Hafeez, Taufeeq break new ground for Pakistan
When Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar walked out to bat in the Chittagong Test, they were opening the innings for Pakistan for the 21st consecutive time. It would have been an unremarkable number had it not been for the fact that no other pair had opened in more successive innings for Pakistan. Not even Saeed Anwar and Aamer Sohail. Hafeez and Taufeeq celebrated the occasion with a 164-run partnership.
This week's column is about teams with unchanged openers for the most consecutive innings, as well as teams that used the most openers in a year.
Hafeez and Taufeeq's 21-innings stretch, and those of most other openers, pales in comparison to the 91 consecutive times that Australia opened with Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer. The next best is 43, between England's Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook. Hayden and Langer began their partnership at The Oval in August 2001. They added 158, and Langer, who replaced Michael Slater at the top of Australia's order, went on to make 102 before retiring hurt. Hayden and Langer added 224 in Australia's next innings - against New Zealand at the Gabba in November. In the second innings of that match, Australia, chasing quick runs for a competitive declaration, sent Adam Gilchrist to open with Hayden. It was the last time they opened without Hayden and Langer until November 2005, when Langer suffered a broken rib and gave Michael Hussey, a veteran with 15,313 first-class runs, the opportunity to make his Test debut against West Indies. After that stretch of 91 consecutive innings, the second longest Langer and Hayden had was nine, during the 2006-07 Ashes.
England's present opening combination of Strauss and Cook came closest to challenging the Hayden-Langer mark. They opened in 23 consecutive innings between November 2006 and August 2007 before Strauss was dropped for the tour of Sri Lanka and then recalled to No. 3 for the tour of New Zealand in 2007-08. Strauss was back to opening with Cook for the home series against New Zealand in 2008 and that was the start of their 43-innings stretch. It ended only because Strauss chose to rest from the tour of Bangladesh in 2010. Strauss returned for the home series against Bangladesh that followed and has since opened with Cook in 27 consecutive innings.
|Team||Player||Inns||Start Match||Opp||Scorecard||End Match||Opp||Scorecard|
|Australia||91||Nov 22, 2001||v NZ||Test 1571||Oct 17, 2005||v ICC||Test 1768|
|England||43||May 15, 2008||v NZ||Test 1874||Jan 17, 2010||v SA||Test 1948|
|England||40||May 20, 2004||v NZ||Test 1700||Nov 24, 2005||v Pak||Test 1772|
|West Indies||39||Jan 2, 1982||v Aus||Test 917||Nov 26, 1984||v Aus||Test 999|
|Australia||38||Mar 17, 1994||v SA||Test 1253||Oct 13, 1996||v India||Test 1335|
|South Africa||33||Nov 15, 2002||v SL||Test 1626||Mar 30, 2004||v NZ||Test 1692|
|England||32||Jan 4, 1980||v Aus||Test 868||Jul 21, 1981||v Aus||Test 905|
|Bangladesh||32||Nov 19, 2008||v SA||Test 1893||Nov 2, 2011||v WI||Test 2012|
|England||30||Aug 3, 2000||v WI||Test 1506||Aug 27, 2001||v Aus||Test 1558|
|India||29||Jan 12, 1979||v WI||Test 841||Feb 3, 1980||v Pak||Test 871|
|West Indies||29||Aug 4, 1988||v Eng||Test 1102||Nov 25, 1990||v Pak||Test 1157|
|Australia||29||Mar 15, 1990||v NZ||Test 1141||Jan 29, 1992||v India||Test 1184|
|West Indies||29||Jun 6, 1991||v Eng||Test 1171||Feb 24, 1994||v Eng||Test 1250|
|Sri Lanka||28||Mar 16, 2004||v Aus||Test 1688||Sep 22, 2005||v Ban||Test 1766|
|England||27||Sep 5, 2002||v India||Test 1614||Nov 1, 2003||v Ban||Test 1667|
|England||27||May 27, 2010||v Ban||Test 1958||Aug 22, 2011||v India||Test 2004|
|Australia||26||Jan 24, 1969||v WI||Test 645||Dec 16, 1970||v Eng||Test 675|
|West Indies||25||Mar 9, 2006||v NZ||Test 1787||Jun 19, 2007||v Eng||Test 1836|
Of the major Test sides (Zimbabwe excluded), which team's longest streak by the same pair of openers is the smallest? It isn't Bangladesh - Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal opened 32 times in a row (seventh highest) before Kayes was dropped for the Chittagong Test against Pakistan. It is New Zealand. The 16 consecutive innings that Bruce Edgar and John Wright opened in between November 1980 and March 1982 form their longest stretch. Darrin Murray and Bryan Young matched it in 1994-95.
