Congratulations Rafa Nadal, 13 French Open titles, an unbelievable five clear of the next best. It’s a record that’s unlikely to ever be broken – something us cricket fans know a little about.
So if your tennis-mad friends start going feverish with Rafa-record-ramblings, here are five of the most monstrous cricket achievements to gently remind them that our game has its fair selection of history makers too.
Bradman’s staggering average
We’ll start big. We doubt anybody will ever better Sir Don Bradman’s Test Match average of 99.94. In 80 innings, he smashed 6996 runs, including 29 centuries and a high score of 334.
The Don also holds another seemingly unbeatable record, knocking up the most runs in a five-match series with 974 runs in the 1930 Ashes. The batsman led Australia to a 2-1 series win in England, striking 8 & 131 at Trent Bridge, 254 & 1 at Lord’s, 334 at Headingley, 14 in Manchester and 232 at The Oval.
The second best Test average by the way, among those to play at least 20 innings, is Marnus Labuschagne with 63.43, so the Don is almost a third better than the next best. Oh, and Bradman’s first-class average is also the highest, at 95.14.
Brian Charles ‘501 Not Out’ Lara
Brian Lara, The Prince of Port of Spain, a legendary batsman and serial record achiever. The Trinidadian is the only player to have scored a quintuple-hundred in first-class cricket, making 501 not out for Warwickshire against Derbyshire at Edgbaston in 1994. The knock ended a streak of seven hundreds in eight first-class innings, a run which started with his 375 against England at Antigua.
Ten years later he scored 400 not out against the same opponents at the same ground to retake the record of the highest individual score in a Test match. He did like going big. He also liked going quick, and he shares the record for most runs in a single over in a Test match, when he scored 28 runs off an over by Robin Peterson of South Africa in 2003.
Jimmy and the big 6-0-0
Turning to the bowlers and it’s easy to mention Muttiah Muralitharans’ international wicket haul with 800 Test wickets, 534 ODI dismissals and 13 T20I scalps.
But we think Jimmy Anderson’s 600 Test wickets as a seamer is truly unbeatable. Across 156 matches the King of Swing has averaged 26.79 with 29 five-wicket hauls and best figures of 7-42.
His 17-year (and counting) Test career as a fast bowler is staggering, which is why we don’t think the 600 wickets for a quick record will be matched anytime soon. Well, unless Stuart Broad can keep those #LegsPumping.
Hobbs’ 199 first-class hundreds
Sir Jack Hobbs is a legend of the game and the leading run scorer and century maker in first-class cricket with 61,760 runs and 199 tons. The latter vies with Bradman for the title of Cricket’s Greatest Near Miss Which Is Still Loads Better Than The Next Best, with Patsy Hendren a distant 29 tons behind in second place.
He was also pretty impressive on the international stage, finishing with Test numbers of 5,410 runs at 56.94 with 15 hundreds. Imagine what he could have done if the First World War didn’t rob him of four years in his prime.
Laker takes 19-90
England’s Jim Laker took a staggering 19 wickets for 90 runs against Australia at Old Trafford in 1956. The off-spinner’s spell was so destructive, we’ll likely never see anything like it again.
Laker nabbed 9-37 in the first innings and 10-53 in the second. The other man to get a wicket was left-armer Tony Lock. The feat of taking ten wickets in an innings at Test level has only been matched once since, by Anil Kumble in 1999 for India against Pakistan. To also take nine in the other innings in the same Test looks unbeatable. No one has matched the effort in first-class cricket.