October 16, 2012

Malinga's misery, and Tasmania's tightness

Also: 99 not out in T20s, Bradman's run-outs, captains with pairs, and an offie nicknamed Roo

Were Lasith Malinga's figures in the World Twenty20 final the most expensive in T20 international history? asked Keith D'Souza
It might just cheer Lasith Malinga up a bit to discover that his figures weren't the worst in a T20 international - and there have even been eight cases of worse figures in the World Twenty20. Two bowlers have conceded 64 runs from their four overs: Sanath Jayasuriya for Sri Lanka against Pakistan in Johannesburg in the inaugural World Twenty20 in September 2007, and Jimmy Anderson for England v Australia in Sydney in January that year (he did at least take a wicket, which is more than Jayasuriya managed). There have been 12 other instances of a bowler conceding more than 54 runs in an innings, with Christopher Mpofu of Zimbabwe accounting for two of them: for the full list, click here.

Recently Tasmania conceded just one sundry in NSW's first innings of 442. That must be some kind of record? asked Ian Jessup
Tasmania's effort in conceding just one extra - a no-ball - in New South Wales' total of 442 in Sydney at the end of September was a commendable one, but it's well short of a record. (It was also a good comeback by NSW to reach 442 after being 7 for 3!) However, Tasmania were also the fielding side on the occasion of the highest innings total in first-class cricket with no extras at all - Victoria's 647 at the MCG in February 1952, many years before Tasmania were admitted to the Sheffield Shield. There are two other no-extras totals higher then NSW's 424: in Benoni in 1948-49 the MCC tourists made 484 against North-Eastern Transvaal, the innings in which Denis Compton scored 300 in 181 minutes, while two years later Eastern Province's 435 against Griqualand West in Kimberley didn't contain any extras either. (That's another strange-looking scorecard: both openers were out for ducks, but John Waite made 219 from No. 3.) The highest innings total without a bye (but with some other extras) is Victoria's 806 for 8 dec against Queensland at the MCG in March 2009.

Is Luke Wright the only player to be stranded on 99 not out in a T20 international? asked Joel Pojas
The short answer is yes, he is: Luke Wright's innings for England against Afghanistan in Colombo, in the early stages of this year's World Twenty20, is the only instance so far of a player scoring 99 not out in a T20 international. Ricky Ponting (for Australia against New Zealand in Auckland in February 2005, in the very first official T20 international) and Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka v West Indies in Bridgetown in May 2010) have both been stranded on 98 not out. The only instance in which a player was out for 99 was also by an England player - Alex Hales, against West Indies at Trent Bridge in June 2012.

Which Test player was nicknamed "Roo"? asked Chris Malone
"Roo" - it's short for Kangaroo - was the Australian offspinner Bruce Yardley, who took 126 wickets in 33 Tests between 1977-78 and 1982-83. Yardley, who later had a spell as Sri Lanka's coach, had a long apprenticeship in first-class cricket: he made his debut for Western Australia in December 1966, aged just 19, but made only one further appearance in the next seven years before nailing down a regular Sheffield Shield spot in 1974. He played his first Tests against India in 1977-78, and blossomed after a slow start, taking 38 wickets in six home Tests against Pakistan and West Indies in 1981-82, including his best figures of 7 for 98 against the strong West Indian side in Sydney. Yardley recently produced Roo's Book, an entertaining if slightly chaotic account of his life.

Is it true that Don Bradman was never run out in a Test, or in first-class cricket? asked Jude Franco
Don Bradman was actually run out just once (in 70 dismissals) in a Test, during his first series against England in 1928-29. In the second innings of the fourth Test in Adelaide, the Don had made 58 when, as Wisden has it, "Oldfield hit a ball to cover point, both batsmen dashing for the run, but Hobbs returned like lightning for Duckworth to put down the wicket." It probably cost Australia the match: chasing 349, they were 320 for 7 before the run-out, but declined to 336 all out shortly afterwards. Hobbs, by the way, was 45 years old at the time: he'd made 74 in England's first innings. In first-class cricket, in which he was dismissed on a further 225 occasions, Bradman was run out only three times: for NSW v Queensland in Brisbane in November 1929 (for 48); the following month, for NSW v South Australia in Adelaide (for 2); and in November 1939, by which time he was playing for South Australia, against Victoria in Adelaide (for 76).

How many Test captains have started their tenure with a pair? asked Siddhartha
So far there have been 19 instances of a captain bagging a pair - two dismissals for 0 - in a Test. The first one was Joe Darling's for Australia against England in the only Test ever played at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, in 1902, while the most famous was probably Ian Botham's in the Lord's Ashes Test of 1981, after which he got the silent treatment from the MCC members and promptly resigned as captain, just ahead of being pushed by the selectors. Three players have started their captaincy careers with a pair in their first match in charge: Mark Taylor (Australia v Pakistan in Karachi in 1994-95), Rashid Latif (Pakistan v South Africa in Port Elizabeth in 1997-98) and Habibul Bashar (Bangladesh v Zimbabwe in Harare in 2003-04). Botham is the only one to bag a pair in his last Test as captain. For the full list, click here.

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