September 24, 2007

A master at each end

Lara and Richards in partnership, eight runs off one ball, youngest to a five-for, and tons against Australia

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

Did Brian Lara and Viv Richards ever bat together in an international match? asked Amit Baishya from the United States



Viv Richards and Brian Lara played only one international match together © Getty Images

That's an interesting one, and the answer is, it happened once - not in a Test match (Viv Richards and Brian Lara never appeared together in the same side), but in a one-day international. It was against England at Lord's in 1991 - it was the only one in which they both played - and, as the scorecard shows, they batted briefly together, adding 20 for the fourth wicket before Lara was out. I don't suppose anyone thought it was particularly significant at the time.

How many centuries have been scored against Australia in the World Cup? asked Richard Weatherill from Portsmouth

There have been a total of eight centuries against Australia in the World Cup, two of them in finals, Clive Lloyd's memorable 102 in the first one, at Lord's in 1975, and Aravinda de Silva's 107 not out in Sri Lanka's upset victory in 1995-96. The identity of the highest World Cup scorer against Australia might win you a few quiz prizes: it's Zimbabwe's Neil Johnson, who made 132 not out at Lord's in 1999. The other century makers are Chris Harris (130 in 1995-96), Kevin Pietersen (104 in 2006-07), Herschelle Gibbs (101 in 1999), Martin Crowe (100 not out in 1991-92) and Ajay Jadeja (100 not out in 1999).

What is the most runs off a single ball in Test cricket? I recall Kevin Pietersen giving away a seven last year, but do I remember either John Wright or Geoff Howarth managing an eight at Melbourne in 1980-81? asked Stean Hainsworth from Australia

Charlie Wat's exhaustive book Test Cricket Lists gives three instances of eight runs being scored off one ball in a Test match. The first one was at Brisbane (the Exhibition ground, not the Gabba) in Don Bradman's first Test match in 1928-29, when England's Patsy Hendren collected four overthrows after an all-run four. The instance you mention happened at Melbourne in 1980-81: this time it was John Wright who benefited from four overthrows (by Rod Marsh, who collected a fielder's return and shied at the stumps) after an all-run four. Test cricket's third eight occurred at Port-of-Spain in 2004-05, when Brian Lara glanced a ball from South Africa's Nicky Boje for three. The wicketkeeper, Mark Boucher, ran after the ball and threw it back in, but it hit a fielder's helmet on the ground, so he incurred five penalty runs. These would previously have been credited to Lara, but after a recent rule change they went down as penalty extras. Lara might have cursed the law-makers - he was out later for 196.

Who is the youngest bowler to get a five-wicket haul? asked Marvin Chester from Guyana

The youngest man to do this in a Test was the Pakistan left-arm spinner Nasim-ul-Ghani, who was only 16 years 303 days old at the start of a match in which he took 5 for 116 against West Indies at Georgetown in 1957-58. For a full list for Tests, click here. The youngest to achieve the feat in an ODI was another Pakistani, Wasim Akram, who was 18 years 266 days old when he took 5 for 21 against Australia at Melbourne in 1984-85. For a full list for ODIs, click here.



Thomas Odoyo is the only player from a non-Test-playing country to take 100 ODI wickets © AFP

Has anyone from a non-Test country taken 100 wickets in ODIs? asked Peter Carrick from Liverpool

The only one who has managed this is Kenya's Thomas Odoyo, who has currently taken 102 wickets in ODIs (98 for Kenya and four for the Africa XI). Odoyo's team-mate and long-time captain Steve Tikolo comes next, with 69.

I was interested to read last week's question about the Test player born at the SCG. I remember that my late father had a friend who said he was born in the pavilion at Edgbaston, and later played for Warwickshire. Who was he? asked Tom Fenwick from Coventry

This was Len Bates, whose father was the groundsman at Edgbaston: he went on to play 444 matches for Warwickshire as a right-hand batsman between 1919 and 1935, scoring nearly 20,000 runs with 21 centuries, the highest 211 at Gloucester in 1932. His highest score at his birthplace was 200, against Worcestershire at Edgbaston in 1928. Bates died in 1971 and his birthplace is confirmed in his Wisden obituary.

And there's a final thought about cricketers' appropriate birthplaces, from Andrew Dunsford in New Zealand:

"Further to your questions last week regarding cricketers born at Test grounds, Jackie Mills, who scored a century on debut against England in New Zealand's second-ever Test match [at Wellington in 1929-30], was born at the Carisbrook Ground, Dunedin, where his father was groundsman."

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Cricinfo Guide to International Cricket. If you want to ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here each week.