September 27, 2011

Expensive bowlers, and inexpensive batsmen

Australian centuries on debut, left-hand stands, fastest to 1000 one-day runs, and when Ponting didn't bat at No. 3

Which bowler has the worst economy rate in Tests? asked Lance Bryan from Manchester
You need to impose some sort of qualification here, or non-regular bowlers who sent down a couple of friendly deliveries will be top of the list. If you impose a minimum of 600 balls (100 overs), then the worst economy rate in Test history is owned by Jason Krejza of Australia, who has gone at 4.53 runs per over (562 runs from 743 balls) in his two Tests to date. Then comes Dammika Prasad of Sri Lanka, with 4.49 runs per over in his six Tests so far, just ahead of Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh, who has bowled in 60 innings now and leaks runs at 4.48 per over. If you raise the bar to 100 Test wickets, the most profligate bowler on show is Fidel Edwards of West Indies, who goes for 3.92 runs per over. Out of curiosity I looked at ODI bowlers too: top of the list, for a minimum of 100 overs bowled, is Zimbabwe's Chamu Chibhabha (20 wickets in 31 innings at 7.10 runs per over). Of those who have taken 100 wickets, the worst economy rate belongs to Naved-ul-Hasan of Pakistan (5.57 runs per over).

Does Courtney Walsh still lead the way for the most ducks in Tests? And who's in front in ODIs? asked Curtis Murray from Jamaica
Yes, Courtney Walsh is still the proud (if that's the right word) holder of this Test record, having been dismissed for 0 on 43 occasions. Glenn McGrath is next with 35, one ahead of Shane Warne, who in turn is one in front of Muttiah Muralitharan. Next comes the leading current player, New Zealand's Chris Martin, with 29. In one-day internationals the list is topped by Sanath Jayasuriya, who failed to score in 34 ODI innings. Next, with 28, comes Wasim Akram, while Murali is one of four players with 25 (the others are Mahela Jayawardene, Shahid Afridi and Chaminda Vaas). In Twenty20 internationals there are four players who have bagged five ducks: JP Duminy, Andre Fletcher, Umar Gul and Luke Wright. In all international cricket combined, Murali leads the way with 59 ducks, ahead of Walsh (54) and Jayasuriya (53).

Was Shaun Marsh's 141 the highest Test-debut score by an Australian playing away from home? asked Vijayasarathy Venkatarama from Bangladesh
Shaun Marsh's 141 in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Pallekele was actually the second-highest score by an Australian making his Test debut away from home: Marsh's captain, Michael Clarke, scored 151 in his first Test, against India in Bangalore in October 2004. There have only ever been four higher scores by batsmen making their Test debut away from home: Reginald "Tip" Foster scored 287 for England against Australia in Sydney in 1903-04, Jacques Rudolph 222 not out for South Africa against Bangladesh in Chittagong in April 2003, Fawad Alam 168 for Pakistan against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2009, and Andrew Hudson 163 for South Africa against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1991-92.

Shaun Marsh and Michael Hussey were involved in a 258-run partnership at Pallekele. Was this the biggest stand between two left-handers in Tests? asked Jude Franco from the United States
That partnership between Marsh and Hussey for the fourth wicket in the recent second Test against Sri Lanka in Pallekele was well up the list for an all-left-hand partnership - it was the tenth-highest - but at the top remains the stand of 322 for the fifth wicket by Brian Lara and Jimmy Adams for West Indies against Australia in Kingston in 1998-99. Next was a partnership of 300 between Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh for India against Pakistan in Bangalore in 2007-08. The highest stand by two left-handers for Australia is 279, by Mark Taylor and Justin Langer against Pakistan in Peshawar in 1998-99 (the match in which Taylor scored his 334 not out). In second place for Australia, one ahead of Marsh and Hussey with a partnership of 259, come Wayne Phillips and Graham Yallop against Pakistan in Perth in 1983-84.

In Australia's recent third Test against Sri Lanka, Ricky Ponting came in to bat at No. 4. When was the last time he didn't bat at No. 3? asked Pranav Thiagarajan from the United Arab Emirates
Ricky Ponting has now had 263 innings in Tests, and he's been at No. 3 for 195 of them. He has scored 9904 runs from that position - more than anyone else except Rahul Dravid, who passed him in England recently - and 1989 runs in 45 innings at No. 6, most of them early in his career. He's had six innings now at No. 4, and five at No. 5, plus 11 innings down at No. 7, and one even lower than that. The last time he wasn't at No. 3 was in the second innings in Perth in December 2009, when he came in at No. 9 after injuring his elbow in the first innings. There have been a few other instances when he has not come in at first drop because of injury or the use of a nightwatchman, but the last time he deliberately did not go in at No. 3 was in India in 2000-01 - in the three Tests he went in four times at No. 6 and once at No. 7.

I noticed that Jonathan Trott reached 1000 runs in only 21 one-day internationals - is this a record? asked Bill Parker from Birmingham
Jonathan Trott did indeed reach 1000 runs in his 21st ODI innings - during his 92 in the World Cup match against Ireland in Bangalore in March 2011. That equalled the previous mark of 21, set by Viv Richards in 1980 and matched by Kevin Pietersen. Trott was actually the quickest in terms of matches, since Richards played 22 but didn't bat in one of them, and Pietersen played 27. Next in terms of innings, with 23, come the rather unlikely pairing of Gordon Greenidge (West Indies) and Ryan ten Doeschate (Netherlands).

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