Which batsman played 120 successive ODI innings without a duck?

Mark Waugh and Adam Gilchrist opened in 42 consecutive ODIs for Australia between 1998 and 1999, averaging 41.5 for the opening wicket in that period Getty Images

My last article was a wacky look at various streaks in Test cricket. I am sure you will have found mention of quite a few of the streaks in that article and in this one, on streaks ODIs, either in ESPNcricinfo's huge collection of records, in Steven Lynch's excellent weekly columns, or in features written by members of the ESPNcricinfo stats team. However, these two articles are probably the first place where you will read about all of these streaks in one place, by format.

Let me first clear a slight misconception about the contents of this article. A number of readers thought that the Test-streaks piece was a records article and worded their comment emails as such. These articles are not about records per se but streaks; the distinction is fine but it exists.

There were a few good suggestions from readers and to complete the coverage, I will first refer to those relevant to the Test format. Yomesh Kothari suggested non-zero streaks. David Shead suggested one on bowler-batsman combinations. As earlier, the year refers to the end of the concerned streak.

Batsmen dismissed by bowler in consecutive innings: There have been seven instances of a batsman being dismissed by a particular bowler six times in succession. The combinations are Walter Read by Charlie Turner, Dilip Vengsarkar by Imran Khan, Kris Srikkanth by Wasim Akram, Greg Mathews by Richard Hadlee, Graeme Hick by Curtly Ambrose, Matthew Hayden by Makhaya Ntini, and Daren Ganga by Shaun Pollock. Of these seven, the interesting ones are the Srikkanth-Akram one (lbw lbw lbw b b lbw) and Hayden-Ntini (all catches).

Consecutive non-zero scores: David Gower had a terrific run of 119 innings between August 1982 and December 1990, during which he was not dismissed for a duck. Richie Richardson had a sequence of 96 innings without a zero in 1991. Sachin Tendulkar had a sequence of 91 such innings in 2013, and Allan Border a streak of 89 innings in 1988. (A 0* is taken as a non-zero innings.)

Jim Burke, the Australian opening batsman, had a career of 44 innings, between February 1951 and February 1959, without ever being dismissed for a zero.

Quite a few readers who wrote in mentioned the longevity of the record of Charles Bannerman's innings in the first ever Test. He scored 165 not out in a completed innings of 245. This 67.3% value remains, to date, the highest percentage share of a completed team innings. So this record has stood for 52,400 days and counting.

Now let us move on to the ODI format.

Player combination

Same 11 players: Pakistan played the same XI in seven ODIs in 2002, between ODI #1825 and ODI #1834. The team was Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Rashid Latif (wk), Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq, Waqar Younis(c) and Shoaib Akhtar. Pakistan won five and lost two of those matches. South Africa (twice), India and New Zealand have played the same team in six consecutive ODIs.

Same opening pair: This is a rarely mentioned streak. It is not a surprise that Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh opened in 42 consecutive innings between April 1998 and October 1999. They averaged 41.5 runs for the opening wicket during this run. David Boon and Geoff Marsh opened in 40 consecutive ODIs (average stand 40.6) between 1987 and 1989. Marcus Trescothick and Nick Knight also opened in 40 ODIs in a row (average 38.4) between October 2001 and March 2003.

Same opening bowlers: This one is a surprise; rather than more famous and established fast-bowling partnerships from other teams, it is Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar who opened the bowling in 53 consecutive innings between March 1990 and March 1993.

Batsmen dismissed by bowler in consecutive innings: Gary Kirsten was dismissed by Dominic Cork in five consecutive innings in 1996. Collins Obuya was dismissed by Graeme Cremer in five consecutive innings in 2009. Sixteen batsmen have been dismissed by the same bowler four times. The more interesting streak was when Devon Smith was dismissed leg before wicket on four occasions by Mohammad Hafeez. Adil Rashid dismissed Mitchell Marsh and Ashton Agar four times each.

Results

Wins: In 2003, either side of the World Cup, Australia won 21 ODIs in a row. This streak was ended by an away loss in the West Indies. South Africa, twice, and Pakistan had runs of 12 consecutive wins.

Losses: This is along expected lines. Bangladesh lost 23 ODIs in a row between October 1999 and October 2002. They then had a no-result game, where they were on the ropes. That was followed by four losses and another no-result, and then an 18-match losing streak. Zimbabwe matched this 18-loss run between June 1983 and March 1992. There was also another 22-match losing streak for Bangladesh between March 1986 and May 1998.

Tosses

Toss wins: These toss wins/losses are from the team's point of view and not the captain's. In 1998-99, Sri Lanka won ten tosses in a row. That did not help them much - they lost eight of those matches. Five other teams have won nine tosses in a row, Australia four times.

Toss losses: Netherlands lost the toss 11 times in a row between March 2011 and August 2013. Of those games, they won three, lost six, tied one, and had a no-result in one. There have been three occasions when teams lost the toss in nine consecutive ODIs.

Teams

300-plus Scores: In 2019, England made over 300 in seven consecutive innings. The scores were 373 for 3, 359 for 4, 341 for 7, 351 for 9, 311 for 8, 334 for 9 and 386 for 6. England won six and lost one of these matches. Australia scored 300-plus in six consecutive innings in 2007.

Scores of 100 or below: In 1998, Bangladesh had two scores of 92 and 100. Sixteen years later, Kenya were dismissed for 89 and 93 in consecutive innings.

Opening partnerships above 100: In December 2003, Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed put together stands of 115, 142, 134 and 197. England, twice, and India share a sequence of three 100-plus opening stands.

Taking all ten wickets: Australia captured all the opposition wickets ten consecutive times - from November 2009 to February 2010. Australia have done this nine times in all and Pakistan twice.

Captains

This is a tricky bit of analysis. There are two type of streaks. A player captains his team in X ODIs and then does not play in a few matches. "X" is one type of streak. And then he comes back and continues to captain. Say, for a total of Y matches. This is another streak. "X" is from a team point of view, while "Y" is from the player point of view. For "X", the key is an unbroken sequence for both team and player. This is the more common definition. For "Y", the key is "as long as he played, he was the captain".

Captain - Team: Hansie Cronje captained South Africa in 130 consecutive ODIs between December 1994 and March 2000. His results were 96-4-30 (W-NR-L). Using a 2-1-0 allocation of points, Cronje had an excellent Result Index of 75.4%. Shaun Pollock captained South Africa in 89 consecutive ODIs. His Result Index was 66.3% (57-4-28).

Captain - Player: Ricky Ponting captained Australia in 227 consecutive ODIs he played between March 2002 and March 2011. Ponting's Result Index was 74.9% (163-14-50). MS Dhoni had a run of 199 ODIs with a Result Index of 59.0% (110-15-74).

Winning captain - Team: Ponting won 18 consecutive ODIs as captain between January 21 and May 24, 2003. This was during Australia's golden run and included the World Cup win. Shoaib Malik had an excellent run of 12 consecutive wins between November 2007 and June 2008. Ponting had another run of 11 wins in 2007.

Winning captain - Player: Ponting won 20 consecutive ODIs as captain between January 11 and May 24, 2003. Brendon McCullum won 13 consecutive ODIs as captain between January and March 2015. This streak ended at the MCG in the World Cup final.

Losing captain: Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu lost 17 successive ODIs from April to December 2004. Hamilton Masakadza had a run of 16 consecutive losses. Khaled Mashud of Bangladesh lost 15 and 14 matches in two independent streaks.

Batsmen

Consecutive hundreds: Kumar Sangakkara finished his career in a blaze of glory. His last innings was 45, but before that, he had a streak of 105 not out, 117 not out, 104 and 124. That was some ending. No fewer than ten batsmen have shared the streak of three consecutive hundreds, starting with Zaheer Abbas and ending with Rohit Sharma.

Consecutive 95s: Alistair Campbell scored 96 and 99 not out in two consecutive innings in 2000. Recently, Paul Stirling scored 95 and 99 in two consecutive innings.

Consecutive fifties: Javed Miandad had a fantastic streak of nine consecutive fifties, in 1987. His sequence of scores was 78, 78 not out, 74 not out, 60, 52 not out, 113, 71 not out, 68 and 103. Eight other batsmen share the record of six consecutive fifties.

Unbeaten innings: Six batsmen have had three consecutive unbeaten innings each: Aravinda de Silva, Mohammad Azharuddin, Mohammed Yousuf, Andy Flintoff, Chamara Silva and Dhoni.

