Ask Steven

Duckless implosions, and more wickets than runs

Also, what is the record for the number of sixes hit in a T20 match?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Simon Harmer continued his prolific wicket-taking form, Essex v Middlesex, County Championship, Division One, Chelmsford, 4th day, June 29, 2017

Just one of Harmer's 14 celebrations against Middlesex in Chelmsford  •  Getty Images

Simon Harmer recently took 14 wickets in successive first-class matches for Essex. How often has this happened? asked Steve Howe from England
Essex's South African offspinner Simon Harmer took 6 for 92 and 8 for 36 against Warwickshire in Chelmsford in June, and followed that with 5 for 77 and 9 for 95 against champions Middlesex, also in Chelmsford. Harmer was the tenth bowler to take 14 or more wickets in successive first-class matches, but the first since 1931, when the 48-year-old Gloucestershire slow left-armer Charlie Parker claimed 14 for 91 against Derbyshire in Cheltenham, and 15 for 113 against Nottinghamshire in Bristol.
There were 29 sixes in the T20 Blast match between Essex and Glamorgan at the weekend. Was this a record? asked Don Barnard from Essex
The 29 sixes in that run fest in Chelmsford on Sunday was a record for a T20 match in England - the previous-best was 26, in Glamorgan's match against Surrey at The Oval in 2015. But there have been eight bigger match hauls worldwide, including two in the IPL, one in a one-day international (32 by West Indies and India in Lauderhill, Florida, in August 2016), and - top of the list - 34 sixes by Otago and Central Districts in New Plymouth in New Zealand in December 2016, in the match that produced the most runs (497) of any senior T20 match to date.
What are the lowest totals in Tests and ODIs that didn't include a duck? asked Rajindra Banerjee from India
The lowest Test total that did not feature anyone getting out for 0 remains Australia's 75 against South Africa in Durban in 1949-50 - five players were out for 2 (and another made 2 not out). Remarkably, Australia still won that match, chasing down 336 in the final innings to win by five wickets. Neil Harvey (one of the first-innings 2s) made 151 not out second time around. In the Ashes Test at Lord's in 1997, England were all out for 77, with no ducks - there were seven single-figure dismissals as Glenn McGrath took 8 for 38. The lowest duckless total in one-day internationals is India's 54 against Sri Lanka in Sharjah in October 2000: everyone got off the mark, but only Robin Singh made it into double figures, as Chaminda Vaas (5 for 14) and Muttiah Muralitharan (3 for 6) ran riot. The next-lowest is South Africa's 83 against England at Trent Bridge in 2008.
Of the bowlers who took more wickets than they scored runs in Tests, who took the most? asked Dhanushka Edussuriya from Sri Lanka
The holder of this esoteric record is the Indian legspinner Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, who took 242 wickets in his 58 Tests, but managed only 167 runs, including 23 ducks. He's just ahead of the fabled New Zealand tailender Chris Martin, who collected 233 wickets but only 123 runs, with no fewer than 36 ducks. Bruce Reid of Australia and Pragyan Ojha of India each took 113 wickets, but scored only 93 and 89 runs respectively. Jack Saunders, who played 14 Tests for Australia in the first decade of the 20th century, took 79 wickets but managed only 39 runs. Near-misses higher up the wicket-takers' list include Glenn McGrath (563 wickets, 641 runs) and Danish Kaneria (261 wickets, 360 runs).
I noticed that Dean Elgar scored 80 at Trent Bridge wearing shirt number 80. But Cricinfo thinks he's number 315 - why the discrepancy? asked Albert Powell from England
Dean Elgar's gritty 80 in the second Test at Trent Bridge was indeed scored while sporting the number 80 on his shirt. But Elgar was the 315th cricketer to represent South Africa in a Test, as Cricinfo's list shows. The discrepancy arises because the South African board decided to start their numbers from the country's readmission to Test cricket in 1991-92, which seems rather harsh on the 235 players who represented them before that, whatever one might think of the political system in place there for most of that time.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes