Joe Root and Stuart Broad: particularly industrious 25-year-olds with bat and ball respectivelyGetty Images

Twenty-five stats about the number 25

To, you know, mark 25 years of ESPNcricinfo

Andy Zaltzman

1. The best bowling average in a 25-Test sequence (25 wickets minimum) is 13.9, by late-19th-century left-arm spin whizz Johnny Briggs, although he bowled only 32 balls in the first six Tests of that sequence. Imran Khan took 139 at 14.7 in 25 Tests from November 1981 to November 1986, and Jim Laker 120 at 15.9 from 1954 to 1959.

2. The most wickets in a 25-Test sequence is 192 (by Muttiah Muralitharan, average 18.1, 2001-2004). Murali took more than 160 wickets in four separate non-overlapping 25-Test sequences. The only other bowlers with 160 wickets in 25 Tests are SF Barnes (best sequence: 170, average 16.4, 1902-1914), Waqar Younis (163, 17.4, 1990-1994), and R Ashwin (160, 21.7, 2014-2017).

3. Barnes' 167 remains comfortably the record number of wickets in a player's first 25 Tests. The top five consists of Waqar Younis and Clarrie Grimmett (143 each), Yasir Shah (141) and Ian Botham (139).

The best-averaging bowlers after 25 matches (50 wickets minimum) are Johnny Briggs (13.5), Barnes (16.9), Waqar (18.5), Botham (18.5), and Bill Johnston (19.4).

The most deliveries bowled in a 25-Test sequence is 10,447, by West Indian tweak-master Alf Valentine (an average of 69.4 six-ball overs per match), from 1950 to 1956.

4. England legend Wally Hammond holds the record for most consecutive Tests with a score of 25 or more. He posted a quarter-century in 31 matches in a row, from February 1935 to July 1946.  Steven Smith's 25 in the recent second Test in South Africa took him into a clear second place. (It was the 24th successive match in which he had made 25 in at least one innings, a sequence dating back to February 2016).  New Zealand's Mark Richardson is demoted to third (23 Tests, 2000 to 2003).

The most consecutive quarter-century innings in Tests is 13, by Viv Richards (December 1979 to December 1980). Don Bradman never posted more than six successive 25s. The one-day international record is 16, by Matthew Hayden, in 2007. Quarter-century specialist Michael Hussey is second on the list, with 13 (2009-2010).

5. Of the 341 players with 25 or more scores of 25 in Test cricket, Don Bradman has the highest conversion rate of quarter-centuries into half-centuries (42 out of 57, 73.6%), after a thrilling finish in which he pipped Joe Root (50 out of 68, 73.5%) and Saeed Anwar (36 out of 49, 73.4%) to the gold medal. (Root may in due course tear the gold from around Bradman's neck; Bradman looks unlikely to add to his 57 Test quarter-centuries.) Chris Rogers (73.0%), Graeme Pollock (72.00%), Kane Williamson (71.6%), Doug Walters (71.6%), Ijaz Ahmed (70.5%) and Derek Randall (70.3%) all agonisingly miss out on a podium spot.

6. The fastest player to reach 25 quarter-centuries in Tests is Michael Hussey, who made his 25th score of 25 or more in his 32nd innings.

7. Three players have averaged 25 with both bat and ball over a 25-Test sequence. England's five-separate-decades-spanning, all-11-positions-in-the-batting-order- and-numbers-1-to-8-in-the-bowling-order-too allrounder Wilfred Rhodes scored 818 runs at 25.5 with the bat, and took 75 wickets at 25.3, between June 1902 and March 1910. Imran Khan, in a five-year span encompassing the years 1977 to 1981, scored 930 at 25.1, and took 110 wickets at 25.7. Mitchell Johnson, from August 2011 to July 2015, averaged 25.2 with both bat (832 runs) and ball (112 wickets).

Sachin Tendulkar's international career spanned an entire era of the game © AFP

8. Sajid Mahmood appears on few shortlists for Greatest Bowler of the 21st Century, but he was an unstoppable machine in the 25th over of Test innings. In 18 such balls, he took three wickets for nine runs, dismissing Sri Lanka's Thilan Samaraweera at Lord's in 2006, then Faisal Iqbal and Kamran Akmal in the Leeds Test against Pakistan later that summer. Outside of the 25th over, Mahmood took 17 wickets at 44.3.

9. Mahmood's team-mate Monty Panesar bowled the 25th over 22 times in Tests, taking 5 for 46. Nathan Lyon, by contrast, has yet to strike in 23 attempts at the 25th over, while Dale Steyn, the greatest bowler of his era, has taken a dismal 2 for 126 off 36 in the 25th over of Test innings, and 1 for 69 in 16 such overs in ODIs, making him the least successful multiformat 25th-over bowler of the recorded era.

10. Stuart Broad can lay claim to the coveted title of Greatest Bowler of 25th Overs of the Innings In Third-Millennium Test Cricket, having taken nine wickets at 11.3, putting him ahead of Murali (9 at 17.1) and Warne (7 at 14.1).

11. Broad was also one of the finest 25-year-old bowlers in Test history. Of the 59 bowlers to have taken 25 or more wickets aged 25, Broad's 54 wickets at 18.8 place him fourth in terms of average, behind Shaun Pollock (53 at 18.0), Makhaya Ntini (44 at 17.3) and Charles "The Terror" Turner, who picked up 33 victims at 10.5 as a 25-year-old in 1888. Murali (67 wickets, average 25.1) took the most wickets aged 25, ahead of Terry Alderman (63), Steve Harmison (61) and Shane Warne (60).

