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Top 10 Most Unbeatable Cricket Records

Cricket doesn't get any better than this.

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Cricket is a game piled high with records and statistics. I've picked ten that ought to be unbeatable and stand the test of time.

1. Don Bradman's 99.94 Test Career Batting Average

1948 TEST CRICKET
Hulton Archive/

In 80 Test cricket innings, Don Bradman -- aka 'The Don' -- scored his runs at an average of 99.94. The next guy on the Test batting averages list managed a tick over 60. We can do all sorts of mathematical comparisons with these numbers but they would all show one thing: Bradman is the best batsman the game has seen. That Test average of 99.94 is a number you need to know, a kind of shorthand for Bradman's exceptional talent. Just for good measure, his overall first-class average of 95.14 is unlikely to be beaten either.

2. Muttiah Muralitharan's 1347 International Wickets

Murali was only 20 when he first bowled for Sri Lanka. He turned a few heads with his unusual style, not to mentioned sparked a few controversies, but it soon proved effective as he baffled batsmen around the world. Nearly 20 years later, he had 800 Test wickets, 534 one-day international wickets -- both records -- as well as 13 Twenty20 International wickets. For someone to challenge Muralitharan's numbers, they would have to be capable of bowling for long periods of a match, remain injury-free for two decades, and be consistently amongst the best bowlers on the international circuit. It's conceivable, but they will have to be as freakish as Murali.

3. Jack Hobbs' 61,760 First-Class Runs

The game we call cricket simply is not the same game that Sir Jack Hobbs dominated in the early part of the 20th Century. Matches were longer, conditions tougher, and international schedules were limited (of Hobbs' 834 first-class matches, only 61 were Tests). It was a game for gentlemen of leisure, not an intensely physical sport played by professional athletes. It's fitting, then, that Hobbs was by all accounts a true gentleman, and his favourite pastime was to score copious amounts of runs. The game has moved on from Hobbs' era, making his 61,760 first-class runs a relic rather than a realistic target, but he will always be remembered as a legend of the game.

4. Jim Laker's Test Match Bowling Figures of 19/90

That shorthand stands for 19 wickets, 90 runs. In other words, out of 20 Australian wickets to fall at Old Trafford in 1956, England off-spinner Jim Laker missed only one. Ten wickets in a Test match is considered an exceptional achievement; 19 victims is absurd. By comparison, Laker's England colleagues sent down 123 overs between them and only managed one wicket. Ten wickets in a Test innings has been repeated - Anil Kumble did it 1999 - but 19 in a match? We'll almost certainly never see it again.

5. Wilfred Rhodes' 4204 First-Class Wickets

Like Jack Hobbs, Wilfred Rhodes played in a less strenuous era, such that it was possible for him to bowl his slow left-arm spin for England well into his fifties. 4204 career wickets is a testament to his longevity in the game, although you don't set this kind of record without being competitive. To be sure that Rhodes' record will never be topped, you need only look at Muttiah Muralitharan, who took roughly half as many wickets in a twenty-year career.

6. Australia's 16 Consecutive Test Wins

It isn't entirely surprising that Australia were capable of this feat during their recent golden years. They managed 16 consecutive Test match wins twice, first between 1999-2001 under Steve Waugh and second between 2005-2008 under Ricky Ponting, and nobody would have doubted that they had the talent and desire to do it. However, the real problem with beating this record is the weather. Cricket relies on sunny skies more than most other sports, and the conditions in which Test cricket can be played are strict. A team even playing 16 consecutive Tests without weather interruption is unusual, let alone winning them all. If it ever happens again, you can chalk it up to luck just as much as to skill.

7. Chaminda Vaas' One Day International Bowling Figures of 8/19

left-arm pacer Chaminda Vaas scalped the best one day international bowling figures of all time in 2001. Vaas is still the only player to take eight wickets in a one day international. It's possible, of course, that someone in the future could take nine or even ten, but to do so would be miraculous given the batsman-centric nature of ODIs.

8. Graham Gooch's 456 Runs in a Test Match

In 1990, England captain Graham Gooch hit the highest peak of his prolific career by scoring 456 runs in one Test against India. His 333 in the first innings would have given him glory enough, but he then went out and smashed a quick 123 in the second innings as England chased a win, which they duly managed. Super-long innings are becoming rarer and rarer in Test cricket as the influence of Twenty20 extends to the longest form of the game, so it's hard to see Gooch's mark being surpassed.

9. Phil Simmons' Economy Rate of 0.3 in a One Day International

If you bowl out ten overs in a one-dayer, the yardstick for a good performance to finish with an economy rate of less than four runs per over (that's under 40 runs conceded). Against Pakistan in 1992, the West Indies' Phil Simmons gave away just three runs for an economy rate of 0.3 runs per over. ODIs have become much more attack-minded since, so Simmons -- who was primarily a batsman -- can be confident that his run rate won't be bettered.

10. Chris Gayle's Twenty20 Hundred Off 30 Balls

In the early days of Twenty20 cricket, back in 2004, Australian Andrew Symonds bludgeoned a hundred for the English county team Kent off just 34 balls. That record stood until IPL 2013, in which Chris Gayle's 175 not out for Royal Challengers Bangalore came off an incredible 30 balls. It was the fastest hundred in the history of top-level cricket and also beat Brendon McCullum's seemingly unbeatable Twenty20 high score of 158 not out. 200 by a single player in a Twenty20 match now looks achievable, but a century off 30 balls? That's purely astonishing.

This article was updated on 28 April 2013 to reflect that the previous record at number ten, Brendon McCullum's Twenty20 score of 158*, had fallen.

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