Low Test scores against India-and India’s bowlers

While much has been said about 36 all out in recent days, it should not be forgotten that Indian bowlers have also now become capable of dismissing Test teams for two-digit scores. This did not happen before 1981, and the lowest by anyone against India is 79.

Here we list all Test scores by teams which are 100 or less, and 8 to 10 wickets down.

Note the 80/8 was not an all-out score, but probably would have ended under 100.

We give below details of the Indian bowlers involved, plus other features of interest.

Starting from the top:

SA 79 in 2015-16; I Sharma 0-4, Ashwin 5-32, Jadeja 4-33, A Mishra 1-9

NZ 80/8 in 1964-65; Desai 1-18, Jaisimha 1-4, Chandrasekhar 3-25, Durani 2-16, Venkataraghavan 1-10.

(NZ narrowly escaped defeat after they had dismissed India for 88 and made them follow on. But Sardesai had other ideas and made his maiden century of 200*)

SL 82 in 1989-90; Kapil 1-14, Prabhakar 1-27, V Raju 6-12, G Sharma 1-26.

(The only Test played at Chandigarh).

Aus 83 in 1980-81; Ghavri 2-10, S Patil 0-5, Doshi 2-53, Kapil 5-28)

(The first time an Indian team dismissed the opposition in a Test for under 100, and they squared the series with this unexpected win. India’s next win in Australia came in 2003-04.)

SA 84 in 2006-07; Zaheer 2-32, Sreesanth 5-40, VRV Singh 1-8, Kumble 2-2

(Probably the high point of Sreesanth’s Test career. This was India’s first win in SA).

BD 91 in 2000-01; Srinath 3-19, Zaheer 1-20, Agarkar 2-16, S Joshi 3-27, M Kartik 1-1

(Bangladesh’s first Test. However, they had made 400 in the first innings).

Aus 93 in 2004-05; Zaheer 1-14, harbhajan 5-29, M Kartik 3-32, Kumble 1-5

(Australia failed to chase 107, though India won a dead Test and lost the series 2-1.)

NZ 94 in 2002-03; Zaheer 5-29,Yohannan 0-16, Nehra 2-20, Bangar 0-4, Harbhajan 2-20

(India still lost this Test. They had made 99 in the first innings.)

NZ 100 in 1980-81; Kapil 4-34, R Binny 2-26, Shastri 3-9, S Patil 1-12, K Azad 0-5

(India lost this Test. Shastri took 3-9 on debut, which included 3 wickets in 4 balls.)

WI 100 in 2019; I Sharma 3-31, Bumrah 5-7, Jadeja 0-42, Shami 2-13.

(India reduced WI to 50/9 before Roach (38) and M Cummins (19*) doubled the score.)

Statistics of ODIs of 2020

The number of matches in all formats got reduced due to “unforeseen circumstances”. However, we still have some aggregates which are of some utility even if averages and strike rates are not meaningful.

We start with the ICC rankings at the end of the year:

Which has England, India, New Zealand and Australia as the top 4 teams.

A simple comparison of W-L ratios gives this:

Not really meaningful as the top 3 teams here (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan) have played too few matches. Then we have Oman (!) followed by SA and NZ which still doesn’t make much sense.

A summary of individual performances follows.

Batting-most runs (250 and above):

That’s more like it. Finch leads by a large margin over his team-mate SPD Smith. Rahul and Kohli are 5th and 6th.

And Labuschagne, the Test find of 2019 is 3rd here.

The most 100s are 3 by SPD Smith. The most 50+ scores are 7 by Finch followed by 5 by Smith and Kohli.

Highest innings (100 and more):

All the centuries are listed here:

Unusually, the only scores above 150 are from Bangladesh. The highest from India is 119 by RG Sharma.

Bowling – most wickets (8 and above):

Zampa with 27 wickets is far ahead of the second-placed AS Joseph.

The most 4wi hauls is 3 by AS Joseph

No one has more than one 5wi.

M Shami has the most wickets for India (12).

Best innings bowling (All instances of 4wi):

The fast-rising S Lamichane of Nepal has the best figures of 6-16, which came against USA, another one of the newcomers. The only other 6-wicket haul was by the relatively inexperienced L Ngidi

India’s best is quite far down, being Shami’s 4-63.

Most dismissals (5 or more):

The most dismissals are 15 by Carey (Aus) and Hope (WI). The most by a non-keeper is 10 by Starc.

Rahul had the most stumpings (2).

For India, Kohli has 5 dismissals.

Most innings dismissals (4 and more):

The highest is 5 by Hope, and three others have 4 each. The best for India is 3 by Rahul on two occasions.

Several non-keepers have taken 3 catches in an innings.

All-round match performances (30 runs and 3wi):

The best would seem to be the two instances by Aqib Ilyas of Oman, followed by JJ Smit of Namibia.

India’s Far West

As of today, it is well known that the western-most railway station in India is Varvala (long 68.97E) and the western-most terminus is Okha (69.07E)

The western-most junction was thought to be Kanalus (69.90E) but it is actually Wansjaliya (69.86E), which means about 4 km between the lines of longitude.

However, the western-most junction in the past was Khambaliya, which had a branch to the port of Salaya until the 1970s. Its longitude is 69.66E

The railway line up to Naliya (68.84E) has been closed for conversion to broad gauge for several years. This work is now progressing from Bhuj and may be completed in 2021. It is proposed to extend this line to Vayor (68.69E) which is north-west of Naliya.

So Varvala and Okha will lose their titles when the trains start running to Naliya.

The western-most airport with regular commercial flights is Bhuj (69.21E). While Bhuj has an IAF base, the military airport furthest west is the Naliya air base (near Naliya Cantt station) which is at 68.87E. It is known that the IAF has a helipad at Koteshwar on the coast at 68.53E. Naliya has fighter aircraft, and their Mig-21s shot down a Pakistani recconaissance aircraft close to the border in 1999.

Bhuj airport’s competitor is Porbandar at 69.64E. It includes enclaves of the Navy as well as the Coast Guard who also fly from there.

In due course the railway may reach Koteshwar. That is quite close to the western-most point of India, which is not as ill-defined as the northern-most point. This point on the mainland is 68.48E, while the western-most village appears to be Guhar Moti at 68.49E

You can amuse yourself with finding these places on this map link:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Kutch,+Gujarat/@22.9416315,69.7547649,9z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x39511e0750db4489:0x2049bf8ec25dea88!8m2!3d23.7337326!4d

The bowlers behind the low scores

We have heard a lot about low Test scores in the last few days. Here we list the bowlers who were responsible.

Here we see the Lowest Test scores (40 and below, 8 or more wickets lost):

While the 35/8 in 1953 was not an all-out score, it probably would have been quite low if the match had lasted a few more overs before time ran out. India’s 36 had one batsman retired hurt.

Listing all the bowlers in these innings:

NZ 26 (Tyson 2-10, Statham 3-9, Wardle 1-0, Appleyard 4-7)

SA 30 (1896): (Lohmann 8-7, Bromley-Davenport 1-23, Hayward 1-0)

SA 30 (1924): (AER Gilligan 6-7, M Tate 4-12)

SA 35 (Haigh 6-11, AE Trott 4-19)

Aus 35/8 (Bedser 2-14, Laker 2-11, Wardle 4-7)

Aus 36 (Hirst 3-15, Rhodes 7-17, Braund 0-1)

SA 36 (Nash 4-18, McCabe 1-4, Ironmonger 5-6)

Ind 36 (Starc 0-7, Cummins 4-21, Hazlewood 5-8)

Ire 38 (Broad 4-19, Woakes 6-17)

Note that in some cases only 2 bowlers bowled through the innings.

Now we look at India’s lowest Test scores (75 or less, 8 or more wickets lost):

36 (Starc 0-7, Cummins 4-21, Hazlewood 5-8)

42 (Arnold 4-19, Old 5-21, Hendrick 0-2)

58 (1947) (Lindwall 2-11, Johnston 2-17, Miller 1-26, Toshack 5-2)

58 (1952) (Bedser 2-19, Trueman 8-31, Laker 0-7)

66 (Donald 4-14, SM Pollock 3-25, Klusener 2-16, McMillan 0-9)

67 (Lindwall 1-9, L Johnson 3-8, Loxton 1-10, Johnston 2-15, Ring 3-17)

75 (Patterson 5-24, WW Davis 3-20, W Benjamin 1-17, Walsh 1-13)

As we can see, India had the misfortune to run into the leading attacks of Australia, England and South Africa at various times.

The scores of 36 had the No 11 batsman retired hurt, and the 42 had one batsman absent hurt (though he was also No 11, so it should not have mattered much).

Toshack’s 5-2 is the best analysis by any bowler with 5 or more wickets in an innings. The next best is 6-3 by J Lawson vs Bangladesh in 2002. However, CA Walsh has taken 5-1 in an ODI.

L Johnson (Aus, 1948) was playing in his only Test.

Trueman’s 8-31 came in his 3rd Test and it remained his career-best analysis.

Addlepated in Adelaide

This is the sort of headline the British tabloids would have had when their team did badly at that venue. Surprising that no Indian publication used it after the “winter of ’36”.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addlepated

Let us see where India’s Test victories in Australia have been. There were only 7 so far:

3 at Melbourne, 2 at Adelaide and 1 each at Perth and Sydney. None at Brisbane or the smaller venues.

Adelaide has had some high points for India, as in 2018 where India won the first Test of a series for the only time. And in 2003, when Agarkar recorded his only 5-for (in fact a 6-for).

World cricket rankings on 14 Dec 2020

After New Zealand’s 2-0 victory over the West Indies, the ICC rankings see New Zealand edge towards a hairbreadth of Australia’s pole position:

Australia leads with 116+, followed by New Zealand also with 116+ and India with 114.

You can also see the ODI rankings above.

And the points table for the World Test Championship on the same date:

A detailed discussion is here:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/world-test-championship-new-zealand-put-pressure-on-india-as-race-to-lord-s-final-heats-up-1243780

Statistics of Aus-Ind T20Is-Dec 2020

India won this series 2-1 and continued their dominance over Australia in this format, as you can see here:

Unusually for India, this dominance exists even when playing away matches.

The 4 neutral matches were all in the T20I World Championships.

We now look at individual performances.

Most runs- 100 and above:

The top 4 all played in this series. Kohli continues his reign at the top. Finch and Maxwell are next, but far behind. Dhawan completes the top 4.

Maxwell and Watson scored a century apiece. Kohli has 7 scores above 50, followed by RG Sharma, Yuvraj and Wade with 3 apiece.

Highest scores-50 and above:

The highest scores in this series are 85 by Kohli and 80 by Wade, both in the third match.

The number of innings played is not enough to compute the averages accurately. But we can look at the strike rates.

Highest strike rates-minimum 250 balls faced:

Maxwell and Kohli have almost identical strike rates.

Most wickets-5 and above:

While Bumrah did not play in this series, he still leads with 15 wickets. Zampa (9) has the best haul among those who played in this series. Jadeja (8) and Chahal (6) follow.

Best innings bowling (includes all instances of 3wi):

The best figures in this series were 3-22 by Henriques and 3-23 by newcomer Swepson.

Note that the best performance here (Ashwin’s 4-11) came in a World Championship match at a neutral venue.

Most dismissals (4 and above):

Dhoni clearly leads here, with Kohli taking the most catches among non-keepers.

Best innings fielding-3 or more dismissals:

Dhoni expectedly leads (along with Paine), while Behrendorff has the most among non-keepers.

All-round match performances (minimum 20 runs and 2 wickets):

The best here is by Watson, while Henriques joined this list during this series.

Military rule over the Indian Railways

There are many stations named “Cantonment” and “Fort” and even Barrackpore. Here we look at military personnel.

Start at the bottom with “Sepoydhura”, a halt station north of Kurseong on the Darjeeling line. It was closed long ago. Next in the hierarchy is

(Just west of Allahabad on the main line).

Moving up the hierarchy we come to

(North-east of Gorakhpur).

Still further up:

(Near Gonda, yet again in Uttar Pradesh).

Now we are stuck. There is a locality in Kanpur called Generalganj which is fairly close to CNB, but does not have a station. And Senapati district in Manipur, far from any railway.

The term “Chhatrapati” is “protector”, strictly speaking. But that title was given to Shivaji who was a successful military leader.

Maharashtra comes to the rescue with the renamed Bombay VT:

There are numerous smaller places named after war heroes, often from the distant past. And those named after British officials, some of whom were from the military.

One example is from the mid-19th century, commemorating Major Sleeman who led the operations against the Thugs of central India:

This is between Jabalpur and Katni in MP.

A relatively newer one is

which is between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. It is named after Major Shaitan Singh, Param Vir Chakra awardee from the 1962 war. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaitan_Singh

There must be a few others from the post-independence era which I missed out.

When wicket-keepers change roles

We have already seen what happens when non-keepers take over the roles of keepers, as in https://abn397.wordpress.com/2020/11/29/part-time-wicket-keepers-in-tests/

It now remains to see what happens if wicket-keepers become ordinary fielders or bowlers.

Keepers who took catches while deputizing as non-keepers:

We see that Tatenda Taibu is the ONLY Test keeper to take a catch as a non-keeper. He also took one wicket.

