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George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

Hafeez, Taufeeq break new ground for Pakistan

Teams that opened with the same batsmen for the most consecutive innings

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

December 14, 2011

Comments: 20 | Text size: A | A

Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar opened the batting for the 11th consecutive Test, a Pakistan record, Bangladesh v Pakistan, 1st Test, Chittagong, 1st day, December 9, 2011
When they played in the Chittagong Test, Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar had opened for Pakistan 21 times in a row © AFP
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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.

Most consecutive innings with the same pair of openers - Tests
Team Player Inns Start Match Opp Scorecard End Match Opp Scorecard
Australia ML Hayden, JL Langer 91 Nov 22, 2001 v NZ Test 1571 Oct 17, 2005 v ICC Test 1768
England AN Cook, AJ Strauss 43 May 15, 2008 v NZ Test 1874 Jan 17, 2010 v SA Test 1948
England AJ Strauss, ME Trescothick 40 May 20, 2004 v NZ Test 1700 Nov 24, 2005 v Pak Test 1772
West Indies CG Greenidge, DL Haynes 39 Jan 2, 1982 v Aus Test 917 Nov 26, 1984 v Aus Test 999
Australia MJ Slater, MA Taylor 38 Mar 17, 1994 v SA Test 1253 Oct 13, 1996 v India Test 1335
South Africa HH Gibbs, GC Smith 33 Nov 15, 2002 v SL Test 1626 Mar 30, 2004 v NZ Test 1692
England G Boycott, GA Gooch 32 Jan 4, 1980 v Aus Test 868 Jul 21, 1981 v Aus Test 905
Bangladesh Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal 32 Nov 19, 2008 v SA Test 1893 Nov 2, 2011 v WI Test 2012
England MA Atherton, ME Trescothick 30 Aug 3, 2000 v WI Test 1506 Aug 27, 2001 v Aus Test 1558
India CPS Chauhan, SM Gavaskar 29 Jan 12, 1979 v WI Test 841 Feb 3, 1980 v Pak Test 871
West Indies CG Greenidge, DL Haynes 29 Aug 4, 1988 v Eng Test 1102 Nov 25, 1990 v Pak Test 1157
Australia GR Marsh, MA Taylor 29 Mar 15, 1990 v NZ Test 1141 Jan 29, 1992 v India Test 1184
West Indies DL Haynes, PV Simmons 29 Jun 6, 1991 v Eng Test 1171 Feb 24, 1994 v Eng Test 1250
Sri Lanka MS Atapattu, ST Jayasuriya 28 Mar 16, 2004 v Aus Test 1688 Sep 22, 2005 v Ban Test 1766
England ME Trescothick, MP Vaughan 27 Sep 5, 2002 v India Test 1614 Nov 1, 2003 v Ban Test 1667
England AN Cook, AJ Strauss 27 May 27, 2010 v Ban Test 1958 Aug 22, 2011 v India Test 2004
Australia WM Lawry, KR Stackpole 26 Jan 24, 1969 v WI Test 645 Dec 16, 1970 v Eng Test 675
West Indies D Ganga, CH Gayle 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.

Most openers used in a year - Tests
Team Year Num Mat Inns
England 1921 11 8 16
G Brown, AE Dipper, C Hallows, HTW Hardinge, JB Hobbs, P Holmes, DJ Knight, CH Parkin, W Rhodes, CAG Russell, FE Woolley
England 1930 11 14 26
EH Bowley, WL Cornford, EW Dawson, AHH Gilligan, G Gunn, JB Hobbs, M Leyland, A Sandham, H Sutcliffe, FE Woolley, RES Wyatt
England 1935 11 9 16
AH Bakewell, K Farnes, W Farrimond, J Iddon, M Leyland, A Mitchell, CIJ Smith, D Smith, H Sutcliffe, DCH Townsend, RES Wyatt
England 1896 9 6 10
R Abel, HR Butt, WG Grace, AJL Hill, Hon.FS Jackson, GA Lohmann, Sir TC O'Brien, AE Stoddart, CW Wright
England 1899 9 7 13
JT Brown, CB Fry, WG Grace, TW Hayward, Hon.FS Jackson, AC MacLaren, F Mitchell, WG Quaife, PF Warner
England 1954 9 12 21
TE Bailey, WJ Edrich, TW Graveney, L Hutton, PBH May, Rev.DS Sheppard, RT Simpson, RT Spooner, W Watson
England 1955 9 9 15
TE Bailey, DB Close, WJ Edrich, TW Graveney, L Hutton, JT Ikin, D Kenyon, FA Lowson, RT Simpson
England 1963 9 11 20
KF Barrington, JB Bolus, MC Cowdrey, JH Edrich, R Illingworth, G Pullar, PE Richardson, Rev.DS Sheppard, MJ Stewart
Australia 1977 9 13 25
GJ Cosier, IC Davis, J Dyson, PA Hibbert, RB McCosker, KJ O'Keeffe, RD Robinson, CS Serjeant, A Turner
Australia 1979 9 14 28
WM Darling, AMJ Hilditch, BM Laird, RB McCosker, DF Whatmore, JM Wiener, GM Wood, GN Yallop, B Yardley
England 1884 8 4 7

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.

Most consecutive innings with the same pair of openers - ODIs
Team Player Inns Start Match Opp Scorecard End Match Opp Scorecard
Australia AC Gilchrist, ME Waugh 42 Apr 22, 1998 v India ODI 1325 Oct 23, 1999 v Zim ODI 1520
Australia DC Boon, GR Marsh 40 Apr 9, 1987 v Eng ODI 446 Oct 27, 1989 v India ODI 587
England NV Knight, ME Trescothick 40 Oct 3, 2001 v Zim ODI 1751 Mar 2, 2003 v Aus ODI 1976
Pakistan Aamer Sohail, Saeed Anwar 32 Mar 3, 1994 v NZ ODI 889 Feb 25, 1995 v Zim ODI 982
Sri Lanka ST Jayasuriya, RS Kaluwitharana 32 Jan 9, 1996 v Aus ODI 1032 Apr 7, 1997 v Pak ODI 1193
Australia DC Boon, GR Marsh 22 Jan 14, 1986 v NZ ODI 350 Jan 1, 1987 v Eng ODI 409
South Africa AC Hudson, KC Wessels 22 Dec 7, 1992 v India ODI 770 Dec 9, 1993 v Aus ODI 860
Zimbabwe GW Flower, NC Johnson 22 Nov 20, 1998 v Pak ODI 1375 Oct 21, 1999 v Aus ODI 1518
New Zealand BA Edgar, JG Wright 19 Jan 10, 1981 v India ODI 105 Jan 22, 1983 v Aus ODI 173
South Africa HH Gibbs, GC Smith 19 Jan 25, 2004 v WI ODI 2088 Jan 30, 2005 v Eng ODI 2216
Bangladesh Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal 19 Jan 4, 2010 v SL ODI 2937 Jul 20, 2010 v Neth ODI 3029
Bangladesh Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal 18 Dec 1, 2010 v Zim ODI 3071 Aug 21, 2011 v Zim ODI 3183
West Indies CG Greenidge, DL Haynes 17 Jan 10, 1982 v Aus ODI 133 Jun 18, 1983 v Aus ODI 215
Pakistan Aamer Sohail, Rameez Raja 17 Mar 11, 1992 v Aus ODI 739 Dec 28, 1992 v NZ ODI 786
India SC Ganguly, SR Tendulkar 17 Mar 9, 2000 v SA ODI 1572 Oct 20, 2000 v SL ODI 1640
South Africa HM Amla, GC Smith 17 Nov 5, 2010 v Pak ODI 3067 Oct 28, 2011 v Aus ODI 3211
Pakistan Aamer Sohail, Saeed Anwar 16 Feb 24, 1996 v UAE ODI 1059 Aug 31, 1996 v Eng ODI 1109
India SC Ganguly, SR Tendulkar 15 Sep 20, 1998 v Pak ODI 1353 Jan 16, 1999 v NZ ODI 1385
Australia AC Gilchrist, ME Waugh 15 Jan 9, 2000 v Pak ODI 1536 Mar 1, 2000 v NZ ODI 1570
England AJ Stewart, ME Trescothick 15 Jul 8, 2000 v Zim ODI 1607 Mar 27, 2001 v SL ODI 1697
West Indies CH Gayle, WW Hinds 15 Nov 6, 2002 v India ODI 1893 Feb 28, 2003 v SL ODI 1973
Zimbabwe S Matsikenyeri, BRM Taylor 15 Apr 25, 2004 v SL ODI 2122 Dec 5, 2004 v Eng ODI 2197
South Africa AB de Villiers, GC Smith 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.

