With Australia facing a massive task to avoid defeat in the third test, one’s mind turns to the records of previous large losses and large scores.
The biggest loss on record in first class cricket came about in Pakistan in 1964, possibly as a result of a mistake by a club secretary or a clerical error when a minor team was mistakenly entered in a serious competition. The result was a loss by an innings and 850 runs. The winning team, Lahore Railways was based in the city of Lahore and sponsored by the national railways. The other side came from the town of Dera Ismail Khan, with a population less than 100,000.
Railways won the toss and batted first, scoring 910 for six declared, with centuries from Ijaz Hussain (124), Javed Babar (200), Pervez Akhtar (337*) and Mohammad Sharif (106*). They then dismissed Dera Ismail Khan for 32 (Afaq Khan took seven for 14) and 27 (Ahad Khan took nine for 7) to win by an innings and 851 runs.
In 1926 Victoria inflicted a similar indignity on NSW when they scored 1107 runs to win by an innings and 638 runs.
New South Wales won the toss and batted first, scoring 221. Victoria replied with a world record 1,107 including centuries from Bill Woodfull (133), Bill Ponsford (352), “Stork” Hendry (100) and Jack Ryder (295); Arthur Mailey finished with bowling figures of four for 362. In their second innings New South Wales made 230 (Albert Hartkopf took six for 98), losing by an innings and 656 runs.
The score card. Arthur Mailey played for NSW. Being one of the wits of the game (10 for 66 and all that) he passed a number of droll comments. After bowling 64 (8 ball) overs with the figures of 4 for 362 he complained that he was just striking a length. He also pointed out that his figures would have been much better had not three sitters been dropped off his bowling — “two by a man in the pavilion wearing a bowler hat” and one by an unfortunate team-mate whom he consoled with the words “I’m expecting to take a wicket any day now.”