Adam Lyth sprints towards a thousand runs as Joe Root and Yorkshire CCC take control at Kent
IT HAS not happened since 1988 and only twice since the start of the Second World War.
There have been only nine instances of it occurring in total and many wonder whether it will happen again.
One consequence of the introduction of The Hundred, however, leading to an abundance of County Championship cricket at the start of the season, is that it theoretically gives batsmen the chance to score 1,000 first-class runs by the end of May.
Yorkshire play seven Championship games by then – some counties play eight – meaning that players potentially have between 14 and 16 innings to achieve one of cricket’s rarest feats. Considering that he became the first to 300 runs in this year’s Championship against Kent on Saturday, Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth has as good a chance as anyone of joining the club.
For not only had no one scored more runs than him, but surely no one is playing better than a man who still has hopes of adding to his tally of seven Test appearances.
Whether that proves realistic remains to be seen; it is six years since the 33-year-old was chosen for two Tests against New Zealand and five against Australia, matches which brought him 265 runs at 20.38 against very good attacks.
But 1,000 runs before the end of May would at least make England sit up and take notice, if nothing else, not to mention ignite Yorkshire’s chances of winning their first silverware since the year that Lyth last played Test cricket.
Opportunity knocks for every player, indeed, and Lyth’s second hundred in as many games in this year’s tournament maintained his red-hot streak.
The previous week he made 52 and 115 not out against Glamorgan at Headingley; in this match he scored 97 and 116, narrowly failing to become the first Yorkshire player since Gary Ballance against Hampshire at Southampton in 2017 to score two centuries in the same game.
Factor in the final pre-season friendly against Durham MCCU, when he returned from a calf injury to score 52 and 50 retired out, and Lyth has actually started the season with six successive scores of fifty-plus.
He already has 380 Championship runs at 126.66, with potentially another 10 innings to get the remaining 620 needed to reach four-figures in time.
Since the reduction in first-class games made it harder to achieve, only Graeme Hick in 1988 and Glenn Turner in 1973 have performed the feat since the 1930s.
The others, in chronological order, are W.G Grace (1895), Tom Hayward (1900), Wally Hammond (1927), Charlie Hallows (1928), Don Bradman (1930 and 1938) and Bill Edrich (1938).
Lyth’s tour de force underpinned a good Saturday for Yorkshire at Canterbuty, who declared on 330-5, a lead of 444, with England captain Joe Root contributing 101, his first hundred of the season, and Harry Brook an undefeated 66.
Kent closed on 33-2.