Some unknown things that you don’t know about cricket

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Peter Parfitt
Peter Parfitt

Who was the first man to play 50 Tests?

Allan Lamb made three centuries against West Indies in 1984, he only scored 386 runs in all. Has anyone ever scored three centuries but fewer runs in a single Test series?

Peter Parfitt
Peter Parfitt

Rather surprisingly, perhaps, there are three lower series aggregates than Allan Lamb’s 386 in 1984 to include three individual centuries. Polly Umrigar made 382 runs in the five Tests of India’s 1960-61 home series against Pakistan, while Ian Bell made 375 in four Tests for England at home to Pakistan in 2006. But leading the way (if that’s the right phrase) is England’s Peter Parfitt: in the five-Test home series against Pakistan in 1962, he made 340 runs in five innings, with three centuries. Lamb does lead the way in one respect: he batted ten times in that 5-0 black wash, and his average of 42.88 is the lowest of anyone who scored three centuries in a Test series. Next comes Michael Slater, with 460 runs at 46.00 in the 1998-99 Ashes; no one else who scored three hundreds in a series averaged under 50.

  • How many wicket keepers have scored a century on Test debut, as Tom Blundell did in Wellington?
Tom Blundell
Tom Blundell

Tom Blundell’s 107 not out for New Zealand against West Indies in Wellington last week gained him admittance to a surprisingly small club: only three previous players have scored a century on Test debut in a match in which they kept wicket. The first was Sri Lanka’s Brandon Kuruppu, with a 13-hour unbeaten 201 against New Zealand in Colombo in 1986-87. He was joined by another Sri Lankan, Romesh Kaluwitharana, who scored 132 not out against Australia, also in Colombo, in 1992-93. And Matt Prior hit 126 not out on debut for England, against West Indies at Lord’s in 2007.

This excludes Test-debut centurions who kept wicket at some stage in their career but not in their first match, such as Paul Gibb and Billy Griffith of England, and Australia’s Wayne Phillips. For the full list of players who have scored a hundred on Test debut.

  • I know that Colin Cowdrey was the first man to play 100 Tests. But who was the first to 50? And 150?

The first man to complete a half-century of Test appearances was Australia’s Syd Gregory, who managed to make eight Test-playing tours of England between 1890 and 1912. Gregory’s 50th Test was the fourth one of the 1909 Ashes series, at Old Trafford. At that time another Australian, Monty Noble, was next on the list, with 41.

Colin Cowdrey became the first to 100 caps at Edgbaston in 1968, the third Test of that year’s Ashes series. At the time Cowdrey’s old Kent and England team-mate Godfrey Evans was in second place, with 91 appearances. The first to 75 had been England’s Wally Hammond, in 1939.

 The first to 150 was Allan Border, in December 1993; his nearest challenger was Kapil Dev, with 127 caps. The first to play in 125 Tests had been Sunil Gavaskar, in 1986-87. Sachin Tendulkar became the first man – and only one so far – to play 200 Test matches, when he rounded off his stellar career against West Indies in Mumbai in November 2013.

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