Some statistics, like Bradman's average and the number of centuries Tendulkar has made are known to pretty much every cricket buff. But The List will bring you facts and figures that aren't so obvious, adding fuel to those fiery debates about the most valuable middle-order bat, and the most useless tailender. If there's a particular List that you would like to see, e-mail us with your comments and suggestions.



Kumar Sangakkara on his way to a double century against Pakistan at Lahore © Reuters

Over the last week, several debutants have performed exceedingly well in Tests, outdoing some of their more illustrious peers. Stuart Clark took nine wickets in Australia's victory at Cape Town, and Owais Shah and Alastair Cook answered England's distress call in splendid fashion. Apart from debutants, players up against a country for the first time in hostile conditions have also performed - Kevin Pietersen countered Anil Kumle and Co effectively, and James Anderson reveled at Mumbai, in his first Test for England since January 2005. This week the List looks at best performers when playing an opposition for the first time.

Narendra Hirwani's 16 for 136 is the best performance by a debutant by a whisker, pipping Bob Massie's effort against England at Lord's by one run. Hirwani picked up 20 wickets in his first full series - against New Zealand - but the advent of Anil Kumble and poor showings in West Indies, New Zealand and England cast him out in the wilderness. Thereafter, he made four more appearances for India and didn't play after December 1996.

Best bowling average in debut matches against a team - Tests (qualification: bowled in 5 matches)
Player Span Mat Runs Wkts BBI Ave 5
MS Nichols (Eng) 1930-1935 5 328 26 6/35 12.61 2
DL Underwood (Eng) 1966-1982 6 454 31 7/32 14.64 3
KR Miller (Aus) 1946-1956 6 323 22 7/60 14.68 2
ND Hirwani (Ind) 1988-1996 5 481 29 8/61 16.58 3
CEL Ambrose (WI) 1988-2000 8 566 34 6/34 16.64 1
Waqar Younis (Pak) 1989-2001 9 832 47 7/91 17.70 4
PJ Loader (Eng) 1954-1958 5 426 24 6/36 17.75 1
GG Arnold (Eng) 1967-1973 5 444 25 6/45 17.76 2
JE Emburey (Eng) 1978-1987 6 250 14 6/33 17.85 1
WR Hammond (Eng) 1927-1932 5 199 11 5/36 18.09 1

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  • Kumar Sangakkara scored centuries in his first Tests against India , Zimbabwe , West Indies and Pakistan . His average of 94.22 was aided by the fact that eight of the nine matches were played at home. But to his credit, the first time he played Pakistan was the Asian Test Championship final at Lahore and he made 230 in Sri Lanka's eight-wicket win..

    Best batting average in debut matches against a team - Tests (qualification: 5 matches)
    Player Span Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100
    AI Kallicharran (WI) 1972-1975 5 9 606 124 101.00 2
    KC Sangakkara (SL) 2000-2004 9 11 848 230 94.22 4
    G Boycott (Eng) 1964-1967 6 9 535 246* 89.16 1
    DI Gower (Eng) 1978-1982 6 10 624 200* 89.14 2
    SM Gavaskar (Ind) 1971-1982 6 12 712 155 89.00 3
    GS Chappell (Aus) 1970-1983 6 7 522 204 87.00 2
    JH Edrich (Eng) 1963-1969 6 9 598 310* 85.42 2
    MJ Greatbatch (NZ) 1988-1992 6 12 655 146* 81.87 2
    GC Smith (SA) 2002-2005 9 15 1146 277 81.85 4
    NC O'Neill (Aus) 1958-1963 5 9 480 181 80.00 1

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  • With minnow countries being admitted into the one-day family, you'd expect modern-day bowlers to top the ODI lists, and not Joel Garner. So miserly was Garner that out of 98 matches, he conceded over four an over on just 22 occasions. Using his 6ft 8 inches to full effect, he was perhaps the ultimate one-day bowler, with the lowest economy of 3.09 per over and an average of 18.84, second to Shane Bond's 18.63.

    Best bowling average in debut matches against a team - ODIs (qualification: bowled in 5 matches)
    Player Span Mat Runs Wkts BBI Ave 5
    J Garner (WI) 1977-1985 7 213 18 5/38 11.83 1
    AME Roberts (WI) 1975-1983 7 220 17 4/32 12.94 0
    Waqar Younis (Pak) 1989-2003 13 300 23 5/20 13.04 2
    BD Julien (WI) 1973-1975 5 159 12 4/20 13.25 0
    DA Reeve (Eng) 1991-1992 7 135 10 3/20 13.50 0
    AA Donald (SA) 1991-2003 13 369 27 6/23 13.66 2
    GG Arnold (Eng) 1972-1974 5 139 10 3/28 13.90 0
    RGD Willis (Eng) 1973-1982 7 174 12 4/11 14.50 0
    CG Rackemann (Aus) 1983-1985 6 232 16 4/39 14.50 0
    Wasim Akram (Pak) 1984-2003 14 421 29 5/21 14.51 2

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  • Best batting average in debut matches against a team - ODIs (qualification: 5 matches)
    Player Span Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100
    KP Pietersen (Eng) 2004-2005 5 4 196 91* 196.00 0
    GM Turner (NZ) 1973-1979 7 7 445 171* 111.25 2
    SKL de Silva (SL) 1997-1997 5 3 104 57 104.00 0
    DL Murray (WI) 1973-1979 6 3 102 61* 102.00 0
    MEK Hussey (Aus) 2004-2006 7 7 303 84 101.00 0
    Mohammad Hussain (Pak) 1997-1998 5 5 82 31* 82.00 0
    RG de Alwis (SL) 1983-1986 5 5 155 59* 77.50 0
    AL Logie (WI) 1981-1992 8 4 152 61 76.00 0
    A Ranatunga (SL) 1982-1996 10 10 375 88* 75.00 0
    CG Greenidge (WI) 1975-1985 7 7 374 106* 74.79 2

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  • If there's a particular List that you would like to see, e-mail us with your comments and suggestions.

    George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo