Ottis Gibson’s ten

Well done that man. I remember Richard Johnson taking 10 for 45 in 1994 as though it were yesterday. Middlesex members and fans all thought we had yet another brilliant fast bowler in the making – and I seem to remember Ray Illingworth also agreeing when he said he had a “heavy ball”, an expression which I’d not heard before back then. Johnson was, from memory, picked for the South Africa tour before one of his many back problems surfaced.

Anyway. Gibson is not going to be going to South Africa, or anywhere else for that matter, for he’s the wrong side of 38. But that only make his achievement all the more special and memorable. Go on, West Indies…do the unthinkable and give him a call-up, just for fun.

Full list of the 79 bowlers to have taken all ten wickets in an innings available at Cricinfo.

England take on New Zealand for a place in the finals

So, for one of the two sides, it is judgement day, and not a moment too soon. The Australian triangular series drags on forever, and it gets rather stale by the end, don’t you agree?

I’m going to hope that England win, not for the reason that I think Australia can beat them, but rather because if Australia play New Zealand in the finals, we could have a situation where Australia play New Zealand six times in two weeks (for the two sides meet in New Zealand for the Chappell Hadlee trophy straight after this).

New Zealand is a great team, and I’m sure New Zealanders are a swell bunch of people, but six times in two weeks is too much.

One a totally different topic, did you see that South Africa piled on 392 against Pakistan in an ODI game? What’s notable about that is that it isn’t even in the top five ODI scores anymore. But South Africa has gone past 400 twice now as well as this effort in the last 12 months or so. This sort of batting firepower has to make one stand up and take notice at the World Cup.

Warne: 694 and counting

Mark Nicholas was on commentary for Channel 4 when Shane Warne took his 600th wicket. Unusually for Nicho, his delivery was restrained. “Six…hundred…wickets for Shane Warne. What a moment” (or similar). It was one of those mountainous events in cricket which passes by all too quickly. I seem to remember the crowd gave him a standing ovation but, as this is a sport, we were immediately back into the action. I remember Courtney Walsh picking up his 500th and being astounded. Warne taking 600 was almost unfathomable.

And he’s now six away from his 700th. I need to sleep now, but if anyone has the inclination, it would be interesting to see against which countries he took his 100th, 200th etc (and how many were against England)

A moment of applause, please

Congratulations to Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf, who has gone past Sir Vivian Richards’ long standing record for the most Test runs in a year. Well done that man. As I write, he’s still at the crease, so he could still push the mark beyond 1,750 runs. A remarkable achievement!

Wither, bowlers

Were the bowlers all blind or drugged into bowling half-volleys?

Two junior cricketers from Hyderabad created history when they added a world-record 721 runs in 40 overs to eclipse the 664-run stand between Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli set in 1987-88. The St Peter’s School openers B Manoj Kumar and Mohammed Shaibaaz Tumbi, both 13, hit an unbeaten 320 and 324 respectively in the Hyderabad Cricket Association Inter-School Under-13 tournament on Wednesday.

Show offs.

Musings on individual records in a team game

I read an interesting article by former England captain Mike Brealey that was published on the weekend. He was mostly talking about Andrew Strauss’ philosophy on declarations, but he had some remarks about Mahela Jayawadene’s attempt to get the world batting record as well.

Meanwhile, 6,000 miles to the south east we have the spectacle of Sri Lanka batting on to a lead of 587 in the hope of a world record individual Test score for Mahela Jayawardene against South Africa at Colombo. Fortunately, he did not get it.

What has happened to the team game when several pointless hours are pressed into the service of individual glory and local prestige? I think a narcissistic attitude is fed by pressures from the social network. Jayawardene’s quest for personal glory at the possible expense of the team must have been amplified by nationalistic excitement. He was carrying the projections of a nation. Not only had Sri Lanka just seen their heroes compile a world record partnership (624, overtaking the previous best by their compatriots Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama’s 576, also in Colombo, in 1997), they had the chance of this other record.

I hope I am not being too puritanical, or too carping, here. Certainly personal landmarks are important. Strauss would have been foolish and heartless to have declared before Bell got to a hundred, especially when he was furthering England’s cause so admirably. And if England had had wickets in hand, perhaps there would have been more of a case for batting on into Saturday.

I think there is a fair case for having an extra world-record holder in your side. I have to say that I think Brealey IS being a tad too puritanical on this score. For a country like Sri Lanka, which doesn’t have life so easy in its day to day business, what with tsunamis and civil wars, a bit of nationalistic excitement about the cricket is a positive, not a negative.

Brett Lee does the double

Brett Lee today reached the impressive milestone of 1000 Test runs in addition to his 200 wickets. He’s made vital, match-saving runs in the past two years – it’s a bloody good stat, and his average is all the more impressive: 21.31. The last Australian to do this was Shane Warne, whose batting ability is vastly underrated; Merv Hughes was the last to achieve it before Warne. Stats at Cricinfo.

Incidentally, one of my favourite aspects of Cricinfo’s new scorecards (which are still being tested) is the ability to see full commentary of a player’s innings. Here’s Lee’s.

1000 Murali wickets

I think it was Courtney Walsh who first broke through the 500-Test barrier and, at the time, I remember feeling utterly amazed that anyone could have got so far. I was equally doubtful that anyone would ever better it. Since then, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muraliatharan have waltzed past it as though it were nothing; Warne broke past 600 at Old Trafford in the summer. Today, though, Murali has gone past 1000 international wickets! It makes Walsh’s effort look pitiful and feeble*

Rather appropriately, his 100th wicket was controversial: “Khaled Mashud was given out caught when the ball only hit his pad” (S.Rajesh / Cricinfo)

* I am, of course, joking. It’s all very well for these glitzy spinners to take hundreds of wickets, but it’s all the more incredible for a fast bowler to manage it.

Brian Lara breaks Allan Border’s record

As expected, Brian Lara moved past Allan Border’s record aggregate of Test runs, and is now the leading scorer in Test history. Legend. Cricinfo have a few things on him, including Vaneisa Baksh on his odyssey; George’s list of his greatest moments and my gallery of his life.

5 in 5!

I love stories like these:

Cricket: Wizard’s 5 wickets in 5 balls

Jun 1 2005

icWales

An amateur cricketer spoke of his astonishment today after taking five wickets in five balls.

John Williams, 30, captain of Mold Cricket Club in north Wales, bowled three opponents and two more were caught in a run of just five balls.

The feat took place in a second string match against Bethesda on Saturday.

It is believed to beat any figures recorded in the top flight of world cricket but statistics for lower levels are not kept.

Mr Williams, a golf greenkeeper, from Pantymwyn, said: “I’ve only ever had one hat-trick before so I was happy enough to get the three.

“But when the fourth one went I was in dreamland and on the fifth one the place erupted.

“I felt like it wasn’t me.”

Mold was struggling when Mr Williams began his lucky streak but went on to win the match.

Good way to turn your figures around, taking 5 in 5. I think Pollock took 4 in 4 for Warwickshire in about 1996, and Caddick took 4 in one over (somehow failing to get a hat-trick!) against the West Indies in 2000.