April 9, 2013

Fulton's two, and Gavaskar's pile

Also: most balls taken to score a run, first Test on a Sunday, innings with no double figures, and the worst bowling averages

Has anyone else scored their first and second Test hundreds in the same game, as Peter Fulton did at Auckland? asked Tim Pate from New Zealand
Two men have scored twin centuries in their very first Test: Lawrence Rowe made 214 and 100 not out for West Indies against New Zealand in Kingston in 1971-72, and Yasir Hameed echoed his feat with 170 and 105 for Pakistan v Bangladesh in Karachi in 2003-04. Seven others before Fulton had followed their maiden Test century with another one in the same match - but where Fulton does lead the way is that it took him till his 13th Test to achieve the feat: another New Zealander, Geoff Howarth, is next with 11 (v England in Auckland in 1977-78). The others to score their first two centuries in the same Test are Warren Bardsley (Australia v England at The Oval in 1909 - his fifth Test), Vijay Hazare (India v Australia in Adelaide in 1947-48 - seventh), Jack Moroney (Australia v South Africa in Johannesburg in 1949-50 - fourth), Duleep Mendis (105 and 105, a unique double, for Sri Lanka v India in Madras in 1981-82 - his fifth Test), Wajahatullah Wasti (Pakistan v Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1998-99 - second), and Phillip Hughes (Australia v South Africa in Durban in 2008-09 - second). Moroney and Wajahatullah never scored another Test century. For a full list of those scoring two hundreds in the same Test, click here.

Who has scored the most Test runs as an opener? asked Mohit Bhasin from Mumbai
A fellow Mumbaikar leads the way here: Sunil Gavaskar scored 9607 runs (of his total of 10,122) from the top of the order in Tests. Four others have made more than 8000 as an opener: Matthew Hayden scored all his 8625 Test runs from the top of the order, Graeme Smith has so far scored 8518 and Virender Sehwag 8207, and Geoff Boycott made 8091. Other current players a bit further down the list are Alastair Cook (6729 runs) and Chris Gayle (6650).

Stuart Broad took 62 balls to get off the mark in the recent final Test against New Zealand. Is this a record? asked John Langley
Stuart Broad did indeed open his account from the 62nd ball he faced during England's long rearguard on the final day of the third Test in Auckland last month. The archives aren't complete in this area, but even so it wasn't quite a record. In Sydney in 1962-63, the Middlesex and England wicketkeeper John Murray - who was batting with an injured shoulder - took 79 balls to open his account, and eventually finished with three not out in 100 minutes. And in the course of the longest Test duck of all, against South Africa in 1998-99, Geoff Allott survived for 101 minutes before being dismissed for 0 by his 77th ball. That was also in Auckland - I wonder how many people saw both Allott and Broad's innings (and stayed awake throughout)?

What was the first Test to include play on a Sunday? asked Stuart Morrison via Facebook
Most Tests in England now include Sunday play as standard, but this was not the case until the early 1980s - the first Tests at all in England with Sunday play were two of the matches in the exciting 1981 Ashes series. But the first Sunday play in any Test was back in 1933, when the first Test ever played in India - against England on the Bombay Gymkhana ground - included play on Sunday, December 17, the third day of the match. England's Bryan Valentine became the first to complete a Test century on a Sunday (he started the day with 79, and eventually made 136), while later in the day Lala Amarnath - in the course of scoring India's first Test century - became the first to make one entirely on a Sunday.

I was looking at New Zealand's record low Test total of 26, and was surprised that one batsman managed to make it into double figures! Is there any completed Test innings where no one did? asked Michael Hayes from New Zealand
When New Zealand were bowled out for 26 by England in Auckland in 1954-55 - still the record for the lowest Test total - their opener Bert Sutcliffe top-scored with 11. "It really was an extraordinary affair," wrote Sutcliffe later. "I was fifth out, at 14, taking a swing at Wardle. I went back, had a quick shower, and as I emerged from the dressing-room the last of our batsmen were coming in." That was one of 28 occasions that a completed Test innings included only one double-figure score - but there is one case of all 11 batsmen failing to get there. That was when South Africa were shot out for 30 in just 12.3 overs by England at Edgbaston in 1924. The top scorer was opener and captain Herbie Taylor, with just 7 - but there were 11 extras! England's captain Arthur Gilligan took 6 for 7, and Maurice Tate 4 for 12, including a wicket with his first ball in a Test.

Among Indian bowlers who have played 50 or more Tests, does Ishant Sharma have the worst bowling average? asked Krishna Kanth from India
You run into the difficulty here of defining a bowler: top (or bottom) of this list for all countries is Sunil Gavaskar, whose solitary wicket in his 125 Tests cost 206 runs, giving him an average of 206.00. But imposing a qualification of 20 wickets filters out most non-bowlers, and then the top (or arguably bottom) man is Ian Chappell (20 wickets at 65.80 from 75 matches). But, again, Chappell was hardly a regular bowler: the worst average of anyone who played 50 or more Tests largely as a specialist bowler is owned by England's Ashley Giles (153 wickets at 40.60), although Ravi Shastri - often selected as a specialist batsman - is slightly worse at 40.96 (151 wickets). Ishant Sharma (currently 144 wickets at 37.99) is behind only John Emburey (147 at 38.40) and just ahead of Fidel Edwards (currently 165 at 37.87). The only other man with more than 100 wickets above them is Carl Hooper (114 at 49.42).

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