Bresnan stopped at 13
The England allrounder could have challenged Adam Gilchrist's record for most consecutive wins at the start of a career, if not for the rain at Edgbatson
England had won all of Tim Bresnan's first 13 Tests before the Birmingham weather and an improbable West Indian batting performance consigned his 14th to a draw. With the victory at Trent Bridge, Bresnan had drawn level with Australian fast bowler Stuart Clark in second place, but the stalemate at Edgbaston meant he could not challenge Adam Gilchrist's record of 15 consecutive wins from the start of a career. Gilchrist, who contributed significantly to those 15 wins with 992 runs at an average of 58, was well on course for a 16th before Australia were unexpectedly beaten at Eden Gardens in 2001. He made a first-ball pair in that match. Clark's run of victories also ended against India, when Australia lost his 14th Test in Perth in 2008. Despite his all-round performances in England wins, Bresnan has not been a regular in their first XI, often playing only when one of the first-choice fast bowlers was unavailable. Bresnan averages 40 with the bat and 26 with the ball but his 14 Tests have spanned three years. His present run of four consecutive matches - the last in Sri Lanka and the three against West Indies - is the longest of his career. Former West Indies allrounder Eldine Baptise holds the record for the longest career with a 100% win record - ten Tests. Nine of those matches were between 1983 and '84, but the next was six years later, in 1990. Baptiste scored 9 and took one wicket in an innings-and-32-run victory against England in Antigua and did not play again. He enjoyed one more famous victory over England, though, this time as coach of the Stanford Superstars in their $20 million victory in 2009.
* denotes the player's entire career Click here for the ODI tables. All of the top players in the table above - Gilchrist, Clark, Bresnan, Baptiste and Brett Lee - were part of teams that were the best in the world. Bresnan still is. Sri Lanka, however, were not close to being No. 1 when Thilan Samaraweera played his first ten Tests, but they still won all of them. Apart from the Asian Test Championship final in 2002, all of the other matches were in Sri Lanka, and Samaraweera averaged 83 in ten innings.
Malcolm Marshall played the most Tests before experiencing defeat - 35 between 1978 and 1984. To put that in perspective, Dwayne Bravo played 23 Tests before he was part of a winning team. West Indies won 17 and drew 18 of Marshall's first 35 games and he took 161 wickets at an average of 22 in them. At second place in the table below is Keith Miller, who played 25 Tests before Australia lost with him in the XI, followed by three more Invincibles.
Of the Australians who formed the great sides of the 1990s and 2000s, only Andrew Symonds and Michael Hussey began their careers with undefeated streaks longer than Gilchrist's, because of the trip-ups in India or in Ashes dead rubbers. Australia won all but one of the first 20 and 17 matches respectively that Hussey and Symonds played. The one that got away was the Perth Test against South Africa in 2009, which was drawn because of Jacques Rudolph's fourth-innings century. Click here for the ODI tables. Former India spinner Rajesh Chauhan has the longest completed career without a Test defeat. He played 21 matches during the 1990s - 16 at home, four in Sri Lanka and one in New Zealand - of which India won 12 and drew nine. He contributed 47 wickets at an average of 39 to those results.
There are also those whose careers did not start with an abundance of wins or draws. Bert Sutcliffe, for example, whose 42-Test career began in 1947 and ended in 1965, before New Zealand achieved their maiden victory in Test cricket. His is the longest completed career without a Test win, and he is kept company by several of his team-mates, who had shorter careers, in the table below.
Pakistan did not win any of the first 28 matches that Mushtaq Mohammad, who was once the youngest century-maker in Test cricket, played. They lost 13 and drew 15 of those games. In his 29th Test, in Dunedin in 1973, Mushtaq made 201 and took seven wickets, becoming only the second player to score a double-century and take five wickets in an innings of a Test. Pakistan won by an innings and 166 runs Click here for the ODI tables.
Sutcliffe and the other winless New Zealand players, however, fought out a fair number of draws. New Zealand drew 19 and lost 23 of Sutcliffe's 42 matches. That wasn't the case for a lot of Bangladesh players, though. Habibul Bashar and Khaled Mashud, for example, were part of only three draws, and no wins, in careers that comprised 32 and 31 Tests. Bangladesh lost all 17 Tests that Alok Kapali played.
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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