March 11, 2008

The fewest runs in a day, and 96 successive Tests

The first to take 100 Test wickets, featuring in successive Tests, the most pairs, and the lowest Test score never made

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



Chris Martin: a spectacle with the bat © Getty Images

After sitting through England's soporific performance at Hamilton, I was wondering what the fewest runs in a whole day's play in a Test was, said John Sanders from Twickenham

Anyone else who watched England hurtle to 199 runs in 93 overs on the third day of the first Test in Hamilton might be surprised to learn that that comes well down [or up] the list of the slowest days in Test history. The leader, if that's the right word, came on the first day of the first Test in Karachi in 1956-57, when Pakistan bowled Australia out for 80, then made 15 for 2 themselves. For a full list of the fewest runs scored on an uninterrupted day in a Test, click here.

When did Johnny Briggs take his hundredth Test wicket? Was he the first to reach 100? asked Utkarsh Pande from India

The Lancashire and England slow left-armer Johnny Briggs took his 100th Test wicket against Australia in Sydney in 1894-95. It was his 25th match, and he was indeed the first man to reach 100 wickets in Tests. Later in that same Sydney game Briggs was joined in the 100 club by the Australian opening bowler Charles "Terror" Turner.

Adam Gilchrist played 96 consecutive Tests from debut to retirement: he didn't miss one at all. Is this a record? asked Evan from Australia

Adam Gilchrist's career of 96 successive Test matches is indeed a record - the next-best for a whole career is 58, by the former England captain Tony Greig and the New Zealander John Reid. There are three players who have clocked up 100 or more successive Tests during their careers: Sunil Gavaskar played 106 for India between 1974-75, missing a match in 1986-87, while Australia's Mark Waugh played 107 in a row between 1993 and his final Test in 2002-03. But the runaway leader, with a scarcely credible 153 successive Tests between 1978-79 and his retirement in 1993-94, is another Australian, Allan Border. For a full list of players with the most consecutive Test appearances, click here.

Who has bagged the most pairs in Test cricket? asked Dennis Clarke from Southampton

This record changed hands recently, when the New Zealand No. 11 Chris Martin collected his fifth pair of spectacles. (Looking on the bright side, Martin did recently reach double figures for the first time, in his 36th Test, which is another record.) Prior to his fifth pair, which came against South Africa in Johannesburg last November, Martin shared the record of four pairs with four other players: Marvan Atapattu of Sri Lanka, India's Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, and the West Indian fast bowlers Mervyn Dillon and Courtney Walsh. For a full list, click here.

I've always wondered what the lowest score is that no person has ever made in Test cricket. My guess would definitely be over 150, but I'm still not sure. What is it? asked Jack Hodge

The first time I was asked this question a few years ago the answer was 228, but then Herschelle Gibbs made that score for South Africa against Pakistan in Cape Town in 2002-03. Which means, rather neatly, that the lowest score not yet made by a batsman in a Test is 229, followed by 238, 245, 252 and 263. The lowest score that has not yet been made by a batsman in a one-day international is 155.

In the opening Test between New Zealand and England, the Kiwis opened [their batting] with How and Bell. Is this the shortest opening partnership in Test cricket in terms of letters in their surnames? I can't think of any shorter ones ... asked Michael Nicholas

I couldn't either, but Travis Basevi, the keeper of the Cricinfo database, unearthed a trio of Indians from the 1950s who equalled Bell and How for seven-letter brevity: Pankaj Roy opened in four Tests in the West Indies in 1952-53 with Madhav Apte, and in one in England in 1959 with Madhav's brother Arvind Apte.

And there's an afterthought to the recent question about the England woman cricketer Jenny Gunn, from Andy

"Although she is not related to any of the famous cricketing Gunns, Jenny is the daughter of Bryn Gunn, who was part of the Nottingham Forest side which won football's European Cup in 1980, and was a decent cricketer himself."

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

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