Afghanistan’s performance so far

Afghanistan has won 2 and lost 2 of its first 4 Tests. This makes it the best performer along with Australia and England:

First 4 Tests

(Here we have taken 1.0 for a win and 0.5 for a draw).

Now we look at individual performances:

Most runs (100 and above):

Afghan-most runs

Rahmat Shah is the only one with a century. He and Asghar Afghan each have three fifties.

Highest innings (50 and above):

Afghan-highest innings

Ibrahim Zadran and Ihsanullah made fifties on debut.

Most wickets (5 and above):

Afghan-most wkts

Rashid Khan is the only one with a 10wm, and he also has the most 5wis (3).

Best innings bowling (3wi and above):

Afghan-innings bowling

The two best figures are by Rashid Khan in the course of his 11-for. He also scored a fifty.

Amir Hamza took 5-74 on debut.

Best match bowling:

Afghan-match bowling

Apart for Rashid Khan’s dominance, there is Amir Hamza’s 6-wicket haul on debut.

Most dismissals (4 and above):

Afghan-most dismissals

Note that Ibrahim Zadran and Ihsanullah have the most by non-keepers.

All-round match performance (50 and 5wi):

Afghan-all round

Once again Rashid Khan stands alone. In fact he has the rare double of a fifty and 10wm, which has happened only 29 times in all Tests.



Test cricket’s great collapses-2.

We have seen instances where the first wicket put on 100 or more runs. Now we look at collapses after the first two wickets put on 200 or more runs.

Collapse after 200 + for 2

Here we choose the ratio of (runs added after the fall of 2 wickets)/(runs added by the first 2 wickets). The cutoff here is 0.3 or 30%.

This list is in chronological order. You can see that the worst collapse here (#7) was of 12.3% by Pakistan vs Sri Lanka in 2009. They lost by 7 wickets. The second spot is also held by Pakistan (16.3%), this time vs India in 1960. That Test was drawn.

1. Pak vs Ind (1st Test), Mumbai (BS), 02-12-1960.

Pak 350 and 166/4

Ind 449/9 dec


The addition of 16.3% after the second wicket fell is the second worst collapse here.

In the first innings, Pakistan’s 350 included scores of Hanif Mohammad 160, Imtiaz Ahmed 19, Saeed Ahmed 121, RB Desai 3-116, SP Gupte 4-43.

This Test was drawn, and was the first of the 5 generally boring draws in this series. It was only the second 5-draw series, following an earlier series with India visiting Pakistan in 1954-55.

2. Eng vs WI (1st Test), Port of Spain, 02-02-1974.

Eng 131 and 392

WI 392 and 132/3

WI won by 7 wickets.

In the 3rd innings (England’s 2nd) the 392 included scores of G Boycott 93, DL Amiss 174, MH Denness 44,  GS Sobers 3-54, LR Gibbs 6-108.

The 5-Test series was drawn 1-1, after the 5th Test was won by Tony Greig’s hitherto unrecognized off-spin which fetched 13 wickets.

3. NZ vs WI (4th Test), Kingston, 04-05-1985.

WI 363 and 59/0

NZ 138 and (fo) 283

WI won by 10 wickets.

In the 3rd innings (NZ’s 2nd) the 283 included scores of GP Howarth 84, JG Wright 10, JJ Crowe 112, MD Marshall 4-66.

The 4-Test series was won 2-0 by WI.

4. WI vs Eng  (5th Test), St John’s, 12-04-1990.

Eng 260 and 154

WI 446

WI won by an innings and 32 runs.

In the second innings WI’s 446 included scores of  CG Greenidge 149, DL Haynes 167, RB Richardson 34, DE Malcolm 4-126.

This also figured in the list of collapses after 100+ for the first wicket.

The 5-Test series was won 2-1 by WI.

5. Eng vs Pak (4th Test). Leeds, 06-08-1992.

Pak 197 and 221

Eng 320 and 99/4

Eng won by 6 wickets.

In the second innings (England’s first), the 320 included scores by GA Gooch 135, MA Atherton 76, RA Smith 42, Waqar Younis 5-117, Mushtaq Ahmed 3-60.

The 5-Test series was won 2-1 by Pakistan.

6. Pak vs WI (3rd Test), Karachi, 06-12-1997.

WI 216 and 212

Pak 417 and 15/0

Pak won by 10 wickets.

In the second innings (Pakistan’s first), the 417 included scores by Aamer Sohail 160, Ijaz Ahmed 157, Saeed Anwar 15, CA Walsh 4-74, M Dillon 5-111.

This also figured in the list of collapses after 100+ for the first wicket.

The 3-Test series was won 3-0 by Pakistan.

7. Pak vs SL (2nd Test), Colombo (PSS), 12-07-2009.

Pak 90 and 320

SL 240 and 171/3

SL  won by 7 wickets.

This is the worst collapse in this category, with only 12.3% added after the fall of the 2nd wicket.

The 3rd innings (Pakistan’s 2nd) of 320 included scores by Khurram Manzoor 38, Fawad Alam 168, Younis Khan 82, N Kulasekara 4-37, R Herath 5-99.

Fawad Alam was making his Test debut.

The 3-Test series was won 2-0 by Sri Lanka.

8. Ind vs Aus (2nd Test), Hyderabad (Deccan), 02-03-2013.

Aus 237/9 dec and 131

Ind 503.

Ind won by an innings and 135 runs.

The 2nd innings (India) of 503 included scores by  M Vijay 167, V Sehwag 6, CA Pujara 206, XJ Doherty 3-131, GJ Maxwell 4-127.

India won by an innings and 135 runs.

Maxwell was making his debut.

India won the series 4-0.


