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Ask Steven

What's the lowest ODI total that didn't include a duck?

And what's the biggest partnership between a player on debut and another playing his last Test?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
15-Feb-2022
Odean Smith is congratulated by his team-mates after a wicket, India vs West Indies, 2nd ODI, Ahmedabad, February 9, 2022

Six bowlers each, for India and West Indies, took at least one wicket in the second ODI in Ahmedabad, a record  •  BCCI

In the second ODI between India and West Indies, 12 bowlers were used, and they all picked up a wicket. Was this a record? asked Siddhartha Bhattacharya from India
That match between India and West Indies in Ahmedabad last week was indeed the first one-day international in which each of the 12 bowlers used took a wicket. There are four further instances of 12 different bowlers taking a wicket in the same ODI, as this list shows, but all of those featured more than 12 bowlers, one or two of whom did not manage a wicket. Two of those came in little more than a week in the same competition in Sri Lanka in 2001.
What's the biggest partnership between someone in his last Test innings and someone in his first? asked Chris Butters from Norway
That's an interesting one. It turns out that the biggest such stand is 168, between Saeed Anwar (in his 55th and final Test) and Taufeeq Umar (in his first), for Pakistan's first wicket against Bangladesh in Multan in 2001. There are three other hundred partnerships that fit the bill: Vic Stollmeyer (in his first and only Test) and Kenneth "Bam Bam" Weekes (third and last) put on 163 for West Indies' fifth wicket against England at The Oval in 1939, while in the 1977 Ashes at The Oval Max Walker (34th and last Test) and Mick Malone (only cap) put on 100 for Australia's ninth wicket. In the other instance, Ricky Ponting and Stuart Law added 121 for Australia's fifth wicket against Sri Lanka in Perth in 1995-96 - both of them were making their debuts, but Law never played again so it was his last Test too.
If you broaden the query to allow a partnership during a player's last match and another's first (not necessarily their first and last innings), there are three other century stands. Brendan Taylor (in his 34th and avowedly last Test) and Takudzwanashe Kaitano (debut) added 115 for Zimbabwe's second wicket in the first innings against Bangladesh in Harare in July 2021 (they both batted again in the second innings); Nasser Hussain and Andrew Strauss put on 108 for England's third wicket in the second innings against New Zealand at Lord's in 2004 (both had batted in the first innings); and Maurice Turnbull (ninth and last Test) and Harold Gimblett (debut) shared an unbroken partnership of 108 for England's second wicket to win the match against India at Lord's in 1936 (both had also batted in the first innings).
Recently I spotted that India were bundled out for 54 by Sri Lanka in Sharjah in October 2000 - but oddly no one was out for 0. Was this the lowest ODI total that didn't include a duck? asked Lakshmanakumar Sankar from India
India's 54 in the final of the Champions Trophy in Sharjah in 2000-01 - Sri Lanka had made 299 for 5, so won by a whopping 245 runs - is easily the lowest all-out total in one-day internationals which does not include a duck (there were nine single-figure scores, although only Zaheer Khan was out for 1). Chaminda Vaas (5 for 14) and Muthiah Muralidaran took 8 for 20 between them. Next comes South Africa's 83 all out against England at Trent Bridge in 2008 (no one was out for 0, but Makhaya Ntini finished with 0 not out; Stuart Broad took 5 for 23). There are five further all-out totals of less than 100 in ODIs that did not include any ducks.
The Test record is Australia's 75 against South Africa in Durban in 1949-50, when their scorecard included six 2s, one of them not out. Despite a first-innings deficit of 236, Australia actually won that match, knocking off a target of 336 for the loss of only five wickets. The record for T20Is is Bulgaria's 60 (three scores of 1) against Romania in the Balkan Cup in Ilfov in October 2020. There were also no ducks in Australia's 62 against Bangladesh in Mirpur in August 2021.
I came across a scorecard of a Test in which both sides scored 240 in their first innings. Is there a higher matching first-innings? asked Murtaza Hussain from Canada
The match you're talking about was between West Indies and Australia in St John's in 2002-03, when both teams made 240 in their first innings. Australia added 417 in their second, only for West Indies to pull off the highest successful chase in a Test.
There have been seven other Test matches in which both teams made the same first-innings score. The highest total involved also came in St John's, in 1993-94, when England made 593 after Brian Lara's 375 had powered West Indies to 593 for 5 declared. The highest in which both teams were all out is 402, by New Zealand and Pakistan in Auckland in 1972-73. In a match that started only a few hours later, in Kingston, West Indies made 428 after Australia amassed 428 for 7 declared.
Which bowler took the highest percentage of his wickets lbw? asked Pete Fisher from England
Given a minimum of 50 wickets in Tests, the leader here is the Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis, whose 70 victims included 27 lbws (38.57%). Currently second, with 32 lbws out of 90 (35.55%) is the Pakistan seamer Mohammad Abbas, whose record might yet change. In third place - or top if you raise the bar to 100 wickets - is Australia's Terry Alderman, whose 170 wickets included 58 lbws (34.11%), most of them (or so it seemed at the time) being Graham Gooch. Just behind Alderman is the Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal, with 59 out of 178 (33.14%).
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