January 28, 2014

Fast scoring, and an unwanted double

Also, Kohli's race to 6000, left-armers' series records, losing despite scoring higher, and when all 11 bowled

Pakistan's remarkable win over Sri Lanka in Sharjah came at the rate of 5.25 an over. Have there been any faster successful Test run chases? asked Philip Johnson from England
The only faster successful chase in a Test, given a target of more than 200, was pulled off at The Oval in 1994, when England scored 205 for 2 in 35.3 overs to beat South Africa - a rate of 5.77 per over. There wasn't the same time pressure in that game, though - England won with more than a day to spare, whereas Pakistan only had 1.3 overs in hand. If you lower the required target to 100 or more then there are a dozen quicker examples, the fastest being 6.82 an over, which West Indies achieved in knocking off 173 for 6 in 25.2 overs to defeat India in Kingston in February 1983. That one was tight on time: Wisden records that "West Indies won by four wickets, in a frenzied finish with four balls of the final 20 overs remaining."

Rangana Herath collected a king pair and conceded 100 runs in an innings in the third Test against Pakistan in Sharjah. Has anyone else suffered this indignity? asked Malinda Wijesinghe from Sri Lanka
Rangana Herath was the 17th man known to have bagged a king pair (out first ball twice) in a Test, and none of the others also conceded 100 runs in an innings in the same match as Herath did in Sharjah - the most conceded before Herath was 87, by Bert Vogler for South Africa against Australia in Sydney in 1910-11. In the Adelaide Ashes Test of 2010-11 Ryan Harris took 2 for 84 in between bagging a king pair, in which he reviewed both decisions unsuccessfully, so was actually given out four times in the space of two balls. Herath actually occupies first and second spot on this particular list now, as he followed his 5 for 125 in the first innings against Pakistan with 0 for 100 in the second. Three people have conceded more than 100 runs in the match (both innings) in which they collected their king pair: Bhagwat Chandrasekhar took 6 for 52 in each innings for India v Australia in Melbourne in 1977-78, Adam Huckle had match figures of 2 for 136 for Zimbabwe against Pakistan in Harare in 1997-98, and Ajit Agarkar took 3 for 76 and 3 for 51 for India v Australia in Melbourne in 1999-2000.

Is Virat Kohli on course to reach 6000 runs in ODIs quicker than anyone else? asked Pratap Agha from India
Sourav Ganguly is currently the fastest to 6000 one-day international runs in terms of matches - 152, compared to 153 by AB de Villiers and 156 by Viv Richards - although Richards got there in fewer innings (141, six quicker than both de Villiers and Ganguly). As I write, Virat Kohli has 5361 runs from 128 matches (121 innings), so if he maintains his current impressive ODI average of 52, he should get there in about 12 more innings, making 133. That means even if he doesn't quite keep up his current form, he should have a fair bit in hand. Kohli already shares the records as fastest to 5000 in terms of innings (114, with Richards) and matches (120, with Brian Lara). Another batsman clocking up ODI runs at an impressive rate is Hashim Amla, who currently has 4054 from just 85 matches (82 innings), at an average of 53.

Mitchell Johnson took 37 wickets in the Ashes series. How many left-armers have taken more? asked Ray Kennaugh from Australia
The answer here is slightly surprising: Mitchell Johnson's haul of 37 wickets (at the phenomenal average of 13.97) equalled the record by a left-arm bowler in any Test series - by another Australian, Bill Whitty, at home to South Africa in 1910-11. Whitty was, according to Wisden, "a medium-fast left-hander whose sharp swerve made him something of an Australian version of George Hirst". Two left-arm spinners come next: India's Vinoo Mankad took 34 wickets at home against England in 1951-52, while Tony Lock demolished the weak 1958 New Zealanders in England with 34 at just 7.47 runs apiece. Another slow left-armer, Alf Valentine, took 33 in just four Tests for West Indies in England in 1950 (his debut series), while paceman Alan Davidson claimed 33 (again in four matches; he missed one through injury) in Australia's famous 1960-61 series against West Indies.

India lost the second one-day international in New Zealand despite scoring more runs than them. How often has this happened in ODIs? asked Amit Arora from India
India (277 for 9) lost the recent one-day international to New Zealand (271 for 7) in Hamilton by 15 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis equation - when rain stopped play India's D/L target was 293. This turns out to be the 93rd time that a one-day international has been lost by the side scoring more runs. But most of those involved the side batting second overhauling a reduced target: interestingly, this was only the second time that the side batting second had ever scored more runs but lost - the other occasion was in Bangalore in November 2008, when India batted first and scored 166 for 4 in a match eventually reduced, by two rain breaks, to 22 overs a side. England's target was revised upwards to 198, they fell short with 178 for 8.

Has there been any Test in which all 22 players bowled at least one ball? And how often have there been 11 bowlers in one innings? asked Ashutosh Mehra from India
The most different bowlers used by both sides in a Test is 20, by South Africa and England in the course of a rather boring draw in Cape Town in January 1965. The only people who didn't bowl were the two wicketkeepers, Denis Lindsay and Jim Parks. Actually, Parks might have been a bit affronted that he didn't get on, as he'd taken a Test wicket the previous winter in India (a proper batsman, too - Dilip Sardesai, for 87). There have been four instances of all 11 players bowling during a Test innings, all during drawn matches. The last two happened on the batsman's paradise at St John's in Antigua: all 11 Indians bowled as West Indies made 629 for 9 in May 2002, then three years later all 11 South Africans turned their arms over as West Indies amassed 747. The first instance was at The Oval in August 1884, when the entire English side bowled during Australia's 551, and it didn't happen again for nearly 100 years, when all 11 Australians had a trundle as Pakistan made 382 for 2 in a cast-iron draw in Faisalabad in March 1980. Taslim Arif batted throughout that innings to score 210 not out, so it's possible he achieved the unique feat of facing 11 different bowlers during his innings (I don't think anyone else could have managed it). For the full list of most bowlers in a Test innings, click here.)

And there's an update to last week's question about Nathan Lyon's not-outs:
My answer to last week's question about Nathan Lyon not being dismissed at all in the 2013-14 Ashes series was wrong, as I managed to input the wrong query into Statsguru. The answer I produced showed the people with the most not-outs in a series. The only person other than Lyon who has played throughout an entire five-Test series and not been dismissed at all is Bill Johnston, the fabled Australian tailender, in South Africa in 1949-50 - and he actually only batted twice, scoring 1 not out in the first Test and 2 not out in the third. Apologies for the confusion.

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