Ask Steven

What's the longest winning streak in the IPL?

Also: has anyone taken the first nine wickets in a Test innings, but missed out on the tenth?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Kolkata Knight Riders celebrate their second IPL triumph, Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2014, final, June 1, 2014

Kolkata Knight Riders won 14 T20s in a row in 2014  •  BCCI

Has anyone taken the first nine wickets in a Test innings, but missed out on the tenth? asked Jamie McAllister from England
There are currently 17 instances of a bowler taking nine wickets in a Test innings (plus three cases of ten). The only one that fits the bill here is Muthiah Muralidaran's 9 for 51 against Zimbabwe in Kandy in January 2002. Murali took the first nine but, after the last pair had added 35, Chaminda Vaas nipped in and took the tenth.
"… events on the field were dominated by Muralitharan's failure to capture the last wicket in the morning. The off-spinner, hampered by torn ligaments in his ring finger dislocated the night before, would have surpassed fellow off-spinner Jim Laker's ten for 53 against Australians in 1956 if Russel Arnold had not fumbled a simple bat-pad catch off the first ball of the day. Then, fifth ball, Muralitharan spun an off-break sharply back into the pads of Travis Friend only to see umpire Venkatraghavan rule in the batsman's favour. Next over, Vaas ran through the motions, bowling gentle medium pace at number 11 Henry Olonga. But the dreadlocked tailender couldn't resist a swipe the left-armers last ball and was caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara. There was a stifled appeal and a moment of silence - when the Sri Lankan players wondered whether they could just ignore the final wickets fall - before umpire Asoka de Silva was forced to raise his finger."
In Murali's other nine-for, against England at The Oval in 1998, the other wicket (not the tenth) was a run-out.
A notable near-miss happened in Brisbane in 1985-86: Richard Hadlee took the first eight Australian wickets to fall, then caught the ninth. He did collect the last wicket, to finish with 9 for 52.
What's the longest winning streak in the IPL? asked Rajender Shetty from India
The longest winning streak in IPL history is held by the Kolkata Knight Riders. They won nine games in a row including the 2014 final, against Kings XI Punjab in Bengaluru, then won one further match in 2015 - making ten IPL games in all - before tasting defeat.
Actually KKR the team won 14 games in a row in all competitions, as they followed their 2014 IPL victory with five more wins in the short-lived Champions League T20 tournament, held in India later that year. The New Zealand domestic team Otago also had a run of 14 successive victories, while Karnataka won 15 in a row in Indian domestic cricket in 2018 and 2019. But the overall T20 record most successive wins is a remarkable run by the Pakistan side Sialkot Stallions, who won 25 in a row between February 2006 and October 2010.
I noticed that the Australian fast bowler Grahame Corling played just five Test matches, all in England in 1964. How many people have won five caps, all in the same series, and never played again? asked Curtis Nicholas from Australia
Grahame Corling was a compact seamer from northern New South Wales who won selection for the 1964 Ashes tour after only one season in Australia's Sheffield Shield. Aged 23, he played in all five Tests in England, taking 12 wickets at 37.25: he had Geoff Boycott (also in his first series) caught at slip by Bob Simpson three times. But Corling was seemingly never again in the running for a Test place, and faded out of first-class cricket after the 1968-69 season.
I was rather surprised to discover that Corling was one of 30 players whose Test career amounted to one five-match series, starting with the Yorkshire wicketkeeper Joe Hunter in 1884-85. Among the more famous one-series wonders are Australia's "mystery spinner" Jack Iverson (he had a big part in winning the 1950-51 Ashes) and, more recently, England's Chris Adams (in South Africa in 1999-2000).
There are not many recent instances, partly because there are not many five-Test series these days. Apart from Adams, the only ones this century are George Bailey (for Australia in the 2013-14 Ashes) and England's Tom Hartley, who played throughout the recent series in India, but will presumably get another chance soon.
There have also been a few six-Test series, but no one has won their only caps by playing throughout one of those. You could make a case for this applying to the Australians Barlow Carkeek and Claude Jennings, who both won six caps in England in 1912, during the one and only Triangular Tournament - they won three each against England and South Africa.
I watched Gloucestershire reach 700 at Leicester the other day, and was surprised by an announcement that said they had never made that many before. Are there any other counties who have never had a total of 700? asked Ken Griffin from England
Gloucestershire's 706 for 6 declared against Leicestershire at Grace Road last weekend was indeed their highest first-class total - previously it was 695 for 9 declared, against Middlesex at Archdeacon Meadow in Gloucester in 2004, when the New Zealander Craig Spearman hit 341. Before that you have to go back to 1928, when Gloucestershire's 653 for 8 declared against Glamorgan in Bristol included 218 from the great Wally Hammond.
Sixteen of the 18 first-class counties have now amassed a total of 700 or more. One of the exceptions is Durham, who attained first-class status only in 1992: their highest is 648 for 5 declared, against Nottinghamshire in Chester-le-Street in 2009. The other county is more of a surprise: Middlesex contested their inaugural first-class fixture in 1864, but their highest total is a relatively modest 676 for 5 declared, against Sussex in Hove in 2021. Earlier this summer, Middlesex amassed 655 against Glamorgan, their second-largest total and highest at Lord's.
Graeme Smith won 117 Test caps, but played under only two captains (excluding himself). Was this a record for anyone who appeared in 100+ Tests ? asked Deepak Krishnan from India
You're right that Graeme Smith played under only two other captains, right at the start of his career: Mark Boucher in his first three Tests, and Shaun Pollock in the next five.
Smith is one of seven 100-Test players who played under only two other captains, the others being Michael Clarke, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Steve Waugh. But Mark Taylor played 104 Test caps, and was captained in the first 54 by Allan Border before taking over himself for the next 50 matches.
At the other end of the scale, Frank Woolley of England played only 64 Tests in a long career that lasted from 1909 to 1934, but was captained by no fewer than 14 other players in those matches. West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul played under 12 different captains, excluding himself, during a 164-Test career, while Mushtaq Ahmed (52 Tests) and Jack Hobbs (61) also had a dozen different captains.
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