Ask The Spider #13

Which were the most successful partnerships in a Test match series (openers and non-openers)?

As we’re looking for series bests, let’s place a minimum number of opening partnerships at five so that a single high partnership won’t skew the ranking too much. The top six opening pairs in terms of total runs scored in a series are:
Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh (Aus in Eng, 1989) 823 runs (ave 74.81)
Sir Leonard Hutton and Cyril Washbrook (Eng in SA, 1948/49) 783 runs (ave 87.00)
Sir Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe (Eng in Aus, 1924/25) 778 runs (ave 97.25)
Mark Taylor and Michael Slater (Aus vs. Eng, 1994/95) 766 runs (ave 76.60)
Bill Brown and Jack Fingleton (Aus in SA, 1935/36) 721 runs (ave 103.00)
Hobbs and Sutcliffe again (Eng vs. Aus, 1926) 712 runs (ave 118.66)
Hobbs and Sutcliffe (who began the series in South Africa with partnerships of 157, 110 and 283) have the distinction of appearing twice on the list, although Mark Taylor also appears twice with different partners. Brown and Fingleton had not opened together for Australia before the series in South Africa.

For non-openers, let’s reduce the minimum partnerships to three:
Bill Ponsford and Sir Donald Bradman (Aus vs. Eng, 1934) 868 runs (ave 288.00)
Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf (Pak vs. Ind, 05/06) 861 runs (ave 215.25)
Denis Compton and Bill Edrich (Eng vs. SA, 1947) 750 runs (ave 150.00)
Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Carl Hooper (WI vs. Ind, 2001/02) 730 runs (ave 121.66)
Mudassar Nazar and Javed Miandad (Pak vs. Ind, 82/83) 724 runs (ave 181.00)
Sir Conrad Hunte and Sir Garfield Sobers (WI vs. Pak, 1957/58) 723 runs (ave 144.60)
Bradman and Ponsford scored all their runs in just three innings (including partnerships of 451 and 388) in the 1934 Ashes series. Yousuf and Younis Khan?s four century partnerships in four innings (319, 142, 242, 158) is also very impressive. Compton and Edrich were simply taking their form for Middlesex that year into the Test game, beginning their series against South Africa with partnerships of 106, 370 and 228. Chanderpaul and Hooper enjoyed healthy partnerships of 293, 215 and 186 against India.

Q. Who holds the record for the fastest Test triple-century?

In terms of balls faced, the fastest ever Test triple was by Virender Sehwag for India against South Africa at the Chepauk Stadium, Chennai in March 2008 – Sehwag took just 278 balls to reach his 300, eventually being out for 319. In terms of minutes at the crease, the record is held by Walter Hammond, who took 288 minutes over his triple for England against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland in 1932/33, on the way to 336*, which was a Test record at the time. In contrast, New Zealand had been skittled out for 158 in their first-innings. There is no record of the number of balls Hammond faced, however, as such things were rarely recorded in those days. What is known is that with a score of 227 in the first Test Hammond’s average for the series was a staggering 563.00! This is a Test record unlikely ever to be beaten. However, it must be mentioned that the New Zealand team was of a deplorably low standard, one quite comparable to the Bangladesh team of the past seven years.

Has any bowler taken more than one Test hat-trick?

Three men have taken two Test hat-tricks, with pride of place going to the Australian Jimmy Matthews, who had a hat-trick in each innings of the same match (against South Africa in the 1912 triangular tournament in England); interestingly, Matthews only took three wickets in each innings, and Tommy Ward was his third victim on both occasions. The other two bowlers enjoying two Test hat-tricks are Hugh Trumble of Australia (both against England in 1901/02 and 1903/04 at the MCG) and Wasim Akram (only a week apart in successive Tests for Pakistan against Sri Lanka in the Asian Test Championship in 1998/99, at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore and Bangabandhu Stadium, Dhaka). Wasim is so far the only player to take a hat-trick as captain.

Who has taken most wickets in a Test series?

In a five-Test series, the record is 49 by SF Barnes, who actually took all of his wickets in only four Tests, including 5-wicket innings hauls seven times and 10-wicket match hauls three times at an extraordinary average of 10.93. Allegedly, Barnes refused to play in the fifth Test due to non-payment by the South Africans of a promised appearance bonus; either way, his non-appearance is a great disappointment for statisticians. George Lohmann took 35 wickets in a three-Test series in South Africa in 1895/96, at an astonishing average of 5.80, which included two 10-wicket matches. Lohmann also became the first to take nine wickets in one innings of a Test during this series. Both of these series were played on coconut matting for pitches.

What is the longest wait to get off the mark in a Test match?

Geoff Allott of New Zealand took 101 minutes to score precisely zero against South Africa in 1998/99, facing 77 balls without scoring. No-one else has taken that long without scoring.

Has there ever been an instance where all 10 wickets of an innings have been run out or stumped? If not, what has been the most of either?

The First-Class record for the highest number of stumpings in one innings is six, by Hugo Yarnold of Worcestershire against Scotland in 1951. There doesn’t seem to be an instance of all ten dismissals being via run out. The most batsmen run out in a Test is four, Pakistan vs. India 1954/55 and Australia vs. West Indies 1968/69. In Twenty20, the record is also four, New Zealand v India in 2007. Records for First-Class cricket are much harder to find, and we haven’t had any luck so far.

What is the highest proportion of a team’s runs scored by an individual batsman in a completed innings in First-Class cricket?

The highest percentage of runs scored by an individual in a completed innings is 83.4% by Glen Turner for Worcestershire v Glamorgan in 1977. Turner scored an astonishing 141* from a team total of only 169 (a single of these came from extras). Turner carried his bat, and the next best score was 7 by Norman Gifford at number-ten. This easily eclipses Charles Bannerman’s Test record.


How many players have ever taken all 10 wickets in a Test innings?

Comment by William Rice | 12:00am BST 28 April 2008

Who is the most powerful hitter in the world?

Comment by Shivashish Sarkar | 12:00am BST 28 April 2008

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Richard Dickinson