12. Ntini is the only player to have batted fewer than 25 times in his first 25 Tests (he played 24 innings, scoring 152 runs at an average of 8.44), and is one of just four bowlers to have taken 25 wickets at an average of 25 in a Test series. He did so in the 2004-05 series against England. The others are Arthur Fielder (England in Australia, 1907-08), Bishan Bedi (India v England, 1972-73), and Kapil Dev (India in Australia 1991-92).

13. Joe Root scored a record 1477 Test runs as a 25-year-old. The best average by a 25-year-old in Tests (eight innings minimum) is 97.6, by Wally Hammond, ahead of Don Bradman's 94.7 and Steven Smith's 94.3.

14.The only player ever to average 25 with both bat and ball in a Test series is 1960s Australian paceman Graham McKenzie, in the 1968-69 series against West Indies, when he returned career-high aggregates with both bat (175 runs, seven dismissals) and ball (30 wickets for 758). Another 1960s stalwart, England offspinner David Allen, is the only player to average 25 with both bat and ball in a year of Tests (five Tests minimum), a feat he achieved in 1961; Wasim Akram is the only player to have a 25 average in both disciplines against a specific opponent (Australia). Mitchell Johnson averaged 25 with bat and ball in home Tests; so too does Trent Boult (at the time of writing).

15. Sachin Tendulkar is the only player to have played international cricket in 25 separate calendar years. He represented India in every year from 1989 to 2013 (Tests in all of the years, ODIs from 1989 to 2012). Wilfred Rhodes, owner of the longest international career (1899 to 1930), played in only 17 different years, due to a combination of factors including global war and international cricket not yet having become a never-ending treadmill.

16. Shane Watson has the best strike rate of the players who have faced at least 30 balls in the 25th overs of ODIs since 2001. Watson struck at 128.8, and made 134 runs off 104 balls, without being dismissed. (He has also bowled the 25th over of an ODI innings 25 times.)

17. The best 25-Test sequence by a Test batsman, unsurprisingly, belongs to Don Bradman, who made 3772 runs at 114.3, with 16 centuries, from July 1934 to July 1948. He had also made 3194 runs in a separate 25-Test run before that (his first 25 Tests). No other batsman has reached 3000 in 25 Tests. Ricky Ponting has come closest (2985 at 78.5), and Kumar Sangakkara (2968), Mohammad Yousuf (2960), Brian Lara (2958), Kane Williamson (2924) and David Warner (2904) have all come within 100 runs of 3000 in 25.

Bradman's 3194 is the most runs scored by a batsman in his first 25 Tests. Second on the list is Kevin Pietersen (2448 at 54.4), then Everton Weekes (2431 at 62.3), Viv Richards (2426 at 59.1), and Neil Harvey (2418 at 62.0).

Sure Steven Smith's Test numbers are phenom, but he can't really be called a great batsman until he gets 25 scores of 50-plus in a 25-Test sequence © Getty Images

18. The most wickets taken by a bowler in a 25-ODI sequence is 67, by Afghanistan wunderkind Rashid Khan, ahead of Allan Donald (64), Ajantha Mendis (62), Waqar Younis (60) and Trent Boult (59).

Rashid's average of 11.3 is also the lowest in a 25-match sequence in the format (100 overs minimum), ahead of Mendis (11.6), Muttiah Muralitharan (12.3), Richard Hadlee (13.1) and Waqar Younis (13.3).

19. The list of record aggregates for runs in 25 consecutive ODI innings is, predictably, dominated by current players from the run-soaked recent period of the format's history. AB de Villiers leads the way, with 1623 (2014-2015), ahead of Hashim Amla (1589, 2009-2011), Virat Kohli (1587, 2017-2018), Rohit Sharma (1581, 2014-2016), and David Warner (1567, 2016-2018).

The most runs scored by a player in the first 25 innings of his ODI career is 1306, by Babar Azam, followed by Jonathan Trott (1280), Viv Richards (1211), first-25-matches-specialist Kevin Pietersen (1189), and Quinton de Kock (1181).

20. Excluding Bradman, the best average by a Test batsman over 25 matches is Jacques Kallis' 83.5 (2839 runs, December 2003 to January 2006). Steve Waugh (82.0), Dilip Vengsarkar (80.1) and Steven Smith (80.0) have also averaged over 80 in a 25-Test sequence.

21. Steve Waugh is also one of three players to have made 25 in both innings of a Test (against New Zealand in 1989-90). Mike Gatting (England v Pakistan, 1982) and Desmond Haynes (West Indies v England, 1980-81) also nailed the challenging if not particularly impressive pair-of-25s manoeuvre.

22. No one has made 25 scores of 50-plus scores in a 25-Test sequence. Bradman, Ponting, Warner, Kallis, Sangakkara, Williamson and Shivnarine Chanderpaul have all fallen one half-century short.

23. The fewest runs scored by a batsman in 25 Tests is 34, by the undisputed Jimi Hendrix of No. 11s, Chris Martin. He anti-amassed these runs in 33 innings, at an average of 1.7, between 2000 and 2006.

24. Over the course of Test history, 25-year-olds have averaged more with the bat (30.4) than any other age of batsman below 28. Twenty-four-year-olds average 29.1, and after 25-year-olds have dipped their collective toes into the warm waters of averaging in the 30s, 26-year-olds sink back to an icy 29.5, and 27-year-olds can only muster 30.3. In ODI cricket, however, 25-year-olds average 26.7, only just ahead of 24-year-olds (26.4), but well behind 26-year-olds (28.6).

25. Twenty-five-year-old bowlers in Tests also have a better record than their neighbouring years. Collectively bowlers average 33.1 at 24, 31.5 at 25, and 32.8 at 26. However, and confirming the growing suspicion that 25-year-old cricketers are Test-match purists, they average more in ODIs at 25 (33.3) than at 24 or 26 (32.5 and 32.2).

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on BBC Radio 4, and a writer