When Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar walked out to bat in the Chittagong Test, they were opening the innings for Pakistan for the 21st consecutive time. It would have been an unremarkable number had it not been for the fact that no other pair had opened in more successive innings for Pakistan. Not even Saeed Anwar and Aamer Sohail. Hafeez and Taufeeq celebrated the occasion with a 164-run partnership.

This week's column is about teams with unchanged openers for the most consecutive innings, as well as teams that used the most openers in a year.

Hafeez and Taufeeq's 21-innings stretch, and those of most other openers, pales in comparison to the 91 consecutive times that Australia opened with Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer. The next best is 43, between England's Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook. Hayden and Langer began their partnership at The Oval in August 2001. They added 158, and Langer, who replaced Michael Slater at the top of Australia's order, went on to make 102 before retiring hurt. Hayden and Langer added 224 in Australia's next innings - against New Zealand at the Gabba in November. In the second innings of that match, Australia, chasing quick runs for a competitive declaration, sent Adam Gilchrist to open with Hayden. It was the last time they opened without Hayden and Langer until November 2005, when Langer suffered a broken rib and gave Michael Hussey, a veteran with 15,313 first-class runs, the opportunity to make his Test debut against West Indies. After that stretch of 91 consecutive innings, the second longest Langer and Hayden had was nine, during the 2006-07 Ashes.

England's present opening combination of Strauss and Cook came closest to challenging the Hayden-Langer mark. They opened in 23 consecutive innings between November 2006 and August 2007 before Strauss was dropped for the tour of Sri Lanka and then recalled to No. 3 for the tour of New Zealand in 2007-08. Strauss was back to opening with Cook for the home series against New Zealand in 2008 and that was the start of their 43-innings stretch. It ended only because Strauss chose to rest from the tour of Bangladesh in 2010. Strauss returned for the home series against Bangladesh that followed and has since opened with Cook in 27 consecutive innings.

Most consecutive innings with the same pair of openers - Tests
Team Player InnsStart Match Opp Scorecard End Match Opp Scorecard
Australia ML Hayden, JL Langer 91Nov 22, 2001 v NZ Test 1571 Oct 17, 2005 v ICC Test 1768
England AN Cook, AJ Strauss 43 May 15, 2008v NZ Test 1874 Jan 17, 2010 v SA Test 1948
England AJ Strauss, ME Trescothick 40 May 20, 2004 v NZTest 1700 Nov 24, 2005 v Pak Test 1772
West IndiesCG Greenidge, DL Haynes 39 Jan 2, 1982 v Aus Test 917Nov 26, 1984 v Aus Test 999
Australia MJ Slater, MA Taylor38 Mar 17, 1994 v SA Test 1253 Oct 13, 1996 v IndiaTest 1335
South Africa HH Gibbs, GC Smith 33Nov 15, 2002 v SL Test 1626 Mar 30, 2004 v NZ Test 1692
England G Boycott, GA Gooch 32 Jan 4, 1980v Aus Test 868 Jul 21, 1981 v Aus Test 905
Bangladesh Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal 32 Nov 19, 2008 v SATest 1893 Nov 2, 2011 v WI Test 2012
EnglandMA Atherton, ME Trescothick 30 Aug 3, 2000 v WI Test 1506Aug 27, 2001 v Aus Test 1558
India CPS Chauhan, SM Gavaskar29 Jan 12, 1979 v WI Test 841 Feb 3, 1980 v PakTest 871
West Indies CG Greenidge, DL Haynes 29Aug 4, 1988 v Eng Test 1102 Nov 25, 1990 v Pak Test 1157
Australia GR Marsh, MA Taylor 29 Mar 15, 1990v NZ Test 1141 Jan 29, 1992 v India Test 1184
West Indies DL Haynes, PV Simmons 29 Jun 6, 1991 v EngTest 1171 Feb 24, 1994 v Eng Test 1250
Sri LankaMS Atapattu, ST Jayasuriya 28 Mar 16, 2004 v Aus Test 1688Sep 22, 2005 v Ban Test 1766
England ME Trescothick, MP Vaughan27 Sep 5, 2002 v India Test 1614 Nov 1, 2003 v BanTest 1667
England AN Cook, AJ Strauss 27May 27, 2010 v Ban Test 1958 Aug 22, 2011 v India Test 2004
Australia WM Lawry, KR Stackpole 26 Jan 24, 1969v WI Test 645 Dec 16, 1970 v Eng Test 675
West Indies D Ganga, CH Gayle 25 Mar 9, 2006 v NZTest 1787 Jun 19, 2007 v Eng Test 1836

Of the major Test sides (Zimbabwe excluded), which team's longest streak by the same pair of openers is the smallest? It isn't Bangladesh - Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal opened 32 times in a row (seventh highest) before Kayes was dropped for the Chittagong Test against Pakistan. It is New Zealand. The 16 consecutive innings that Bruce Edgar and John Wright opened in between November 1980 and March 1982 form their longest stretch. Darrin Murray and Bryan Young matched it in 1994-95.

While England now have a stable opening combination, they once set benchmarks in using the most openers in a year. Most of those years, however, were pre-war, and the last year in which England used nine openers was 1963.

Australia were the only other team to use nine openers in a year - in 1977 and 1979, both Packer years. In 1977, four of the openers Australia used - Ian Davis, Rick McCosker, Kerry O'Keeffe and Richie Robinson - signed up for World Series Cricket, necessitating the use of more. O'Keeffe, a legspinner, opened only once in his career - in the second innings of the Centenary Test, after McCosker had his jaw broken by Bob Willis.

Most openers used in a year - Tests
Team YearNum Mat Inns
England1921 11 8 16
G Brown, AE Dipper, C Hallows, HTW Hardinge, JB Hobbs, P Holmes, DJ Knight, CH Parkin, W Rhodes, CAG Russell, FE Woolley
England 1930 11 14 26
EH Bowley, WL Cornford, EW Dawson, AHH Gilligan, G Gunn, JB Hobbs, M Leyland, A Sandham, H Sutcliffe, FE Woolley, RES Wyatt
England 193511 9 16
AH Bakewell, K Farnes, W Farrimond, J Iddon, M Leyland, A Mitchell, CIJ Smith, D Smith, H Sutcliffe, DCH Townsend, RES Wyatt
England 1896 9 6 10
R Abel, HR Butt, WG Grace, AJL Hill, Hon.FS Jackson, GA Lohmann, Sir TC O'Brien, AE Stoddart, CW Wright
England 18999 7 13
JT Brown, CB Fry, WG Grace, TW Hayward, Hon.FS Jackson, AC MacLaren, F Mitchell, WG Quaife, PF Warner
England 1954 9 12 21
TE Bailey, WJ Edrich, TW Graveney, L Hutton, PBH May, Rev.DS Sheppard, RT Simpson, RT Spooner, W Watson
England 19559 9 15
TE Bailey, DB Close, WJ Edrich, TW Graveney, L Hutton, JT Ikin, D Kenyon, FA Lowson, RT Simpson
England 1963 9 11 20
KF Barrington, JB Bolus, MC Cowdrey, JH Edrich, R Illingworth, G Pullar, PE Richardson, Rev.DS Sheppard, MJ Stewart
Australia 19779 13 25
GJ Cosier, IC Davis, J Dyson, PA Hibbert, RB McCosker, KJ O'Keeffe, RD Robinson, CS Serjeant, A Turner
Australia 1979 9 14 28
WM Darling, AMJ Hilditch, BM Laird, RB McCosker, DF Whatmore, JM Wiener, GM Wood, GN Yallop, B Yardley
England 18848 4 7

The most consecutive innings by openers in ODIs is 42, by Australia's Mark Waugh and Gilchrist between April 1998 and October 1999, a period that included a World Cup victory. They beat the 40 consecutive innings that their predecessors David Boon and Geoff Marsh strung together between April 1987 and October 1989 - which too, coincidentally, included World Cup success.

The record for most opening partnerships belongs to Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, who opened for India in 176 ODIs. The most they managed in a row, though, was only 17, between March and October 2000.