Consecutive non-zero scores: Rahul Dravid had a terrific sequence of 120 innings between August 1999 and February 2004 when he was not dismissed for a duck. Martin Crowe had a similar sequence of 119 innings between February 1984 and March 1993. He was unbeaten on zero on one occasion during this sequence.

Kepler Wessels, who played for both Australia and South Africa, had a career of 105 innings without ever being dismissed for a zero.

Now we have a trio of streaks special to the ODI format.

Run of scores at a run a ball or more: No surprises here. Shahid Afridi had a run of 12 innings in which he scored at better than a run a ball, between September 2004 and February 2005. The scores were 25 (12), 17 (13), 58 (26), 16 not out (6), 11 (6), 56 not out (26), 48 (37), 17 (16), 30 (13), 23 (10), 26 (15) and 31 (21). No big innings, but he did not waste any time. Virender Sehwag had a streak of 11 such innings from November 2009 to February 2010. Liam Plunkett also had a streak of 11 such innings from June 2015 to June 2017. It is worth reminding that Plunkett was playing as a bowler.

Run of scores at worse than a run a ball: It is clear that this will not be a streak where a current player holds the record. If someone scored at below a run a ball in a row now, he will be politely shown the door. Amazingly, Gordon Greenidge had a run of 77 matches of this sort between March 1977 and March 1987. Kennedy Otieno of Kenya matched this streak of 77 matches between February 1996 and August 2008. Navjot Sidhu's streak, which ended in 1994, was 73 matches long.

Sixes in consecutive innings: Lionel Cann of Bermuda steals a march over other established batsmen here. In nine consecutive innings between November 2006 and March 2007, he hit at least one six. The streak was 21 (1), 9 (1), 44 (2), 41 (4), 48 (2), 49 (2), 33 (3), 42 (5) and 28 (1). Six other batsmen, led by Chris Gayle and Yuvraj Singh, share eight-game streaks in which they got the ball over the ropes at least once.

Single-digit scores: For batsmen who averaged over 20 in their careers, Mahela Jayawardene, in 2003, had the amazing streak of eight single-digit scores. The sequence was 0, 1, 5, 9, 1, 0, 0 and 5. Most of these matches were during the World Cup. His next innings was a top-quality 135 against South Africa in Cape Town. Nawroz Mangal of Afghanistan matched this streak in 2015-16. The scores were 4, 6, 2, 0, 6, 4, 8 and 2.

Zeros: Among batsmen who averaged over 20 in their careers, Gus Logie had a quartet of zeros between December 1985 and November 1986. In between he was also dropped for a few matches. No fewer than 21 batsmen have had a hat-trick of zeros. This list includes Tendulkar, Ponting and Jayawardene.

Bowled dismissals: Dale Benkenstein of South Africa was bowled in seven consecutive innings between October 1999 and March 2000. His scores were 18, 2, 2, 0, 27, 24 and 0. Tamim Iqbal and Jimmy Hansra of Canada were bowled in six consecutive innings each.

Run-out dismissals: Jeremy Coney of New Zealand was run out in five consecutive innings in 1986. His scores were 64, 24, 11, 27 and 1. Three players, including Steve Waugh, had sequences of four run-outs.

Bowlers

When bowlers take wickets, they help teams take major steps towards winning ODIs. Let us look at such streaks.

Five-wicket hauls: Waqar Younis is the only bowler to take five wickets in an innings in three ODIs in a row, in 1990: 5 for 11, 5 for 16 and 5 for 52. Capturing five wickets on two consecutive innings has been achieved no fewer than 12 times. Younis figures here again, with two such instances separate from his run of three above. Mustafizur Rahman too has done so two times. Gary Gilmour's brace came in the World Cup semi-final and final in 1975.

Four-wicket hauls: There have been 11 instances of a bowler taking four or more wickets in three successive innings. Again it is Younis who steals the show, with three such streaks between 1990 and 1995.

Innings with at least one wicket: For the purposes of this streak, if a bowler bowled a ball, it is counted as a spell. That is how it should be when determining streaks. Brett Lee leads here, with 26 consecutive innings in which he took at least one wicket, between August 2009 and April 2011. Ian Bishop had a run of 25 such innings between January 1993 and January 1996. Hamid Hassan of Afghanistan had a sequence of 23 spells. Muttiah Muralitharan, Anil Kumble and Chris Pringle have had 23 such ODIs in a row.

