When Sir Don Bradman retired in August 1948, he was the second highest Test scorer with 6,996 whilst Wally Hammond scored 7,249.
Now, 64 years later, a six off Ravindra Jadeja in the 135th took English batsman Ian Bell past his record and the 7,000-run mark sending the West Indian legend down to number 47.
Bell announced his arrival at the 7,000-run club in style. After a gutsy innings, he struck a beautiful six to reach this extraordinary run mark in the pinnacle format.
The fact that all those runs were coming off Jadeja must have been the icing on the cake for the English team.
But not only did that six bring up his 7,000 runs, it also got him his 21st century, and a well timed one, having gone 19 attempts without a Test hundred.
That’s not the end of the story either. That six also brought England up to 400 runs, their first of the series which put them in a commanding position.
When one six can make such an impact in numerous ways, it has to be the moment of the day.
England cricketer Moeen Ali risked disciplinary action after the International Cricket Council (ICC) said they were “investigating” his decision to wear wristbands in support of Gaza during the third Test match against India yesterday.
Ali wore wristbands that read “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine”, while batting during England’s first innings at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. An ICC spokesman said: “We’re investigating and will report in due course.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board was able to clarify, meanwhile, that it was unaware beforehand of Moeen’s plans to wear the wristbands but will not be asking him to take them off.
A spokesman added: “We don’t believe he has committed any offence.”
The ICC regulations prohibit players from displaying political, religious or racial statements on their clothing and equipment while taking part in international matches.
The 27-year-old Ali, a practising Muslim of Pakistani descent, was photographed earlier this week helping raise funds for Gaza relief efforts in his home city of Birmingham in central England.
The Worcestershire all-rounder’s wristbands were only on public display for 42 minutes while he made 12 runs off 28 balls before he was caught off India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Later while fielding Moeen continued to wear the wristbands.
Ian Bell vented his frustrations on India’s bowlers, but was equally delighted at being able to help debutant Jos Buttler make such a success of his maiden Test innings at the Ageas Bowl.
Bell (167) cashed in impressively as he ended his run of 19 Test innings without a century, sharing stands of 142 with Gary Ballance (156) and then 106 with Buttler (85) to ensure England piled up 569 for seven declared.
After James Anderson then took the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan in India’s 25 for one at stumps on day two of this third Test, England could begin to hope for a series-levelling victory.
For Bell, there were several reasons for satisfaction on an emotional day – he looked skywards, on reaching his hundred, in memory of grandfather William who died earlier this month.
The help he was able to give Buttler, almost caught at slip on nought during a nervy start to his international career, was especially rewarding too for one of England’s most established senior players.
Bell said of Buttler: “He was outstanding. I think he nicked one that didn’t quite carry… and it looked like he was thinking a little bit too much. We spoke after that about playing the way he plays – the natural instinct he has.
“As soon as that happened, he got off with a nice back-foot punch for three – and from then on he looked like the Jos Buttler that we see play county cricket or one-day internationals.”
Buttler was dropped again on 23 at slip, and should have been stumped on 59.
But in an innings which ideally fit the match situation, his nine fours and three sixes off 83 balls were an instant reminder of the limitedovers deeds which have got him into the Test reckoning.
“That’s the kind of player he is, and has to be… see the ball, and hit the ball,” added Bell. “If we get platforms for him to come in, he’s going to come in and move that scoreboard on and get us into matchwinning positions – no doubt.”
Bell’s own return to form was much-needed by England.
“It’s been really frustrating, for all of us,” he said. “I’ve been finding strange ways to get out, getting starts, and not going on.
“As a batting unit, we want to get back to those kind of habits – 560 declared, rather than the bowlers getting us to 450.”