September 20, 2011

Family tons, and Australia's West Indian

Ten-wicket double-hundreds, winning after conceding big, Bradman's centuries, and Lawry's leg-befores

How many father-son combinations have made centuries in Test matches? asked Firdaus Mohandas from India
This one was presumably inspired by Shaun Marsh's fine debut ton in the second Test between Sri Lanka and Australia in Pallekele last week: his father Geoff Marsh scored four hundreds in his 50-Test career, which stretched from 1985-86 to 1991-92. The Marshes are the tenth father-and-son combination to make Test centuries. That counts India's illustrious Amarnaths as two instances - father Lala scored India's first Test hundred, in Bombay in 1933-34, while his sons Mohinder (11) and Surinder (just one) made Test tons too. The other family double acts are Stuart and Chris Broad (England), Walter and Richard Hadlee (New Zealand), Hanif and Shoaib Mohammad (Pakistan), Vijay and Sanjay Manjrekar (India), Nazar Mohammad and Mudassar Nazar (Pakistan), Dave and Dudley Nourse (South Africa), and the Nawabs of Pataudi senior (for England) and junior (India).

I read somewhere once that a black man, of West Indian origin perhaps, played a Test match for Australia in the late 1800s. Is this right? It seems an incredible story in the era of the White Australia policy, asked Bernhard Sayer via Facebook
The man concerned was Sam Morris, who played one Test for Australia, against England in Melbourne in 1884-85, after the entire XI from the previous match withdrew in a dispute over payments. After taking two wickets (England's captain Arthur Shrewsbury and Billy Barnes) with his medium-pacers, Morris opened Australia's first innings but was out for 4. When they followed on, he went in at No. 10 and made 10 not out as the weakened side slipped to a ten-wicket defeat: the dispute was resolved after this, and Morris never played for Australia again. Morris was born in Tasmania - it seems likely that his parents arrived from the West Indies during the mid-19th century gold rush - and played club cricket in Melbourne, where he represented Victoria for around a decade. Morris was also the groundsman at the St Kilda club in Melbourne, continuing there until, sadly, he went blind in 1901. He died in 1931, aged 76. I'm not a historian but I think the "White Australia" policy was instituted later, perhaps around the time of the federation of Australia in 1901.

Pakistan recently scored 228 to win a one-day international against Zimbabwe by 10 wickets. Is this the highest score to win without losing a wicket? asked Hemant Kher from the United States
There's only one higher score to win a one-day international by 10 wickets than Pakistan's 228 for 0 in Harare last week, and it happened earlier this year during the World Cup: Sri Lanka marmalised England in their quarter-final in Colombo, zooming past a total of 229 with more than 10 overs to spare, finishing with 231 for 0. There are three other instances of the team batting second scoring 200 or more to win an ODI by 10 wickets, two by West Indies (against Pakistan in Melbourne in the 1992 World Cup, and v India in Bridgetown in 1996-97) and one by India, in a rain-affected match against New Zealand in Hamilton in March 2009.

What is the highest first-innings lead conceded by any team which then went on to win the Test? asked Kalaikovan Ramamurthy from India
Strictly speaking, the answer here is 331, which was Pakistan's first-innings lead over England at The Oval in 2006 (they scored 504 to England's 173) in the match they were later considered to have forfeited after refusing to play on being accused of ball-tampering. But that's obviously a peculiar case: the biggest deficit overturned to win a Test in the normal way is 291, by Australia (256) against Sri Lanka (547 for 8 dec) in Colombo in August 1992. That was the match in which the young Shane Warne made his first major impact on international cricket: Sri Lanka, set 181 to win, were 127 for 2 before collapsing to 164 all out to lose by 16 runs, with Warne taking 3 for 11.

Only six countries played Test cricket during Don Bradman's Test career. Did he score hundreds against all of Australia's five opponents? asked Francisco Beyer from Chile
Don Bradman never scored a century against New Zealand, because he never played a Test against them (the only one during his career that he might have played was the lop-sided encounter in Wellington in 1945-46, which was not really thought of as a Test match at the time, but he missed that tour). Bradman's 52 Tests comprised 37 against England, in which he scored a staggering 5028 runs, with 19 centuries (still easily records for Ashes matches). He also played one home series - five Tests each time - against the other three Test teams of the day, scoring 447 runs (with two hundreds) against West Indies in 1930-31; 806, with four hundreds, against South Africa in 1931-32 (his average then was 201.50); and 715, with four more centuries, against India in 1947-48. As an aside I think that's our first question ever from Chile!

Following on from last week's question about Javed Miandad's lbws, I once heard Tony Greig joke to Bill Lawry that Bill was never out lbw in a Test in Australia. Is this true? asked Rino Luppino from Australia
Tony Greig is usually pretty nifty with his stats, and he's quite right on this one: Bill Lawry was out exactly 50 times during his 30 home Tests for Australia between 1962-63 and 1970-71 - and he was never given out lbw in any of them (he was caught 38 times, bowled 10 times, and run out and stumped once each). Bill, I'm sure, would reply that it showed what a good player he was! But Australian umpires were a bit reluctant to give leg-before decisions back then: in the 1970-71 Ashes series - Lawry's last before being controversially axed, as captain and player - not one Australian batsman was given out lbw in any of the six Tests (England still came out on top, winning 2-0 in the end). Bill Lawry was out lbw seven times in 37 overseas Tests, including twice in his first series, to Tony Lock and Brian Statham in England in 1961.

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