The duck story

Kepler Wessels, who played ODI cricket for both South Africa and Australia, is the only cricketer to have played in 100-plus ODIs without a single duck. He has played 105 ODI innings and scored 3367 runs at an average of 34.35, including one century and 26 fifties. A distant second on this list of batsmen who have played the most ODI innings without a single duck is South Africa’s Peter Kirsten who has played 40 innings without a duck, 65 innings fewer than Wessels. On the other end of the spectrum is Bangladesh’s Habibul Bashar who made a duck every six ODI innings, the most frequent for any batsman in ODI history (min. 100 innings). Incidentally, Bashar played exactly the same number of innings as Wessels (105), but with 18 ducks.

Two for the price of one

Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan recently became the first ever cricketer to be ranked as the No. 1 all-rounder in all three formats — Tests, ODIs and T20Is — by the International Cricket Council (ICC). A true picture of his worth to the Bangladesh national team can be derived from the fact that his overall statistics (in ODIs) put him in line to become the best ever batsman as well as the best ever bowler to have played for Bangladesh. The tables compare Shakib to Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza who are widely recognised as the best batsman and bowler in Bangladesh’s ODI history.

In addition to these compelling numbers, Shakib is also Bangladesh’s highest wicket taker in Tests (147 wickets) as well as their third-highest run-scorer (2823 runs).

Q & A

Does Farokh Engineer hold the unique record of scoring a Test century before lunch on the first day?

- Pralhad Kurundwadkar, Miraj, Maharashtra

Unfortunately, the answer is no. However, Farokh Engineer did come very close to becoming the first Indian to achieve this feat when he scored 94 runs before lunch on the first day of the Madras Test against the fearsome West Indians in 1967. The only batsmen who have scored a century before lunch on the first day of a Test are Australia's Victor Trumper (against England at Old Trafford in 1902), Charles Macartney (v England at Headingley in 1926), Don Bradman (v England at Headingley in 1930), and Pakistan's Majid Khan (v New Zealand in Karachi in 1976-77).

New Zealand beat Zimbabwe by 10 wickets when chasing a target of 236 in the second ODI of the recent bilateral series. How many times have teams achieved 200-plus targets without losing a single wicket?

- Raghenth Basant, New Delhi

New Zealand's victory against Zimbabwe was the fifth instance of a team winning an ODI by 10 wickets when making 200-plus runs in an ODI chase. West Indies is the only team to do this twice - against India (Bridgetown, 1997) and Pakistan (Melbourne, 1992). Zimbabwe is the only team to suffer this fate twice - against Pakistan (Harare, 2011) and in the ODI against New Zealand as mentioned previously. All of these five instances have come post-1995, with three of them coming post-2010.

What is the highest ODI total without any batsman making a 50-plus score?

- Krishna Shankar (age 12), Chennai, Tamil Nadu

The highest ODI total without any batsman making a 50-plus score is 285 - by England against Sri Lanka when chasing a target of 319 at Old Trafford during the 2006 NatWest series. Eight out of England's top-nine batsmen in that ODI made 20-plus scores, including three batsmen who were dismissed in their 30s and two in the 40s. It is also interesting to note that the lowest ODI total when any batsman has scored a century is 180 - by South Africa against Sri Lanka in Pallekele in 2014, when Hashim Amla scored 101.

Three out of Australia's top-four batsmen made ducks during the first innings of the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. How many times has this happened in the past?

- Uday Sreekumar, Bangalore

It is true that three out of Australia's top-four batsmen - Chris Rogers, David Warner and Shaun Marsh - did make ducks in the first innings of the Trent Bridge Test, with only Steven Smith (6) saving himself the blushes. There have been five instances of Australia suffering this embarrassment, with the last occasion being 65 years ago - against England in Brisbane in 1950. Interestingly, each of the five times that Australia had ended up in this situation had been against England.