ome page, and info in Test Cricket in Australia 1877-2002, click here

 

Z-score’s Cricket Stats Blog November 2010 to December 2012

 

 

 

The Fastest, and Slowest, batsmen in Ashes Tests.

 

Longer articles by Charles Davis

 

Unusual Records

 

NOTE THE CHANGED EMAIL ADDRESS.

For comments, or to contact Z-score (Charles Davis) email

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(The address is like this to avoid SPAM. Type the address in the usual format)

 

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27 December 2012

 

Wagon Wheel History Lesson

 

A recent article by Ashley Mallett looked at some of the origins of the now-familiar ‘wagon wheel’ cricket chart and Bill Ferguson’s role in making them well known. However, it overstates Ferguson’s primacy in inventing the wheels. There are a couple of earlier examples.

 

As Mallett says, the first wagon wheel presented in Fergie’s autobiography dates from 1912. Fergie doesn’t actually say exactly when he first used them. It may have been in 1912, or in 1909, when he was apparently already using linear scoring. Fergie first toured as a scorer in 1905, but I don’t think, based on the style of that scorebook, that he had started using the linear method then. (The 1909 book is the first to list balls faced for batsmen.)

 

Inventions can be tricky to fully track down. It is commonplace for inventions to be made completely independently by two or more people who are unaware of the other’s work. But the first real wagon wheel I have seen came from the Daily Express in England in 1907 (inventor not named). It was reproduced in Brodribb’s The Croucher, and shows Gilbert Jessop’s hectic 93 off 63 balls at Lord’s. I have posted a scan here (sorry I can’t seem to insert pictures on this blog). This is to all intents and purposes a wagon wheel, although it does not show the exact distance that each shot travelled.

 

A few months later something similar appeared in the Melbourne Argus. There were a couple of these charts, the first featuring an innings of 48 by Monty Noble at the MCG in 1907/08. These did not show every stroke but they did show how many runs were made in each direction. Most noteworthy is the fact that the creator has combined the two ends into one, so that the array of strokes is less visually confusing. This was a feature that Fergie did not use, and I believe it only came into use again in the Channel Nine TV era, with the assistance of computers.

 

Like the Jessop wheel, the creator the 1908 charts is not named. I have only seen them reported in this one Test match (what a shame it did not catch on!). Whoever made them, and the text that accompanied them, must have been using advanced scoring of some type. Was it Fergie himelf? Probably not: he lived in Sydney, and that Test is not listed among the ones that he covered.

 

 

Situation Vacant: Great Batsman Needed for Prime Batting Position

 

Batting at number three was traditionally regarded as the place for the best batsman in the team. That was some time ago. It is now 30 innings since the last century by a #3 batsman for Australia, and there has been only one century in the last 50 innings.

 

Australian Runs by Batting Positions from Aug 2010 to 20 Dec 2012

Batting #

Inns

R

Av

100s

1

50

1770

36.1

3

2

50

1600

33.3

3

3

50

1326

27.6

1

4

48

1470

31.3

2

5

48

2907

64.6

10

6

48

1632

37.1

6

7

47

1409

36.1

2

8

44

733

17.9

0

9

44

629

18.0

0

10

40

570

20.4

0

11

37

226

11.9

0

 

In the 1990s Australia’s #3 batsmen averaged 40.1.

 

Here's some stuff, written for someone else, on #3 for Australia…

 

·      Ricky Ponting scored 9912 runs at 56 at Number 3 for Australia, almost 20% of all the runs scored for Australia from that position.

·      Historically, Australian #3s average 45.2, but the last 50 innings by our #3s have averaged only 25 with only one century (by Sean Marsh)

·      Rod Quiney was only the fourth Australian to bag a pair of ducks batting #3; the list includes Dean Jones in 1988.

·      Australians who prospered at #3 include Bradman (avge 103.6), Ponting, Ian Chappell, and Charlie Macartney. Their averages were higher at #3 than elsewhere in the order. Greg Chappell, Greg Blewitt and Kim Hughes did not do so well.

·      Ian Chappell scored 80% of his career runs at #3. He averaged 50 at #3 and only 25 elsewhere in the order.

·      Sean Marsh is the only player of significance to score all his runs for Australia batting at #3.

 

Good trivia question: Who is the only batsman to score a Test double-century the only time he batted at #3?

A: Jason Gillespie.

 

Interesting facts: in 317 Test innings, Sachin Tendulkar has never batted at #3. Not even once. Only 92 of his 18,426 ODI runs, or 0.5%, have come from the #3 position.

 

 

At the Ground Stats: Boxing Day

 

Enjoyed absolute prime seats at the Melbourne Test yesterday, courtesy of tickets kindly provided by Ken Piesse. It was good to see over 67,000 people there, which I daresay was the biggest Test crowd that Sri Lanka have ever played to (there were 72,000 for an ODI World Series Final in 1995/96 at the MCG, and the 1996 World Cup semi-final at Eden Gardens was much bigger again). One strange change from the old days is the number of people on the ground at any one time: in addition to the players and umpires, I counted 52 people – all men, I think – hanging around, in various roles, between the rope and the boundary fence.

 

I don’t know if I have noted this down before, but during various days of cricket I have estimated the effect of the boundary rope on scoring, threes being turned into fours etc. One has to be at the ground to do this. I have come up with an increase of 3-5 per cent of runs scored. Ricky Ponting made his debut 96 in the last year before boundary ropes were widely used in Australia – he may well have got his century on debut if he had made that debut in the following year.

 

A couple of years ago, during duller moments, I tried to estimate the number of advertisements that were visible from my seat at the MCG. I stopped counting at one thousand.

 

 

 

 

7 December 2012

 

Wobbly Batting

 

I came across an extraordinary run of wickets in the Faisalabad Test of 1990/91, Pakistan v West Indies. It was a low-scoring series in general, but Pakistan’s second innings really stood out, with the last six wickets falling in 25 deliveries. Make that 7 wickets in 26 deliveries, as Haynes was out from the first ball when West Indies batted again. The Pakistan innings included a very unusual ‘team hat-trick’. In consecutive deliveries, Imran was out to Marshall, Wasim Akram was run out, and Javed Miandad was out to Ambrose.

 

I set out to find cases of three wickets in three balls that did not involve a hat-trick. (Many hat-tricks are carried out across two or even three overs, and so do not represent three in three balls, but the majority are within the same over.) There seem to be remarkably few of these team hat-tricks.

 

There is one case of four wickets in four balls at Headingley in 1957, including a Peter Loader hat-trick, which appears to be unique. The cases of three in three found so far are…

 

Three wickets in three balls, but no hat-trick

Aus v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1888

7/6

Trott run out, Blackham and Woods out to Lohmann

NZ v SAf, Johannesburg (New Wanderers) 1961/62

150/8

Two wickets to Lawrence, one to Lance

NZ v SAf, Port Elizabeth 1961/62

228/10

Two wickets to Lawrence, one to Pollock

NZ v Pak, Wellington 1964/65

266/10

Wicket to Asif Iqbal, two to Arif Butt

Eng v WI, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1980

142/9

Knott run out, Botham and Dilley out to Garner

Pak v WI, Faisalabad 1990/91

146/8

Imran out to Marshall, Wasim run out, Javed out to Ambrose

Ind v SAf, Durban (Kingsmead) 1996/97

74/8

Dravid out to McMillan, Mongia and Srinath out to Donald

Ind v SL, Mumbai (Wankhede) 1997/98 (uncertain)

181/9

Srinath, Chauhan(run out), Kuruvilla

 

It is strange that none can be found in 600 Tests since 1998. Stranger still is finding cases in two consecutive Tests in 1961/62. One bowler, GB Lawrence, was involved in both, and GA Bartlett was the second man out on both occasions.

 

There was another massive collapse in that 1990/91 series, when Wasim Akram took those four wickets in five balls at Lahore (see previous entry). The scorebook also records that the single that interrupted Wasim’s sequence, scored by Bishop, was a dropped catch (Wisden says it was out of reach). Wasim’s final wicket ended the innings, and when Pakistan batted again, Aamer Malik was out second ball (not first ball), making it five wickets in 7 balls.

 

Wasim Akram and Chris Old are the only bowlers to bowl to five different batsmen in the same over.

 

 

That Rare Adelaide Epic

 

Much could be said about South Africa’s defensive epic in the Adelaide Test where they played out five sessions to draw the Test. Personally I found it more interesting, even exciting, than a century off 50 balls, which are a dime a dozen in T20 cricket nowadays. AB de Villers scored 33 off 220 balls, rivalling the extremes of Bailey and McGlew in the 1950s, but then scored 169 off 184 in the next Test. I wonder if a batsman has hit such contrasting innings in consecutive matches. The experience of Nathan Lyon is emblematic of the struggles for spinners nowadays. His 50 overs for 49 runs at Adelaide showed that it was possible to match the economy of the spinners of the 50s and 60s, but in the Perth second innings, Lyon conceded almost six runs per over, and  de Villiers went from 88 to 101 in three balls with reverse sweeps off the same bowler. It was the sort of problem that earlier generations of spinners never had to face.

 

One indication of the where the Adelaide epic ranks is in this table of the longest partnerships that produced fewer than 100 runs…

 

Longest Partnerships < 100 Runs

Mins

Balls

Runs

Wkt

248

590(Est.)

98

3

DN Sardesai

VL Manjrekar

Ind v WI, Bridgetown, Barbados 1962

238

408

89

5

AB de Villiers

F du Plessis

SAf v Aus, Adelaide 2012/13

205

380

95

3

AJ Lamb

CL Smith

Eng v NZ, Auckland 1983/84

201

430(Est.)

93

1

EDAStJ McMorris

CC Hunte

WI v Ind, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 1962

200

407

92

1

CC McDonald

JW Burke

Aus v SAf, Durban (Kingsmead) 1957/58

 

 

The Sardesai/Manjrekar stand of almost 100 overs remains on top. It came during India’s unique innings of 187 off 185.3 overs. It was described on my blog on 17 June 2008 and elsewhere. When it was finally broken, Lance Gibbs took eight wickets for six runs.

 

Shahzad informs me that South Africa reached 200 off 187 balls on the way to 569 in the Perth Test. This is the fastest known first 200 for any Test innings, and beats a long-standing record set by the West Indies on the same ground in 1975/76. The relevant section of the “Unusual Records” have been updated.

 

********

 

Following an idea on the Ask Steven blog, I thought it would be fun to present the second innings scorecard from the Perth Test as it would appear if scores followed the Australian penchant for diminutive forms of first names.

 

South Africa 2nd innings

AN Petersen

c Mitch b Mitch

23

GC Smith

c Nat b Mitch

84

HM Amla

c Mitch b Mitch

196

JH Kallis

c Mitch b Mitch

37

AB de Villiers

c Matt b Mitch

169

D Elgar

lbw b Mitch

0

F du Plessis

c Mike b Mitch

27

RJ Peterson

c Mitch b Mitch

0

VD Philander

not out

14

DW Steyn

c Matt b Mitch

8

M Morkel

b Mitch

0

Extras

(b 4, lb 4, w 3)

11

Total

(all out; 111.5 overs)

569

 

 

 

 

 

12 November 2012

 

Wobbly Figures

 

Here’s an example of the troubles with some Test match scores. The 1000th Test match, played between Pakistan and New Zealand at Hyderabad in 1984, is represented by two archived scores, one in New Zealand, the other in Pakistan. (Having two surviving scores is in itself a bit unusual.) Problems arose when I tried to re-score the New Zealand version; it just did not seem to fit together. Shahzad Khan came to the rescue by supplying the Pakistan score: this was a full linear score which was completely consistent internally.

 

Comparing the two scores was illuminating. In the first innings of the match, there were 12 overs that varied between the two scores. Five of these were substantive variations, in that the number of runs or the scoring strokes within the over varied between the two versions; the other variations involved placement of dot balls. More importantly, in addition to the 12 variations, ten overs by Azeem Hafeez are absent from the New Zealand score altogether.

 

It is clear that the New Zealand score is not an original as recorded by scorers watching the match. It is surely a re-copy, and inaccuracies and omissions have crept in.

 

One feature of this is that there are large anomalies in the balls faced recorded by the batsmen. According to the NZ score, John Reid (106) faced 325 balls, a figure that made its way to the ‘official’ record, presumably via the New Zealand Cricket Almanac. The Pakistan score gives Reid 272 balls, a striking difference. Most of the balls faced figures in the NZ score are questionable…

 

Balls faced differences: Hyderabad 1984, NZ 1st innings

Pak version

NZ (official) version

JG Wright

44

38

BA Edgar

47

37

MD Crowe

25

29

JF Reid

272

325

JV Coney

13

15

JJ Crowe

61

61*

IDS Smith

19

13

EJ Gray

76

76*

JG Bracewell

6

15

DA Stirling

40

40*

SL Boock

49

25

* absent from NZ score, found in NZ Cricket Almanac.

 

Note that the NZ version adds up to 674 balls, whereas there were only 652 balls in the innings (including no balls). The balls faced figures for JJ Crowe, Gray, and Stirling are not given in the NZ score, but they turn up in the NZCA, and curiously these are the only figures therein that are correct.

 

Most of the runs totals, however, are correct. The exception is Boock, who appears to have scored 13 runs, not 12. Iqbal Qasim conceded 81 not 80. Reid’s strokes add up to 107 in the NZ score, but the 106 appears to be the correct figure.

 

This is more evidence that balls faced figures prior to the computer scoring era contain uncertainties, sometimes significant uncertainties. There are other problems with the scores for this series (at least for the last two Tests), but the above examples are the most striking.

 

 

********

 

Here is a complete, if short, list of the bowlers who have taken four wickets in an over in Test matches. The cases of four from five balls are in the record book, but I have not seen a list in this form. Strange that five of the six cases are by English bowlers.

 

Four Wickets in an Over

MJC Allom

Eng v NZ, Christchurch 1929/30

0,W,0,W,W,W

K Cranston

Eng v SAf, Leeds (Headingley) 1947

W,0,W,0,W,W

FJ Titmus

Eng v NZ, Leeds (Headingley) 1965

W,0,W,W,0,W

CM Old

Eng v Pak, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1978

0,W,W,nb,W,W,1

Wasim Akram

Pak v WI, Lahore (Gaddafi) 1990/91

0,W,W,1,W,W

AR Caddick

Eng v WI, Leeds (Headingley) 2000

W,0,W,W,0,nb,W

 

 

Bowlers’ Droughts

 

This year there have been three examples of batsmen dominating for an extraordinary length of time. Australia did it at the ’Gabba, and against the South Africans of all people. On the third day, the only wicket to fall was Ed Cowan for 136, and that only came about through an accidental run out. South Africa bowled through a seven-hour day without the bowlers taking a wicket, something that has never happened on such an extended day before (I think). Ultimately the South Africans toiled for over nine hours, and 487 runs, without a bowling success. Here is a list of the most consecutive runs scored without any bowler taking a wicket.

 

Most Runs Without a Wicket Falling to Bowlers

624

Sri Lanka

SL v SAf, Colombo2 (SSC) 2006

Single partnership record.

576

Sri Lanka

SL v Ind, Colombo4 (RPS) 1997

Single partnership.

548

Australia

Aus v Ind, Perth (WACA) 2011/12

Two Tests: 334* by Hussey and Clarke at SCG, followed by 214 for 1st wicket by Warner and Cowan at Perth

517

England

Eng v Aus, The Oval 1938

Leyland run out after partnership of 382, followed by 135 between Hutton and Hammond.

515

West Indies

WI v Pak, Kingston, Jamaica 1958

Hunte run out after adding 446 with Sobers, then 69 by Sobers and Weekes.

497

South Africa

SAf v Eng, Leeds 2012

Two Tests: 377* by Kallis and Amla at the Oval, followed by 120 by Smith and Peterson at Leeds

487

Australia

Aus, v SAf, Brisbane 2012/13

Cowan run out after partnership of 259 with Clarke, followed by 228 by Clarke and Hussey

479

India

Ind v Pak, Lahore (Gaddafi) 2005/06

Opening stand of 410 by Sehwag and Dravid followed a partnership of 69* in previous Test.

 

The Gabba Test was just the 9th occasion where double-century partnerships were registered for consecutive wickets. The strangest thing is that seven of those nine have occurred in the last five years.

 

 

 

17 October 2012

 

A batting Record for Murali?

 

Just for fun I searched the Test database for innings where batsmen hit their first ball for six. I’m sure this is commonplace in T20, but a fairly rare event in Tests, especially before superbats came to the fore in about 2001. The list follows

 

Innings where a batsman hit his first ball for six (where known)

Bat

Bowler

G Ulyett

Eng v Aus, Sydney (SCG) 1881/82

TW Garrett

TW Wall

Aus v Eng, Nottingham (Trent Bridge) 1930

RK Tyldesley

EAV Williams

WI v Eng, Bridgetown, Barbados 1948

JC Laker

HHH Johnson

WI v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1950

R Berry

NAT Adcock

SAf v Eng, Johannesburg (New Wanderers) 1956/57

JH Wardle

A D'Souza

Pak v Eng, Lord's 1962

LJ Coldwell

VA Holder

WI v Eng, Leeds (Headingley) 1969

BR Knight

JA Jameson

Eng v WI, Kingston, Jamaica 1974

KD Boyce

GS Chappell

Aus v Eng, Lord's 1975

DS Steele

AL Logie

WI v Ind, Kinston 1982/83

M Amarnath

IT Botham

Eng v Aus, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1985

CJ McDermott

 

PA de Silva

SL v Ind, 1985/86 Colombo SSC

Kapil Dev

 

CL Cairns

NZ v WI, Wellington 1999/00

NO Perry

M Muralitharan

SAf v SL, Johannesburg (New Wanderers) 2002/03

SM Pollock

PJ Wiseman

NZ v SL, Colombo1 (PSS) 2002/03

HDPK Dharmasena

BC Lara

WI v Aus, Antigua (St John's) 2003

B Lee

M Muralitharan

SL v Ind, Delhi (FSK) 2005/06

IK Pathan

MS Dhoni

Ind v WI, St Kitts 2006

PT Collins

GC Smith

SAf v Ind, Cape Town 2006/07

Z Khan

PG Fulton

NZ v Ban, Dunedin 2007/08

Mohammad Ashraful

M Muralitharan

SL v NZ, Galle 2009

CS Martin

Shakib Al Hasan

Ban v Ind, Mirpur 2009/10

PP Ojha

M Morkel

SAf v NZ, Wellington 2011/12

DL Vettori

Z Khan

Ind v NZ, Bangalore 2012

TG Southee

CH Gayle

WI v Ban, Mirpir 2012

Sohag Gazi

 

The list is drawn mostly from the database rather than other research. Overall, this probably represents about three-quarters of all cases, perhaps more. The database covers only 70% of Tests before 1998, with particular gaps in the 1990s, so there may be some more to find (I do have 190 Tests from the 1990s complete, but there were no cases, apart from Chris Cairns, a few days before the turn of the century). The search looked for sixes; it is possible (just barely) that one or more of the above cases involved overthrows rather than boundary hits*. Only one case was found of a batsman hitting a five off his first ball (Ray Lindwall), although there is also George Ulyett, who earned only five for his over-the-boundary hit in 1881/82.

 

Remarkably, Ulyett remains (probably) the only player to do it in Australia (the 1990s data is complete for Australia). There are only two Australians on the list, so Mutiah Muralitharan’s record of three appearances is quite remarkable. Only one of the above cases involved the first ball of a team innings: Graeme Smith. [UPDATE: Reader Benedict informs me of a second example: Aravinda de Silva at Colombo SSC in 1985/86. Sreeram pointed out the Gus Logie case.]

 

 

*Postscript: I was surprised to read in an Ask Steven Facebook entry that Neil Harvey hit only one six in his Test career of over 6000 runs. I checked the database and found two, but one of those turned out to include overthrows, so the single six figure is correct.

 

UPDATE: Chris Gayle’s latest has been added to the list.

 

Sri Lanka’s role in the Decline of Over Rates

 

Currently surveying the Tests of the 1980s, I was struck by the time taken to get through overs in many matches. Not all teams indulged in bowling crawls, but until minimum overs were mandated for all Tests in about 1987, there were some occasions when over rates dropped to extraordinarily low levels. It is probably not well known that the ‘leading’ team in this regard was Sri Lanka. In their very first Tests from 1981, Sri Lanka bowled at a reasonable rate, 85-90 balls per hour, but in the mid-1980s, their bowling rate plummeted whenever the situation turned defensive (which was quite often), to rates not seen in Test cricket before. This was commented upon in reports from the time, although the captain always denied a deliberate policy.

 

The tactic, if that is what it was, reached its ultimate expression at Kandy in 1985/86 when India scored 325/6 declared in the second innings. It took 474 minutes for Sri Lanka to bowl 84 overs (504 balls); the rate of 63.8 balls per hour remains the slowest for any Test innings of this size. One report says that Sri Lanka bowled only 8.5 overs in the last hour, which may be an all-time low. (UPDATE: West Indies reportedly bowled only eight overs in an hour when England were chasing a target in the final session of the Trinidad Test of 1990. There were only 57 balls per hour in England’s innings of 120 for 5.)

 

Some allowance should be made for the Sri Lankan climate, but even so, it must have made for tiresome viewing. Over rates in the mid-80s were slower for Sri Lanka than any other country…

 

Team Over Rates from 1983/84 to 1986/87

Team

Balls per hour

Sri Lanka

77.4

West Indies

79.9

Australia

84.1

Pakistan

84.6

England

87.7

India

89.8

New Zealand

90.1

 

The Sri Lankan bowling was dominated by medium to fast-medium bowling, but there was more bowling by spinners (~30%) than the West Indies (<20%), which of course was dominated by genuine pace bowlers with long run ups. When over minimums were mandated, Sri Lanka’s rate rose immediately, and averaged over 85 balls per hour from 1988 to 1992. This change coincided with the end of the captaincy of LRD Mendis; on the other hand, few Tests were played in Sri Lanka in this period, due to civil unrest, and that may have been a factor.

 

A New Look at the Longest Innings

 

It only recently occurred to me that one way to dodge the old problem of lack of balls faced for historic innings is use to number of overs as a measure. Of course, this measure is often incomplete, too, but it turns out that for the very longest innings, quite exact figures can be obtained. The following list of the longest innings, by this measure, can be regarded as complete…

 

 

Longest Test innings by number of overs batted

Overs batted

Score

BF

309

Hanif Mohammad

337

Pak v WI, Bridgetown, Barbados 1958

292

L Hutton

364

858

Eng v Aus, The Oval 1938

253

RB Simpson

311

741

Aus v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1964

245

GM Turner

259

759

NZ v WI, Georgetown, Guyana 1972

225

PBH May

285*

625

Eng v WI, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1957

222

KF Barrington

256

630

Eng v Aus, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1964

221

A Sandham

325

640

Eng v WI, Kingston, Jamaica 1930

212

SG Barnes

234

665

Aus v Eng, Sydney (SCG) 1946/47

209

G Kirsten

275

642

SAf v Eng, Durban (Kingsmead) 1999/00

208

EAB Rowan

236

620

SAf v Eng, Leeds (Headingley) 1951

200

AC Bannerman

91

620

Aus v Eng, Sydney (SCG) 1891/92

200

ML Apte

163*

Ind v WI, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 1953

196

RM Cowper

307

589

Aus v Eng, Melbourne (MCG) 1965/66

195

Nazar Mohammad

124*

Pak v Ind, Lucknow (University) 1952/53

194

ST Jayasuriya

340

578

SL v Ind, Colombo4 (RPS) 1997

191

MC Cowdrey

154

621

Eng v WI, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1957

189

BC Lara

400*

582

WI v Eng, Antigua (St John's) 2004

188

AD Nourse

208

603

SAf v Eng, Nottingham (Trent Bridge) 1951

184

WR Hammond

251

602

Eng v Aus, Sydney (SCG) 1928/29

184

AJ Watkins

137*

590

Eng v Ind, Delhi (FSK) 1951/52

Eight-ball overs converted to six-ball equivalent. Incomplete overs counted as one.

 

There is come uncertainty over a few figures. I am confident about Hanif’s figure, but it might be plus or minus one or two. Turner’s figure is a bit more uncertain, but not so much that it would change his place in the list. A striking feature is the range of scores represented, Alec Bannerman’s unique 91 ranks above Lara’s 400. Only seven out of the 26 Test triple-centuries make it into this top 20. It shows that the net must be cast wide when looking for records like these.

 

One can see that some innings rank above others that may have had more balls faced. This is indicative of variations in strike.

 

 

 

26 September 2012

 

Hot 100 Updated

 

The latest tables of the fastest and slowest batsmen of Test history have been posted here. There is one change to the setup. The qualification for recent careers has been raised from 1000 runs to 1500 runs. There seemed to be too many second-string recent batsmen (Swann, Sammy, Umar Akmal) muscling in to the top 10 or 20.

 

It has been noted before that the rankings change only slowly. However, Virender Sehwag has made another impressive gain, to 82.2 runs per 100 balls, and has passed Adam Gilchrist to claim second spot behind Shahid Afridi. Sehwag has risen, incrementally, from fifth spot in 2005.

 

Sehwag has done this in spite of an indifferent run of form. He has not scored a century in his last 30 innings, nor has he reached 70 in his last 26 outings. Yet he has scored at over 83 runs/100b in those 30 innings, faster than his whole career speed. Perhaps it is time to dial it back a little.

 

There is a notable collection of current England middle/lower order batsmen in the top 20: Prior (12), Broad (13) and Pietersen (16) are there, and Graeme Swann (not yet qualified, as mentioned earlier), has hit his 1078 runs at 79.7 runs/100 balls. The fact that all of these have scored faster than, say, Ian Botham, suggests that fast scoring is easier than ever.

 

 

The Disappearing Threes

 

Here is another item I wrote for Australia: Story of a Cricket Country last year. It did not actually appear in this form in the book, but people might find it interesting as is. In spite of the title, it is mainly about Bob Cowper’s strangely unique triple-century at the MCG in 1966, and other big innings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 September 2012

 

A Brief History of the New Ball

 

The use of new balls in Test matches has a somewhat confusing history. In response to a question from Sreeram, here is an attempt to gather a few facts.

 

The very early Tests seem to have used a single ball for each innings regardless of length. Brodribb in Next Man In (1952) records that in Australia the idea of taking a new ball when 200 runs had been scored was introduced in 1901. England followed in 1907. The 200-run trigger appears to have been kept in use until 1945.

 

It wasn’t entirely satisfactory. Sometimes teams reduced scoring before 200 runs were up, to avoid a new ball. In 1946, the MCC introduced an over limit. Strangely, they settled on 55 overs, an extremely low number that favoured pace bowlers. In Australia, the 200-run limit remained in place in 1946/47, but was switched to 42 (eight-ball) overs in 1947/48. This was of no help to the touring Indian side facing Lindwall and Miller.

 

In 1949 some common sense returned and the trigger was lifted to 65 six-ball overs or 50 eight-ball overs for the next few years. By 1954/55 this had been abandoned in Australia and the 200-run trigger returned. All the recorded new balls of the 1954 and 1955 series in England were taken over 200 runs, but an over limit seems to have been reintroduced soon after; 75 in combination with 200 runs, whichever came first. By 1962 new balls in England were being taken at 200 runs or 85 overs. There is also some confusion about this period in other countries. In the West Indies, 75 overs seems to have been used when the MCC toured in 1960, but 200 runs when India toured in 1962. The known record for use of an old ball is 185 overs at Bridgetown in 1962, but since India scored only 187 runs in that innings, the use of the old ball was probably not a matter of choice. Some other Tests may have used a combination of runs or overs, whichever came first. In the Australian tour of West Indies in 1965, some new balls came at 200 runs and others at 75 overs, but when England toured in 1968 no new balls were taken before 75 overs, even when the score was over 200.

 

In India, all the new balls I have recorded up to 1965 came after 200 runs. The switch, probably in 1965, was to 75 overs.

 

In 1965, the runs scored standard in England and Australia fades away and the MCC established a standard in England of 85 overs, or 65 eight-ball overs in Australia. This remained in use for many years in these countries, but again other countries had local variations. New Zealand and South Africa followed the MCC standard, but 75 overs seems to have been the norm in the West Indies and the subcontinent.

 

Finally in 1995, all countries lined up with the same standard, with the new ball available after 80 overs; this remains in place.

 

 

 

 

2 September 2012

 

Cricket’s First Mexican Wave?

 

I came across an odd little note in Bill Frindall’s linear score of the Headingley Test of 1986 (England v India). In over 14 of India’s second innings, Frindall records a delay caused by “mass sectional crowd waving”. Sounds a bit like a Mexican Wave, I thought, though Frindall would not have known it by that name at the time. I recalled that the Mexican Wave had become internationally known when it became popular at the 1986 football World Cup in Mexico. I checked, and wouldn’t you know, that World Cup had begun just three weeks before the Headingley Test.

 

The unfamiliar event may have unsettled Mohammad Azharuddin, who was batting, because he was out next ball.

 

UPDATE: There is a note in the score for the subsequent Lord’s Test reading “Attempted Mexico Wave” (sic).

 

 

Kapil’s 99* in a Session

 

I don’t know if this has been noted before, but there is an odd fact about Kapil Dev’s 100 not out at Port-of-Spain in 1983. Kapil put paid to any chance of a West Indies win when he went to town on the West Indies pace bowlers after tea. In the 16th over of the final 20, Kapil reached his century, and the match was immediately called off as a draw. But the adjournment cost Kapil a rare achievement. After being one not out at tea, he had scored 99 runs in the session, and so the ending of the match had deprived him of that rare century. (The match could have been called off earlier, but Clive Lloyd, in a sporting gesture, allowed Kapil the chance of the 100).

 

Kapil’s 100 off 95 balls was the fastest ton conceded by the mighty Windies at home at their peak in the 1980s. Sunil Gavaskar did go one better only a few months later, but his 100 off 94 balls was in India.

 

I don’t know of anyone hitting a century in a session on the fifth day of a Test match before Dwayne Smith did so on debut at Cape Town in 2004. Stan McCabe famously hit 100 before lunch in his 189* in the final innings at Johannesburg in 1935, but that was a four-day Test.

 

 

A Keeper’s Unique Double

 

Don Tallon was known in his time as a prince of wicketkeepers. Less well known was his ability as a legspinner, which on occasion could net him bags of wickets in minor matches. Tallon’s first match after returning from the 1948 Invincible tour was a country match in his native Bundaberg (Queensland). Playing against a Queensland Country XI in October 1948, Tallon left the gloves in the dressing room and spun the opposition out by taking all ten wickets for 30 runs, following this up with a score of 106 not out.

 

The double of all ten plus a century has been done by others (I think including WG in a first-class match) but I doubt if any other wicketkeeper has done it. I came across this report, believe it or not, in an Indian newspaper, but it is confirmed by report also in the Brisbane Courier Mail.

 

On the subject of unusual doubles, reader Pradhip asked if Lindsay Hassett’s scores of 122 and 122 for Vic v NSW in 1949/50 is the highest score made twice by a batsman in a first-class match. I did find scores of 146 and 146 not out by John Langridge in a county match in 1949. Looking for batsmen who were twice out, there is N Bredenkamp who scored 125 and 125 in a relatively minor but “first-class” match in 2007. CD Cumming scored 127 not out and 127 for Otago v Canterbury in 2011. Mark Waugh scored 121 not out and 121 for Essex v Derbyshire in 1995.

 

An incredible coincidence occurred in 1972 when Glenn Turner was out for 259 twice in consecutive first-class innings on the Bourda ground, in the space of a week. Of course, that was in two different matches.

 

 

 

 

22 August 2012

 

First Helmet Penalties

 

In the Kingston Test of 1984, a footnote in the score records that five penalty runs were scored while Courtney Walsh was bowling, because the ball hit a helmet on the field. I wondered when this was first recorded. Finding other early cases is complicated by the fact that it was recorded as five byes rather than penalty runs. It happened again in Australia the following season, again involving New Zealand. But it had also happened at Lord’s in 1980, with David Gower batting.

 

 

A Wicket First and Last

 

A list of bowlers who took the winning wicket in a Test match with the last ball they bowled was sent to me by reader ashru, from Dr A Siddiqui. I noticed that it included Nathan Lyon, who finished off Australia’s last Test in the West Indies, at Dominica. That may make Lyon the only bowler (currently) to take wickets with both his first ball in Test cricket and his last (see 2 September 2011). Of course, this is very probably a temporary situation; Lyon will almost certainly continue to bowl in Test cricket.

 

 

Warne and McGrath: Off Days

 

A recent article at Cricinfo spoke of the batsmen who had hit the most runs in a single innings off some major bowlers. The dates were restricted to post-2001, so data for Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath were incomplete. For the record, the most runs hit by one batsman off Shane Warne is 90 by Ravi Shastri (206) at Brisbane in 1991/92, Warne’s debut (1 for 150). The most hit off McGrath in one innings is 58 by Nasser Hussain (207) at Edgbaston in 1997. McGrath took 2 for 107. The most off Murali, in the article, was given as 111 by Younis Khan. This is probably the most for Murali in all Tests, although I don’t have complete data in this case.

 

 

 

 

8 August 2012 (Updated)

 

Final Ball a Winner

 

After some correspondence with reader Ashru, I made this interesting list of batsmen hitting the winning run in their last Test. Or to put it another way, they hit the winning run with their last ball in Test cricket. I haven’t included recent Tests involving players who may yet play again. I have noted before that both Moss and Siddiqui were playing in their only Tests. Of course, there were others who were present for the winning stroke (including Justin Langer) but whose partners delivered the coup de grace.

