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Most lbws in a match, and five-fors all in a row

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

Steven Lynch

April 26, 2004

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



Another one bites the dust: lbw record-holder Dickie Bird © Getty Images
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There were 13 lbws in one of the recent Australia-Sri Lanka Tests. That seems quite high to me - was it a record? asked David Shorten from Australia

The record for a Test is actually 17, in the first Test between West Indies and Pakistan at Port-of-Spain in 1992-93. For the record, the umpires were Dickie Bird and Steve Bucknor. There have been two Tests with 15 leg-befores, and three with 14 - and the match at Kandy that you mention is one of four Tests which included 13 lbws. The record for a Test innings is seven - five of them by Richard Johnson - inflicted on Zimbabwe by England at Chester-le-Street last June.

Shane Warne recently took five-fors in four successive innings in the Tests in Sri Lanka. Is this a record? asked Brad McFee from Adelaide

It was actually the 13th time that a bowler had taken five wickets in four successive Test innings - one of the others was Muttiah Muralitharan, who was on the opposite side in the recent series. Two legendary England fast bowlers managed five - Tom Richardson, between 1894-95 and 1896, and Alec Bedser in 1952-53. But the record is six, by Charles "Terror" Turner of Australia in 1888. Turner, a fast-medium bowler from New South Wales, took 5 for 44 and 7 for 43 against England at Sydney in Feb 1888, 5 for 27 and 5 for 36 at Lord's in the first Test of 1888, 6 for 112 in England's only innings at The Oval, and 5 for 86 in the third Test at Old Trafford. Click here for a full list of bowlers taking four or more successive five-fors.

Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs put on 177 for the first wicket at Auckland recently - yet New Zealand ended up winning the Test. Is this the highest opening partnership of a team batting first but eventually losing? asked Herman le Roux from South Africa

That match at Auckland turns out to be second on the list - but a long way behind the winner (or should that be the loser?), which also happened in New Zealand. At Hamilton in 1999-2000, Sherwin Campbell and Adrian Griffith started the match with an opening stand of 276 for West Indies - but after a couple of dramatic collapses, New Zealand ended up winning easily, by nine wickets. In all there have been 22 occasions when a side has kicked off a Test with a century opening stand but still lost - the most recent being the second Test in Trinidad, when the West Indian openers started with a stand of 100 but ended up losing by seven wickets.

Tatenda Taibu took off his wicketkeeping pads and bowled in the first one-dayer between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka at Bulawayo last week. What's the best bowling performance by someone who started the match as a keeper? asked Neil Davidson from Stoke

In Tests the best bowling analysis by someone who started the match as a wicketkeeper is 4 for 19, by the Hon. Alfred Lyttelton of England against Australia at The Oval in 1884. Australia were amassing a huge score (Billy Murdoch had just scored the first Test double-century) when Lyttelton came on to propel his underarm lobs. WG Grace took over as wicketkeeper - and soon took a catch with the gloves. That was also the first time that all 11 players bowled in a Test innings. In first-class cricket there are two known instances of wicketkeepers coming on to bowl and taking a hat-trick: the Indian Khokan Sen, for Bengal v Orissa at Cuttack in 1954-55, and England's Alan Smith, for Warwickshire v Essex at Clacton in 1965. Taibu himself recently took 8 for 43 in a Logan Cup match in Zimbabwe, although I don't think he kept wicket during that innings.

Another thing about Brian Lara's 400: he scored it in his 106th Test, some 90 Tests (and ten years) after his previous-highest of 375. Is this the latest, in terms of Tests, that a player has managed his highest Test score? asked Ryan Ramoutar from Trinidad

It turns out that setting your highest score in your 106th Test match isn't a record - not quite, anyway. Another West Indian, Gordon Greenidge, made his highest score - 226 against Australia at Bridgetown in 1990-91 - in his 107th (and next-to-last) Test. But top of the list is Sachin Tendulkar: his highest score to date - 241 not out against Australia at Sydney in January, was made in his 111th Test. Sunil Gavaskar set his highest score (236*) in his 99th match, while Mark Taylor's best (334*) came in his 98th game.

Which Test nation has had the most one-cap wonders? asked David James Fay, aged seven and a half

Unsurprisingly I suppose, since they have had more players all told than anyone else (Geraint Jones was the 623rd), England lead the way, with 86 men who have won only one Test cap. South Africa, who tried out a lot of rather obscure players when they started playing Tests in the late 1800s, are next with 63, while Australia have 59. At the time of writing India have 44, West Indies and Pakistan 33, New Zealand 28, Sri Lanka nine, and Bangladesh and Zimbabwe five apiece. (This excludes anyone - like Billy Murdoch who is mentioned above - who played one Test for one country but also played for another.)

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 asksteven@cricinfo.com. 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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