May 5, 2009

Dishing out ducks, and a dearth of right-handers

Bowlers responsible for the most zeroes, the lowest ODI totals never scored, and centuries in 50th Tests

Which bowlers have dished out the most ducks in Tests and one-day internationals? asked Jackson Harding from New Zealand
The leader in Tests at the moment is Australia's Glenn McGrath, who inflicted 104 ducks on unsuspecting batsmen. His long-term partner-in-crime Shane Warne managed 102, but coming up fast is Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, who has so far dismissed 101 batsmen for zero. In one-day internationals the clear leader is Pakistan's Wasim Akram, who sent back 110 batsmen for ducks. He's well ahead of the next man, Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka (76).

There are a lot of left-handed openers around at the moment. When was the last time a Test team opened with two right-handers? asked Glenn Rogers from Australia
You're right that most countries have one - if not two - left-hand opening batsmen at the moment, which is very unusual. There have been 15 Tests played so far in 2009, and the only time anyone opened with two right-hand batsmen was after an injury: when Graeme Smith broke his hand in the second Test against Australia in Durban, South Africa opened their second innings with the right-hand batsmen Neil McKenzie and Hashim Amla. There were eight more Tests before that at the end of 2008 since a country went into a Test with two right-hand batsmen at the top of the order: against Australia in Adelaide at the end of November New Zealand's openers were Aaron Redmond and Jamie How.

Did Dennis Lillee ever play in Jamaica? asked Lorre Snikwad from the United States
The great fast bowler Dennis Lillee played only two first-class matches in Jamaica, both on Australia's 1972-73 tour of the West Indies. In the tourists' warm-up match against Jamaica he took 1 for 55 and 0 for 30, then in the first Test at Sabina Park he failed to take a wicket, finishing with unimpressive figures of 0 for 112 and 0 for 20. He had an excuse, though: he was battling a back injury, and did not appear in any more Tests on the tour (indeed, he did not play another Test for nearly two years, and never played another one in the Caribbean). Lillee also played in Jamaica in February 1979, during a tour by Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket Australian side. He appeared in two one-day matches against the WSC West Indians, taking 1 for 13 (the wicket of Clive Lloyd) and 2 for 16 (Lawrence Rowe and Viv Richards), then took 4 for 68 (Richards, Lloyd, Richard Austin and Deryck Murray) and 4 for 100 (Austin, Lloyd, Roy Fredericks and Desmond Haynes) in the first "SuperTest"- so I think it's fair to say he enjoyed his second visit more than his first.

You have previously answered a question about the lowest individual score never made. But what is the lowest team total that has not yet been made in one-day internationals (starting at 100 to eliminate low scores - I realise no team has ever made 0!)? asked Mohammad Karim from Lahore
The lowest total that has not yet been made in a one-day international (starting from 100) is 342, followed by 345 and 352. The Test record (again ignoring all numbers below 100) is 525, followed by 557 and 587.

Can you tell me how many players have scored a century in their 50th Test match? asked Gopal from India
There have now been 27 players who scored a century in their 50th Test match - three of them this year, in Tillakaratne Dilshan of Sri Lanka, South Africa's AB de Villiers, and Kevin Pietersen of England. The highest score by anyone in their 50th Test is 317, by Chris Gayle for West Indies against South Africa at St John's in 2004-05. Four others made double-centuries: Javed Miandad (280 not out for Pakistan v India in Hyderabad in 1982-83), Ken Barrington (256 for England v Australia at Old Trafford in 1964), Sunil Gavaskar (221 for India v England at The Oval in 1979), and Bill Lawry (205 for Australia v West Indies in Melbourne in 1968-69).

Following on from last week's question about people who collected no runs, no wickets and no catches in their only Test, is there anyone who managed just one of each? asked John Bernard from Dorset
Rather to my surprise, there is! George Thornton, a Yorkshire-born doctor, played one Test for South Africa against Australia in Johannesburg in 1902-03. Very neatly, he scored one not out in his only innings, took one wicket (the future Australian captain Warwick Armstrong, caught behind), and held one catch. With regard to the original question, my thanks go to Patrick Kidd of the Times, who pointed out in his online blog that there is one man who appeared in two Tests without managing a run, a wicket or a catch - the Indian fast bowler TA Sekhar, who played twice against Pakistan in 1983-84 without overly troubling the scorers.

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