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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #99
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Q: Last week you answered a question that showed it has been almost unheard of to choose to field first and win a Test in Australia; well, how many times have touring teams come out on top when the Australians have made the choice to bat?

A :This has happened 34 times, the first coming in the second-ever Test in 1876/77 and two more coming in consecutive games in 2008/09 when South Africa memorably triumphed. In fairness, this would possibly more accurately read 31 - 3 came during the 1977/78 and 1978/79 home summers, when Australia were reduced to fielding a second-team and tended to be up against it regardless of the toss. There were just 5 instances between 1980/81 and 2007/08, with West Indies gaining 4 of the triumphs.
Q: How many times has Sachin Tendulkar got out to a debutant ? i.e. his first wicket.

A: There are 9 bowlers who have so far scalped Tendulkar as their maiden Test wicket: Australia's Peter Siddle and Cameron White in 2008/09, England's Monty Panesar in 2005/06, New Zealand's Jacob Oram in 2002/03, Bangladesh's Naimur Rahman (unless he was run-out or finished unbeaten it was inevitable that a debutant would get him this Test as all eleven Bangladeshis were making their debuts), Zimbabwe's Neil Johnson in 1998/99, England's Mark Ealham in 1996, Sri Lanka's Ruwan Kalpage in 1993, and Zimbabwe's Ujesh Ranchod in 1992/93. No West Indian or Pakistani debutant bowler has ever dismissed Tendulkar.
Q: Who are the players who have batted on all five days of a Test?

A: There are seven who have done this so far, six of whom batted "through" one severely truncated day. The only one to bat on each of five days which saw a reasonably full day's play was the first, ML Jaisimha of India, who at Eden Gardens in 1959/60 was injured and thus came in at number nine late on the first day to finish on 2*. He improved this to 20* the following day, then came to the crease at number four just as the third day's play was drawing to a close to finish on 0*. He was still there on 59* after a remarkably slow fourth day and took his score to 74 before being dismissed on the fifth. The others, Geoff Boycott (1977), Kim Hughes (1980), Allan Lamb (1984), Ravi Shastri (1984/85), Adrian Griffith (1999/2000) and Andrew Flintoff (2005/06), all "benefited" from a lot of lost play - though four of those six Tests still featured a result.
Q: In the last Test match between India and Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka scored close to 400 runs in their first-innings and yet they lost the match by an innings. Has there been an instance where the team has scored 400+ in their first-innings and lost the Test by an innings?

A: Presuming you mean the actual first innings of the match (as Sri Lanka's was on this occasion, with them registering 393), this has only happened once, and it was in a timeless Test - England vs. Australia at The Oval in 1930. There have, however, been a couple of very near misses in finite games - only a substantial ninth-wicket stand from Mark Ramprakash and Darren Gough prevented England from suffering an innings defeat against Sri Lanka, again at The Oval, in 1998. And the Lankans were again denied by a whisker when West Indies' last-wicket pair of Neil McGarrell and Colin Stuart added 5 - had they taken the last wicket without addition or after a partnership of 1 they would have earned an innings victory.
Q: How many times has Sachin Tendulkar been out in 90s in ODI as well as in Test cricket?

A: There have been 24 so far - 7 in Tests and 17 in ODIs. Remarkably, 7 of those 24 - almost one-third - occurred in the space of less than five months between June and November 2007.
Q: How many times in Test cricket has the target set for winning the match been 1 run? I know of one case between India and West Indies in 1983/84 when India set a target of 1 run for West Indies. Are there any more instances?

A: There are six besides the one you mention, the most recent coming in 2004 when West Indies set England 1 to win at The Oval - in the event Marcus Trescothick rather spoiled things by cracking a four. The same thing happened when New Zealand set Pakistan 1 to win at Sind in 1976/77 - opening bowler Sarfaraz Nawaz was the man with the honour of hitting the winning four on that occasion, having been pushed up to open alongside fellow tailender Wasim Bari. A winning score of 1 for 0 was indeed registered - as it had been in the India vs. West Indies game at Chepauk Stadium in 1983/84 - by: West Indies at Old Trafford in 1963; Australia at The Wanderers in 1957/58; England at The SCG in the famous Bodyline series of 1932/33; and Australia at Newlands in 1921/22.
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