South Africa defeated the West Indies 2-0. Ironically this series was part of the World Test Championship, even though the final between India and New Zealand was happening at the same time. This is the final WTC points table:
Finally South Africa finished 5th and the West Indies 8th (just below Sri Lanka).
A total of 30 Tests have been played between these teams, evenly divided into 15 in each country.
Overall, South Africa lead 20-3 with 7 draws.
In South Africa, they lead 12-1 with 2 draws.
In West Indies, they lead 8-2 with 5 draws.
We now look at individual performances, starting with Batting:
It will be seen that hardly any of the leading performances in batting and other departments are from current players.
Most runs (750 andmore):
Highest innings (150 and above):
Highest batting average (Min 20 innings, all instances):
New Zealand won the 2-Test series 1-0. This was their 3rd series win in England, after 1986 (1-0) and 1999 (2-1). More recently the 2015 series was drawn 1-1.
In the 107 Tests between these teams. England have won 48, NZ 12 and 47 drawn.
In England, in 56 Tests England lead 30-6 with 20 draws.
In NZ, in 51 Tests England lead 18-6 with 27 draws.
M Crowe has scored 5 centuries and several others have scored 4.
R. Taylor and J. Wright have scored 11 fifty-plus scores, and several others have scored 10
Most runs-750 and above:
R. Taylor has the most runs (1272) among current players and is in 3rd place. Gooch has the most for England (1148) ans is in 5th place. Root, Watling and Williamson are other current players here.
Highest innings scores (175 and above):
In this series DP Conway scored 200 on debut at Lord’s. This is the highest score by a debutant at Lord’s. The previous record was 16 by Saurav Ganguly in 1996. He also came close to MP Donnelly’s 206 (also at Lord’s, in 1949) which remains NZ’s highest individual score in England.
Highest batting average (Minimum 20 innings, 40.00)
While Cowdrey and Thorpe lead here, Root and Taylor are the only current players here.
South Africa’s 3-day rout of West Indies included an obscure record for captain Dean Elgar.
He is one of the few captains who won a Test without scoring a run, taking a wicket or a fielding dismissal. Here is the complete list of captains who achieved this:
Note that Babar Azam did the same earlier this year.
There are some famous names here (including Bradman in his last Test in 1948).
No Indian captain here, although Clive Lloyd did this against India in 1976. That was the Test famous for the bouncer barrage and India being 97 all out with 5 batsmen unable to bat due to various injuries.
Meanwhile, here is the short list of Indian players whose side won a Test without any contribution by them:
Ishant Sharma achieved this earlier in the year. There is also Pujara with one of his rare ducks.
Also note 3 separate players in the test against NZ at Chennai in 1955-56, which is remembered for the long-standing opening record of 413 by Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy.
TAIL PIECE: If you have any connection with Maharashtra, you can create memes about the Elgar Parishad.
June 10 would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday. He fell two months short, somewhat like Bradman with his 99.94.
Queen Elizabeth II is now past her 95th birthday and is the longest-lived British monarch. It should be remembered that her mother (known in later years as Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) missed reaching 102 by a few months. As she lived from 1900 to 2002, she saw the entire 20th century.
After some years we can expect to hear this after a long gap:
As is well known the line of succession is Prince Charles followed by Prince William. But it does not follow that they would be known as Charles III or William V.
(Footnote: a line of succession running into several hundreds is on record. Prince Philip was about #220 on this list, by virtue of being a descendant of Queen Victoria)
Like the Pope, the monarch has some freedom in choosing his/her name. The tradition seems to be to choose from the set of given names.
Thus, the current heir apparent to the British throne, Charles, Prince of Wales, whose full name is Charles Philip Arthur George, may elect not to be known as “King Charles III” out of concern about comparisons with Charles II of England (who was known for his Catholic sympathies), Charles I of England (who was executed after the English Civil War) and the Jacobite “Young Pretender” Charles Edward Stuart (who claimed the title “Charles III”).
So he may choose to be Philip 1 or Arthur 1 or George VII. The earlier King Arthur is too far back to count. Perhaps he did not even exist.
Similarly, Prince William’s full name is William Arthur Philip Louis and he could choose any of these. Arthur, Philip and Louis would all be numbered 1, though William would be 5 (Queen Victoria’s predecessor was #4).
There has been talk that Prince Charles (b.1948) may choose not to become monarch, thus clearing the way for Prince William (b.1982). (And of course his mother may outlive him, as in the case of his grandfather George VI)
It would be nice to see a headline “King Charles III meets King Kim III in Pyongyang”. Though it may well be Queen Kim I:
There are as many as 45 Test captains who were captain in exactly one Test:
From this we come to
Captains who won their only Test:
Only 10 of the 40, the most recent being Mashrafe Mortaza. Even in his case, he was injured soon after the match started and Shakib Al Hasan was the effective captain. This was Bangladesh’s first Test win abroad, though it was against what was virtually a 3rd XI of the West Indies.
Shastri is the only such captain from India. Perhaps India’s performance in the late 80s may have been better if he had captained.
CA Smith was playing in his only Test. Later he was better known as a Hollywood actor.
Captains who lost their only Test:
Not surprisingly, the 19 members here are almost twice the number of those who won their only Test. The latest was Ben Stokes, who was substituting for Joe Root.
India has two prominent players in Borde and Pankaj Roy.
DB Carr played only in 2 Tests overall. This loss was India’s first win in any Test, which oddly enough coincided with the death of King George VI. The captain appointed for that series was the equally undistinguished ND Howard who played his only 4 Tests in that series.
AR Richards, JH Anderson and N Betancourt were playing in their only Tests.
Captains who drew their only Test:
The most recent was BA Murphy in 2001. From India there is HR Adhikari. Prominent players here include DL Murray, G Kirsten, RR Lindwall and TW Graveney.
Normally, diesel and electric locomotives of today have methods of braking while going downhill.
In the days of steam, other methods were used. In the Indian subcontinent have the heavily trafficked ghat sections to the south-east and north-east of Mumbai. These were electrified in the mid-1920s.
Here is a picture of a downhill goods train on one of these routes before electrification:
Here it is mentioned that there are three “special weighted brake vans” after the two locos to comply with regulations. Perhaps the idea was to have higher adhesion on the tracks to prevent them from moving too quickly on the downgrade.
This line had a maximum gradient of 1 in 37. This picture seems to be taken from a catch siding.
Elsewhere in undivided India, there was a BG line with even steeper gradients of 1 in 25, on the line leading up the Bolan Pass to Quetta and beyond. Here, the regulations specified of having “skeleton” brake vans of low tare weight and no cargo which were added to downwards goods trains to provide extra braking power but with less weight than regular brake vans.
Here is an example of these wagons, taken from a video from Pakistan shot in 1982:
This was supposed to be at a place between Quetta and Bostan. The gradients are not so severe here, but these must have been destined for a goods train going down the Bolan.