 

 

Winning hit

 

C Bannerman

3

Aus v Eng, Melbourne (MCG) 1878/79

D Denton

4

Eng v SAf, Cape Town 1909/10

JF Crapp

4

Eng v SAf, Port Elizabeth 1948/49

Gul Mahomed

3

Pak v Aus, Karachi (National) 1956/57

PJ Sharpe

2

Eng v NZ, The Oval 1969

BW Yuile

4

NZ v Pak, Lahore (Gaddafi) 1969/70

DL Amiss

4

Eng v Aus, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1977

GRJ Roope

2

Eng v NZ, The Oval 1978

JK Moss

1

Aus v Pak, Perth (WACA) 1978/79

SP O'Donnell

2

Aus v NZ, Sydney (SCG) 1985/86

TE Blain

4

NZ v Pak, Christchurch 1993/94

RG Samuels

4

WI v Aus, Perth (WACA) 1996/97

S Ragoonath

2

WI v Aus, Kingston, Jamaica 1999

IR Siddiqui

1

Ind v Eng, Mohali 2001/02

SC Williams

4

WI v Ind, Bridgetown, Barbados 2002

N Hussain

1

Eng v NZ, Lord's 2004

Up to 2008 only.

 

 

Wickets with the First Ball and Last Ball of an Innings

 

For no particular reason, I made a list of bowlers who took wickets with both the first ball and the last ball of an innings. It turns out to be quite rare. A puzzling aspect is the absence of any cases before 1974. There were almost 40 innings before then where a wicket fell first ball of the innings, but I checked them all, and not one of the bowlers involved later finished the innings off. One factor would be the greater relative role played by spinners in earlier decades, especially when it came to finishing innings off. The other curiosity is that one bowler, Pedro Collins, turns up three times in what is quite a short list, each time against the same country. Guess which country.

 

AME Roberts

WI v Ind, Kolkata 1974/75

RGD Willis

Eng v Aus, Brisbane ('Gabba') 1978/79

ST Clarke

WI v Ind, Bangalore 1978/79

N Kapil Dev

Ind v SAf, Durban (Kingsmead) 1992/93

Wasim Akram

Pak v Zim, Rawalpindi (Cricket Stadium) 1993/94

DE Malcolm

Eng v WI, Leeds (Headingley) 1995

GD McGrath

Aus v SL, Galle 1999/00

PT Collins

WI v Ban, Dhaka 2002/03

SM Pollock

SAf v Eng, Nottingham (Trent Bridge) 2003

PT Collins

WI v Ban, St Lucia (Beausejour) 2004

PT Collins

WI v Ban, Kingston, Jamaica 2004

B Lee

Aus v SAf, Durban (Kingsmead) 2005/06

DW Steyn

SAf v Eng, Johannesburg (New Wanderers) 2009/10

All Out innings only

 

 

Longest without New Ball, and a Hadlee Golden Spell.

 

There are a couple of new entries in this record category. India went without a new ball for 166 overs against England at Kanpur in 1984/85, while Pakistan appear to have waited 173.2 overs on a slow-turn wicket at Wellington just a couple weeks previously. New Zealand batted right through the first two days in that Wellington Test without facing a second new ball. These rank third and fourth all-time, if the data are to be trusted, noting that in the case of the leader (185 overs at Bridgetown 1961/62), the new ball could not be taken under the rules at the time, due to fewer than 200 runs being scored. New Zealand West Indies went 177 overs without a new ball at Wellington in 1986/87.

 

Also in 1984/85, I came across a remarkable bowling spell by Richard Hadlee that has received little recognition. Against Pakistan at Dunedin, Hadlee took five wickets in the space of 16 balls at the close of the first day and the start of the second, conceding five runs. Ignoring the special category of “Bangladesh”, only three bowlers have bagged five in fewer balls. The leader is Monty Noble back in 1902, with a probable 13 balls, (though the exact number is not certain, range 12-15). See the Unusual Records section.

 

Two of Hadlee’s wickets came with the old ball, then two with the new ball, taken in the last over of the day. The last of the five wickets occurred immediately the  following morning, which may explain why the feat was apparently little-noticed (with no mention in Wisden or New Zealand Cricketers Almanack). I missed it in my own research until now, even though the full score has been sitting in my files for about three years. When one has three filing cabinets full of Test match scores, these things can be missed. Another factor would be Hadlee’s unspectacular (though excellent) final figures of 6 for 51. The discovery of such a spell does, of course, open the possibility that other extreme cases remain undiscovered.

 

Hadlee’s victims included Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, and Salim Malik. Quite a haul; no one above Hadlee in the list of “fast fives” has included so many good batsmen.

 

Another morsel from the 1984/85 series in New Zealand: in the first Test in Wellington, Geoff Howarth was run out (by Azeem Hafeez) after running a bye and while attempting a second. I haven’t encountered before a definite case where byes or leg byes were scored and a batsman was run out. This is rather curious. There must have been cases where run outs occurred while attempting (leg) byes, but since only about 15% of run outs involve one or more runs being completed, most of them would only have registered as run outs off dot balls.

 

UPDATE: I found an error in one of the other “fast fives”. Jim Laker, in his 9 for 37 at Old Trafford in 1956, took his 3rd to 7th wickets in the span of 13 balls. I previously had 14 balls, which was the span for Laker’s last five wickets.

 

 

16 July 2012

 

Dropped Catches Report: 2011

 

I have gone through Cricinfo’s ball-by-ball accounts of Tests from Jan 2011 to end Jan 2012 (40 Tests), and extracted as many cases of dropped catches and missed stumpings as I could. This is something I have done for every year since 2002 (and some Tests in 2001). [A plea to Cricinfo: have your Test recorders flag or catalogue dropped catches in commentary or attached to scorecards; it would be a simple thing to do as they go.] As usual, I have been broad in my interpretations, including extremely difficult and “half” chances, and cases where the fieldsman failed to reach the ball but could have. There is always a possibility that in some cases the judgement is too harsh, but also there are some that may have been missed.

 

Some 290 chances were logged. The miss rate was 26.3%. This rate has been remarkably constant since I have been carrying out these analyses: the average for 2002 to 2004 was 26.4%, the average for 2009 and 2010 was 26.9%.

 

Rates do vary between teams. Australia, with a drop rate of 19.6%, has snatched back the #1 spot from South Africa (now 21.2%), with New Zealand sneaking into second at 21.0%. Australia’s rate stems partly from an exceptional series against India, where they dropped only 15% of chances. These are some of the best figures seen in the decade of analysis.

 

One alarming stat showed up: Bangladesh had a drop rate of 45.6%, the worst they have ever recorded. During the past decade, no team (including Bangladesh) has previously recorded over 40% in a single year. There is a clear gap between Bangladesh and other teams, and it is not getting any narrower. Bangladesh’s misses are all over the field: they miss a much higher proportion of outfield catches than other teams. If Bangladesh had the same drop rate as leading teams, their combined bowling average might drop from about 46 to a competitive 33.

 

2011 Dropped Catches

Australia

19.6%

New Zealand

21.0%

South Africa

21.2%

West Indies

23.9%

India

24.2%

England

24.5%

Sri Lanka

26.6%

Pakistan

33.7%

Zimbabwe

34.9%

Bangladesh

45.6%

All

26.3%

 

 

Looking at individuals, Taufeeq Umar of Pakistan had a wonderfully lucky year as a batsman, being dropped 13 times, ahead of that hard-hitter Sehwag on 10. In making 135 against West Indies, Tafeeq was dropped five times, equalling the modern record set by Andy Blignaut in 2005. Taufeeq was also dropped four times in making 130 against Bangladesh, as was HDRL Thirimanne in making 68 against Pakistan. [The most extreme cases I know of from earlier times are seven or eight off George Bonnor in making 87 in the 1880s, and six off Bill Ponsford’s 266 at the Oval in 1934.]

 

Leading bowler by a long shot was Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan, with 22 misses off his bowling. Saeed takes up the mantle of Danish Kaneria, who was ‘unluckiest’ bowler in previous years. Pakistan miss a lot of chances behind the stumps and at short leg when spinners are bowling.

 

Perhaps the best record among fieldsmen was Martin Guptill of New Zealand, who took seven catches and had no recorded misses, including a unique run of four consecutive catches, “PJ Hughes, c Guptill b Martin”, that cost Phil Hughes his Test place. Among fieldsmen who had ten or more chances, the best rate was 13% (14 catches and two drops) by Jacques Kallis. Kallis was also a major beneficiary of one missed chance; against Sri Lanka at Cape Town he was missed on 2 and went on to make 224, the most expensive miss of the year.

 

Best keepers were Prior and Haddin with 9% each.

 

Misbah-ul-Haq missed more chances than he took (8 and 7). Alastair Cook, consigned to that fielding graveyard at short leg, missed 47%, most of them difficult. If you thought Rahul Dravid had a bad year in slips, the stats support it: he also missed 47% (9 misses, 10 catches)

 

About half of Test centuries during the year were chanceless in the first 100 runs. Alastair Cook’s 294 at Edgbaston appears to have been chanceless, the biggest chanceless innings since a 319 by Virender Sehwag in 2008.

 

 

Did Keith Miller Throw his Wicket Away?

 

Martin Williamson at Cricinfo posted an interesting article about the day Australia scored 721 against Essex in 1948. He mentioned the stories about Keith Miller allegedly throwing his wicket away first ball as protest against Bradman’s scorched-earth tactics, a story later promoted by Miller himself. As no conclusion was reached, I decided to look at contemporary reports to see if there was any mention. Nowadays, it is possible to look up some original newspaper reports online using the Trove database and other sources.

 

I saw maybe a dozen reports. Nearly all mentioned Miller being bowled first ball by Trevor Bailey, but few described the dismissal in detail. Not one said that Miller deliberately raised his bat to allow the ball to hit his stumps, something that one might expect to attract a remark or two. On the other hand, two of the reports said that Miller was beaten by a yorker. To quote the Adelaide Advertiser: “Miller was dismissed sensationally first ball. He played over a yorker from Bailey and his off stump was flattened.”

 

I guess that being bowled neck and crop first ball on a day when your team scores 700 could be somewhat embarrassing. Perhaps Miller’s account was a ‘cover’ story.

 

 

More from “Story of a Cricket Country”

 

Here is another item I wrote for Australia: Story of a Cricket Country in 2011, this time about Bruce Yardley, as something of a bookend for the earlier posted article on ALick Bannerman.

 

 

 

 

1 July 2012

 

Rare Access

 

I recently had the privilege of being allowed access to the file archive at Cricket Australia at Jolimont, to search for old Test scorebooks. Rare is the word; I had first enquired about such access more than ten years ago, and in most years since. Once finally there, the people at CA were very helpful, having sorted and retrieved quite a number of boxes from a storage facility.

 

As it turned out, there was an extensive array of scores to be found, including most Sheffield Shield matches for the last 30 years and most of Australia’s Tests. Unfortunately, there was no material before 1981, the year of the establishment of the Melbourne headquarters, but subsequent material included some Tests that I had not found elsewhere. In the same week, I received a number of Test scores from Queensland Cricket from the 1980s, and 1977. The upshot is that scores or ball-by-ball records for all Tests in Australia since 1970 have now been found and copied, with the exception of Adelaide 1973/74 (v New Zealand). Going further back, gaps arise, and there eight Tests missing from the 1960s (including the Brisbane Tied Test) and fourteen in all missing since 1945.

 

For Australia’s Tests overseas, the gaps are larger. However, there are now only two overseas Tests since 1980 unrepresented by scores – Lahore 1982 and the Madras Tied Test in 1986 (!). Three others, in the West Indies, have only incomplete or inadequate scores. (The scores received have come from a variety of sources, not just Cricket Australia). The prior record has more significant gaps, including West Indies in 1973, New Zealand in 1974 and India and Pakistan in 1979/80, which are missing in their entirety. (UPDATE: NZ 1974 and Pakistan 1980 have turned up in the Cricket NSW Collection)

 

It is hoped that once fully sorted, the score collection at CA will be sent for safekeeping at the Melbourne CC library or the MCG Sports Museum, which are both just across the road from CA.

 

One series found at CA for which no other complete source is known was the 1981/82 Australian tour of New Zealand. The third Test of this series, at Christchurch, included a century before lunch by Greg Chappell, the only such achievement in a two-hour session between 1976 and 2005. Statistically, it was extraordinary, faster than most pre-lunch centuries, and dominating the scoring more than most. I have drawn up a table of pre-lunch centuries, according to the balls faced.

 

Balls faced by pre-lunch century-makers

Runs pre-lunch

BF pre-lunch

Team runs

BC Lara (216)

Multan 2006

100

77

161

Majid Khan (112)

Karachi 1976

108

80 84

141

GS Chappell (176)

Christchurch 1982

100

93

143

AB de Villiers (129)

Centurion (Centurion Park) 2010

119

93

225@

IR Bell (162*)

Chester-le-Street 2005

105

102

178

VT Trumper (104)

Manchester 1902

103

105

approx

173

Inzamam-ul-Haq (112)

Harare 2002

103

106

176@

BC Lara (191)

Bulawayo 2003

114

109

167@

C Hill (142)

Johannesburg1 1902

116

115

approx

201

SJ McCabe (189*)

Johannesburg1 1935

100

122

132

HG Owen-Smith (129)

Leeds 1929

102

138

170@

KS Ranjitsinhji (154*)

Manchester  1896

113

140

est. only

196

LEG Ames (148*)

Oval 1935

123

145

est. only

221@

MA Taylor (334*)

Peshawar2 1998

103

145

161@

WR Hammond (336*)

Auckland 1933

111

149

160

CG Macartney (151)

Leeds 1926

112

151

153

DG Bradman (334)

Leeds 1930

105

153

136

CP Mead (182*)

Oval 1921

109

159

174@

JB Hobbs (211)

Lord's 1924

102

179

200@

W Bardsley (164)

Lord's 1912

118

195

est. only

208@

@ = extended session.

 

Chappell was dismissed with 13 minutes remaining in the session. His 100 runs came out of just 132 runs off the bat. He went from 83 to 103 in a single Troup over. Only a few on the above list have so dominated the scoring before lunch. [Note: a century before lunch was not uncommon in England from 1912 to 1939, thanks to very high over rates and frequent use of 150-minute sessions.]

 

Thanks to Shazad for corrected data on Majid Khan.

 

Short Articles for “Story of a Cricket Country”

 

I wrote a few short items for Chris Ryan for Australia: Story of a Cricket Country in 2011, most of which, I’m pleased to say, appeared in the book. I will post these over the next little while. Here is one, The Old Stone Wall, about Alick Bannerman and his statistical uniqueness. This is as I submitted the article, which was edited for the purposes of the book. A highly recommended publication, if I do say so myself.

 

 

 

5 June 2012

 

Hiatus

 

Blogging has been weak due to unusual levels of alternative activity. One significant project is a new book. Tentatively titled “Encyclopedia of Australian Cricketers”, my contribution has been basic biographical information and statistics on every player who has played first-class or senior One-Day cricket in Australia. That comes to more than 3,300 players; compiling it has been both challenging and tedious. The hope is to appeal to dedicated fans who like to have such information at their fingertips in one volume. Online sources are invaluable of course, but looking up numerous players that way has its drawbacks and can be time-consuming. To set the new volume apart from those sources I will also offer a couple of stats that aren’t always available online.

 

The other main feature will be mini-biographies of all Australian international players, written by Ken Piesse, giving the volume a unique flavour. Publication is slated for September by New Holland Publishing.

 

 *******

 

There has been little activity on the basic research front. Fortunately, Andrew Samson in South Africa has come up with some new material, and has discovered, among other things, a couple of scorebooks for Durban Tests in 1922/23. The re-score of the 3rd Test of that series includes an interesting result, in spite of it being a dull draw. Philip Mead made 181 in a manner so slow that it was the longest innings by Englishman up to that time, at 567 balls. Mead also took 537 balls to reach his 150; this ranks third among the slowest 150s that I know of.

 

The shortlist is

 

First 150

MC Cowdrey(154) E V WI  Birmingham  1957

615 balls, 512 minutes

CN Frank(152)  SA V A  Johannesburg  1921-22

566 balls, 510 min.

CP Mead(181) E v SA Durban 1922/23

537 balls, 435 min

WR Hammond(177) E v A  Adelaide  1928-29

505 balls, 380 min

 

As is the case with many old scores, there is some uncertainty about some balls faced figures. Both Cowdrey and Mead’s innings have uncertainties due to the fact that byes and leg byes are not marked in the score. The Frank and Hammond cases are adequately marked and so are reasonably solid.

 

The eight slowest 150s, incidentally, include no double-centuries. The slowest 150 to be converted to 200 was Sid Barnes’ 234 in 1946/47 (150 off 462 balls) which ranks ninth, and second or third among slow 200s (see 26 April 2010).

 

******

 

Re-scoring a 1984 Test recently, I came across an unusual (to put it mildly) match double by Richard Hadlee. Hadlee top-scored with 99 and took eight wickets for 44 in the match, including 5 for 28 in England’s second innings. As such, he scored the only half-century in the match, and made the only five-wicket haul. It turns out that this is unique in Test matches. Plenty of players have scored a 50 and bagged a five in the same match, but no one else has made ALL the 50s and fives in a match. Although it would not make the normal lists of great match doubles, it was one of the most dominating all-round individual performances in Test history.

