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Ask Steven

What has been the longest gap between a player's international debuts?

And is Ishan Kishan the youngest and fastest to score a double-hundred in an ODI?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
13-Dec-2022
The Rawalpindi Test is the seventh instance in which the winning team faced less than half the overs of the losing side  •  Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The Rawalpindi Test is the seventh instance in which the winning team faced less than half the overs of the losing side  •  Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

England won the first Test in Rawalpindi despite facing only 35% of the overs in the match. Was this any sort of record? asked Richard Anderson from England
England faced 136.5 overs and Pakistan 252 in the match in Rawalpindi, so England faced only 35.2% of the overs, yet still ended up winning. Rather surprisingly perhaps, they come in only seventh on this particular list, which is headed by India, who faced just 30.9% of the overs in beating New Zealand in Delhi in 1964-65. India made 465 for 8 declared in 113.4 overs and 73 for 3 in 9.1, and bowled New Zealand out for 262 (125.1 overs) and 272 (149.2).
There are three other Tests in which the winning team faced less than half the overs of the losers: South Africa (50 overs) against Zimbabwe (106.2) in Cape Town in 2004-05, Australia (80.2) vs India (165.4) in Mumbai in 2000-01, and England (118) vs South Africa (239.4) at Lord's in 1924.
Abrar Ahmed took the first seven wickets to fall on his Test debut in Multan. Has anyone ever done better than this? asked Zeeshan Mohammad from Pakistan
That remarkable debut by the Pakistan legspinner Abrar Ahmed against England in Multan last week wasn't quite a record: playing for West Indies against England at Old Trafford in 1950, the Jamaican slow left-armer Alf Valentine took the first eight wickets to fall. The only other man to take the first five wickets to fall in his first Test was George Bissett of South Africa, against England in Cape Town in 1927-28.
If we include the second innings of the match, their sides having batted first, the England pair of Bill Lockwood (against Australia at Lord's in 1893) and John Lever (against India in Delhi in 1976-77) took the first six wickets available to them on their debuts. Fen Cresswell (New Zealand vs England at The Oval in 1949) and Lester King (West Indies vs India in Kingston in 1961-62) collected the first five. King, who was playing in only his third first-class match, had not taken five wickets in an innings before.
Is Ishan Kishan the youngest and fastest to score a double-century in a one-day international? asked Jigna Devalia from the United Arab Emirates
Ishan Kishan's amazing 210 against Bangladesh in Chattogram at the weekend did contain the fastest double-century in a one-day international so far. Kishan zoomed to 200 in just 126 balls, 12 quicker than the previous fastest, by Chris Gayle for West Indies against Zimbabwe in Canberra during the 2015 World Cup. Virender Sehwag needed 140 balls for his double-century for India against West Indies in Indore in December 2011.
And Ishan Kishan is also the youngest to score an ODI double-century. He's 24, two years younger than his captain Rohit Sharma was when he made the first of his three doubles, against Australia in Bengaluru in November 2013.
Of the other ODI double-centurions, Fakhar Zaman and Martin Guptill were 28 (with Fakhar a couple of months younger), Virender Sehwag 33, Chris Gayle 35, and Sachin Tendulkar 36. Here's the full list of the highest individual scores in ODIs.
There is, however, a younger double-centurion in women's ODIs. New Zealander Amelia Kerr was only 17 when she hit 232 not out - and then took 5 for 17 - against Ireland in Dublin in June 2018. Australia's Belinda Clark was 27 when she made 229 not out - the first ODI double-century by man or woman - against Denmark in Mumbai during the 1997 women's World Cup.
I noticed that Devon Thomas made his Test debut for West Indies more than 13 years after his first one-day international. Has anyone had a longer gap between debuts? asked Kris Jurgensen from Australia
That's a good spot: Devon Thomas made his ODI debut against Bangladesh in Dominica in July 2009, as part of a rejigged West Indian team during a contracts dispute. Fast-forward to last week, and Thomas made his Test debut against Australia in Adelaide.
The gap of nearly 12.5 years between Thomas's ODI and Test debuts is indeed a record, by over a year. The previous longest gap belonged to Aminul Islam, who played his first ODI for Bangladesh in Chittagong (now Chattogram) in October 1988, and his first Test nearly 12 years later, at Dhaka in November 2000; he made up for lost time by scoring 145. That was Bangladesh's inaugural Test: Tamim Iqbal's uncle Akram Khan, who also played in it, had made his ODI debut two days after Aminul.
Next come Ed Joyce and Kevin O'Brien, who both played (Joyce for England) in Ireland's first official one-day international, in Belfast in June 2006; both were still around for Ireland's inaugural Test, against Pakistan at Malahide nearly 12 years later in May 2018.
The previous-longest gap by someone whose country was playing Test cricket throughout his international career belongs to the Hampshire offspinner Shaun Udal, who played his first ODI for England vs New Zealand at Edgbaston in May 1994, and his first Test 11.5 years later, against Pakistan in Multan in November 2005.
I just noticed that Usman Khawaja top-scored in all five of Australia's innings in Pakistan earlier this year. Has this ever happened before? asked Leo McGuinn from Australia
Usman Khawaja's success in Pakistan earlier this year, when he top-scored in all five of Australia's innings in the Tests, turns out to be unique. Bobby Abel (for England vs South Africa in 1888-89), Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka vs New Zealand in 1992-93), Dave Houghton (Zimbabwe vs Sri Lanka in 1994-95) and Hashim Amla (with 253 not out, 114 and 123 not out for South Africa against India in 2009-10) top-scored for their teams in all three innings of a Test series (Houghton in three matches, the others in two). The West Indies pair of Desmond Haynes (against Pakistan in 1992-93) and Brian Lara (in Sri Lanka in 2001-02) both top-scored in five out of six innings in a series.
Only a handful of men have top-scored more than five times in any Test series. The most recent was Joe Root, in six out of nine innings in the split series between England and India in 2021 and 2022. The others with six were Eric Rowan (South Africa vs England in 1951), Clyde Walcott (West Indies vs Australia in 1954-55, a series in which he scored a record five centuries), Sunil Gavaskar (in his first series for India, against West Indies in 1970-71), Mohinder Amarnath (India vs West Indies in 1982-83), Andrew Strauss (England vs South Africa in 2004-05), and Steve Smith (in the 2019 Ashes series).
Shiva Jayaraman of ESPNcricinfo's stats team helped with some of the above answers.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes