December 20, 2011

Hughes' familiar problem, and Steyn's wickets

One-wicket wins, oldest Australian Test players, and catches on debut

Phillip Hughes was caught by Martin Guptill off the bowling of Chris Martin in all four innings of the recent Australia-New Zealand Tests. Has anything like this happened before? asked Trushit Agrawal from India
The four successive "Hughes c Guptill b Martin" dismissals in the recent series between Australia and New Zealand was only the fifth time anyone had been out in the same way four times running in Tests, and the first to involve the same fielder-bowler combination. I liked the radio commentator Kerry O'Keeffe's observation that "If Hughes is shaving tomorrow and gets a nick, Guptill will appear from the medicine cabinet with a band-aid." The others are: AN Hornby (England) b FR Spofforth (Australia); TA Ward (South Africa) b VWC Jupp (England); W Watson (New Zealand) lbw b Waqar Younis (Pakistan); and MD Marshall (West Indies) b Wasim Akram (Pakistan). There are three previous instances of a batsman being caught by the same fielder-bowler combination in three successive innings: DG Bradman (Australia) c Hutton b Bedser (England); G Boycott (England) c Simpson b Corling (Australia); and CPS Chauhan (India) c Botham b Willis (England). Daniel Vettori of New Zealand was caught by Alastair Cook off Ryan Sidebottom of England three times running in 2007-08, but that sequence was interrupted by a not-out. There have been 10 further instances of a batsman being caught behind off the same bowler in three successive innings. Many thanks to Facebooker Muhammad Asim for confirming this information.

Dale Steyn took his 250th wicket in his 49th Test. Is he the fastest bowler to reach this landmark? asked Francisco Beyer from Chile
Dale Steyn's 250th Test wicket - Tillakaratne Dilshan - came against Sri Lanka in Centurion last week. It was indeed taken in his 49th Test, and only one man has ever got there in fewer matches: Dennis Lillee took his 250th wicket for Australia in his 48th Test, in 1980-81. Steyn just edges out another great South African paceman, Allan Donald, who reached 250 wickets in his 50th Test, while Muttiah Muralitharan and Waqar Younis took 51, and Richard Hadlee and Malcolm Marshall 53.

Is Chris Martin the first player to take more than 200 Test wickets but score less than 200 Test runs? asked Jude Franco from India
Chris Martin now has 210 wickets but only 112 runs in Tests. The only other man to achieve this improbable double is the Indian legspinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, who finished his 58-Test career with 242 wickets and 167 runs. It takes quite a rabbit to make Chandra's batting look good, but his Test average of 4.07 is nearly twice Martin's measly 2.38! Only four other bowlers who took more than 200 wickets scored fewer than 500 runs - Lance Gibbs (309 wickets, 488 runs), Matthew Hoggard (248/473), Danish Kaneria (261/360) and Stuart MacGill (208/349).

Dave Warner achieved the rare feat of carrying his bat, in only his second Test. Has anyone ever done it on debut? asked Barry Lloyd from Australia
There have been three instances of an opener carrying his bat through an innings on Test debut. The first was by the Australian doctor Jack Barrett, with 67 not out in a total of 176 at Lord's in 1890. The England captain Pelham Warner (no relation!) followed suit with 132 out of 237 against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1898-99, then there was a long wait of more than a century before Javed Omar did it, with 85 out of 168 for Bangladesh against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2000-01. The others who, like David Warner, achieved the feat in their second Test are Bernard Tancred (for South Africa in 1888-89), Nazar Mohammad (Pakistan, 1952-53), and the Zimbabwean pair of Mark Dekker (1993-94) and Timo Mawoyo (against Pakistan earlier this year).

Is there an official list of 12th men who never actually went on to play a Test? Not that I want to put a hex on Ben Cutting or Dan Christian... asked Mark Ritchie from Australia
There isn't an official list, mainly because very often - especially in the past - teams didn't name an official 12th man. England, for example, quite often choose from a squad of 12 or 13, and the people not actually selected hurtle off down the motorway to play for their counties while someone whose team hasn't got a game fills in as 12th man/emergency fielder. I think that Australia have got the most complete lists - and I would hazard a guess that Shaun Graf, who did it a few times in the early 1980s, probably holds the record for being 12th man most often without playing. Andy Bichel is, I believe, the overall record-holder - 19 appearances as drinks waiter to go with 19 Test caps!

In the recent Twenty20 international between Bangladesh and Pakistan, 15 bowlers were used. Is this a record? And what's the record in domestic T20s? asked Scott Hazebroek from Australia
The 15 bowlers in the recent match in Mirpur equalled the current record for a Twenty20 international, which was set by India and South Africa at Trent Bridge during the World Twenty20 in 2009, and matched by Canada and Kenya in Dubai in February 2010. The record for any senior Twenty20 match is 17 bowlers, employed by Matabeleland Tuskers and Mashonaland Eagles in their Stanbic Bank 20 match in Harare in Zimbabwe in February 2010.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012. Ask Steven is now on Facebook