 1994. Then, 3461 days later, Matthew Hayden smashed 380 against Zimbabwe, a record that was his for only 184 days before Lara snatched it back. Since then, it has stayed with Lara… for 2797 days and counting.

Highest team score in Tests
For many years, England's 903 for 7 declared seemed to be beyond the reach of any side. That record was set on August 23, 1938, but 21,532 days and 1108 Test matches later, Sri Lanka finally bettered it, scoring 952 for 6 against India. Since then, no team has touched 800 in 5238 days.

Most wickets in a Test match
Anil Kumble equalled Jim Laker's perfect ten in a Test innings, but no bowler has threatened Laker's 19 in that Test at Old Trafford against Australia in 1956. That makes it 20,219 days for Laker's record.

Most Test wickets in a series
This one is nearing 100 years of unchanged reign. Sydney Barnes took 49 in the last series he played, against South Africa in 1913-14, and that's despite missing the last Test of the five-match series. The fourth Test of the series ended on February 18, 1914, which means the record is very nearly 98 years old, or, in terms of days, 35,724. Warne took 40 in the 2005 Ashes, but no other bowler has even got close to the mark in the last 25 years. With very few five-Test series scheduled these days, this one could stay forever.

The batting equivalent - Don Bradman's 974 in England in 1930 - looks to be untouchable too: the closest in the last 25 years is Mark Taylor's 839 in England in 1989.

Highest individual score in first-class cricket
Hanif Mohammad made 499 for Karachi against Bahawalpur in 1958-59, and this record stood for more than 35 years, before Lara raised the bar yet again, scoring an unbeaten 501 for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994.

Six sixes in an over (in all forms of the game)
Until 1984, Sobers was the only batsman to achieve it in first-class or List A cricket, taking Malcolm Nash for 36 in an over in a first-class game for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan in 1968. In the 1984-85 season, Ravi Shastri repeated that feat off Tilak Raj in a Ranji Trophy game for Bombay. In 2007, there were two such instances on the world stage: first by Herschelle Gibbs in the World Cup match against Netherlands, and then by Yuvraj Singh in the World Twenty20 against England.

That record is waiting to happen in Test cricket, though. Three batsmen - Shahid Afridi, Kapil Dev and AB de Villiers - have struck sixes off four consecutive balls. Given Sehwag's mindset, you wouldn't want to bet against him getting that record too.

This list excludes longevity-related records. Hence, it doesn't list records like most career runs, most career wickets, most matches etc.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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Posted by Kreacher_Rocks on (December 12, 2011, 18:37 GMT)

@Saurabh, While KiwiRocker is generally off his rocker, Viv's 189* was against a good England attack. The score he made against SL was 181, 3 years after his famous 189. In that 181 he got to 181 from 100 in 26 balls.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2011, 14:18 GMT)

@ KiwiRocker Viv scored that 189 against a Sri lankan team even weaker than Bangladesh !!!

Posted by   on (December 12, 2011, 10:51 GMT)

the first time in my life i have seen some records without the name of the GOD Sachin Tendulkar

Posted by Dhutugemunu on (December 12, 2011, 7:47 GMT)

@ Hamid Ali ; Record is a record. It doesn't matter whether is it a 50 or a 100. Accept the fact that Record for the fastest 50 is older than the Record for the fastest 100. Do not try to compare different formats of the game. Tests, ODIs and T20Is are totally different my friend. You should notice that how hard it is to score a 100 in a T20I where there are only 5 T20I centuries. There is no Afridi in that list. His highest score is just 54*. He is not even in the top 28 for fastest 50 in T20Is. But Jayasuriya is there in that list. BTW Record for the fastest List A 100 is even older (21 years) by an Englishman. GD Rose 36 balls, Somerset v Devon, Torquay 1990. Where another Sri Lankan scored the fastest List A 50. K Weeraratne 12 balls, Ragama v Kurunegala, Colombo 2005-06. So you will say that "this is a different stage". Yes. It is. Like that don't compare ODIs and T20Is. Record is unique to the format and the stage.

Posted by analyseabhishek on (December 11, 2011, 16:57 GMT)

I'd agree with Chippy Hansen- that Charles Bannerman's record is strange simply because you would not have expected it to stand for such a long time! I noticed this record way back in 1990 when Asanka Gurusinghe had scored 52 out of 82 of the Sri Lankan team against India in a one off test. It's been 21 yrs since then and a multitude of tests and batting records, but tis one still stands tall!

Posted by 4test90 on (December 11, 2011, 11:55 GMT)

Wilfred Rhodes leads 1st class wickets and has done since the 1920's - also, he played Test cricket in 5 decades (1899-1930). Impossible to break?!? Well, Tendulkar did start in 1989 and would need to play another 8 years - hmmmmmmm !!!

Posted by drinks.break on (December 11, 2011, 10:46 GMT)

@Jonathan_E, Gooch may have scored 1058 in 10 innings, but Bradman's 974 was in only 7 innings. If you add his next 3 innings after that, you get a total of 1226 runs, so no, Gooch still didn't come close.

Posted by CricIndia208 on (December 11, 2011, 10:29 GMT)

INDIANS hold most of the batting records:

Most number of test hundreds...Sachin Tendulkar Most number of ODI hundreds...Sachin Tendulkar Most number of test runs...Sachin Tendulkar Most number of ODI runs...Sachin Tendulkar Highest ODI score....Virender Sehwag 200 or more in an ODI ...Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag

Tendulkar's runs and hundreds records can NEVER be broken.

Posted by   on (December 11, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

Nathan Astle still holds the record for fasted test 200. (222 of 153 balls). 10 years or so now? Mind you its going to be beaten sometime soon one would think the way 20/20 has come along..

Posted by Jonathan_E on (December 11, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

Bradman's 974 in a single 5-test series may have not really come under threat, but Gooch in 1990 came close over two 3-test series combined. Not only did he get 752 in the three matches against India, but earlier in the summer he had scored 306 in the 3-test series against New Zealand... in the first of which he only batted in one innings and scored a first-ball duck. The remaining 5 matches saw him score 1058 runs in 10 innings. (Plus 219 in four ODIs.)

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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