Ask Steven

Is India's four successive innings wins a record?

And what's the record total in a ground's first Test?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
India celebrate their innings win and series win, India v England, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 5th day, February 23, 1993

In 1992-93, India won three successive Tests, against England and Zimbabwe, by an innings  •  Getty Images

Apparently India became the first Test side to complete four successive innings victories the other day. How many teams have managed three? asked Kenneth Johnstone from England
India's victory in Kolkata at the weekend was their fourth successive innings win, following the first Test against Bangladesh in Indore, and the last two against South Africa, in Ranchi and in Pune in October.
No side had previously managed four innings victories in a row, but there have been 15 instances of three - four of them by Australia, in 1930-31 (against West Indies), 1935-36 (in South Africa), in 1945-46 (one v New Zealand) and 1946-47 (two against England), and in 2003 (two over Bangladesh and one against Zimbabwe). England have done it three times (v West Indies in 1928, New Zealand in 1958, and Australia and Sri Lanka in 2010-11), as have South Africa - in 1999-2000 against Zimbabwe and England, and twice in 2002-03, first against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, then Pakistan and Bangladesh. Around this time South Africa won nine successive Tests, six by an innings and another by ten wickets.
India had done it twice before their recent run: against England and Zimbabwe in 1992-93, and against Sri Lanka in 1993-94. New Zealand achieved the feat once (against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in 2005), as did Pakistan (v Bangladesh in 2001-02) and Sri Lanka (against Bangladesh in 2007; they lost their next Test, in Brisbane, by an innings).
At the other end of the scale, Bangladesh (in 2001-02 and again in 2004-05) and Zimbabwe (2005) have both had horror runs of five successive innings defeats. Zimbabwe narrowly avoided making it six in a row, losing their next match by ten wickets when India's openers knocked off a target of 19.
Yasir Shah went for 205 runs at the Gabba, while no other bowler conceded 100 - was this a first? asked Tom McGuirk from Canada
Yasir Shah took 4 for 205 in Australia's innings in Brisbane in the just-finished Test, while Shaheen Afridi took 2 for 96. It was only the fourth time in Tests that one bowler had conceded more than 200 in an innings, while no one else reached three figures: the biggest such gap is 131, between Jason Krejza (8 for 215) and Mitchell Johnson (1 for 84) for Australia against India in Nagpur in 2008-09. The other instances were by Daniel Vettori, with 4 for 200 for New Zealand against India in Ahmedabad in 1999-2000 (Dion Nash took 0 for 86), and by Nathan Lyon with 3 for 215 for Australia v India in Chennai in 2012-13 (James Pattinson 5 for 96).
Yasir also became the first bowler ever to concede 200 or more runs in an innings three times, having also done so against England at Old Trafford in July 2016, and against Australia in Melbourne five months later. Vinoo Mankad of India and Pakistan's Saqlain Mushtaq are the only others to have twice conceded more than 200.
Was New Zealand's 615 in the first Test their highest total against England? asked Francisco Beyer from Bermuda
New Zealand's 615 for 9 in Mount Maunganui was indeed their highest total against England, beating 551 for 9 at Lord's in 1973. They have had seven higher totals in all Tests, the biggest coming earlier this year, when they made 715 for 6 against Bangladesh in Hamilton - which, perhaps worryingly for England, is the venue for the second Test!
What's the record total in a ground's first Test? Did New Zealand break it at the Bay Oval? asked Jared Houseman from New Zealand
Although New Zealand's 615 for 9 against England in Mount Maunganui was a pretty good effort, it was some way short of the record for a ground's inaugural Test. Early in 1930, at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, England won the toss - and piled up 849, with the Surrey opener Andy Sandham making 325, Test cricket's first triple-century. This was a timeless Test - but, like the more famous one in Durban in 1938-39, it still ended in a draw when the England players had to leave to catch their boat home. West Indies, who had been set the little matter of 836 to win, were 408 for 5 before the eighth and ninth days were rained off.
Pakistan have now played six Tests at the Gabba and never won. What's the most matches at a venue without ever winning? asked Akshat Kedia from India
The overall record is nine Tests at a particular venue without ever winning, which is currently India's fate in Bridgetown (where they have lost seven) and Old Trafford (lost four). More surprisingly, perhaps, Bangladesh played nine home Tests at the old Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka without registering a win (and losing seven).
Australia have played eight Tests in Karachi, and Pakistan eight at Edgbaston, without winning any (both lost five). Sri Lanka have never won in eight visits to Lord's, although they have only lost there twice. England never won in seven attempts at the old Recreation Ground in Antigua, while India are winless in seven attempts at Edgbaston (lost six) and Lahore (drew five). Pakistan have won none of their seven Tests in Bridgetown, while in return West Indies have never won in Karachi; and New Zealand have not won any of their seven Tests at Old Trafford.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes