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 Click on the Date to go to that Blog Entry…


29 January 2019

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6 August 2018

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2017 and Earlier Entries



The Davis Test Match Database Online.


Detailed scores for all Tests from 1877 to the1970s have now been posted. More than two-thirds of Tests include ball-by-ball coverage; virtually all others offer some degree of extended detail, beyond anything previously made available online.


The starting page is here. An information page outlining this database is here.

A Bonus Page: some remarkable first-class innings, re-scored.

NEWMajor Test Partnerships (200+) 1877 to 1970.

 Link to Travels



I have added some bits of data to certain post-War series in my database. Some if this data came from Ashru. Other data concerns batting milestones, particularly times for half-centuries. Series affected include Eng v NZ 1949, Aus v Win 1951-52 and v SAf 1952-53, and series in India and Pakistan in 1954-55 and 1958-59.

14 November 2019


One of the most fascinating innings from the ‘Golden Age’ of Test cricket is Jimmy Sinclair’s 104 against Australia at Cape town in 1902. It was one of the fastest innings of its day – it would even be the fastest century of all time if some reports are to be believed. In truth, though, the record-breaking claims are very dubious.


I have studied Sinclair’s tour de force in the past, and some years ago posted online my reconstruction, based on contemporary newspaper reports. Recently, Robin Isherwood sent me a copy of another over-by-over analysis of the innings, made many years ago by R.H. Curnow. Curnow also based his analysis on newspapers, perhaps a more extensive set than I had access to. I have posted the resulting over-by-over score here . In short, the two versions are substantially in agreement with regards to Sinclair’s innings and its statistics, although there are differences in detail.


One contentious aspect of this innings is that some newspapers state that Sinclair’s innings lasted an hour or less; this would make it the fastest-ever Test century in terms of time. However, my analysis and Curnow’s agree that there were far too many overs bowled for this time to be possible, and 60 minutes is in clear conflict with times given for other milestones in the innings, stated in the same reports. One report said 80 minutes rather than 60, and this seems to be correct. The error may have arisen if the dismissal of Shalders was used as Sinclair’s starting time (leading to a time of 60 minutes), when in fact Sinclair had come to the wicket at the dismissal of Smith about 20 minutes earlier. Reports saying that Sinclair reached 50 in 35 minutes are similarly almost certainly wrong; the real figure is 55 minutes, in all probability.


I wondered if there had been a 20-minute tea break, but no report mentions any breaks in the innings. In those days, there was usually no tea break if a change of innings occurred after lunch, which was the case here.


A remarkable aspect of the reporting is the detailed account given in the Cape Argus. Amazingly, the report, covering the entire innings, was published on the same day as the innings (Monday Nov 10, 1902) even though Sinclair’s innings did not end until 5:40 pm! The Argus was an afternoon paper with multiple editions, and apparently they held the final edition open until the cricket report could be completed. Reports were sent from the ground to the office by bicycle courier.


I have a photocopy of this report, sent to me by Ross Smith many years ago; unfortunately it is sometimes hard to read, and I haven’t been able to get a better copy. I presume that Curnow had access to a clear version. Anyway, here is my interpretation of some of the time features of the innings, based on reports from five newspapers:


4:15-4:20 pm, over 31. CJE Smith out at 81/2. Sinclair in.

4:25 pm, over 36. South Africa 100 in 95 minutes.

4:30-4:35 pm, over 38. Shalders and Twentyman-Jones out. 115/4. Sinclair 26 off ~22 balls.

4:50 pm, over 44. Llewellyn out 136/5.

5:15 pm. Sinclair 53 off ~50 balls, 55 minutes. Over 49.

Overs 51-52. Sinclair hits 34 runs in 2 overs.

5:30 pm over 55. South Africa 200 in 160 minutes.

5:37 pm. Sinclair 100 in 80 minutes, 70-75 balls. Over 57

5:40 pm. Sinclair 104 in 83 minutes, 75-80 balls. Over 58, stumps called.


Uncertainties about balls faced are unavoidable, because dot balls are mostly not mentioned in reports, even though we have a good over-by-over account. In overs where singles or threes are described but the specific ball numbers are not, dot balls are distributed in what seems a reasonable fashion. It seems fair to assume that Sinclair faced fewer dot balls than his batting partners, given that he was making far more scoring shots.





Fast Centuries, Slow Times?


I was looking at some Tests from earlier this century when I came across some odd stats for a century by Adam Gilchrist at Port of Spain in 2003. Gilchrist reached his century off 104 balls, impressively fast as usual, yet he it took him 208 minutes. He received only 36.5% of the strike during his innings; in particular, he received little strike late in his innings, while batting with Darren Lehmann (160) and Brad Hogg (17*). Gilchrist faced only 31 out of the last 120 balls of the innings, which was declared closed when he reached his century.


I decided to take a look at centuries with the most extreme ratios of minutes to balls faced. Gilchrist is the leader here.


Test Centuries: Highest Ratio of Minutes batted to Balls Faced





% Strike


AC Gilchrist





Aus v WI (2), Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 2003


Q de Kock





Eng v SAf (4), Centurion (Centurion Park) 2015/16


M Amarnath





Ind v SL (3), Kandy 1985/86


Mohsin Khan





Eng v Pak (3), Lahore (Gaddafi) 1983/84


Shahid Afridi





Pak v WI (1), Bridgetown, Barbados 2005


ST Jayasuriya





Ind v SL (2), Colombo2 (SSC) 1997


V Sehwag





SAf v Ind (2), Kolkata 2009/10


DA Warner





NZ v Aus (2), Hobart (Bellerive) 2011/12


MH Richardson





Ban v NZ (1), Hamilton 2001/02


At the other end of the scale we have innings from long ago, when over rates were much higher…


Lowest Ratio of Minutes batted to Balls Faced (where known)





% Strike


Albert Ward





Eng v Aus (1), Sydney (SCG) 1894/95


WR Hammond





Eng v Aus (4), Adelaide Oval 1928/29


JJ Lyons





Aus v Eng (2), Sydney (SCG) 1891/92


FG Mann





Eng v SAf (5), Port Elizabeth 1948/49


WR Hammond





Eng v Aus (4), Adelaide Oval 1928/29


RH Catterall





SAf v Eng (5), Durban (Kingsmead) 1927/28


LEG Ames





Eng v NZ (1), Lord's 1931


C Washbrook





Eng v WI (2), Lord's 1950


[Note that I only have the requisite data on about 70% of early centuries.]


One point that I would add is that while balls faced is rightly recognised as the best way to compare the speed of innings, minutes batted should not be ignored. The latter is an important element of the spectator’s experience. A two-hour century will generally be more memorable than a three-hour century, other circumstances being equal.


Generally, it is very hard to maintain a severe imbalance in strike over a long period, but evidently there are exceptions. I don’t know if Gilchrist’s century is the most extreme in % Strike, but I may report on that later.







A surprise to me, worth recording...


In the 2002-03 Champions Trophy (ODI) in Sri Lanka, lbw decisions were frequently referred to the 3rd umpire. Shoaib Malik was the first batsman given out lbw this way, on 12 Sep 2002.


Back then there were fewer hi-tech aids, and the 3rd umpire was simply making his decisions from conventional replays.


Many catch decisions were also referred to the 3rd umpire; almost all ended up 'not out' because the available vision was inconclusive (in the days before HD TV) and the batsmen got the benefit of the doubt. There were complaints about this and about the delays it caused.


The lbw experiment was shelved after this series. The more sophisticated DRS was trialled in 2008 and introduced in Tests in 2009.





Tim Paine recently scored his first first-class century for 13 years (125 matches). This ranks pretty high in the longest intervals between centuries, but not at the top.


Meyrick Payne of Middlesex, like his near namesake a wicketkeeper by trade, scored a century in 1907 and his next in 1927. For a career uninterrupted by War, Arthur Sims went 17 years between centuries. His second century, in 1913-14, was notable for a world record partnership of 433 for the 8th wicket with Victor Trumper.


Fred Titmus went 293 f-c matches between centuries, from 1965 to 1976 (age 43). He had made his f-c debut in 1949.





Some years ago I did a study of some of Bill Frindall's scores that recorded shots that went off the edge (as Frindall saw it). I logged the edge shots from 27 Tests. FWIW, there were 1443 runs off the edge out of 25,156 total runs off the bat - about 5.7%.





Rohit Sharma made 176 and 127 in the recent Test at Visakhapatnam, repeating exactly the scores of Herbert Sutcliffe at the MCG in 1925. It is only the second time that a century in each innings has been repeated exactly. The other was Inzamam making 109 and 100* at Faisalabad in 2005, matched exactly by Azhar Ali at Abu Dhabi in 2014.


Only two batsmen have made higher scores in both innings than Sharma (and Sutcliffe): Brian Lara with 221 & 130 in 2001 and Greg Chappell with 247* & 133 in 1974.


There was also Andy Flower 142 & 199, if you reverse the innings.





Most dismissals by a fielder/bowler pair in first-class cricket: I get 356 for Ames/Freeman. Next is FH Huish/C Blythe on 320 and Hunter/ Rhodes on 307.


The above figures include a large proportion of stumpings. For catches alone I get 252 for George Dawkes off Les Jackson for Derbyshire. I also get 250 catches for Edward Brooks off Alf Gover (Surrey).


(Data before 1984 only)

Marsh/Lillee managed 218.










17 October 2019


Long-time correspondent Ashru has reminded me of an unresolved anomaly in the score of the Trent Bridge Test of 1950, and pointed out that Brodribb discussed this incident briefly in Next Man In (1952).


Day 3 of this Test ended when rain interrupted, after Reg Simpson had hit the first ball of an over for three. When play restarted after a rest day, there was confusion over who should bowl and who should face. First Ramadhin, then Valentine, were told to bowl, before the scorers (Ferguson and Wheat) ruled that Ramadhin had to finish the over. Unfortunately he then bowled to Simpson again, so the wrong batsman was facing anyway.


The surviving score does not resolve matters satisfactorily. It seems clear from the score that only Ramadhin and Valentine bowled between tea and stumps. The overs are not numbered in the score, but Valentine must have bowled the odd-numbered overs, starting at Over 37, and Ramadhin the even; this preserves the correct sequence of scoring strokes for the batsmen, which otherwise goes haywire under any other bowling order. There were no extras in the session.


The main problem in the score is that, after Ramadhin bowled Over 48 to Washbrook, the three by Simpson follows immediately, off the first ball of Over 49, apparently with Ramadhin bowling again. There are no other available overs in the recorded score to insert after Over 48. The scores published in newspapers next morning reproduce exactly the bowling figures in this scenario, recording 6.1 overs for Ramadhin and 14 for Valentine.


Tea-Stumps Day 3, Trent Bridge 1950
















Johnson(13.5) 0-23



Simpson 23(104)



Washbrook 22(111)

 (36.5) Bowler Injured, Tea

Valentine(9) 0-9






Simpson 24(106)



Washbrook 25(115)





Ramadhin(1) 0-0



Simpson 24(112)



Washbrook 25(115)


Valentine(10) 0-14






Simpson 28(117)



Washbrook 26(116)





Ramadhin(2) 0-1



Simpson 28(121)



Washbrook 27(118)


Valentine(11) 0-16






Simpson 29(122)



Washbrook 28(123)





Ramadhin(3) 0-1



Simpson 29(128)



Washbrook 28(123)


Valentine(12) 0-16






Simpson 29(128)



Washbrook 28(129)





Ramadhin(4) 0-7



Simpson 32(133)



Washbrook 31(130)


Valentine(13) 0-17






Simpson 32(138)



Washbrook 32(131)





Ramadhin(5) 0-11



Simpson 32(138)



Washbrook 36(137)


Valentine(14) 0-19






Simpson 34(144)



Washbrook 36(137)





Ramadhin(6) 0-13



Simpson 34(144)



Washbrook 38(143)


Ramadhin(7) 0-16

3  .....





Simpson 37



Washbrook 38(143)

 (49.1) Rain 5:03 - Stumps|||; (49.2) day 4, batsmen to wrong ends




Johnson(15) 0-25



Simpson 37(150)



Washbrook 40(149)


Ramadhin(8) 0-20






Simpson 41(156)



Washbrook 40(149)



The best explanation that I can suggest is that the three was actually hit off Valentine, and erroneously (or confusingly) recorded by the scorers when play suddenly ended. Press reports say that when Ramadhin lined up to bowl next day, umpire Frank Chester intervened and wanted Valentine to bowl instead, but this was overruled by the scorers. Ramadhin continued ‘his’ over, but to the wrong batsman. Perhaps Chester was right after all.


So in effect, Ramadhin has been recorded as bowling two consecutive overs, something known on only two other occasions in Test history.


If readers can suggest other scenarios, let me know.





At Christchurch in 1977-78, in England’s second innings, there was an unusual set of contentious run out incidents, all in the space of five overs. England needed quick runs in advance of a declaration, but captain Geoff Boycott decided to bat in his customary manner (26 off 80 balls).


In Ewen Chatfield’s third over, Derek Randall cut a ball through gully and ran a quick two to the ‘danger’ end. He made it, but keeper Warren Lees saw that Boycott was sauntering back to the bowler’s end, while looking back to see that Randall had made his ground. Lees threw down the bowler’s wicket. Boycott was almost certainly out of his ground, but the umpire Goodall said he was ‘unsighted’ (not paying attention is more likely) and ruled not out.


This incident probably provoked what happened a few balls later, when Chatfield did the ‘Mankad’ on Randall. Personally, I don’t have problem with bowlers doing this, but in this case, Chatfield did not even enter his delivery stride, breaking the stumps underarm.


