Ask The Spider #108

Which batsman scored 1,000 Test runs in the fewest innings?

Surprisingly, it wasn’t Don Bradman, who took 13 innings. England’s Herbert Sutcliffe and West Indies’ Everton Weekes both amassed 1,000 Test runs in only 12 innings. At that time, Sutcliffe’s average was 92.27, Weekes’ 85.33 and Bradman 99.66, but they were all eclipsed by Neil Harvey, who was averaging 103.30 when he passed 1,000 runs.

How about the second 1,000 runs – who went from 1,000 to 2,000 in the fewest innings?

This time Bradman is tops, taking just nine innings to pass 2,000 runs, and at the same time becoming quickest to 2,000, in just 22 innings, a full ten innings quicker than the next man, George Headley. At that point, Bradman’s average was 100.71 (Harvey’s had dropped to 60.72 by the time he went past 2,000). Not far behind Bradman’s phenomenal second-thousand scoring was Viv Richards who, after a slow start taking 25 innings to reach 1,000 runs, needed only another 11 to pass 2,000, in the process raising his average from 46.43 to 64.14 despite having no not outs in the period.

Bradman famously needed only four runs in his last innings to average 100.00, but how did his average hold up during his career milestones?

As he passed 3,000 runs, Bradman’s average was 100.66, then progressed as follows:- 4,000 (94.48), 5,000 (99.54), 6,000 (98.43). In his next innings after passing 6,000 (his 69th), Bradman hit 127* to push his average back over 100. A seven in his 76th innings dropped him back below 100, until a 173* against England in his penultimate innings saw his average at 101.39, before the most famous duck in history pushed him to the most well-known average in cricket, 99.94.

As Bradman never made it to 7,000 runs, which batsman was quickest to that milestone?

Bradman’s great rival Walter Hammond stuck around long enough to become the quickest ever to reach that milestone, needing 131 innings to reach 7,002 runs (average 60.88). Other milestones were: – 8,000 runs in 154 innings by Sachin Tendulkar; 9,000 runs in 177 innings by Brian Lara (two fewer than Tendulkar); Lara and Tendulkar tied for 10,000 runs in 195 innings; Lara was quickest to 11,000 (211 innings), while only Tendulkar has surpassed 12,000 (247 innings) and 13,000 runs (266 innings).

Tendulkar being the only batsman to reach those last two milestones, out of interest how many innings have each of his thousand runs taken?

The table below shows the progress in terms of innings:-

1,000 28
2,000 16
3,000 23
4,000 19
5,000 17
6,000 17
7,000 16
8,000 18
9,000 25
10,000 16
11,000 28
12,000 24
13,000 19

A spurt of run-making between 3,000 and 8,000 took his average from 49.04 after 75 innings to 57.58 after 154 innings, and after slowing the pace a bit his most recent 1,000 runs sees him picking up the pace somewhat.

What about bowling – who was quickest to 100 wickets?

The great George Lohmann reached 100 wickets in the fewest number of Tests, requiring only 16 to give him 6.25 wickets per Test (average 10.55). Three players reached the same milestone in 17 Tests, Charlie Turner (avg 16.53), SF Barnes (avg 21.44) and Clarrie Grimmett (avg 28.06). Since WWII, Ian Botham and Andy Roberts have been quickest, both passing 100 Test wickets in their 19th games, at 18.97 and 21.42 respectively.

How about the other milestones?

The table below shows who was first to the various wicket-taking milestones:-

150 SF Barnes (24 Tests, avg 17.83)
200 Clarrie Grimmett (36 Tests, avg 24.91)
250 Dennis Lillee (48 Tests, avg 23.37)
300 Dennis Lillee (56 Tests, avg 22.83)

All milestones above 300 wickets have been reached quickest by Muttiah Muralitharan, and by a significant margin:-

400 72 Tests, avg 22.53
500 87 Tests, avg 22.89
600 101 Tests, avg 22.27
700 113 Tests, avg 21.33

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