Ashes high

Recent home record

Since the turn of the century, there have been eight Ashes series between England and Australia, with six of those won by the home team. Both England and Australia have beaten the other once each in away conditions during this period - Australia in 2001 and England in 2010-11. England will take confidence from the fact that they have won each of their last three home Ashes (since 2005). However, Australia can look to the period just before that, between 1989 and 2005, when they beat England in England in four consecutive away Ashes.

Cricketing Superstition

Cricketers have always been known as a superstitious lot. Among the most widely known superstitions is the Australian hatred for the number 87 (or the Devil's Number) and the English's uncomfortable relationship with the number 111 or any multiple thereof (also called Nelson). Players and fans from both countries are often anxious when their batsmen are batting on their respective unlucky numbers. Strangely, however, there have been more instances of an Australian batsman (13) getting out on 111 than English (9) and more instances of an English batsman (21) getting out on 87 than Australian (15)!

THE STATS Q & A

Younis Khan has played 29 Tests against Sri Lanka. Is it unusual for one player to play so many Tests against a single nation?

Younis Khan's 29 Tests against Sri Lanka is a Pakistan record for the most Tests played by one player against a single opposition, going past Javed Miandad's 28 Tests versus India. However, there are as many as 70 players from other countries who have played 30 or more Tests against a single team. The list is topped by Australia's Syd Gregory who played 52 Tests (out of 58 career Tests) against England.

Don Bradman famously averaged 99.94 in Test matches, but is this the highest average for any batsman in Test history?

Interestingly, Don Bradman's batting average of 99.94 is only the second best in Test history (among players who have completed their careers). The only player with a higher average is West Indies' Andy Ganteaume, who scored 112 runs on Test debut in 1948, but never played another Test because he allegedly played selfish cricket by slowing down when nearing his hundred, possibly costing West Indies a victory. This meant that Ganteaume finished his career with a batting average of 112.

Post M. S. Dhoni's knock of 69 when batting at No. 4 in the third ODI against Bangladesh, I read that he averages 68.4 when batting at this position. Which batsmen average more than Dhoni at No. 4?

It is true that M. S. Dhoni averages 68.40 when batting at No. 4 in ODIs. He has scored 1026 runs from 20 innings at No. 4, including one hundred and 10 fifties. Among batsmen who have scored at least 1000 runs at No. 4, Dhoni's average of 68.40 is the highest in ODI history. The second spot is also taken by an Indian, Virat Kohli, who has scored 1721 runs at an average of 61.46 when batting at this position.

Which cricketer has played the most matches without winning a single Man of the Match award?

The record for the most ODIs played without winning a single Man of the Match (MoM) award is held by former India wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia, who played 140 ODIs without ever winning a MoM award. In Tests, this record is held by England's Colin Cowdrey (114 Tests), who is the only cricketer to play 100-plus Tests without winning a MoM award. Note however that MoM awards were not always handed out after every match in earlier times.

Mustafizur Rahman recently took a five-wicket haul on debut against India at the age of 19. Is he the youngest bowler to take a five-wicket haul on debut?

No, Mustafizur Rahman is the second-youngest bowler in ODI history to take a five-wicket haul on debut. His countryman Taskin Ahmed achieved this feat at the age of 19 years and 75 days. Mustafizur Rahman was 19 years and 285 days. Interestingly, both these Bangladeshi youngsters accomplished this feat at the same age (19), against the same opposition (India) and at the same venue (Mirpur).