New batsman Ian Botham soon became fed up with Boycott’s slowcoach methods. Off the first ball of Chatfield’s fifth over, Botham patted a shot to cover point and called Boycott through for an impossible run. Boycott called “NO!”, but Botham carried on and managed to pass Boycott before Stephen Book returned the ball to Lees and the stumps were down. Boycott was judged run out. If there was any doubt that it was a deliberate act by Botham, it was put to rest when Botham cheerfully admitted it.


There is YouTube video of the incident, featuring a Botham with extensive mullet, here.









In the 2003 World Cup, both Kenya and Pakistan fielded 10 players who had played in the previous World Cup.


The only team that has changed completely in consecutive World Cups is Australia in 1975 and 1979. The 1979 team selection excluded the Packer players.


The longest interval between two identical teams appearing in ODIs is 682 days, for a Sri Lanka team on 14-Apr-2002 and 25-Feb-2004. The players were:

DNT Zoysa

DPMD Jayawardene

HDPK Dharmasena

KC Sangakkara

M Muralitharan

MS Atapattu

RP Arnold

ST Jayasuriya

TM Dilshan

UDU Chandana





A note following Steve Smith’s sequence of high scores. Ray Illingworth in 1970-71 exceeded his batting average (as it stood at the time) in 10 consecutive innings (during the Ashes series). Navjot Sidhu did the same in 1992-93.



I can find 10 cases of a player making a double century having missed the previous Test of the same series (excluding Test debuts), prior to Steve Smith’s 211 at Old Trafford. Not sure how many were due to injuries - not many - but the most notable must be Len Hutton missing the Leeds Test of 1938 through injury then scoring 364 at the Oval. Hutton did it again in 1950, injured for the 3rd Test but made 202* in the 4th.


Bob Simpson missed the 3rd Test of 1965-66 through illness but scored 225 in the 4th Test. Bob Cowper was dropped for that 4th Test to make way for Simpson but returned for the 5th Test and made 307.


Ijaz Ahmed made 211 in the Asian Test final in 1998-99 having missed the previous match, but I think he had been dropped previously, not injured. That was the most recent case that I found.










25 September 2019


Yes it has been too long since any real posts. I have no explanation available, apart from some waning in enthusiasm after about 15 years on this blog. I have kept busy, though, with progressively adding to the online database, which has now reached 1982. I have also upgraded all available ball-by-ball records to include, where available, times of day for each start and close of play (even this small addition involved a lot of work, considering that there are now more than 700 Tests online. The time upgrades for the most part are from 1905 onwards). The ends of sessions are now colour-coded for easier reading of the scores, and exact scores are now displayed for every lunch, tea and stumps break. There are upgrades and additions to how other breaks of play are recorded. I hope the changes allow for a clearer picture of the flow of play for each ball-by-ball score.




Here is some data examining the historical incidence of lbws in Tests. I was looking for a purported ‘DRS effect’. There was a common expectation that introducing the Decision Review System would lead to a spike in lbws. DRS was introduced in 2009, and by 2012 was being used in more than half of Tests. By 2017, it was being used in almost every Test.


If there is any DRS effect, it is not evident in the broad data. Over the long term, lbws have increased, but the trend seems to have plateaued in the 1990s or early 2000s.


Historical Incidence of lbws



















I took a closer look at lbw decision after the introduction of DRS, comparing Tests where it was used against the rest. Again, no effect evident, without forgetting that DRS and non-DRS represented a somewhat different mix of countries. If anything, DRS Tests had fewer lbws, although the effect is weak.




























Against West Indies in August/September, Jasprit Bumrah had a sequence of 10 wickets for 16 runs, across two Tests. Similar sequences are very rare. George Lohmann had a run of 10 for 4 in South Africa in 1895/96, but that was against ultra-weak opposition. The next best sequence of 10 wickets that I can find is Tony Lock against New Zealand in 1958. Across 2 Tests at Lord's and Leeds, Lock's bowling included a sequence of 10 wickets for 15 runs. He finished the first innings at Lord's with 4 for 1, took 4 for 12 in the 2nd innings, and started with 2 for 2 at Leeds.


If you extend the sequence back to the final Test of 1957 against West Indies, I found that Lock had sequences of 20 wickets for 68 and 30 for 97.




Some new notes on Test scorers:


Sreeram has discovered a report that Sahal S. Laher, a scorer for Zimbabwe’s inaugural Test in October 1992 (v India) was 16 years and 10 months old. That would make him the third-youngest scorer known, after Mark Kerly and Scott Sinclair in New Zealand in the 70s.


