August 27, 2013

Swann's swag, and Smiths' success

Also, Bradman's nemesis, most runs in a Test without a century, hundreds in final ODIs, and double-oh partners

Who was the last England spinner before Graeme Swann to take 25 wickets in a home Test series? asked Martin Daniels from England
Graeme Swann finished the 2013 Ashes series with 26 wickets, and as you probably suspect it's a long time since an England spinner managed as many at home: back in 1958 slow left-armer Tony Lock decimated that year's weak New Zealand touring team with 34 wickets at just 7.47 runs apiece. Two years before that, Lock's Surrey team-mate Jim Laker famously took 46 wickets in the 1956 Ashes series. In the interim only Lance Gibbs (26 wickets for West Indies in 1963) and Shane Warne (three times) have taken 25 wickets in a series in England. Warne took 34 in 1993 (a six-Test series), 31 in 2001 and 40 in 2005.

How many people called Smith have scored Test centuries now? asked Andrew Jackson via Facebook
Steven Smith's maiden hundred for Australia at The Oval made him the eighth Smith to score a century in Tests. South Africa's Graeme has pride of place with 26. Three West Indian Smiths - Collie (four hundreds), Devon and Dwayne (one each) - two Englishmen (Robin nine and Mike three) and New Zealander Ian (two) complete the list. Cricket historian David Frith also suggested the great KS Ranjitsinhji (two centuries for England in the 19th century), who was known to contemporaries at Cambridge University as "Smith". It's now outstripped Taylor (seven) as the most common surname among Test centurions, although Mohammad runs them close: six men whose second name is usually given as Mohammad have scored them (Hanif, Mushtaq, Nazar, Sadiq, Shoaib and Wazir), and there are eight* more whose first name is Mohammad: Ashraful, Azharuddin, Hafeez, Ilyas, Rafique, Wasim, Yousuf and Kaif.

Which bowler had the most success against Don Bradman in Tests? asked W Okines from England
The man who dismissed Don Bradman most often in Tests was the Yorkshire left-arm spinner Hedley Verity, who managed it on eight occasions, most famously in both innings at Lord's in 1934, when England managed their only win over Australia there in the 20th century. Next comes Alec Bedser, whose six dismissals of the Don included two of his seven Test ducks. Bill Bowes, Harold Larwood and Maurice Tate all got Bradman out five times - Bowes in only six Tests against him.

Looking at the scorecard of the Australia-India Test at the WACA in 2007-08, there were 1176 runs in the match but no individual centuries - is this a record? asked Andy Arthur from the United States
The highest individual score in that match in Perth in 2007-08 was Rahul Dravid's 93. But the leader on this particular list is the third Test between South Africa and England in Durban in 1927-28, which produced a total of 1272 runs - but a highest individual score of only 90, by Wally Hammond for England. There were 13 half-centuries in that match - a record for a game with no individual century.

Has anyone scored a century in a one-day international and never played again? asked Richard Broughton from England
Seven men have scored a century in their last one-day international: this includes Ryan ten Doeschate, who made 106 for Netherlands against Ireland in Kolkata in the 2011 World Cup, and hasn't played an ODI since. There are two other Dutchmen in the list: Klaas van Noortwijk and Feiko Kloppenburg both made centuries against Namibia in Bloemfontein in the 2003 World Cup. The more familiar names among the seven are Dennis Amiss and Clive Radley of England, and Desmond Haynes of West Indies: both Amiss and Haynes had scored hundreds in their first ODIs too. The line-up is completed by James Marshall of New Zealand, who made 161 against Ireland in Aberdeen in 2008 - and shared an opening stand of 274 with Brendon McCullum - in what rather surprisingly turned out to be his last one-day international.

Alastair Cook and Joe Root both have "OO" in their names. Is this the first time both openers in Tests have had this? asked Romil Patel from the UK
There's actually only one previous instance from any country of both openers having a double O in their surnames: in Sri Lanka's inaugural Test, in Colombo early in 1982, Graham Gooch opened for England with Northamptonshire's Geoff Cook. There was a near-miss by Australia later in the 1980s, when David Boon followed Graeme Wood in the Test side.

*This was corrected from seven to eight to include Mohammad Kaif

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