Now for some streaks special to ODIs.

Bowlers who conceded fewer than three runs per over: Richard Hadlee had a magnificent streak of ten spells in which he conceded fewer than three runs per over, between January and June 1983. Joel Garner had a spell of nine matches in 1985. Chris Old and Geoff Lawson had eight such economical spells. All these bowlers played in the first half of the ODI era.

Complete spells: This was suggested by reader Mubashir Ahmad: bowlers who completed their full bowling quota in consecutive matches. The maximum number of overs per bowler, of course, was 12 to start with, and then moved to 11 and ten. Two offspinners take the honours here. Akram Raza of Pakistan completed his allocation in 20 matches in 1994. Harbhajan Singh completed his spell in 15 matches between April 2003 and December 2004.

Wicketkeepers

Three dismissals in a match: Sangakkara had a golden run of four ODIs in 2010 in which he dismissed three or more batsmen. He dismissed 13 batsmen during this run. Mark Boucher, Chris Read, Matt Prior and Regis Chakabva had hat-tricks of three-plus victims.

The overall idea for the next two streaks was suggested by reader Rudrajyoti Ray.

One stumping in a match: Chandrakant Pandit stumped at least one batsman in five consecutive matches in 1986. Dhoni (twice) and five other wicketkeepers (Wasim Bari, Syed Kirmani, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Nayan Mongia and Wesley Barresi) effected stumpings in four consecutive matches. In the first such instance for Dhoni, he effected all his stumpings off Yuzvendra Chahal.

Fielders

One catch in match: Graeme Smith took a catch in each of nine consecutive ODIs, in 2007-08. There is an instance of Charles Coventry of Zimbabwe, of 194 not-out fame, dismissing batsmen in ten consecutive matches. However, in one of these matches, he took over wicketkeeping duties from Brendan Taylor and effected a stumping, and so this streak does not count.

Players

Consecutive ODIs: Tendulkar had a sequence of 185 consecutive ODIs, from April 1990 to April 1998. Andy Flower's long consecutive stretch was for 172 matches, from February 1992 to April 2001. Those were the days when no one was rested or opted out of unimportant tours.

Consecutive ODIs through career: Note the subtle difference: these are players who were never dropped and never missed a single ODI due to illness. Murray Goodwin of Zimbabwe played 71 consecutive ODIs, which formed his entire career.

Miscellaneous trivia

The first ODI was played on January 5, 1971; the 1000th ODI was played on May 24, 1995. ODI #4258 was played on August 4, 2020. It is clear that the 1000th ODI represents the half-way point, in terms of time. I will compare the two halves - this time using a table because of the number of measurables in the ODI format.

It is clear that on most metrics, the second half is way ahead of the first. These relate to team scores, individual scores, wicket hauls and so on. Only in three bowling-related areas is the first half ahead: the accuracy of bowling, and the bowlers' ability to defend small totals. It is safe to say that the first half was the bowlers' domain and the second half, the batsmen's.

This has been a fascinating exercise and I learnt a lot in the process. My own selection of the most remarkable streaks among these 80 are presented here:

- Australia's twin streaks of 16 Test wins in a row - in 1999-2001 and 2005-2008. This was team dominance at its best.

- Muralitharan's streaks of taking ten wickets in four Tests in a row - two times, in 2001 and 2006. This was an individual reaching heights that are way above what others have achieved. In a word, Bradmanesque.

- Sangakkara's four hundreds in a row, one match before his ODI career ended. Arguably, the best exit any player has ever had.

As far as records that might not be broken go, I have to hang my hat on Charles Bannerman's 165 not out constituting 67.3% of a completed innings. This record was established on the second day of Test cricket and has survived for 143 years. One would think that it is easy for someone to score 100 out of 148 all out, but looks like it is not that simple.

Finally, maybe a year late, MS Dhoni has announced his retirement. The year in limbo was not great and put Virat Kohli in some sort of dilemma. However, there is no doubting the captaincy qualities, wicketkeeping skills, and multi-gear batting repertoire of Dhoni. Arguably the greatest captain India has ever known, Dhoni will not be forgotten in a hurry. He was also an Indian player universally liked and respected. Also, let us remember Chetan Chauhan - a chalk-and-cheese partner of Gavaskar - whose political innings perhaps shone more than his innings on the field.

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