More on Ireland’s maiden Test

Ultimately Ireland lost against Pakistan, but they performed better than most other Test teams on their maiden appearance. But then, the team had considerable international experience before they played in the Test.

We all know that B Rankin had played one Test for England. He has also played in ODIs and T20Is for England and Ireland.

Similarly EC Joyce has played in ODIs and T20Is for England and Ireland.

All 11 members of the team had played T20Is earlier. T Kane is the only one who had not played in an ODI.

Another potential player was Eoin Morgan who played 16 Tests for England with two centuries, besides ODIs for England and Ireland and T20Is for England. He could well have played here, but appears to prefer his present position as England’s ODI captain.

Probably Afghanistan’s Test team will have a similar bank of experience, except that they would never have played an international match in their home country.

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Performances in maiden Tests of teams

With Ireland becoming the 11th Test team and Afghanistan soon to become the 12th, we look at performances in the maiden Tests for all teams. Australia and England played their maiden Tests on 15 Mar 1877.

Maiden Tests

Of the 11 teams, only Australia won and only Zimbabwe drew. The 9 remaining teams lost, including West Indies and Pakistan by an innings. The maiden Tests of Australia, England and Ireland were relatively closely fought.

The best scores in maiden tests are 165* by C Bannerman, 145 by Aminul Islam, 121 by DL Houghton and now 118 by KJ O’Brien. Only South Africa and New Zealand failed to record a fifty on debut. AB Tancred actually scored 29 in both innings. India, Pakistan and the West Indies just scraped through with fifties.

In all cases the bowler with the best innings bowling and best match bowling are the same. The best innings bowling here is 7-55 by Kendall in the very first Test, like his compatriot Bannerman. The next best is 6-132 by Naimur Rehman. There are a few other 5-fors.

The best match bowling is also from the very first Test, 8-89 by England’s A Shaw. Kendall with 8-109 is second.

Also note the all-round performance of New Zealand’s RC Blunt who has the highest score, best innings bowling and best match bowling¬† in his team’s maiden Test.

Some of these Tests involved players who had already represented other countries. These are Amir Elahi (India) and AJ Traicos (South Africa) who were therefore not making their Test debuts. In the recent maiden Test of Ireland, B Rankin was the only one from his team who had played in Tests earlier, having played once for England. Everyone mentioned in the above table other than Elahi and Traicos was making their Test debut.

 

Previous encounters between Ireland and Pakistan

As the first Test between Ireland and Pakistan gets under way, we look at how they have fared in the shorter formats.

ODIs between Ireland and Pakistan:

Ire v Pak ODIs

There have been other 50-over matches between these teams before Ireland got ODI status, but those details are not readily available. Those matches were generally part of Pakistan’s Test tours of England.

We see that 7 ODIs between these teams have been completed. Pakistan lead 5-1 with 1 tie. However it is their first encounter which is remembered, when Ireland’s “beginner’s luck” at the 2007 World Cup played a large part in Pakistan’s early departure. (Similarly Bangladesh spoiled India’s party in the same World Cup).

The scorecard of that first match: http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8039/scorecard/247465/ireland-vs-pakistan-9th-match,-group-d-world-cup-2006-07/

A few members of Ireland’s team on that occasion will be playing in the inaugural Test starting on May 11.

Only one T20I has been played between these teams, which was at the 2009 T20 World Championships. Ireland had got into the Super 8s essentially by defeating Bangladesh. Pakistan won by a large margin. Pakistan went on to win the championship, while defending champion India did not reach the semi-finals.

Again, a few members of that Irish team are playing in today’s Test.

Ire v Pak T20Is

Scorecard of that match:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8604/scorecard/356012/ireland-vs-pakistan-21st-match,-group-f-world-t20-2009/

The importance of Sheikhupura

The city of Sheikhupura in Pakistan was in the news recently:

https://www.geo.tv/latest/192419-sikh-pilgrim-who-went-missing-in-pakistan-found-from-sheikhupura

There is a happy ending as he was promptly deported to India a few days later.

Sheikhupura is on the route from the Atari/Wagah border to Nankana Saheb, where special trains from India run occasionally for the benefit of Sikh pilgrims. The main stations on the way are Lahore and Qila Sheikhupura:

Qila Sheikhupura

Those who follow cricket closely would remember that this venue had staged two Test matches and two ODIs in the 1990s. The first Test was against Zimbabwe in 1996, where Wasim Akram’s record of 12 6s in his 257 not out is still a world record. With Saqlain Mushtaq (79) he put on 313 for the 8th wicket which was the new Test record.

This record was surpassed by Trott (184) and Broad (169)’s partnership of 332 against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010. Given the later disclosures of various tricks being played by Salman Butt and his friends, it is quite likely that they were “allowed” to run up large scores.

