February 14, 2012

Lots of lbws, and Marsh's misery

Also, winning after being dismissed for under 100, youngest to 6000 runs, and players named Valentine

There were 43 lbws in the Test series between Pakistan and England. Is this a record? asked Sean Grant from Edinburgh
The recent series in the UAE equalled the overall record for the number of lbws - and in only three Tests, as opposed to six in the Ashes series in 1981, and five in England's home series against West Indies in 2000, which both also produced 43 lbw dismissals. There were 42 lbws in the four Tests between West Indies and Australia in 1998-99, and 40 in the six-Test Ashes series in England in 1989. The previous record for a three-Test series was 33 lbws, in West Indies' home series against Pakistan in 1992-93. For the full list, click here.

Shaun Marsh averaged 2.83 in the series against India. Is this the worst batting average in any series by a recognised batsman? asked Ahsan Ahmed from Lahore
I thought Shaun Marsh's travails in the recent series against India - when he scored 17 runs in six innings - were eerily reminiscent of the man he displaced as Australia's No. 3: Ricky Ponting scraped together 17 runs in five innings (average 3.40) in threeTests in India in 2000-01. Two specialist batsman have had worse series than Marsh, though: Ken Rutherford, in his debut series for New Zealand in the West Indies in 1984-85, made 12 runs in seven innings for an average of 1.71, while for India against West Indies in 1983-84 Mohinder Amarnath made 0 and 0, 0 and 1, and 0 and 0 - that's one run in six innings at a Martinesque average of 0.16. I've only considered people who had more than four innings here: if you drop the bar to three Tests, then Sri Lanka's long-serving captain Arjuna Ranatunga comes into the equation - in his first three innings in Pakistan in 1991-92 he made 0, 0 and 0 from No. 5, before dropping down to No. 8 and managing to score 6, for a series average of 1.50.

Pakistan won the third Test against England despite being bowled out for less than 100 in their first innings. How often has this happened in Tests? asked Mit Chowdhury via Facebook
This was only the 11th instance of a side winning a Test match after scoring less than 100 in their first innings - the first since, well, last November, when South Africa beat Australia after being bowled out for 96 in Cape Town! Pakistan's victory in Dubai was the first time since 1907 - and the sixth overall - that a side bowled out for double figures in the very first innings of the match went on to win (England made 76 at Headingley in 1907, but went on to beat South Africa by 53 runs). The lowest score in any side's first innings that proved enough to win the Test was 45, by England against Australia in Sydney in 1886-87. (These answers ignore the match in Centurion in 1999-2000, when England declared their first innings against South Africa at 0 for 0.)

Alastair Cook reached 6000 Test runs at Dubai. Is he the youngest player to reach this mark? asked Keith D'Souza from Nigeria
Alastair Cook's milestone was all but overlooked as England slid to another defeat in Dubai. But he reached 6000 Test runs at the age of 27 years and 43 days: only one batsman has passed 6000 at a younger age, and it's no great surprise that it's Sachin Tendulkar, who was a couple of months short of his 27th birthday when he reached the landmark early in March 2000. Tendulkar took 76 matches to get there, but Cook reached 6000 in his 75th Test, the fourth-fastest for England after Len Hutton (66), Wally Hammond (70) and Ken Barrington (72). Cook lies joint 17th (with Kevin Pietersen) on the overall list, which is headed by Don Bradman, who reached 6000 runs in his 45th Test - no fewer than 20 matches quicker than the next-fastest, Garry Sobers, with 65.

Australia's 131 at Melbourne included four run-outs. Has this ever happened before in a Twenty20 international? asked Adarsh Chopra from the United Arab Emirates
The four run-outs in Australia's innings against India in Melbourne last week equalled the record for a Twenty20 international. It has now happened seven times: the first instance was by New Zealand, also against India, during the first World Twenty20 in 2007-08. The Test record is also four in an innings, shared by India against Pakistan in Peshawar in 1954-55 and Australia v West Indies in Adelaide in 1968-69, while the ODI record is five, which has happened nine times now (click here for a list).

In honour of today's date, how many international cricketers have been called "Valentine"? asked Roy Shepherd from London
There have been four Test cricketers with the surname Valentine. Vincent, a fast bowler, played two Tests for West Indies in England in 1933; Bryan, of Kent and England, played seven Tests in the 1930s, scoring a century on debut against India in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1933-34; Alf took 139 wickets for West Indies with his beguiling left-arm spin; and last but not least there's Carol, who played in the very first women's Test, in Australia in 1934-35, which England won by nine wickets. Both Vincent and Alf came from Jamaica, but I don't think they were related. John Valentine from Quebec played three one-day internationals for Canada in the 1979 World Cup. And the England Test fast bowler David "Syd" Lawrence's middle name is Valentine, something he shares with Matthew Fleming, who played 11 one-day internationals for England in the late 1990s.

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