Only six men have recorded better innings bowling figures on Test debut than Kyle Abbott in his sensational display against Pakistan in Centurion last week. The best debut figures of all are 8 for 43, by Albert Trott for Australia against England in Adelaide in 1894-95, while the only South African above him on the list is Lance Klusener - now Abbott's coach - who took 8 for 64 on his debut, against India in Kolkata in 1996-97. Two men - Bob Massie and Narendra Hirwani - took eight wickets in both innings of their maiden Tests. For the full list, click here.
MS Dhoni's match-turning 224 against Australia in Chennai was the seventh Test double-century by a wicketkeeper. Only two of them ended with higher scores - Andy Flower made 232 not out for Zimbabwe against India in Nagpur in 2000-01, and Kumar Sangakkara hit 230 for Sri Lanka v Pakistan in Lahore in 2001-02. For the full list, click here. Dhoni's Chennai innings was his sixth score of 100 or more in Tests, putting him level with Kamran Akmal, Matt Prior and Alec Stewart. Ahead lie Sangakkara (seven Test hundreds as the designated wicketkeeper), Les Ames (eight), Andy Flower (12), and Adam Gilchrist, with a lofty 17 Test hundreds.
Wicketkeepers dominate this unusual list. New Zealand's Adam Parore made two Test centuries: the first, 100 not out against West Indies in Christchurch in 1994-95, was in his 28th Test innings, and the other one - 110 v Australia in Perth in 2001-02 - came in his 121st, so he had 92 innings in between without a hundred. Next comes Mark Boucher (73 innings between his fourth and fifth Test centuries), followed by Syed Kirmani, Jack Russell, Boucher again (64 innings between his third and fourth hundreds), and Alan Knott. Then comes the first non-wicketkeeper, and the name is a bit of a surprise: Allan Border of Australia batted in 61 innings between his 23rd Test century (against Pakistan in Faisalabad in September 1988) and his 24th (v Sri Lanka in Moratuwa in September 1992).
Saeed Ajmal's 10 for 147 in the recent second Test against South Africa in Cape Town was actually the 68th instance of a bowler taking ten or more wickets in a Test but ending up on the losing side. It's happened to Ajmal before: in Providence in May 2011 he took 11 for 111 in the match, but West Indies won by 40 runs. Another Pakistani, Wasim Akram, actually achieved the bittersweet feat three times. The best match figures by someone who ended up on the losing side are 13 for 132, by Javagal Srinath for India against Pakistan in Kolkata in the first match of the Asian Test Championship in 1998-99. Three others - the England pair of Tom Richardson and SF Barnes, and Merv Hughes of Australia - have also taken 13 wickets in vain in a Test. For the full list, click here.
That 14.3-over innings by Australia against England in Southampton in June 2005 is indeed the shortest completed (all-out) innings in T20 internationals, just pipping England's collapse in 88 balls - 14.4 overs - against India in the World Twenty20 in Colombo last September. There has been a shorter completed innings in a one-day international: in the 2003 World Cup, in Potchefstroom, Australia skittled Namibia for 45 in 14 overs - 84 balls - with Glenn McGrath scooping up 7 for 15. But the shortest completed international innings of all came, rather surprisingly perhaps, in a Test match: at Edgbaston in 1924 England bowled South Africa out for 30, in 12.3 overs - just 75 balls.
Ed Cowan's dismissal in Chennai - stumped by MS Dhoni off R Ashwin - turned out to be the 23rd occasion that the first wicket of a Test has gone down by way of a stumping. The first instance was in 1884, when the England captain AN "Monkey" Hornby was stumped for a duck by Jack Blackham off Harry Boyle, and the last one before Cowan was in June last year, when Tharanga Paranavitana of Sri Lanka was stumped by Pakistan's Adnan Akmal off Saeed Ajmal in Galle. It even happened to Geoff Boycott: the first wicket to go down at Edgbaston in 1967 was Boycott's, stumped by Farokh Engineer off the bowling of Bishan Bedi for 25.
Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013