The first of a series comparing Test captains by their basic skills rather than captaincy.
Data up to May 15, 2021. The ICC XI Test of 2005 is not included.
Most runs (2500 and above):
After all, Graeme Smith has played the most Tests as captain.
Kohli is in 4th position, the best for Indian players as well as current players. Root and SPD Smith are some distance behind, and Gavaskar still further behind.
Most centuries (6 and above):
Graeme Smith again. Kohli is in second place here and will probably overtake him. SPD Smith is next among current players. Gavaskar with 11 is next among Indian players.
Fifty-plus scores (18 and above):
Here is Graeme Smith yet again. Kohli is in 8th position here, which is the highest both for Indian players and current players. Root and Gavaskar are some distance behind.
Highest individual scores (225 and above):
Led by Lara with his world record 400*. Kohli with 254* is the first among Indian players and current players. Williamson (251) and Karunaratne (244) are next among current players. Kohli’s 243 is the second highest for Indian captains.
Highest batting average (Min 20 innings, 50.00):
Bradman’s 101.51 is far ahead of the next, who is SPD Smith with 70.36. Williamson (62.81) and Kohli (58.60) are the next among current captains. Tendulkar and Gavaskar are further down.
We have looked at the highest Test scores without sixes and fours. Now we look at the counterpart-scores with the most sixes, fours and boundary runs in Tests.
A basic reference would be the highest Test innings scores:
which most fans are generally aware of, including Sehwag’s 319 in 2008 which is the highest for India
We also look at the lesser-known
Highest Test match scores (adding scores of both innings):
While everyone knows about Lara’s record of 400* and earlier record-holders such as Hayden, Sobers and Hutton the record scores in a match are not so well known. The record is held by Gooch (456) followed by Mark Taylor (426) and Sangakkara (424). Gooch and Sangakkara are the only ones to score a triple century and century in the same Test. The highest for India is the relatively old 344 (124 and 220) by Gavaskar in 1971.
We now look more closely at fours and sixes:
For Test innings:
Akram’s 12 6s has been the record since 1996. He took the record from Hammond (10) made back in 1933.
Sidhu and Agarwal also appear from India.
Holder, Stokes and Agarwal all scored 8 6s in an innings in 2019.
It is interesting to compare the record for most sixes in a Test match:
The record recently passed to Rohit Sharma with 13 6s in his two centuries against South Africa. Before that, Akram’s 12 (in one innings!) was the match record standing since 1996.
Now we look at the most fours in a Test innings:
This record was made over a half-century ago with Edrich’s 52 (plus 5 sixes) against New Zealand in 1965. Next are Sehwag (47 in a score of 293) and Bradman (46 in 334)
The most fours in a Test match:
Edrich is in third place with 52, after Gooch and VVS Laxman (56 in two innings).
The next question one may ask is regarding the most runs in boundaries in an innings and match. This requires putting the Statsguru results into a spreadsheet for further work. This is what we get:
Most runs in an innings in boundaries:
Here we see that the most is 238 (out of 310) by Edrich, being (52*4)+(5*6) = 238. Next come Hayden (218/380) and Inzamam (206/329) before two by Sehwag (202/293 and 198/319). Sehwag indeed has 4 of the top 10 entries here!
And finally, the most runs in a match in boundaries:
Edrich’s 238 in one innings is surpassed only by Gooch’s 266 (56*4 + 7*6) in his two centuries . Sangakkara is third with 232 (from 319+105) and VVS Laxman fourth with 224 (from 59+281).
To sum up:
Highest innings: 400* by Lara in 2004
Highest total runs in a match: 456 by Gooch in 1990
Most sixes in an innings (12 in 257*) by Wasim Akram vs Zimbabwe in 1996
Most fours in an innings (52 in 310*) by JH Edrich vs New Zealand in 1965
Most sixes in a match (13 in 176+127) by RG Sharma vs South Africa in 2019
Most fours in a match (56 in 333+123, 56 in 59+281) by GA Gooch (1990) and VVS Laxman (2001) respectively
Most runs in boundaries in an innings (238 = 52*4 +5*6) by JH Edrich in 1965.
Most runs in boundaries in a match (266 = 56*4+7*6) by GA Gooch in 1990
Remember that Gooch’s 456 runs in this match is the most in any Test or indeed any first-class match.
This includes some of the record scores of the past, such as 375, 365*, 364.
The highest for India is 281 by VVS Laxman.
