June 25, 2013

Lowest totals, and odd defeats

Also: lowest Test total without a duck, most wickets in Australia by a visiting bowler, centuries in 100th matches, and the biggest lead without enforcing a follow-on

I'm an Essex fan grasping at straws here. I know that we have just posted the lowest score in our history. But is 20 the lowest team score to include a batsman who made it to double figures? asked Steve Howe from (presumably) Essex
Essex's collapse to 20 all out - of which Jaik Mickleburgh made 10 - against Lancashire earlier this month was easily their lowest first-class total, which was previously 30, against Yorkshire in Leyton in 1901. But it wasn't quite the lowest one to include a double-figure score: when the Australians bowled MCC out for 19 at Lord's in 1878, Wilfred Flowers of Nottinghamshire made 11. Mickleburgh's effort does equal the County Championship record, though: when Sussex were all out for 20 against Yorkshire in Hull in 1922, their wicketkeeper George Street also made 10. However, I think my favourite stat in this particular area is that when Auckland were bowled out for 13 by Canterbury in 1877-78, there were eight extras - and the top-scoring batsman made 2.

Ignoring matches truncated by the weather, what is the fewest number of wickets lost by the side which ended up losing a one-day international (a) batting first and (b) batting second? asked John Price from England
Four teams have lost an ODI despite losing only two wickets. In Sahiwal in 1978-79 India's captain Bishan Bedi conceded the match "in protest against an excess of bumpers sent down by Sarfraz Nawaz", according to Wisden. They had 183 for 2 from 37.4 overs at the time, and needed 23 from 14 balls to overhaul Pakistan's 40-over total of 205 for 7. In Auckland in March 1990 New Zealand (167 for 2) were behind the required rate when it rained against Australia (239 for 6). Two teams which batted first have also lost despite losing only two wickets: Pakistan made 220 for 2 in Melbourne in the 1992 World Cup, but West Indies didn't lose a wicket at all in sweeping past them; but in 2003-04 West Indies lost out despite scoring 304 for 2 in Johannesburg - South Africa won when Shaun Pollock hit the fourth ball of the final over for six. Zimbabwe actually lost to India in Hamilton in the 1992 World Cup despite losing only one wicket, but that was a rain-affected match (Zimbabwe had made 104 for 1 in reply to India's 203 for 7 when the weather closed in).

When Bangladesh were bowled out for 89 by Sri Lanka in 2007, no one was out for a duck. Was this the lowest Test total not to include a blob? asked Guy de Silva from Colombo
Rather surprisingly, perhaps, there have been seven completed Test innings of less than 100 in which no one was out for a duck, and four of them are lower than Bangladesh's 89 in Colombo in June 2007. The lowest of all is Australia's 75 against South Africa in Durban in 1949-50 - Colin McCool was out for 1, and there were six scores of 2. Even though they conceded a first-innings lead of 236, Australia actually won that match - they bowled South Africa out for 99 in their second innings, then made 336 for 5 to win.

Which visiting bowler has taken the most Test wickets in Australia? asked Chris Brotherston from Sydney
This is a very close-run thing, as both Sydney Barnes and Richard Hadlee took 77 Test wickets on Australian soil. But Curtly Ambrose just pips them, having taken 78 wickets in 14 Tests in Australia. Hadlee's came in only 12 matches, at the tremendous average of 17.83 (Ambrose's average was 19.79, and Barnes' 22.42), the lowest of any visitor taking 50 or more Test wickets in Australia apart from the 19th-century Yorkshire and England bowler Billy Bates, who took exactly 50 at 16.42. Overall the leading Test wicket-taker in Australia is Shane Warne with 319, ahead of Glenn McGrath (289) and Dennis Lillee (231).

Has anyone scored a century in his 100th Test and his 100th one-day international? asked Tony Baker from England
Seven men have scored a century in their 100th Test match (Ricky Ponting actually made two). And, neatly, seven men have scored one in their 100th one-day international. The only man on both lists is Gordon Greenidge, the great West Indian opener, who hit 102 not out in his 100th ODI, against Pakistan in Sharjah in October 1988, and marked his 100th Test in April 1990 with 149 against England in St John's.

I was looking at the scores of the 1929-30 Test mentioned in last week's column, in which England led by over 500 runs but did not make West Indies follow on. Was this the highest lead where the follow-on was not enforced? asked Neal Hedges from Australia
England had a first-innings lead of 563 runs in that match in Kingston but did not enforce the follow-on: it was a timeless Test, which was supposed to be played to a finish, so the captain might not have thought it necessary - but he was caught out in the end, as the match had to be left drawn after two days were washed out and England had to leave to catch the boat home. It is indeed the highest lead after which a follow-on was not enforced. Next, and the leader for a time-limited Test, comes Australia's lead of 445 in Brisbane in the Ashes opener of 2006-07, when Ricky Ponting ground England down after they made only 157 in reply to Australia's 602 for 9 dec. The Aussies ended up winning that one by 277 runs.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013. Ask Steven is now on Facebook