Cricket has been traced to shepherds in England who started playing the early forms of cricket sometime in the 17th century.

The first laws of cricket were written in 1774. Since then they have been changed on numerous occasions. Pretty much everything has changed since then. The early cricket bats were long curved pieces of wood resembling a thick hockey stick. The stumps consisted of two wickets and one bail in between. The only law of the game that has remained constant is the length of the pitch at 22 yards.

Speaking of the stumps, initially the afore-mentioned shepherds would bat in-front of a tree stump, hence the term “stumps”. As the game progressed it was at times played in front of a wicket-gate – which led to the term “wickets”.

Early bowlers would bowl the ball underarm – and cricket records tell stories of great underarm lob bowlers. Overarm bowling was initially illegal. It was introduced to cricket by a Kent cricketer, John Willes. He actually learnt it from his sister, Christina Willes who found her skirt was getting in the way when she tried to bowl underarm!

In 1868 an Englishman called Charles Lawrence based in Australia put together a team of aborigines and took them to England. This was the first ever Australian tour to England, and each player wore a cap of a different colour so that the spectators could identify them. The team played 47 matches against a number of local teams of which they won 14, lost 14 and drew the rest. Apart from playing cricket the aborigines showcased a number of unique sports including the backwards race, boomerang throwing and cricket ball dodging.

There are 10 ways in which a batsman can get out in cricket: Caught, Bowled, Leg Before Wicket, Run Out, Stumped, Handling the ball, Obstructing the field, Hit the ball twice, Hit Wicket, Timed out.

Sir Len Hutton is the only man to be given out Obstructing the Field in test cricket.

The first international cricket match was held between the US and Canada in 1844. The match was played in New York and Canada won by 23 runs.

In 1876-77 the English cricket team toured Australia. It is believed that the cricket tour was organized to replace a cancelled tour by Charles Dickens to Australia!

The match that is now recognized as the first official test match was played between Australia and England in Melbourne, March 15th – 19th 1877. Australia won by 45 runs. 100 years later many of the great English and Australian cricket legends descended upon Melbourne to watch the Centenary test match between Australia and England. After a remarkable matchAustralia beat England by 45 runs – the exact same margin by which they had won the inaugural match 100 years earlier.

Charles Bannerman of Australia set a number of records in that match. He faced the first ball in test cricket, scored the first run, the first four and the first century. He scored 165 not out in Australia’s 245 all out. Of all the records he set in that match one record still holds – his 165 constituted 67.34% of Australia’s total (245) – the highest percentage by a batsman in a completed test innings.

Allen Hill took the first wicket in test cricket when he dismissed Nat Thomson for 1.

Charles Bannerman, Dave Houghton (Zimbabwe) and Aminul Islam (Bangladesh) are the only cricketers to score centuries on their own and their country’s test debut.

In January 1998 England and West Indies played the shortest ever test match. Walsh and Ambrose had reduced England to 17/3 in 75 minutes (10.2 overs) and the match was then called off due to an unsafe pitch!

The longest test match of all was played between England and South Africa at Durban in 1938-39. This was a timeless test which lasted for 9 days, despite which the match ended in a draw since the England players had to leave to catch the boat back to England! Set 696 runs to win in the fourth innings they had reached an astonishing 654/5 and had a real chance of winning the match when they had to leave.

Only two test matches have ever been tied - the first between West Indies and Australia at Brisbane in 1960-61 and the second between Australia and India in Madras in 1986-87. The smallest margin of victory is 1 run when the West Indies beat Australia atAdelaide in the 4th test of the 1992-93 series. West Indies went on to win the 5th and final test and won the series 2-1.

Only thrice in the history of test cricket has a team come back from following to win a test match. Strangely enough Australia has been at the receiving end on all three occasions. At the SCG in 1894-95 Australia lost by 10 runs, having scored 586 in the first innings (the highest score by a losing team) and asking England to follow-on. The second time it happened was atHeadingley in 1981 when an inspired Ian Botham and a devastating Bob Willis helped England win by 18 runs. The last occasion was in 2000-01 at Calcutta when a VVS Laxman master-class helped by Rahul Dravid and Harbhajan Singh helped India win by an amazing 171 runs after following on.

In March 2005 India made 407 and 407/9 dec in a test against Pakistan. This is the highest "duplicate" score by a team in a test match.

At an individual level, 1982 Duleep Mendis of Sri Lanka scored 105 in both innings against India. He is the only batsman to hit identical hundreds in both innings of a test match.

Plum Warner became the first person to be knighted for his services to cricket in 1937. Jack Hobbs (1953) and Len Hutton (1956) were the next two cricket knights. Richard Hadlee (1990) is the only person to be knighted for his services to cricket while still playing test cricket. Neville Cardus was the first cricket writer to be knighted, in 1967.

