Ask The Spider #80

What’s the least number of overs a side has been bowled-out in during the first-innings of a ODI while still going on to win the game?

An interesting question – the answer is 35.5, and the team who managed this was New Zealand in the Fourth ODI in West Indies in 1996. New Zealand started very well, an opening partnership of 55 from Craig Spearman and Nathan Astle at over a-run-a-ball. But only Lee Germon and Chris Cairns also made double-figures, and they were dismissed for 158 before the 36th over was out. But they defended this meagre total, thanks to their legendary parsimonious seam (and to a lesser extent slow spin) bowling West Indies out for 154 in the 50th over of their reply. The next fewest was 39.3 by India, again against West Indies, in the triangular DLF Cup of 2006/07, the fifth game, where their top-order was knocked-over by, of all people, Dwayne Smith, and they were bowled-out for 162 before dismissing West Indies for 146.

What was the most runs in a match in a 50-over ODI before the dawn of the 1990s (for simplicity’s sake say the 1989/90 season)?

This was achieved by West Indies and Sri Lanka in a B&H Series (i.e., the Australian triangular) match at The WACA in 1984/85. West Indies slammed what was in those days a pretty insurmountable 309-6, Larry Gomes starring with an 89-ball 101, and Sri Lanka made no realistic assault on the chase (number-three Ravi Ratnayeke, sent up the order to pinch-hit, instead scored 24 from 74 balls) but a respectable 227-6 took the match aggregate to 536. Those same two teams almost broke their record in the 1987/88 World Cup in a desperately one-sided encounter where West Indies struck a colossal 360-4 and Sri Lanka could manage just 169-4 in reply.

And how about the highest team score?

Not surprisingly, it was also that West Indies 360-4, well clear of the nearest challenger, 323-2 by Australia at Adelaide Oval in that same 1984/85 B&H Series, against those same unfortunate Sri Lankans.

What’s the highest all-out team score in a ODI batting first?

The top two came against Zimbabwe and Scotland (by Pakistan and Australia respectively) but in a serious match, the highest was 328, by India in the First ODI in Pakistan in 2005/06.

And second?

334, made very recently by New Zealand (who were chasing a near-impossible 393) in the Third ODI of the home series against India in 2008/09. The next-highest, 329 by Sri Lanka against West Indies in a Sharjah triangular in 1995/96, was also higher than the highest batting first (and a rather closer contest than either of the matches mentioned above – they were chasing 334).

How many nine-fors have been taken in the first team innings of a Test?

Four – by Muttiah Muralitharan, Richard Hadlee, Abdul Qadir and Subhash Gupte. Three of these are wristspinners, which might perhaps surprise those who believe spin is generally most effective later in the innings.

And which bowler has taken the most wickets in Test match first-innings’?

Muralitharan tops this pile again (not terribly surprisingly) – he has 225 as of this column. His fellow wristspinners and prolific Test wicket-takers Anil Kumble and Shane Warne are third and fifth respectively; the other seven of the top ten are all seamers.


>> What was the most runs in a match in a 50-over ODI before the dawn of the 1990s (for simplicity’s sake say the 1989/90 season)?

I think we should not take the question too literally. It was a standard tactic in those days to slow down the over rate when the team batting first was scoring well. Therefore many matches scheduled to be for 50 overs ended up as 44 or 46 over matches.

I can’t bother to look up but India scoring 299-4 in 40 overs and winning by 10 runs v SL at Bombay 1986-7 should feature near the top in “50 over” matches.

Can the question be extended to cover such matches too.

Comment by Tapioca | 12:00am BST 26 September 2009

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