Lucknow in elite company
Last week, India played host to a Test match that did not involve them. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow hosted its first-ever Test between Afghanistan and West Indies. Thus, the Ekana Stadium became the 121st ground in Tests and only the second stadium in India to host a Test without the participation of the host country. Earlier this year in March, the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Dehradun became the first when the venue hosted the Afghanistan-Ireland Test. Lucknow, meanwhile, became only the fourth city in the world after Johannesburg, Mumbai and Colombo to host a Test at three or more different grounds.
Test cities hosting Test at three or more grounds/stadiums
4 grounds in Colombo in Sri Lanka
P Sara Oval (1982-2019, 22 Tests)
Sinhalese Sports Club Ground (1984-2018, 43 Tests)
R Premadasa Stadium (1992-2017, 9 Tests)
Colombo Cricket Club Ground (1984-1987, 3 Tests)
3 grounds in Johannesburg in South Africa
The Old Wanderers (1896-1939, 22 Tests)
Ellis Park (1948-1954, 6 Tests)
The New Wanderers (1956-2019, 40 Tests)
3 grounds in Mumbai, India
Bombay Gymkhana Grounds (1933, 1 Test)
Brabourne Stadium (1948-2009, 18 Tests)
Wankhede Stadium (1975-2016, 25 Tests)
3 grounds in Lucknow, India
University Ground (in 1952, 1 Test)
KD Singh ‘Babu’ Stadium (in 1994, 1 Test)
Ekana Stadium (in 2019, 1 Test)
Playing only in his second Test, West Indies off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall claimed 10 wickets for 121 runs in Lucknow against Afghanistan. His match tally included a 7/75 on the opening day of the Test. It’s not often you see a spinner claim so many wickets on the first day of a Test, especially if you are a West Indian. Only two others have achieved this feat for the team from the Caribbean - Alf Valentine (8/104) on his debut did so against England at Old Trafford in June 1950 and then, seven years later also in England, Sonny Ramadhin claimed 7/49 at Edgbaston in May 1957. Cornwall, 62 years later, became the third Windies spinner. Cornwall, meanwhile, recorded the fifth-best bowling figures by a visiting spin bowler on Indian soil.
The West Indians on a high in the subcontinent
Cornwall’s effort in Lucknow in the first innings is now the best by any West Indian bowler in the subcontinent, with only pacer Andy Roberts (7/64) at Chennai having secured better figures.
The Warner Show
David Warner had a field day in the recent day-night Adelaide Test against Pakistan. During his unbeaten 335, which is now the tenth highest individual Test score in history, he reached 1000 runs in just 11 innings against Pakistan, the joint-quickest to do so. India’s Virender Sehwag also needed the same number of innings when he achieved this feat in January 2006.
It was Warner’s fifth century against this opposition and he is, by far, the quickest to reach there (11 innings).
Don Bradman left behind
Steve Smith, during his brief innings of 36 in the day-night Test (by his standards), reached 7000 Test runs, thus becoming the 15th batsman in Test history to reach this landmark. Don Bradman, arguably the greatest Test batsman of all time missed this milestone by four runs and thus finished his career with 6996 runs in just 80 innings. This fact should be borne in mind when one refers to the graph below. Incidentally, Smith, without Bradman in the fray, is now the quickest to reach 7000 runs in Test cricket.
Pakistan’s disaster Down Under
Pakistan’s loss at Adelaide has set a new dubious record, i.e. losing most consecutive Test matches in a particular country. They have now lost their last 14 Tests on Australian soil, which takes them just ahead of Bangladesh, who from 2001 to 2004 lost 13 Tests in a row – all of which came at home!
Joe Root back in the run making business
With three ducks in his last 10 innings and aggregating just 34 runs in his previous three innings, Joe Root was desperately short of runs. But in the just-concluded Hamilton Test, he did not disappoint. His 226 (he came to the crease in the 10th over, with the score reading 24 for two) made him the first-ever visiting captain to register a Test double hundred on New Zealand soil. Meanwhile, Root also became the fourth England captain to register a Test double century while playing away from home.
England captains with 200+ scores in away Tests (listed chronologically)
205 - Len Hutton at Kingston in 1954
205 - Ted Dexter in Karachi in 1962
263 - Alastair Cook in Abu Dhabi in 2015
226 - Joe Root in Hamilton in 2019
Note: (All records mentioned above are complete and updated until 3 Dec 2019)