Most openers used in a year - ODIs
Team Year Num Mat Inns
Pakistan 2002 11 38 38
Abdul Razzaq, Faisal Iqbal, Imran Nazir, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Naved Latif, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Elahi, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Taufeeq Umar
Zimbabwe 2003 11 21 21
ADR Campbell, CK Coventry, DD Ebrahim, GW Flower, TR Gripper, DA Marillier, BG Rogers, V Sibanda, MA Vermeulen, GJ Whittall, CB Wishart
Bangladesh 2004 11 19 19
Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali, Habibul Bashar, Hannan Sarkar, Javed Omar, Manjural Islam Rana, Mohammad Ashraful, Mohammad Rafique, Nafees Iqbal, Rajin Saleh, Shahriar Hossain
Pakistan 1989 10 27 27
Aamer Malik, Javed Miandad, Mansoor Akhtar, Moin-ul-Atiq, Mudassar Nazar, Rameez Raja, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Yousuf, Shahid Saeed, Shoaib Mohammad
India 1996 10 32 32
SC Ganguly, A Jadeja, SV Manjrekar, NR Mongia, M Prabhakar, WV Raman, V Rathour, NS Sidhu, S Somasunder, SR Tendulkar
West Indies 1996 10 20 20
CO Browne, SL Campbell, S Chanderpaul, AFG Griffith, JR Murray, RB Richardson, RG Samuels, PV Simmons, PA Wallace, SC Williams
Pakistan 1998 10 26 26
Aamer Sohail, Abdul Razzaq, Asif Mahmood, Azhar Mahmood, Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Wasim, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Elahi, Shahid Afridi
Zimbabwe 2001 10 37 37
ADR Campbell, DD Ebrahim, GW Flower, TR Gripper, TN Madondo, DA Marillier, H Masakadza, GJ Rennie, PA Strang, GJ Whittall
Bangladesh 2003 10 21 21
Al Sahariar, Ehsanul Haque, Habibul Bashar, Hannan Sarkar, Javed Omar, Khaled Mashud, Mehrab Hossain, Mohammad Ashraful, Moniruzzaman, Nafees Iqbal
Pakistan 2009 10 20 20
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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Zainu.Munawari on (December 17, 2011, 7:43 GMT)

Amazing piece of statistics.... Good Job!!!!

Posted by   on (December 16, 2011, 2:09 GMT)

Phew! Finally, a consistent pair. I think the selectors should stick to this combination for some time now. They are comfortable playing with one another. They have given some good knocks. They should be encouraged despite some weaknesses as Aina Maria Waseem pointed out. I'm so relieved Pakistan's opening dilemma is over. 11 openers in a year is a joke man!

Posted by ABRAR-JANJUA on (December 15, 2011, 10:56 GMT)

@Major_Hammad forget his average on domestic level. His foot work and batting technique is horrible. Against Fast bowling and top quality attack he is not going to survive. His only plus point is his fielding but if he will improve his batting technique and foot work and get rid of too much shuffling habit then he can be a huge plus to middle order which is lacking a quality left handed from long time.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2011, 10:39 GMT)

what about Sehwag & Sachin record its not open together more than 15 ....

Posted by   on (December 15, 2011, 5:13 GMT)

Taufeeq has not been spectacular but has been consistent, he scores regularly scored 236 against Srilanka, a century earlier in Westindies and also a few 50's. throughout the year, Hafeez also is consistent. They both should be presisted with in the immediate future. Especially Hafeez as he contributes with the ball as well.

Posted by notvery on (December 15, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

@RandyOz - your right Strauss is no good. thats why it didnt matter that he was in the team for the last ashes, England could afford to play with 10 and still win by an innings 3 times...

Posted by   on (December 14, 2011, 21:37 GMT)

@jimmy2s: He was different back in 2003 when he dominated south africa, though of-course that's not relevant now. I might be wrong but I think while he's our worst player of spin (though he does fight that weakness diligently, as against Mahmudullah, staying for ages before succumbing and not asking hafeez to face him more) he's probably one of the best against pace. England have just one spinner and lots of pacers. I just wish he would revert to his 2003 strike rate; I think that was much better. If hafeez performs, Taufiq needn't score quickly anyway. Asad being a middle order batsman ought to score faster though, like Inzamam.

Posted by GreenTeam-Elite on (December 14, 2011, 18:19 GMT)

Best Regards for both Hafeez and Umar...

Posted by Major_Hammad on (December 14, 2011, 15:54 GMT)

@ABRAR-JANJUA: I'm the fan of Fawad Alam, I also know that he made 168* on debut (1st pakistani to make hundred on debut in away/other country series). But I will preffer Fawad Alam at No.4 or No.5 in Pak team as regular test player bcz he deserve this. Fawad Alam first class avg 58+ mostly played at No.4 & No.5. Even in current Quaid trophy so for (as 1 inning left of trophy) he made 905 runs at avg 69+ (nearly 70) at No.4 & No.5.

Posted by Younus313 on (December 14, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

Drop Taufeeq? Are you guys serious! Replace him with who? There is no one. Taufeeq Umar was an outstanding opener with a fantastic technique, he knew exactly where is off stump was and his early record was fantastic. Then came his injury problems. He has struggled his way back. He is certainly not the same bat that he was but he and Muhammad Hafeez are the best of the bunch, in terms of openers. As far as the strike rates are concerned, I am so happy to hear of Pakistani batsman batting long with low strikes rather than the opposite. The Test batting has some much needed stability to it. I would have Umar Akmal & Fawad Alam in there to add to the strike rate & tempo!

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George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket

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