While England now have a stable opening combination, they once set benchmarks in using the most openers in a year. Most of those years, however, were pre-war, and the last year in which England used nine openers was 1963.
Australia were the only other team to use nine openers in a year - in 1977 and 1979, both Packer years. In 1977, four of the openers Australia used - Ian Davis, Rick McCosker, Kerry O'Keeffe and Richie Robinson - signed up for World Series Cricket, necessitating the use of more. O'Keeffe, a legspinner, opened only once in his career - in the second innings of the Centenary Test, after McCosker had his jaw broken by Bob Willis.
|G Brown, AE Dipper, C Hallows, HTW Hardinge, JB Hobbs, P Holmes, DJ Knight, CH Parkin, W Rhodes, CAG Russell, FE Woolley|
|EH Bowley, WL Cornford, EW Dawson, AHH Gilligan, G Gunn, JB Hobbs, M Leyland, A Sandham, H Sutcliffe, FE Woolley, RES Wyatt|
|AH Bakewell, K Farnes, W Farrimond, J Iddon, M Leyland, A Mitchell, CIJ Smith, D Smith, H Sutcliffe, DCH Townsend, RES Wyatt|
|R Abel, HR Butt, WG Grace, AJL Hill, Hon.FS Jackson, GA Lohmann, Sir TC O'Brien, AE Stoddart, CW Wright|
|JT Brown, CB Fry, WG Grace, TW Hayward, Hon.FS Jackson, AC MacLaren, F Mitchell, WG Quaife, PF Warner|
|TE Bailey, WJ Edrich, TW Graveney, L Hutton, PBH May, Rev.DS Sheppard, RT Simpson, RT Spooner, W Watson|
|TE Bailey, DB Close, WJ Edrich, TW Graveney, L Hutton, JT Ikin, D Kenyon, FA Lowson, RT Simpson|
|KF Barrington, JB Bolus, MC Cowdrey, JH Edrich, R Illingworth, G Pullar, PE Richardson, Rev.DS Sheppard, MJ Stewart|
|GJ Cosier, IC Davis, J Dyson, PA Hibbert, RB McCosker, KJ O'Keeffe, RD Robinson, CS Serjeant, A Turner|
|WM Darling, AMJ Hilditch, BM Laird, RB McCosker, DF Whatmore, JM Wiener, GM Wood, GN Yallop, B Yardley|
The most consecutive innings by openers in ODIs is 42, by Australia's Mark Waugh and Gilchrist between April 1998 and October 1999, a period that included a World Cup victory. They beat the 40 consecutive innings that their predecessors David Boon and Geoff Marsh strung together between April 1987 and October 1989 - which too, coincidentally, included World Cup success.
The record for most opening partnerships belongs to Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, who opened for India in 176 ODIs. The most they managed in a row, though, was only 17, between March and October 2000.
