Rabada creates

Rabada creates - not breaks - a world record

Kagiso Rabada.-AFP

South Africa's Kagiso Rabada made his ODI debut against Bangladesh on July 10, 2015 and had match figures of six for 16, the best on debut for any bowler in ODI history. The 20-year-old's figures were also the best by any bowler in South Africa's long ODI history. However, most impressive is the fact that Rabada's first three wickets - Tamim Iqbal, Litton Das and Mahmudullah - came by way of a hat-trick. Rabada is the first and only bowler to take his first three ODI wickets through a hat-trick. Bangladesh's Taijul Islam also took a hat-trick on ODI debut (against Zimbabwe, 2014), but the hat-trick only constituted his second, third and fourth ODI wickets.

Root rules

Joe Root-AFP

Joe Root scored a century (134) for England in the first innings of the first Test of the 2015 Ashes. This was the first instance in 77 years of an English batsman scoring a century on the opening day of an Ashes series. The last time this happened was at Trent Bridge in 1938 when England's openers Sir Leonard Hutton (100) and Charlie Barnett (126) both scored centuries on the first day of that Ashes series while also posting a mammoth 219-run opening-wicket partnership.

The Stats Q & A

England played seven left-handed batsmen during the first Ashes Test in Cardiff. Is this a common occurrence?

— Abhinav Ramesh, Bangalore

No, it is not. In fact, there has been only one previous instance of England fielding seven or more left-handed batsmen during an Ashes Test — this was during the Sydney Test of the 2014 Ashes when England fielded eight left-handers. Australia, on the other hand, have never played seven or more left-handed batsmen during an Ashes Test. Including the first Test of the 2015 series, there have been 321 Ashes Tests played since 1882.

Players like AB de Villiers and Brendon McCullum seem to be equally effective whether keeping wickets or in the outfield. Which players have taken a significant number of catches both while fielding as well as ’keeping?

— Sahil Nagpal, Coimbatore

AB de Villiers and Kumar Sangakkara are the only two players to take 50-plus catches in Tests both as a fielder and ’keeper. In ODIs, Rahul Dravid and AB de Villiers are the only two players to achieve this double. De Villiers is clearly comfortable performing both roles across formats. Overall, he has taken 195 catches as a fielder and 199 catches as a ’keeper in international cricket (as of July 11, 2015).

Jehan Mubarak played in Sri Lanka’s third Test in the recent series against Pakistan, but the last time he played before that was in 2007. How many matches did he miss? Is this a record?

— Shyam Murali, Chennai

Jehan Mubarak missed 63 Tests between playing against England in 2007 and Pakistan in 2015, the second-most for a Sri Lankan after Malinga Bandara who missed 69 Tests between his first Test (in 1998) and the second (in 2005). The world record for the most consecutive Tests missed by a player between appearances is held by England’s Martin Bicknell who missed 114 Tests between his second appearance (in 1993) and third (in 2003).

Jacques Kallis and Gary Sobers are considered the best all-rounders ever, but is there some statistical measure to prove this?

— D. Sairam, Vellore

An effective yardstick to judge all-rounders is to subtract their bowling average (lower the better) from their batting average (higher the better). Among players who have batted and bowled in at least 10 Test innings Gary Sobers has the best ‘batting average minus bowling average’ figures — 23.75 — with a batting average of 57.78 and a bowling average of 34.03. Jacques Kallis has the second-best figures — 22.72 — with a batting average of 55.37 and bowling average of 32.65.

Chris Rogers hit a six during the 2015 Ashes Test in Cardiff, which was the first of his Test career after 40 innings. Which batsman has scored the most Test runs without hitting a single six?

— Bhavapriyan Gurumurthy, Chennai

Chris Rogers had scored 1610 Test runs before top-edging a Stuart Broad bouncer for six over fine-leg. The record for the most Test runs scored without hitting a single six is held by England’s Jonathan Trott who has scored 3835 runs from 93 innings (52 Tests) at an average of 44.08, including nine hundreds and 19 fifties.

Trott may not have hit a single six, but he did hit 451 fours, which account for 47% of his total Test runs (1804 runs out of 3835).