But it is clear that it is not difficult to score 300+ without hitting any sixes.
Now for the highest scores without any four:
The highest is 67 by EAB Rowan, who was a fairly prominent SA batsman of his time.
Next there is 59 by FM Engineer, normally a fast scorer. This was in the first innings of India’s victory at the Oval in 1971.
Others from India include 52 by CPS Chauhan, 42 by Kapil Dev and 40 by Tendulkar.
And finally, the highest scores without any fours or sixes:
The first three entries are the same as the “no-four” category. After Engineer, others from India include Chauhan (52) and Kapil (42). It is difficult to explain how Kapil restrained himself, as the West Indies bowling in that series was quite poor. Chauhan’s 52 was also in the same Test.
In the 5th T20I in the recently concluded India-New Zealand series, Seifert (17) and Ross Taylor (17 including a no-ball) took 34 runs off an over from Shivam Dube. That was his first and only over in the innings. It was the second highest in T20Is, surpassed only by Yuvraj Singh’s 6*6 off Stuart Broad in the 2007 world championship.
Previously the worst such misfortune to an Indian bowler was Evan Lewis taking 32 (including a wide) off another Stuart (Binny) in 2016. Suresh Raina had conceded 26 against South Africans Ontong and Albie Morkel in 2012.
Prior to this tour of the West Indies, he had played in 10 Tests without a century, He made 152 in the first Test, and rounded this up with 325 and 50 in what was to be his last Test. England made 849 and later set WI over 800 to win. As in the better-known timeless Test at Durban a decade later, the match was called off as England had to catch their ship home.
This record of 325 only lasted for a little over 7 months, as Bradman made 334 at Leeds during the 1930 tour. (His only other triple (304) also came at Leeds in 1934).
Another of Sandham’s records was more durable; his 375 in the match was not surpassed until Greg Chappell made 380 (247* and 133) in 1973-74.
In England’s customary add-on series with New Zealand after the bodyline series of 1932-33, Hammond made 336*. The captain (RES Wyatt) appears to have declared once he crossed Bradman’s record of 334. Even so, there was not enough time to win the Test.
So the record was back with England. Bradman got up to 304 at Leeds in 1934.
At the Oval in 1938, Hutton made sure it remained with England with 364. England’s total of 903/7 dec was the record until the Sri Lankans made 952/6 in 1997.
That record of 364 lasted a little less than 20 years, when a relatively unknown all-rounder named Garfield Sobers marked his first Test century with 365*. There was, expectedly, a crowd disturbance when he passed the old mark. But the captain Gerry Alexander declared after this, correctly guessing that there was enough time to bowl out Pakistan twice.
A more detailed account of this innings can be seen here:
The West Indies won the series 3-1 with this final Test drawn.
In the second half of the 1990s, there were two determined efforts, with Sri Lanka’s Jayasuriya making 340 in what is still a Test record total of 952/6, and the puzzling score of 334* by Australian captain Mark Taylor who declared at this point. The official story then was that he did not want to go past Bradman’s Australian record. Both these Tests ended in dull draws.
By late 2003, Matthew Hayden got a chance against Zimbabwe. Admittedly its bowling was somewhat better than what it was later, but he did not stop at crossing 375 and made 380 at Perth, still a record for Australia and in Australia. Steve Waugh declared as soon as Hayden was out at 735/6.
As in 1994, this score was not enough for West Indies to win the Test even though England had to follow on. However, England had won the first 3 Tests and thus won the series 3-0. Lara’s 400* was therefore relatively unimportant to the result.
Since then, the closest anyone got was 374 by M Jayawardene in 2006. Warner might well have come close to the record except that rain was forecast for the remainder of the Test. It is yet unclear whether the captain TD Paine attached any special significance to 335 which was Warner’s score when the captain declared. There was enough time to dismiss Pakistan twice with over a day to spare.
There have only been 15 1-wicket victories, and none between 1923 and 1951 and then between 1951 and 1980.
Here is a list of all 1-wicket and 2-wicket victories as on 16 Aug 2021:
1) The first instance was in the Eng v Aus Test starting at the Oval on 11/08/1902, when England won.
The last wicket partnership was of 15 runs from 248/9 to 263/9 by GH Hirst (58) and W Rhodes (6). The story goes that they planned to get the runs in singles, but they did not have to do this.
2) SA v Eng at Johannesburg starting on 02/01/1906, won by SA. Partnership of 48 from 239 to 287 by AW Nourse (93) and captain/keeper PW Sherwell (22).
3) Aus v Eng at Melbourne starting on 01/01/1908, won by Eng. Partnership of 39 from 243 to 282 by SF Barnes (38) and A Fielder (18).
4) SA v Eng at Cape Town starting on 01/01/1923, won by Eng. Partnership of 5 from 168 to 173 by AS Kennedy (11) and GG Macaulay (1).
5) Aus v WI at Melbourne starting on 31/12/1951, won by Aus. Partnership of 38 from 222 to 260 by DT Ring (32) and WA Johnston (7).
6) NZ v WI at Dunedin starting on 08/02/1980, won by NZ. Partnership of 4 from 100 to 104 by GB Troup (7) and SL Boock (2).
7) Pak v Aus at Karachi starting on 28/09/1994, won by Pak. Partnership of 57 from 258 to 315 by Inzamam-ul-Haq (58) and Mushtaq Ahmed (20).
8) WI v Aus at Bridgetown starting on 26/03/1999, won by WI. Partnership of 9 from 302 to 311 by BC Lara (153) and CA Walsh (0).
9) WI v Pak at St John’s starting on 25/05/2000, won by WI. Partnership of 19 from 197 to 216 by JC Adams (48) and CA Walsh (4).
10) Pak v BD at Multan starting on 03/09/2003, won by Pak. Partnership of 5 from 257 to 262 by Inzamam-ul-Haq (138) and Yasir Ali (1).
11) SL v SA at Colombo (PSS) starting on 04/08/2006, won by SL. Partnership of 2 from 350 to 352 by MF Mahroof (29) and SL Malinga (1).
12) Ind v Aus at Mohali starting on 01/10/2010, won by Ind. Partnership of 11 from 205 to 216 by VVS Laxman (73) and PP Ojha (5).
13) SA v SL at Durban starting on 13/02/2019, won by SL. Partnership of 78 from 226 to 304 by MDKJ Perera (153) and MVT Fernando (6).
14) Eng v Aus at Leeds starting on 22/08/2019, won by Eng. Partnership of 76 from 286 to 362 by BA Stokes (135) and MJ Leach (1).
15) WI v Pak at Kingston starting on 12/08/2021, won by WI. Partnership of 17 between Roach (30) and Seales (2). Seales had earlier taken his first five-for.
Scorecards of the first match in 1902 and the last match in 2021 are here and here.
We now look at the 17 Tests which ended in a two-wicket victory.
One of them was actually an one-wicket victory as one batsman had retired hurt and probably would not have batted. This was at Dunedin where NZ had pulled off an improbable win in 1980 (see No 6 above).
The 1985 match was NZ v Pak at Dunedin starting on 09/02/1985, won by NZ. The 9th wicket partnership (effectively the last wicket) put on 50 from 228/8 to 278/8 by JV Coney (111) and EJ Chatfield (21). Earlier BL Cairns (0) had retired hurt at 217/7 and the 8th wicket fell at 228.
Coming back to the list of 14 1-wicket victories:
The Feb 2019 match saw the highest winning 10th wicket partnership of 78 in Tests as well as in all first-class cricket. The previous Test record was 57 by Pakistan in 1994.
Later in Aug 2019 we had the second highest winning 10th wicket partnership of 76.
The highest scores in these partnership were 153 by Lara as well as Perera, followed by Inzaman’s 138 and Stokes’s 135.
The lowest scores by the no 11 batsman include 0 by Walsh in 1999, 1 by Leach in 2019 and several other single-figure scores. Walsh did slightly better in 2000 scoring 4.
Leach made his single run only towards the end of the partnership, which ensured the match would at least be tied when England’s score reached 358.
The highest score by a No 11 in these matches was 22 by Sherwell in 1906.
Yasir Ali was playing in his only Test.
Inzamam and Walsh are the only ones to appear twice in these partnerships.
The highest total here is 362 by England in 2019, and the lowest 104 by NZ in 1980.
That was an eventful match which saw DL Haynes scoring 55 and 105, being the only opener in all Tests to be last out in both innings. It ultimately led to New Zealand winning a series against West Indies. This was the first time they had won any Test series at home. They had earlier won only against Pakistan in Pakistan in 1969-70.
The August 2019 win by England also involved one of the lowest first-innings totals by a winning side (and the lowest such total since 1887):
The most fivers were by Ambrose (8) and Gibbs (7). And the most tenners were 2 by Ambrose, Gibbs and Trueman.
The contemporaries Ambrose and Walsh have the most wickets, with Trueman’s 86 for England far behind. Among current players there are Anderson (82), Broad (57) and Roach (42).
Best innings bowling (including all 7wi and above):
RL Chase’s freakish 8-60 in this series is the best for a WI spinner against England, surpassing Valentine’s 8-104 back in 1950. No other major performance in this series, though Anderson and Stokes combined at Lord’s in 2017. Note ARC Fraser’s efforts in 1994 and 1998.
Best match bowling (including all 10wm and above):
No outstanding performance in this series, while there is one by Anderson in 2017.
CS Marriott is the only one in all Tests to take a tenner in his only Test. Greig’s 13-wicket performance was his only 10-for and the best for England in these matches.
Best bowling average (Minimum 2000 balls, all instances):
Garner and Ambrose at the top, Anderson, Roach and Broad from the present.
Ramadhin and Valentine are together in this table.
While Garner and Ambrose have the best average, Valentine and Ramadhin have the best economy rate while Marshall and Holding have the best strike rate.
Most dismissals (20 and above):
DL Murray and Dujon are far ahead of the others. Ames of the 1930s has the most stumpings, Murray the most catches by a keeper and Lara the most by a non-keeper.
Best innings fielding (5 dismissals and above):
The best by a non-keeper is 4.
Best match fielding (7 dismissals and above):
The most stumpings are 3 by the occasional keeper Walcott, the most catches by a keeper are 9 by Browne and the most catches by a non-keeper are 6 by Cowdrey, Sobers and Adams.
Best dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings, 0.600):
Here Jacobs and Dujon have the best rate, while Hammond has the best by a non-keeper.
All-round performance (see criteria in table):
It is not surprising to see Sobers at the top, but Holding at no 2 is surprising. He seems to have reserved his best batting and bowling efforts for England. No one from recent years.
All-round match performance (50 and 5wi):
The best performances here would be by Sobers, Greig and Boyce. Here we do have Chase from this series and Stokes from the previous one. Sadly, Boyce and Marshall died young.
The 3-Test series was won 2-1 by the West Indies, with all three matches ending in decisive results. West Indies won their first series against England since early 2009. They have not won a series in England since 1988, and did not win a Test in England between 2000 and 2017.
The overall results are:
The West Indies still enjoy an overall lead and at home, while England leads them in matches played in England.
We now come to individual performances:
Most runs (1000 runs and more):
A long list without much contribution from recent years. The only name from the past few years is AN Cook.
The most centuries are 10 by Sobers and 8 by Richards and Headley. The most from England is 6 by several players. The most scores of 50+ are 23 by Richards and Sobers, followed by 21 by Chanderpaul. The most by England is 20 by Boycott.
Highest innings scores (175 and above):
This list is led by Lara’s world records and is followed by Sandham’s score which was the first Test triple century. The only such score from this series is captain Holder’s 202*, while Cook scored 243 in the last series in 2017.
Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings and 35.00):
Yet again, Cook is the only representative in recent years with his 57.96. Hutton and Headley are far ahead of others, and they both played their last Test in this series in 1954.
38 of these resulted in victories, 11 in losses and 37 in draws.
3 players have achieved this on 3 occasions: SM Gavaskar, RT Ponting and DA Warner.
10 players have achieved this on 2 occasions: AR Border, GS Chappell, PA de Silva, R Dravid, ML Hayden, GA Headley, JH Kallis, KC Sangakkara, H Sutcliffe, BRM Taylor and CL Walcott. Walcott did this in the same season.
And 57 did this on one occasion.
EH Weekes scored his 2 centuries in a sequence of 5 centuries in successive innings.
6 did so as captain: Border, IM Chappell, Gooch, Inzamam, Melville and RB Simpson. Of these, Melville’s 2 hundreds came in a sequence of 4 centuries in successive innings (with World War 2 intervening).
Two players have scored a triple hundred and hundred in the same Test: Gooch (1990) and Sangakkara (2014).
The following players have scored a double hundred and hundred in the same Test (in chronological order):
KD Walters (1969)
SM Gavaskar (1971) in debut series
LG Rowe (1972) on debut
GS Chappell (1974); his brother IM Chappell scored a century in each innings of the same Test.
BC Lara (2001); The only such instance on the losing side. His total of 221 + 130 = 351 is the highest match total in a losing side.