Test cricket is the purest and the oldest format of the gentleman’s game. Despite the action-packed nature of white-ball cricket, Test cricket has its own place in the cricketing folklore. Every kid dreams of representing his country in the purest format of the game.
Since cricket is a numbers game, there have been players who have come and gone on to break several records in Test cricket. While some of the records might seem breachable, others might hardly be.
On that note, we bring you 11 Test cricket records that might never get broken:
11. Sachin Tendulkar – 200 Test matches
Arguably the greatest batsman of the modern era, Sachin Tendulkar is widely regarded as the ‘God of Cricket’. He has witnessed Team India’s highs and lows in cricket, having debuted in 1989 and retiring in 2013.
Sachin is not only the top run-getter in the purest format but also the most-capped player in Test cricket history. He played exactly 200 matches in the longest format of the game, which is arguably a massive mountain to climb.
England’s Jimmy Anderson is next on the list with 161* matches.
10. Graeme Smith – 109 Tests as captain
Graeme Smith became the youngest player to lead the Proteas in 2003 and the rest is history. He took South Africa to new heights in Test cricket and is widely regarded as one of the most successful and inspirational skippers of all time.
Smith not only has the most wins as captain in Test cricket but also the most number of matches played as captain. During his Test career (2003-14), Smith led the Proteas in 109 outings, winning 53 and losing just 29 matches.
9. Rahul Dravid – 210 catches
Former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid was not only a vastly accomplished Test batsman, but he also had the safest pair of hands. He played 164 Tests and is the fourth all-time run-scorer in Test cricket.
Dravid was also an excellent fielder during his playing days. In 164 Tests, Dravid took 210 catches. New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, who has taken 156* catches, is next on the list.
8. Muttiah Muralitharan – 800 wickets
Muttiah Muralitharan is arguably the greatest bowler of all time. Throughout his 19-year-old career, Muralitharan wreaked havoc with his trademark ‘Doosra’ and not many batsmen managed to get the better of him.
While his 534 ODI wickets remain the highest in the 50-over format, his record of 800 Test wickets remains a bridge too far for many. He achieved this milestone in his final and 132nd Tests.
While Shane Warne’s tally of 708 wickets comes next, none of the bowlers from the current crop comes close to Muralitharan. James Anderson has 616 wickets but he is already in the twilight of his career.
7. Sri Lanka – Highest total of 952
Sri Lanka amassed 952 runs against India in 1997 in Colombo, a record that stands to date. In reply to India’s 537 after centuries from Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin, and Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sri Lanka, inspired by Sanath Jayasuriya’s 340 and Roshan Mahanama’s 225, the Lankan Lions piled up 952 runs.
The Test ended in a draw with both teams managing an innings each. The next best score is England’s 938, which they racked up back in 1938. Most recently, New Zealand amassed 715 against Bangladesh in Hamilton.
6. Alastair Cook – 159 consecutive matches
Widely regarded as one of the greatest openers in Test cricket, Alastair Cook is England’s leading run-scorer in the longest format. He amassed 12472 runs in 161 Tests at an average of 45.35 and with the help of 33 centuries.
Apart from his exploits with the bat, Cook has a unique record to his name. From the 11th of May 2006 till his final Test in September 2018, the 36-year-old never missed a Test for the Three Lions (159 Tests in a row).
In June 2018, he broke former Australian skipper Allan Border’s record of playing 153 consecutive Tests. Currently, Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon has played 78 successive Tests and has a long way to go.
5. Ricky Ponting – 108 Test wins
For more than a decade, Australia dominated world cricket in both Tests and ODIs, thanks largely to the brilliance of Ricky Ponting. While the Aussies still remain a formidable outfit, none could match the aura they had previously.
In September 2011, Ricky Ponting became the first and only player to be part of 100 Test victories. Overall, he was involved in 108 Test wins. Currently, England’s James Anderson has 72 wins.
4. Jim Laker – 19 wickets in a match
Former England spinner Jim Laker ran riot against the Australian batting line-up when the two teams met at the Old Trafford in Manchester in 1956. After England managed a total of 459, Laker took nine wickets to bundle Australia out for a paltry 84 in the first innings.
Though the visitors faired slightly better in the second innings, Jim Laker’s wickets tally got even better. He ran past the entire batting line-up as Australia were bowled out for 205. England won the game by an innings and 170 runs.
3. Mark Boucher – 555 dismissals
Mark Boucher was a vital member of the South African team that ruled world cricket for a considerable number of years. Though an ICC trophy eluded them, the Proteas dominated their opponents in Test cricket.
Regarded as one of the finest wicketkeepers of all time, Boucher was pretty handy with the bat as well. In 147 Tests, Boucher affected 555 dismissals, including 532 catches and 23 stumpings.
Amongst the current crop of wicketkeepers, New Zealand’s BJ Watling has 260 dismissals to his name. However, he will hang his boots after the upcoming World Test Championship Final against India.
2. Mahela Jayawardene-Kumar Sangakkara 624-run partnership
Apart from boasting the biggest total in a Test inning, the Sri Lankan cricket team also holds the record of the highest-ever partnership in Test cricket history. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene put on a batting masterclass against the South African bowling attack in Colombo in 2006.
After restricting the visitors for a paltry 169 in the first innings, the hosts lost two early wickets before Sangakkara and Jayawardene showcased their class. The pair threaded a mammoth 624 runs before Sangakkara was dismissed on 287. The Lankans declared their innings at 756 after Jayawardene’s persistence came to an end at 374, his career-best total.
1. Sir Don Bradman – batting average of 99.94
Arguably the greatest batsman of all time, Sir Donald Bradman had a knack for scoring runs. Though he played just 52 Tests from 1928-48, Bradman had a jaw-dropping batting average of 99.94.
In his career, Bradman amassed 6996 runs with 29 centuries and 13 fifties. Currently, Australia’s Steve Smith has the highest batting average of 61.80.