The major landmarks in cricket December 9, 2011

Recording the records

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

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.

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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