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Unusual Records



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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





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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