Review of England-India Tests, 2021-2022 (Pt 1)

The series was drawn 2-2 with 1 draw. India however retained the Pataudi trophy by virtue of their win in India in early 2021.

This is only the second drawn series for India in England, the first being 1-1 in 2002. They had won only in 1971, 1986 and 2007.

The jinx at Birmingham continued, as India have lost 7 and drawn 1 at this venue.

The overall summary:

Note England’s strong home advantage, although India is coming up.

Proceeding to individual performances, starting with

Batting:

Most runs (800 and more):

JE Root has come within a whisker of overtaking Tendulkar’s total of 2535, and has overtaken Gavaskar. Kohli and Pujara are next among current players.

Root has the most centuries (9) followed by Cook, Dravid and Tendulkar with 7.

Gavaskar and Tendulkar have the most 50+ scores (20), followed by Root with 19.

Highest innings scores (180 and more):

The highest score in recent years was 218 by Root in early 2021.

Spare a thought for KK Nair who made India’s highest against England but played only 6 Tests overall. This was his only Test score more than 50.

Highest batting averages (Min 20 innings, 35.00):

Root is in second place, after Barrington. Kohli and Pujara are next among current players.

Highest strike rates (Minimum 1000 balls faced, 45.00):

Pant has the best strike rate among current players, after Kapil and Sehwag. Buttler and Ashwin are a little below, followed by Bairstow. Many of the higher strike rates are from recent years.

Next we take up

Bowling:

Most wickets (40 and more):

Anderson leads by a large margin over Chandrashekhar. Ashwin and Broad are next among current players.

Chandra has the most 5-fors (8) followed by 6 by Anderson, Ashwin and Botham.

Bedser is the only one with 2 10-fors, which came in his first 2 Tests.

Best innings bowling (includes all 7wi and above):

Nothing much from recent years. The 3 best performances were 50 or more years ago.

Best match bowling (includes all 10wm and above):

While there a few from recent years, such as Ashwin’s 12-for in 2016, we can also note AR (Axar) Patel’s 11-for in 2021 which is the best in any pink-ball Test. Note Bedser’s twin 11-wicket hauls at the start of his career. And JK Lever’s 50 and 10-for on debut.

Best bowling average (Minimum 2000 balls bowled, maximum 35.00):

The bowling averages are headed by Illingworth and JK Lever,

The best economy rates are by Illingworth and Nadkarni

The best strike rates are by JK Lever and Willis.

To be continued.

Ten wickets on Test debut and never again

(Updated on 15 May 2021):

Some achievements on debut are more difficult than others.

As may as 110 centuries have been scored on debut, as well as 169 five-fors. In a few cases the player has scored two centuries or took two fivers in his debut Test.

But only 16 have taken ten wickets in their first Test:

The last entrant is Praveen Jayawickrama of Sri Lanka, who has played only one Test so far.

But the members of this exclusive club have not been fortunate. A quick overview:

We can see that:

Marriott played only one Test. Newcomer Jayawickrama has also played only one so far.

However, a total of 12 of these 16 never took a ten-for after their debut. The only ones who did so were T Richardson (total 4 times), Grimmett (7), Bedser (5) and Valentine (4)

And 7 of the 16 never even took a five-for after their debut.

Perhaps Jayawickrama will be able to overcome these odds.

Also, JK Lever is the only one to take a ten-for along with a fifty on debut. He never made another fifty, although he did add two five-fors to his 7-49 on debut.

While Ken Farnes did add one five-for to the two he took on debut, he died young in a flying accident during WW2.

Incidentally, Jayawickrama’s 11-178 is the best by a left-arm spinner on debut, surpassing the 11-204 by AL Valentine in 1950.

Ten wickets on Test debut

We have earlier seen that as many as 105 players have scored a century on Test debut. 40 of them never scored a century again, and 19 did not even score a fifty again.

We follow the same theme here with the feat of 10 wickets in the match on debut (Fivers on debut will be dealt with separately).

Ten-wicket hauls on debut are far rarer than centuries on debut-since there are only 15 such instances up to 30 Sep 2019.

10 wm on debut

The column “Inngs” indicates the breakup of wickets in the innings – for example F Martin took 6 wickets in each innings. Clearly it is possible to take 10 wickets with only one fiver, as in the case of Bedser (7 and 4) or Valentine (8 and 3).

Hirwani (16-136) just edged out Massie’s record of 16-137. These remain the best match figures for India and Australia. The only better Test figures are 19-90 by Laker and 17-159 by SF Barnes. The only other 16-wicket haul is by Muralitharan (16-220).

From the last three columns we can see that CS Marriott played only one Test, and Martin, Burke and Krezja only two.

The more durable ones were Bedser (51 Tests), Grimmett (37)  and Valentine (36).

And that 11 of these 15 (i.e. all except Richardson (4), Grimmett (7), Bedser (5) and Valentine (2) ) did not ever take a ten-wicket haul again. They are listed here:

10 wickets on debut and never again

The most durable among these were JK Lever (21 Tests), Hirwani (17) and Farnes (15). Farnes was one of the casualties of WW2. Lever remains the only one to take ten wickets and score a fifty on debut. He did not score a fifty again.

And these 7 players never even took a fiver after their debut:

10 wickets in a match on debut and no fiver again

Massie survived the longest with 6 Tests, followed by Zahid with 5.

Best debut bowling against India

The second Test at Centurion was noted for various things such as silly runouts and young Ngidi’s bowling. Here we look at the best bowling figures on debut against and for India (all figures as of 17 Jan 2018).

Best against India-innings (5wi): 

Debut bowling against India-I

Ngidi is in 5th position here, while his compatriot Klusener leads. That was to remain Klusener’s best in Tests, as in the case of Lever. Krezja’s effort came in a defeat for his team, and he played only one Test after this. Hazlewood is another current player in this list, while B Lee, like Bedser, had a long career.

Bedser and Pollard made their debut together. BR Taylor remains the only one in all Tests to make a century and take a fiver on debut. We will come to Lever’s similar record in a moment.

Best against India-match (7wm):

Debut bowling against India-M

The luckless Krezja tops this table. Bedser is second, and he followed with another 11-wicket haul in his second Test to start a long career for England. His partner Pollard is also here, though he had a relatively short career. Ngidi is relatively lower in this table as he took only one wicket in the first innings.

Hazlewood is the only other current player to appear here. Other famous names include B Lee and Trueman.

In an odd case of symmetry, JK Lever was the only one in all Tests to score a fifty and take a ten-for on debut. India’s S Venkataraghavan was in the Indian team on both occasions.

We also look at the corresponding figures for Indian bowlers on debut.

Best for India-innings (5wi):

Debut bowling for India-I

Hirwani steals the show here. He had a slightly better career than RAL Massie, who also took 16 wickets on debut. Ashwin and Shami are in the current team, as is Mishra from recent times. Nissar’s effort came in India’s first-ever Test.

Best for India-match (7wm):

Debut bowling for India-M

Hirwani again leads, with the best match figures in all Tests by a debutant. His 16-136 was just ahead of Massie’s 16-137. Shami, Ashwin and Mishra appear here as well. Doshi and Yadav had moderately successful careers.