What is the best start by a batsman to their career in Tests?

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14 Jul 2020 | 05:17 AM
authorMohandas Menon

What is the best start by a batsman to their career in Tests?

In this series, your cricket-related queries will be answered by our expert statistician

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Azharuddin's Test career started with three consecutive centuries in three matches since his debut. Is this the best start by a batsman in Tests? Ani on Instagram

Mohammad Azharuddin indeed began his Test career with scores of (110), (48, 105) and (122, 54*), i.e. scoring three centuries in his first three Test matches and his first five innings during the season 1984/85. He thus became the only batsman in Test history to score a century in all of his first three Test matches. Some 54 years before Azhar, another batsman managed to score three centuries in his first three Test matches. He is West Indian George Headley who began his Test career in January 1930 with scores of (21, 176), (8, 39) and (114, 112).  However, in terms of run aggregate after the first three Test matches, the best start to a Test career belongs to Pakistani Javed Miandad who in Oct-Nov 1976 managed to aggregate 504 runs with two centuries. The best start to a Test career after the first three Tests is listed in the table below:

I've heard very recently that 1/3rd of India's Test runs has been scored by batsmen from Mumbai? How accurate is this? - Gautam Bajpai on Twitter

Since 1932, seventy-one of India’s 296 Test players (i.e. nearly 24%) have at some point played a Ranji Trophy match for Bombay/Mumbai. These 71 have aggregated 80095 Test runs out of 258229 runs made by all the 296 Indian players with the bat. Now that represents 31.02% of the total runs scored by Indian batsmen in Test cricket. Therefore, your 1/3rd figure seems to be more or less correct. Moreover, the Mumbai players have also combined to register 193 Test centuries, out of the 517 made by all Indian batsmen combined. Now that means Mumbai batsmen have been involved in 37.33% of the total centuries made for India in Tests. For the record, Mumbai Ranji Trophy players have also claimed 1458 Test wickets out of 7802, which accounts to 18.69%.

Could you please list the top 5 batsmen in Tests and ODIs who were the top scorers in maximum number of innings in which the second-best scorer was extras? - Harikrishnan U on Twitter

With reference to my earlier reply to your query (on 8 June 2020), listed below are the top three such instances in Test/ODI cricket:

Note: Javed Miandad (Pak), Allan Border (Aus), Allan Lamb (Eng) and Graham Thorpe (Eng) have been the highest scorer, where extras were the second highest scorer on two occasions.

Note: Ajay Jadeja has been the highest scorer, where extras were the second highest scorer on two occasions.

How many Test batsmen with minimum 1000 runs have an average of 50+ in Test cricket? – Akhil Kumar on Facebook

In all 42 batsmen across the world with a minimum of 1000 Test runs have a batting average of 50-plus in Test cricket. In the top of the list is the Great Don – Sir Donald Bradman with an average of 99.94, and at the other end is Englishman Dennis Compton with an average of 50.06.  Eight players have the distinction of having a batting average of 60-plus, that includes two current players Marnus Labuschagne (63.43) and Steve Smith (62.84). Incidentally, the Australians occupy the top five position in the list: Bradman (99.94), Labuschagne (63.43), Sid Barnes (63.06), Smith (62.84) and Adam Voges (61.88), followed by South African Graeme Pollock (60.97), West Indian George Headley (60.83) and Englishman Herbert Sutcliffe (60.73).

The overall list of 50-plus batting averages includes players from nine countries: 12 Australians, eight West Indians, 7 Englishmen, five Indians, four South Africans, three Pakistanis and one Zimbabwean, Sri Lankan & New Zealander each.

For the record, these 42 players have played a combined 3588 Test matches and have in all aggregated 292612 runs, with an average of 54.33 and have 901 centuries!

How many Test matches have resulted in a tie where scores were level at the end of the match? Bhavya Anjaria on Twitter

We have had two such Test matches where the match was drawn with the scores level at the end of the match. These matches do not constitute as a tie since the Law for a tie match clearly states that - the result of a match is a "tie" when the scores are equal at the end of the play, but only if the side batting last has completed its innings. Therefore, in order to win a Test match, the bowling side in the fourth innings must claim all 10 of the opposition's wickets, otherwise, the match will be drawn, because the batting side's innings is not complete. However, a match is said to have ended in a tie if the scores are level and the batting side has been bowled out.

All records mentioned above are updated after the end of the 1st Test at Southampton.

If you have any cricket-related questions, then ask them using the #AskMohan and #StatsBurst hashtags on our social media channels. Reputed statistician, Mohandas Menon will be answering the selected questions.

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IndiaPakistanWest IndiesAustraliaMohammad Javed Miandad KhanSachin Ramesh TendulkarNicholas Verity KnightDarren Julius Garvey SammyRavichandran Ashwin

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