October 27, 2009

Masakadza's record, and the biggest differentials

The only player to have scored 150 twice in a one-day series, the commentator who's done the most Tests, and the worst-titled cricket books

I noticed that Zimbabwe's Hamilton Masakadza twice passed 150 in the recent one-day series against Kenya. Is this unprecedented? asked Danyal Rasool from Pakistan
Hamilton Masakadza made 156 against Kenya in the first match of the recent series in Harare, and 178 not out in the fifth, also in Harare. This is indeed the first time a batsman has made 150 or more twice in the same one-day series. Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya did pass 150 twice in successive innings three days apart, but they weren't in the same series: on July 1, 2006, he made 152 against England at Headingley, and three days later he smashed 157 against the Netherlands in Amstelveen. Jayasuriya is the only man to have reached 150 four times in ODIs: Sachin Tendulkar and a trio of handy West Indians - Chris Gayle, Brian Lara and Viv Richards - have all done it three times.

Was England's difference between their first- and second-innings totals in the 2006-07 Adelaide Test a record? asked James Duyvo from Australia
England scored 551 for 6 declared in the first innings and 129 in the second in that famous (or infamous, depending on your nationality) match in Adelaide in 2006-07, a difference of 422 runs. Rather surprisingly, perhaps, this only comes in joint-eighth on the overall Test list. In first place is a difference of 551, between Pakistan's first innings of 106 against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1957-58, and their second innings of 657 for 8 declared, in which Hanif Mohammad made 337. For a full list, click here.

Who has the most ducks as an opening batsman in Test cricket? And who has the most ducks ever in international cricket? asked Konrad Kachel from Poland
First of all, thanks for what I think is our first question ever from Poland! The opener who has been out most often in Tests for a duck is Michael Atherton, with 17. He also collected three ducks from No. 3, giving him a total of 20, an England record he shares with Steve Harmison. Second on the openers' list is Marvan Atapattu of Sri Lanka, with 16 ducks - five of them in his first six Test innings - while Australia's Matthew Hayden and Pankaj Roy of India had 14. Taking into account Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20 games, the most ducks all told is 59, by Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, ahead of Courtney Walsh, who bagged 54 ducks, a record 43 of them in Tests. Another Sri Lankan, Sanath Jayasuriya, is the leading proper batsman on this particular list, with 52. Australia's Glenn McGrath just missed his half-century, with 49.

Sachin Tendulkar currently has 86 hundreds in international cricket. Does anyone else have more than 50? asked Keith D'Souza from Nigeria
Sachin Tendulkar does indeed have 86 international hundreds as I write (42 in Tests and 44 in one-day internationals). The only others with more than a half-century of centuries are Ricky Ponting, who currently has 66 (38 in Tests, 28 in ODIs), and Brian Lara, who finished with 53 (34 in Tests, 19 in ODIs). Jacques Kallis currently has 47 (31 in Tests, 16 in ODIs). For a full list, click here.

Which commentator has covered the most matches? asked Pratap from India
It's difficult to be precise here, but I don't think anyone can have surpassed Richie Benaud. A feature in the 2003 Wisden tried to track down the person who had seen the most Test matches, and at that time Benaud had been present at 486 as a player, spectator or commentator. He passed 500 the following year, and is still going in Australia. That article did not address one-day internationals, but Benaud has covered hundreds of those in Australia and elsewhere over the years too. In that 2003 Almanack feature Tim de Lisle wrote: "One morning, an e-mail landed - 'From: Richie Benaud.' It was like getting a postcard from the Pope. He had totted them all up, scrupulously: 63 Tests as a player, three as twelfth man, one on tour that he didn't play in (Lord's, 1961), one at the MCG in 1963-64 when he had broken a finger and covered it for the Sydney Sun ... '68 in my playing time, 11 covered in the West Indies, 8 in South Africa, 5 in New Zealand, 223 in England, 171 in Australia, 0 in India, 0 in Pakistan, 0 in Sri Lanka, 0 in Zimbabwe, 0 in Bangladesh.' He listed all the ducks as if he planned on breaking them. In Australia and England together, he had seen 394 Tests, out of 733: more than half. His grand total was 486."

What is the worst book title perpetrated by a cricketer? asked Mark Cornish from London
There's quite a bit of competition out there! The New Zealander Gavin Larsen's book Grand Larseny always makes me wince, while the diary of Worcestershire's successful 1989 season Hick 'n' Dilley Circus, by Graeme Hick and Graham Dilley, is up there too. I suppose that at least they're a bit different from the several volumes called I Declare or variations on that theme. But I think you'd have to go a long way to find anything to beat the autobiography of the Yorkshire and England wicketkeeper Richard Blakey, whose 1999 book was called Taking It From Behind.

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

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