January 31, 2017

Bunnies, biggies and first-ball dismissals

Also: what is the lowest team total in a winning cause, and who was the "Malborough Meteor"?

Kagiso Rabada had Silva's number in the recent series in South Africa, but other bowler-bunny pairs have been even more emphatic © Gallo Images

Kaushal Silva was dismissed five times running by Kagiso Rabada in the recent Test series in South Africa. Was this a record? asked Mahinda de Silva from Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan batsman Kaushal Silva's five successive dismissals by South Africa's Kagiso Rabada in 2016-17 equalled the record for a Sri Lankan in Tests, but it was one short of the overall mark. There have been seven instances of a batsman falling to the same bowler six times running, the most recent being by Australia's Matthew Hayden, at the hands of Makhaya Ntini in South Africa in 2005-06. The first such instance was by England's Walter Read, dismissed six times in a row by Charles "Terror" Turner of Australia in 1888. After that, it didn't happen for more than 93 years, until Dilip Vengsarkar of India fell six times running to Imran Khan in Pakistan in 1982-83. The others to suffer this Groundhog Day nightmare are Greg Matthews of Australia (to Richard Hadlee at home against New Zealand in 1985-86), Kris Srikkanth of India (to Wasim Akram in Pakistan in 1989-90), Graeme Hick of England (to Curtly Ambrose in his debut series, at home against West Indies in 1991) and Daren Ganga of West Indies (to Shaun Pollock in South Africa in 1998-99).

Has any team been dismissed for less than 100 but still ended up winning the Test? asked Sanath Kumar from India
There have been 13 instances of a team being bowled out for under 100 in a Test but going on to win it, most recently by Pakistan: they were dismissed for 99 on the first day in Dubai in 2011-12, but ended up winning by 71 runs. The lowest score that resulted in a win is just 45, by England against Australia at the SCG in 1886-87 - on a difficult pitch, the Aussies were bowled out for 97 in the last innings, to give England a 13-run win.

Karun Nair is one of 11 batsmen whose only Test century is a double or more © AFP

I noticed that the Indian allrounder Abid Ali made 33 in both innings of his first Test. Is this the highest such debut double? asked Gulu Ezekiel from India
Syed Abid Ali made 33 and 33 on debut for India against Australia in Adelaide in 1967-68 (he also took 6 for 55, which remained his best figures in 29 Tests). This was matched quite recently by Bangladesh's Soumya Sarkar, with twin 33s in his debut Test, against Pakistan in Khulna in 2015. But the overall record dates back to 1913-14, when Daniel Taylor - brother of the more famous Herby, South Africa's captain in the match - made 36 and 36 on debut, against England in Durban. The highest score repeated in both innings at any stage of a career, is 105, by Duleep Mendis for Sri Lanka against India in Madras in 1982-83.

Of people who scored only one Test century, how many made it a double? asked Dominic Lee from England
There are currently 11 men who fit the bill here, although I'd be surprised if the man who currently sits on top of the list doesn't disqualify himself by adding another ton soon - Karun Nair's only three-figure score in Tests so far is 303 not out, against England in Chennai last December. The others are, in diminishing order of score: Reginald "Tip" Foster (287 on debut for England v Australia in Sydney in 1903-04), Faoud Bacchus (250 for West Indies v India in Kanpur in 1979-80), Robert Key (221 for England v West Indies at Lord's in 2004), Denis Atkinson (219 for West Indies v Australia in Bridgetown in 1954-55), David "Bumble" Lloyd (214 not out for England v India at Edgbaston in 1974), Taslim Arif (210 not out for Pakistan v Australia in Faisalabad in 1979-80), Martin Donnelly (206 for New Zealand v England at Lord's in 1949), Brad Hodge (203 not out for Australia v South Africa in Perth in 2005-06), Brendon Kuruppu (201 not out on debut for Sri Lanka v New Zealand in Colombo in 1986-87), and Jason Gillespie (201 not out in his last Test, for Australia v Bangladesh in Chittagong in 2005-06).

