Ask Steven December 19, 2005

Warne's latest record, and Udal's big gap

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:

Dennis Lillee congratulates Shane Warne for breaking his record © Getty Images

I heard that Shane Warne has broken the record for most wickets in a calendar year. Whose record did he beat? asked Ashley Hoy from Melbourne

Shane Warne broke the record when he took his second wicket (Ashwell Prince) in South Africa's first innings of the current Test at Perth. It was his 86th wicket, in his 14th Test of 2005, and there's an outside chance he could get to 100 in the second Test, at home in Melbourne. The previous record was held by another Australian, Dennis Lillee, who took 85 wickets in 13 matches in 1981. Next come Allan Donald, with 80 wickets in 1998, and Muttiah Muralitharan, with 80 in 2001, ahead of Joel Garner who took 79 in 1984. For a complete list, click here.

Shaun Udal made his Test debut for England last month, more than 11 years after making his ODI debut. Is this a record? asked Rajesh Sanghvi from the United Arab Emirates

Shaun Udal's gap of almost 11 years six months has only been beaten by three players, all of whom played for countries who weren't playing official Tests when they made their one-day debuts. Aminul Islam of Bangladesh made his official ODI debut on October 27, 1988, and his Test debut (in Bangladesh's inaugural Test) more than 12 years later on November 10, 2000. He beat his Bangladesh team-mate Akram Khan by two days - he didn't make his one-day debut until October 29, 1988. Zimbabwe's Iain Butchart made his ODI debut in the 1983 World Cup (on June 9, in a famous victory over Australia), and played his only Test match 11 years and eight months later, starting on February 15, 1995. The pre-Udal record by a player whose country was playing Tests and ODIs throughout his career was by Robin Singh of India, who played the first of his 136 ODIs on March 11, 1989, and his one and only Test nine and a half years later, starting on October 7, 1998. The longest gap the other way (Test debut before ODI one) is never likely to be beaten: more than 23 years, by Brian Close, who made his Test debut in July 1949 and played his first one-day international in August 1972.

Brian Close's record of making his ODI debut 23 years after his Test debut is never likely to be beaten © Getty Images

In the fifth match of the 2005 NatWest Series, between England and Australia, all 11 Australian players featured on the scorecard (either taking a catch or a wicket) during England's innings. Has this happened before? asked Chris Briant from Australia

That would have been an amazing spot, but for one thing - sadly Damien Martyn didn't appear on the scorecard in that match at Chester-le-Street, although the other ten Aussies all did. It has only happened twice that all 11 players got a mention on an ODI scorecard: the first one was during the 1999 World Cup, when South Africa beat England at The Oval: five of their bowlers took wickets, and the other six all took catches. It happened again in October 2001, in the second match of England's one-day series against Zimbabwe at Harare, when six different bowlers (including Mark Ramprakash) took wickets and the other five managed a catch apiece. Rather surprisingly this has only ever happened once in a Test innings, in the final match in Jamaica earlier in 2001, when six South African bowlers took wickets and the other five managed a catch.

Am I right in thinking that Sachin Tendulkar has played ODIs on more different grounds than anyone else? asked Gangaram Sapkal from India

That is correct, yes: when Sachin Tendulkar appeared in the recent match against South Africa at the new Rajiv Gandhi Stadium at Uppal, near Hyderabad, that was the 89th different ground on which he had played a one-day international. Rahul Dravid is next with 85, while Mohammad Azharuddin and Sanath Jayasuriya appeared at 83. Tendulkar also leads the way in Tests: he has played them on 52 different grounds, ahead of Azharuddin (48), Kapil Dev (47), Inzamam-ul-Haq (46) and Wasim Akram (45).

I would like to know the highest score by a player who made only one century in first-class cricket. I think it might be 268, by CRN Maxwell of Nottinghamshire? asked Patrick Finn from Brazil

Actually Cecil Maxwell's 268 - for Sir Julien Cahn's XI against Leicestershire at West Bridgford in 1935 - turns out to be the third-highest score by a player who managed just one first-class century. That was only Maxwell's second first-class match: he did later play 16 games for Nottinghamshire, but his highest score for them was 79. Second on the list is a current player who might one day remove himself from the list: Robert White hit 277 for Northamptonshire against Gloucestershire at Northampton in 2002. He hasn't reached three figures since, although he did start the 2005 season with 95 against Leicestershire. But the clear leader here is Pervez Akhtar, who extended his one and only century into an innings of 337 not out for Pakistan Railways against Dera Ismail Khan in Lahore in 1964-65. It wasn't actually much of a match: Railways declared at 910 for 4, then bowled out Dera Ismail Khan for 32 and 27, to win by an innings and 851 runs. Pervez Akhtar finished his career with 600 runs at 42.85: if it hadn't been for that one innings his average would have been a rather more modest 18.79.

Following on from last week's question about most Test runs at one venue, who has taken the most Test wickets on a particular ground? asked Tom Primmore from Wokingham

Remarkably, Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka occupies the top three places on this list. Murali has taken 87 wickets at Galle, 91 at Kandy ... and a whopping 118 wickets in 19 matches at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo. Next comes Heath Streak, with 83 wickets in 19 matches at Harare, just ahead of Dennis Lillee, who took 82 wickets in 14 matches at Melbourne. For the full list, 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.