The second day of the Lord's test match between England and West Indies in 2000 is the only time in the history of test cricket that a part of all 4 innings have been played on the same day.

Makhaya Ntini is the first black man to play test cricket for South Africa. Henry Olonga was the first black Zimbabwean test cricketer.

TJ Matthews once took a hat trick in both innings of a test match.

The Asian test championship is a triangular/ quadrangular test tournament which started in 1998-99. However, this is not a new idea. England hosted Australia and South Africa in a triangular tournament in 1912!

 

The first one-day international was held between England and Australia at Melbourne in 1971. Actually the first four days of a test match had been rained out, so on the final day the first ever one-day international was organized. Australia won the match.

Geoff Boycott faced the first ball in one-day cricket - not exactly the most dashing of batsmen! Graham McKenzie was the bowler.

No one has ever scored 4 successive one-day centuries. Herschelle Gibbs scored 3 successive centuries, and was on 97* when South Africa needed 4 to win. Alok Kapali bowled a wide which went for 4, and Gibbs was denied the record by the tiniest of margins!

Anthony Stuart took 5 wickets including a hat trick in his third ODI for Australia. Strangely enough he was never picked for Australia again.

Sachin Tendulkar has won 50 Man of the Match awards in ODIs - 15 clear of anyone else! He has scored over 13,000 runs in ODIs and has 38 centuries (16 clear of Ganguly in second spot). He also holds the record for the maximum successive ODIs (185) and is 8 behind Wasim Akram's record of 356 appearances.

Sourav Ganguly is the only cricketer to have won four successive Man of the Match awards in One-day Internationals.

Paul Collingwood of England is the only man to score a century and take 6 wickets in an ODI. Against Bangaldesh in 2005 he scored 112* and took 6/31 in 10 overs - truly amazing!

The Pakistan vs India ODI at Karachi in 2003-04 saw 693 runs being scored (a world record). India batting first scored 349/7 and Pakistan got within a whisker of pulling off an amazing run chase. They scored 344/8 with Inzamam scoring an inspirational 122.

At Capetown in 1992-93, the then world cup champions Pakistan were dismissed for 43 aganist the West Indies in an ODI - at that time the lowest ever. Their record was broken by Zimbabwe in 2001-02 when they scored 38 all out against Sri Lanka in 2001-02. This included the best bowling performance in ODIS - 8/19 by Chaminda Vaas. Sri Lanka then dismissed Canada for 36in the 2002-03 world cup, but Zimbabwe wanted the record back. In 2004 they reclaimed their dubious distinction with a 35 all out, again against Sri Lanka.

In the early 1980s in an ODI between England and West Indies, the Windies needed 4 runs off the last ball and so England captain, Mike Brearley put all the fielders and the wicket-keeper on the fence to prevent a boundary from being scored. Fielding restrictions were then introduced in the Benson & Hedges Cup in Australia, and were adopted for all ODIs after the 1992 world cup. In 2005 these fielding restrictions have been changed in an attempt to make the game more interesting.

In the third match of a best of 5 finals in the Benson & Hedges cup in 1980-81 New Zealand needed 15 runs off the last over. In the first five balls Trevor Chappell dismissed Richard Hadlee and Ian Smith but conceding 8 runs. Off the last ball Brian McKechnie needed to hit a six to force a tie. Trevor's brother Greg instructed him to bowl the ball underarm. He did so, causing great furore and probably the greatest cricket controversy since the Bodyline series in 1932-33.

While he only played 12 tests with limited success, Alfred 'Tich' Freeman is possibly the greatest first-class bowler ever. A short leg-spin googly bowler, he took 3,776 first-class wickets (second only to Wilfred Rhodes) and is the only bowler to take 300 wickets in a single-season (in 1928). He took over 200 wickets in the next seven seasons, and remains the only man to take all 10 wickets in an innings thrice and 17 wickets in a match twice.

One of the greatest all-rounders in the true sense was CB Fry. He captained England at cricket, played for England in football an equaled the world long-jump record. Away from sport he was offered the Kingship of Albania, he represented India at the League of Nations, and Hitler consulted him when he was developing the Youth Programme in Germany.

Sir Donald George Bradman must surely be the greatest batsman of all time. In his last test innings at the Oval in 1948 he needed 4 runs to end with an average of 100. He was bowled by Eric Hollies for a duck. His test average of 99.94 and first-class average of 95.14 are both world records. His 974 runs in a single test series is also a record. He scored two triple centuries and 12 double centuries in test cricket and was once left stranded on 299*.

Brian Lara of the West Indies is the only other man to score two test triple centuries. He is also the only man to claim the test world record twice. He first set the world record in 1994 scoring 375 versus England at Antigua. In 2004, 6 months after Mathew Hayden had broken his world record, Lara reclaimed his record with 400*, again versus England at Antigua. That's not all, he also holds the world record first-class score of 501* for Warwickshire against Durham.

Bill Ponsford is the only other man to score two first-class quadruple centuries.

Playing for Maharashtra vs. Kathiawar in 1948-49, Bhausaheb Nimbalkar had scored 443* by the end of Day 2 in a 3-day match. He was just 9 short of Bradman's first-class world record of 452* but the Kathiawar had had enough punishment and conceded the match to Maharashtra. Another theory doing the rounds is that Nimbalkar himself had to go get married and so would not have been able to bat on Day 3 anyway.

While Sir Don Bradman is regarded by most as the greatest batsman of all time there is still debate about who is the greatest bowler in test history. A strong contender to the title is Sydney Barnes of England who took 189 wickets in just 27 tests. He also took 24 five-fors and still holds the world record for 49 wickets in a test series (he played just 4 matches in the series). He ended his career with a bowling average of 16.43 (number 5 on the all time list) and a strike rate of 41.65 (3rd best ever). He remains the only player to be regularly picked for England while playing League cricket - for Stafforshire.

Another contender for the greatest test bowler title is another Englishman, George Lohmann. He has the best bowling average (an astonishing 10.75 per wicket) and the best strike rate (a wicket every 34.1 balls). He also has the third best bowling analysis of 9/28, after Laker's and Kumble's ten-fors.

At the Lord's test match in 1990 Graham Gooch of England scored 333 and 123 - the only time in the history of first-class cricket that a batsman scored a triple century and a century in the same match. Mark Taylor of Australia came very close to equaling this record when he scored 334* in the first innings and was dismissed for 91 in the second versus Pakistan.

Arthur Fagg who played for Kent is the only man to score two double centuries in the same first-class match.

In the same test match, India needed 454 to avoid the follow-on. At 430/9 Kapil Dev took strike against Eddie Hemmings and after two dot balls hit the next four balls for six - a record in test cricket. Next ball Narendra Hirwani was dismissed by Angus Fraser.

Lala Amarnath is the only person to have got Sir Don Bradman out hit-wicket in test cricket. Probir Sen is the only keeper to have stumped the Don in tests.

Maurice Turnbull actually was a triple international. He played cricket for England and hockey and rugby for Wales and he also won the South Wales Squash Championship! He was killed in in WW-II aged just 38.

While he only played 12 tests with limited success, Alfred 'Tich' Freeman is possibly the greatest first-class bowler ever. A short leg-spin googly bowler, he took 3,776 first-class wickets (second only to Wilfred Rhodes) and is the only bowler to take 300 wickets in a single-season (in 1928). He took over 200 wickets in the next seven seasons, and remains the only man to take all 10 wickets in an innings thrice and 17 wickets in a match twice.

One of the greatest all-rounders in the true sense was CB Fry. He captained England at cricket, played for England in football an equaled the world long-jump record. Away from sport he was offered the Kingship of Albania, he represented India at the League of Nations, and Hitler consulted him when he was developing the Youth Programme in Germany.

Sir Donald George Bradman must surely be the greatest batsman of all time. In his last test innings at the Oval in 1948 he needed 4 runs to end with an average of 100. He was bowled by Eric Hollies for a duck. His test average of 99.94 and first-class average of 95.14 are both world records. His 974 runs in a single test series is also a record. He scored two triple centuries and 12 double centuries in test cricket and was once left stranded on 299*.

Brian Lara of the West Indies is the only other man to score two test triple centuries. He is also the only man to claim the test world record twice. He first set the world record in 1994 scoring 375 versus England at Antigua. In 2004, 6 months after Mathew Hayden had broken his world record, Lara reclaimed his record with 400*, again versus England at Antigua. That's not all, he also holds the world record first-class score of 501* for Warwickshire against Durham.

Bill Ponsford is the only other man to score two first-class quadruple centuries.

Playing for Maharashtra vs. Kathiawar in 1948-49, Bhausaheb Nimbalkar had scored 443* by the end of Day 2 in a 3-day match. He was just 9 short of Bradman's first-class world record of 452* but the Kathiawar had had enough punishment and conceded the match to Maharashtra. Another theory doing the rounds is that Nimbalkar himself had to go get married and so would not have been able to bat on Day 3 anyway.

While Sir Don Bradman is regarded by most as the greatest batsman of all time there is still debate about who is the greatest bowler in test history. A strong contender to the title is Sydney Barnes of England who took 189 wickets in just 27 tests. He also took 24 five-fors and still holds the world record for 49 wickets in a test series (he played just 4 matches in the series). He ended his career with a bowling average of 16.43 (number 5 on the all time list) and a strike rate of 41.65 (3rd best ever). He remains the only player to be regularly picked for England while playing League cricket - for Stafforshire.

