Following England’s comprehensive victory at Lord’s, we think it appropriate to mention some of the milestones reached and to highlight others that may be passed during the course of the series.
First up, Kevin Pietersen’s double-century means he has now scored 6,031 Test runs in only 129 innings. By comparison, Andrew Strauss has scored only 134 more runs in 24 more innings.
The race to be the first Englishman to score 23 Test centuries (Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoffrey Boycott all scored 22) continues to offer an intriguing subplot: Strauss has 19, one more than both Alastair Cook and Pietersen. Ian Bell lurks further back with 14. The loose change down the back of our sofa will be wagered that Cook overtakes the current leaders first, but that both Pietersen and Bell also surpass that figure. The skipper? Let’s just say we don’t bet very often around our way.
Incidentally, Pietersen has now scored three double hundreds; the only other Englishmen to score at least three are Len Hutton (four) and that man Hammond (seven). It should also be of interest that only four others have scored two: Graham Gooch, Dennis Amiss, David Gower and, of course, Jonathan Trott.
Meanwhile Matt Prior has now scored 2,452 runs in Test matches, enough to lift him into the top 20 (actually the top 18) all-time run-scoring wicket-keepers. As for those in an England shirt, only Alec Stewart and Alan Knott scored more runs, though in many more matches. Perhaps more pertinently, of wicket-keepers who played regularly, only Andy Flower and Adam Gilchrist averaged more than Prior’s 45.50. His Indian counterpart MS Dhoni only averages 38.32.
Turning to the bowlers, Jimmy Anderson’s seven wickets have taken him to 226 and beyond both Steve Harmison (222) and Andrew Flintoff (219). He is now tenth in the all-time England list and looks set to surpass Darren Gough (229), Andrew Caddick (234) and Alec Bedser (236) very soon. Beyond them lie Matthew Hoggard (248) and Brian Statham (252), both of whose tallies are clearly achievable. Indeed, we think he will eventually become the fourth Englishman to reach 300 wickets, though Ian Botham’s 383 is probably insurmountable.
Looking further down the list, there are a host of England bowlers from previous eras who have taken between 140 and 150 Test wickets. Graeme Swann is also there on 142, one behind Ashley Giles. He must stand a reasonable chance of getting to 150 before the end of this series, unless the seamers’ brilliance limits his chances to take wickets.
Although on a cautionary note individual milestones can sometimes denote longevity rather than pure excellence, those listed in particular are further reason for England (supporters, selectors and players) to be cheerful.