January 27, 2015

Ronchi's blitz, and remarkable ODI recoveries

Also, the fastest ODI 150s, and the highest Test totals without a half-century

New Zealand managed to score 360 against Sri Lanka in the fifth ODI after losing a wicket from the first ball of their innings. Is this the highest score posted after losing a wicket first ball? asked Danushka Edussuriya from Sri Lanka
It looks as if it is: the only higher total I can find after a team had been 0 for 1 is Australia's 368 for 5 against Sri Lanka in Sydney in 2005-06. Adam Gilchrist was out second ball in that one: actually Australia were 10 for 3, before Ricky Ponting made 124 and Andrew Symonds 151. The previous highest score after losing a wicket first ball is Ireland's 329 for 7 - after William Porterfield departed for a golden duck - in their famous victory over England in Bangalore during the 2011 World Cup.

Was Luke Ronchi's 170 the highest score for New Zealand in ODIs? asked James McCormack from New Zealand
Luke Ronchi's blistering 170 not out - it lasted only 99 balls - against Sri Lanka in Dunedin last week was actually the fourth-highest score for New Zealand in one-day internationals. Glenn Turner made 171 not out against East Africa at Edgbaston in the first World Cup in 1975, and Lou Vincent beat that by one against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2005. But Martin Guptill claimed top spot with 189 not out against England in Southampton in June 2013. Just behind Ronchi in the list come Brendon McCullum and James Marshall, who hit 166 and 161 respectively in the same match - against Ireland in Aberdeen in 2008. Ronchi hit nine sixes, a number exceeded for New Zealand in an ODI innings only by Corey Anderson, with 14 in his breakneck 36-ball century against West Indies in Queenstown in January 2014, and 10 by McCullum in the innings mentioned above.

Luke Ronchi reached 150 from the 93rd ball that he faced in Dunedin. Is this the minimum number of balls faced to make it to 150 in an ODI? asked Zaheer Ahmed from the United Arab Emirates
Luke Ronchi actually reached 150 from 92 balls. This is the second-fastest in one-day internationals: during his blistering 185 not out for Australia against Bangladesh in Mirpur in April 2011, Shane Watson reached 150 from just 83 deliveries (he zoomed from 100 to 150 in 14). For Sri Lanka against England at Headingley in 2006, Sanath Jayasuriya reached 150 in 95 balls.

Apart from "Laker's Match" in 1956, has it ever happened that just two bowlers have shared all 20 wickets in a Test? asked AK Srivastava from India
That famous match at Old Trafford in 1956 - when Jim Laker took 19 Australian wickets and Tony Lock had to be content with just one - was actually the fourth occasion in Tests that two bowlers had shared all 20 opposition wickets. The first instance was at Melbourne in 1901-02, when Monty Noble took 13 wickets and Hugh Trumble seven for Australia (only three England bowlers took wickets either, and the match total of five bowlers is also a record for a Test in which all 40 wickets fell). The boot was on the other foot at Edgbaston in 1909, when Colin Blythe (11) and George Hirst (nine) shared all the Australian wickets. Not long afterwards, in Johannesburg in January 1910, Bert Vogler (12) and Aubrey Faulkner (eight) claimed all 20 England wickets (remarkably, six other South Africans bowled but failed to strike). Since Laker's tour de force, it has happened twice more: later in 1956, Fazal Mahmood (13) and Khan Mohammad (seven) shared all the wickets as Pakistan won their inaugural Test against Australia in Karachi, and in 1972 the Australians Bob Massie (16) and Dennis Lillee (four) carved England up at Lord's. For the full list, click here.

I noticed that England made 304 against South Africa in 2004-05 without anyone scoring a fifty. Is this the highest Test total without a half-century? asked Brian Kemsley from England
That innings of 304 by England, in the third Test in Cape Town in 2004-05, was notable for another reason: the highest score was Steve Harmison's 42, from No. 11 - the seventh of ten such instances in Tests. But there has been one higher Test total without an individual half-century, and it was also by England: against West Indies in Port-of-Spain in 1985-86 they made 315, the highest individual contribution being David Gower's 47. There has been only one other total of more than 300 without an individual half-century in Tests: in Wellington in 1963-64 South Africa made 302 against New Zealand, but the highest score was Peter van der Merwe's 44. The record in one-day internationals is England's 285 against Sri Lanka at Old Trafford in 2006, when the highest score was Andrew Strauss's 45.

The former Scotland wicketkeeper and captain Jimmy Brown died just before Christmas. He played 57 first-class matches for Scotland - was that a record? asked Dougie Winchester from Scotland
Jimmy Brown, from the Perthshire club, kept wicket for Scotland almost continuously for 20 years from his debut in 1953. His tally of 57 first-class matches for them has been exceeded by only one other man: RHE "Ronnie" Chisholm, an equally legendary figure in Scottish cricket, appeared in 61 between 1948 and 1971. The Rev. Jimmy Aitchison played 50 first-class games for them from 1946 to 1963, scoring five centuries. Brown made two further first-class appearances - for the Gentlemen against the Players in 1959 and 1960, both in Scarborough. Cricket Scotland's website gives the national team's records in all matches in which caps have been awarded: there have been more of these in recent years, with one-day and Twenty20 internationals as well as first-class matches and one-day games against counties. Majid Haq has played in 206 such matches (only 18 of them first-class), having recently overtaken Fraser Watts, who made 204 appearances between 1998 and 2012 (21 first-class).

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