Another contender for the greatest test bowler title is another Englishman, George Lohmann. He has the best bowling average (an astonishing 10.75 per wicket) and the best strike rate (a wicket every 34.1 balls). He also has the third best bowling analysis of 9/28, after Laker's and Kumble's ten-fors.

At the Lord's test match in 1990 Graham Gooch of England scored 333 and 123 - the only time in the history of first-class cricket that a batsman scored a triple century and a century in the same match. Mark Taylor of Australia came very close to equaling this record when he scored 334* in the first innings and was dismissed for 91 in the second versus Pakistan.

Arthur Fagg who played for Kent is the only man to score two double centuries in the same first-class match.

In the same test match, India needed 454 to avoid the follow-on. At 430/9 Kapil Dev took strike against Eddie Hemmings and after two dot balls hit the next four balls for six - a record in test cricket. Next ball Narendra Hirwani was dismissed by Angus Fraser.

Lala Amarnath is the only person to have got Sir Don Bradman out hit-wicket in test cricket. Probir Sen is the only keeper to have stumped the Don in tests.

Maurice Turnbull actually was a triple international. He played cricket for England and hockey and rugby for Wales and he also won the South Wales Squash Championship! He was killed in in WW-II aged just 38.

 

While he only played 12 tests with limited success, Alfred 'Tich' Freeman is possibly the greatest first-class bowler ever. A short leg-spin googly bowler, he took 3,776 first-class wickets (second only to Wilfred Rhodes) and is the only bowler to take 300 wickets in a single-season (in 1928). He took over 200 wickets in the next seven seasons, and remains the only man to take all 10 wickets in an innings thrice and 17 wickets in a match twice.

One of the greatest all-rounders in the true sense was CB Fry. He captained England at cricket, played for England in football an equaled the world long-jump record. Away from sport he was offered the Kingship of Albania, he represented India at the League of Nations, and Hitler consulted him when he was developing the Youth Programme in Germany.

Sir Donald George Bradman must surely be the greatest batsman of all time. In his last test innings at the Oval in 1948 he needed 4 runs to end with an average of 100. He was bowled by Eric Hollies for a duck. His test average of 99.94 and first-class average of 95.14 are both world records. His 974 runs in a single test series is also a record. He scored two triple centuries and 12 double centuries in test cricket and was once left stranded on 299*.

Brian Lara of the West Indies is the only other man to score two test triple centuries. He is also the only man to claim the test world record twice. He first set the world record in 1994 scoring 375 versus England at Antigua. In 2004, 6 months after Mathew Hayden had broken his world record, Lara reclaimed his record with 400*, again versus England at Antigua. That's not all, he also holds the world record first-class score of 501* for Warwickshire against Durham.

Bill Ponsford is the only other man to score two first-class quadruple centuries.

Playing for Maharashtra vs. Kathiawar in 1948-49, Bhausaheb Nimbalkar had scored 443* by the end of Day 2 in a 3-day match. He was just 9 short of Bradman's first-class world record of 452* but the Kathiawar had had enough punishment and conceded the match to Maharashtra. Another theory doing the rounds is that Nimbalkar himself had to go get married and so would not have been able to bat on Day 3 anyway.

While Sir Don Bradman is regarded by most as the greatest batsman of all time there is still debate about who is the greatest bowler in test history. A strong contender to the title is Sydney Barnes of England who took 189 wickets in just 27 tests. He also took 24 five-fors and still holds the world record for 49 wickets in a test series (he played just 4 matches in the series). He ended his career with a bowling average of 16.43 (number 5 on the all time list) and a strike rate of 41.65 (3rd best ever). He remains the only player to be regularly picked for England while playing League cricket - for Stafforshire.

Another contender for the greatest test bowler title is another Englishman, George Lohmann. He has the best bowling average (an astonishing 10.75 per wicket) and the best strike rate (a wicket every 34.1 balls). He also has the third best bowling analysis of 9/28, after Laker's and Kumble's ten-fors.

At the Lord's test match in 1990 Graham Gooch of England scored 333 and 123 - the only time in the history of first-class cricket that a batsman scored a triple century and a century in the same match. Mark Taylor of Australia came very close to equaling this record when he scored 334* in the first innings and was dismissed for 91 in the second versus Pakistan.

Arthur Fagg who played for Kent is the only man to score two double centuries in the same first-class match.

In the same test match, India needed 454 to avoid the follow-on. At 430/9 Kapil Dev took strike against Eddie Hemmings and after two dot balls hit the next four balls for six - a record in test cricket. Next ball Narendra Hirwani was dismissed by Angus Fraser.

Lala Amarnath is the only person to have got Sir Don Bradman out hit-wicket in test cricket. Probir Sen is the only keeper to have stumped the Don in tests.

Maurice Turnbull actually was a triple international. He played cricket for England and hockey and rugby for Wales and he also won the South Wales Squash Championship! He was killed in in WW-II aged just 38.