The column that answers your questions November 17, 2003

Captains in conflict, and the most runs without a wicket

The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch, the editor of Wisden Cricinfo, answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket

The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:

Shaun Pollock: what's a captain doing with the new ball?

I remember during the 1982-83 series between India and Pakistan Imran Khan quite often bowled the first ball of the match to his rival captain, Sunil Gavaskar. How often has this happened in Tests? asks Devendra from Bombay

You're quite right, it is very rare. It happened three times in that 1982-83 series, in the second, third and sixth Tests. And there have only been seven other instances in Test history - and five of them involve Pakistan, who are obviously less worried than the other countries about appointing fast bowlers as captains! The first instance was at Lord's in 1924, when Arthur Gilligan bowled the first ball of the match to South Africa's captain Herbie Taylor. At Lahore in 1958-59 Fazal Mahmood started to West Indies' Gerry Alexander, and it didn't happen again until the 1982-83 series mentioned above. Since then Imran Khan started successive matches in 1989-90 (at Faisalabad and Lahore) by bowling to his opposite number Kris Srikkanth of India. Then Wasim Akram took over: at Brisbane in 1995-96 he bowled the first ball of the match to Mark Taylor, and at The Oval in 1996 he kicked off to Mike Atherton. The last entry on the list to date came at Centurion last November, when Shaun Pollock started the ball rolling to Marvan Atapattu.

I enjoyed your interview with Raymond Price last week. I noticed that when Matthew Hayden made his 380 poor old Price finished the innings with 0 for 187 - is this a record for someone not taking a wicket? asks Dominic Wood

I'm sure Ray Price will be relieved to hear that it isn't a Test record - at Kingston in 1957-58, when Garry Sobers made his 365 not out, Khan Mohammad of Pakistan toiled through 54 overs and returned figures of 0 for 259. He wasn't helped by the fact that his new-ball partner Mahmood Hussain pulled a thigh muscle in his first over, and another bowler (Nasim-ul-Ghani) broke his thumb after 15 overs. West Indies made 790 for 3 declared in all - Fazal Mahmood toiled through 85.2 overs and conceded 247 runs, but at least he managed two wickets. Many years later I bumped into Khan Mohammad at Lord's, where he used to do some coaching. He smiled when reminded of that pasting: "Everyone always talks about my 0 for 259," he said. "They never talk about when I got Len Hutton out for a duck, at Lord's in 1954!"

Has anyone ever shared hundred partnerships for all ten wickets in Tests? asks Sujoy Ghosh

No-one has managed all ten, but six people have been involved in century stands for eight of the ten wickets - Colin Cowdrey and Alec Stewart of England, Australia's Steve Waugh, Dilip Sardesai and Ravi Shastri of India, and Pakistan's Zaheer Abbas. W augh, the only current player, is only missing the first and tenth wickets from his collection - so if he goes in first against India we'll know he has been reading this. In ODIs the record is seven, by Sourav Ganguly, who has so far shared in hundred partnerships for each of the first seven wickets.

In the recent first Test against West Indies at Harare, Zimbabwe's Numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9 all scored half-centuries - how often has that happened in Tests? asks Jeremy Gilling

That's a great spot, because it has only happened once before in Test history - and again it was Zimbabwe that did it. At Harare this time the batsmen were Stuart Matsikenyeri (57), Tatenda Taibu (83), Heath Streak (127*) and Andy Blignaut (91). Streak was involved the only other time it happened, too - in the first Test against Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2001-02. Then, No. 6 Craig Wishart made 94, Douglas Marillier 73, Streak 65 and Travis Friend 81. The only other time that Numbers 6-11 have produced four half-centuries between them was at Old Trafford in 1934, when Maurice Leyland (153), Les Ames (72), No. 9 Gubby Allen (61) and No. 10 Hedley Verity (60*) all did so for England in the third Test against Australia.

When Australia played West Indies in 1990-91 six different bowlers took five wickets in an innings during the series. Was that a record? asks Stephen Vagg

Surprisingly, it turned out to be quite a long way from the record. In the 1909 Ashes series in England no fewer than ten different bowlers took five-fors - Sydney Barnes, Colin Blythe, Douglas Carr, George Hirst, Bert Relf and Wilfred Rhodes for England, and Warwick Armstrong, "Tibby" Cotter, Frank Laver and Charlie Macartney for Australia. In the 1951-52 Australia-West Indies series nine different men managed it - Gerry Gomez, Sonny Ramadhin, John Trim, Alf Valentine and Frank Worrell for West Indies, and Bill Johnston, Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller and Doug Ring for the Aussies. And there are six instances of eight different bowlers doing it, in the following series: Australia v England 1884-85, England v Australia 1905, Australia v England 1936-37, Pakistan v India 1954-55, England v Australia 1997, and Australia v England 1998-99.

You've been talking about Andy Ganteaume, who made a hundred in his only Test innings, but Rodney Redmond played only one Test for New Zealand, scoring 107 and 56 - why on earth didn't he play again? asks Chris Elliott from Johannesburg

Rodney Redmond was a tallish, attacking left-hander who was just as unlucky as Ganteaume. He made his debut in the third Test against Pakistan in 1972-73, and did indeed hit 107 - in 145 minutes, with 20 fours and a five - in the first innings (he and Glenn Turner put on 159), and added 56 in the second. That match, at Auckland, was a peculiar one - Pakistan made 402, a total New Zealand matched exactly, thanks to a record tenth-wicket partnership of 151 between Brian Hastings and Richard Collinge. Redmond took his Test average of 81.50 on New Zealand's subsequent tour of England - but he struggled to come to terms with the pitches and with new contact lenses, and John Parker (who had played in England before) was preferred in the Tests. Overall Redmond made only 483 runs (28.41) on that tour. He played on for Auckland (he started with Wellington) until 1975-76 but, troubled by indifferent eyesight, was never selected for another Test. He now lives in Perth, Western Australia, but his son Aaron has moved back to New Zealand, where he attended the NZ Cricket Academy and now plays as a legspinner for Canterbury.

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 The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.