September 6, 2011

Lyon's feat, and Ponting's ton

Also: captaining against your old team, highest series averages without centuries, Zimbabweans who've carried the bat, and cricketers born in Germany

Nathan Lyon took a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket. How many others have done this, and how many of them went on to take five wickets in the innings, as Lyon did? asked Aaron David
Nathan Lyon was the 14th bowler to take a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket, but only the second Australian to do so since the very first man to achieve the feat, Arthur Coningham, in 1894-95. The only one of the previous 13 who finished his debut innings with five wickets was the Englishman Bill Bradley, with 5 for 67 against Australia at Old Trafford in 1899. The bad news for Lyon is that most of his predecessors had very brief Test careers, with only Maurice Tate (155) and Intikhab Alam (125) taking more than 100 wickets: four of the players concerned never even played another Test. For a list, click here, and for further information about each one, click here.

Australia's victory in Galle was the 100th Test in which Ricky Ponting had been on the winning side. Has anyone else done this? asked Grant Carruthers via Facebook
No, Ricky Ponting is the first man to chalk up a century of Test victories as a player. Next on this list, which is dominated by players from the great Australian team of recent vintage, is Shane Warne, who finished on the winning side 92 times. Then come Steve Waugh (86), Glenn McGrath (84), Adam Gilchrist (73 out of a career total of 96 Tests), Mark Waugh (72) and Matthew Hayden (71). Then comes the first non-Aussie, South Africa's Mark Boucher, who has taken part in 70 Test victories, as did Justin Langer. They are one ahead of another South African, Jacques Kallis, then come Viv Richards (63), Sachin Tendulkar (61) and Desmond Haynes (60). Victory over India at The Oval put Andrew Strauss clear of Colin Cowdrey (43) as the Englishman with the most Test victories under his belt.

Eoin Morgan captained England in their one-day international against Ireland in Dublin last month. Is he the first player to lead a team against a country for which he had previously played? asked Seena John from Sri Lanka
Eoin Morgan is actually the second player to do this: Kepler Wessels won 54 one-day caps for Australia before returning to his native South Africa and playing 54 ODIs for them after they were readmitted to international cricket in 1991-92. Wessels captained South Africa against Australia in 14 of those matches. Four other men have played official one-day internationals for two countries, without captaining either: Dougie Brown (England and Scotland), Anderson Cummins (West Indies and Canada), Ed Joyce (England and Ireland) and Clayton Lambert (West Indies and the United States of America). For a list with more details, click here.

What is the highest average by a batsman in a Test series in which he did not score a century? asked Vrijilesh Rai on Facebook
The highest batting average in a Test series (of three matches or more) without a century is 154.00 by Chaminda Vaas, for Sri Lanka at home to Zimbabwe in 2001-02: he scored 74 not out, 72 not out and 8. The highest average without the benefit of any not-outs is 76.00, by Rahul Dravid for India at home to Sri Lanka in 1997-98, when his scores were 34, 92, 93 and 85.

Tino Mawoyo carried his bat during Zimbabwe's Test against Pakistan last week. Is he the first man to do this for Zimbabwe? asked Mark Johnson from Liverpool
Tino Mawoyo is actually the third opener to carry his bat through a completed Test innings for Zimbabwe. Left-hander Mark Dekker was the first, with 68 out of 187 in Rawalpindi in 1993-94, and Grant Flower followed suit in Bulawayo in March 1998, scoring 156 out of 321. Both these previous instances also came against Pakistan. There have been only 10 higher scores than Mawoyo's 163 not out by an opener carrying his bat, the highest of them being Glenn Turner's 223 not out for New Zealand against West Indies in Kingston in 1971-72.

Has a German-born player ever played international cricket? asked Rawal Afzal from Germany
Two men who were born in Germany have played Test cricket, both of them for England. I believe that both had fathers who were in the army and serving in Germany at the time. The first was Donald Carr, the Derbyshire amateur who later became secretary of the TCCB (the forerunner of the ECB). Carr, who was born in Wiesbaden in 1926, played two Tests in India in 1951-52, standing in as captain in the second one after Nigel Howard contracted pleurisy. It was not a happy match for Carr, as India recorded their first Test victory to square the series. The other German-born Test player was the Hampshire batsman Paul Terry, who first saw the light of day in Osnabrück in 1959. Like Carr, Terry won two caps for England - in 1984 - and he also had a bad end to his international career, as his arm was broken while he batted in his second match, at Old Trafford.

And there's an update to last week's question about the age difference between batting partners, from Hemanga Ranaweera from Australia
"Regarding age difference between batting partners in one-day internationals, Bas Zuiderent may not have batted with 47-year-old Nolan Clarke in the 1995-96 World Cup, but in the match against South Africa in Rawalpindi he did share a brief partnership with Flavian Aponso, the former Sri Lankan who joined a rebel tour of South Africa in 1982. Aponso was 43 at the time, and thus more than 24 years older than Zuiderent, who was 19. The difference in their ages is about four months more than that between John Davison and Nitish Kumar, who batted together for Canada in the 2011 World Cup."

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2011. Ask Steven is now on Facebook