June 17, 2014

Craig's list, and Shillingford's smiting

Also, New Zealand's Caribbean record, England's youngest double-centurions, and four-fors without fivers

Mark Craig hit his first ball in Test cricket for six. How many people have done this? asked Hemil Maniar from India
The answer is that, as far as records show, no one has ever hit their very first ball in Test cricket for six before, as New Zealand's Mark Craig did in Kingston last week. Seven others are known to have opened their accounts in Tests with a six (but not from their first ball): Australia's Eric Freeman in 1967-68, Carlisle Best of West Indies in 1985-86, Zimbabwe's Keith Dabengwa in 2005, Dale Richards of West Indies in 2009, and three Bangladesh players - Shafiul Islam and Jahurul Islam in 2009-10, and Al-Amin Hossain in 2013-14. Both Shafiul and Jahurul started their Test batting careers with two sixes before any other scoring shots.

Has anyone bettered Mark Craig's haul of eight wickets on Test debut for New Zealand? asked Tim Carney from Auckland
In another first for Otago's Mark Craig, he became the only New Zealander to take eight wickets on his Test debut in Kingston. The previous-best was by another offspinner, Paul Wiseman, who took 7 for 143 on his debut, against Sri Lanka in Colombo in May 1998. Six other New Zealanders - including Doug Bracewell in Bulawayo in 2011-12 - took six wickets in their debut Test. New Zealand's best innings figures on debut are legspinner Alex Moir's 6 for 155 against England in Christchurch in 1950-51 (England only batted once so they were his match figures too).

No. 11 Shane Shillingford top-scored - and hit five sixes - during the first Test in Jamaica. Is either of these a record? asked Craig Hartman from Barbados
Shane Shillingford's five sixes in his rapid 53 not out in Kingston last week is indeed
a record for any No. 11 in a Test: the previous mark of four was shared by Bill Voce (England v South Africa in Johannesburg in 1930-31), Alan Connolly (Australia v India in Calcutta in 1969-70), Sylvester Clarke (West Indies v Pakistan in Faisalabad in 1980-81), Mushtaq Ahmed (Pakistan v South Africa in Rawalpindi in 1997-98) and Al-Amin Hossain (Bangladesh v Sri Lanka in Mirpur in 2013-14). Shillingford was only the 16th No. 11 ever to score a half-century in a Test, and he got there in just 25 balls - a rate beaten only by Jacques Kallis, who reached his fifty in 24 deliveries for South Africa against Zimbabwe in Cape Town in 2004-05. Shillingford was also only the tenth No. 11 to top-score in a Test innings, a list headed by Ashton Agar with his 98 on debut for Australia against England at Trent Bridge last year. For the full list of No. 11's top-scoring, click here.

Was New Zealand's 186-run win at Kingston their first Test victory in the West Indies? asked Douglas Berkheiser from Denmark
New Zealand had played 15 previous Tests in the West Indies before last week's win Kingston, and you're right to think they haven't had too much success there - but they have won one previous Test in the Caribbean, in Bridgetown in 2002, coming out on top by 204 runs in a match notable for Stephen Fleming's fine 130 and seven wickets apiece for Shane Bond and Daniel Vettori. West Indies have won five of those other matches, and there have been nine draws, including the first seven encounters between the teams in the Caribbean (kicked off by a five-match 0-0 stalemate in 1971-72).

Was Joe Root the youngest man to score a double-century for England, or at Lord's? asked Dennis Morgan from Cyprus
Only three batsmen have scored double-centuries for England at a younger age than 23-year-old Joe Root, who made 200 not out against Sri Lanka in the match that has just finished at Lord's: Len Hutton (364 v Australia at The Oval in 1938), David Gower (200 not out against India at Edgbaston in 1979) and Bill Edrich (219 v South Africa in Durban in 1938-39) were all 22. The only younger batsmen to make Test double-centuries at Lord's were Don Bradman, who was just 21 when he made his superb 254 - the innings he rated the best of all his many masterpieces - for Australia against England in 1930, and Graeme Smith, who was 22 when he hit 259 for South Africa in 2003.

Which bowler has picked up the most four-wicket hauls without ever taking a five-for in Tests? asked Siddhartha from India
The answer here is the Western Australian fast-medium bowler Wayne Clark, whose ten Tests included seven instances of four wickets in an innings, but no five-fors. Clark took eight wickets in a match three times, including on his debut against India in Brisbane in 1977-78. Dayle Hadlee of New Zealand and England's Mike Hendrick both took five four-fors, without ever managing a five: Hendrick's overall tally of 87 wickets remains the most by any bowler in Tests without the aid of a five-for.

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