In its 143 years of existence, Test match cricket has had a rich history that is replete with records. Since the first Test played between Australia and England in Melbourne in 1877, there have been over 2300 Test matches played by 12 different nations. This tally includes a Test apiece played by World XI, Ireland, and Afghanistan.
While England (1022) have played the most matches by any nation, it is Australia (393) who have the most wins followed by England (371), and West Indies (174). Lord's in London (139) leads a group of 4 venues (MCG, SCG and the Oval) to have hosted over 100 Tests.
On that note, let us have a look at 5 of the longest standing records in the annals of Test history.
#5 Quadruple hundred: Brian Lara (400*) in 2004 - 16 years
Brian Lara is the only player to have scored a quadruple century in Tests when the stylish left-hander scored an unbeaten knock of 400 for West Indies against England in the final Test of a 4-match series at St. John's, Antigua in 2004.
In the process, Lara reclaimed the record of the best Test score by a player by usurping Matthew Hayden's 380. Almost a decade earlier, Lara's 375 against the same opposition and at the same venue was the then best score by a player in Test history.
#4 Most wickets in a Test match: Jim Laker (19/90) in 1956 - 64 years
Jim Laker became the first bowler to take all ten wickets in a Test innings when the English spinner claimed 10-53 in the second innings of the third Test of the 1956 Ashes series against Australia in Manchester.
Earlier in that game, Laker took 9-37 in the first innings to return with match figures of 19-80 which broke Sydney Barnes' 43-year old record of 17-159 for England against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1913 for the most wickets in a Test. 19 is the most wickets taken by a player in a Test match and it is the closest any player has ever come to taking all 20 opposition wickets to fall.
#3 Hat-tricks in both innings: Thomas Mathews in 1912 - 108 years
There have been 45 instances in Test history when a player has taken three wickets off consecutive deliveries. The latest to do was Naseem Shah for Pakistan against Bangladesh in Rawalpindi in 2020.
Of the 4 players (Hugh Trumble, Stuart Broad, and Wasim Akram being the others) to have bagged a hat-trick on multiple occasions, Australian leg-spinner Jimmy Mathews is the only one to do so in both innings of a Test match, accomplishing the rare feat for Australia against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1912.
The double hat-trick was unique in other respects too as none of Mathews' 6 dismissals across both innings - which comprised two bowled, two leg-before-wicket, and two caught-and-bowled required the assistance of another fielder. South African wicket-keeper Tommy Ward, who was Matthews's third victim in the both innings is the only known instance of a player getting a king's pair (dismissed off the first ball) on debut.
#2 Highest score by a number 10: Walter Read (117) in 1884 - 136 years
All but one of the highest score by batting positions in a Test match have been carved out in the 20th century, which makes Walter Read's record a special one for its extraordinary longevity.
Read, apparently furious for coming out to bat at a lowly number 10 for England in a Test match against Australia at the Oval in 1884, stroked a fluent 117 against the visitors.
136 years later, the innings remains the highest Test score by a player batting at number 10. Reggie Duff (1904), Pat Symcox (1998), and Abul Hasan (2012) are the only players to score a Test century from that position.
A specialist batsman, Read went out as an opener in the next innings and is the first player to score a hundred on debut and in his final Test match.
#1 Highest % of runs by a player in a completed innings: Charles Bannerman in 1877 - 143 years
The first player to score a Test hundred, Charles Bannerman scored 165 in Australia's first innings total of 245 in the first-ever test match in 1877 played between Australia and England in Melbourne.
The innings holds particular significance on another count as Bannerman's contribution of 67.34% (165 out of 245) to his team total is the most by a player in a completed Test innings. Bannerman did not score another Test match hundred in his career.
More than a century later, another Australian, Michael Slater came close to breaking the oldest Test record when the opener's tea-time score of 122 in Australia's second innings score of 178-7 in the fifth Test of the 1998-99 Ashes in Sydney kept him well within Bannerman territory.
However, Slater's eventual score of 123 in his team's total of 184 (66.84%) fell just short of Bannerman's record - which still stands unconquered.