During November, the series between India and New Zealand saw Harbhajan Singh score his maiden Test century, with the off-spinner making 115 in the opening match of the rubber at Motera. This was Harbhajan’s 122nd innings at Test level, yet it is another Indian spinner who holds the record for the most number of innings in Test cricket before scoring a hundred with Anil Kumble making 110 against England at The Oval in 2007 during his 151st Test innings. In fact, Harbhajan only lies third in the all-time list, behind Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka who struck 100 not out in his 141st Test innings against Bangladesh at Colombo in 2007.
But Harbhajan, Kumble or Vaas were nowhere near the all-time first-class record held by Bob Taylor, the former Derbyshire and England wicketkeeper, who scored his maiden century in his 745th first-class innings when making 100 against Yorkshire at Abbeydale Park, Sheffield, in 1981. Derek Underwood, the great left-arm spinner with Kent and England, also posted his maiden first-class hundred in his 617th innings when making 111 against Sussex at Hastings in 1984.
Two other players also took more than 500 innings in which to score a first-class hundred – Stuart Boyes of Hampshire in his 569th innings and William Attewell of Nottinghamshire in his 564th innings. Given the number of first-class matches played by the modern cricketer, Taylor’s record of 745 innings before reaching a hundred looks unlikely to be broken.
Another excellent wicketkeeper – David Evans of Glamorgan – also holds the record in English cricket for scoring the most number of runs without ever posting a half-century. In 364 first-class innings between 1956 and 1969, Evans made 2,875 runs with his highest score being 46 not out made against Oxford University at The Parks in 1961.