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Test Records: The Numbers That Define the Extremes of a Sport

Jishnu Brahmaputra
December 10, 2021, 10:20
200
Test Records: The Numbers That Define the Extremes of a Sport

Due to the nature of cricket, it has more kinds of records than almost any other sport. Some records stand tall as testaments to commanding skill, while others hide in the shadows as monuments to mind-numbing incompetence. Nevertheless, all records have their own significance, and have been carved into the annals of history as remarkable points in a storied sport.

Of the two primary disciplines, we will begin with most runs scored by a batsman.

Most runs (List of top 10 players with the most Test runs)

Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 0
SR Tendulkar (INDIA) 1989-2013 200 329 33 15921 248* 53.78 51 68 14
RT Ponting (AUS) 1995-2012 168 287 29 13378 257 51.85 41 62 17
JH Kallis (ICC/SA) 1995-2013 166 280 40 13289 224 55.37 45 58 16
R Dravid (ICC/INDIA) 1996-2012 164 286 32 13288 270 52.31 36 63 8
AN Cook (ENG) 2006-2018 161 291 16 12472 294 45.35 33 57 9
KC Sangakkara (SL) 2000-2015 134 233 17 12400 319 57.40 38 52 11
BC Lara (ICC/WI) 1990-2006 131 232 6 11953 400* 52.88 34 48 17
S Chanderpaul (WI) 1994-2015 164 280 49 11867 203* 51.37 30 66 15
DPMD Jayawardene (SL) 1997-2014 149 252 15 11814 374 49.84 34 50 15
AR Border (AUS) 1978-1994 156 265 44 11174 205 50.56 27 63 11

While all of these players were exceptional at their trade, Sachin Tendulkar takes the top spot. Inarguably one of the greatest batters of all time, Tendulkar has been borderline deified by his fans — who can be found in every corner of the world. The most remarkable part of his career was its longevity and consistency. A special mention goes to Jacques Kallis for being one of only two genuine all-rounders on this list.

Next up, we have the highest individual scores by batters.

High scores (List of top 10 players with the highest individual Test scores)

Player Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s Team Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard
BC Lara 400* 778 582 43 4 West Indies v England St John’s 10 Apr 2004 Test # 1696
ML Hayden 380 622 437 38 11 Australia v Zimbabwe Perth 9 Oct 2003 Test # 1661
BC Lara 375 766 538 45 0 West Indies v England St John’s 16 Apr 1994 Test # 1259
DPMD Jayawardene 374 752 572 43 1 Sri Lanka v South Africa Colombo (SSC) 27 Jul 2006 Test # 1810
GS Sobers 365* 614 38 0 West Indies v Pakistan Kingston 26 Feb 1958 Test # 450
L Hutton 364 797 847 35 0 England v Australia The Oval 20 Aug 1938 Test # 266
ST Jayasuriya 340 799 578 36 2 Sri Lanka v India Colombo (RPS) 2 Aug 1997 Test # 1374
Hanif Mohammad 337 970 24 0 Pakistan v West Indies Bridgetown 17 Jan 1958 Test # 446
WR Hammond 336* 318 34 10 England v New Zealand Auckland 31 Mar 1933 Test # 226
DA Warner 335* 554 418 39 1 Australia v Pakistan Adelaide 29 Nov 2019 Test # 2372

It’s a mark of just how good he was that Brian Lara broke the record twice, becoming the only man in Test cricket history to score 400 runs and reclaiming his record just 6 months after Matthew Hayden had broken it. On the other hand, considering the kind of batters India has produced over the years, it’s a little surprising not to see a single Indian on this list. Virender Sehwag and Karun Nair are the only Indians to have crossed 300 — a feat the former achieved twice.

Now let’s move on to bowling, with the top Test wicket takers.

Most wickets (List of top 10 players with the most Test wickets)

Player Span Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5 10
M Muralitharan (ICC/SL) 1992-2010 133 230 44039 18180 800 9/51 16/220 22.72 2.47 55.0 67 22
SK Warne (AUS) 1992-2007 145 273 40705 17995 708 8/71 12/128 25.41 2.65 57.4 37 10
JM Anderson (ENG) 2003-2021 166 309 35772 16827 632 7/42 11/71 26.62 2.82 56.6 31 3
A Kumble (INDIA) 1990-2008 132 236 40850 18355 619 10/74 14/149 29.65 2.69 65.9 35 8
GD McGrath (AUS) 1993-2007 124 243 29248 12186 563 8/24 10/27 21.64 2.49 51.9 29 3
SCJ Broad (ENG) 2007-2021 149 274 29863 14590 524 8/15 11/121 27.84 2.93 56.9 18 3
CA Walsh (WI) 1984-2001 132 242 30019 12688 519 7/37 13/55 24.44 2.53 57.8 22 3
DW Steyn (SA) 2004-2019 93 171 18608 10077 439 7/51 11/60 22.95 3.24 42.3 26 5
N Kapil Dev (INDIA) 1978-1994 131 227 27740 12867 434 9/83 11/146 29.64 2.78 63.9 23 2
HMRKB Herath (SL) 1999-2018 93 170 25993 12157 433 9/127 14/184 28.07 2.80 60.0 34 9

It’s strange to see such a massive disparity between numbers 1 through 10, but it just goes to show how important longevity and consistency are for bowlers. Muttiah Muralitharan leads the way with a massive 800 wickets, with Shane Warne close behind with 708. The only current players on this list are James Anderson and Stuart Broad, while the only genuine all-rounder is Kapil Dev.

And finally, we’ll take a look at the best figures by a bowler in a single innings.

Best bowling figures in an innings (List of top 10 players with the best bowling figures in a Test innings)

Player Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Econ Team Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard
JC Laker 51.2 23 53 10 1.03 England v Australia Manchester 26 Jul 1956 Test # 428
A Kumble 26.3 9 74 10 2.79 India v Pakistan Delhi 4 Feb 1999 Test # 1443
AY Patel 47.5 12 119 10 2.48 New Zealand v India Mumbai 3 Dec 2021 Test # 2438
GA Lohmann 14.2×5 6 28 9 2.33 England v South Africa Johannesburg 2 Mar 1896 Test # 48
JC Laker 16.4 4 37 9 2.22 England v Australia Manchester 26 Jul 1956 Test # 428
M Muralitharan 40.0 19 51 9 1.27 Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe Kandy 4 Jan 2002 Test # 1583
RJ Hadlee 23.4 4 52 9 2.19 New Zealand v Australia Brisbane 8 Nov 1985 Test # 1029
Abdul Qadir 37.0 13 56 9 1.51 Pakistan v England Lahore 25 Nov 1987 Test # 1081
DE Malcolm 16.3 2 57 9 3.45 England v South Africa The Oval 18 Aug 1994 Test # 1266
M Muralitharan 54.2 27 65 9 1.19 Sri Lanka v England The Oval 27 Aug 1998 Test # 1423

With Ajaz Patel recently joining the hallowed ranks of perfect tenners, this list looks a little different than it would have last week. However, the person topping it has been there for over 65 years now, and if probability is a thing, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.

For a statistics-heavy game like cricket, records are a matter of great interest. Who knows, maybe by the time you read this, these lists will be obsolete.

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