William Porterfield: no stranger to a first-ball dismissal © Getty Images

Luke Ronchi was dismissed by the first ball of the T20I against Bangladesh at the Bay Oval. Has this happened often? asked Liam Whiteman from New Zealand
Luke Ronchi's first-ball dismissal at Mount Maunganui recently was the 15th instance of this in T20Is: Ireland's William Porterfield has suffered the fate three times. There have also been 15 occasions when a batsman has been dismissed by the first ball of the second innings of a T20I - poor old Porterfield is on here twice too.

Which Test cricketer was nicknamed the "Marlborough Meteor"? asked Gary Vincent from England
This was not, as you might first think, a product of the English public school Marlborough College. It is actually a fast bowler who hailed from the very north of New Zealand's South Island: Gary Bartlett was born at Blenheim, the largest town of the Marlborough region, in 1941. He was a very rapid bowler, who took 24 wickets in ten Tests in the 1960s, with a best of 6 for 38 against India in Christchurch in 1967-68. John Reid, Bartlett's captain in his early Tests, wrote: "Gary was really quick, faster than Neil Adcock and at least as fast as Fred Trueman, though nowhere near as complete a bowler. He wasn't far off Frank Tyson's pace, and that's as quick as it gets." But Bartlett's career was plagued with controversy about the fairness of his delivery: in that Christchurch match, the Indian seamer Abid Ali was called for throwing after deliberately chucking one ball in protest about his action. Bartlett was remembered in a 2014 book, Meteor Over Marlborough. I think the name was originally coined in about 1940, when a meteorite crashed somewhere nearby on South Island.

Post your questions in the comments below

Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   AalsiIndian on February 6, 2017, 7:18 GMT

    @Steven- I noticed that Jayant Yadav has a batting average of 73+ and a bowling average of sub 30 (29.something) after his debut series. Does he have the best batting-bowling average difference after his debut series?

  • Martin on February 3, 2017, 10:26 GMT

    @Basingpiechucker - that 15 is the lowest all out score by a side that went on to win a f-c match. There have been 53 lower scores by winning sides, including 47 of 0-0 dec or innings forfeited and six ranging from 1-0 dec to 10-0 dec....

  • Max on February 3, 2017, 5:30 GMT

    Nick Maddinson's Test career to date hasn't been wonderful, but he has this to his credit - each innings produced more runs than the one before. The sequence was 0, 1, 4, 22. The question: what is the longest sequence, from debut, of a batsman improving upon his highest Test score?

  • trived1196452 on February 3, 2017, 5:09 GMT

    How many instances of same batsman scoring highest in both innings of a test (including both teams)? and which batsman did it more often? Same way which batsman scored highest among both teams more often in ODIs?

  • Colin on February 2, 2017, 20:54 GMT

    I remember reading an account of Hampshire beating Warwickshire after being bowled out for 15 in their first innings and then following on. That must be a record for the lowest score in first class cricket where a team went onto win.


  • Terry on February 2, 2017, 20:48 GMT

    What is also remarkable about Hazlewood being dismissed for the first time in his 34th ODI (he was run out so still yet to be dismissed by a bowler) is that he made his debut in 2010. He has played ODI's for 6 and a half years without being dismissed. Perhaps Stoinis should have trusted him more.

  • Martin on February 2, 2017, 20:21 GMT

    @K.Vasan.... - There's little point in bowlers doing so as the chances of hitting a flap(s), breaking one or both of them and one falling on the stumps and dislodging bail(s) are absolutely miniscule. Also, regulations against short-pitched bowling/over shoulder height on a regular basis prevent it to a great extent...

  • k.vasanthkumarmca on February 2, 2017, 19:44 GMT

    Thanks @MARTINBRIGGS. If that's the case, then we may need some improvement in this helmet technology. Since we have already seen the flaps been broken multiple times in the past 3 months. There is more chance for bowlers to try to bowl a bouncer aiming at the back of the head to produce a wicket

  • Martin on February 2, 2017, 19:13 GMT

    @K.Vasanthkumarmca - Yes out Hit wicket...

  • k.vasanthkumarmca on February 2, 2017, 18:28 GMT

    Hi Steve, With the introduction of new helmet safety rules the players are supposed to wear the helmets with two flaps covering back of the neck part. What if a bouncer breaks the flaps and they fall on the stumps to dislodge the bails? Would the batsman be deemed out ?

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