Test cricket, as the name suggests is the sternest examination of a team's endurance and ability over four innings. Initially played as timeless affairs, Test matches have had finite durations ranging from 3-6 days. Until World War II all Tests in Australia were timeless.
Since the first Test match was played between England and Australia on 15 March 1877 in Melbourne, there have been over 2300 Test matches played by 12 different nations. England became the first nation to appear in 1000 matches when they played Australia in the first Test of their 2019-20 Ashes series.
During the course of its 143-year history, roughly 2 out of every 3 matches have produced a result - win, loss, or forfeiture. There has been only one forfeiture (fourth Test match between England and Pakistan in 2006).
On that note, let us have a look at 5 unaccomplished feats in the history of Test matches.
#1 Century by a number 11
Although a handful of players have scored a century from no. 11 in first class cricket, no one has done so in Test matches. Ashton Agar (98) came the closest to accomplishing the same for Australia against England in the first Test in Nottingham in 2013.
The debutant coming in at 117-9, stitched together an unlikely 163-run last wicket stand with Phillip Hughes (81 not out), before miscuing a pull shot to mid-wicket to be dismissed two short of what would have been a historic first hundred by a number 11 in Test cricket. Nevertheless, it is the highest score by a number 11 player in Tests.
#2 Triple century by a player batting at no. 6 or below
David Warner provided the 31st and latest instance of a Test match triple centurion when the left-handed opener stroked an unbeaten 335 for Australia against Pakistan in Adelaide in 2019. In the process, Warner joined an exclusive group of only 27 players to have scored a triple hundred in the highest echelons of the sport.
All but two of these knocks (Hanif Mohammad's 337 for Pakistan against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1957-58 and Brendon McCullum's 302 not out for New Zealand against India in Wellington in 2013-14) have come in the first innings of the match.
In terms of batting position, 16 of the 31 triple hundreds have been scored by openers, 8 by a no. 3 player, 3 by a no. 4 player, and 4 by a no. 5 player. Karun Nair of India is the latest player to bag a Test match triple batting at no. 5 when he scored an unbeaten 303 for India against England in the fifth Test in Chennai in 2016.
The highest score by a player batting at no. 6 or below belongs to Sir Donald Bradman who came in at no. 7 and scored 270 against England in the third Test match of the 1936-37 Ashes series.
#3 One player taking all 20 wickets in a match
Jim Laker became the first of only two bowlers to bag all 10 wickets in an innings when the English spinner took a stunning 10-53 in the second innings of the third Test of the 1956 Ashes series against Australia in Manchester.
The feat was later emulated by Indian spinner Anil Kumble when he took 10-74 for India against Pakistan in the second Test match in Delhi in 1999.
Earlier in that game in Manchester, Laker took 9-37 in the first innings to return withmatch figures of 19-80 which broke Sydney Barnes' record of 17-159 for England against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1913 for the most wickets in a Test. Laker's match figures of 19-90 is the closest any player has ever come to take all 20 wickets in a match.
#4 Double century in both innings
This is a feat so rare even in first class cricket that only two players have ever accomplished it.
Arthur Fagg became the first player to score double centuries in both innings of a match when he bagged scores of 244 and 202 not out for Kent against Essex in Colchester in 1938. Almost eight decades later, Angelo Perera emulated Fagg's feat by scoring 201 and 238 for Nondescripts Cricket Club against Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo in 2019.
In Tests, 69 players have scored a hundred in each innings. Graham Gooch (333 and 123* against India at Lords in 1990-91) leads a group of 4 players to have aggregated 400 runs in a Test match but no player has scored a double century in each innnings.
#5 4 wickets off 4 balls by a player
Of the 101 instances in international cricket when a player has taken wickets off 3 consecutive deliveries, 45 of such instances have happened in Test cricket while the remaining instances materialised in the shorter formats of the game (48 in one day internationals, and 8 in T20 internationals).
There have only been 3 instances of a bowler taking 4 wickets in 4 balls in international cricket - Lasith Malinga (for Sri Lanka against South Africa in the 2007 World Cup), Rashid Khan (for Afghanistan against Ireland in a T20I in 2019), and Malinga again (for Sri Lanka against New Zealand in a T20I in 2019).
However, there has been no such instance in Test matches. There have been 6 instances of a bowler taking 4 wickets in an over, but no one has taken the wickets off successive deliveries.
#Note: All statistics are as of 23 March 2020