|Team||Player||Inns||Start Match||Opp||Scorecard||End Match||Opp||Scorecard|
|Australia||42||Apr 22, 1998||v India||ODI 1325||Oct 23, 1999||v Zim||ODI 1520|
|Australia||40||Apr 9, 1987||v Eng||ODI 446||Oct 27, 1989||v India||ODI 587|
|England||40||Oct 3, 2001||v Zim||ODI 1751||Mar 2, 2003||v Aus||ODI 1976|
|Pakistan||32||Mar 3, 1994||v NZ||ODI 889||Feb 25, 1995||v Zim||ODI 982|
|Sri Lanka||32||Jan 9, 1996||v Aus||ODI 1032||Apr 7, 1997||v Pak||ODI 1193|
|Australia||22||Jan 14, 1986||v NZ||ODI 350||Jan 1, 1987||v Eng||ODI 409|
|South Africa||22||Dec 7, 1992||v India||ODI 770||Dec 9, 1993||v Aus||ODI 860|
|Zimbabwe||22||Nov 20, 1998||v Pak||ODI 1375||Oct 21, 1999||v Aus||ODI 1518|
|New Zealand||19||Jan 10, 1981||v India||ODI 105||Jan 22, 1983||v Aus||ODI 173|
|South Africa||19||Jan 25, 2004||v WI||ODI 2088||Jan 30, 2005||v Eng||ODI 2216|
|Bangladesh||19||Jan 4, 2010||v SL||ODI 2937||Jul 20, 2010||v Neth||ODI 3029|
|Bangladesh||18||Dec 1, 2010||v Zim||ODI 3071||Aug 21, 2011||v Zim||ODI 3183|
|West Indies||17||Jan 10, 1982||v Aus||ODI 133||Jun 18, 1983||v Aus||ODI 215|
|Pakistan||17||Mar 11, 1992||v Aus||ODI 739||Dec 28, 1992||v NZ||ODI 786|
|India||17||Mar 9, 2000||v SA||ODI 1572||Oct 20, 2000||v SL||ODI 1640|
|South Africa||17||Nov 5, 2010||v Pak||ODI 3067||Oct 28, 2011||v Aus||ODI 3211|
|Pakistan||16||Feb 24, 1996||v UAE||ODI 1059||Aug 31, 1996||v Eng||ODI 1109|
|India||15||Sep 20, 1998||v Pak||ODI 1353||Jan 16, 1999||v NZ||ODI 1385|
|Australia||15||Jan 9, 2000||v Pak||ODI 1536||Mar 1, 2000||v NZ||ODI 1570|
|England||15||Jul 8, 2000||v Zim||ODI 1607||Mar 27, 2001||v SL||ODI 1697|
|West Indies||15||Nov 6, 2002||v India||ODI 1893||Feb 28, 2003||v SL||ODI 1973|
|Zimbabwe||15||Apr 25, 2004||v SL||ODI 2122||Dec 5, 2004||v Eng||ODI 2197|
|South Africa||15||Dec 3, 2006||v India||ODI 2458||Apr 25, 2007||v Aus||ODI 2580|
By coincidence, the most openers used by a team in ODIs in a year is the same as in Tests - 11. Pakistan used 11 in 2002, Zimbabwe in 2003 and Bangladesh in 2004. Bangladesh, however, used 11 in only 19 games, while Pakistan used 11 in 38. Zimbabwe's 11 openers in 2003 were spread across 21 matches.
|Abdul Razzaq, Faisal Iqbal, Imran Nazir, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Naved Latif, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Elahi, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Taufeeq Umar|
|ADR Campbell, CK Coventry, DD Ebrahim, GW Flower, TR Gripper, DA Marillier, BG Rogers, V Sibanda, MA Vermeulen, GJ Whittall, CB Wishart|
|Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali, Habibul Bashar, Hannan Sarkar, Javed Omar, Manjural Islam Rana, Mohammad Ashraful, Mohammad Rafique, Nafees Iqbal, Rajin Saleh, Shahriar Hossain|
|Aamer Malik, Javed Miandad, Mansoor Akhtar, Moin-ul-Atiq, Mudassar Nazar, Rameez Raja, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Yousuf, Shahid Saeed, Shoaib Mohammad|
|SC Ganguly, A Jadeja, SV Manjrekar, NR Mongia, M Prabhakar, WV Raman, V Rathour, NS Sidhu, S Somasunder, SR Tendulkar|
|CO Browne, SL Campbell, S Chanderpaul, AFG Griffith, JR Murray, RB Richardson, RG Samuels, PV Simmons, PA Wallace, SC Williams|
|Aamer Sohail, Abdul Razzaq, Asif Mahmood, Azhar Mahmood, Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Wasim, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Elahi, Shahid Afridi|
|ADR Campbell, DD Ebrahim, GW Flower, TR Gripper, TN Madondo, DA Marillier, H Masakadza, GJ Rennie, PA Strang, GJ Whittall|
|Al Sahariar, Ehsanul Haque, Habibul Bashar, Hannan Sarkar, Javed Omar, Khaled Mashud, Mehrab Hossain, Mohammad Ashraful, Moniruzzaman, Nafees Iqbal|
|Ahmed Shehzad, Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal, Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor, Nasir Jamshed, Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan|
Thank you to Mazher Arshad for bringing the Hafeez-Taufeeq statistic to our attention.
Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for ESPNcricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo