Ask Steven December 5, 2005

Patchy in Pakistan, and another record for The Don

The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch 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:

Twilight zone: Graham Thorpe and Nasser Hussain celebrate England's late show against Pakistan at Karachi in 2000-01 © Getty Images
After all the fuss about how great England were after they beat Australia, have they actually ever won a Test series in Pakistan? asked Kareem Afzaal from London

Well, England did win their last series in Pakistan, in 2000-01, but apart from that they have only won one series there - the first one the two sides played in Pakistan, in 1961-62. Those two series include the only two Tests England have ever won in Pakistan. Pakistan won in 1983-84 and 1987-88, as well as the series that has just finished, while the series in 1968-69, 1972-73 and 1977-78 were drawn. Overall - including matches in England - England have now won 16 and Pakistan 12 of the 63 Tests the teams have played, with 35 draws. For all the results between England and Pakistan, click here.

Matthew Hayden scored four centuries in consecutive Tests recently. Is this a record? asked Atul Kumar from India

Matt Hayden scored centuries in the first two Tests against West Indies, to add to his hundreds in the final Test against England and against the ICC World XI. It was actually the second time he had scored tons in four successive Tests - he managed it in 2001-02 as well. The recent one was the 12th instance of a batsman scoring four hundreds in four matches - Don Bradman and Ken Barrington also did it twice. Jacques Kallis of South Africa went one better, with five hundreds in as many Tests in 2003-04 - but, as so often in Test batting records of this sort, The Don comes out on top. Bradman scored centuries in six successive Tests between 1936-37 and 1938 - and his sequence was only broken because he was injured and unable to bat at The Oval in 1938. He scored hundreds in his next two Tests after that (in 1946-47), making eight hundreds in eight successive Tests in which he batted. For a full list, click here.

Is David Graveney the son of the former England batsman (and MCC president) Tom? asked Daniel Round from Edinburgh

No, the current England chairman of selectors David Graveney is actually Tom's nephew. His father, Tom's brother Ken Graveney, also played for and captained Gloucestershire - and in 1949, against Derbyshire at Chesterfield, he took all ten wickets in an innings for 66. In the earlier match that season against Derbyshire at Bristol, Graveney's one wicket prevented Tom Goddard (9 for 61) from taking all ten as well.

Learie Constantine: on the first West Indies tour of Australia © The Cricketer
Could you publish a list of the second West Indies team to tour Australia - was Sir Learie Constantine on board? asked Herman Daniels from the United States

Learie Constantine was actually a member of the first West Indian team to tour Australia, in 1930-31. West Indies hadn't long been a Test team - their first matches were in England in 1928 - and they lost the series 4-1. In the fifth Test at Sydney, which they won, they did at least have the satisfaction of inflicting Don Bradman's first duck in Test cricket. You can see the first-class averages for that touring team by clicking here, and you can find the scorecards from the tour matches and Tests here.

Can you name the man who ended his Test career with the inauspicious record of never having bowled a ball, never being dismissed with the bat, and never taking a catch? asked Paul Marshall from New Zealand

This unfortunate gentleman was Jack MacBryan of Somerset, who played for England against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1924. Only 66.5 overs were possible on the first day, during which South Africa crawled to 116 for 4. Then it rained ... and rained. No more play was possible, so MacBryan didn't get a chance to bat, and he was rather unkindly dropped from the next match, and then never chosen again. The unlucky MacBryan is the only Test cricketer who never batted, bowled or made a catch. I suppose he must at least have touched the ball occasionally in the field. As some consolation, he did play hockey for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

Has anyone got out for 299 or 199 in Test cricket? asked Ishan Liyanage from Sri Lanka

Only one man has been out for 299 in Tests, although Don Bradman was once left stranded on that figure when he ran the last man out. The 299-and-out man was Martin Crowe, of New Zealand, against Sri Lanka at Wellington in 1990-91. Needing one for his triple-century, Crowe nicked a catch to the wicketkeeper off the gentle bowling of Arjuna Ranatunga. He later wrote: "I had choked. I didn't concentrate. I forgot to say 'Keep still, watch the ball.' Out for 299 - tell me it's not true! Tears streamed down my face as I realised that this opportunity might never happen again." It didn't: Crowe never did make a Test triple-century, and nor has any other New Zealander yet. As for 199s, there wasn't one in a Test until 1984-85, when Mudassar Nazar made that score for Pakistan against India at Faisalabad, but now there have been six - the most recent being Andy Flower's unbeaten effort for Zimbabwe against South Africa at Harare in 2001-02. For a complete list of batsmen scoring 99, 199 and 299, click here.

Steven Lynch is the deputy editor of The Wisden Group. 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, contact him through our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries