Z-score’s Cricket Stats Blog April 2015 to August 2016





Longer articles by Charles Davis


Unusual Records



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11 August 2016

16 July 2016

1 July 2016

12 May 2016

12 April 2016

16 March 2016

3 March 2016

1 February 2016

18 January 2016


18 December 2015

27 November 2015

29 October 2015

16 October 2015

10 September 2015

19 August 2015

5 August 2015

9 July 2015

20 May 2015

24 Apr 2015

10 Apr 2015




Andy Roberts bowled three hat-trick balls at Manchester in 1976, one in the first innings and two in the second. He is the only one on record to do so in one Test. A catch was dropped off the third hat-trick ball.


At Ahmedabad in 1996/97, J Srinath took wickets with consecutive balls three times in one innings, but the third instance involved the last two wickets in the match, so he only bowled two hat-trick balls.


Sreeram reports a weird case of three wickets in three balls…


“The Durban 1969/70 Test ended with Procter getting Gleeson and Connolly in consecutive balls. When Test cricket resumed there in 1992/93. Kapil Dev took a wicket with the first ball. This is a weird definition of a hat-trick in a particular ground…?”





The Galle Test saw all 40 wickets fall and finished after 44.1 overs on the third day. This was the earliest finish for a 40-wicket Test in the last 100 years. There are a couple of 40-wicket Tests that had fewer overs overall, but they finished later on the third day.


A few 40-wicket Tests, including the original Ashes Test in 1882, finished in 2 days, but they were very long ago. The last to finish earlier than Galle was the Headingley Test of 1912 (Eng v SA), which finished after 12 overs on day 3.




More recently there was Mumbai 2004/05. The match lasted 202 overs, less than the 215 at Galle, but there were 96 overs on the third day, due to earlier interruptions.




In the Kandy Test, Mitchell Starc took five wickets on the first day and the same again on the second. I don't have this one fully up to date, but the only other instance in the last 100 years that I can find is Mohammad Asif at Kandy in 2006








11 August 2016



It’s been reported in many places, but Peter Nevill and Steve O’Keefe, assisted by Josh Hazlewood, smashed all previous records for scorelessness, by stringing together 154 balls without a run in the Kandy Test. While plenty of teams have been in ultra-defensive situations like this before, this was a unique combination of circumstances. There were no specialist batsmen so no attempt to farm the strike. One batsman was injured and so no running was attempted. I think that if there had been a runner for O’Keefe, occasional runs would have been taken, so it is all due in part to the strange rule that disallows use of runners.


Nevill faced 90 balls without scoring, just shy of the 95 by Bruce Mitchell in 1931. The number for Mitchell, unfortunately, is only an estimate; however, I would say that, at the low end, it is a fairly precise estimate, but the exact number is not known (could be a bit higher). It is quite unlikely that Mitchell faced 90 balls or less. However, Nevill batted 108 minutes without scoring, and that is without doubt the longest time without scoring in a Test innings.


In the next Test, at Galle, Nevill was out first ball in the first innings and scored off his second ball when he batted again. This gave him a total of 92 consecutive balls without scoring. So Tony Lock’s record of 115 balls across multiple innings remains safe. O’Keefe, for his part, has an open-ended sequence of 76 balls without scoring to continue. Hope he gets the chance.


The Unusual Records entry has been updated.






Here are the fourth-innings scores at each fall of wicket, closest to the target, by teams losing the Test match.


Most of these records were set in the original Ashes Test of 1882, but Manchester 1902 and a couple of others also turn up

15/1 (70 runs: target 85) Eng v Aus, The Oval 1882

68/2 (56 runs: target 124) Eng v Aus, Manchester 1902

51/3 (34 runs: target 85) Eng v Aus, The Oval 1882

53/4 (32 runs: target 85) Eng v Aus, The Oval 1882

92/4 (32 runs: target 124) Eng v Aus, Manchester 1902

66/5 (19 runs: target 85) Eng v Aus, The Oval 1882

70/6 (15 runs: target 85) Eng v Aus, The Oval 1882

70/7 (15 runs: target 85) Eng v Aus, The Oval 1882

109/7 (15 runs: target 124) Eng v Aus, Manchester 1902

75/8 (10 runs: target 85) Eng v Aus, The Oval 1882

110/9 (7 runs: target 117) Aus v SAf, Sydney (SCG) 1993/94

184/10 (2 runs: target 186) Aus v WI, Adelaide 1992/93

The Tied Test in Brisbane would beat some of these if you want to include it

226/7 (7 runs: target 233) Aus v WI, Brisbane 1960/61

228/8 (5 runs: target 233) Aus v WI, Brisbane 1960/61

232/9 (1 run: target 233) Aus v WI, Brisbane 1960/61

232/10 (1 run: target 233) Aus v WI, Brisbane 1960/61




I have been studying some old ODI scores, and have come up with some interesting material on Simon O’Donnell, one of the more underrated ODI players.


Bowlers taking wickets in five consecutive overs in an ODI (where known)


SP O'Donnell

v New Zealand, Christchurch 1990

Waqar Younis

v England, Leeds 2001

SB Styris

v West indies, Port of Spain, 2002 (two spells)

GD McGrath

v Namibia, Potchefstroom, 2003


Also in 1990, O’Donnell played an innings of 74 off 29 balls in an ODI at Sharjah against Sri Lanka. At the time, his 50 off 18 balls was an ODI record. The innings, as recorded on the scoresheet, makes unusual reading




O’Donnell actually scored his 74 runs in the space of 26 balls, without a dot ball. In that innings, runs were scored off the bat by the Australians for 43 consecutive balls, with the exception of the ball that took O’Donnell’s wicket.


Only Sanath Jayasyuriya (76 off 28 in 1996, setting a new record with 50 off 17) and Brendon McCullum (using a super bat) have played higher innings off fewer balls than O’Donnell.


Against Zimbabwe in 2012, McCullum (119) scored off 30 consecutive balls faced, as did Ian Trott (112) against New Zealand in 2013. Neither scored as many runs as O’Donnell without facing a dot ball, but Chris Gayle (215) equalled it with 74, scoring off 23 consecutive balls without a dot ball against Zimbabwe in last year’s World Cup. (For this analysis, sundries are considered dot balls.)



O’Donnell, incidentally, hit the longest six ever accurately recorded at the MCG. It was in a Sheffield Shield match in 1993, off the bowling of Greg Matthews. The shot reached the third level (out of four) of the Great Southern Stand. The location has been marked by a yellow-coloured seat that can even be seen on Google Earth. The distance is equivalent to 122 metres (unimpeded).






Some candidates for the slowest 50 in T20 cricket. Lendl Simmons took 60 balls to reach 50 in the CPL.

There was 50 off 59 by W Lategan in 2014





Shoaib Mailk scored 53* off 61 balls in 2006, but his first 50 is not recorded.





There have been a few innings of similar length that did not reach 50 runs, the most extreme was Naeem Islam in 2010





Aslam Siddiqui reports:

PN Weekes probably faced more than 60 balls in this match.




There have been a number of innings of similar length in T20 cricket that have not reached 50, including a 35 off 63 balls by Lategan again…






During the record-breaking partnership of May and Cowdrey in 1957 (411 off 1146 balls), the West Indies took a second new ball after 96 overs. It would appear that no further new balls were taken after this, even though the innings lasted 258 overs. The 162 overs would appear to be the most overs without a new ball after a second ball was taken (where known). A list of the longest spells without a new ball is here.



16 July 2016


Dropped Catches Report for 2015


I have collated a list of dropped catches in Tests in 2015 (specifically, April 2015 to January 2016, between pauses for World Cup and World T20). This extends my analysis of Cricinfo ball-by-ball texts that started in 2001. For a number of Tests, I backed up the analysis by also checking the texts archived by Cricbuzz. In general, this confirmed the searches of Cricinfo, but a few other missed chances were found. It is also apparent that some dropped catches are a matter of opinion, with the sources coming to conflicting conclusions where ‘technical’ or ‘half’ chances are concerned; also whether or not balls carried or missed the bat. The disputed or uncertain cases might amount to about five to ten per cent of missed chances. As such, most chances are clear-cut, but the totals are a little fuzzy, and should be interpreted with that caveat.


In 45 Tests I found 281 missed chances (including stumpings but not run outs). Taking the successful catches and stumpings into account, the miss rate was 23.8%. Overall, there is a downward trend in this figure over the years, suggesting gradual improvement in catching. However, it is not quite as low as the 23.2% recorded in 2012.


More surprising is the improvement apparent compared to the rate of 27.2% in 2014. Some of the changes can be seen in this summary table


% Missed Chances in Tests















While the incidence of dropped catches appears to be falling, the high figure for 2014 remains a bit odd. Part of this is due to Bangladesh playing more Tests in that year: Bangladesh drops a lot of catches and bumps up the average, but even with them, the rate was still elevated. For reasons unknown, Australia dropped more chances in 2014 than in the previous or following years. I have checked the results with some care, but it seems to be a real result.


The team results for 2015 are as follows


New Zealand


Sri Lanka






South Africa






West Indies





I would disregard Bangladesh in this list, because they played only five Tests and took only 25 catches during the year, a very small sample size. Bangladesh had a drop rate of 34% in the previous year. The most striking result is Sri Lanka, whose catching has improved enormously in the last few years, from 34% dropped in 2013 and 29% in 2014 to 21% last year. I have looked through the Sri Lanka results carefully, using both Cricinfo and Cricbuzz, and the result seems to be genuine.



Adam Voges’ 269* at Hobart appears to have been chanceless. The highest score in 2015 by a batsman dropped was 290 Ross Taylor at Perth, dropped on 137. The most ‘expensive’ drop of the year was 165 runs for Steve Smith at Lord’s, dropped on 50 and went on to make 215. The only batsman dropped on 0 who went on to make a century was Joe Root, dropped second ball in his ashes-critical 134 at Cardiff.



Zulfiqar Babar was the most unfortunate bowler in 2015, with 17 catches missed off his bowling. Azhar Ali dropped nine chances, mostly at the difficult short leg and silly point positions, five of them off Zulfiqar.


The dropped catches report for 2014 is here.






Notes on the earliest international tours to use air transport…


The 1945-46 Australian team flew to New Zealand: "At dawn on 26 February 1946 the team flew from Sydney. The New Zealand Air Force provided a Catalina for the long flight across the Tasman Sea." They returned on the 8th of April, again with the NZ Air Force out of Auckland, but this time in a DC3.


The flight over took eight hours (Catalinas flew at less than 200kph), and the flight back on the (somewhat faster) DC3 was eventful, with the plane turning back to New Zealand after a short time due to an oil pressure problem, but completing the flight successfully later on the same day.


There is an odd aspect to this: regular commercial flights between Sydney and Auckland were available at the time, so why did the team fly on specially organised NZAF planes? At the time, an airline called T.E.A.L., the predecessor of Air New Zealand, had three flights a week on flying boats, and in fact had operated them even during the war.


I wonder if it was at the insistence of the Australian Cricket Board, getting the New Zealanders to pay?


The day they got back also happened to be the day that flights from Australia to Britain via Singapore resumed, using civilian versions of wartime bombers (Liberators and Lancasters). These were the first civilian planes to use the Changi airport that had been built by PoWs. Earlier post-War flights had taken a route via Colombo, which required a very long trans-ocean leg.


The 1946 Indian team to England and the 1947/48 team to Australia both travelled by air. The latter had a rather long and harrowing flight, and decided that the return trip would be by sea.


In 1947/48, Len Hutton flew out to the West Indies as a replacement player for the MCC. It took him 3 days to get from London to Georgetown.


Information from the fascinating "Test Cricket Tours" website.


Ashru Mishra reports that a Lancashire team flew from Cardiff to Southampton in 1935, on a privately organised flight.


The last tour to travel by ship was the 1964 Ashes tour, although the sea leg was limited to Perth-Colombo. The team returned to Australia by air, playing Tests in Pakistan and India.


(Thanks also to Ashru and Sreeram.)





Here is an article of mine that was published in Cricket Monthly, on the subject of the longest sixes:




and here’s an interview I did for Cricket Country, which was actually a written Q&A rather than spoken interview.





In both of the above, the headlines and photo captions were not written by me. Nor was the introductory blurb in the interview, which I do not necessarily agree with. The interviewer seemed to think that I had “proved” that Bradman had averaged 100, but I tried to hose that down in my comments.


Here are some figures for the highest percentage of a team’s runs f-c cricket, based on batting position. Note that in practice many old scorecards do not really distinguish between #1 and #2 batsmen. (Scorers often write the names down before the ends are chosen.)


Also, there is some doubt about batting orders in many very old games. For example, G Beldam is given 31* out of 63 batting at #11 in 1800, but I doubt if he really batted in that position. I think that some very old scorecards list batsmen in the order they were out, not the order they came in.


Given the age of many of these records, the recent one by Glenn Maxwell is remarkable. He came to the crease at 9 (runs) for 6 (wickets) and scored 127 off 102 balls.





GM Turner

141* out of 169

Glamorgan v Worcestershire, Swansea 1977



J Noel

18 out of 23

Victoria v South Australia, Melbourne-EM 1882/83



FE Woolley

103* out of 144

Kent v Warwickshire, Folkestone 1931



G Snyman

230 out of 282

Kenya v Namibia, Sharjah 2007/08



HR Kingscote

32 out of 41

Kent v Surrey, Sevenoaks 1828



S Nazir Ali

52 out of 66

Yorkshire v Indians, Harrogate 1932



E Smith

70 out of 100

Oxford University v Marylebone Cricket Club, Oxford 1891



GJ Maxwell

127 out of 186

New South Wales v Victoria, Sydney 2013/14



BL Cairns

110 out of 173

Wellington v Otago, Lower Hutt 1979/80



ACS Pigott

63 out of 115

Sussex v Nottinghamshire, Hove 1983



JW Martin

14 out of 32

Hampshire v Kent, Southampton 1952



The highest for a #12 batsman is 13 out of 44 by TC Elliot for Hampshire v All England in 1848.


Note also WG in 1876


1 79.2% WG Grace 126 out of 159 United North of England v United South of England, Hull 1876





Here's an odd little stat


Q. In the last one thousand ODIs, how many times has the team batting second hit the last ball of the 50th over for four?


A. Zero.


The last one I can find is Zimbabwe v Pakistan at Multan in 2008.


Since then there have been six matches where the second team hit the last ball of the 50th over for six (including the recent tie) and even one case of a five, but no fours.


There was a match where Kevin Pietersen hit the last ball for four, but that was a Duckworth-Lewis match, and not the 50th over.




Another odd fact: add it to the list of records held by the very first Test of 1877.

The Australian team in that Test included players born in four countries (Australia, England, Ireland, British India): no Australian Test team since then has been so diverse. Earlier this year, Australia field players born in three countries: Australia, Pakistan (Khawaja), and Malaysia (Steve O’Keefe).


Other countries, of course, have had wider representation.

The West Indies team at Joburg in 1998 had players from (what I believe to be) eight independent countries based on place of birth (Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent, Jamaica and Guyana).

The World XI "Test" team in 2005 had seven.

1 July 2016



Here’s a list of the fastest batsmen to reach major Test milestones. “Fastest” in this context means fewest balls faced, not matches or innings or time. The “Balls Faced” in the table is the exact number when the milestone was reached, in mid-innings. For example, Southee passed one thousand runs during his 61st innings, and finished that innings with 1009 runs off 1180 balls. His one thousandth run came off his 1167th ball.




Balls Faced

Innings batted


TG Southee




AC Gilchrist




AC Gilchrist




AC Gilchrist




AC Gilchrist




V Sehwag




V Sehwag




V Sehwag





GC Smith





BC Lara




BC Lara




BC Lara




RT Ponting




RT Ponting




SR Tendulkar




SR Tendulkar




The leader in each category is quite clear cut, except at 9,000 runs, where Graeme Smith and Brian Lara are extremely close. Tendulkar, of course, is alone in the last two categories.


All these players are relatively recent. Although some data is missing for earlier players, none of them are contenders for a place in this table, so even with complete data this table would not change. Chances are though, that Gilbert Jessop (1899-1912) would be the faster than any modern batsman to 500 runs (about 450 balls), but Jessop never made it to 1000.




After a question on AskSteven, I became curious about the story that Bill Woodfull refused a knighthood offered to him for his contribution to cricket. Being of sceptical mind, I looked into it.


The earliest published source for this seems to be Chris Harte’s History of Australian Cricket (1993, p357). Hart says the offer came on the occasion of Woodfull’s farewell match in November 1934. Harte even quotes (after a fashion) from a “citation”. However, there is no reference offered and no direction to any primary source.


The story is also absent from all other older sources, including Pollard’s books, The Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket and Robinson’s much-admired On Top Down Under, which has a detailed chapter on Woodfull.


Still sceptical, I borrowed a copy of a Woodfull biography by Alan Gregory, published recently (2011). However, Gregory does confirm the story, saying that he checked it with Woodfull’s son and daughter, who had heard it from their mother.


So perhaps we should accept that at face value. Yet it is still a stretch. Gregory also reports that John Dew attempted (“energetically”) to get confirmation from both Buckingham Palace and Government House (Melbourne, the supposed source of the offer), but none was forthcoming. There are therefore still no documents or primary evidence.


Having done some family research in my time, I would certainly say that some stories that get circulated by word of mouth around families, and repeated decades later, are not necessarily true! (No disrespect intended). Others have a kernel of truth, but get exaggerated over the years. Casual chatter at an official function, perhaps?


I still wonder about other factors. In 1934, no senior player, not even WG Grace, had ever been knighted for services to cricket; that fashion lay well into the future. There is another element to the story – that Woodfull responded that he would have instead accepted a knighthood for his teaching – and this also has an odd ring. He was just 37 at the time, he had spent a good part of his adult life playing cricket, and he was not a senior teacher yet; it also doesn’t sound in character. Gregory mentions that no Australian teacher had ever received a knighthood at that time either; I think Woodfull’s claimed statement sounds very unrealistic.


Gregory added that he had asked Harte about the “citation”, but Harte could not recall his source.


Refusing a knighthood would have been a big deal in 1934, especially from Woodfull, who was a great admirer of the Crown, and referred to England in his speeches as the “Mother Country”.


I also think the offer would have been unlikely politically, coming so soon after Bodyline.


Woodfull did have an outstanding teaching career after 1934, and did accept an OBE, for his contribution to teaching, in 1963, after his retirement. He died, on a golf course, in 1965.






In his last Test series, against Bangladesh, Jason Gillespie averaged 231 with the bat and 11.3 (8 wickets) with the ball, as ratio of averages of 20.5. No one who has taken more than 8 wickets has achieved a higher ratio, although Ramnaresh Sarwan also took 8 wickets and had a ratio of 22.9 (301.0 to 13.1), also against Bangladesh, in 2004.


The highest measurable ratio in any series is 42.9 by Steve Waugh against Sri Lanka in 1995/96. Batting average 362.0, bowling average 8.5 (4 wickets).




Most overs bowled before first wicket in ODis is probably Ata-ur-Rehman of Pakistan in 1993. Exact figures are not available, but. Rehman bowled between 51 and 54 overs for his first wicket, probably closer to 51 than 54. The only other bowler in contention is a team mate of Rehman, Asif Mujtaba, who bowled between 45 and 53 overs; again, probably closer to the 45 than 53.




When Mohammad Yousuf scored 202 at Lord’s in 2006, the batsman above him in the order (Faisal Iqbal) and the batsman next in the order (Mohammad Sami) both scored ducks. Yousuf is the only batsman to make a double century in these circumstances.

Haroon Rashid, by contrast, is the only batsman to make a duck when the preceding batsman (Mudassar Nazar) and the following batsman (Javed Miandad) both made double centuries. Hyderabad 1983.




Adam Voges' 375 runs against the West Indies recently is the most by anyone in a series where he was not dismissed. Previously: 270 runs by Chanderpaul against Bangladesh in 2014.




A little data on appeals in Tests

I have a file listing 23,000 appeals from 1999 to 2015. There are three cases of four unsuccessful appeals in an over


ML Nkala v New Zealand at Bulawayo in 2000

Danish Kaneria v West Indies, Kingston 2005

MS Panesar v Pakistan at Lord's 2006


The batsmen were PJ Wiseman, S Chanderpaul, and Abdul Razzaq. The Nkala case involved four consecutive balls. The umpires were Harper, Hair and Bucknor.


This is obviously a rather limited survey, and the usual caveats apply. Some appeals have undoubtedly gone unrecorded and many others might be a matter of interpretation.


As a matter of interest, the bowlers with the highest ratio of appeals to wickets are Panesar, Saqlain Mushtaq,Giles and Kaneria. I don't think these names will surprise anyone. The most appeal-prone pace bowler was Zaheer Khan.



12 May 2016


How Effective is the (Second) New Ball?


Here are some statistics from the database concerning the effectiveness of the new ball in Tests. The data covers about 280 Tests from 2007 to 2015.


There were 472 innings where the new ball was available. In only 44 was it not taken at all, whereas it was taken in the first five overs (overs 81-85) on 336 occasions. The longest innings without a new ball was 145 overs by West Indies against Australia (439/5) at Bridgetown in 2008; the latest taking of a new ball was 146.1 overs by India at Durban in 2013. There were only 25 cases of no new ball by the 100 over mark.


In innings that lasted at least six overs after the new ball, I compared the number of wickets in the six overs after with the number in the six overs before. There were 405 such innings. I also looked at ‘windows’ of plus or minus four overs and two overs.



Wkts before   New Ball

Wkts after


± 36 balls




± 24 balls




± 12 balls






A ‘Ratio’ of more than one indicates a benefit to taking the new ball. In the six overs before the new ball, there were wickets in only 87 innings, against 195 innings after the new ball. Overall, there were 2.72 times as many wickets in the six overs after the new ball than in the previous six overs, with even greater benefits with narrower windows.


These numbers suggest that early taking of the new ball is very beneficial, but it would be unwise to read too much into this. The taking of the new ball is not a random event: captains usually choose to do so when wickets are not falling, and they sometimes use part-time bowlers in the overs just before the new ball.


Indeed if you look at the minority of innings where wicket(s) fell in the six overs before a new ball was actually taken (87 cases) the number of wickets falling in the six overs after the new ball is rather reduced – only 63 wickets. In these cases where bowlers are already taking wickets, the new ball has had no beneficial effect.



I also looked at overs numbered 81-86 in all innings of sufficient length, and compared those with the new ball to those without. There were 347 innings with a new ball and 125 without (many of which took the new ball later on). In those without a new ball, the average was 0.68 wickets falling in the six overs, but in innings with a new ball it was only 0.67 wickets. This suggests no benefit to the new ball at all! However, it is not quite so simple, since a significant number of new balls are taken late in the 81-86 over window. If you restrict the comparison to those innings where the new ball was taken in the 81st over” (218 innings), then the return rises to 0.78 wickets in six overs. There is some benefit evident here, but not as much as might be expected.


Overall, I would say that captains do a competent job in choosing when to use the new ball. Mostly. However, the effects of the new ball are sometimes exaggerated, because captains are likely to call for it during a spell without wickets, and particularly by the choice of second-string bowlers just before it becomes available.






Highest averages in a calendar year (Tests beginning in the year in question)


DG Bradman   1932                 402.0   (3 inns)

JN Gillespie    2006                 231.0   (3)

CP Mead                       1921                 229.0   (2)

H Sutcliffe                    1931                 226.0   (2)

MS Sinclair     1999                 214.0   (1)

DG Bradman   1946                 210.5   (2)


Bradman also made a score of 167 in a Test in 1932, but the Test began in 1931. If the 167 is included in 1932, his average becomes 284.5.


Add this one to the list of unlikely achievements of Jason Gillespie.


Sreeram points out that since Sinclair played only one innings in 1999, that being his 214 on debut, he holds the record for highest average by any batsman in the 20th Century.




Additions to the 1950s database will be suspended shortly. Holidays beckon.




Melbourne 1964: fielding side Pakistan "appealed against the rain" on the final day; successfully, I might add. Australia had been set 166 in 127 minutes, and was 88/2 in 71 minutes, having scored 60 runs in the last six overs, when umpires called a halt. Before the halt, bowler Arif Butt "stopped and then plunged to the turf”, claiming injury. "Shepherd, at the striker's end, looked incredulous and then threw his bat away" (Melbourne Age).


The Pakistanis had earlier been warned for slow play because they were taking five minutes to bowl an eight-ball over, (equivalent to 16 six-ball overs an hour). How times have changed.

Earlier in the match, Hanif Mohammad was stumped accidentally by Jarman on 93, having scored 104 in the first innings. Jarman fumbled, and the ball rebounded off his gloves onto the stumps. I wonder how many times this has happened in Tests.

Other fielding teams to appeal against the light: South Africa, Johannesburg 1935 (v Australia, McCabe 189*); New Zealand, Christchurch 1951/52 (v West Indies); Pakistan, Karachi 2001 (v England).





In the Eden Gardens (Kolkata) Test of 2011/12, India v West Indies, play commenced at 8:30am local time on the third and fourth days, brought forward after time was lost on the second day. This is the earliest hour for play to start in a Test that I have noted.


Prior to the day/night Test at Adelaide Oval, the latest finishing time that I had recorded was 8:06pm at Wellington in 2001/02 (v Bangladesh). In the day/night Test, close of play was at 9:25pm and 9:18 pm on the first two days respectively.





12 April 2016



A little discovery to share.


Clyde Walcott scored a century in a session between lunch and tea, Auckland 1951/52. He went from 12 at lunch to 115 at tea, at which point he was out and the declaration was made, with West Indies at 546/6. I believe that this century in a session has not been previously recognised.


I only just found this while sorting through my notes of that series. One source (found in NZ last November, the Wellington Evening Post) gave Walcott's score at lunch and another source had the score at tea, but no source gave both, or mentioned a century in a session.






Latest introduction of Bowlers, by Bowler Number (Tests)


Bowler #

Over #





TW Garrett

Aus v Eng, Sydney (SCG) 1887/88




FJ Titmus

SAf v Eng, Port Elizabeth 1964/65



DCS Compton

Aus v Eng, Sydney (SCG) 1950/51



RB Simpson

Eng v Aus, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1961



GA Gooch

Eng v Aus, Lord's 1989



AL Hassett

Eng v Aus, The Oval 1938



DG Bradman

Eng v Aus, The Oval 1938



R Edwards

Eng v Aus, The Oval 1975



HH Dippenaar

WI v SAf, Antigua (St John's) 2005



MV Boucher

WI v SAf, Antigua (St John's) 2005



A Ratra

WI v Ind, Antigua (St John's) 2002

* 4-ball, equivalent to 48 6-ball overs

† 8-ball, equivalent to 136 6-ball overs



Earliest Introduction of Bowlers

Bowler #

Over #








Eng v Ban, Lord's 2010



I Sharma

SL v Ind, Galle 2015



JEC Franklin

NZ v SL, Wellington 2004/05



AG Kripal Singh

Ind v Eng, Kanpur 1961/62



RT Robinson

Ind v Eng, Kolkata 1984/85



AJ Lamb

Ind v Eng, Kolkata 1984/85



Tamim Iqbal

Ban v NZ, Mirpur 2008/09



AL Wadekar

Ind v Aus, Kanpur 1969/70



GN Yallop

Pak v Aus, Faisalabad 1979/80





Fall of the Unconquered


Every significant unbeaten innings leaves open the question of how many runs might have been. Statistically, the answer is, on average, similar to the batsman’s batting average, but in specific innings one can never know. If the next innings by the player is any guide, there have been some major unbeaten innings that are followed up by complete failures. The list that follows shows the largest unbeaten innings where the batsman was out to the next ball he faced. Often this was in a different match; in the case of the leader, Bradman, it was in a different series.


Both Tests, if applicable, are listed in the table. Michael Clarke holds the record for largest not out first innings followed by a golden duck in the same Test.


Large unbeaten innings followed by a golden duck



DG Bradman

Aus v SAf, Adelaide Oval 1931/32

Aus v Eng, Melbourne (MCG) 1932/33


W Bardsley

Aus v Eng, Lord's 1926

Aus v Eng, Leeds (Headingley) 1926


MJ Clarke

Aus v SAf, Cape Town 2013/14


AB de Villiers

SAf v SL, Cape Town 2011/12

SAf v NZ, Dunedin (University) 2011/12


ME Waugh

Aus v WI, Antigua (St John's) 1991


S Chanderpaul

WI v NZ, Napier 2008/09


DM Jones

Aus v SL, Hobart (Bellerive) 1989/90

Aus v Pak, Melbourne (MCG) 1989/90


MJ Prior

Eng v NZ, Auckland 2012/13

Eng v NZ, Lord's 2013


Saqlain Mushtaq

Pak v NZ, Christchurch 2000/01

Pak v NZ, Hamilton 2000/01


MS Atapattu

SL v Zim, Galle 2001/02

SL v Pak, Lahore (Gaddafi) 2001/02


N Kapil Dev

Ind v WI, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 1983

Ind v WI, Bridgetown, Barbados 1983




Highest ratio of Teams’ first innings: first-class matches


The following table shows the most one-sided first innings in first-class matches, led by Pakistan Railways 910/6 decl v Dera Ismail Khan 32 at Lahore in 1964/65




Team scores


Pakistan Railways v Dera Ismail Khan, Lahore-RMI 1964/65

910; 32


Victoria v Tasmania, Melbourne 1868/69

18; 409


National Bank of Pakistan v Pakistan Customs, Karachi-UBL 1998/99

20; 451


Barbados v Trinidad and Tobago, Bridgetown 1942/43

339; 16


Essex v Surrey, Chelmsford 1983

287; 14


Rajasthan v Hyderabad, Jaipur 2010/11

21; 403


Auckland v Hawke's Bay, Auckland-VP 1910/11

470; 28


Jammu and Kashmir v Delhi, Srinagar 1960/61

385; 23


Surrey v Nottinghamshire, The Oval 1880

266; 16


Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire, Nottingham 1901

204; 13


East Pakistan Whites v PIA A, Dacca 1970/71

513; 34



In my opinion, both the leading matches are of dubious first-class status. The first was the only f-c match ever played by the Dera Ismail Khan team, and the only f-c match for most of the players.

The early f-c matches involving Tasmania, prior to 1880, are often wildly one-sided, and should be considered “first-class” for historical reasons only; any records from them should be discounted.




Peter Nevill took a catch off his first ball in a T20 international. Nevill, of course has played 12 Test matches, so it wasn't his first international overall.


In Tests, it hasn't happened to a keeper, but two fielders have taken catches off the first possible ball in Test cricket. One was PP Ojha in 2009, although he had previously played in ODIs so it wasn't his first international, and the other was AF Lissette at Dunedin in 1955.







Lee Germon and Luke Ronchi, as keepers, took catches off the first ball of their ODI debut, although Ronchi had previously played T20i cricket.







In t20 internationals, Subash Kakurel of Nepal (a keeper) and Saqlain Haider of UAE (a fielder) took catches off the first ball on debut. Haider had previously played ODIs.








16 March 2016


Going Online: the Test Matches of the 1950s


I am embarking on an extension of the Test Match Database Online. The intention is to upload most of what I have on Test matches from the 1950s. It will follow the structure of the 1920s to 1940s material that is already available.


I have started with the 1950 England/West Indies series, and I will proceed gradually through the decade.


The 1950 series was an important series, introducing "Calypso Cricket" to England along with a winning West Indies team. Less well recognised is the establishment, on England's part, of the grindingly slow batting adopted by most teams in the 50s, perhaps in response to the permanent institution of five-day Tests in England. Some slow scoring records were set including (at Lord's) the team record for most consecutive balls without scoring.


Check out Washbrook and Simpson taking 125 overs over a partnership of 212 runs at Trent Bridge. That would take a day and a half at modern over rates, but the slowness was masked somewhat by Ramadhin/Valentine et al getting through up to 140 overs per day.


In those days the consensus was that tight spin bowling could not be scored from without risk.





Dismissed by the only ball faced in Test cricket



JEP McMaster



EJ Tyler



RL Park



WA Hunt


South Africa

GE Bond


South Africa

MA Hanley



In McMaster’s case, it was the only ball he faced in first-class cricket, such was the very dubious status of this series.

Hanley was run out. The scorebook is unclear whether he even faced the ball in question, since another batsman had been run out off the previous ball, so Hanley may have made a diamond duck. One report, though vague, suggests that he “ran himself out like a schoolboy”, and so probably faced the ball.








An oddly hot topic last week was four bowlers in one T20 innings conceding the same number of runs, with three of them having identical overs, runs and wickets. There wasn’t much in the way of precedent in T20 internationals, but here's a T20 match with four bowlers with identical overs and runs conceded





Here's one with three identical overs, runs, and wickets





Four bowlers conceding the same number of runs was a first for T20 internationals, but it has happened in ODIs




Also in Tests





3 March 2016


Bowlers taking last two available wickets in consecutive balls in a Test match; thus deprived of a chance for a hat-trick…


Wasim Akram

5 times

SK Warne


LO Fleetwood-Smith


CA Walsh



More than 50 other bowlers have done it once.


As far as I can tell, none of these bowlers took a wicket with his first ball of the next match, thus claiming a ‘non-hat-trick’, except for the special case of George Lohmann in 1895/96, who finished the first Test with a hat-trick, then took a wicket with his first ball of the second Tests, thus taking four in four.


So it appears that these ‘non-hat-tricks’ are extremely rare. Hardik Pandya of India recorded one in the past week, playing T20s against Pakistan and then Sri Lanka. Apart from Lohmann, there are no other similar cases at all in my database of Tests, ODIs and T20i. This data is, of course, not complete, but with about 75% of matches available (almost five thousand matches), it gives an idea of how rare this must be.

When you think about it statistically, it is not surprising that hat-tricks or non-hat-tricks across multiple innings are rare. Within one innings, there could be hundreds of sets of three balls where hat-tricks are possible for each bowler, but across two innings, there are only two such sets. The final wicket(s) of such hat-tricks will also probably have to be a top-order or well-set batsman. It is a remarkable thing that two multi-innings hat-tricks occurred in the 1988/89 Test series in Australia: Merv Hughes and Courtney Walsh. Jermaine Lawson also had a two-innings hat-trick, in 2003.


Waqar Younis took three wickets in four balls across two Tests against West Indies and Sri Lanka in 2002. In Ashes Tests, Jason Gillespie took five wickets in seven balls across two Tests against England that were 2 years apart, starting at Perth in 1998/99. He was dropped from the team between the two Tests, but also played against other countries during those two years.






Here is some complete data placing Adam Voges’ record-breaking sequence of runs without dismissal in context. The “RUNS” section is covered in standard record lists, but the “Balls Faced” and “Minutes Batted” records are more complete than you might find elsewhere.


Without Dismissal: Longest Sequences



AC Voges

269*, 106*, 239



SR Tendulkar

241*, 60*, 194*, 2



GStA Sobers

365*, 125



MJ Clarke

259*, 230



KC Sangakkara

200*, 222*, 57



RS Dravid

41*, 200*, 70*, 162



JH Kallis

157*, 42*, 189*, 68



BC Lara

400*, 53



DJ Cullinan

275*, 152



MA Taylor

334*, 92


Balls Faced


S Chanderpaul

67*, 101*, 136*, 58



WR Hammond

119*, 177


930 (est)

Hanif Mohammad




JH Kallis

157*, 42*, 189*, 68



SR Tendulkar

241*, 60*, 194*, 2



L Hutton




AC Voges

269*, 106*, 239



GStA Sobers

365*, 125



RS Dravid

41*, 200*, 70*, 162



CA Pujara

206*, 41*, 135


785 (est)

BE Congdon

166*, 82


Minutes Batted


S Chanderpaul

67*, 101*, 136*, 58



JH Kallis

157*, 42*, 189*, 68



SR Tendulkar

241*, 60*, 194*, 2



RS Dravid

41*, 200*, 70*, 162



S Chanderpaul

107*, 77*, 79*, 50



AC Voges

269*, 106*, 239



S Chanderpaul

116*, 136*, 70



AN Cook

235*, 148



S Chanderpaul

101*, 128*, 97*, 45



N Hussain

70*, 146*, 15



CA Pujara

206*, 41*, 135



Shoaib Mohammad

203*, 105



I will post these lists in the “Unusual Records” section.










The following 6-ball overs had shots off the bat for 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 (not in that order)


West Indies (535) v England Kingston 1935, 117th over. 046123


West Indies v England Antigua 1986, 37th over, during Viv Richards record century. 136240


England (400) v West Indies, Chester-le-Street 2007, 75th over. 263410


Australia (401) v England Brisbane 2013/14, 53rd over. 263401


There are a couple of cases with 12346 (out of order) but no 0s (two singles).


Most remarkable was Mumbai 1951/52, when India hit 4, 0, 1, 2, 3, 8 in the 44th over, 1st innings.

There were no overs found containing shots for 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.




In the first T20 against Australia, Hardik Pandya bowled five wides in the first over of his international career, three of them before he could bowl a legal ball.


I can't find any previous instances of five separate wides in any over in T20 internationals. There are a couple of cases of four wides plus one no ball, by Kemar Roach and by Dale Steyn, both in 2010.

TL Chatara bowled seven wides in 4 overs on debut, also in 2010.


An Under 19 World Cup game in 2004, England v Zimbabwe, had 17 players who went on to senior internationals, including the entire Zimbabwe team




This appears to be the most productive ‘youth’ game, in these terms, played to date. It is possible that more players will be selected for internationals from these or other teams so the record could change.

1 Feb 2016



For a change of pace, I thought I’d share what I have decided is one of my favourite cricket photos. It shows Lawrence Rowe being caught by Ian Chappell off Jeff Thomson at the MCG on Boxing Day 1975. Those familiar with Australian cricket photography will not be surprised to learn that it was taken by Patrick Eagar.




The occasion was the morning of one of the first Boxing Day Tests. Some 85,000 people were present, and in those days the MCG stands were physically smaller than now. Such was the crush of spectators that large numbers were sitting even right behind the sight screen.


As you can see, the photo is on the cover of a Bill Frindall book of scores from that time. While it is not a rare book, it is by no means common and so I hope that no one concerned will mind the reproduction. Unfortunately, my copy is worn by use, and so I have photoshopped out some scratches and abrasions.


Why do I like it? Unlike most cricket photography, it presents a dramatic moment in a Test match much as a spectator experiences it, with a wider field of view than normally seen. Many modern telephoto shots, usually taken from the boundary at ground level, are so extreme that they sometimes struggle to get even the batsman’s face and bat into the same frame.


I like the elevated viewpoint and the composition. The participants are placed neatly, and all eyes are on the ball, directing the viewer’s attention to the main action. The power of Thomson is suggested by his position, still in mid-air even though the ball has reached the slip fielder. The catcher’s position is also dynamic, and shows perfect technique. The packed crowd looming at the top of frame increases the sense of drama.


I also really like the lack of intrusive advertising (although I will admit to photoshopping out one small ad).


I did not go to that match, but I did see, with my brother, the equivalent day in the Sydney Test. Even though we got into the ground more than an hour before the start, there were no seats left in the stands (tickets were not numbered or pre-sold) so we sat on the steps of the Sheridan stand, among 53,000 people; the SCG would never see such a crowd again. Jeff Thomson retired hurt three different batsmen that day; for atmosphere and drama, I have not been to a day’s cricket since that quite matched it.


I believe that only fragments of video of these Tests have survived.





An article on the most extreme Test performances of the last 50 years, combining batting and bowling performances on the same scale. This is an extended version of an article written for Cricket Monthly online. It should be stressed that my list is ‘most extreme’, in a statistical sense, rather than ‘greatest’.





Some notes on the question: in 1975, did Denis Amiss break the ODI record score before Glenn Turner?


On 7 June 1975 the ODI record stood at 116 (David Lloyd in 1974). That day, Amiss scored 137 and Glenn Turner 171*. Both opened the batting in World Cup matches, with simultaneous starting times, one at Lord's the other at Edgbaston.


At lunch (1pm), Amiss was 98 in 35 overs and Turner 82 in 40 overs. Amiss reached 100 off 112 balls. None of the reports available say exactly what happened next, but it is very probable that Amiss would have reached 116 first. The partnership between Amiss and Fletcher was very fast in the latter stages and would have reached a crescendo going from 150 to 230 after lunch. Turner, however, also scored extremely quickly after lunch.


Less certain is whether Amiss still held the record when he was out. Again there are no exact figures, but Amiss was out in the 51st over, while I calculate from the later falls of wicket that Turner was about 142 in 54 overs. However, the over rate was higher in Turner's case, so his 54 overs may well have preceded Amiss' 51 overs. Minutes batted data would be useful here but is lacking.


Amiss, who had scored the first two ODI centuries in 1972 and 1973, before ceding the record to Lloyd, had probably retaken the record, but for less than half an hour, and perhaps only for the time equivalent of five or six overs.




Australia has selected a touring team to New Zealand with all six states represented. Using place of birth, all six states were last represented in a Test at Bangalore 2010. (Players born overseas were not counted.)


MJ Clarke        NSW

SR Watson       QLD

MG Johnson    QLD

NM Hauritz     QLD

PR George       SA

RT Ponting      TAS

TD Paine          TAS

BW Hilfenhaus            TAS

MJ North         VIC

SM Katich       WA

MEK Hussey   WA


At the Oval in 2005 and various earlier Tests, there were players from all six states, plus the Northern Territory (Damien Martyn). There were all six plus ACT in some Tests when Michael Bevan was playing, including Karachi 1994.


Martyn and Bevan never played together in Tests, and there are no cases with all eight states and territories. However, it has happened in ODIs, including a game in Cairns in 2003, and for good measure at that game there was also Andrew Symonds, born in the U.K.




I don't have enough data to answer the question in terms of which teams the players were playing for at the time.


Most runs in first-class cricket before first Test match.

EH Bowley


WG Grace


RGA Headley


AR Lewis


SJ Cook


PN Kirsten


J Vine


AP Wells


RM Prideaux


JH Parks


CT Radley


JM Brearley


D Denton


MEK Hussey



Bowley was an opening batsman in the era of Hobbs and Sutcliffe. At the age of 39, he filled in for Hobbs in a couple of Tests against South Africa in 1929.

Jimmy Cook is the father of Stephen Cook, who has just been selected for South Africa after scoring over 11,000 runs.


Does not include players who played no Tests. Alan Jones (36000+ runs) represented England in matches against Rest of the World in 1970, but Test status for these matches was later withdrawn. Jones scored 17,774 runs before the first Rest of the World match.




Most Test runs in an Australian home season


2003/04           RT Ponting (6 Tests)   965

2003/04           ML Hayden (6)                         952

2005/06           ML Hayden (7)                         949

2005/06           RT Ponting (7)                          944

1928/29           WR Hammond (5)                    905

2012/13           MJ Clarke (6)               892

1952/53           RN Harvey (5)                          834

2015/16           DA Warner (6)                        818

1936/37           DG Bradman (5)                       810


The off-season Tests in Cairns and Darwin are excluded, but the World XI Test in 2005/06 is included.


In 2003/04, Ponting scored 1034 runs and Hayden 1013 if you include the off-season Tests against Bangladesh.





Homebodies: FS Jackson (20 Tests) and H Ironmonger (14 Tests) played all their Tests at home. For players who eventually played away, the most home Tests from start of career is 13, by several players including WG Grace, DR Doshi and Eoin Morgan. The Most for an Australian is 11 by Merv Hughes.


AJ Traicos played his first and only away Test 23 years after his debut.





After his 1* in the Melbourne ODI, James Faulkner has now hit the winning run nine times in only 35 ODI innings (25.7%). While he is way behind the likes of Dhoni (24 out of 236 innings) in total number of winners, his percentage is higher than anyone in this century who has played more than five innings, and way ahead of any major player.


Dhoni (10.2%) is the leader among players with at least 50 innings.


Data from 1999 onwards only.


The somewhat maligned Mick Lewis, never seen again after the 870-run slogathon in Johannesburg in 2006, appears to be the only player on record to hit the winning run in his only ODI innings (in matches between Test-playing countries). All possibilities before 1999 have been checked.





18 January, 2016


Winning All Out

It has always been unusual for a team in an ODI to be bowled out inside the allotted overs and still win. (Yet these matches can be some of the best ODIs to watch). In the last few years the unusual has become decidedly rare. It is another sign of the increasing dominance of bat over ball that is distorting the game. Here is historical incidence of teams bowled out batting first which then went on to win. Games involving Test-ranked teams only. Duckworth/Lewis results excluded.

Winning team all out




























While there were fluctuations in the past, the most recent results show a sudden and significant fall-off.



Some questions from Ask Steven:


In the 2nd ODI between NZL and SL, Sri Lanka spinner Jeffry Vandersay conceded 26 runs in his debut over. (3 sixes and 2 fours).


No one has else has conceded 26 or more runs in an over on debut or during the first ODI in which they bowled. Matthew Hayden conceded 18 runs in his only over in ODIs, and I can't find anyone else since then who has conceded more in their first over.






Dean Elgar and Stiaan Van Zyl were the last two South African bowlers when England was bowled out in the 2nd innings of the 1st test and then they opened the innings for Proteas. Is it a unique event in test cricket when both the opening bowlers were the last two bowlers to finish opponents innings?


It's quite rare, when circumstances are exactly as described. At Chittagong in 2009, Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal bowled the last two overs of an innings against Sri Lanka, and then opened the batting immediately afterwards. However they did not bowl the opposition out; there was a declaration. There are one or two similar cases in the last 20 years, where an innings ended in a declaration. There are one or two other occasions where a pair of opening batsmen bowled the last two overs of an innings, but these were last two overs of a drawn match.


At Rawalpindi in 1994, Taylor and Slater bowled the last two overs in Pakistan's second innings and then opened. In this case, Pakistan was bowled out. I can't find any other cases in the last 30 years and 1200 Test matches.


Slater, who took the last wicket in that innings, bowled only 4.1 overs in his whole Test career.






Longest wait to complete an over in a Test: A couple of extreme cases were very recent. Against Bangladesh last year, Dale Steyn waited 4 days to finish an over. However, he never did finish it as the match was washed out. For bowlers who did eventually complete their over, Josh Hazlewood waited three days in the Sydney Test just a couple of weeks ago. Hazlewood's over was interrupted at about 1:40 pm, so he had to wait about 2 hours short of a full three days. Chris Martin also waited until the third day at Johannesburg in 2000, but his over was interrupted at 6:26 pm and restarted at 10:45.


Tony MacGibbon waited 4 days, including a rest day, at Dunedin in 1955, but when play restarted, England declared, so he didn't complete the over.


Reaching 100 and 200 in the same session


CA Roach                                  WI v Eng, Georgetown, Guyana 1930

DG Bradman                Aus v Ind, Adelaide Oval 1947/48

DCS Compton              Eng v Pak, Nottingham (Trent Bridge) 1954

NJ Astle                                     NZ v Eng, Christchurch 2001/02

MS Dhoni                                  Ind v Aus, Chennai (Chepauk) 2012/13

BA Stokes                                  SAf v Eng, Cape Town 2015/16









A recent research trip to New Zealand met with some success. A total of eight Test match scores were found that were previously thought lost, one from Christchurch and seven linear scores from Auckland between 1967 and 1981.


I also photographed more than 120 original scores of ODIs form the 1990s. I now have over 300 such scores from prior to the Cricinfo era and hope someday to extend back in time ball-by-ball knowledge of one-dayers.

We were also doing some family research, and gained access to surviving copies of the very earliest newspapers printed in Auckland, from 1841 onwards. Also keeping an eye out for references to cricket, the earliest match mentioned in Auckland was a match between “Married” and “Single” in February 1843, when Auckland had a population of perhaps 2,000. Prior to that, in January, the
Auckland Chronicle rather curiously printed a complete set of the Laws of Cricket as they then stood. Perhaps this was because matches were planned and everyone needed to agree on the rules.

Anyway, I have
uploaded a photo of the relevant page from January 25, 1843, for those interested in cricket’s earlier days in the colonies.

18 December, 2015


Re-writing some Slow-Moving Records


Most of the records for slowest scoring Tests date from many years ago, with few recent additions. It seemed to be getting less and less likely that such records would be much added to, what with the modern game dominated by flat-track bullies using super bats on shrunken grounds.


But then the South Africans came along with an innings of 143 in 143.1 overs at the Delhi FSK ground. The only real parallel was India’s 187 off 185 overs at Bridgetown in 1962. The details of the South African innings challenge and sometimes even surpass anything from olden times. Hashim Amla’s 25 off 244 balls (10.25 R/100 b) and AB de Villiers 43 off 297 (14.48 R/100b) rival anything from earlier times.


Here are some other slow innings in the same range, not on Cricinfo:


8.97    Hanif Mohammad (20 off 223 balls) Lord's 1954

11.76  HL Collins (40 off 340) The Oval 1921

12.36  WH Scotton (34 off 275) The Oval 1886.


Bizarre to think that de Villiers started off the year by hitting a century off 31 balls in an ODI, more than twenty times faster than his Delhi marathon.





Fewest runs by individuals in a complete session (minimum two hours, 24 overs)


4           (90 balls)         MD Crowe (19*), Colombo 1983 Day 5, Session 2

5           (78 balls)         Arshad Khan (9*), Colombo 2000, Day 3, Session 2

6           (113 balls)       HM Amla (25), Delhi 2015, Day 4, Session 2

7           (124 balls)       AC Bannerman (41), Melbourne 1892, Day 3, Session 2*

8           (~135 balls)     B Mitchell (58), Brisbane 1931, Day 5

8           (93 balls)         MC Cowdrey (27), Lord’s 1956, Day 4, Session 3

8                                     CPS Chauhan (79), Kanpur 1979, Day 1, Session 1

8           (99 balls)         RC Russell (29*), Johannesburg 1995, Day 5, Session 2

8           (49 balls)         GA Gooch (84), The Oval 1988, Day 3, Session 1


*possibly less than 2 hours, but about 45 overs were bowled.


TE Bailey scored 8 in 121 minutes (135 balls) after lunch on Day 5, Leeds 1955. The match ended when he was out.


WR Playle scored 2 runs off 110 balls before lunch, Day 5, Leeds 1958, batting for all but 2 balls of the session.


PI Pocock scored 7 runs in a session of 31 overs but less than 2 hours, Georgetown 1968.


SCJ Broad (6) scored just 2 runs in the first two hours of an extended session, Auckland 2013, Day 5 Session 3. He was out before the end of the session.


Danny Morrison scored 7 runs off 68 balls in a session of about 2 hours but only 21 overs at Faisalabad 1990/91.

The Chauhan case is certainly an odd and unexpected one in that the batsman finished with 79 off 162 balls, but his eight runs is the least in a complete opening session of a Test. Gooch was an extreme case of sustained strike deprivation, combined with a slow over rate; only 24 overs were bowled in the session.


Chris Tavare scored 18 runs in two sessions (9+9) at Chennai in 1982. The sessions were 90 and 120 minutes.




Most balls faced in a partnership before first run (including extras) scored. The ball with the first run is not included.


62         Amla and de Villiers, 3rd wicket, SAf v Ind, Delhi 2015

58         Rabone and Poore, 6th wicket, NZ v SAf Durban 1953/54

58         Hanif Mohammad and Waqar Hassan, 2nd wicket, Pak v Eng Lord’s 1954

53         Edrich and Parkhouse, 5th wicket, Eng v WI Lord’s 1950

51         Younis Khan and Azhar Ali, 2nd wicket, Pak v SL Sharjah 2011


This is very much a “where known” record.





Most balls faced to reach double figures…




Hanif Mohammad


Pak v Eng, Lord's 1954

MD Crowe


NZ v SL, Colombo2 (SSC) 1983/84

DCS Compton


Eng v SAf, Johannesburg (Wanderers) 1956/57

WR Playle


NZ v Eng, Leeds (Headingley) 1958



Pak v Eng, Dhaka 1961/62

GM Turner


NZ v WI, Auckland 1968/69

H Moses


Aus v Eng, Melbourne (MCG) 1891/92


These are figures from the bbb database only (73% of Tests), and I have not hazarded any guesses for innings outside that set. Putting this together was occasioned by the discovery of the Turner innings, which included a stretch of 58 balls on a score of 6; the Auckland 1968/69 Test scoresheets were among a recent find from a recent research trip to New Zealand. Some of the other figures are uncertain, due to imprecise placement of byes and leg byes in the originals. The Moses figure is from an over-by-over analysis only.

The innings by the ‘dashing’ Compton is a surprise.

Hashim Amla’s recent effort fell short of this list, reaching 10 off 122 balls.





I have added two new record categories to the Unusual Records files: slowest teams to reach 50 and 100. In the latter, the Delhi marathon beats all comers, with previous records being clustered around the ‘funereal’ period of the fifties and early sixties.


This is a difficult area to nail down definitively, because many extreme cases tend to come from an era that is poorly represented by detailed data. However, I have done as much checking as possible, and I think there would be few cases that escape notice completely. Estimates of some sort are possible in most cases where scorebooks or other exact data are not available. Here is a part of the tables…


Slowest teams to 100

Balls bowled


SAf (143) v Ind

Delhi 2015/16


Eng (181) v WI

Bridgetown, Barbados 1954


Ind (185) v WI

Bridgetown, Barbados 1962


SAf (198) v Aus

Johannesburg (Wanderers) 1957/58


NZ (255) v WI

Auckland 1955/56


SAf (144) v Aus

Port Elizabeth 1957/58


Ind (266) v Eng

Kanpur 1963/64


Pak (331) v Ind

Lucknow (University) 1952/53

*Rough estimate. Pakistan was 90 off 95 overs, and 118 off about 110-115 overs.




Batsmen out twice in shortest space of time



PW Sherwell



SAf v Aus, Sydney (SCG) 1910/11

FM Engineer



Ind v NZ, Mumbai (Brabourne) 1964/65

TM Dowlin



WI v Aus, Brisbane ('Gabba') 2009/10

DM Bravo



WI v Aus, Hobart 2015/16

J Iddon



Eng v WI, Kingston, Jamaica 1935

RF Surti



Ind v Eng, Leeds (Headingley) 1967

VT Trumper



Aus v Eng, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1902



Balls estimated for Engineer: 30-35. Times do not include change of innings or breaks in play. Dowlin and Surti’s dismissals were in different sessions; Iddon’s and Trumper’s were on different days, almost 24 hours later in Trumper’s case, in a heavily rain-affected match.

There are perhaps 50 or more cases of a batsman being out twice in the same session. However, with over rates slowing down in recent decades, it has become quite uncommon. Before Bravo, the last case was Salman Butt at Lord’s in 2010.

Apart from Sherwell above, I know of only one case of two consecutive wickets falling in a Test, with the same batsman dismissed both times: that was Willie Watson at Adelaide in 1958/59. In Bravo’s case at Hobart, there was just one intervening wicket.





Reaching ODI century with a six:

Since 1999, de Villiers has 6, with Gibbs, Kallis and Jayasuriya on 3. Kallis and Jayasuriya could have one or two more before 1999, but there is no bbb data and no mention in Wisden reports.


When Jayasuriya reached 100 off 48 balls in Singapore in 1996 and hit 11 sixes, he reached 100 with a single.




Teams with most captains: in 1996, Pakistan regularly fielded ODI teams with six past or present captains. The first occasion was at Old Trafford.


SInce then, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka have also fielded six; Sri Lanka did so in the World Cup against Australia this year.


The only team with seven was (technically) a 'World XI' at MCG in 2005. Their opponents, an 'Asian XI' had six, making 13 in all in the match.




Only one maiden was bowled on the first day of the first Test against New Zealand (Australia 416 for 2). When Australia scored 494 in a day against South Africa in 1910, there were no maidens in the first 85 overs, but the day finished with five in 99 overs.


There were no maidens on the first day at Durban in 1938/39 (third Test, not the 10-day Test) in 76 overs. However, they were 8-ball overs, so it was harder to bowl maidens.


There were only 2 maidens in 87.3 overs on the first day of the Kolkata Test of 2011 (India/West Indies).




A question on Ask Steven: In NZ's domestic T20 competition, Canterbury Kings fielder Peter Fulton took 5 outfield catches and their wicketkeeper Cameron Fletcher took 5 dismissals also. Has it happened previously that two fielders have accounted for all 10 dismissals in any innings in any first class format?


I can find a grand total of one previous case that meets the criteria, Griqualand West v Easterns in 2001





In a couple of others, the dismissals were shared between 2 fielders but the keeper took nearly all of them. That's it for all of senior cricket.


At the other end of the scale, here's an innings where 10 catches were taken by 10 different fielders.





27 November 2015

A few occasional notes


Victorian opener Travis Dean now has a first-class average. After becoming the first batsman in first-class history to make unbeaten twin centuries on debut, he then scored 84 and 19 when he next batted. When he was out for 84 his first-class average stood at 347.0. This was the highest average on record, at the end of an innings, in all of first-class cricket (previously 325.0 by W Jaffer, and 320.0 by PS Clifford). His average briefly reached 366 just before he was out for 19 in the second innings. The highest (transient) averages ever reached are


392.0 SJE Loxton 1947 (232*, 73, 87)

389.0 HO Rock 1925 (127, 27*, 235)

371.0 Jiwanjot Singh 2012 (213, 158)

366.0 TJ Dean 2015 (154*, 109*, 84, 19)

354.0 W Jaffer 1997 (11, 314*, 29)





The most consecutive ducks in f-c cricket that I can find is six, by several players, including Albert Wright of South Australia in 1905-06, who did so in the first six innings of his career.

VHD Cannings, W Worsley. RR Richards and IM Kidson made six consecutive ducks and 7 consecutive 0s including one 0 not out.

CE Shreck

RR Richards

IM Kidson

AP Sedara


Mark Robinson of Yorkshire failed to score in 12 consecutive innings, seven of them not out.


Michael Jones wrote today that Pakistan has two current players named Imran Khan. One of them has played 7 Tests, the other 3 T20is... and yet neither has scored a run.




First scoring shot in Tests a six: here's some players, not necessarily a complete list (but mostly complete, I think)


EW Freeman (second ball)

Al-Amin Hossain*

CA Best

DM Richards

Jahurul Islam

KM Dabengwa

MD Craig (first ball faced)


*not on debut: he failed to score in his first Test.


JH Sinclair apparently cleared the boundary with his first scoring shot in 1896, but at the time the shot only counted for four.




Some early declarations in f-c cricket

0/1    Derbyshire v Essex, Leyton 1900

4/2    Glamorgan v Worcestershire, Worcester 1935

17/3  Glamorgan v Hampshire, Bournemouth 1981

23/4  Middlesex v Yorkshire, Leeds 1906

26/5  Eagles v Dolphins, Durban 2008/09

21/6  Glamorgan v Notts, Cardiff 1924

24/7  Windward Is v Leeward Is, Roseau, Nov 2015

43/8  Cambridge U v Warwickshire, Cambridge 1953

44/9  Sussex v Gloucestershire, Cheltenham 1968

44/9  Victoria v WA, Melbourne 1975/76


Previously the earliest declaration with 7 wickets down was 32/7 – in a Test match, Aus v Eng Brisbane 1950/51.



Test centuries with strike rate greater than a run per ball from the very first ball:

GL Jessop 104, The Oval 1902
S Chanderpaul 100,  Georgetown 2003
Sarfraz Ahmed 109, Dubai 2014
Misbah-ul-Haq 101*, Abu Dhabi 2014

All were against Australia, and I can find no others against other countries. A very odd pattern.



Dismissed on overnight score…

Twice in the same Test is a rare event, and as far as I can see, Misbah-ul-Haq, at Dubai, is only the third batsman to experience this. The others were Champaka Ramanayake and Dinanath Ramnarine.






In total, it appears to have happened to Misbah five times, including the two in the current match. Four of those have been in the last 12 months.


I calculate six each for Chris Cairns and Jacques Kallis. MIsbah joins DBL Powell, RS Dravid, MA Atherton and GA Gooch on five.

Martin Snedden scored a three-day duck at Trent Bridge in 1990. He was 0 not out on the first day and again on the second (only 5 overs were bowled), then out for 0 off 29 balls on the third morning.


The highest score by a batsman dismissed on his overnight score is 223 by Bradman in 1930/31. The thousands who turned up to see Bradman continue his double-century were not best pleased. Clyde Walcott (152) was run out as non-striker on the first ball of the second day at Delhi in 1948. Conrad Hunte, on debut, batted right through his first day of Test cricket, but was out for 142 first ball next day (Bridgetown 1958).




A reader on the Ask Steven Facebook page noted that in a recent Australia A v India A match in Chennai, Gurinder Sandhu Took wickets by all available means: bowled, caught, lbw, stumped and hit wicket. In modern cricket, this is a rare event. I appears that it hasn't happened in a Test match, which is a bit of a surprise. In f-c cricket, there are quite a few cases (more than 100), but there are very few in recent times.[It seems that hit wicket was more common long ago than it is now, so fewer bowlers get all five. Stumping is also less common.]


 The most recent prior case that I found (and this is a case of all five in one innings) was BGK Walker in this match in 1998.






29 October 2015


A Very Long Wait Indeed



Most Balls Bowled Before First Wicket in a Test Innings


Zulfiqar Babar of Pakistan gave this record a good shake in the recent Test in Abu Dhabi. Zulfiqar finished with figures of 72-17-183-1.



Runs conceded


H Verity


Eng v SAf, Durban (Kingsmead) 1938/39



Zulfiqar Babar


Pak v Eng, Abu Dhabi 2015/16



LR Gibbs


WI v Aus, Bridgetown, Barbados 1965



N Gordon


SAf v Eng, Durban (Kingsmead) 1938/39



MW Tate


Eng v Aus, The Oval 1930



WJ O'Reilly


Aus v Eng, Sydney (SCG) 1932/33



DVP Wright


Eng v Aus, Sydney (SCG) 1946/47



LO'B Fleetwood-Smith


Aus v Eng, The Oval 1938



MW Tate


Eng v Aus, Lord's 1930



R Tattersall


Eng v SAf, Leeds (Headingley) 1951



AV Bedser


Eng v Aus, Sydney (SCG) 1946/47



JE Emburey


Eng v Ind, Mumbai (Wankhede) 1992/93



Danish Kaneria


Pak v Ind, Rawalpindi (Cricket Stadium) 2003/04



Mushtaq Ahmed


Pak v SAf, Rawalpindi (Cricket Stadium) 1997/98



FJ Titmus


Eng v Aus, Melbourne (MCG) 1965/66



M Muralitharan


SL v NZ, Colombo1 (PSS) 2002/03



MG Waite


Aus v Eng, The Oval 1938



S Ramadhin


WI v Eng, Nottingham (Trent Bridge) 1950



HJ Tayfield


SAf v Aus, Cape Town 1957/58



A Kumble


Ind v SL, Colombo 1997/98



A Mishra


Ind v SL, Ahmedabad (Gujarat) 2009/10







*8-ball overs. Italics indicate timeless Tests.


Verity took two wickets in his last over of that innings in 1939, having previously gone wicketless for the equivalent of 73 overs.


Figures that are undetermined include:


>350? DR Doshi Auckland 1981.

? AB Howard Georgetown 1972

>350? SA Durani Kingston 1962

~350 AV Mankad Peshawar 1955


There may be others, although I doubt if there are any undetermined figures that would rank in the top 6.


At Bridgetown in 1962, Lance Gibbs bowled 225 balls before his first wicket, but finished with 8 for 38.


Most balls in an innings without taking a wicket: 432 By DS Atkinson (72-29-137-0) at Edgbaston 1957.

Other extreme runs conceded before first wicket:


179   M Prabhakar, Lord’s 1990

166   RK Chauhan, Colombo 1997/98

159   I Sharma Edgbaston 2011

156   PR Adams Johannesburg 1996/97




Chancy Triples


With assistance from Michael Jones and Christopher Hilton’s “The 300 Men” I have compiled a list of known chances (catches and stumpings) for batsmen making Test triple centuries.



A Sandham 1930


Reported as chanceless.

DG Bradman 1930


Missed on 273 (keeper Duckworth off Geary).

WR Hammond 1933


Dropped by Dempster on 134 (ball went for six), and by Dunning on about 239.

DG Bradman 1934


Missed in 280 by Verity off Bowes (slips), Hammond Sq leg on 72 (difficult).

L Hutton 1938


Missed stumping (Barnett off Fleetwood-Smith) on 40. Caught off no ball on 153 (O’Reilly bowling). On 245, “Bradman slipped going for the catch”.

Hanif Mohammad 1958


I have noted a dropped catch at slip on 14. Reports vary.

GStA Sobers 1958


Dropped by keeper Imtiaz off Kardar on 100.

RB Simpson 1964


Difficult chance to Parks off Cartwright on 33.

JH Edrich 1965


Sharp slip chance on 40 (Taylor off Collinge). Technical chance on 173, Congdon (ball went for six), v difficult chance on 287 (Taylor off Collinge).

RM Cowper 1966


On 89, fielder Knight moved wrong way to a catchable hit off Brown; technical chance to Titmus in gully in 220s.

LG Rowe 1974


Reported as chanceless.

GA Gooch 1990


Dropped by More off Sharma on 36; Shastri missed a difficult c&b on 236.

BC Lara 1994


Reported as chanceless. Possible caught behind chance on 286.

ST Jayasuriya 1997


Reported as chanceless.

MA Taylor 1998


Dropped on 18 and 27 by Saeed Anwar off Mushtaq Ahmed, and by Moin Khan off Aamer Sohail on 325

Inzamam-ul-Haq 2002


Dropped by keeper off Harris on 32; Vincent (gully ) off Vettori on 110

ML Hayden 2003


Mid-on fielder went wrong direction toward possible chance on 236. Dropped by Gripper off Ervine on about 336.

V Sehwag 2004


Sami off Saqlain Mushtaq on 68; Saqlain off Shoaib Akhtar on 77; dropped at first slip (Taufeeq Umar) off Shabbir Ahmed on 274.

BC Lara 2004


“Academic” chance to Butcher on 157, at cover off Hoggard; practically uncatchable c&b to Batty on 293. Possible nick, leg side, dropped by Jones on 359, off Batty.

CH Gayle 2005


Dropped by Smith (slip) on 80 off Kallis. Drop by Boucher off Smith on 298 unconfirmed.

DPMD Jayawardene 2006


Reported as chanceless.

V Sehwag 2008


Reported as chanceless.

Younis Khan 2009


Dropped by Dilshan on 221 off Mendis (difficult).

CH Gayle 2010


V. difficult c&b Randiv on 171.

MJ Clarke 2012


Ishant Sharma c&b on 182.

HM Amla 2012


V. difficult, Strauss at slip, on 40 off Bopara. Difficult c&b by Bopara on 305.

KC Sangakkara 2014


Possible keeper chance on 120 off Mahmudullah.

BB McCullum 2014


On 9, Kohli short mid-on off Mohammad Shami; on 26, Ishant Sharma c&b; on 161, Dawan off Khan, third slip.

Note (regards Hutton) that there is an extra difficulty in assessing some missed stumpings, in that there can be uncertainty about the batsmen regaining his ground, and the umpire’s decision, even if the keeper effected the stumping efficiently. When Hutton was caught off a no ball, he would undoubtedly have heard the call prior to making the shot. He scored one  run, so the ball was probably caught in the outfield.


The most expensive misses can be listed


324 runs: Hutton 364 (stumping)

323 runs: Hanif 337 (unconfirmed)

316 and 307 runs: Taylor 334*

297 runs: Inzamam 329

297 runs: Gooch 333

293 runs: McCullum 302


The results emphasise an element of luck in making huge scores. Depending on how one treats ‘technical’ chances, only about 21-39% of these batsmen reached 300 without giving a chance. By contrast, about 50% of century-makers reach 100 without any chance (higher if you don’t count technical chances).


Many of these innings, possibly a majority of them, also included misadventures in running between wickets and near run outs, but these have not been included. The usual caveats apply as to what constitutes a chance and what does not: opinions will vary, particularly across the years. Before television, there would be extra uncertainty about some chances.

Also note: Martin Crowe, in his 299, was dropped on 231 by Ranatunga at midwicket off de Silva. Bradman’s 299* included a difficult chance on 187 (Mitchell at slip off Bell). Sehwag’s 293 included a difficult chance on 273. Cook 294 and Sarwan 291 appear to have been chanceless. (Cook’s is the highest score reached by an English batsman without giving a chance.) Viv Richards, in his 291, was dropped at mid-off by Balderstone off Underwood on 166; there was also a technical chance on 214.



A couple of intriguing (non-first-class) matches from India, unearthed by Sreeram from the trove in Cricket Archive. One was a timeless university match that lasted for eight consecutive days, with a fourth innings of 611. The other was a schools match with a team innings of 1025, a first innings lead of over one thousand and a margin of an innings and 925 runs. The latter match does not have a full score: it would be most interesting to find one.


I did find the close of play scores in the university match:

Bombay was 268/9 on the first day, out for 343 on the second with Delhi 160/2.


Delhi was out for 241 and Bombay (second innings) 99/2 and 501/5 on the 3rd and 4th days.


Bombay was out for 625, setting Delhi 728 to win. Delhi was 125/1 on the 5th day, 343/4 on the 6th, 567/6 on the 7th day, and out for 611 on the eighth day. The two second innings thus spanned six days.

The thousand score is only the fourth I have seen, after the two Victorian first-class scores and a club match in Melbourne (1094, University v Essendon 1897/98).




Siva Teja has done some interesting work on the geography of international cricket grounds. He found two grounds that are virtually antipodean to one another: Whangarei in New Zealand and Tangier in Morocco, some 20,020 kilometres apart. The closest two that still exist are the two grounds in Quetta, Pakistan, which are across the road from one another. Only a handful of internationals have been played there.

The most isolated ground (from the others) is still the WACA Perth, 2128 km from Adelaide. The highest is Jaffery Sports Club, Nairobi at 1776 metres (a surprise to me, I thought Johannesburg was the highest), the lowest is Rotterdam at -7.9 metres.


The cities (pop 100,000+) that are most distant from any international ground are Honolulu, Hawaii (from Whangerei) and Punta Arenas, Chile (from Georgetown, Guyana).

More info




The official paid attendance on the final day at Adelaide Oval in 1967/68 was 17. India was already 9 down, and only 6 overs were bowled. This is the lowest non-zero attendance figure for a  Test day in my database.





16 October 2015


I have updated the “Hot 100” list, the fastest-scoring and slowest-scoring batsmen in Test cricket. I do this about once a year. It is a characteristic of most batsmen that their scoring rates change from year to year much less than their batting averages, so there has been only slow change in the rankings. The notable movers are Brendon McCullum, up eight places after a stellar year, and Shakib al Hasan of Bangladesh.

Steve Smith (#59) and Mohammad Hafeez (#55) are also making strong moves, Smith rising more than 20 places.


[Note that, due to a subtle error, Chris Gayle and a couple of others were left off last year’s list.]




The list of batsmen reaching an ODI century off the last possible ball has been updated (19 August 2015). At Kanpur, AB de Villers became only the fifth confirmed case of achieving this with a six: Mohammad Yousuf (twice), Kevin Pietersen and Mahela Jayawardene Craig McMillan being the others.


UPDATE UPDATE. Rajneesh Gupta adds the following:

-Allan Lamb also reached his hundred off the last ball of innings (Eng v Aus, Nottingham, 1989) in a 55 over game.


-Javed Miandad did so in a 43-over game (Pak v WI, Georgetown, 1988)


-One more ball was bowled in Zimbabwean innings after Sikandar Raza reached his hundred off a no-ball. Raza lost the strike while taking the single to complete his hundred.


-Ramiz Raja was out obstructing the field on 99 while going for the second run (which would have taken him to his 100) in a 44-over game (Pak v Eng, Karachi, 1987).




I wrote some time ago that the first batsman to hit sixes off consecutive balls was Warwick Armstrong at the MCG in 1908. There is, however, an earlier example. JJ Lyons, at the Oval in 1893, hit five consecutive balls faced for four (two off Briggs and three off Lockwood. He was out next ball). The last two hits, although they only counted four at the time, cleared the boundary and would be regarded as sixes today. The first of these hits “he drove straight to the roof of the pavilion, the ball bounding over.” That was one mighty hit, perhaps exceeding 115 metres.



Runner run out in Tests, where known (Batsman given out named, runner in brackets)

NJ Contractor (Borde) 1958
Wazir Mohammad (Mathias)1959
JHB Waite (unk) 1965
EW Freeman (Sheahan) 1970
CJ McDermott (M Waugh) 1995
SR Waugh (Blewett) 1998


Steve Waugh was run out only four times in Tests, and it turns out that one of those involved his runner. Waugh’s partners were run out on 23 occasions.

Batsman run out off a no ball, where known

CE McLeod 1897
A Cotter 1911
EDAStJ McMorris 1960
JA Snow 1965
IR Redpath 1973
CEH Croft 1980
Shoaib Mohammad 1988
DC Boon 1989
DM Jones 1991
SK Warne 1993
SB Doull 1997
RD King 1999
DR Martyn 2003
AJ Hall 2004
TM Dilshan 2010
Harbhajan Singh 2010
SPD Smith 2014


MacLeod and Jones were run out after being bowled by the no ball, but left the crease not hearing the call, and thinking they were out. Macleod was nearly deaf, and his run out has to be described as “just not cricket, old chap”.




In his 245 in the Test at Abu Dhabi, Shoaib Malik made scoring shots for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. I have records of about 60 other cases, but there are probably a couple of dozen others not recorded. The smallest score to include all these shots is 39 by EA Brandes for Zimbabwe at Auckland in 1996. No one has added a 7 to the complete set, although Andrew Sandham scored both a five and a seven in his 325 in 1930. However, he hit no sixes.

It even happens sometimes for one batsman off one particular bowler. At the Gabba in 2000, Brett Lee (62*) scored 22 runs off Marlon Black, including one six, one five, one four, one three, one two and two singles (plus 18 dot balls).




Since 2000,  I have logged the following numbers of slip catches off pace bowlers in Tests...


keeper           3184

1st slip          696

2nd slip        707

3rd slip         266

4th slip         26

gully           540

"Slip"            449



These are from text descriptions, which are sometimes imprecise.


"Slip" means that the exact position was not specified in texts or reports. While 2nd slip gets more catches in the above table, I would expect that a large majority of catches at "Slip" were actually 1st slip. Some recorders do not mention a slip number if only one slip is in place.


Most expensive overs with no boundaries or extras…

There was an 8-ball over at SCG 1963/64 that went 0,3,2,3,3,0,2,2 = 15 runs. Peter Pollock bowling, O'Neill and Lawry facing.


There was a 6-ball over at Lord's 1982 that went 3,3,1,3,0,2 = 12 runs. Doshi bowling, Randall and Botham facing.


This is "Where Known". There could be others.




In the recent Colombo Test, Ishant Sharma, in his 65th Test, was the most experienced player in the match, at the young age of 26. This is unusual but not unprecedented.  At Karachi 1959, Garry Sobers (25th Test) was the most experienced player at age 22. At Rawalpindi in 1997, Waqar Younis, age 25 in his 45th Test, was the most experienced. Mohammad Ashraful was the most experienced player at age 25 against West Indies in 2009, in Tests where the senior West Indies players had gone on strike and had been replaced.


I don't think there are any others before their 26th birthday, except some special cases in the 1800s which I have excluded because nobody had played more than a handful of Tests. Tendulkar played four Tests at age 26 where he was the most experienced player, and Alan Knott played five.




Batsmen involved in run outs: In Tests, I get 29 for Border (12 times out), 27 for Dravid (13 times out) and Steve Waugh (4 times out: in one of those his runner was run out), 26 for Chanderpaul (4 times out). Ponting was involved in only 20 run outs, but was out himself on 15 of those occasions.


Inzamam was run out only six times in Tests, and saw his partner run out ten times.


In ODIs , there is Mohammad Yousuf (79/ 38 times out), SR Waugh (78/ 27), Inzamam (76/ 40) and Tendulkar (76/ 34), Dravid (74/ 40). Atapattu, run out more than any other batsman (41 times), is down the list a bit on 65/ 41.



10 September 2015



Here is some further data on the subject of the follow-on. I also looked at this subject on

17 February 2014 . It occurred to me that a primary factor behind the success of follow-on decisions by captains might be the amount of time left in the match, rather than the runs lead.


So I looked at the outcomes of matches where a follow-on was available, in terms of the stage of the match where the follow-on decision was made. The data in the table covers matches since 1995; Tests involving Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, which have inevitable results, have been excluded.


Win % in follow-on situations, according to session of play



FO: Times Enforced

Enforced Win %

FO:  Not Enforced

Not Enforced Win %


















































Not surprisingly, the more time is available, the higher the likelihood of winning the match. Leading by over 200 with more than 3 days to play just about guarantees a win, regardless of the decision. However, there are some interesting differences in the outcomes on the third and fourth days.


Enforcing the follow-on: with each successive session, from the beginning of the third day, the Win % declines. The decline is gradual, and enforcing the follow-on on the fourth day still has good positive outcomes.


Not enforcing the follow-on: there are excellent outcomes on the third day, but the success rate plummets on day four.


Bottom line: do not enforce when time is available on the third day, but enforce the follow-on when time is short (day four). Given that follow-on situations arise more frequently on the third day, it is better in general NOT to enforce the follow-on.


Teams not enforcing have a 100% record if the decision comes up before tea on the third day. This is quite remarkable when you think about it; at the very least you would expect the occasional such Test to be washed out, but no trailing team in the last 20 years has managed to recover from this, if asked to bowl again.


There is some surprise in this data, in that it runs counter to the observation that it is easier to win a Test by wickets than runs if time is an issue, because you only need to score one extra run for a wickets win. The tiring of a bowling attack when the follow-on is enforced seems to be a very important factor.






Shane Watson has retired from Tests after a successful if oddly unsatisfying career. One aspect of his play that has received negative comment are claims that Watson overused the DRS system, and asked for too many improbable reviews of LBW decisions. This is something that can be checked with stats.


There have now been more than 150 Tests that used the DRS system. In those Tests, on-field umpires have made 781 lbw decisions (initially) against batsmen. Batsmen have challenged those lbw decisions a remarkable 459 times, 59% of the time. For top order batsmen, the percentage is even higher, about 65%.


Decisions were overturned in the batsman’s favour 126 times, representing 27.5% of the reviews (about 29% for top-order batsmen).


So how does Watson compare to other batsmen? He was given out lbw (initially, on-field) 15 times, which places him third after Alistair Cook (19) and Brendon McCullum (16). Watson challenged eleven of those decisions, so his percentage of 73% is indeed higher than the typical top order batsman. In two out of the eleven challenges, the decision was overturned, or 18%, which is rather lower than the 29% of other similar batsmen. The sample size getting quite small here, so don’t read too much into those last figures.


Nevertheless, this is evidence that Watson did overuse the system, but not radically so. I would say that the data does not strongly support the complaint, given that half of all batsmen will, by definition, have more than average number of challenges, so Watson has plenty of company. One other factor is that Watson was more prone to lbw than most other batsmen, so the review situation arose more often, and so attracted more notice. Watson was also subjected to lbw reviews by bowling teams more often than any other batsman: 17 times, ahead of Ian Trott on 16. Only two of these resulted in overturns, and Watson’s dismissal.


Watson has not been the leading challenger of decisions: Misbah-ul-Haq has challenged 13 out of 14 decisions against him, with three overturns. Curiously, Alistair Cook has challenged only seven out of 19 lbw decisions against him, with two overturns.





Top Order Batsmen Making their Maiden First-Class Century in a Test match.

It has happened occasionally with Zimbabwe players like GW Flower, BRM Taylor and AG Cremer, and some Bangladeshis.


But in the last 30 years I daresay the most prominent player who meets the criteria is (believe it or not) Kumar Sangakkara. Sangakkara's maiden first-class century came in his 10th Test match; it was his 50th first-class match and 76th innings. Remarkable. He played 103 innings before making a first-class century that was not in a Test match, and 140 innings before doing so in Sri Lanka.


Perhaps 20 players from the last 30 years also fit. Most of them ore not particularly prominent, but Salman Butt had a highest score of 60 and only one fc half-century (average 13.7) when he opened for Pakistan v Bangladesh in 2003.


David Warner, of course, played for Australia before he played first-class cricket, but that was in T20. He had a few fc centuries by the time he played Tests.





Here’s something I noticed while reading some reports of Tests in 1888. It is relevant to the little mystery why most countries refer to a cricket score as, say, 100 for 4 (runs-first), whereas in Australia it is 4 for 100 (wickets-first).


I appears that in the 19th Century, reports in England generally used the wickets-first style (at least in The Times). By 1907-1912, this style had changed in most cases to the runs-first style. In between, in 1902, both forms seem to have been in use. In one 1902 report (third Test, first day), both styles are used in the same paragraph.


It would appear that the Australian style is the retained original (or archaic) style, and that the English moved away from it in the early 20th Century. The original style is still seen in bowling figures, which are still given wickets-first everywhere, as are falls of wicket on standard scorecards.




I have records of about 80 cases of bowlers bowling  consecutive wides, but Mitchell Starc at Trent Bridge  is the first to do it in both innings of one Test. Guy Whittall did it twice in the same innings against India at Harare in 2001.


Mohsin Kamal bowled three consecutive wides to Mark Taylor at Rawalpindi in 1994, as did RJ Peterson to Alex Doolan at Centurion in 2014, and MB Owens of New Zealand at Moratuwa in 1992/93.


This data covers only about 80% of Tests.




In another remarkable Test, Sri Lanka defeated India at Galle even though they were five wickets down and still trailing in the third innings of the match. Apart from the immortal Headingley 1981 Test, when England were still behind with seven down, I found only three other teams that were behind with five down in the third innings and who went on to win the match: Colombo 92, Hamilton 93 and Sydney 94. These Tests are oddly clustered together but I don't think there are others.


None of these other three were as far behind with five down as Sri Lanka in the recent match.





19 August 2015



Here are a couple of recent published articles. From the excellent Between Wickets journal, Winter 2015.


Cricket Fatalities Some shocking historical statistics on the number of people killed playing cricket. This is a subject covered previously in the blog, with some extra information.



Jackschon, Fergie and the Genesis of Advanced Cricket Scoring. The story of the pioneers of advanced scoring techniques, which are so ubiquitous in the modern game. (edited version).




If You Thought You had Never Seen Such a Collapse…


You were right. Australia’s loss of five wickets in the first 4.1 overs of the Trent Bridge Test was unprecedented, not only on the first morning of a Test match, but in any Test innings. The 25 balls bowled beat the old mark of 28 balls by India (6 runs, 5 wickets) at The Oval in 1952. Even Bangladesh’s worst – 29 balls at Harare in 2004 – was no match.



Earliest Fall of Wickets in Test Innings



Balls Bowled


Batting Team





India (66)

Ind v SAf, Durban (Kingsmead) 1996/97





Pakistan (245)

Pak v Ind, Karachi (National) 2005/06





India (165)

Ind v Eng, Leeds (Headingley) 1952





Australia (60)

Aus v Eng, Trent Bridge 2015





Australia (70)

Aus v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1888





South Africa (30)

SAf v Eng, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1924





South Africa (30)

SAf v Eng, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1924





Australia (47)

Aus v SAf, Cape Town 2011/12





South Africa (30)

SAf v Eng, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1924

* 4-ball overs



Australia was all out before lunch for 60, with just 39 runs coming off the bat. Those 39 runs represents the worst showing by Australia’s batsmen since 1902, bowled out for 36 (33 off the bat) on an unplayable pitch at Edgbaston.


Stuart Broad (8 for 15) made a mess of all previous records for bowling on the first morning of a Test. I have updated various sections of the “Unusual Records” that were affected by this assault. Note that most of the other entries of this type involved at least some tail-end batsmen. The most astonishing aspect of Broad’s demolition is that it involved so many top order batsmen.


Incidentally, England’s declaration before lunch on the second day is unprecedented for a team batting second, with the exception of one Zimbabwe Test.





Reaching 100 on the last possible ball of a (full length) ODI innings (UPDATED)


DI Gower

Australia v England, Melbourne (MCG) 1979

WJ Cronje

Australia v South Africa, Peshawar (Arbab Niaz) 1994

CL Hooper

England v West Indies, Sharjah 1997

Mohammad Yousuf

India v Pakistan, Dhaka 2000*

CD McMillan

New Zealand v Pakistan, Christchurch 2001*

DPMD Jayawardene

Sri Lanka v England, Colombo (Khettarama) 2001

Mohammad Yousuf

Zimbabwe v Pakistan, Harare 2002*

RR Sarwan

Bangladesh v West Indies, Dhaka 2002n

DR Martyn

Australia v England, Hobart (Bellerive) 2003

KC Sangakkara

Kenya v Sri Lanka, Sharjah 2003

VVS Laxman

Australia v India, Brisbane ('Gabba') 2004

KP Pietersen

South Africa v England, East London 2005*

SR Tendulkar

India v West Indies, Vadodara 2007

KS Williamson

Zimbabwe v New Zealand, Bulawayo (Queen's) 2011

DM Bravo

West Indies v Zimbabwe, Grenada 2013

Sikandar Raza

Zimbabwe v New Zealand, Harare 2015

AB de Villiers (104)

South Africa v India, Kanpur 2015*


*reached century with a six.


There are possibly one or two others in early ODIs that have been overlooked, but unlikely. Pietersen is the only one to do it in the second innings; not surprisingly, he hit the winning runs with the same ball. McMillan and Williamson benefited from a second crack at the last ball because the bowler bowled a no ball.

Sreeram has mentioned Ravi Shastri reaching 100 on the last ball against Sri Lanka, Nagpur 1990/91, in a reduced overs game (45 overs).




At Wellington in 2001/02 (NZ v Bangladesh), play on the fourth day did not end until 8:06 pm local time. This is the latest stumps time that I have recorded for a Test match day. Play had been washed out on the previous day, and did not start until 1:00 pm on the day in question. Even so, 88 overs were bowled in the day.


There was a period in the late 90 and early 2000s when day lengths were very flexible when making up lost time, and days could run up to 7.5 hours play or even more. Eventually (by 2005) this was limited to a maximum 7 hours – or 6.5 hours, if no time had been lost – with maximum 30 minutes extension at start and finish in most countries. I think that play in England never starts early, but can extend 60 minutes at the end of the day to make up lost time.

There have been a couple of other days in New Zealand where time was called at or just after 8pm.




The most balls bowled between wickets by an individual bowler in Tests is 952 balls by Maurice Tate spread over two series in 1929.


A Queensland medium pacer named Alfred Ryan went wicketless for more than 1112 balls in fc cricket in 1936. Can't say the exact number, or if it is the record, but it seems to be the only case of more than a thousand if you just look at complete innings.




A search for most boundaries conceded in a Test produced an interesting result. Brett Lee conceded 44 boundaries at the SCG in 2003/04. Next highest is 42 by Jason Krezja on debut at Nagpur, John Gleeson at Port Elizabeth in 1970, and Tim Southee at Lord's just last May.


Lee also has most in an innings with 35, equal with Bill O'Reilly at Old Trafford in 1934.


There are some other possible candidates for which there is no data, but most of the 'most likely' cases have been covered. That includes cases like OC Scott in 1930, Fleetwood-Smith in 1938, and Fazal Mahmood & Khan Mohammad in 1958, all of whom conceded fewer boundaries than the above. Sri Lanka’s 952 in 1997 is also covered.


5 August 2015


New Membership of the 400 Club


I know this has been talked about elsewhere, but here is a simple table of the bowlers who have reached 400 wickets in Tests. There are various ways of comparing a bowler’s importance. Wickets per match (the normal metric in this case) is one, but runs conceded and balls bowled also provide interesting comparison.


Stats for the 400th Wicket


Runs conceded


Balls Bowled (Rank)



CEL Ambrose 2000



21,695  (5)

97 (9)

12.3 (7)

GD McGrath 2002



20,526  (3)

87 (5)

8.9 (1)

RJ Hadlee 1990



20,350  (2)

80 (3)


DW Steyn 2015



16,634  (1)

79 (2)

10.6 (4)

Wasim Akram 2000



21,200  (4)

96 (7)


SM Pollock 2006



23,285  (8)


11.0 (5)

M Muralitharan 2002



24,061  (9)

72 (1)

9.3 (2)

CA Walsh 1999



23,094  (6)



SK Warne 2001



25,328 (11)

92 (6)

9.6 (3)

A Kumble 2004



26,776 (12)

85 (4)


JM Anderson 2015



23,096  (7)


12.0 (6)

N Kapil Dev 1992



24,853 (10)


13.2 (9)

Harbhajan Singh 2011



26,961 (13)

96 (7)

13.2 (8)





Figures as they stood at the taking of the 400th wicket. (Hadlee’s runs conceded is not precise, and may be ± 5 or 10.) Number of years figures are rounded.


The increasing frequency of Test matches is reflected in Hadlee’s third position in number of matches, but 13th in time taken.





Virender Sehwag hit a boundary from his first ball 25 times in Tests, and leads the field ahead of Sangakkara on 18.


In ODIs, Sehwag (25) is behind Shahid Afridi (27+). Data is incomplete for Afridi, due to lack of data before 1999. Dilshan is next on 23.


In T20i, Mohammad Hafeez leads with 10.


In total, Sehwag on 53, leads Dilshan on 46, Sangakkara on 40, and Afridi on 39+.


Data since 1999 is not absolutely complete for ODI and T20i, but will be close to complete.


For first ball of team innings in Tests, GC Smith (10) leads Sehwag (5). Sehwag often batted at #2 in Tests. Gambhir (8), Gayle (6) and Trescothick (7) are also ahead of Sehwag. In ODI, Sehwag (20) leads Watson and Gilchrist each on 10.






I had a look for Test series that contained 2 consecutive Tests that were decided in the last possible hour of the match. For 5-day Tests since the War all I found was


1978/79 Pakistan v India Lahore and Karachi

1985/86 Australia v New Zealand Perth and Sydney

1993/94 Pakistan v Zimbabwe Karachi and Rawalpindi


The 2015 New Zealand Tests in England may qualify, but I believe that there was more than one hour available for play in the second match.(UPDATE: there were 19.1 overs to play, and the day ended at 4:55.)


Last year two consecutive Tests in England (v Sri Lanka) had very close finishes but one was drawn.


This is tricky to research so if anyone can think of others let me know.




A Somerset wicketkeeper named Seymour Clark in 1930 had a complete first-class career of 9 innings, 2 not out, 0 runs, avge 0.00. He never bowled either, but he did take eight catches.


A fellow named Faisal Yasin has failed to score in his last 11 first-class innings. His career started with 2, 1* and 1* in his first 3 innings, but his batting went downhill from there, with just 1 run in his last 14 innings. He has a respectable bowling average of 32, so he may yet play again.




In the 2011 Georgetown Test (West Indies/Pakistan), there were 30 dismissals that required an umpire’s decision. There were 20 lbws, five caught behind, three caught at short leg, one run out, and one catch at second slip that required a third umpire decision. This appears to be the most ‘appeal dismissals’ in a Test match. Billy Bowden exercised that crooked finger sixteen times. There were six dismissals, not given on the field, where the OUT decision came from ‘upstairs’, and 17 reviews requested by the players (four were overturns).


I have assumed here that the majority of bowled and caught dismissals in Tests do not involve an umpire decision.




9 July 2015


I have been away for a few weeks, including a brief visit to England to visit family. I have posted a picture I took of a cricket match, which shows cricket as it is perhaps meant to be. A lovely setting and village green atmosphere. The bowler is my brother, still bowling fast(ish) at age 55. At mid-off is his son, also a quickish bowler. The match was at Wells, Somerset. One modern aspect: it was a Twenty20 game that started at 6:30 pm and still finished before sunset. You can’t do that everywhere.




The Longest Overs


I have compiled a list of the longest single overs in the database, those with more than 10 deliveries. It is restricted to six-ball overs; there are quite a number of eight-ball overs that qualify, but I have excluded those. None of those eight-ball overs had more than 12 deliveries.


Most Deliveries in a Six-Ball Over, where known



CEL Ambrose

WI v Aus, Perth (WACA) 1996/97


GOB Allen

Eng v Aus, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1934


J Garner

WI v Aus, Melbourne (MCG) 1984/85


DK Lillee

Aus v Ind, Melbourne (MCG) 1980/81


GR Dilley

Eng v Pak, Faisalabad 1983/84


J Garner

WI v Aus, Perth (WACA) 1984/85


CEL Ambrose

WI v Aus, Perth (WACA) 1996/97


JT Sparling

NZ v Eng, Auckland 1962/63


CC Griffith

WI v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1966


Javed Miandad

Pak v Eng, Leeds (Headingley) 1978


RGD Willis

Eng v Aus, Brisbane ('Gabba') 1982/83


PIC Thompson

WI v NZ, Bridgetown, Barbados 1996


The two appearances by Ambrose occurred in the same innings. The Sparling over was all legal deliveries, and was thanks to a severe miscount by the umpire. Most of these overs are concentrated in the time after the front-foot no ball rule, but before the decline in no ball counting in this century (partly because some umpires don’t seem to bother much with watching for no balls any more). Still, it is surprising that no cases since 1997 can be found.


I have not included the two ‘double overs’ known in Test cricket (Armstrong in 1921 and Moir in 1950/51), where a bowler was mistakenly allowed to bowl two consecutive overs before and after a break.


There are a number of other cases where a bowler bowled a full over to end an innings and then bowled the first over when a follow-on was enforced. Merv Hughes did this twice. Technically, the most consecutive balls bowled by the same bowler in Tests was 17 by Ray Lindwall in 1946/47. He finished one Test (the third in Melbourne) with a nine-delivery over (eight balls plus one no ball) and started the next Test with an eight-ball over.


Here is a compilation of numbers of wickets falling on each ball of an over, in Tests since 1999. While there are hints of statistically significant variations in the two parts of the data set, (such as the lack of wickets on the first ball of the over since 2007) the trends are not sustained in the other data. This is call ‘regression to the mean’.




































The unfortunate batsmen dismissed on the seventh ball of an over were Dale Steyn and Kemar Roach.



Mohammad Azharuddin played a total of four Tests during his career with no batting or bowling or keeping. He took a catch in one of them. Hendren and Mahanama also had 3 Tests without batting, bowling or taking a catch.



Mark Boucher played 11 Tests during his career where he didn't bat or bowl. He kept wickets and took catches in all of them.




Here is a list of first-class matches in which a batsman was left stranded on 99* when the captain declared the innings closed. Some data from Aslam Siddiqui…


M Howell, Free Foresters v Oxford U, Oxford, 1934

(was captain)

GOB Allen, Free Foresters v Oxford U, Oxford, 1952

(captain - ERT Holmes)

P Bainbridge, Gloucestershire v Kent, Bristol, 1983

(captain - D Graveney)

TN Lazard, W Province v N Transvaal, Cape Town, 1988-89

(captain - AP Kuiper)

CEB Rice, Transvaal v W Province, Cape Town, 1990-91

(was captain)

NR Taylor, Kent v Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, 1995

(captain - MR Benson)

M Klinger, Victoria v Tasmania, Hobart, 2000-01

(captain - PR Reiffel)

G Welch, Derbyshire v Somerset, Taunton, 2005

(captain - LD Sutton)




JWH Makepeace, Sussex v Lancashire, Eastbourne 1907 (AC MacLaren)


JG Dewes, Combined Services v Indians, Portsmouth 1946 (JGW Davies)


WR Endean, Western Province v Transvaal, Cape Town 1950/51 (EAB Rowan)


WGA Parkhouse, Glamorgan v Essex, Newport 1952 (W Wooller)


LF Outschoorn, Worcestershire v Glamorgan, Dudley 1954 (RE Bird)


HL Johnson, Sussex v Derbyshire, Worthing 1961 (DB Carr)


P Willey, Somerset v Northamptonshire, Taunton 1970 (RM Prideaux)


H Gidwani, Delhi v Punjab, Delhi 1976/77 (BS Bedi)


SM Davies, Gloucestershire v Worcestershire, Cheltenham 2008 (VS Solanki)



For Willey, Klinger and Makepeace, it was their highest fc score at the time, although all went on to make centuries later. Klinger's team actually lost the match. Incidentally, Bainbridge (who had prior centuries) had been out for 99 in his previous match, five days earlier. In his 99*, he failed to score off his last 7 deliveries with a declaration impending.