 

 

20 April 2012

 

Martin’s Super Spells

 

Chris Martin of New Zealand picked up three wickets in four balls in a Test recently (at Dunedin). This is an exceptional though not especially rare achievement: I count 63 instances in Tests. What was particularly noteworthy about this was the calibre of the batsmen involved: Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers. Their combined batting averages come to 156. I wondered how often such a threesome is dismissed like this. Not very often, of course.

 

I tallied up all the known cases and found only one where the combined average of the victims was greater. Of course, anyone who nailed Don Bradman in such a sequence would have an advantage, and indeed one bowler did so – Bill Voce at the SCG in 1936/37. Voce also sank Leo O’Brien and Stan McCabe, giving a combined average of 175. There are no other cases quite like it. A fuller list is

 

Three wickets in four balls: Highest-Calibre Victims

Bowler

Combined Avge

Batsmen

W Voce

175

LPJ O'Brien, DG Bradman, SJ McCabe

Eng v Aus, Sydney (SCG) 1936/37

CS Martin

156

GC Smith, JH Kallis, AB de Villiers

NZ v SAf, Dunedin (Unversity) 2011/12

JW Martin

155

RB Kanhai, GStA Sobers, FMM Worrell

Aus v WI, Melbourne (MCG) 1960/61

Shoaib Akhtar

146

RT Ponting, ME Waugh, SR Waugh

Pak v Aus, Colombo1 (PSS) 2002/03

WJ O'Reilly

142

CF Walters, RES Wyatt, WR Hammond

Aus v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1934

JH Kallis

139

ML Hayden, A Symonds, AC Gilchrist

SAf v Aus, Melbourne (MCG) 2005/06

KD Mackay

137

KF Barrington, MJK Smith, R Subba Row

Aus v Eng, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1961

IK Pathan (hat-trick)

135

Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf

Ind v Pak, Karachi (National) 2005/06

 

Complete career averages were used in all cases except where careers are ongoing.

 

A few bowlers have taken 3 in 4 on two occasions, including Martin. Martin actually did it twice in the space of seven overs that he bowled (but in two different series). I haven’t checked but I am sure this must be unique. When on song, Martin is one of the best bowlers in the world. He and Dale Steyn are the only current bowlers who have taken five wickets before lunch on the first day of a Test (see 25 Sep 2010).

 

 

Clarke’s Gamble

 

A reader, Stephen, pointed out that Australia had never declared its first innings in deficit and gone on to win a Test until Michael Clarke did so in the Barbados Test. Indeed as far as I can tell, Australia has only once before declared when batting second and still behind on first innings, at the WACA against the West Indies in 1988/89, and that was an unusual circumstance when Geoff Lawson suffered a nasty injury and Allan Border decided to end the innings with eight wickets down.

 

There is only one direct precedent, when England beat the West Indies by four wickets on a very dodgy surface in 1935. Curiously, that was also at Bridgetown. Most cases of teams declaring in deficit are in matches severely afflicted by bad weather, and most end in in draws. One exception is Pakistan’s strange declaration at 4 for 272, chasing 331 against India in 1979/80. This match has been mentioned (by others) in connection to match-fixing. It would certainly be a very early example if so.

 

Clarke, I am sure, earned Ian Chappell’s approval. It was Chappell who declared Australia’s first innings (batting first) at 5 for 441 at the MCG in 1972/73. Even though Pakistan replied with 574, there was enough time for Australia to pile on more runs in the second innings and win the match.

 

*********

 

I mentioned in the last entry that published balls faced figures for some Tests do not tally with the number of balls bowled. Dave Barry has produced a list (of remarkable length) of cases on his blog and discusses some issues there. There are many cases from the 80s and 90s, and for many of these Tests there is only one published source and no available original scorebook. The errors generally originate in these sources and Cricket Archive and Cricinfo simply reproduce them. I have corrected the problems myself for quite a number of Tests, but I have only reached 1983 in my comprehensive survey and the results are not publicly available yet – hopefully one day. Barry has commented on a few of the cases; where I can check, his surmises of the problems are correct.

 

The problems sometimes lie in the original scorebooks, which was the case for the 1983/84 West Indies Tests. Problematic scores turn up as recently as the late 1990s. I recently studied a couple of scores from Sri Lanka (v Zimbabwe) in January 1998, and they were riddled with anomalies, even though they superficially added up. In some innings the tallies for specific scoring strokes (1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 6s) differed between the batting and bowling sections of the score, and in others re-scoring produced a muddle of scoring strokes that seemed in the wrong place. One innings I could not re-score at all, even with a generous application of fudging. Oddly enough, a couple of scoresheets from two months later (Pakistan/Sri Lanka March 1998), using the same sheet structure, were in good order and fitted together perfectly. (They were written in a different hand). But problems arise again in Sri Lanka’s Tests against New Zealand in May 1998, which have significant anomalies. Whether these anomalies are a sign of errors in the accepted scores (and player career stats) is an open question; there are no independent sources to check against.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 March 2012

 

Philander’s Great Start

 

Vernon Philander took his 50th Test wicket against New Zealand in his 7th Test, an extremely rare achievement. It was sufficiently rare for the Cricinfo statisticians to write an article about it, although they did not address the most interesting question this raised (this happens quite a lot). However, the question occurred to a reader of this blog (Tom) who asked: which bowler was fastest to 50 wickets in terms of balls bowled?

 

Tom correctly deduced that Philander has taken out this particular record, and by a considerable margin. I was able to help him out with a few exact figures. Philander took his 50th wicket with his 1240th ball – an incredible strike rate of 24.8. The next best I can find is 1523 balls by Johnny Briggs (helped by those farcical “Tests” of 1888/89, which unfortunately seem to keep coming up in the annals of cricket statistics) and 1652 for George Lohmann. I don’t have an exact figure for CTB Turner; I suspect that “The Terror” was similar to Lohmann.

 

Next I get Brett Lee (1844) Frank Tyson (1881) followed by Spofforth (1915) Not including no balls.

 

It is quite remarkable to see a player beating one of those bowling records set back in the 19th Century, when the game was rather different. Those old bowling records often seem to be set in stone.

 

 

 

Late Season Batting Blues

 

In the last ten Sheffield Shield matches for the season, not one team batting first scored over 300. The highest was 277 by Victoria at the WACA. Five out of ten teams batting second scored over 300.

 

 

WINNING RUNS: the list of batsmen who hit the winning run in Tests is now complete, apart from one Test in 1936 (was it Wally Hammond or Charles Barnett?). This finalises the summary list in the Unusual Records section. Ricky Ponting leads with nine followed by Desmond Haynes with seven. Haynes was present at the death on 18 occasions, more than any other batsman, but on most occasions his partner or extras provided the final runs. Extras have finished 31 Tests.

 

 

Balls Faced Blues

 

I recently, belatedly, obtained copies of scores from Australia’s blowtorch-to-the-belly tour of the West Indies in 1984. [I have mentioned earlier that balls faced records for Allan Border’s career are complete except for one Test (Barbados) from that series. Border was recently edged out by Rahul Dravid as the batsmen who had faced most balls in Test cricket, but exactly when that happened is unclear]. At last, I thought, we can find the missing balls faced figures. Alas, the Bridgetown score that came back to Australia is seriously incomplete (and this is an “official” score!). Many balls faced figures are missing – there is nothing to add to the figures posted on Cricket Archive – and there is no detail whatsoever in the bowling sections of the score. The fourth Test score of the series is also incomplete in the bowling section.

 

There are other problems. Where they can be checked, there are significant issues with balls faced figures in the second Test. This was the match of Border’s epic rescue, scoring 98 not out and 100 not out against the West Indies pace barrage at its peak, including a two-hour last-wicket stand with Terry Alderman that saved the match. A full re-score confirms Border’s runs and the sequence of strokes, yet the balls faced figures as published seem to be quite wrong. Border is given 314 balls for his 98* and 269 for the 100*. The figures I get are 283 and 285 balls, respectively. Viv Richards’ figures for his 76 are also very doubtful: I get 130 balls not 188. There are other discrepancies. Using the revised figures, the balls faced now reconcile with the bowling figures.

 

Once again, solid evidence that balls faced figures published in the pre-computer age can be questionable. Even if all figures are eventually found, the total balls faced for Border’s career will be quite uncertain.

 

The Border/Alderman stand, incidentally, lasted for 197 balls. The first hour of the stand was the critical part; later on, Australia’s lead was such that there was no time for the West Indies to win. Play was called off 13 overs into the final 20, when Border reached his century.

 

 

A Lock on Scoring

 

Speaking of late-order pressure partnerships, Sreeram recently asked about the Georgetown Test of 1968, when Tony Lock dominated a critical late-order stand with Pat Pocock. I checked the scorebook. Lock scored 57 while Pocock remained on 0, and 59 including two runs he scored with Snow. There were about eight sundries, not marked in the score.

 

Lock did an amazing job of farming the strike in the early stages. At one point Pocock faced only 4 balls in ten overs (half an hour) during which Lock scored 39 off 56. Later on the strike was even. Pocock did not score until his 62nd ball.

 

The partnership lasted 258 balls.

 

 

 

19 March 2012

 

His Only Ball in First-Class Cricket

 

Some recent correspondence alerted me to the unusual case of one JEP (Emile) McMaster, who played his only Test and first-class cricket as part of Major Wharton’s tour to South Africa in 1888/89, and was caught off the only ball he faced in the series. Accepting, for the moment, the first-class and (very dubious) Test status of these matches, McMaster is the only Test player to be dismissed by the only ball he faced in first-class cricket.

 

There are others who have been out to their only ball faced in Tests: EJ Tyler, GE Bond, RL Park (a specialist batsman), WA Hunt, and M Ngam, who played three Tests but only batted once. They may have been trumped by MA Hanley of South Africa, who possibly made a diamond duck (run out without facing a ball) in his only Test innings in 1949. It is not clear from the scorebook whether Hanley faced the one ball bowled while he was at the wicket, since the batsman preceding him (Begbie) was also run out on the preceding ball. The Times says he “ran himself out like a schoolboy”, a hint that he did in fact face the ball.

 

 

The Other David Warner

 

David Warner’s 100 off 140 balls for Australia, batting first at Adelaide, was a puzzling innings. It was the slowest ODI century by an Australian for 20 years, since David Boon made 100 off 147 balls in the days before super bats and shortened boundaries. Boon was batting in 1991/92 at the MCG against the mighty West Indians, and under difficult conditions Australia won the match when West Indies was bowled out for 144. Since then, some Australian players have batted slower than Warner without making a century (Shane Watson once got 85* off 140 balls), but it is usually in a successful chase of relatively low totals.

 

 

An Impossible Partnership: Statistical Notes on Atkinson and Depeiza.

 

Dennis Atkinson and Clairmote Depeiza re-wrote the record book for lower-order partnerships when they added 347 for the seventh wicket at Bridgetown in 1955. The signs were not auspicious. The record seventh-wicket stand for the West Indies stood at just 73. Depeiza was a wicketkeeper whose top score in first-class cricket was 64, and who was playing only his second Test. Atkinson was an all-rounder who was not a fixture in the team; in 13 Tests since 1948 his highest score was 74. He had been dropped for the second Test, but stepped into the captaincy at Bridgetown when Stollmeyer was injured, a not uncontroversial appointment; at the time, pressure was increasing to appoint a black captain.

 

Unfortunately, an original score of the Test or series does not exist as far as I know; the Australian team may not have even returned with one. The following is from newspapers including Barbados Advocate.

 

Australia had finally been dismissed for 668 on the third day of the six-day Test. Depeiza (whose name is given as De Peiza in the newspaper, and Depeiaza in Cricket Archive) came to the crease at 147/6* late in the day when Miller dismissed Smith, about four minutes after Atkinson's innings had begun. They added 41 in 29 minutes before stumps day 3, WI 187/6 off 55 overs in 195 minutes, Depeiza 22, Atkinson 19. Lindwall 10-2-40-1, Miller 7-1-43-2. Miller, who had taken two wickets in an over, was immediately taken off by Johnson, a decision resented by Miller and sparking criticism in the press. Lindwall and Benaud were mentioned as bowlers in that 29 minutes; there may have been others.

 

Lindwall opened the bowling on the fourth day with Miller. Both came under attack from Atkinson, and the new ball was taken at 207. Archer was brought on for Miller at 229, with Atkinson on 53 and Depeiza 31. Lindwall was taken off after bowling six overs for 25 runs. Atkinson reached 50 in 63 minutes, the 50 partnership came in 39 minutes, 100 partnership in 84 minutes, 61 added in first hour of the day. There were 26 overs in the 90-minute session, WI now 282/6, Depeiza 37, Atkinson 95. At one stage there were six consecutive maidens (Hill and Johnson). Depeiza had adopted a fully defensive supporting role; at one stage he added 2 runs while Atkinson added 50.

 

Miller bowled after lunch and Atkinson hit him for four to reach his first Test century in 130 minutes, 14x4, 1x6. Depeiza suddenly came out of his shell to hit two fours and reach 50 in 138 minutes, 5x4. West Indies 300 had come up in 295 minutes. Miller came off and spinners bowled most of the session, both batsmen scoring easily. Atkinson reached 150 with a four off Hill, in 198 minutes, 19x4, 1x6, 1x5, and was severe on Benaud before tea.

 

Tea score (120-minute session) was 417/6, Atkinson 185, Depeiza 78.

 

Another new ball was taken at 427, Lindwall and Miller. Depeiza reached 100 (which would remain his only century in first-class cricket) with a four off Miller, in 261 minutes, 12x4, which also brought up 300 stand. Scoring slowed considerably, a catch was dropped, Lindwall bowling accurately. After some difficulties, a single off Lindwall gave Atkinson 200 in 310 minutes, 26x4, 1x6.

 

Stumps called at 494/6 off 146 overs, 495 minutes (90-minute session), Atkinson 215 in 333 minutes and Depeiza 122 in 329 minutes. Lindwall 25-3-97-1, Miller 22-2-112-2.

 

Depeiza was bowled by Benaud off the third ball of the fifth day without addition to the score. He batted 330 minutes, 16x4. Atkinson was next out at 504 for 219 in 351 minutes, 29x4, 1x6.

 

The number of balls bowled in the partnership is not known, but is quite close to 600.

 

I once heard Colin McDonald say that he dropped a catch very early in the partnership. There is no mention of this, but there is mention of McDonald juggling and dropping an easy chance off Atkinson on 195, at cover point off Lindwall. Perhaps McDonald misremembered which day it was! It is the only dropped catch mentioned, although a clear run out chance had been missed when Atkinson was on 147.

 

Atkinson and Depeiza were only the second pair to bat unbeaten through a complete day’s play, after Hobbs and Sutcliffe in 1924. No other partnership for the sixth wicket or later has done it since. Only three such partnerships have faced more than Atkinson and Depeiza’s 91 overs in a day. The record is equivalent to 110 six-ball overs, by Hobbs and Sutcliffe. Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh faced 102 overs at Trent Bridge in 1989.

 

Even after all this, West Indies failed to save the follow-on (Australia 668, WI 510), but Johnson did not enforce it. Understandable perhaps.

 

*Curiously, newspaper reports in both West Indies and Australia give the fall of wicket as 146/6 rather than 147;146 would be consistent with the fact that the batsmen changed ends between the dismissals of Weekes and Smith. By the next day, the fall of wicket had been revised to 147; the best explanation is a no ball that initially had been overlooked.

 

Here is the scorecard as it stood at the fall of the seventh wicket.

 

From daily press reports

R

4,6

Min

JK Holt

 b Lindwall

22

5

42

GStA Sobers

c Hill b Johnson

43

10

72

CL Walcott

c Langley b Benaud

15

0

45

EdeC Weekes

c Langley b Miller

44

6

85

FMM Worrell

run out (Benaud)

16

2

65

OG Smith

c Langley b Miller

2

0

10

DStE Atkinson

not out

215

29,1

351

CC Depeiza

 b Benaud

122

16

330

7 wickets for

494

 

O

M

R

W

RR Lindwall

25

3

97

1

Later changed

KR Miller

22

2

112

2

Later changed

RG Archer

13

4

39

0

IW Johnson

32

10

70

1

JC Hill

24

9

71

0

R Benaud

26.3

6

63

2

RN Harvey

4

0

16

0

WJ Watson

1

0

5

0

 

fow

Partn.