Best performance in the first 4 Tests

Before the Afghanistan-WI Test got under way, there was some speculation about Afghanistan winning and thus winning 3 of their first 4 Tests. No other team had done this.

This did not happen, but is interesting to see how all Test teams performed in their first 4 Tests. Afghanistan did have a creditable start with LWWL (two wins), which matches the record of Australia and England.

Ireland is not listed here as they have only played 3 Tests.

Let us take 1 point for a win and 0.5 for a draw:

Afghanistan: LWWL: 2

Australia: WLWL: 2

Bangladesh: LLLL : 0

England: LWLW : 2

India: LLDL : 0.5

New Zealand : LDDD : 1.5

Pakistan: LWLD : 1.5

Sri Lanka : LLDL : 0.5

South Africa : LLLL: 0

West Indies : LLLD : 0.5

Zimbabwe : DDLL : 1

So the approximate ranking is:

First 4 Tests

Note that Afghanistan, Australia and England had the best start while Bangladesh and South Africa had the worst.

Australia and Zimbabwe are the only teams which did NOT lose their first Test.

Zimbabwe is the only team which did NOT see defeat in their first 2 Tests.

India and Sri Lanka have identical sequences, as do Bangladesh and South Africa.

Note this study of the first 25 Tests (and 25 ODIs):




Cornwall and Crapp

Rakheem Cornwall is the man of the moment-as he had good bowling figures as well as Man of the Match award in only his second Test. Many sports fans like large and bulky figures, as Dwayne Leverock and Jesse Ryder would testify.

Another point of interest is the surname Cornwall, which as we know is a rather remote part of England and one of the Minor Counties. A quick look at the pages of the Cornwall county club do not show any prominent name who played for it. At best we can find two 1-Test players, Shakil Ahmed (Pakistan 1998-99) and NV Williams (England 1990).

There appears to be only one Test player who was born in Cornwall. He played for Gloucestershire and even captained it. You may have heard of him and his (unusual) surname, as most of his Test career coincided with the last few Tests of Bradman in 1948.

He did make 3 fifties in his 7 Tests, and was considered to be responsible for winning a close Test against South Africa.

More on the etymology of crap and the better-known Thomas Crapper:

Bad days for geography quizzers

Geography used to be a stable subject which did not need much updating. For many years the only genuine new country formed was Bangladesh, and the dubious Republic of Northern Cyprus a little later.

But quizzers in this line took a long time to recover from the twin shocks of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, which meant about 23 new countries which had to be memorized along with their capitals. The reunification of Germany and (earlier) Vietnam at least helped to REDUCE the number of countries to be studied.

Then people had flights of fancy, changing Swaziland to Eswatini (to encourage E-commerce?) Its neighbors had earlier made the switch from Bechuanaland and Basutoland to Botswana and Lesotho. Meanwhile a few other new countries such as Eritrea and South Sudan sneaked in when nobody was looking.

Then we have the renaming of cities in India. Many of them involved reverting from the British pronunciation to the original pronunciation (as in Calcutta-> Kolkata, Calicut -> Kozhikode and so on). This topic is enough for a few doctoral dissertations.

Now the rulers of India have bigger ideas, playing around with the names of larger entities. The creation of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir AND Ladakh was hailed as a masterpiece. So next comes a mini-masterpiece, the Union Territory (yes, just one) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu:

(It will take a while to figure out where the “and” and “&” will be used). Also, the people in these places do not seem to have asked for this reunification of the smaller bits of Portuguese India.

Perhaps there is a point here. How many of you can find D & NH on a map? Even if you can, do you know WHY it is an Union Territory? (Another interesting point is why Chandernagore is a part of West Bengal and not an Union Territory like the rest of French India); see

Unusual languages on signboards in India

Dogri in Jammu:

Jammu Tawi (Dogri script)

Maithili in Darbhanga:

Darbhanga station Maithili

Also at Madhubani, although it does not seem to be on the platform signs:

Madhubani (Maithili)

These are in Manipur. While the residents of that state are called Manipuris, there is no language of that name. Experts from there will tell you that the signs are Meitei in Mayek script.


Here is one language many of us would not have heard of:

Ghaghra (JH)

This is in Jharkhand, midway between Rourkela and Chakradharpur. This is the local language Ol’Chiki. Thanks to Pavel Ghosh.

In the neighborhood, here is a left-over Urdu sign in Bangladesh:

Boira (still trilingual)

And left-over signs in Gurumukhi script up in Khyber-Pakhtunwa province of Pakistan:

Landi Khana station todayShahgai (Khyber)

Remember that no train has been to Landi Khana since 1932, and not to Shahgai since around 2000.


Notes on Test statistics-Nov 2019

Pairs by captains:

Pairs by captains

Mominul Haque became the latest captain to make a pair. Also remember the double act by du Plessis and Sarfaraz last year.

While the balls faced in an innings were not always recorded before 2000, we know that the only unusual pairs by captains were the “queen pairs” or silver pairs by Bedi and de Villiers.

Highest scores by wicketkeepers:

BJ Watling’s double century is the highest score by a wicketkeeper from New Zealand, but there are many other keepers with high scores:

Scores above 175 by wicketkeepers:

Highest centuries by wicketkeepers

Mushfiqur Rahim is the only keeper with two double centuries.

Highest totals in Eng-NZ Tests:

New Zealand’s 615/9 dec against England was the highest in ANY Test between these teams:

Eng-NZ Test totals

Lowest scores against India:

Lowest scores against IndiaLeast overs against India

Bangladesh’s 106 in 30.3 overs is not really the worst innings score against India. But it is the lowest score (both by runs and balls faced) in the first innings against India.

You can also see how Afghanistan fared in their first Test, against India in June 2018. They have picked up well after that.