July 30, 2013

Bunnies and big scorers

Also: Australia's worst losing streak, Kohli's one-day record, the first South African to play for England, and England's whitewashes

I would love to see a "bunny" list. Who is at the top? Is Watson-Anderson anywhere close? asked San Wet from England
There's a distinguished pair at the top of the list you're talking about: Glenn McGrath claimed Michael Atherton's wicket on no fewer than 19 occasions in Test matches. Next comes Alec Bedser, who disposed of the Australian opener Arthur Morris 18 times (nonetheless they remained firm friends). The long-suffering Athers is third on the list too, having been dismissed 17 times by both Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh. Despite the evidence of this summer's Ashes series to date, Jimmy Anderson still has quite a way to go to put Shane Watson's name on this list - after the Lord's Test he had taken his wicket just four times (still, only Ishant Sharma - five - had dismissed Watson more often in Tests). For the full list, click here.

We often see a player scoring more than the opposition's total or, rarely, their match total - but has a player ever batted twice and both times eclipsed the opposition's score in each innings? asked Ciaran Ronayne from Australia
What you're talking about has only *happened once - it's obviously unusual for someone to get the chance to bat twice for long enough if his team is dominating the opposition to the extent required. But at Perth in December 2004 Justin Langer scored 191 and 97, and Pakistan managed only 179 and 72 (Australia ended up winning by 491 runs). It could be argued that it also happened at Old Trafford in 1976, when Gordon Greenidge made 134 in West Indies' first innings and 101 in the second, and England were all out for 71 and 126. Five batsmen have outscored the opposition's match total on their own in one innings: Bobby Abel (120) for England v South Africa (43 and 47) in Cape Town in 1888-89; Len Hutton (364) for England v Australia (123 and 201) at The Oval in 1938; Don Bradman (185) for Australia v India (98 and 58) in Brisbane in 1947-48; Inzamam-ul-Haq (329) for Pakistan v New Zealand (73 and 246) in Lahore in 2002; and Matthew Hayden (119) for Australia v Pakistan (53 and 59) in Sharjah in 2002-03.

Defeat at Lord's was Australia's sixth in a row in Tests. What is their worst losing streak? asked Anand from the United States
Australia lost seven successive Tests (all to England) in the 1880s, four at home and three in England (in 1886). That is their worst-ever run to date, although they threatened it in 1984 when they lost six in a row, all to West Indies. The worst run by any team is 21 successive defeats, by Bangladesh between November 2001 and February 2004. And the worst by a team that isn't Bangladesh or Zimbabwe (who once lost 11 in a row) is eight successive defeats, by South Africa (their first eight Tests from 1888-89), England (to Australia in 1920-21 and 1921) and West Indies (in 2005 and 2005-06). For the full list, click here.

Virat Kohli just scored his 15th one-day century in only his 109th match. Has anyone got to 15 hundreds quicker than that? asked Mukesh Bangal from Delhi
Virat Kohli's 115 against Zimbabwe in Harare last week was his 15th century in his 109th one-day international (his 106th innings), which made him the fastest to that particular mark. The quickest to 15 before that was Pakistan's Saeed Anwar, who took 145 matches (143 innings), just ahead of Sourav Ganguly (149 matches, 144 innings). Sachin Tendulkar reached 15 in 188 matches (182 innings), which puts him eighth on that particular list. One player who might threaten Kohli's record is Hashim Amla, who has 11 centuries from 74 matches (71 innings) as I write.

I was watching a tribute programme about Tony Greig the other day. Was he the first South African to play for England? asked Michael Browning via Facebook
Actually Tony Greig was the second South African-born England Test cricketer: the first was Basil D'Oliveira, who made his debut in 1966 and was still playing when Greig won his first caps in 1972. Since then nine more South African-born men have played Tests for England: Ian Greig (Tony's brother), Allan Lamb, Chris and Robin Smith, Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Jonathan Trott and Nick Compton.

How often have England beaten Australia 5-0 in the Ashes? asked Paul Kennedy from London
That's a nice easy one to end with: it's never happened (yet), and it's probably tempting fate to talk about it now! Australia have completed two 5-0 whitewashes over England - at home in 1920-21 and 2006-07. England did win five matches in 1978-79, but that was a six-Test series, and an Australian side weakened by the absence of their Packer players won the other one to reduce the margin to 5-1. England's only 5-0 whitewash came when they crushed India at home in 1959; they also won all four Tests in home series against West Indies in 2004 and India in 2011. For the full list of Test whitewashes, click here.

*07:19 GMT, July 30: The answer originally said that there had been no instances of a player batting twice and eclipsing the opposition's innings score both times

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