Ask The Spider #122

Is it true that apart from the famous match at The Wanderers in 2005/06, the best 60 ODI scores batting first have all proved enough to win the match?

Not quite. Of the current top 60 ODI scores batting first (ranging from 443 to 346) just the 2nd (that Wanderers match) and the 60th (made by Australia at Hamilton’s ground in 2006/07) have proven insufficient. The other 58 all resulted in victory.

Who has played the most ODIs without being dismissed?

The record is currently shared by one player from a major country and one from a minor one. Iain O’Brien batted just twice in his 10 ODIs, for 0* and 3*; Stefan Kelly, still just 22, may yet play more ODIs for Bermuda (his last came in 2008/09) but so far has also played 10, batting 6 times without being dismissed. Ishara Amerasinghe and Lonwabo Tsotsobe have also played 8 each so far without being dismissed; Amerasinghe may not play again but Tsotsobe almost certainly will. All of these have set their marks in the last year or two; until recently, the record was held by Alan Hurst, ironically one of the worst batsmen ever to grace the international scene, but who played 8 ODIs (a one-off in 1974/75, a few more in 1978/79 and a few more in the 1979 World Cup) without dismissal.

How many of the best 20 ODI totals batting second have proven to be successful chases?

Exactly half of what presently form the top 20 (ranging from 438 in that aforementioned Wanderers match to 319 made by Pakistan at Motera in 2004/05) were successful run-chases. To be precise, it is a top 21 as the 20th and 21st are the same – and one (Pakistan at Motera) was a successful chase, the other was not.

Which overseas bowler has taken the most Test wickets in India?

Derek Underwood tops this pile – and no-one is likely to surpass him any time soon, as all of the top ten are retired – most long retired. Underwood took 54 wickets at what is perhaps rather surprisingly merely a good average of 26.51, in 16 Tests on his 3 (perhaps 3-and-a-half – there was an additional one-off Test in 1979/80) tours in 1972/73, 1976/77 and 1981/82. Remarkably, he took just a single five-for in those 16 Tests.

In terms of number of wickets in home Tests, who were India’s top seamers up to the end of the 1999/2000 season?

Kapil Dev, of course, comes-out way on top, with 219 wickets in 65 home Tests. Javagal Srinath, not surprisingly, comes second – up to that point he had taken 81 wickets in 22 home Tests. The next two are Karsan Ghavri, with 77 in 27, and “Tiny” Desai, with 57 in 18. Apart from them, no seamer had ever taken even 30 wickets in home Tests. Even now the only two to scale these peaks are Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma – the latter who, it is of course hoped, may yet go much further.

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