Time

"Out"

Not Out

1-52

52

42

JK Holt

GStA Sobers

2-69

17

30

GStA Sobers

CL Walcott

3-105

36

15

CL Walcott

EdeC Weekes

4-142

37

65

FMM Worrell

EdeC Weekes

5-143

1

3

EdeC Weekes

OG Smith

6-146 or 147 (see note)

4

5

OG Smith

DStE Atkinson

7-494

347

330

CC Depeiza

DStE Atkinson

 

 

 

 

29 February 2012

 

Defenders Wanted

 

Azhar Ali took 319 balls to reach a century at Dubai a few weeks ago, slowest century in a winning cause since TT Samaraweera against England in 2003. There have been only three 300-ball centuries in the last 230+ Test matches. Compare that to thirty in the space of 200 Tests in the early 1960s. Australians, in particular, have abandoned the stone wall: the last Aussie to take over 300 balls to reach 100 was Graham Wood at the MCG in 1981/82.

 

Yet the number of situations where such innings would be invaluable has not decreased. No one seems to want to tough it out any more. It was once said that attack was the best form of defence; now it seems to be the only form.

 

Those of us who saw the likes of Tavare batting (see next item) won’t be mourning the passing of the stonewaller too much, but it does sometimes feel that some of the variety of Test cricket has gone out of the game.

 

 

A Tavare Special

 

I have identified previously Chris Tavare’s record as the slowest specialist batsman of all time (in runs per hour, see 9 Nov 2011). I recently came across an innings where Tavare was instructed to “bat as long as possible” by his captain. The result, at Chennai in 1982, was 35 runs in three full sessions (5.5 hours batting time). India had declared at 481/3 at lunch on the third day, after which Tavare opened the innings and scored 17 in the lunch/tea session. Graham Gooch reached 81 in the same session. Tavare added just nine runs in the 90 minute final session (Gooch reached 117), and another nine in a full two hours before lunch. I don’t know the record here, but 18 runs in two full sessions would be hard to beat. Tavare was out to the third ball after lunch, 35 off 238 balls in 332 minutes. He scored only 26 runs in the first 50 overs, but even then his scoring slowed even further.

 

Slower innings of this size are hard to find. Robin Russell scored 29* off 235 balls at Joburg in 1995/96, and Geoff Rabone scored a 29 of similar ilk in Auckland in 1953 (but balls faced are not known). The only similar innings that was clearly slower was WH Scotton’s 34 off about 375 275 balls at the Oval in 1886.

 

Tavare was outscored 127 to 26 by Gooch in the opening stand of 155. This is the most one-sided large opening stand in all Tests.

 

 

 

A Scoresheet Unlike Any Other

 

Here is an unusual one - an image of the scoresheet for AEJ Collins’ all-time record score in 11-a-side cricket in 1899, 628 not out no less. Or as the scorer supposedly put it “628 not plus or minus 20 shall we say” (a remark not found on the actual sheet). The ground and circumstances had some strange features; check out the entry in Wikipedia. These included boundaries as short as 16 metres! (where boundaries only counted as two runs). In addition, it was unusual to play to a finish at any level in England at the time.

 

The image is a photograph of a museum exhibit in Wellington New Zealand.

 

 

6 February 2012

 

Sudden Demise

 

England, in the Abu Dhabi Test, lost their last five wickets off eleven balls. I’m told that there is a claim out there that this is the fastest such collapse in all Tests, and a couple of people asked me to check this. Not so easy, as such detailed data is still unavailable for many Tests.

 

However, combining scorebook data with original match reports does produce an interesting list.

 

 

Fewest balls for last five wickets

Balls

Team Score

9

142

WI v Eng, Leeds (Headingley) 1957

11

72

Eng v Pak, Abu Dhabi 2011/12

13

140

SAf v Eng, Lord's 1907

13

92

Eng v Aus, Melbourne (MCG) 1994/95

15

322

Aus v Eng, Sydney (SCG) 1998/99

16

77

Eng v Aus, The Oval 1882

18

352

Aus v SAf, Durban (Kingsmead) 2008/09

19 + 2nb

254

Ban v SL, Colombo2 (SSC) 2007

19 + 3nb

157

NZ v Aus, Wellington 2009/10

20

229

WI v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 2007

21

227

Eng v Aus, Adelaide Oval 1998/99

21-24

30

Saf v Eng, Port Elizabeth 1895/96

 

The scorebook for Leeds 1957 happens to be still missing, but the report in The Times is explicit, and adds that four wickets fell in consecutive balls, perhaps the only such case in Test cricket. There are a number of other candidates for the list where exact data is lacking (e.g Auckland 1963/64), but very few of them are likely to be under 20 balls. One Test for which I have no relevant information at all is Dhaka 1959. There is also Lord’s 1888, which was just like Abu Dhabi; England lost by the same number of runs as they scored, and the last five fell in a flash (but more than 20 balls, it appears).

 

 

 

29 January 2012

 

Rich Day for Bowlers

 

Reader Mark pointed out to me that 42 wickets fell in Test matches on Saturday 28 January, spread across three matches. He asks is this the highest for any calendar day, and indeed it is. The list is

 

Sat 28-Jan-2012

42

Sat 28-Dec-1996

40

Sat 24-Nov-1990

38

 

Sat 16-Dec-2006

36

 

Sat 21-Mar-1998

36

Sun 29-Nov-1998

36

Sat 17-Mar-2001

36

Sun 10-Nov-2002

36

Sun 19-Dec-2004

36

Thu 28-Oct-2004

33

Sat 23-Nov-1996

32

Sat 28-Feb-1998

32

Tue 29-Dec-1998

32

Tue 28-Dec-1999

32

Sun 23-Feb-1986

31

Sat 17-Nov-2001

31

Fri 19-Mar-2004

31

Corrected 30 Jan

 

Actually, it is intriguing that so few additions to this list have been made in the last seven years, given that cricketers’ workloads are allegedly increasing. Partly, it can be put down to recent domination of bat over ball.

 

The previous record, in 2006, included a 20-wicket day at Johannesburg between South Africa and India (10 wickets each).

 

********

 

Second Helping

 

It is very unusual for players involved in a giant partnership to produce another substantial partnership in the second innings; for one thing there are not a lot of opportunities to do so, since one giant innings is often sufficient. Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke managed it at Adelaide, becoming only the second pair to add more than 70 runs in the second innings after a triple-century first innings. The most combination runs for partners in a Test are as follows

 

 

Most Runs in Partnership (batting together twice)

Partnerships total

480

DG Bradman/WH Ponsford

451+29

Aus v Eng, The Oval 1934

457

RT Ponting/MJ Clarke

386+71

Aus v Ind, Adelaide 2011/12

433

DB Vengsarkar/SM Gavaskar

89+344*

Ind v WI, Kolkata 1978/79

422

MC Cowdrey/PBH May

11+411

Eng v WI, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1957

402

Inzamam-ul-Haq/Younis Khan

324+78*

Pak v Ind, Bangalore 2004/05

397

JL Langer/RT Ponting

248+149*

Aus v WI, Georgetown, Guyana 2003

390

Javed Miandad/Mushtaq Mohammad

252+138

Pak v NZ, Karachi (National) 1976/77

389

RB Simpson/WM Lawry

382+7

Aus v WI, Bridgetown, Barbados 1965

384

Mohammad Yousuf/Younis Khan

142+242

Pak v Ind, Faisalabad 2005/06

379

Mohammad Yousuf/Younis Khan

363+16

Pak v Eng, Leeds (Headingley) 2006

374

CC Depeiza/DStE Atkinson

27+347

WI v Aus, Bridgetown, Barbados 1955

372

DG Bradman/JHW Fingleton

26+346

Aus v Eng, Melbourne (MCG) 1936/37

 

The Oval Test of 1934 was a Timeless match, so Ponting and Clarke have secured the record for this little category for time-limited Test matches.

 

Dravid and Laxman added 303 and 51 at Adelaide in 2003/04 – the good old days, it would seem.

 

********

 

 

David Warner’s hectic century against India at Perth, 100 off 69 balls, set a number of records, as well attested elsewhere. I don’t have much to add, except that the century was also very fast in time batted, thanks to Warner grabbing a majority of the strike. It used to be that minutes batted dominated reporting of fast innings, with balls faced only gradually being accepted as the superior measure, over a period of decades. Now it has turned 180 degrees, and it is hard to find mention of minutes batted for milestones. I figure that Warner reached 100 in 96 minutes, faster even than Gilchrist’s 57-ball, 100-minute century five years ago. This would equal the time for Brian Lara at St John’s in 1999, and be the fastest by anyone since Viv Richard’s record-breaker in 81 minutes (56 balls) in 1986.

 

There is a case for giving ongoing attention to time batted. While balls faced is the better measure of innings quality, time batted can give a better measure of an innings’ impact and its memorability.

 

Warner scored a century on the first day, even though his team batted second. I figure this only the eighth time it has been done (Graeme Smith has done it twice, once against Zimbabwe), or five times if you exclude Bangladesh and Zimbabwe Tests. The most runs in such a situation is 151 by Marcus Trescothick, against Bangladesh; the record for more authentic Tests is 123 by Everton Weekes in Dunedin back 1955/56. The only other Australian to do it (Bradman came close) was Jack Fingleton at Johannesburg in 1935/36. Warner may be the first batsman to do this who started his innings after tea: Wally Hammond probably did so at Old Trafford in 1936, but the tea break for that day is a little uncertain.

 

Warner played a great innings by any measure, though I was pleased that Roy Fredericks’ fastest to 150, off 113 balls at the WACA in 1975/76, still stands. I have vivid memories of Fredericks’ 169. Memory may have to suffice. I have heard that most of the video of the 1975/76 series has been lost, destroyed in a flood of some kind. There was no home video back then, so no other copies apparently exist.

 

 

 

09 January 2012

 

 

I must admit sometimes to a moment of regret when a long-standing cricket record falls. Another little bit of cricket history edges towards obscurity. So it was when Michael Clarke took out Reg Foster’s ground record score of 287 at the SCG, which had stood since 1903. Still, Test cricket is a living game, and one of the reassuring things about the game is that the old records are difficult but by no means impossible to beat. And Foster (who only made two scores over 50 in Test cricket) still has that highest score on debut, a record unapproached and formidable.

 

For a guy who scored only 602 Test runs, Foster certainly made his mark on the record books.

 

The SCG was overdue for a triple century, in a way. Triples occur about once in every 80 Tests, so with the SCG registering its 100th Test, it is not surprising that someone knocked one up eventually.

 

One reader (David) wrote in with a few interesting observations that highlight the occasional capriciousness of the game. In Australia’s innings, David Warner was out to the first false shot he played. Clarke on the other hand, played and missed perhaps eight times in his first 40 runs, and went on to 329 not out. This is not to be too critical of Clarke: we have all seen big innings that contained more false strokes. But spare a thought for Warner, who sat there watching the scoreboard ratchet up to 659 for 4, with his eight runs at the top.

 

False strokes might be an interesting area of study, and a new statistic. It would not be possible to extend this far back in history, although Bill Frindall’s scores (I have about 150 of these) might provide some historical basis.

 

 

Vignettes

 

On the first day of a Test between Sri Lanka and India in 1985 (Colombo PSS Stadium), Sri Lanka scored 168 runs for one wicket (off 89 overs), and the Indian bowlers took no wickets at all, S Wettimuny (19 off 155 balls!) having been run out. It wasn’t for lack of effort from the bowlers, since SEVEN catches were dropped during the day’s play.

 

The partnership of 288 between Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting at the SCG is the highest ever between a serving captain and his predecessor.

 

The feat of scoring a century before lunch in a Test match is well chronicled. But who has scored the fewest runs in the first session of a match? At Kanpur in 1979, opener Chetan Chauhan batted right through the two-hour pre-lunch session for eight runs, surprising given that India scored 69 runs overall in the session. Other candidates may well turn up.

 

Reader Mark mentioned that the partnership of 207 between Jacques Kallis and Alviro Petersen in the recent Cape Town Test contained no sundries at all. I don’t know of a larger such partnership. There are partnerships with more runs between extras, but not complete ones. The most I found was a period of 241 runs between extras by Nurse and Kanhai at Port-of-Spain in 1967/68. Barrington and Dexter, in their epic at Old Trafford in 1964, put on 237 before the first extra.

 

 

Comments on First India Test

 

 

The MCG Test was the fourteenth consecutive Test at the ground to give a positive result. Apart from one washout, there has been only one Test at the ground in the last 23 years that has gone the distance and been drawn: South Africa in 1997/98.

 

The victory ended Australia’s (equal) longest streak without a win over India: eight matches.

 

Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar became the first pair of batsmen to score twenty century partnerships in Tests. They are now well ahead of Greenidge/Haynes and Hayden/Ponting, each with 16 century partnerships. The Dravid/Tendulkar firm has produced 6884 runs in partnership at an average of 51.0.

 

Those waiting impatiently for the elusive 100th hundred from Tendulkar might like to know that he has been involved in 158 century partnerships in Tests and ODIs.

 

Boxing Day saw for the first time two Tasmanian top-order batsmen batting together in a Test. The stand of 113 between Ricky Ponting and Ed Cowan was only the fifth century partnership between a debutant and a 100-Test veteran. The record here was set in 2010 by Tendulkar with Suresh Raina, 256 at Colombo.

 

Eighteen batsmen batted on the third day; only three of them (Ashwin, Ponting, Hussey) scored more than eleven runs.

 

2011 has been a year where bowlers have made a comeback. Test matches worldwide have seen 32.7 runs per wicket this year, more than ten per cent down on the figures for 2010 and 2009, and the lowest since high-tech superbats came into widespread use around 2002. There has been only one team score over 350 in Australia’s last five Tests.

 

The attendance of 70,027 on Boxing Day is the highest for India in Australia in a Test match, and the second day of 52,000 was likewise a second-day record. Test cricket is said to be in decline, but it still has its strongholds.

 

Eleven batsmen were out bowled in the match (more than half via the edge of the bat). This equals the most in any Test since 2005, and the most in Australia since 1979.

 

 

 

 

 

22 December 2011

 

Comments on Second New Zealand Test

 

New Zealand’s seven-run victory is the narrowest margin in a Test in Australia since South Africa won by five runs at the SCG in 1993/94. It was New Zealand’s first win in Australia since 1985.

 

The match ends a 22-match streak without a win (since Auckland 1993) for New Zealand against Australia. It was the longest streak involving any two teams since England went winless for 29 Tests against West Indies from 1979 to 1988.

 

Batting first, the New Zealanders were out for 150. No visiting team has beaten Australia after such a poor start since 1894 (when England won after scoring 75 at the MCG). At the Adelaide Oval in 1951/52, the West Indies beat Australia after a first innings of 105, but they were batting second.

 

At the Gabba, the missed run out of Ponting, Clarke’s belated no ball escape off Bracewell, and the dropped catch off Mitchel Starc, cost New Zealand 226 runs. At Bellerive, New Zealand missed no clear chances at all; the misses by Australia would have been more than enough to reverse the result.

 

James Pattinson took 5 for 51 at Hobart to follow his 5 for 27 on debut. He is the first Australian to nail five-fors in both his first and second Test matches since Rodney Hogg in 1978/79. Clarrie Grimmett is the only other Australian to do it in the last 100 years.

 

Brad Haddin’s stumping off a medium pacer (Mike Hussey) is actually a very rare dismissal. It hadn’t happened in any Test for 20 years, and the last Australian keeper to make a stumping off a non-spinner was Barry Jarman off Alan Connolly against India in 1967/68. It was also a rare highlight for Hussey, who has suffered a sudden form reversal. After batting averaging in the 90s with the bat in Sri Lanka, he has averaged less than 12 in fours Tests since then.

 

David Warner was the first Australian opener to carry his bat in his second Test match;  the only comparable Australian was Dr John Barrett, on debut way back in 1890. Another batsman to carry his bat on debut was another Warner, ‘Plum’ Warner of England, in 1899. David Warner was the first batsman to carry his bat in the fourth innings of a Test since Mark Dekker of Zimbabwe in 1993.

 

Since 1980, Australia has lost nine Tests by fewer than 20 runs, and won only one. Australia has lost more Tests by fewer than 20 runs than all other countries put together.

 

 

A Wicket with Two Consecutive Balls

 

Yes, it has been done countless times in Test matches, but never a case quite like Nazmul Hossain of Bangladesh. In 2004, Nazmul finished off an innings by dismissing Harbhajan Singh. Dropped from the team, he did not return until the latest Test against Pakistan at Mirpur, and after seven years on the outer dismissed Mohammad Hafeez with his first ball.

 

Thanks to reader Mark for the info.

 

 

 

 

12 December 2011

 

The Leanest Sessions

 

I came across another case of extreme slow scoring from the 1950s. Pakistan hosted India for the first time in 1954/55. Both teams were desperate to avoid defeat, and all Tests were dull draws in spite of low scoring, but not helped by the match limits of four days of 5.5 hours each. At Peshawar, defensiveness climaxed on the last day when Pakistan added just 26 runs before lunch in a full two-hour session. Hanif Mohammad was out late in the session for 21 in 195 minutes, having added eight runs in 105 minutes during the morning. The 26 runs equals the smallest return I have come across in a full two-hour session, equalling the output an unusual session at the Gabba in 1931/32, which comprised all the play on that day. It was the session that Bruce Mitchell was unable to score for 95 balls. The list as it currently stands is

 

 

Fewest Runs in a Full Two-Hour Session

Runs

Off bat

Day

Sess

Wkts

Deliveries

26

25

SAf v Aus, Brisbane ('Gabba') 1931/32

5

3

3

276

26

26

Pak v Ind, Peshawar (Club) 1954/55

4

1

3

27

23

Eng v Ind, Chennai (Nehru) 1963/64

3

2

0

240

27

26

Eng v WI, Bridgetown, Barbados 1954

3

1

1

234

28

28

Aus v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1956

5

1

0

220

29

28

Ind v WI, Kingston, Jamaica 2006

1

1

2

175

29

28

Aus v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1981

3

1

3

169

30

27

Eng v Aus, Perth (WACA) 1978/79

1

1

2

193

30

28

SAf v Aus, Adelaide Oval 1993/94

5

2

4

198

30

25

Eng v Aus, Adelaide Oval 2006/07

5

1

4

170

Does not include interrupted sessions, including those with change of innings. Many low-scoring sessions prior to the mid-1980s ran less than 120 minutes.

 

Apart from the Pakistan case, all the above batting teams were playing away from home. The Chennai 1963 case was discussed in the entry for 6 April 2010.

 

This is probably an incomplete list. Suggestions welcome.

 

The table will be posted in the Unusual Records Section, along with some new tables of the fastest team 50s, 100s, and 200s.

 

 

There is a peculiar postscript to Pakistan’s 26-run session. A wicket (Wazir Mohammad) had fallen on the stroke of lunch. Next in was Imtiaz Ahmed, who, it appears, was of a different mindset to most of his colleagues. Imtiaz thrashed 28 runs (maybe more) in the first 12 minutes after lunch, personally scoring at more than 10 times the team’s pre-lunch rate. Maqsood Ahmed, who had batted over an hour and a half, was overtaken by Imtiaz inside ten minutes. Note a correction to the ‘official’ scorecard: Wazir Mohammad batted at #5, Maqsood Ahmed at #4.

 

 

An Over of No Balls

 

The longest over in Test cricket is believed to be 15 deliveries, including nine no balls, by Curtley Ambrose at Perth in 1996/97. I haven’t seen a list of other contenders, but I do know of two 13-delivery overs, one by ‘Gubby’ Allen in 1934, and one by Joel Garner at the MCG in 1984/85. The Garner effort is unique, it appears, in that there were no ‘legals’ in the first six deliveries (two of them were scored from); in effect, a complete “over” of no balls. The over reads 2n, n, n, n, n, 3n, 3, 0, n, 0, 0, 0, 0.

 

 

Incidentally, I recently obtained copies of three official scores for Tests at the Gabba in the 1990s. This has allowed me to “complete the set” of Tests involving Australia in the last 20 years. The most recent Test for Australia that now does not have ball-by-ball record is St. Johns 1991, so there is now a full ball-by-ball record of players such as Warne, McGrath and Ponting. The most recent missing Test in Australia is the Gabba Test of 1989/90 (Sri Lanka).

 

 

 

 

 

A few off-the-cuff comments on the first Australia/New Zealand test.

 

Australia has now won 17 Tests at the Gabba since our last defeat there in 1988/89. This equals the most victories between defeats at any ground, set by Pakistan at the Karachi National Stadium (with some help from local umpires) prior to 2000. Australia was now beaten New Zealand 16 times since the Kiwis last tasted success at Auckland in 1993. New Zealand has beaten every other Test team since then.

 

During the second innings, James Pattinson took five wickets in the space of 21 balls. No bowler has done this on Test debut before. While more than 100 bowlers have taken a five-for on debut before, only a handful have conceded fewer runs than Pattinson’s 5 for 27. The only Australian was Charles Turner with six for 15 on debut way back in 1887.

 

Captaincy seems to have boosted Michael Clarke’s batting. He has scored 563 runs at 47.0 in seven Tests since his promotion, after scoring just 263 at 20.2 in his previous seven Tests.

 

In spite of three centuries since he became Test captain, Michael Clarke has still not mastered the art of making huge scores. In 17 Test centuries his top score is only 168. Only Mark Waugh has scored more centuries with a lower top score (20 centuries, HS of 153*).

 

Debutants have taken almost one-quarter of Australia’s wickets since the start of the Sri Lanka series in August (22 out of 95). This is quite a change from the heyday of Warne and McGrath, when Australia needed few new bowlers, and debutants took less than 3 per cent of Australia’s wickets.

 

The missed run out of Ponting, Clarke’s belated no ball escape off Bracewell, and the dropped catch off Mitchel Starc, cost New Zealand 226 runs.

 

Phillip Hughes has now been caught 26 times in his 28 dismissals by bowlers. He has been caught twenty times in the arc between keeper and point.

 

 

 

 

9 November 2011

 

Fast and Slow Update

 

The HOT 100 list has been updated. I only do this about once a year now since most players’ career scoring rates change only slowly.

 

Virender Sehwag’s march up the leader board has paused. He is still just behind Gilchrist in third place, and has slipped marginally in the last 12 months. Tillekeratne Dilshan, also struggling for from, has slipped out of the Top 10, but Umar Akmal has made his debut in the Top 10. With just 1003 runs he qualifies only marginally for the list.

 

Kallis (#21) has passed Dravid (#24) as the most tenacious active batsman, although both have improved on last year.

 

A new feature is the Fastest and Slowest lists measured in runs per hour. The Fastest list heavily favours old-time batsmen in the days when over rates were much higher. Nevertheless, the domination of the Golden Age batsmen gives us a hint of how entertaining cricket must have been for spectators at the time, and why the likes of Victor Trumper were so fondly remembered. I hope I never have to read again that ‘statistics cannot capture the genius of Trumper’. He is revealed as the fastest-scoring specialist batsman of all time (40 runs per hour); enough said.

 

The Slowest list also has some interest, dominated by some who played in the 1970s and 80s, after over rates dropped but before the modern resurgence in scoring. The bottom of the list is Bob Taylor, a fine wicketkeeper, but who would be unlikely to be selected today. Just above Taylor is Chris Tavare at 13.5 runs per hour; anyone who saw him bat would be sure to consider him worthy of his place on the list. Tavare, oddly enough, played plenty of One-Day cricket. Mike Brearley (14.4 rph) is revealed as being considerably slower than his partner in crime Geoff Boycott (18.0). Boycott is not among the 70 slowest batsmen; however, he benefits from playing so many Tests in the 1960s, before over rates plummeted.

 

 

 

 

23 October 2011

 

The One Millionth Test Run

 

It is almost exactly 25 years since Test cricket saw its one millionth run. I don’t know if many people, or anyone at all, noticed at the time – I only recall discussion of it some years later. Nowadays it is quite straightforward to track down the millionth run to a particular match and a particular partnership, but identifying the specific batsman is not so easy. Batting at the time were Dean Jones and Allan Border, during the final overs of the drawn Test at Wankede stadium in October 1986. Beyond this, conventional published scores do not reveal enough detail.

 

A bit of Googling of the question turns up some references to the partnership, and some of these specify Border as the man. The source for this is unclear: one forum comment dates from 2001. Nor is it clear how the information was obtained.

 

The claim that Border hit the run is in error. It was in fact Dean Jones. The source is a surviving official scorebook (kindly supplied by Rajneesh), which I re-scored to tease out the necessary info.

 

The one millionth run came in the 83rd over of the innings, the fifth ball of Raju Kulkarni’s fifth over, when a single from Jones took Australia’s score to 201. Border hit the next ball for four. The match had reached a pointless state by that time, and was abandoned as a draw five overs later with Australia 216/3 in their second innings.

 

The identification does of course depend on complete accuracy in counting the previous 999,999 runs. Confidence is boosted by the fact that my database is aligned exactly with the Cricinfo/Cricket Archive ‘received version’ (confirmed by an Ask Steven column by Steven Lynch at Cricinfo  in July, reporting 1,958,692 runs in Tests up to that point). On the other hand, there is next to zero chance that every run has been counted perfectly since 1877, but that really does not matter. We can never know the exact “real” total, so we might as well go with the official version.

 

Two million runs is now approaching, and is about 25-30 Tests away. The second million will come up in somewhat fewer Tests than the first, which took 1,054 matches. The last 100 Tests have produced 1,125 runs per match, up from the 980 runs per match for all Tests.

 

 

UPDATE: ALL WRONG!!! Groan. There has been a change in the “official” scores. An innings by South Africa in a Johannesburg Test of 1906 has been changed from 34/1 to 33/1. The 34/1 is in the Wisden Book of Test Cricket but the 33/1 is supported by a surviving scorebook, which also give as different total for Extras. This means that the frame is shifted by one run, making Allan Border the scorer of the one millionth run. Of course, there could be other errors of this type unrecorded, but there you go.

 

 

Boundary Droughts

 

I recently came across a century by Graham Wood at the MCG against Pakistan in 1981/82, where at one stage he hit no fours for 221 balls spanning four and a half hours. I wondered how many batsmen had faced more balls between boundaries, so I consulted the database. I was surprised at how many there were.

 

Most Balls Faced Between Fours (during a single innings)

Balls

377

B Mitchell (88)

Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1929

326

DJ McGlew (70)

Johannesburg (New Wanderers) 1957/58

302

AC Bannerman (91)

Sydney (SCG) 1891/92

300

WH Scotton (82)

Adelaide Oval 1884/85

291

WM Woodfull (102)

Melbourne (MCG) 1928/29

275*

AC Bannerman (41)

Melbourne (MCG) 1891/92

269

BA Edgar (74)

Perth (WACA) 1985/86

250

EAB Rowan (67)

Durban (Kingsmead) 1938/39

242

RG Barlow (42*)

Sydney (SCG) 1886/87

236

TE Bailey (38)

Leeds (Headingley) 1953

233

GP Thorpe (118)

Lahore (Gaddafi) 2000/01

224

SM Nurse (70)

Melbourne (MCG) 1960/61

*Approximate

 

FLH Mooney (New Zealand) hit no fours off his last 430 balls faced in Test cricket, spread over six innings.

In 1978/79, Geoff Boycott faced 569 balls between boundaries, spanning six innings (including one innings of 337 balls). There was one four, which included two overthrows.

 

So Wood is not even in the top 12. One report does note that one of Wood’s three fours was all-run, so there is a possibility that he faced up to 264 balls without a shot to the boundary, but I don’t know which of his fours it was. Also note that most sources do not distinguish between boundaries and all-run fours, so the table is based entirely on shots for four, not boundaries.

 

Mitchell was making his Test debut. His boundary drought spanned five and a half hours batting. Rowan’s 250 balls was his entire innings.

 

Boycott’s sequence is one of the most extraordinary statistics in Test cricket. How on Earth anyone could bat for twelve hours without hitting a boundary, not even by accident, defies understanding. When he did finally break the drought, with a single boundary in the second innings of the 1978/79 MCG Test, he then did not hit another four for a further 215 balls, spanning four innings.

 

Wood, incidentally, took 302 balls to reach his century. No Australian in the 30 years since then has taken more than 300 balls to reach 100, itself a remarkable stat, given how common slow centuries were in the decades prior. More than 40 batsmen from other countries have done so since 1981.

 

The table is based almost entirely on a computer search, and there was little other research involved. Other cases may well have gone undetected. There may not be many others, however, because low boundary counts tend to cluster on a few large grounds such as the MCG, and as it happens these grounds are well covered in the database.

 

 

 

 

4 October 2011

 

That’s Gotta Hurt

 

When Virender Sehwag recently bagged a “king pair” at Edgbaston, he also bagged the batting equivalent of a hat trick; having been dismissed in his previous innings, Sehwag had been out three balls in a row. How often has this happened? About half or more of king pairs involve batting hat tricks, while (surprisingly, perhaps) most batting hat tricks do not involve a king pair. Batting hat tricks perforce cover multiple matches. Sehwag is the first batsman since Adam Gilchrist to record both a king pair and a batting hat trick. Here is a list of the batting hat tricks that I know about

 

 

Batsmen out three times in three balls in Tests

Team

In

Hat trick completed

King Pair?

W Attewell

England

Australia

Jan-1892

Yes

JJ Kotze

South Africa

England

Jul-1907

AEE Vogler

South Africa

Australia

Dec-1910

Yes

RJ Crisp

South Africa

South Africa

Feb-1936

Yes

N Gordon

South Africa

South Africa

Mar-1939

C Wesley

South Africa

England

Jul-1960

Yes

Imtiaz Ahmed

Pakistan

Pakistan

Feb-1962

Asif Masood

Pakistan

England

Jul-1971

BS Bedi

India

England

Jul-1974

GB Troup

New Zealand

New Zealand

Feb-1981

Yes

N Kapil Dev

India

New Zealand

Feb-1981

PR Downton

England

England

Jul-1985

WKM Benjamin

West Indies

West Indies

Apr-1988

DC Boon

Australia

Australia

Jan-1990

Gopal Sharma

India

India

Nov-1990

IR Bishop

West Indies

Pakistan

Nov-1990

DC Boon

Australia

Australia

Nov-1993

HH Streak

Zimbabwe

Pakistan

Dec-1993

DJ Richardson

South Africa

South Africa

Jan-1995

Yes

CA Walsh

West Indies

England

Jul-1995

M Muralitharan

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Sep-1996

J Srinath

India

South Africa

Dec-1996

AG Huckle

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Mar-1998

Yes

Harbhajan Singh*

India

India

Feb-1999

Shahid Afridi

Pakistan

Pakistan

Mar-1999

AB Agarkar

India

Australia

Jan-2000

Yes

CEL Ambrose

West Indies

England

Aug-2000

AC Gilchrist

Australia

India

Mar-2001

Yes

M Muralitharan

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Jul-2002

Taufeeq Umar

Pakistan

Pakistan

Oct-2002

AJ Hall

South Africa

England

Aug-2003

Mohammad Asif*

Pakistan

England

Aug-2006

JP Duminy

South Africa

South Africa

Jan-2010

JD Ryder

New Zealand

New Zealand

Jan-2011

V Sehwag

India

England

Aug-2011

Yes

*Harbhajan and Asif were out three times while facing three balls, but included ‘diamond ducks’.

The Kotze and Gopal Sharma cases (in italics) are uncertain.

 

Gary Troup was out five times in the space of seven balls, spread over several matches. Kotze’s innings were five years apart; he may have faced as few as ten or twelve balls in his whole career, while being dismissed five times and scoring just two runs. But they all must tip their hats to Ajit Agarkar who was out to five consecutive balls he faced against Australia in 1999/2000.

 

Troup and Kapil Dev completed their respective batting hat tricks in the same match, at Wellington in 1981.

 

Technically, a few of these cases include run outs, in which the batsman may not actually have faced the ball he was out.

 

Asif Masood’s three balls stretched over three matches and two years.

 

The only batsmen to twice record batting hat tricks are Mutiah Muralitharan, and (believe it or not) David Boon. Also surprising is the fact that David Boon was the first Australian to suffer a batting hat trick.

 

I will post this table in the Unusual Records sections.

 

 

 

Fall of Wicket Adjustments

 

In the Fall of Wicket sections of online Test match scores (Cricinfo, Cricket Archive), the names of all batsmen out are identified at each fall of wicket. Traditionally, this data has usually been absent from published scores; for example, Wisden did not include such data before 1988. So for many Tests, the identifications would have been culled from match reports. There is a suspicion that some guesswork has been involved. I say this because I did a bit of a survey of the identified names, comparing them against the scorebooks and other data that I have collected. The survey covered perhaps two-thirds of Tests played between 1945-1978. I found over one hundred cases where the identity of the batsman out required correction.

 

This is not as bad as it sounds. In the great majority of cases, the problem occurred when clusters of wickets fell, and adjustments were needed to the exact sequence of batsmen falling. Such issues are generally minor. Errors always come in multiples: one batsman misidentified means another batsman misidentified elsewhere in the same innings.

 

But even so, it flags that secondary data like this should not be regarded as rock solid.

 

 

 

 

 

12 September 2011

 

Missed by That Much

 

Sean Marsh missed out on the highest partnership by an Australian on Test debut – by one run. His stand of 258 with Mike Hussey at Pallekele is shaded by the 259 by Wayne Phillips with Graham Yallop at the WACA in 1983. You can also file this one under the “I bet he didn’t know he was close to a record” category.

 

Marsh (141) is the sixth Australian to come within 25 runs of that most venerable Australian record, the 165* by Charles Bannerman on debut in 1877, without beating Bannerman’s mark. The others are Archie Jackson (164), Kepler Wessels (162), Phillips (159), Doug Walters (155), and Michael Clarke (151).

 

Here is a list of the largest partnerships involving at least one player on Test debut.

 

Wkt

Debut

429*

3

JA Rudolph

222*

HH Dippenaar

178*

South Africa

Bangladesh

Chittagong

2002/03

281

5

Javed Miandad

163

Asif Iqbal

166

Pakistan

New Zealand

Lahore (Gaddafi)

1976/77

276

1

JE Mills

117

CS Dempster

136

New Zealand

England

Wellington

1929/30

269

2

LG Rowe

214

RC Fredericks

163

West Indies

New Zealand

Kingston, Jamaica

1971/72

259

2

WB Phillips

159

GN Yallop

141

Australia

Pakistan

Perth (WACA)

1983/84

258

4

SE Marsh

141

MEK Hussey

142

Australia

Sri Lanka

Pallelkele

2011

256

5

SK Raina

120

SR Tendulkar

203

India

Sri Lanka

Colombo2 (SSC)

2010

249

1

Abdul Kadir, Khalid Ibadulla

95, 166

Pakistan

Australia

Karachi (National)

1964

243

8

MJ Hartigan

116

C Hill

160

Australia

England

Adelaide Oval

1907/08

 

The Rudolph record, being against Bangladesh, should be accepted only reluctantly. Then again, the 276 by Mills and Dempster was also against a non-Test strength team. The 249 by Abdul Kadir and Billy Ibadulla was also discussed in the entry of 20 July 2010.

 

 

Yet More on Scorelessness

 

The area of longest scoreless sequences by bowlers has been covered by record books and other sources. Keith Walmsley in Most Withouts in Test Cricket p233 waxes lyrical on the subject. It is a subject that is unavoidably incomplete, but for now I will record the instances that turn up in the database, or have otherwise some to light. The list has been extended to allow comparison with the longest modern spells. Thank you to reader Mark for the enquiry and suggestions.

 

 

Most Consecutive Balls Bowled Without Conceding a Run

Runs scored

137

HJ Tayfield

Durban (Kingsmead)

1956/57

2 innings

130

RG Nadkarni

Chennai (Nehru)

1963/64

2 spells

90

MC Carew

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

1968

3 spells

81

JH Wardle

Nottingham (Trent Bridge)

1955

33

77

OG Smith

Auckland

1955/56

2 spells

76(+?)

HJ Tayfield

Melbourne (MCG)

1952/53

50

74

S Ramadhin

Lord's

1950

12

73

DCS Compton

Durban (Kingsmead)

1948/49

12

72

R Benaud

Sydney (SCG)

1960/61

32

70

JA Young

Nottingham (Trent Bridge)

1948

41

70

HJ Tayfield

Johannesburg (New Wanderers)

1956/57

16

70

AA Mallett

The Oval

1975

37

68

DL Underwood

Brisbane ('Gabba')

1970/71

11

68

T Panyangara (ignoring no balls)

Dhaka

2004/05

2 spells

67

GP Swann

Birmingham (Edgbaston)

2010

36

66

WPUJC Vaas

Chennai (Chepauk)

2005/06

2 spells

66

WJ O'Reilly

Leeds (Headingley)

1938

3 spells

66

JR Reid

Port Elizabeth

1953/54

19

“Runs scored” refers to runs scored at the other end during the sequence.

 

The recent serendipitous discovery of the Collie Smith spell suggest that there are almost certainly other cases out there to be found. Nothing has been found between 1976 and 2004, a period requiring further research (although 1998 to 2004 has been checked and has no cases). Many of the above cases were recorded in multiple spells. The longest sequences in continuous spells are 108 balls by Nadkarni (while 30 runs were scored at the other end) and 104 by Tayfield (33 runs). It seems unlikely that these records will ever be exceeded.

 

Tayfield at Durban had, as partner in crime, one of the most usual of ‘usual suspects’. Trevor Bailey, at one stage, failed to score off 114 consecutive balls he faced from Tayfield.

 

My reading of other reports suggest that Nadkarni at Kanpur in 1960/61, where he bowled 24 maidens in the space of 29 overs in multiple spells (a couple of days after the Brisbane Tied Test), does not qualify, nor does Lance Gibbs final 14 maidens in 16.3 overs at Bridgetown the following year.

 

An able assist to Collie Smith at Auckland in 1956 was provided by Tony MacGibbon, who was out for 9 off 121 balls. This is one of the longest innings ever played by a batsman who failed to reach double figures (the record, 8 off 135 by Trevor Bailey at Leeds in 1955). MacGibbon’s first scoring shot was an edge for four after 58 balls. His first “honest” scoring shot was a single after 96 balls, and his tally of 3 scoring shots in a complete innings of 121 balls has no known parallel in Test cricket. The West Indies that (first) day bowled 99 overs before tea, including 52 overs between lunch and tea. Hasn’t the game changed!

 

 

 

2 September 2011

 

Those First-Ball Wicket-Takers

 

The remarkable coincidence of two Australians taking wickets in their first over in Test cricket, on the same day at Galle, attracted plenty of comment. Nathan Lyon, it is said, is only the second Australian to take a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket, after Arthur Coningham at the MCG in 1894, who was the first player to achieve the feat in Tests.

 

But this is one of those records that is difficult to research; since these things are not recorded on standard scorecards, historians have relied on their predecessors noticing when these things happen, and writing about them anecdotally. It should not be surprising that sometimes these things get overlooked.

 

So it is with Coningham. Here is one earlier case. At the SCG in 1882/83, Irish-born Tom Horan, who was playing in his tenth Test but who had not previously bowled, bowled WW Read in the second innings, with the first ball of an eventful over. The Sydney Morning Herald remarked

 

“Horan’s first over was sensational. He bowled W.W. Read with the first ball, and nearly lamed Barlow with the last.”

 

The exact meaning of “lamed” was left to the imagination.

 

It is not surprising that the import of this was missed, given that Horan was not a regular bowler. (I have reconstructed the innings over by over and can confirm that Horan had not previously bowled in the innings.) We can still say, though, that Coningham is the first bowler do it on Test debut. One could add that the concept of a “Test career” or even “Test cricket” did not really exist in 1883.

 

There is even a precedent of sorts for the Copeland/Lyon coincidence. In a Johannesburg Test in 1905/06, both AEE Vogler (South Africa) and JN Crawford (England) took wickets with their respective first balls in Test cricket. These cases are confirmed by a surviving scorebook.

 

These are the only “new” cases of the feat in my database. There might well be other cases unfound, in the many Tests for which complete records are still not available.

 

 

 

 

28 August 2011

 

A “Last Ball” Test Victory Discovered?

 

There have been many close Test matches over the years, including a number of matches won with very little time to spare. The two Tied Tests both finished with only one ball left to play. However, there has still been only one Test won on the absolute last ball of the last possible over: Port Elizabeth 1949, when England hustled a leg bye off the last ball to win by three wickets.

 

Some evidence that there may have been another has now turned up. New Zealand played three Tests in Pakistan in 1955/56; apart from the standard scores, there is not much in the published record about these matches. The second Test in Lahore was a remarkable match that included an innings of 209 by Imtiaz Ahmed batting at Number 8. (Imtiaz, incidentally batted 380 minutes, not the 680 minutes given in Wisden Book of Test Cricket.) The standard account says Pakistan won by four wickets with 18 minutes to spare. So I was surprised to come across a rather different on-the-spot newspaper account (Dominion, Wellington) that spells out in some detail how the match went down to the wire, with the winning run hit off the very last ball. It is quite specific, and self-consistent, about the final overs. The last over was bowled by Johnny Hayes.

 

The account is supported by a similar account, less detailed but independent, in the Otago Daily Times, which adds that the scores were level for about three overs.

 

These accounts conflict with the Pakistan newspaper Dawn, which gives the 18 minute figure. It is still possible, though, that Dawn has it right. Tea had been called when New Zealand was out. Post-tea sessions in that series were normally 90 minutes, and the Pakistan innings time of 92 minutes is consistent with the last-ball scenario. However, the session would have been extended if an early tea had been called for the change of innings. In that case, the N.Z. reporters may have simply been under a misapprehension, and were assuming that stumps would be called after 90 minutes. It also seems hard to believe that a team, even in the funereal ’Fifties, would sit with scores level for three overs before hitting a run off the last possible ball. On the other hand, calling tea 20 minutes early seems a little strange and out of order, especially when the time factor was so critical.

 

The New Zealand Cricket Almanack for that year supports the 18 minute figure, and this very probably was, in turn, the source for a statement to the same effect in Frindall’s Wisden Book of Test Cricket. Wisden in 1957 is ambiguous on the matter. However, looking at NZCA carefully, I suspect that the match report was not eyewitness, and was based mostly on Dawn. Teams in those days sometimes brought back collections of press clipping from tours. [NZCA reports from this time and later, written usually by Arthur Carman, are normally rich in statistical information that must have been obtained from scorebooks, but the reports from this series contain little or nothing that is not found in Dawn.] It may be that no scorebook was brought back from that tour. It wouldn’t be the last time that a touring team on the subcontinent did not come back with a scorebook (Tied Test in Madras a notorious case).

 

The final-day report in Dawn is a bit odd: it is far less detailed than the reports from the first three days of the Test, and it becomes rather brief and sketchy when describing what was, either way, an exciting and important final session.

 

Can it be resolved? There is supposition in either scenario. I don’t think that either account can be ruled out, but there is no clear resolution.

 

[Researching such obscure Tests can be a challenge. Some of the materials for this item were obtained from as far afield as the Library of Congress in Washington, and the National Library in Wellington.]

 

UPDATE: The Christchurch Press has an independent report that supports the last-ball scenario, although not conclusively (“what might well have been the final over of the match”), while New Zealand Herald supports the Dawn account, although like Dawn it is  brief and vague.

 

 

 

The First Batting Helmet?

 

 

Helmets for batsmen have been around for a long time now. The first batsman to use one in a Test match was Graham Yallop in an innings of 47 at Bridgetown in 1978. Earlier, helmets were used by Barry Richards and others during the first ‘World Series’ season in Australia in 1977/78.

 

Turns out it was an old idea, if this report in the Times of India is any guide. Under the byline of respected cricket author Ray Robinson, it shows a prototype batting helmet in Australia in March 1965. At the time, the Australian team was under severe pressure in the West Indies, where Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith were threatening life and limb. The report says that the helmets were about to be sent to the West Indies. It is not known if this was done; if so, they certainly were not used.

 

I haven’t seen any similar reports in Australian papers at the time, but I haven’t checked widely.

 

UPDATE: Ken Williams at the Melbourne CC Library confirms this story, and says he recalls when it happened. He recalls that the helmets were in fact dispatched to the West Indies, but were never collected. Perhaps they are still sitting in an old warehouse somewhere in Trinidad.

 

 

 

8 August 2011

 

Lloyd and Richards Amok

 

Continuing the theme of extreme batting sessions, I came across one from 1974/75. India was hosting the west Indies in a most interesting series. The series was 2-2 going into the final Test, but India was then blown away by Clive Lloyd’s 242 not out, off less than 300 balls (probably – his 200 came up off 240 balls, but the final total is not known). India saved the follow-on, but the West Indies second innings, after a slow start, climaxed in some heavy hitting by Lloyd and then Viv Richards, just prior to a declaration. They were just cameo innings, but unusual ones. Lloyd scored 37 off 17 balls, and Richards 39 not out off 23 (figures found, oddly enough, in The Times, rather than Indian sources). Both innings have few if any parallels among innings of this size.

 

I have gathered together what data there is on the fastest innings of a given size. Each innings in the following list has a characteristic in common: there are no innings that are both larger while being made off fewer balls. For example, for Lloyd’s 37, there is no innings known of greater than 37 that was made off fewer than 17 balls. Starting with Adam Gilchrist’s 24 off 9 balls (the fewest balls faced for any innings greater than 20), the list is complete from then on.

 

Fastest Innings of Their Size

Runs

Balls

24

9

AC Gilchrist (Aus)

v SAf, Durban (Kingsmead) 2005/06

26

10

KD Boyce (WI)

v Eng, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 1974

31*

11

SP Fleming (NZ)

v SAf, Auckland 2003/04

35

15

WP Howell (Aus)

v Eng, Sydney (SCG) 1901/02

37

17

CH Lloyd (WI)

v Ind, Mumbai (Wankhede) 1974/75

39*

23

IVA Richards (WI)

v Ind, Mumbai (Wankhede) 1974/75

39

23

SR Clark (Aus)

v Eng, Brisbane ('Gabba') 2006/07

49*

24

FG Mann (Eng)

v NZ, Leeds (Headingley) 1949

54

25

JH Kallis (SAf)

v Zim, Cape Town 2004/05

58

34

Shahid Afridi (Pak)

v Ind, Bangalore 2004/05

61

35 36

IVA Richards (WI)

v Ind, Kingston, Jamaica 1983

77*

40

TG Southee (NZ)

v Eng, Napier 2007/08

82

47

CL Cairns (NZ)

v Eng, Lord's 2004

89

55

N Kapil Dev (Ind)

v Eng, Lord's 1982

110*

58

IVA Richards (WI)

v Eng, Antigua (St John's) 1986

119

81

JM Gregory (Aus)

v SAf, Johannesburg (Old Wanderers) 1921/22

122

95

Shahid Afridi (Pak)

v WI, Bridgetown, Barbados 2005

127

98

DL Vettori (NZ)

v Zim, Harare 2005

138

104

LRPL Taylor (NZ)

v Aus, Hamilton 2009/10

150

115

DPMD Jayawardene (SL)

v Ban, Colombo2 (SSC) 2001/02

156

128

Shahid Afridi (Pak)

v Ind, Faisalabad 2005/06

173

136

IDS Smith (NZ)

v Ind, Auckland 1989/90

222

168

NJ Astle (NZ)

v Eng, Christchurch 2001/02

228

240

HH Gibbs (SAf)

v Pak, Cape Town 2002/03

254

247

V Sehwag (Ind)

v Pak, Lahore (Gaddafi) 2005/06

293

254

V Sehwag (Ind)

v SL, Mumbai (Brabourne) 2009/10

319

304

V Sehwag (Ind)

v SAf, Chennai (Chepauk) 2007/08

336*

400

WR Hammond (Eng)

v NZ, Auckland 1932/33

380

437

ML Hayden (Aus)

v Zim, Perth (WACA) 2003/04

400*

582

BC Lara (WI)

v Eng, Antigua (St John's) 2004

UPDATE: no sooner was this written than Abdur Razzak of Bangladesh played an innings of 43 off 17 balls against Zimbabwe, displacing the innings of Lloyd and Richards from the list.

 

 

We are looking at complete innings here. Innings that started very fast, but continued at a lesser pace, are not included. For example, “Foffie” Williams of the West Indies once reached 30 off only 8 balls against England in 1948 (66440442), but his whole innings of 72 off 56 balls was not fast enough to qualify for the list.

 

The most impressive innings on the list are those that are significantly larger than the preceding entries, or off far fewer balls than subsequent entries. Mann’s 49*, Southee’s 77*, Richards’ 110*, and Sehwag’s 319 stand out, although the most remarkable must be Nathan Astle’s 222. Richards and Sehwag are the only players to appear three times; Sehwag certainly has rewritten the records when it comes to extremely large innings scored at extreme speed.

 

Naturally, the data here is incomplete, and there are other possible entries for this list where balls faced is not yet known. One interesting one is Farook Engineer’s 45 against New Zealand in 1964/65, which sources give as made in either 25 minutes (probable) or 21 minutes (less likely). A balls faced tally as low as 20 is possible, although something like 25 seems more likely.

 

Back to the subject of fast sessions. Thanks to Lloyd and Richards, the West Indies scored 163 runs between lunch and tea on the 5th day at Wankede stadium (it was a six-day Test). India, trying to limit the damage, bowled only 26 overs in the session. This appears to be the first time that a complete session was scored at significantly more than more than a run a ball (6.27 runs per over in this case). There are many precedents of more runs in a session, but all of them involved much faster over rates. The only sessions identified so far with faster scoring rates have all been since 2000. (There are probably others in the period 1975-1998, but that will take further research.)

 

For the time being the list of fastest-scoring sessions looks like this

 

Runs/ov.

Day

Sess

Ground

Runs

Wkts

Deliveries

7.81

2

2

14/Jan/2006

Pakistan

India

Lahore (Gaddafi)

216

2

166

7.36

1

3

4/Mar/2005

South Africa

Zimbabwe

Cape Town

249

3

203

7.26

2

2

23/Feb/2002

South Africa

Australia

Johannesburg (New Wanderers)

190

2

157

7.14

2

2

10/Oct/2003

Australia

Zimbabwe

Perth (WACA)

207

0

174

6.63

3

3

16/Dec/2006

Australia

England

Perth (WACA)

189

2

171

6.57

4

1

2/Dec/2005

Pakistan

England

Lahore (Gaddafi)

195

4

178

6.29

1

3

5/Jul/2001

England

Australia

Birmingham (Edgbaston)

236

5

225

6.27

5

2

28/Jan/1975

West Indies

India

Mumbai (Wankhede)

163

3

156

6.25

1

3

3/Jun/2005

England

Bangladesh

Chester-le-Street

223

2

214

Minimum 160 runs 25 overs

 

New Zealand scored at 8.17 runs per over in a ‘session’ during Astle’s 222, but there were less than 23 overs. I haven’t yet taken the time to thoroughly check all of these entries. If readers have comments, or suggested additions, please let me know.

