Hail herath!


Sri Lankan Rangana Herath (above) returned figures of seven for 48 in the fourth innings of the Galle Test to send India crashing to defeat. This was his 22nd five-wicket haul in 110 Test innings (61 Tests), which essentially means that he picks up a five-wicket haul every five innings. Among bowlers who have taken at least 20 five-wicket hauls, there are only four in the history of Test cricket who have done so at a greater frequency than Herath - Sydney Barnes, Clarrie Grimmett, Muttiah Muralitharan and Sir Richard Hadlee.

Mishra maths When Amit Mishra played the first Test of the India-Sri Lanka series in Galle on August 12, 2015, it was the first time he was playing a Test match in four years. The last time he played a Test was on August 19, 2011 against England at The Oval. He has missed 33 Tests since then. Sri Lanka batted first in the Galle Test and Mishra picked up two wickets on the very first day. Incidentally, the last time that Mishra took a Test wicket was also on the same date, i.e. August 12, but in the year 2011 - against England in Birmingham.

Q & A

India lost the first Test of the on-going series against Sri Lanka despite taking a first-innings lead of 192 runs. What is the biggest first-innings lead that has been overcome by any team to win a Test match?

- Tariq Rauf, Bengaluru, Karnataka

The record for the biggest first-innings lead conceded by any team winning a Test match is held by Australia - they beat Sri Lanka by 16 runs at the SSC (Colombo) in 1992 despite giving away a first innings lead of 291 runs. This, however, excludes Pakistan's forfeiture to England after taking a 331-run lead at The Oval in 2006, when the team refused to take the field after Tea on the ground of being wrongly accused of ball tampering.

Ajinkya Rahane took eight catches during the recent Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. What is the world record for the most catches in a single Test match?

- Sushanth Shyamsundar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Ajinkya Rahane's eight catches in the first Test of the current series between India and Sri Lanka is in fact a world record. There had been five previous instances of a fielder taking seven catches in the same Test. The fielders to do that are Greg Chappell, Yajurvindra Singh, Hashan Tillakaratne, Stephen Fleming and Matthew Hayden. Rahane took five catches in the second innings of that Test, which is also a joint-record for the most catches in a single Test innings.

Shikhar Dhawan scored a century in his only innings against Bangladesh and in the first innings of the current Sri Lanka-India series. How many Indian openers have scored back-to-back hundreds in away Tests?

- Hita Kumar, Kolkata, West Bengal

Many will argue that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka should not be considered as `away' venues for the purpose of such statistics, but assuming they are, Dhawan is the third Indian opener after Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid to score back-to-back hundreds in away Tests. Dravid did this against Pakistan in 2006, while Gavaskar did this against West Indies in 1971 and again against Pakistan in 1978.

Is it true that no team has successfully chased a 100-plus target in the fourth innings of a Test match in Galle?

- Dhananjai Hari, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Yes, it is true that no team has successfully chased down a 100- plus target in Galle. Including the first Test of the current series when Sri Lanka set India a target of 176, there have been 14 instances of a 100-plus target being set in Galle. The chasing team lost 10 of those Tests and drew four. There have been 11 instances of teams scoring 100-plus runs in the fourth innings in Galle in either drawn games or losing causes.