No one has yet reached a century of wickets against a particular country in one-day internationals. Top of the list is Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 96 against Pakistan. Wasim Akram comes next, with 92 against Sri Lanka and 89 against West Indies, while his old sparring partner Waqar Younis collected 84 against Sri Lanka and 79 against New Zealand. The leading current bowler is Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, who has so far taken 74 wickets against Zimbabwe.
The record currently stands at 665 runs, by Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan. In three Tests against West Indies in November 2006, he scored 192 in Lahore, 56 and 191 in Multan, and 102 and 124 in Karachi. This was the culmination of a remarkable sequence in which he scored seven centuries (four of them higher than 190) in seven Test matches. The record Yousuf broke was established by England's Graham Gooch in July 1990, when he made 640 runs in just two Tests - 154 and 30 against New Zealand at Edgbaston, and 333 and 123 against India at Lord's.
It seems that the man who came up with this colourful description was the distinguished Australian sports and feature writer Greg Baum, and he was describing the beanpole left-arm fast bowler Bruce Reid, who was over two metres tall and almost painfully thin. Reid picked up 113 wickets in 27 Tests for Australia, including 13 for 148 against England in Melbourne in 1990-91; in the following year's Boxing Day Test at the MCG, he took 12 for 126 against India.
The Yorkshire slow left-armer Hedley Verity spun England to victory over Australia at Lord's in 1934 with match figures of 15 for 104. Fourteen of those wickets came on a rain-affected pitch on the third day, when Australia lost 18 wickets for 200 runs in all. Verity had already removed Don Bradman on the second evening, and accounted for him again during next day's carnage. The story goes that Verity had almost missed the start of play that day - on the way to the ground his car ran over a black cat, and a distressed Verity spent some time trying to locate its owner.
The player with this peculiar record is the Australian opener Bruce Laird, whose three centuries in World Series Cricket "Super Tests" was exceeded only by Greg Chappell, who hit five hundreds, and Viv Richards, who made four. Laird had not played an official Test when he was signed up by Kerry Packer for WSC, but made his debut once peace was restored. He scored 92 and 75 in his first match, against West Indies in Brisbane in 1979-80, but never made it to three figures in 20 further Tests, although he did end up with 11 half-centuries.
Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes