Not-so-encouraging numbers

AP

Ishant Sharma (above) picked up the 200th wicket of his Test career during the third match of the recent series against Sri Lanka. He became only the fourth Indian pacer to this landmark after Kapil Dev (434 wickets), Javagal Srinath (236) and Zaheer Khan (311). However, Ishant’s bowling average of 36.51 is the worst in Test history for any bowler with 200 or more Test wickets. Every other bowler who has taken 200-plus wickets averages less than 35, with 77% of them averaging less than 30. Further, Ishant needed 114 Test innings to take his 200th wicket, which is the second-slowest in Tests among full-time bowlers, with the only bowler who took longer also being an Indian — Zaheer Khan (116 innings).

Cleaning out the opposition, twice

During the recently concluded three-match Test series between India and Sri Lanka, India’s bowlers took 60 wickets, which means that they bowled Sri Lanka out two times in each of the three Tests. There has been only one previous instance in India’s Test history where they have bowled out the opposition two times in each Test when playing an away series of three or more matches. The last and only time this happened was when India’s bowlers took 60 wickets during a three-match Test series against England in 1986. India won the first two Tests of that series — in Lord’s and Leeds — followed by a draw in Birmingham.

Q & A

India won two consecutive Tests during the recent series against Sri Lanka. How many times has India won two or more consecutive Tests during an away series?

- Ajit Krishnan, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

There have been eight series in all where India has won two or more Tests when playing away from home. India won two consecutive Tests in seven out of these eight series, with the only exception being the series against Pakistan in 2004 where India won the first and third Tests, having lost the second. The other seven series (where India won two consecutive Tests) were in New Zealand (1968), Australia (1977-78), England (1986), Bangladesh (2004), Zimbabwe (2005), Bangladesh (2010) and Sri Lanka (2015). India has never won three consecutive Tests during an away series.

During the second ODI of the series between England and Australia, Liam Plunkett and Eoin Morgan posted a 55-run stand for the ninth wicket in only 3.3 overs. Is this some kind of a record for the ninth wicket?

- Richa Parasher, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

It is true that Morgan and Plunkett posted 55 runs off 21 balls, which means they were scoring at a run-rate of 15.71. This is the best run-rate in ODI history by any pair posting 50-plus runs for the ninth wicket. The only other instance of a ninth-wicket pair posting 50-plus runs at the run-rate of 15 or more came in 2006,when Pakistan's Abdul Razzaq and Navedud-Hasan shared an unbeaten 70-run partnership off only 28 balls against England in Nottingham.

Is it true that the first ever six in ODI cricket was hit by Australia's Ian Chappell against England?

- Pralhad Kurundwadkar, Miraj, Maharashtra

Yes, Ian Chappell hit a six in the first ever ODI that was played - between England and Australia in Melbourne in 1971. Chappell hit the only six of that match, during his innings of 60 off 103 balls. In the next four ODIs that were ever played, only four sixes were hit, with two of those ODIs seeing no sixes at all. Interestingly, Chappell hit seven sixes between 1971 and 1975, the most by any batsman in these first five years of ODI cricket.

Ravichandran Ashwin... Man of the Series against Sri Lanka.-REUTERS

I recently read that Ashwin has been winning Manof- the-Series awards at an unprecedented rate. In statistical terms, how remarkable is his achievement?

- Anuj Vignesh, Bangalore, Karnataka

Since Ravichandran Ashwin made his Test debut in 2011, India has won five Test series, and Ashwin was declared the Man-of-the-Series (MoS) in four of those, with the India-West Indies series in 2013 being the only exception. Ashwin has won four MoS awards in 28 Tests. This means he wins a MoS award every seventh Test, which is the highest frequency for any player in Test history. Among players who have won at least as many MoS awards as Ashwin, Richard Hadlee (8 MoS awards in 86 Tests), Imran Khan (8 in 88) and Muttiah Muralitharan (11 in 133) are the second, third and fourth-most frequent winners of MoS awards.