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The column where we answer your questions
December 22, 2003
The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket. India's spectacular win at Adelaide last week leads the way this time:
Ricky Ponting had to be happy with kisses ... and no win at Adelaide
© Getty Images
By coincidence I had this question a few weeks ago. As you can see from that one the highest Test total that resulted in defeat remains 586, by Australia against England at Sydney in 1894-95. Australia's total in last week's thriller at Adelaide comes in third.
Ricky Ponting made a double-century at Adelaide but still lost - has
that happened before in a Test? asked lots of people from
Well, it happened again that week - Brian Lara made 202 for West Indies against South Africa at Johannesburg, but also finished up on the losing side. Actually Lara has done this twice: he also scored 221 against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo in 2001-02, and West Indies lost that one by 10 wickets. There have been nine other instances of a player scoring a double-century in a Test but losing. The first was in 1894-95, in the famous match mentioned in the first question, when Syd Gregory made 201 for Australia v England at Sydney. The others are: Aubrey Faulkner, 204 for South Africa v Australia, Melbourne, 1910-11; Victor Trumper, 214* for Australia in the very next Test, at Adelaide, 1910-11; Len Hutton, 202* for England at The Oval, 1950, in a match West Indies won by an innings; Neil Harvey, 205 for Australia v South Africa at Melbourne, 1952-53; Graeme Pollock, 209 for South Africa v Australia at Cape Town, 1966-67; Dennis Amiss, 203 for England v West Indies at The Oval, 1976; Matthew Hayden, 203 for Australia v India at Chennai, 2000-01; and Nathan Astle, 222 for New Zealand v England at Christchurch, 2001-02. There was a record for Ponting, though: his 242 is the highest score by anyone who has finished on the losing side in a Test, beating Astle's 222.
At Adelaide Matthew Hayden was caught by 18-year-old Parthiv
Patel off the bowling of Irfan Pathan, who's 19. Is this the youngest
combination to take a Test wicket? asked some sharp-eyed
The combined total of just over 37 years is indeed very low, but actually comes in quite a long way down the list, if we go by the published dates of birth of international players (there is some doubt about one or two of them). The youngest combination, chiming in at a few weeks over 33 years, dismissed Craig Wishart of Zimbabwe in the second Test against Bangladesh at Chittagong in 2001-02. Wishart was caught by Mohammad Sharif, who was a month short of his 16th birthday at the time, off the legspin of Mohammad Ashraful, who was a veteran of 17. Bangladesh occupy the next three places on the list, with three different catches by Alok Kapali off his fellow teenager Talha Jubair. The first non-Bangladesh entry was a combined total of just over 36 years, when Gordon Greenidge was caught by Zahid Fazal (17) off the bowling off Waqar Younis (19) for West Indies v Pakistan at Lahore in 1990-91. Greenidge himself was 39 at the time, so was older than the fielding combination that dismissed him. The only Indian combination younger than the Patel-Pathan one came at Old Trafford in 1990, when England's Angus Fraser was caught by Sachin Tendulkar (17) off the bowling of the 19-year-old debutant Anil Kumble.
Rahul Dravid is in an elite club with the King
© Getty Images
The only other man who fits that particular bill is Viv Richards, who scored Test double-centuries for West Indies in both England (Trent Bridge and The Oval 1976) and Australia (Melbourne 1984-85). Ten other men have passed 200 in two countries other than their own - Greg Chappell, Sunil Gavaskar, Gordon Greenidge, Walter Hammond, Javed Miandad, Rohan Kanhai, Gary Kirsten, Bob Simpson, Mark Taylor and Yousuf Youhana. And Brian Lara has actually now managed it in three overseas countries: 277 in Australia, 221 in Sri Lanka, and now 202 in South Africa.
In the second Test at Kandy England's Mark Butcher was stumped
in both innings. Has this ever happened before? asks Albert
Sanders from Staines
It has actually occurred 15 previous times in Tests - but only once in the last 47 years. The one before Butcher was Jeff Dujon of West Indies, who was stumped twice by India's Kiran More off Narendra Hirwani at Madras in 1987-88. That was the match in which Hirwani grabbed 16 wickets on his debut - and More nabbed a Test-record six stumpings. The previous double sufferer, against West Indies at Christchurch in 1955-56, was New Zealand's Bert Sutcliffe. That means there were 14 double-stumpings in the first 422 Tests, and only two in around 1250 Tests since then. I can't really explain that, other than to suggest that batting has become more scientific over the years, and that batsmen probably don't waltz down the pitch to spinners quite as gaily as they used to. It's not that the other batsmen to be stumped twice were all tailend sloggers: the list includes recognised batsmen of the calibre of Wally Hammond (in 1938-39), Frank Worrell (1950), Tom Hayward (1907) and AN "Monkey" Hornby (1884). For the record, the others are Bobby Peel (1894-95), Cec Parkin (1920-21), Winston Place (1947-48) and Malcolm Hilton (1951-52) of England; the South Africans Claude Newberry and Reginald Hands, both in 1913-14, and Hugh Tayfield in 1949-50; and Ivan Barrow (1930-31) and Robert Christiani (1952-53) of West Indies.
I couldn't answer this quiz question recently: Winston Churchill was
which England captain's fag while at school? asks Peter
First, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with England's public-school system, I'd better explain that a "fag" in this context means a junior boy who ran errands for a senior one. Churchill, Britain's famous wartime prime minister, went to Harrow School in the 1880s, and in his early days there he fagged for Stanley Jackson, a Yorkshireman who went on to captain England and become a Cabinet minister (and later the Governor of Bengal in India). Jackson played 20 Tests for England, all of them at home as he couldn't spare the time to tour, and rounded off his career in a memorable Ashes series in 1905. Captaining England for the first time, he won all five tosses, topped the batting and bowling averages for both sides, with 492 runs at 70.28 and 13 wickets at 15.46 - and, most importantly, won the series 2-0. In fact, according to a recent biography of Jackson, Churchill actually fagged for two England captains, having earlier served Archie MacLaren as well. Maybe that will get you a bonus point in your quiz!
Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden Cricinfo. For some of these answers he was helped by Travis Basevi, the man who built Stats Guru and the Wisden Wizard. If you want to Ask Steven a question, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.
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