December 10, 2013

A unique double, and an Ashes record

Also, all-round feats in a match, debutant captains, most runs by Under-25s, and fathers and sons playing together

The Dunedin Test featured a double-century in the first innings of the match, and another in the third, but no centuries at all in the second. How unusual is this? asked Thomas Baines from London
It's actually very unusual, as it has never happened in 2103 previous Test matches! In Dunedin, Ross Taylor made 217 not out for New Zealand, then Darren Bravo responded with 218 as West Indies followed on: it was a maiden Test double-century for both of them. The nearest approach was in Bridgetown in 1957-58, when Everton Weekes scored 197 for West Indies, then Hanif Mohammad famously made 337 - in 970 minutes - to force a draw after Pakistan followed on. There was another near-miss in Nagpur in November 2000, when Sachin Tendulkar scored 201 not out for India and Andy Flower 232 not out as Zimbabwe saved the match in the follow-on - but there had been a century in the second innings of the match, as Grant Flower had managed 106.

Has any left-armer done better in an Ashes Test than Mitchell Johnson's 7 for 40 at Adelaide? asked Jeremy Goldman from Australia
Mitchell Johnson's stunning burst in Adelaide brought him the best figures by any left-arm bowler of significant pace in an Ashes Test. England's Dick Barlow also took 7 for 40 in Sydney in 1882-83, but he was a gentle medium-pacer. There are five better Ashes analyses by slow left-armers: Yorkshire and England's Hedley Verity tops the list with 8 for 43 on a rain-affected pitch at Lord's in 1934. The previous-best by a fast bowler was Bruce Reid's 7 for 51 - in another sensational England collapse - in Melbourne in 1990-91.

What is the highest number of runs scored in a Test by someone who also took ten wickets? asked Richard Sylvester from England
Only three men have ever achieved the "match double" of 100 runs and ten wickets in a Test match. Two of them - Ian Botham in 1979-80 and Imran Khan in 1982-83 - did it with the aid of a century, but the answer to your question is someone who never reached three figures in a Test. In the first tied Test, against West Indies in Brisbane in 1960-61, Australia's Alan Davidson scored 80 and 44, and took 11 wickets for 222 runs. There has been a statistically superior performance in a women's Test, though: Enid Bakewell scored 68 and 112 not out, and took 10 for 75, for England against West Indies at Edgbaston in 1979.

I was looking at some scorecards and noticed that FSG Calthorpe captained England on his Test debut. How rare is this? asked Ali from the United States
This is rare nowadays, but it used to happen quite a lot, especially in the days when England would send below-strength sides - often captained by an amateur who happened to be available - for tours against the emerging Test nations. The Honourable Freddie Calthorpe, a relative of the commentator Henry Blofeld (whose middle name is Calthorpe) fits into that category, as he led England in their first official Tests in the West Indies, in 1929-30. In all there have been 32 players who have captained their side on Test debut: that includes nine instances of a country's inaugural Test (the exception is Pakistan's, as their first captain AH Kardar had already played Tests for India). The last man to captain on debut, other than in his country's first Test, was Lee Germon of New Zealand, against India in Bangalore in October 1995. The only others since the Second World War were all for England: George Mann against South Africa in Durban in 19488-49, Nigel Howard against India in Delhi in 1951-52, and Tony Lewis against India - also in Delhi - in 1972-73.

Rather scarily, Virat Kohli only just turned 25. Has he scored more runs in ODIs by this age than anyone else? And how about in Tests? asked R Suresh from India
Virat Kohli scored 4919 runs in one-day internationals before turning 25 - a number exceeded only by… Sachin Tendulkar, who made 6522. Tendulkar did play 187 matches though, to Kohli's 119, and Kohli's average was superior (51.77 to 39.52). The only others to score more than 4000 runs in ODIs before their 25th birthdays are Shahid Afridi (4356) and Yuvraj Singh (4286). Next comes Chris Gayle, with 3829. Tamim Iqbal has so far made 3702, and he isn't 25 until next March. In Tests the record is also held by Tendulkar, who made 4552 runs before he was 25. Next comes Ramnaresh Sarwan with 3720, Graeme Smith 3608, Alastair Cook 3536, and Garry Sobers 3352. In seventh place is Don Bradman, who scored 3091 runs in 23 Tests before he was 25, at the handy average of 99.71. Kohli is well down this list, as he has only played 18 Tests (in which he has scored 1175 runs).

I heard that Shivnarine Chanderpaul recently played a first-class match in which his son also featured. Has this ever happened ever before? asked Danish Syed from the United States
Shivnarine Chanderpaul's son Tagenarine, who's often known as "Brandon", made his first-class debut for Guyana earlier this year, aged only 16. In his fourth match, against Trinidad and Tobago in Port-of-Spain in March, he played alongside his father, who made a valiant 108 in the second innings as Guyana fell 45 short of their victory target of 376. There has never yet been an instance of a father and son playing alongside each other in a Test match, the nearest approach being that Chris Cairns' Test debut for New Zealand was only four years after his father Lance's final appearance. There have been a few instances in first-class cricket, though, the most recent being in April 1996, when Heath Streak's 46-year-old father Denis was called up, owing to a player shortage, to play alongside his son for Matabeleland in Zimbabwe's Logan Cup final. Most of the other instances came in county cricket in England quite a long time ago: there was one celebrated Championship match, in Derby in June 1922, in which father-and-son Bestwicks, playing for Derbyshire, bowled to father-and-son Quaifes for Warwickshire.

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