Most consecutive innings with the same pair of openers - ODIs
Team Player InnsStart Match Opp Scorecard End Match Opp Scorecard
Australia AC Gilchrist, ME Waugh 42Apr 22, 1998 v India ODI 1325 Oct 23, 1999 v Zim ODI 1520
Australia DC Boon, GR Marsh 40 Apr 9, 1987v Eng ODI 446 Oct 27, 1989 v India ODI 587
England NV Knight, ME Trescothick 40 Oct 3, 2001 v ZimODI 1751 Mar 2, 2003 v Aus ODI 1976
PakistanAamer Sohail, Saeed Anwar 32 Mar 3, 1994 v NZ ODI 889Feb 25, 1995 v Zim ODI 982
Sri Lanka ST Jayasuriya, RS Kaluwitharana32 Jan 9, 1996 v Aus ODI 1032 Apr 7, 1997 v PakODI 1193
Australia DC Boon, GR Marsh 22Jan 14, 1986 v NZ ODI 350 Jan 1, 1987 v Eng ODI 409
South Africa AC Hudson, KC Wessels 22 Dec 7, 1992v India ODI 770 Dec 9, 1993 v Aus ODI 860
Zimbabwe GW Flower, NC Johnson 22 Nov 20, 1998 v PakODI 1375 Oct 21, 1999 v Aus ODI 1518
New ZealandBA Edgar, JG Wright 19 Jan 10, 1981 v India ODI 105Jan 22, 1983 v Aus ODI 173
South Africa HH Gibbs, GC Smith19 Jan 25, 2004 v WI ODI 2088 Jan 30, 2005 v EngODI 2216
Bangladesh Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal 19Jan 4, 2010 v SL ODI 2937 Jul 20, 2010 v Neth ODI 3029
Bangladesh Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal 18 Dec 1, 2010v Zim ODI 3071 Aug 21, 2011 v Zim ODI 3183
West Indies CG Greenidge, DL Haynes 17 Jan 10, 1982 v AusODI 133 Jun 18, 1983 v Aus ODI 215
PakistanAamer Sohail, Rameez Raja 17 Mar 11, 1992 v Aus ODI 739Dec 28, 1992 v NZ ODI 786
India SC Ganguly, SR Tendulkar17 Mar 9, 2000 v SA ODI 1572 Oct 20, 2000 v SLODI 1640
South Africa HM Amla, GC Smith 17Nov 5, 2010 v Pak ODI 3067 Oct 28, 2011 v Aus ODI 3211
Pakistan Aamer Sohail, Saeed Anwar 16 Feb 24, 1996v UAE ODI 1059 Aug 31, 1996 v Eng ODI 1109
India SC Ganguly, SR Tendulkar 15 Sep 20, 1998 v PakODI 1353 Jan 16, 1999 v NZ ODI 1385
AustraliaAC Gilchrist, ME Waugh 15 Jan 9, 2000 v Pak ODI 1536Mar 1, 2000 v NZ ODI 1570
England AJ Stewart, ME Trescothick15 Jul 8, 2000 v Zim ODI 1607 Mar 27, 2001 v SLODI 1697
West Indies CH Gayle, WW Hinds 15Nov 6, 2002 v India ODI 1893 Feb 28, 2003 v SL ODI 1973
Zimbabwe S Matsikenyeri, BRM Taylor 15 Apr 25, 2004v SL ODI 2122 Dec 5, 2004 v Eng ODI 2197
South Africa AB de Villiers, GC Smith 15 Dec 3, 2006 v IndiaODI 2458 Apr 25, 2007 v Aus ODI 2580

By coincidence, the most openers used by a team in ODIs in a year is the same as in Tests - 11. Pakistan used 11 in 2002, Zimbabwe in 2003 and Bangladesh in 2004. Bangladesh, however, used 11 in only 19 games, while Pakistan used 11 in 38. Zimbabwe's 11 openers in 2003 were spread across 21 matches.

Most openers used in a year - ODIs
Team Year Num MatInns
Pakistan 2002 1138 38
Abdul Razzaq, Faisal Iqbal, Imran Nazir, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Naved Latif, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Elahi, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Taufeeq Umar
Zimbabwe 2003 11 21 21
ADR Campbell, CK Coventry, DD Ebrahim, GW Flower, TR Gripper, DA Marillier, BG Rogers, V Sibanda, MA Vermeulen, GJ Whittall, CB Wishart
Bangladesh 2004 1119 19
Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali, Habibul Bashar, Hannan Sarkar, Javed Omar, Manjural Islam Rana, Mohammad Ashraful, Mohammad Rafique, Nafees Iqbal, Rajin Saleh, Shahriar Hossain
Pakistan 1989 10 27 27
Aamer Malik, Javed Miandad, Mansoor Akhtar, Moin-ul-Atiq, Mudassar Nazar, Rameez Raja, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Yousuf, Shahid Saeed, Shoaib Mohammad
India 1996 1032 32
SC Ganguly, A Jadeja, SV Manjrekar, NR Mongia, M Prabhakar, WV Raman, V Rathour, NS Sidhu, S Somasunder, SR Tendulkar
West Indies 1996 10 20 20
CO Browne, SL Campbell, S Chanderpaul, AFG Griffith, JR Murray, RB Richardson, RG Samuels, PV Simmons, PA Wallace, SC Williams
Pakistan 1998 1026 26
Aamer Sohail, Abdul Razzaq, Asif Mahmood, Azhar Mahmood, Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Wasim, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Elahi, Shahid Afridi
Zimbabwe 2001 10 37 37
ADR Campbell, DD Ebrahim, GW Flower, TR Gripper, TN Madondo, DA Marillier, H Masakadza, GJ Rennie, PA Strang, GJ Whittall
Bangladesh 2003 1021 21
Al Sahariar, Ehsanul Haque, Habibul Bashar, Hannan Sarkar, Javed Omar, Khaled Mashud, Mehrab Hossain, Mohammad Ashraful, Moniruzzaman, Nafees Iqbal
Pakistan 2009 10 20 20
Ahmed Shehzad, Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal, Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor, Nasir Jamshed, Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan

Thank you to Mazher Arshad for bringing the Hafeez-Taufeeq statistic to our attention.

Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for ESPNcricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo