Ask The Spider #90

Who was the first player to notch a century before lunch on the first day of a Test match?

That honour fell to Australia’s Victor Trumper, who scored 103 at Old Trafford in 1902 scorecard – presumably the excitement of the achievement got to him, as he was out shortly after lunch for 104. Three other players have since achieved this feat, CG Macartney scorecard, Don Bradman (during his 334 against England at Leeds in 1930 scorecard) and Majid Khan scorecard.

Who has scored the most runs before lunch on any day of a Test?

England’s Leslie Ames moved his score from 25* to 148*, a total of 123 runs, against South Africa at The Oval in 1935.

How about the other sessions?

The first to score a century between luncn and tea was Australia’s Jack Gregory, with 112 against South Africa at Johannesburg in 1921-22; the highest number of runs scored between lunch and tea is 173 by Dennis Compton for England against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in 1954. The first to score a century between tea and stumps was George Bonnor (Aus), with 113 batting at number eight for Australia against England at Sydney in 1884-85; the most runs ever scored between tea and stumps is 140 by New Zealand’s Ian Smith, batting at number nine against India at Auckland in 1989-90.

How about the fastest fifty?

The fastest Test fifty in terms of time was 22 minutes by the great Victor Trumper against South Africa at Johannesburg in 1902-03, some four minutes quicker than the next fastest, Jack Brown for England in the Ashes Test at Melbourne in 1894-95. In terms of balls faced, the record holder is Jacques Kallis, with a fifty from only 24 balls against Zimbabwe at Cape Town in 2004-05, eclipsing the previous record of 26 balls by Ian Botham vs India at Delhi in 1981-82.

And the fastest ton?

From a time perspective, Jack Gregory again figures, with his ton in the match against South Africa (see above) coming in only 70 minutes, being five minutes quicker than Gilbert Jessop’s famous match-winning knock against the Australians at The Oval in 1902. In terms of balls faced, Viv Richard’s immortal knock against England at St John’s in 1985-86 is fastest by a significant amount, his 56 balls being eleven balls shorter than Gregory’s knock.

Who has the quickest double century?

During his 334 at Leeds in 1930, Bradman reached 200 in only 214 minutes. Nathan Astle almost emulated this during his scintillating knock against England at Christchurch in 2001-02, taking 217 minutes, but was much quicker in terms of balls faced, racing to his double century in only 153 balls, eclipsing Adam Gilchrist’s 212 balls against South Africa just a few weeks earlier.

And finally, who holds the record for most runs in a day?

Once more, Bradman’s great innings of 334 includes this record, with 309 runs on the first day. No other player has scored more than 300 runs in a single day, the closest being Walter Hammond’s 295 during his epic 336* vs New Zealand at Auckland in 1932-33.

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