It was Karnataka's scorecard in the first innings of their recent Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Uttar Pradesh in Bangalore which inspired this theme. Karnataka's card included three scores of exactly 100 - and five ducks too. Their 349 was the lowest first-class total ever to include three individual centuries - the previous record was Somerset's 365 for 1 declared (all three men who went in made hundreds!) against Oxford University in the Parks in 1984.
The scorecard of the first Ashes Test of 1950-51 always looks bizarre at first sight. England closed their first innings at 68 for 7 - 160 behind - then Australia collapsed to 32 for 7 before declaring themselves. England needed only 193 to win... but were soon 30 for 6, and were all out next day for 122. What was happening? The secret lies in the Brisbane weather: a typical thunderstorm made the Gabba pitch almost impossible to bat on, and 20 wickets fell for 130 on the third day, even though play didn't start until 1pm.
The Women's World Cup qualifying match in Stellenbosch in February 2008 didn't last long: there were only three singles in Bermuda's innings, all by different batsmen, and seven ducks. If South Africa's bowlers hadn't conceded ten extras, it could have been really embarrassing. The hosts reached their target in four legal deliveries, as Bermuda's opening bowler Terry-Lynn Paynter added to the extras tally herself. In all, 20 of the match's 28 runs were extras - ten wides, two no-balls and two byes. There were only five scoring shots in the entire game.
One of county cricket's oddest scorecards came in Swansea in 1977, when Worcestershire's batsmen collapsed against Glamorgan... with one exception. The New Zealand opener Glenn Turner batted throughout the innings of 169, finishing up with 141 not out. The next-highest score was 7, by the No. 10, Norman Gifford, with whom Turner shared a partnership of 57. "I can't understand the other batsmen," wrote Turner later. "As each of them came out, in what looked like a disaster area, I told them there was nothing wrong with the pitch, but they didn't seem to believe me!" He thus provided 83.43% of the innings total, the highest percentage by one batsman in first-class history. The others managed 14 scoring shots between them, so it was a good thing Turner turned up.
It must have seemed like a good idea at the time: assemble a team of players whose surnames started with B to play England at Lord's, in June 1810. It probably seemed an even finer wheeze when the Bs took a first-innings lead of 37. But then the wheels fell off, and the Bs were all out for 6 in their second innings. And five of the runs came from the two players - presumably late call-ups to make up the numbers - whose names didn't even begin with B. Some statisticians (but not Wisden) regard this as a first-class match, and consequently recognise 6 as the lowest total in such games.
It's arguably the most lop-sided first-class scorecard of all: in Chesterfield in 1947, Essex were still behind Derbyshire's 223 when last man Peter Smith strolled out to join Frank Vigar. But Smith soon showed himself to be in good form, Vigar gave him the strike, and they put on 218 in two and a half hours: Smith's 163 remains the highest score in all first-class cricket by a No. 11.
Lancashire defeated Leicestershire at Old Trafford in 1956 without losing a wicket - Alan Wharton and Jack Dyson added 166 in the first innings before a declaration, and knocked off a target of 65 without being separated either. No side had previously won a first-class match without losing a wicket (it has happened a couple of times since).
It's a famous match, but the scorecard still has the capacity to amaze: after Warwickshire made 223 at Edgbaston in 1922, Hampshire crumbled to 15 all out. Warwickshire's captain Freddy Calthorpe proposed a game of golf to his opposite number Lionel Tennyson, since the match would obviously soon be over: "This brought forth an immediate flow of good Anglo-Saxon from Lionel," recalled the Hampshire allrounder Harold Day in Wisden 1962. Hampshire followed on and ran up 521, setting a target of 314... and Warwickshire barely got halfway. "At the end of the match," said Day, "Lionel gave a passable imitation of a Highland fling under the shower baths."
In the final of the Bombay Pentangular tournament in 1943, the Rest were up against it: following on after the Hindus had made 581, they were 60 for 5 when Vivek Hazare came out to join his more celebrated brother Vijay, who would go on to captain India. The fraternal double act worked: while Vivek dug in, Vijay did all the scoring. The junior brother made 21 in five and a half hours - "He blocked every ball and proved immovable," wrote Vijay admiringly. "Even Trevor Bailey could have taken his correspondence course!" The stand was eventually worth exactly 300, and Vijay made 309. But it was all in vain: no one else made more than 16, the final total was 387, and the Rest still lost by an innings.
It's the sort of scorecard you really need to read while hiding behind the sofa: the first-class debut of Dera Ismail Khan, in Lahore in December 1964, resulted in the biggest mismatch of all. Pakistan Railways - a decent side but without any Test players - ran up 910 for 6, slight overkill against a team of 11 first-class debutants from a small town 200 miles from Lahore. Dera Ismail Khan responded with totals of 32 and 27, and disappeared off the first-class map for years.
Glenn Turner's percentage record came under serious threat in Bournemouth in July 1981, when Clive Rice made 105 not out in Nottinghamshire's total of 143 (73.4%) against Hampshire, for whom the fearsome Malcolm Marshall took four wickets. Of the others, only the future England opener Tim Robinson made double figures - and he only just managed it, with ten. "Rice alone [was] able to master the movement extracted by Hampshire's bowlers," observed Wisden.
Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013