Keepers who took wickets while deputizing as non-keepers:

Apart from Taibu, there are several others led by the Hon. A Lyttelton who had figures of 4-19. W Storer took a wicket apiece in two different innings. Kirmani represents India here.

In some cases the bowling captain asks the keeper to bowl out of frustration where no one else can take a wicket, or when the match is ending without any sign of a result.

See Lyttelton’s match here:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17710/scorecard/62411/england-vs-australia-3rd-test-australia-tour-of-england-1884

And Taibu’s:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/15029/scorecard/64084/zimbabwe-vs-sri-lanka-1st-test-sri-lanka-tour-of-zimbabwe-2004

While Zimbabwe suffered one of its then-customary heavy defeats, Taibu took Jayasuriya’s wicket and caught Sangakkara as a fielder. Later he returned behind the stumps and caught Samaraweera.

Part-time wicket keepers in Tests

Here we take up the cases where someone was not the nominated keeper in a Test, took over when the nominated keeper was unfit or unavailable and took one or more catch or stumping while doing so.

Catches as keeper while not nominated keeper:

These are all the 38 players who took at least 1 catch in their careers.

The number of Tests here are those when they were not nominated keepers. Some, notably de Villiers and Bairstow in recent years, have been nominated keepers in some Tests. These are not included in the above table.

Stumpings while not nominated keeper:

Similarly, these are the 15 players who have taken at least 1 stumping in their career as a non-keeper.

These lists overlap. It is better to consolidate them into a single list.

Consolidated list of players who have taken at least one catch as keeper and/or one stumping in Tests where they were not nominated keepers:

Among these 43 players, AB de Villiers has the most catches and most dismissals (12 each) followed by KC Sangakarra and TWM Latham (7 each).

The most stumpings are 2 by Tillakaratne, M Wasim and Christiani.

This also lists the total number of dismissals (as a fielder) in these Tests. The highest is 133 by de Villiers followed by 96 by Collingwood with a few others in the 90s.

Although it is not mentioned here, de Villiers played another 24 Tests as nominated keeper and took a further 89 catches and 5 stumpings there. Similarly, Collingwood never played any Test as a nominated keeper, so his career total of catches is 96 as shown above. Sangakkara played a further 48 Tests as nominated keeper and took 124 catches and 20 stumpings, to give him a total of 202 dismissals.

From the first two tables above, we can see that the most dismissals in a match by these keepers is 5 by Imrul Kayes, followed by 4 for several others. The case of Majid Khan’s 4 catches is particularly interesting, and deserves a separate post.

India’s far north

Those familiar with the Indian Railways would know that the northern-most station is Sopore (lat 34.26 N). It is just ahead of the terminus at Baramula (34.22).

It is uncertain if any further railway lines in this area will be built in the next few years. One plan included a connection to Kupwara (34.53) which should be the northern-most station in India if the line is built.

Meanwhile, the northern-most station which is connected to the rest of IR’s network is SMVD Katra at 32.98

The title of the northern-most junction is a tie between Pathankot and Bharoli which are at 32.27. This is a tie when latitudes are measured to 2 decimal places.

The northern-most airport with regular commercial flights is Leh (34.14) which is just ahead of Srinagar (33.99)

The northern-most airport with regular military transport flights is Daulat Beg Oldi (35.39) It is said to be 8 km south of the border with China. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daulat_Beg_Oldi

There may be helicopter landing grounds in the Siachen Glacier at still higher latitudes.

The best catchers in Tests

Here we look at the Test players with the highest dismissal rates, subject to a minimum of 20 innings fielded. These are correct as of Aug 31, 2020 and do not include the ICC XI Test of 2005.

Naturally, this will be headed by wicket-keepers who invariably get more catches than other fielders. But you would not have guessed that the highest average is by Rishabh Pant, who is generally not considered to be India’s best keeper at the moment.

The #2 is also not what you would expect. While Tim Paine did a good job as stopgap captain of Australia, you would not expect him to be so high up.

At #3 there is another current player in Quintun de Kock, who is likely to be SA’s next Test captain.

Going further down, we see NZ’s BJ Watling with 241 dismissals including 231 catches as a keeper, 10 catches as a keeper and 8 stumpings. But there is no non-keeper in the above list which goes down to a dismissal rate of 1.500.

Going still further down, the highest dismissal rate by a non-keeper is 1.060 by India’s ED Solkar (53 catches at 1.060). He is just ahead of AB de Villiers at 1.046, with 121 as a fielder and 106 as a keeper.