In that match in 1996 Paul Strang scored a century and took a five-for. He remains the only one from Zimbabwe to achieve this in a Test.

In 1997 this venue hosted another Test against South Africa. Nothing much happened as 3 days were washed out.

While Test matches did not return here, the people of Sheikhupura were more fortunate than their neighbors in Gujranwala. The one Test there (against Sri Lanka) in 1991 saw only one day of play before the weather played spoilsport. There are several other venues in India and Pakistan which have hosted only one Test so far.

Sheikhupura also features in jokes where it is supposed to be the home of Sheikh Pir, who wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare. Tamilians disagree as they say the plays were written by their scholar Seshappa Iyer.

There is a lesser-known Sheikhpura in Bihar, on the Gaya-Kiul route:

Sheikhpura (Bihar)

A closer look at centuries in fourth innings of Tests

Note: All data correct as of April 15, 2018. The Test involving the ICC XI in 2005 is excluded.

We first look at the best averages in the fourth innings:

4th innings averages

Boycott, Gavaskar and Hobbs top this table though there is very little difference between their averages.

We now look at those who scored the most centuries in the fourth  innings (3 and above):

Century in fourth innings

Younis Khan leads with 5 centuries, followed by Ponting, Gavaskar, GC Smith and Sarwan with 4. Bradman is also here with 3. Among current players, there is only Williamson with 3.

Now let see who disliked the fourth innings. These players made the most centuries (20 and above) without ever making one in the fourth innings:

SR Waugh (23), Mohammad Yousuf (24), SPD Smith and V Sehwag (23 each), IR Bell and MC Cowdrey (22 each), DC Boon (21) and G Kirsten (21). Of these only Smith may get a chance to change these figures.

Conversely, there are those who love batting in the fourth innings. Apart from Younis Khan and his companions at the top of the table, there are those who scored all their centuries in the fourth innings:

There are several who scored their only century in the 4th innings. The only current player is Shan Masood. And there is only one who scored his only 2 centuries in the 4th innings: W Watson (Eng) of the 1950s. Honourable mention to JB Stollmeyer (2 out his 4 centuries came in the fourth innings).

So we conclude that the 4th innings is indeed the most difficult innings to score in. Bowlers may have a different opinion.

 

A closer look at centuries in third innings of Tests

Note: All data correct as of April 15, 2018. The Test involving the ICC XI in 2005 is excluded.

We first look at the best averages in the third innings:

3rd innings averages

Bradman does not figure here, as he and his team-mates probably scored enough in the first and second innings so that they did not have to bat much in the third and fourth innings. So we have May, Kallis and Compton at the top of this table. There are also Amla and Azhar Ali from current players.

We now look at those who scored the most centuries in the third innings (5 and above):

Century in third innings

Sangakkara and Cook lead with 12, followed by Tendulkar, Kallis and Hayden with 10. Perhaps Cook will add to his tally.

Now let see who disliked the third innings. These players made the most centuries without ever making one in the third innings:

SC Ganguly has the most (16) followed by AG Prince, M Vijay and TW Graveney with 11 each. Possibly Vijay, like Cook mentioned above, will be able to change his status.

Conversely, there are those who love batting in the third innings. Apart from May and his companions at the top of the table, there are those who scored all their centuries in the third innings:

R Subba Row (3). followed by ADR Campbell, GC White and JDB Robertson with 2 each.

Also WW Armstrong scored 5 of his 6 centuries in the third innings (which can be seen in the bottom of the above table).

To be continued with the fourth innings.

 

A closer look at centuries in second innings of Tests

Note: All data correct as of April 15, 2018. The Test involving the ICC XI in 2005 is excluded.

We first look at the best averages in second innings:

2nd innings averages

Bradman is still at the top, with Kohli his nearest rival. SPD Smith, KS Williamson and JE Root are also among the current players who have done best in the second innings.

And those who scored the most centuries in the second innings (9 and above):

Century in second innings

Tendulkar leads with 18, followed by Dravid and M Jayawardene (15 each) and the other long-haul men Kallis and Ponting with 14 each.

Now let see who disliked the second innings. These players made the most centuries without ever making one in the second innings:

G Gambhir, KJ Hughes and SP Fleming all scored a total of 9 centuries without any in the second innings.

Next is F du Plessis with 8. He may add to this.

Conversely, there are those who love batting in the second innings. Apart from Tendulkar and his companions at the top of the table, there are those who scored all their centuries in the second innings:

MJ Horne (NZ) and RT Simpson(Eng) scored all their 4 centuries in the second innings.

BA Edgar (NZ), Qasim Umar (Pak) and RG Sharma (Ind) similarly scored all their 3 centuries in the second innings.

Honourable mention to NCL O’Neill who scored 5 of his 6 centuries in the second innings.

To be continued with the third and fourth innings.