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.
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.
(*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.
(*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.