March 26, 2013

Debut stands, Patto's improvement

Also: old Indian debutants, fastest to 100 ODI wickets, most runs against Australia, and a quiz question

Was the stand between M Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan at Mohali the highest partnership to feature a Test debutant? asked Jeremy Gilling from Australia
The stand of 289 between M Vijay and the debutant Shikhar Dhawan in the recent third Test in Mohali was the highest opening partnership in Tests featuring someone making his debut - the previous record was 276 by Stewie Dempster (in his, and New Zealand's, second Test) and Jackie Mills (in his first) against England in Wellington in 1929-30. But the overall record was a long way off: in Chittagong in April 2003, Jacques Rudolph - who scored 222 not out on debut - and Boeta Dippenaar shared an unbroken stand of 429 for South Africa's third wicket against Bangladesh. The highest partnership by a pair of Test debutants is 249, by Billy Ibadulla (166) and Abdul Kadir (95) for Pakistan against Australia in Karachi in 1964-65.

James Pattinson's batting average is currently far better in Tests than in all first-class matches. Who holds the record for improving as a batsman the most going from first-class to Test level? Who got worse? asked Tom Carney via Facebook
The best example for someone who scored a significant number of Test runs is England's Ken Barrington, who averaged 58.67 in Tests but 45.63 in first-class cricket. And his first-class average includes the Tests: if you take them out Barrington averaged 43.01 in other matches. Andy Ganteaume, whose one innings for West Indies gave him an average of 112.00, averaged 34.81 in all first-class cricket. There are lots of contenders for the worst difference... one of my favourites is the Australian Jack Badcock, who averaged 51.54 in first-class cricket, but exactly 37 less than that - 14.54 - in Tests, even though he scored a century against England!

Who was the last man older than Shikhar Dhawan to make his debut for India? asked Nishant from India
Shikhar Dhawan was 99 days - about three months - past his 27th birthday when he made his striking Test debut against Australia in Mohali earlier this month. That puts him well down the list of oldest Indian first-timers - he's actually 56th in a table headed by Rustomji Jamshedji, who was 41 in 1933-34. Dhawan is the oldest Indian debutant for all of 14 months: Vinay Kumar was nearly 28 when he won his first cap against Australia in January 2012. Among batsmen, S Badrinath was 28 years 160 days old when he made his Test debut, against South Africa in Kolkata in February 2010.

Morne Morkel recently took his 100th wicket in one-day internationals in only his 59th match. Has anyone got there quicker? asked Mark Simons from Cape Town
Three bowlers have reached 100 one-day wickets in fewer matches than Morne Morkel, who got there when he trapped BJ Watling of New Zealand leg-before in Kimberley in January. Shane Bond of New Zealand reached the mark in 55 matches, and Australia's Brett Lee in 54... but the fastest was the Pakistan offspinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who took his 100th wicket in his 53rd ODI, back in May 1997. Two others - Irfan Pathan and Waqar Younis - also reached 100 in their 59th matches.

Who has scored the most Test runs against Australia? asked Balaji Tipole from India
I thought this record was going to change hands in the second innings of the Test in Delhi that has just finished: Sachin Tendulkar went in needing just eight runs to take over the top spot, but was out for 1. This leaves him with 3630 runs in 39 Tests against Australia - six adrift of the long-standing record held by the England opener Jack Hobbs, who scored 3636 runs in 41 Tests against them between 1907-08 and 1930. The only other man with more than 3000 Test runs against Australia is David Gower, who made 3269 in 42 matches for England. Geoff Boycott (2945) fell just short. The highest individual score in a Test against Australia remains Len Hutton's 364 for England at The Oval in 1938: no one else has managed a triple-century against them.

Who made his Test debut against India but hurt his hand on the tour of Australia that followed, didn't play another Test for ten years till he was recalled to face India, and then broke a finger on the tour of Australia that followed? asked Chris Blyth
The answer to this rather complicated question is the Surrey and England batsman Laurie Fishlock, who played his first two Tests against India in 1936, then went to Australia with Gubby Allen's side that winter but suffered a hand injury. He didn't play another Test until he was recalled for the final match of England's first post-war series, against India in 1946 on his home ground, at The Oval. Fishlock was 39 by then, but had been having a fine season. He only scored 8 on his recall - but was still taken to Australia that winter. Early in the tour he badly broke a finger, and played only in the fifth Test, his last England appearance.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013