Ask The Spider #23

What’s the highest partnership in the fourth-innings of a Test?

Arthur Morris and Don Bradman added 301 for Australia against England at Headingley in 1948, to turn a daunting chase of 404 into a doddle. Theirs is the only triple-century partnership in the fourth-innings, though Gordon Greenidge and Larry Gomes might have broken it in 1984 against the same opposition had England set West Indies a few more to win – their stand finished unbroken on 287. In both games, England had declared their third-innings, though admittedly eight and nine wickets down respectively.

What will be the World ODI XI prepared for years as follows: 1975; 1979; 1983; 1987; 1992; 1996; 1999; 2003; 2007. Eligibility criteria: For one to seven, more than 500 runs in last 2 years; for eight to eleven, more than 150 overs in last 2 years. Selection Criteria (based on performance in last 2 years): one-four, batsmen having highest average among those with more than 70 strike-rate; five-six, the remaining batsmen having best SR with more than 30 ave; seven, wicketkeeper with best SR with ave >25; eight-eleven: two bowlers with best averages among those with economy-rate <4.7-an-over and two among the remaining bowlers with best economy-rate and ave <35.

This year we look at 1996. Using the same criteria as 1999, here is the team. Dates: 1st January 1995 to 3rd February 1996.

The top four with highest ave and >70 SR are:
BC Lara 806 @ 67.16, SR 96.06
Inzamam-ul-Haq 670 @ 47.85, SR 79.47
CL Hooper 580 @ 44.61, SR 77.33
G Kirsten 522 @ 43.50, SR 71.11
The next two are chosen with the best SR, >30 ave:
ME Waugh 702 @ 36.94, SR 80.30
SP Fleming 664 @ 36.88, SR 76.40

IA Healy 356 @ 35.60, SR 84.56

Top three averages with ER <5 are: DK Morrison 164.4 ov, 28 @25.17, ER 4.28 GD McGrath 150.4 ov, 24 @ 26.45, ER 4.21 SK Warne 169.2 ov, 26 @ 26.84, ER 4.12 The last bowler is chosen with the lowest ER and ave <35: GR Larsen 198.5 ov, 23 @ 33.69, ER 3.89 Final line-up: 1 Gary Kirsten 2 Mark Waugh 3 Brian Lara 4 Stephen Fleming 5 Inzamam-ul-Haq 6 Carl Hooper 7 Ian Healy 8 Shane Warne 9 Gavin Larsen 10 Danny Morrison 11 Glenn McGrath No wicketkeeper had the qualifying 500 runs in the period under review - Healy had the most runs with the qualifying average. Nobody from this list made it to the 1999 XI, though McGrath was in the 2003 and 2007 XIs. Who is the oldest active cricketer?

If you mean international cricketer, it’s Sanath Jayasuriya, who started playing in 1989 and was 39 years old earlier this week. It’s difficult to say with any certainty who the oldest active cricketers are at domestic level, due to the fact such things are regularly subject to change – in England, for instance, at least three players who had been expected to retire after the 2007 season have popped-up for one last crack in 2008, and England is often one of the most transparent player-registration countries in cricket. And at levels below the First-Class level, there really is no way whatsoever of knowing. The captain of Exeter Cricket Club Third and Midweek XIs, Jeffrey Stanyer, for instance, continues to play, and perform more than respectably, at the age of 70! And many are known to have played to even older ages.

Who are the top 10 captains of India who have been become man of the match maximum time as a captain?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to give a definitive answer to this. Man Of The Match awards are not something which is chronicled exhaustively – indeed, they only became a fixture in Test cricket in the mid-1980s. In that time, only seven people (Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Mahendra Dhoni) have captained India more than 20 times in Tests, ODIs and T2Is combined. Only a very small number of match awards have been given to these captains in that time, too.

In an attempt to provide some answer, we can give India’s most successful batsmen in games in which they have held the captaincy. Sachin Tendulkar averages 51.35 in Tests as captain, Sunil Gavaskar 50.72, Rahul Dravid 44.51 and Mohammad Azharuddin 43.93. In Tendulkar and Dravid’s cases, these figures are well down on their figures without the captaincy. With the ball, Bishen Bedi and Kapil Dev averaged 24.82 and 26.35 as captains. In ODIs, meanwhile, Mahendra Dhoni comfortably leads the way. Going into the Asia Cup final, he currently has an average of just under 60 as captain. Dravid too averaged 42.19 as captain. India’s only regular-bowler ODI captain, Kapil, also averaged 26.24 with an economy-rate of 3.7-an-over as captain.

Perhaps the final mention should go to Hemu Adhikari, however – in his only Test as captain, he scored 63 and 40 and took 3 for 68 (his only Test wicket-taking spell). This puts him top of the without-qualification lists of most successful Indian captains in terms of both batting and bowling average.

How many wicketkeepers have captained in Tests?

Just 25, and the most matches as wicketkeeper-captain is 18, from West Indies’ Gerry Alexander. Zimbabwe’s Andy Flower twice attempted and twice stood down from such a role, taking charge in 16 Tests in total. Of those 25, 6 captained just a single Test, and a further 9 did 6 or less. Aside from Alexander and Flower, a further 6 captained 10 Tests or more as wicketkeeper, 2 of these being Khaled Mashud and Tatenda Taibu who lead extraordinarily weak teams. South Africa’s Percy Sherwell led his country between 1906 and 1911, but the only people to make even the slightest fist of the job in the modern era for serious Test teams are New Zealand’s Lee Germon, England’s Alec Stewart and Pakistan’s Moin Khan. And sure enough, the man Moin fought for the gloves for most of his career, Rashid Latif, also features on the list, leading Pakistan 6 times. Wasim Bari did the same as Latif 20 years earlier.

Who has the most consecutive wins in ODIs and Tests?

The record for most consecutive wins in ODIs is held by Australia, with 21, stretching from the 11th January 2003 (vs. England), to the 24th May 2003 (against West Indies). The streak included the entire World Cup 2003 campaign within it.

The record for most consecutive wins in Tests is also held by Australia (who achieved the same number twice, 16). The first streak begun on the 17th October 1999 when they beat Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club. It ended on 1st March 2001 as they beat India at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. The game which followed was the famous game at Eden Gardens, Kolkata where India came from following-on 274 behind to seal victory. The second streak started on the 30th December 2005 when they completed victory over South Africa at The MCG, and ended on 4th January 2008 when they controversially triumphed over India at The SCG. This streak included the five-nil Ashes whitewash of England. The streak was again ended by India, as they won the next game by 72 runs at The WACA in Perth.

Which cricketer has a record of a century on two consecutive days in 1948?

In the 1947/48 season, playing against Australia at Adelaide Oval, Vijay Hazare scored a century in the first-innings on 26th January 1948, and also scored a century in the second-innings the very next day. He made 116 and 145 in response to a mammoth 674 from the home team (Don Bradman hit 201, and Lindsay Hassett 198*), but India still lost by an innings and 16 runs.

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