On 12th September 1901, the artistic English batsman CB Fry made a record that is still unbroken till date. Fry was one of the greatest batsmen of cricket’s golden age in the early 20th century and his partnership with Ranjitsinhji was the stuff of legends.
The match was the posthumous benefit match of the Cambridge University star and Kent mainstay William Yardley, played between Yorkshire and the Rest of the England. Fry turned up for the rest of the England along with other stars like Albert Trott and Gilbert Jessop. Yorkshire had their two great all-rounders George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes and other greats like John Tunnicliffe. Fry was already in a great form in that season. In his last five First-class matches his scores were 88 and 106 at Portsmouth; 209 at Hove; 149 at Hove; 105 at The Oval. Already five consecutive centuries were scored by the great man.
The match started on 12th September with the Rest of England batting first. Fry came to bat at 107/2 and joined George Beldam. Fry was in a good nick and looked set from the beginning. He and Beldam added 94 before Beldam was out to Rhodes. The big hitter Gilbert Jessop walked in and started hitting from the beginning. It was a treat for the crowds at Lord’s as Jessop’s big-hitting and powerful shots were beautifully supported by the serene nature of Fry’s batting. Fry reached his fifty but soon Jessop overtook him and kept playing his shots smashing all bowlers of Yorkshire. Jessop scored his hundred before Fry who not at all impacted by that and kept playing at his normal pace. Fry finally reached his hundred after three hours of batting and put his name on the record books. It was the 6th consecutive hundred by Fry and no other batsmen reached that mark earlier.
He was soon out for 105 and left the ground among thunderous applause from the crowd. Jessop kept playing and finally scored 233 out of the total of 526 for the Rest’s. Then it was Albert Trott’s turn to shine and he took 13 wickets in the match for 170 runs to beat Yorkshire by an innings and 115 runs.
Although, Jessop and Trott were the outstanding performers in that match, Fry’s effort also remained memorable as no batsman could break that report till day. However, the great Don Bradman and Mike Procter equalled the record in 1938/38 and 1970/71 season respectively.