Ask Steven June 18, 2007

The best strike rate, and 153 consecutive Tests

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.



Shane Bond: the best strike rate in ODIs © Getty Images

Which bowler has the best strike rate in one-day internationals? asked David Rickman from Welwyn

Top of the pile is the New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond, who has taken 125 wickets in 67 one-day internationals, at an average of one every 27.5 balls. The West Indian Tony Gray is next, on 28.8 balls per wicket, just ahead of Australia's Brett Lee (28.9). Another current Australian, Nathan Bracken, is fifth (29.4). These calculations exclude anyone who has bowled fewer than 1000 balls in ODIs. For a full list, click here.

Who has played the most successive Tests without missing one? asked James Crossley from Bedford

Three players have appeared in more than 100 consecutive Tests for their countries. Sunil Gavaskar played 106 successive matches for India between 1974-75 and 1986-87, while Australia's Mark Waugh went one better, with 107 between 1993 and what turned out to be his last Test, against Pakistan at Sharjah in 2002-03. But the leader by a mile, with an amazing 153 consecutive Test appearances between 1978-79 and his retirement in 1993-94, is another Australian - Allan Border. For a full list, click here.

Who has been captain in the most Test matches without ever winning one? asked Jamal Ahmed from Lahore

Two men have skippered in 12 Tests without winning one. One name is not terribly surprising: Khaled Mashud, who lost all his dozen Tests as Bangladesh's captain. But the other name is rather more of a shock: the recently knighted Ian Botham had no wins in his 12 Tests in charge of England (there were eight draws, and four defeats). Two other men have captained in ten Tests without winning one: Alan Melville of South Africa, and Zimbabwe's Tatenda Taibu.

Has there ever been an occasion in a Test when everyone except the wicketkeeper bowled? asked Jamie Randall from Cheltenham

Actually, there have been four occasions when everyone - including the wicketkeeper - have bowled. The first one was in 1884, at The Oval: England tried all 11 players as Australia ran up 551. The most successful bowler was, in fact, the wicketkeeper - Alfred Lyttelton took 4 for 19, bowling underarm lobs while WG Grace kept wicket. It happened again at Faisalabad in 1979-80, when Australia used 11 bowlers as a rain-affected match meandered to a draw. Taslim Arif of Pakistan scored 210 not out, some of them against the less-than-testing offbreaks of Rod Marsh, who sent down ten wicketless overs. The third occasion was in Antigua, in 2001-02, when another boring draw was enlivened when all the Indian players bowled in West Indies' second innings. And the most recent one was on another batsman's paradise in Antigua, three years later, when all 11 South Africans bowled as West Indies piled up 747 - Chris Gayle made 317.

Who had the most Test matches before being out for a duck? asked Jeevan Narain from Mumbai



Aravinda de Silva played 75 innings in 44 Tests before getting his first duck © Getty Images

The record-holder is Aravinda de Silva, who had 75 innings in 44 Tests for Sri Lanka before being out for a duck - in his 45th match he was caught behind off Heath Streak for 0 against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in 1994-95. To make up for lost time he collected three more ducks in his next five Tests. Clive Lloyd went 58 innings (32 Tests) before collecting a duck, while Alan Davidson, the old Australian allrounder, went 51 innings (37 Tests) before being out without scoring. Geraint Jones also went 51 innings without being dismissed for 0, before bagging a pair at Perth last December - he hasn't played for England since. Another current player, AB de Villiers of South Africa, has so far had 52 innings in 28 Tests without being out for 0 - oddly, though, he has had four ducks in one-day internationals, all of them during the 2007 World Cup.

Which city has had the most Test grounds? asked Kyle Walters from Cape Town

Three different grounds in Johannesburg (the Old and New Wanderers, and Ellis Park) and Mumbai (the Bombay Gymkhana, and the Brabourne and Wankhede Stadiums) have staged Test matches. But leading the way is Colombo: four grounds in the city have staged Tests - the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium, the Sinhalese Sports Club, the Colombo Cricket Club, and the R. Premadasa Stadium (formerly the Khetterama Stadium. A fifth Test ground, the Tyronne Fernando Stadium, is in Moratuwa, about eight miles south of Colombo.

Steven Lynch is the deputy editor of The Wisden Group. If you want to Ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here each week. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.