May 20, 2014

The boys from St Lucia, and captains' ten-fors

Also, losing a T20 without losing a wicket, biggest difference between scores in an innings, keepers without dismissals, and bowlers without wickets

Has anyone ever lost an international match without losing a wicket when batting second? asked Gautham Kamath from India
This unusual situation has only happened once - batting first or second - and even then the weather was the real culprit. In a T20 international in Johannesburg in March 2012, India were 71 for 0, chasing South Africa's 219 for 4, when rain forced the players off after 7.5 overs. They couldn't get back on, and India were behind the Duckworth-Lewis target score of 83 at the time, so South Africa were declared the winners. There have been six further matches - two ODIs and four T20s - in which the unsuccessful side lost only one wicket. Two of those involved the team batting second - Zimbabwe (29 for 1, chasing 44 in five overs) against Sri Lanka in Providence in the 2010 World Twenty20, and Bangladesh (179 for 1) against West Indies (197 for 4) in an uninterrupted T20 in Mirpur in December 2012.

Is Darren Sammy the only Test cricketer from St Lucia? asked Alex Nweke from Nigeria
Darren Sammy, who recently announced his retirement from Test cricket after being relieved of the captaincy, remains the only man from St Lucia to play in a Test match. However, two other men from this tiny but picturesque island have played international cricket for West Indies: the hard-hitting opener (and occasional wicketkeeper) Johnson Charles has played 30 one-day internationals (scoring two hundreds) and 21 T20 internationals so far, while slow left-armer Garey Mathurin played three T20 internationals in 2011 and 2012.

How many times have both captains have taken ten wickets or more in a Test match? asked Siddhartha from India
That's a nice simple one: there has never been a Test in which both captains took ten wickets. Indeed, such is the paucity of bowling captains that there have only been 17 occasions in all where a skipper has taken ten or more wickets in a Test, four of those by Imran Khan and two by another Pakistani, Intikhab Alam. The last one was by Shaun Pollock, with 10 for 147 for South Africa against India in Bloemfontein in November 2001. There have only been two instances of rival captains taking six or more wickets in the same Test: by Fazal Mahmood for Pakistan (6 for 123) and Australia's Richie Benaud (8 for 111) in Dacca in 1959-60, and England's Bob Willis (6 for 131) and Imran Khan of Pakistan (8 for 115) at Headingley in 1982.

When Brian Lara scored his 501, the next-highest score was 116. Is that the biggest difference between two scores in the same innings? asked James Wallace from England
Brian Lara's 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994 broke the individual first-class record of 499, set by Hanif Mohammad for Karachi in 1958-59. But one of Hanif's marks from that match against Bahawalpur in Karachi in 1958-59 remained intact: the next-highest score in that innings was Wallis Mathias' 103, a difference of 396 runs (to the 385 between Lara and Keith Piper). There are six other instances of a difference of 300 or more between the top scorer and the second-highest, the sixth of which is the Test record - set by Lara again, during his 375 for West Indies against England in St John 's in 1993-94, when the next-highest score was Shivnarine Chanderpaul's 75 not out.

Who's the only wicketkeeper never to make a dismissal in a Test? asked Surinder Patnaik from Delhi
The holder of the melancholy record as the only designated wicketkeeper to play Test cricket but not make a dismissal is Humayun Farhat, of Pakistan, who failed to get on the scorecard in his only match, in Hamilton in March 2001: New Zealand lost only four wickets in winning by an innings. Humayun's brother, the batsman Imran Farhat, had made his debut in the first match of that same series: he has now won 40 caps. Seven other keepers failed to take any catches in their Test careers, but did pull off a stumping - including the unfortunate Vijay Rajindernath, who made four stumpings on his debut for India, against Pakistan in Mumbai in November 1952... and never played again.

Who has bowled in the most Test innings without taking a wicket? asked Jeremy Larkham from England
I wasn't quite sure what you meant here - the most innings bowled in without ever taking a wicket, or the most wicketless ones by someone who did strike elsewhere. Assuming it's the second of these, the answer is Sachin Tendulkar, who turned his arm over in 112 Test innings in which he didn't take a wicket (although he did manage 46 in all). A rather more celebrated bowler, Jacques Kallis - who finished with 292 wickets - bowled in 106 innings in which he failed to strike. Steve Waugh (98), Sanath Jayasuriya (88) and Mark Waugh (86) come next. Of bowlers who never took a Test wicket at all, the Indian opening batsman Krishnamachari Srikkanth bowled in 16 different innings without any luck, and George Headley of West Indies in 14. The Lancashire allrounder Len Hopwood holds the record for the most balls bowled in Tests without getting a wicket - 462 - but he played in only two Tests, both in the 1934 Ashes series. Headley (398 fruitless deliveries) is second on this list too.

And there's an update to the recent question about Derek Underwood's long-awaited maiden century, from Mike Slattery from Ireland
"Further to the reference to Derek Underwood's maiden - and indeed only - first-class hundred in Hastings in 1984: in the very same innings, the Australian Test bowler Terry Alderman made his maiden - and only - first-class half-century. It seems remarkable that both managed their achievements in a match in which all 40 wickets were taken at an average of 16.75; their partnership of 53 for the ninth wicket was the second-highest of the match. It was quite a game for personal achievements: Colin Wells top-scored with half-centuries in both Sussex innings, and also took a five-for. All this, and it ended in a tie!"

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2014. Ask Steven is now on Facebook