April 19, 2016

Husband-wife Test players, and T20 oldies

Also: the highest number of overs without a wicket, and captaining on ODI debut

Alyssa Healy and Mitchell Starc are the first Australian married couple to play Test cricket © Getty Images

Dwayne Bravo recently took his 300th wicket in T20 matches. Is he the first to take that many? asked Akash Agarwal from India
Dwayne Bravo brought up 300 wickets in all T20 games when he dismissed David Miller during Gujarat Lions' opening IPL match, against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali last week. Bravo was the first to reach 300, although it was a close-run thing - Lasith Malinga, who was forced to sit out the IPL by injury, is stuck on 299. Four T20 veterans come next on the list: Yasir Arafat (277), Alfonso Thomas (263), Dirk Nannes (257) and Azhar Mahmood (251). For the full list, click here.

Is Brad Hogg the oldest player to figure in the IPL? And has anyone older than Hogg played T20 cricket? asked Jamie Stewart from Canada
Kolkata Knight Riders' Australian slow left-armer Brad Hogg, who was 45 on February 6, is indeed the oldest player to appear in the IPL; he's about eight months older than Pravin Tambe, the Gujarat Lions legspinner, who has also played in this year's tournament. Only five men older than Hogg have appeared in any senior T20 match, four of them in the short-lived Stanford 20/20 tournament in the West Indies, which featured some unusual island teams. The oldest of all was 50-year-old Carlton Saunders, who made one appearance for the Turks & Caicos Islands in January 2008. Apart from him and three players from the Bahamas who also featured in that Caribbean event, the oldest is the Sri Lankan slow left-armer Ajith Ekanayake, who was 46½ when he turned out for Kurunegala Youth - presumably as an over-age player! - against the Navy in Colombo in March 2012.

Is Terry Duffin the only player to captain on debut outside of a country's first one-day international? asked Russ Haylock from Australia
Zimbabwe's Terry Duffin is actually one of 12 men who have captained on their one-day international debut, in his case against Kenya in Bulawayo in February 2006. The first three were all from England: Brian Close (1972), Mike Denness (1973), and Mike Brearley (1977). They were followed by Bob Simpson (Australia, 1977-78), Norman Gifford (England, 1984-85), Joe Harris (Canada, 2002-03), Khurram Khan (UAE, 2004), Ryan Watson and Craig Wright (Scotland, 2006), Saqib Ali (UAE, 2008) and Zubin Surkari (Canada, 2008). This excludes the 23 men who captained in their country's inaugural one-day international, the most recent addition to that list being Papua New Guinea's Chris Amini, against Hong Kong in Townsville in November 2014.

Mitchell Starc recently married Australian wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy. Are there any other husband-and-wife pairs who played Test cricket? asked Keith Archer from Australia
The new partnership of Mitchell Starc and Alyssa Healy is, I believe, the third marriage between two Test-playing partners. The first were Roger Prideaux, who opened in three Tests for England in the late 1960s, and Ruth Westbrook, who played 11 times for England Women. Sadly, Ruth Prideaux died earlier this month. Guy de Alwis, who kept wicket in 11 of Sri Lanka's early matches, later married Rasanjali Chandima Silva, who played a Test herself in 1998. Richard Hadlee's then-wife Karen played a one-day international for New Zealand in January 1978, but no Tests.

Chaminda Vaas has the most wickets (166) in ODI defeats © AFP

Which bowler has bowled the most overs in Test cricket without taking a wicket? asked Abhishek Narkhede from England
The man who wishes he wasn't top of this particular table is the old Lancashire allrounder Len Hopwood, who played two Tests in the 1934 Ashes series in England, and bowled 462 balls (77 overs) without taking a wicket - in what turned out to be Hopwood's final Test, at Headingley, where Don Bradman made 304. Next on the list is the West Indian George Headley, a great batsman but a rather less great bowler: he sent down 398 balls (66.2 overs) in 14 different spells, but never did take a Test wicket. Top of the list in ODIs is the Sri Lankan allrounder Athula Samarasekera: "Big Sam" delivered 338 balls (56.2 overs) without taking a wicket. The current leader in T20Is is the West Indian offspinner Ashley Nurse, who has sent down 78 fruitless deliveries so far.

Which bowler has taken the most wickets in wins in Tests? And in defeats? asked Dr Sandeep Chauhan from India
The man with the most wickets in Test victories is Shane Warne, with 510 in 92 matches that Australia won. The overall leading wicket-taker, Muttiah Muralitharan, comes next with 438, not far ahead of Glenn McGrath (414). Then there's a big gap to Anil Kumble, who took 288 wickets in Test victories, while Dale Steyn has taken 282 so far. Murali took the most in ODIs (368), ahead of Wasim Akram (326) and McGrath (301). Turning to Test defeats, it's Murali once more - he took 210 wickets in matches that Sri Lanka ended up losing. Courtney Walsh took 186 in Test defeats, Daniel Vettori 133, and Kapil Dev 132. In ODI defeats, Chaminda Vaas took 166 wickets, Wasim Akram 165, and Murali 157. In all three formats, Murali took 816 wickets in victories, Warne 724, and McGrath 717. In all international defeats it's Murali 370, Akram 274, and Vaas 272.

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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes