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Left-handers dominating, and a subbing double

The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket

Steven Lynch

March 29, 2004

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

Adam Sanford: rare right-handed runscorer © Getty Images

I spotted that when West Indies were bowled out for 47, only three runs came from right-handers - is that the lowest percentage in any Test innings? asked Jeremy Goldstein from London

For a while - until the No. 9 batsman Adam Sanford squeezed a single - it looked as if there wouldn't be any runs from right-handers in that innings at Kingston. But eventually, you're right, there were three runs by right-handers, which was 7.69% of the runs off the bat in the innings. That comes in third in the list, for completed innings: the lowest is 1.81%, by West Indies against New Zealand at Wellington in 1999-2000, when only three of the 169 runs off the bat in the first innings came from right-handers (all by Nehemiah Perry, in fact). But there was one batsman absent hurt in that innings - Daren Ganga, a right-hander. Next on the list, with only 11 out of 164 runs off right-handers' bats (7.19%), was by Zimbabwe v Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 1993-94. All of them batted in that one, with the left-handed opener Mark Dekker carrying his bat for 68.

Has anyone ever been caught out twice in the same Test by the same substitute? asked Jim McDonald

This unlikely fate befell England's Neil Fairbrother, in the third Test against Pakistan at Karachi in 1987-88. In the first innings he was caught by the sub, Asif Mujtaba, off Salim Jaffer, and in the second he was snapped up by Mujtaba again, off Abdul Qadir. Ian Healy was caught by different substitutes - Maqsood Rana in the first innings, Aamer Malik in the second - in Australia's second Test against Pakistan at Adelaide in 1989-90.

Steve Harmison dismissed four West Indians for a duck in the second innings at Kingston - is that a record by a single bowler in a single Test innings? asked Dan Carroll from Brisbane

Stephen Harmison joins a whole bunch of bowlers who have inflicted four ducks in a single innings - this was the 24th instance - but the record is actually five, which has happened three times. In 1947-48 Ray Lindwall removed five batsmen without scoring in the course of his 7 for 38 for Australia v India at Adelaide. It didn't happen again for 31 years, before Sarfraz Nawaz did it in the course of an astonishing spell (he took 7 for 1 at one stage) for Pakistan v Australia at Melbourne in 1978-79. And Jermaine Lawson removed five Bangladeshis for ducks during his 6 for 3 for West Indies at Dhaka in 2002-03.

Was England's total at Kingston the highest in which the highest score came from extras? asked Geoff Stout

It was indeed - 60 of England's 339 runs in the first innings at Kingston came from extras. It knocked off another England innings in West Indies - they scored 315 at Port-of-Spain in 1985-86, with the highest contributor again being extras (59). And West Indies are third on the list too - when Australia ran up 248 at Georgetown in 1990-91, extras top-scored with 53.

Who has scored the most fifties in Tests without ever managing a century? asked Rino Luppino from Adelaide

Top of this list of nearly-men is Chetan Chauhan, the Indian opener, who passed 50 on 16 occasions without ever making it to three figures. Until recently also had the record for most runs without a Test century (2084), but he's now been overtaken by Shane Warne, who had made 2285 before the third Test in Sri Lanka. Ken "Slasher" Mackay, the gum-chewing Aussie of the 1950s, made 13 half-centuries but no hundreds, while Deryck Murray of West Indies and the Australian opener Bruce Laird both made 11. Together on 10 are Jock Cameron of South Africa, the West Indian Malcolm Marshall, and the Middlesex and England pair of John Emburey and Fred Titmus.

I was wondering which batsman has been involved in the most sub-100 innings in Test matches - could it possibly be Brian Lara? asked Marlon Khan from Trinidad

The fateful 47 at Kingston was actually the sixth time that Brian Lara had been part of a Test innings of less than 100 (the same goes for Ridley Jacobs). Courtney Walsh holds the West Indian record, with seven. But two players were part of 11 double-figure Test totals. The first was the early Australian wicketkeeper Jack Blackham, and his record is perhaps understandable, given the generally poor standard of pitches in the 19th century. That was equalled by New Zealand's John Reid, helped (if that's the right word) by the terrible record of his 1958 touring side in England - they were dismissed for less than 100 five times in their ten outings in the series. Reid's long-suffering team-mate Bert Sutcliffe was involved in nine of those, and is joined on that mark by Alick Bannerman, Syd Gregory and Charlie Turner of Australia, and the South African Dave Nourse.

There's an afterthought to one of last week's answers, from Mohandas Menon in India:

Some more examples of players born on the same day appearing in the same Test: MV Narasimha Rao and Yashpal Sharma (both born on Aug 11, 1954) played together twice for India v Australia in 1979-80, while Ashok Malhotra and Shivlal Yadav (born Jan 26, 1957) played together in three Tests for India against West Indies in 1983-84. Kim Hughes, who captained Australia in both those matches, was also born on the same day. For England Patsy Hendren and Ernest Tyldesley, who were both born on Feb 5, 1889, played in five Tests together in the 1920s.

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.

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Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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