 

Footnote: Times of India mentions a hit by Richards that it calls an “off-side sweep” off Ghavri, a fast-medium bowler. Presumably this is a reverse sweep, now common, but rare in 1975. The reporter notes this rarity, and admires Richards’ improvisation and adaptable technique. There are occasional mentions of this shot going back to the 1920s, and I’m sure I read of such a shot in the 1909/10 MCC series in South Africa, (although I can’t find it now). Many inventions are made independently by different people, and I daresay the reverse sweep is one such.

 

 

 

 

 

28 July 2011

 

Another Underwood Blitz

 

I commented a while back (13 Nov 2010) on a little-known but extraordinary spell of bowling by Derek Underwood in 1969. Now another example, even more extreme, has come to light.

 

At Lord’s in 1974, some cruelly-timed showers “queered” the pitch during both of Pakistan’s innings. On the first day, Pakistan were cruising at 68/0; after rain cost four hours’ play, they were all out for 130. On the third day, Pakistan were travelling well in their second innings, at 173/3, when rain delayed the fourth day until 5:15. When play started, water had got under the covers, and the lively wicket that resulted was fully exploited by Derek Underwood, who quickly bowled the Pakistanis out for 226. Justice eventually evened out when the fifth day was washed out and the match was left drawn.

 

On close examination, Underwood’s second-innings spell becomes quite remarkable. Underwood took his six wickets that day while conceding only two runs, including a sequence of five for 0. This makes him the sixth known bowler to nab five wickets without conceding a run (the fourth chronologically), and one of the first to take 6 for 2. Only one bowler has taken 6 for 0, and that was Jermaine Lawson in a Test of dubious status against Bangladesh. The only bowler to take six or more wickets for fewer runs than Underwood in an authentic Test was Curtley Ambrose in his famous 7 for 1 blitz against Australia at Perth in 1992/93 (Sarfraz Nawaz also once took 7 for 1, but he also bowled some no balls).

 

It is interesting that neither Wisden nor The Times identified Underwood’s sequence; they credited him with 6 for 9, which was his return for the afternoon as a whole. This may be why the rarity of Underwood’s figures was little-noticed even though it was achieved at cricket’s ‘headquarters’. It was not completely unknown, however: for example, there is mention of it here.

 

Pitches were not always covered in England in 1974. Once removed at the start of play, covers would stay off until the scheduled stumps regardless of rain. This is what tripped up Pakistan on the first day, but the fourth day disaster was due to faulty covers, exacerbated by the famed Lord’s slope. This and other controversies eventually led to the full covering of pitches in Test matches in England, but this does not appear to have come about until 1979.

 

The relevant entry in Best bowling Spells in the Unusual Records section has been updated.

 

 

More on the most Productive Sessions

 

As mentioned earlier, I have been able to flesh out some more cases of extreme scoring in a single session of play. New or modified entries in the list are highlighted. Some of the biggest scores came in long extensions to final sessions in the early 2000s. Such sessions have now been curtailed, and fewer extremes are occurring. Thanks to Shahzad for some of the information.

 

 

Most Runs in a Two-Hour (maximum) Session – Test matches

 

240  (~115 minutes) Eng v Ind, lunch-tea day 2, Manchester 1936 (two teams)

236 (43 overs) Aus v SA, Lunch-Tea day 1, Joburg 1921 (119 off 85 balls by Jack Gregory)

235 (45 overs) Eng v NZ, Lunch-tea day 3, Leeds 1949 (both teams batted)

233 (41 overs) Eng v Pak, Lunch-Tea day 2, Nottingham 1954 (Denis Compton 173)

223 (43 overs) Eng v SA, Lunch-Tea Day 2, Lord’s 1924

220 (47 overs) Eng v NZ, Lunch-Tea day 2, Auckland 1933 (Wally Hammond 150)

216 (28 overs) Pak v Ind, lunch-tea day 2, Lahore 2006 (two teams)

209 (32 overs, 100 minutes) Aus v SA, lunch-tea day 1, Sydney 1910/11

208 (34 eight-ball overs) lunch-tea day 2, WI v Eng, The Oval 1939 (KH Weekes 113)

207 (29 overs) Aus v Zimbabwe Lunch-Tea day 2, Perth 2003 (both Matt Hayden and Adam Gilchrist scored centuries in the session)

206 (44 Overs) Eng v NZ, lunch-tea day 3, Auckland 1930

201 (38 overs) Aus v SA, before lunch day 3, Johannesburg 1902 (1st Test), (Clem Hill 116 runs)

 

 

Most Runs in a Longer Session

249 (33 overs) SA v Zim, post-tea day 1, Cape Town 2005

244 (58 overs, 165 minutes), Eng v Aus, post-tea day 3, Oval 1921

239 (45 overs, 140 minutes), Eng v NZ, pre-lunch day 3, Lord’s 1937 (two teams)

236 (35 overs, 150 minutes) Eng v Aus, post-tea day 1, Edgbaston 2001 (two teams)

227 (150 minutes) Eng v India, pre-Lunch day 2, Manchester 1936

225 (150 minutes, 36 overs) SA v Ind, pre-lunch day 3, Centurion 2010 (AB de Villiers 119)

223 (35 overs, 150 minutes) Eng v Ban, post-tea day 1, Chester-le-Street 2005 (ME Trescothick 127)

221 (150 minutes) Eng v SA, pre-Lunch day 3, Oval 1935 (Les Ames 123) 3rd day

219 (35 overs, 150 minutes) NZ v Zimbabwe day 1, post-Tea, Harare 2005 (Daniel Vettori 127)

219 (44 overs, 150 minutes) Aus v NZ (2 teams) tea-stumps day 5, Brisbane 2001

216 (42 overs, 150+ minutes) tea-stumps, NZ v Eng day 4,  Auckland 2002

209 (150 minutes) SAf v Eng, pre-lunch day 3, Oval 1929

208 (47 overs, 154 minutes) Aus v SA, post-tea day 3, Melbourne 1910/11 (Victor Trumper 133)

208 (150 minutes) Aus v SA, pre-Lunch day 2, Lord’s 1912 (Warren Bardsley 118)

204 (40 overs, 150+ minutes) tea-stumps day 4, SA v Pak, Cape Town 2003

203 (150 minutes) Eng v SA, pre-Lunch day 2, Oval 1935 (two teams, 2nd day)

202 (42 overs, 140 minutes) lunch-tea day 2,  Eng v WI, Lord’s 1957

202 (41 overs, 150+ minutes) tea-stumps day 1,  Aus v Eng, Leeds 2001

200 (57 overs, 150 minutes) Eng v SA, pre-Lunch day 2, Lord’s 1924

 

[Note that prior to 1940, tea break timings, and lengths of afternoon sessions, were rather variable.

Prior to 1915, tea breaks often did not take place if there was a change of innings after lunch; tea

was incorporated into the change of innings. Sometimes this resulted in a long extension of one

session and shortening of another. Prior to 1900, tea breaks often did not take place at all. In most

series in England from 1899 to 1949, pre-lunch sessions were normally 150 minutes, except on the

first day.]

 

 

The Thousand-Ball All-Rounders

 

A mention in Cricinfo of Vinoo Mankad’s extraordinary all-round effort at Lord’s in 1952 (72 & 184 and 5/231) got me wondering, who has been involved directly in the most balls in a Test match? That is either as batsman or bowler. The problem here is that balls faced is not always available, but I have put together a list that should be largely complete, thanks to some estimating. I doubt if a list like this has been published before.

 

Most Balls Faced + Balls Bowled in a Test match

BF + BB

Bat

Bowl

Balls Faced

Balls Bowled

1178

G Giffen

Aus v Eng

Sydney (SCG) 1894

161 & 41

8/239

470

708

1118

WR Hammond

Eng v Aus

Adelaide Oval 1929

119 & 177

0/53

977

141

1025

BE Congdon

NZ v WI

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 1972

166* & 82

3/56

785

240

1007

MH Mankad

Ind v Eng

Lord's 1952

72 & 184

5/231

425

582

982

Hanif Mohammad

Pak v WI

Bridgetown, Barbados 1958

17 & 337

0/10

964

18

907

Hanif Mohammad

Pak v Eng

Dhaka 1962

111 & 104

0/8

895

12

894

H Trumble

Aus v Eng

Adelaide Oval 1902

13 & 62

9/198

240

654

892

Saqlain Mushtaq

Pak v SL

Colombo4 (RPS) 1997

58

9/226

248

644

889

AJ Watkins

Eng v Ind

Delhi (FSK) 1951

40 & 137

0/60

703

186

888

GStA Sobers

WI v Eng

Georgetown, Guyana 1968

152 & 95

6/125

480

408

872

DStE Atkinson

WI v Aus

Bridgetown, Barbados 1955

219 & 20*

7/164

366

506

870

H Sutcliffe

Eng v Aus

Melbourne (MCG) 1925

176 & 127

-

870

0

861

RB Simpson

Aus v Eng

Manchester (Old Trafford) 1964

311 & 4*

0/59

747

114

858

L Hutton

Eng v Aus

The Oval 1938

364

-

858

0

856

RB Simpson

Aus v Pak

Karachi (National) 1964

153 & 115

1/116

556

300

Figures in italics include some estimates based on batting times and prevailing over rates.

 

The most interesting entries are those who did both a lot of batting and a lot of bowling. Only Giffen, Mankad, Sobers, Atkinson and Simpson have both batted for 300 or more balls and bowled 300 or more balls in the same match.

 

Perhaps the most surprising entry is Congdon, a little-known performance. It is also noteworthy that only one performance since 1972 has made the list. The most by a South African is 841 by Jacques Kallis at Cape Town in 1999.

 

 

 

 

 

19 July 2011

 

A clip I saw on an upcoming documentary on the dominant West Indies team of the 1980s got me taking a quick look at statistics for retiring hurt. It shows that batsmen facing those Caribbean quicks in the 1980s certainly had something to fear.

 

Some 78 batsmen retired hurt in all Tests between mid-1976 and mid-1990 (about 360 Tests), including batsmen who later returned to the crease. This rate of 6.2 per 100 team innings is almost exactly double the rate of 3.0 per 100 innings seen in the last 10 years. It also seems that the injuries were more serious in the earlier time. About 70% of the retiring batsmen returned to the crease in 1976-90, but nowadays it is about 80%.

 

Of the 78 batsmen, some 34 were facing the West Indies. The West Indies played in 109 Tests in that period, giving a retirement rate of about 17 per 100 team innings, more than five times the standard rate in modern matches. About 40% of batsmen retiring hurt against the West Indies did not return to the crease; even this high figure does not include cases like Paul Terry, who had his arm broken by Winston Davis at Old Trafford in 1984, but returned with his arm in a sling and batting one-handed.

 

Figures for other countries from 1976 to 1990 are also illuminating. (Looking at bowling teams here) figures include England 11, Australia 7, New Zealand 9, Pakistan 9, India 6.

 

 

De Villiers High Point?

 

When AB de Villiers reached a century in 75 balls against India at Centurion last December, it was described, with a reasonable probability, as the fastest by a South African. No other South African had officially recorded a century faster than 95 balls. There is one other contender, however. At Newlands way back in 1902, Johnny Sinclair reached a century in about 80 minutes (some sources say 60 minutes, but this seems to be an error). Using the very detailed newspaper accounts of the day, I have pieced this innings together over by over, and came up with an estimate, as it happens, of 75 balls. Although it is possible to discern every scoring shot during Sinclair’s innings, the batsmen facing dot balls in some overs are not clearly identified. The 75 balls for Sinclair includes what I consider a reasonable distribution of dot balls, but, naturally, uncertainty remains.

 

Most of de Villiers innings came in one session, which was extended by 30 minutes due to time lost earlier in the Test. AB hit 119 runs pre-lunch, the most by any batsman before lunch since Les Ames hit 123, in a similarly extended session, against South Africa at the Oval in 1935. The most runs hit in a pre-lunch session of standard two-hour length appears to be 116 by Clem Hill at Johannesburg in 1902, in the same series as Sinclair’s record. The 1902 session, however, included 38 overs, whereas India bowled only 36 overs in 2.5 hours at Centurion, and de Villiers’ runs came in less than 31 overs.

 

It is interesting that these fast-scoring records of 1902 were recorded in Tests with the shortest scheduled hours of any Tests: matches were three days of five hours each.

 

South Africa’s 225 runs in the session are also the most by one team before lunch in a Test match, with the exception of 227 by England against India at Manchester in 1936, which once again was a 150-minute session.

 

I will update the Unusual Records section accordingly.

 

 

 

 

31 May 2011

 

There is a new cricket fantasy competition site called cricketpredictions.com. I know this because they contacted me and asked for my opinion. Now I am not into these cricket fantasy league things much, but since they asked nicely, I will post a link to them here, and those who are interested take a look. The new wrinkle seems to be that your chosen players don’t have to succeed for you to win, all you do is predict their performance (succeed or fail).

 

This is not a paid ad.

 

 

One-Sided Partnerships

 

Here are some stats on the most one-sided major partnerships in Test history, taken as a ratio of the runs contributed by the major partner vs the minor partner. Runs not accounted for are sundries.

 

Runs

Wkt

Ratio

Major

Minor

192

5

6.07

164

27

DCS Compton (278)

TE Bailey (36)

Nottingham (Trent Bridge) 1954

177

2

5.10

148

29

SJ McCabe (189*)

JHW Fingleton (40)

Johannesburg (Old Wanderers) 1935

155

1

4.88

127

26

GA Gooch (127)

CJ Tavare (35)

Chennai (Chepauk) 1981

152

7

4.64

116

25

Moin Khan (137)

Mohammad Sami (25)

Hamilton 2003

169

4

4.14

120

29

BC Lara (130)

S Chanderpaul (92)

Barbados 2005

171

6

4.13

128

31

ME Waugh (138)

GRJ Matthews (65)

Adelaide Oval 1990

170

1

3.91

133

34

WG Grace (170)

WH Scotton (34)

The Oval 1886

154

8

3.75

120

32

GJ Bonnor (128)

SP Jones (40)

Sydney (SCG) 1884

174

2

3.62

134

37

JJ Lyons (134)

AC Bannerman (91)

Sydney (SCG) 1891

153

5

3.42

113

33

AC Gilchrist (113)

RT Ponting (207)

Sydney 2004

208

3

3.22

132

41

BC Lara (132)

RG Samuels (76)

Perth (WACA) 1996

211

3

3.15

148

47

MH Mankad (184)

VS Hazare (49)

Lord's 1952

159

3

3.03

112

37(est.)

GR Viswanath (112)

M Amarnath (85)

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 1975

 

I have defined a major partnership here as 150 runs. If the cut-off is reduced to 100 runs the analysis becomes more difficult. However, there is no doubt as to the identity of the most one-sided century partnership. At Faisalabad in 2004, when Sanath Jayasuriya and Dilhara Fernando added 102 for the ninth wicket, Jayasuriya outscored his partner 88 runs to one.

 

 

 

I don’t normally post large tables, but for what it’s worth, here is a set of data on the runs Sachin Tendulkar has scored off bowlers in my database.  It includes everyone who has bowled more than 100 balls at the Little Master, or taken his wicket. However, it is ONLY COMPLETE FOR TESTS SINCE EARLY 1998. By “complete”, I mean from January 1998 onwards, except for one Test v Zimbabwe in 1998, and fragments of two other Tests in 1999, one v Pakistan and one v Sri Lanka.

 

The data also covers Tests from 1990-97 v Australia, with one exception (Brisbane 1991/92), and v South Africa (two missing). So for Tendulkar v Warne all is complete, but for Tendulkar v Murali, incomplete.

 

I haven’t studied it in detail, but a few interesting points:

 

·      Tendulkar averaged 107 off Shane Warne’s bowling, but only 14.7 off Glenn McGrath.

·      Australian spinners Warne, MacGill, Hogg and Hauritz have a combined average against Tendulkar of greater than 150.

·      Ironically, an Australian spinner, Peter McIntyre, dismissed Tendulkar without ever conceding a run. The only other known bowler to do this is Mushtaq Ahmed. (Peter Taylor has an average of 0.0 against Tendulkar, but he also bowled in the missing Test at Brisbane in 1991/92).

·      Tendulkar had an odd weakness against the bowling of Hansie Cronje, although data is not quite complete here.

·      The actual number of different bowlers Tendulkar has faced, which may eventually exceed 300, is amazing. Bradman faced about 60 bowlers in his career.

[Table Removed(see January 2014.]

 

UPDATED FOR WHOLE CAREER IN 2014

 

 

17 Apr 2011

 

Referral Stats

 

I haven’t seen any detailed studies of the umpire decision referral system yet. There was something on the Cricinfo It Figures blog regarding the World Cup, but it looked at dismissal modes rather than outcomes of referred decisions. Anyhow, here are some basic stats on the referrals in the World Cup. There were 182 referrals mentioned by Cricinfo. All but 16 17 were for lbw decisions.

 

WC2011

Overturned

Decision stands

Referrals

Successful