Since the early 1960s, it has been the Australian custom for the opening pair to exchange the #1 and #2 positions in the second innings, so there is no favouring of one position or the other for any opener. (There are some exceptions, including Simon Katich.) For Australia since 1961, the #1 position has averaged 41.1 and the #2 has averaged 40.7 - virtually no difference.


England and other countries have tended to give the more senior batsman first ball, so there is a tendency for #1 to have a better average than #2.





20 May 2015


Dropped Catches Report for 2014


I have completed a survey of missed chances mentioned in Cricinfo commentary texts for Tests in 2014, including a few in early 2015 before the World Cup. As in earlier years, I looked for all possible references to dropped or missed catches and missed stumpings. “Technical” and “half” chances were included, as were any incidents reported where a fielder failed to reach a catch but should have.


The surveys now extend across 15 years and more than 600 Tests.


There was a surprise result. After trending slowly down for some time and reaching a new low of 25% missed chances in 2013, the incidence of misses jumped up to 27.5% in 2014-15. Part of this was due to the more Tests for Zimbabwe (with their poor catching), but mostly it is a bit of a mystery. There is always the possibility that the search protocols are unreliable, but it is hard to see why, and I can’t really test that.


A critical change was a leap in the number of catches missed by Australia. An incidence of 19% in 2013/14, the best one-year result for a team since I have been doing the surveys, soared to 27% in 2014/15. This is rather baffling, but I think it is consistent with my impression, that Australian fielders were dropping a lot more catches than usual in series against Pakistan and India. Super-reliable hands like David Warner started recording some drops, usually in the ‘very hard’ class.


Anyway here are some figures by country

Incidence of Missed Chances






New Zealand



South Africa



West Indies














Sri Lanka









Beneficiary of the year was Kane Williamson, missed five times, including a stumping, during his 242* against Sri Lanka (actually in Jan 2015 but included here). This equals the luck of Blignaut (84*) in 2005, Amla (253) in 2010, and Taufeeq Umar (135)  in 2011.


The most expensive miss was a “relatively easy” chance at silly mid-on when Brendon McCullum was on 9 at Wellington. He went on to make 302. The fielder was Kohli, the bowler Mohammed Shami. The 293-run gap is just shy of the 297-run benefit enjoyed by Inzamam-ul-Haq (329, dropped on 32) in 2002.


MS Dhoni added seven more misses to his career during the year, and now leads the 21stcentury with 66. Alastair Cook (56) has now edged past Rahul Dravid (55) to lead among non-keepers. Cook’s tally includes 17 misses at short leg, the most difficult fielding position.


Parallels: Australia’s drop rate in 2014/15 was 27.5%. The rate recorded for Australia in Bill Frindall’s scores from 1975 to 1977 was 27.6%.


Batsman missed most times in 2014/15: M Vijay 11, K Sangakkara 10.


Most runs scored after being missed in 2014/15 (totals): BB McCullum 1055, KS Williamson 855. Surprisingly, McCullum’s figure is not the highest since I have been collecting data: Mohammad Yousuf benefited from missed chances to the tune of 1116 runs in 2006. [These figures treat all drops as separate and additive, so that the ‘runs cost’ in a single individual innings can exceed the size of the innings if, say, a batsman is dropped twice early in his innings.]


Bowlers suffering most missed catches: HMRKB Herath 16, NM Lyon 14. Spin bowlers often lead in this category: there are various reasons, including the number of chances at short leg catches and c&b, which have very high drop rates, and the difficulty wicketkeepers have in taking chances off spinners, and effecting stumpings.


Fielders with most misses: BJ Haddin and Mushfiqur Rahim with 11. Note that for 18 of the 353 misses, the name of the fielder was not recorded.





There are no cases of a Test in a series beginning the next day after after another ended. There are 34 cases of one day off in between; the last time it happened was the 1st and 2nd Tests of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in 1994/95.


In 1956 Australia played Tests in and against two different countries (Pakistan and India) with only one day off in between. One was on a matting wicket and the other on turf. They had a sequence four Tests and 18 days play with only four days off, and it would have been only three days off except that one Test finished a day early. This happened during a period when there were no Tests at all in Australia for four years. Strange.


In 1961/62 England and Pakistan went 85 days between two Tests of the same series. England played five Tests in India in between.

24 April 2015


A “Burlesque Cricket Match”


On the occasion of the ANZAC (25 April 1915) Centenary…


Just today I read a remarkable document, unearthed by my cousin Kath from the massive archives of the Australian War Memorial. It describes a rest and recreation spell in the midst of the Great War. It is from the 5th Australian Field Ambulance Brigade, who after a hard slog in the forward trenches, was granted 14 days relief in June 1918.


It highlights the importance of sport, particularly cricket, in maintaining morale, and perhaps even sanity, in these extreme circumstances. No fewer than 40 cricket matches were played. We see sport and cricket as a valuable therapy, a way of holding on to humanity in what must have been an insane environment.


I particularly liked the “burlesque cricket match…anyone with any knowledge of cricket was prohibited from playing”, and the attempt by Captain H.W.L. Kelly to bat twice, the second time in “camouflage”. It appears that the officers and men were equally enthusiastic.


While the drama and sacrifice of the War outside is not by any means the subject, the spirit, and the sense of release, hints at the horrors that they had faced, and would return to.


From a personal perspective, the greatest interest is in the author, lance-corporal W.N. (William Norman) Davis, who is in fact my grandfather. This is the first document of any substance that we have found that was written by him during his service. Like many of his comrades, he spoke little of his War experience in later years. As a stretcher bearer venturing out into No Man’s Land, we can barely imagine the things that he saw. He died in 1953, before I was born.

William was evidently a half-decent cricketer, and we also have a photo of him with the Field Ambulance Rugby team. He later played first grade Rugby League in Sydney with the (now long-defunct) Glebe club. There is one (blurry) photo of him with his colleagues in the trenches. He was not among the original ANZACs, but by the time of the June 1918 document he had been serving on the Western Front for two years.

[I came across a picture (a team photo) of my grandfather as captain of a premiership-winning A Grade Churches Cricket team, St Clement’s Marrickville, taken some time in the 1920s. Back then, Churches cricket was a very substantial league. Winning A Grade would have required some pretty good cricketers.]





And here are a few other lines I wrote, also in connection with the Centenary

There can’t be many Australians who aren’t aware of the importance of the 25th April 1915 and its Centenary on Saturday. Not so familiar, perhaps, is a related Centenary on Friday (24th).



The 24th April 1915 marked the start of the pogroms and massacres of the Armenian community in Ottoman Turkey. The veil of war brought to a head a long history of oppression of this (civilian Christian) minority, which reached a frenzied level later in 1915. The massacres and deportations continued for several years. The death toll is disputed, but was certainly well over one million, with many more losing their entire families and escaping with nothing but their lives.

Had the Gallipoli landing succeeded in its aim of knocking the Ottomans out of the War, a great many of these lives could have been saved. The death toll of the Armenians eventually outnumbered the Allied deaths at Gallipoli by more than twenty to one.


Now I doubt if anyone in the ANZAC front line had any inkling that they might have been helping the Armenians. That was not the aim, but it was an effect. They were fighting for something. While the campaign failed, it was not futile or pointless. Better planning, and seizing the opportunity for victory at Suvla Bay, might have overthrown the Ottomans and turned the war on its head, and saved countless lives.


As awful and evil as war is, there are some things that are even worse. The prevention of such evil is something worth fighting for.






Highest innings in first-class cricket consisting entirely of boundaries (where known). For a time, this was thought to be an innings of 46 by John Emburey in Tasmania in 1986/87. However, here is one case of 52 runs that appears to be off  genuine bowling: SHT Kandamby in 2004.


Mark Pettini for Leicestershire Essex v Leicestershire scored 114*, entirely in boundaries, off 29 balls in 2006, against 'declaration' bowling.


The most unbeaten Test captain: Viv Richards was main captain in 11 Test series, winning seven and losing none.


Most series by a captain who won them all is four by Salim Malik, although he was also losing captain in a one-off Test against South Africa.


Notable is Richie Benaud's record: 5 wins, no losses, 1 draw. It is a pity about that draw: Australia would probably have won the series if Benaud had chosen to chase a straightforward target of 242 off about 90 overs in the final Test of 1962/63.


I have excluded one-off Tests. To qualify, the player had to be captain in both the first and last Test of a series.


For the least successful, look no further than Bangladesh.


10 April 2015


Cricket Fatalities: Casting a Wider Net



The death of Philip Hughes was an especially shocking event. Not only did it occur to a batsman wearing the protective gear that has made serious injuries relatively rare, but it had no precedent in Australian first-class cricket, even in the days before helmets.


However, precedents can be found by casting the net wider. On his blog, “Cuts and Glances”, Gideon Haigh shared some results of a search of the Trove Australian Newspaper database. Haigh simply searched for articles containing the words “killed”, and “cricket ball” and came up with a remarkable number of hits. I extended this search with other combinations (death + cricket + ball, and fatal + cricket + ball), weeded out the duplicates, and compiled some statistics on the results.


As Haigh noted, there is no way of knowing how comprehensive such a survey would be. However, given that all were unusual and tragic events, and the fact that most cases were reported in multiple newspapers, I would expect (and hope, given the numbers) that a majority of cases have been uncovered. Some papers in those days would record all cases emerging from Coroner’s reports, and deaths of this type would certainly attract the attention of Coroners.


The number was surprising, even alarming. Over ninety separate cases were found of men, women, and children killed by cricket balls in Australia between 1880 and the 1950s. (The Trove database in its current state peters out after about 1954.) These cases are specific to blows from cricket balls, and do not include death from other causes during cricket matches. There were, incidentally, very few incidents reported during the World Wars; at other times, more than one per year was commonplace.


Some victims were umpires or spectators, but most were players, and most of those were batsmen. While most incidents happened during organised matches, others happened at practice or in people’s backyards. In a few cases, the blow may have exacerbated a previously existing health problem, so the blow was only an indirect cause of death.


The most striking feature was how young many of the victims were. Excluding non-participants, the median age was just 18. Half the victims were that age or younger. Thirty-three cases were under 16 years old. Even allowing for their lower skill level in avoiding such blows, it appears that the young may be particularly vulnerable to serious injury when struck. Some of the non-participant victims were also children, as young as eleven months (Annie Denison, killed in her family’s backyard in 1894).


About 70 percent had head injuries; most of the others were struck on the chest (“over the heart” is a common phrase). It was notable that at least ten were hit ‘behind the ear’, presumably like Hughes. There were more fatalities from this type of blow than on the temple (seven). In some 27 other cases, the head injuries were unspecified and without further detail in the reports, so it is very likely that there were more cases similar to the Hughes injury. Perhaps Hughes’ fate was not quite so rare as we thought.


In about ten cases, the player was pronounced dead on the field. Most died later; in some cases the seriousness of the injury was not realised at the time. A few of the victims walked off the field, or even walked home. “Don’t worry, I’m all right” were among the last words of David Mitchison after being struck in 1933.


Most freakish perhaps was a batsman, Robert Parker, killed by a ball hit from another game on an adjacent ground, at Artarmon in Sydney in 1925. In 1903, the unfortunate A.J. Collins died after being struck on the ankle; he somehow contracted blood poisoning.


We don’t have much data since the 1950s, but deaths would certainly have continued in subsequent decades, until protective equipment improved. A friend of Jeff Thomson named Martin Bedkober was killed in a club match in the 1970s.


Haigh also notes that the frequency of these tragedies was unknown to authorities or any experts who were asked. Unlike the recent tragedy, these events attracted only fleeting attention, with a few lines of reportage, and no follow-up. In the few reports where any implications were discussed, no one seemed aware of more than a handful of prior cases. It was certainly a surprise to find how many times this happened, and how young the victims often were.

Fatal Head Injuries from Cricket Balls 1880-1950s

behind ear




Side of head








above ear








head (non-specific)





Substitute Collection


I have put together a complete set of 768 catches by more than 200 substitutes in Tests (up to late 2014). The incidence of “c sub” has waxed and waned over the years. The numbers reached a peak, about one every second Test, in the 1980s and early 90s, coinciding with the peak in batsmen retiring hurt. Since then the numbers have subsided to about one in every four Tests, similar to pre-War rates.


The most catches by substitutes are

WV Raman


PD Collingwood


Ramiz Raja


RA Harper







UDU Chandana effected five catches and three run outs as a substitute.


My recollection of Harper is of one of the very best catchers that I ever saw. He only played 25 Tests, being a spinner in the age of mighty West Indian pace bowlers, so he had few opportunities. He was, not surprisingly, a popular choice for substitute fielder.


Most catches by a player who never made a starting appearance in a Test match is three, by Iqbal Sikander (who did play ODIs for Pakistan) and also Sheldon Gomes, brother of Larry. In all, more than 90 players have taken catches as subs without ever playing in a Test XI. Most of them took only one catch: their appearances were fleeting, it would seem.


I haven’t checked thoroughly, but I don’t know of anyone who has taken a catch as Test substitute and never played senior cricket. Chris Sabburg, who famously took a sub catch after being on the field for only two balls at the Gabba in 2013, has still not played first-class cricket, although he has appeared for Brisbane Heat in Big Bash cricket. SH Copley, a member of the Trent Bridge ground staff who took a fine catch in 1930 to dismiss Stan McCabe, did play one fc match.


Interesting that the leading Australian 12th men, Andy Bichel (19 times) and Michael Kasprowicz (16), never took any substitute catches. For Australians, being 12th man means fetching and carrying duties only.


There are three instances of a player taking four substitute catches in one match

Gursharan Singh

Ind v WI, Ahmedabad (Gujarat) 1983/84

V Sehwag

Ind v Zim, Nagpur 2001/02

Younis Khan

Pak v Ban, Multan 2001




Younis Khan’s catches were all in the same innings. Gursharan Singh, who made only one full appearance in a Test match, was also credited with a run out in the Test at Ahmedabad. [Note: a case of four sub catches by Chanderpaul at Old Trafford in 1995, as reported by Cricket Archive, is not correct. Two of the catches went to SC Williams. Thanks to Shahzad for the correction.]






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