Some early instances of two women scorers…

Miss P Williams and Miss Sandra R Hall are listed as official scorers at Joburg in 1966-67. The Australian tour scorer was M (Mitchell?) McLennan, so there were 3 scorers listed.


Sandra Hall and Dumi Desai, Zim v NZ, Bulawayo (Athletic)  1992-93


The first Test in Australia with 2 women scorers was SCG 2001-02 (v S Africa): Merilyn Fowler and Ruth Kelleher.


Merilyn Fowler is called Merilyn Slarke in CA. One of those is presumably a married name.






In the Perth Test of 1988-89, West Indies won the match with only 11 minutes left on the clock (5:48 pm). However, the over rate had been so slow that there were still 25 overs left to be bowled.





In an ODI at Dhaka on 9 Oct 1999, Ridley Jacobs stumped two Bangladeshi batsmen off wides: Shaharia Hossain Campbell, and Aminul, both off the bowling of Campbell. It is the only case of two such dismissals in an ODI innings. While a stumping off a wide is not rare in shorter forms of the game, as far as is known, there has never been a stumping off a wide in a Test match.





In the 1891-92 Ashes Test series, WG Grace, at age 43,  took more catches (9) than the teams’ wicketkeepers  combined. He took most of the catches at point: the number of catches that went to point in 19th Century Tests is one of little mysteries of the early game.







31 May 2019


Bowler Breakdown


A while back I think I mentioned that injuries to bowlers during play were becoming more common than injuries to batsmen (in Tests). I have taken a look at bowlers’ injuries now, in terms of bowlers who were unable to complete an over.


The rules concerning this changed in the early 1980s. Prior to 1981, if a bowler was injured during an over, then the over was left uncompleted and the next over began from the other end. The first bowler to have an over completed by another was Graham Dilly at Kingston in 1981; his over was completed by Robin Jackman. Dilley was able to resume bowling not long afterwards.


I have made a list of 178 bowlers failing to complete an over since then (up to late 2017 in my ball-by-ball data). This is not the complete number; for one thing I am (for simplicity) only considering Tests for which I have complete bbb data. There is also the issue of bowlers going off injured after completing an over – I can’t really detect those reliably, and they are not considered.


In these terms, the bowler who has ‘broken down’ most times is Dale Steyn…


Most uncompleted overs 1981-2017 (Tests)

DW Steyn


AA Donald


Shoaib Akhtar


FH Edwards


M Muralitharan


Z Khan



Murali was once injured while on a hat-trick; he returned later in the innings but could not complete the hat-trick. In an odd incident at Mumbai in 2002-03, the batsman (Dravid) and the bowler (Dillion) retired off the same ball.


Historical incidence of uncompleted overs (retirements /100,000 balls)


























Data from Tests with bbb data only


As you can see from the basis of 100,000 balls, retirements are not a frequent event. There is, however, an upward trend in the data, although shorter-term fluctuations are perhaps the more notable feature. Bowling retirements have indeed become more common than batting retirements, even allowing for the fact that there will be additional cases of bowlers retiring after finishing an over, and this is not captured in the data. 133 bowlers have retired in mid-over since 1998, as against 97 batsmen retiring hurt (or ill) in the same Tests.


Close to one-third of the retiring bowlers were able to resume later in the innings; the return rate for batsmen is closer to 60% since 1998. Two bowlers have retired twice in the same innings: Aamir Nazir at Joburg in 1994-95, and Dale Steyn at Durban in 2015-16.





I have been making a few improvements to early pages in the Online Database. Some text descriptions of Tests are being added: these are from material I wrote for a book years ago, covering Tests in Australia only. I have also made some appearance improvements in pages showing the ball-by-ball data and session-by- session data. In the ball-by-ball data, ends of session are more clearly marked and are colour-coded.






5 May 2019


The fastest Test batsmen, adjusted for historical scoring changes


These scoring rates attempt a better comparison of leading batsmen of different eras, since scoring standards have changed over the years, particularly with the shrinking of grounds and introduction of “superbats” since the early 21st century. Scoring rates of 21st Century batsmen have been ‘discounted’, based on the recent general rise in scoring speeds. Virender Sehwag’s rate has fallen from 82.2 to 72.9 runs per 100 balls, although he retains #1 position. Scoring rates rose substantially after about 2001.

Data is to March 2019. Qualification is restricted to fully recognised batsmen only, with an average batting position of 6.1 or less. This generally excludes wicketkeeper/batsmen or lower-middle-order all-rounders, who have become more prominent in recent fast-scoring lists.




Career  Runs

Initial Runs/100 balls

Adjusted Runs/ 100 Balls

1. V Sehwag (Ind)





2. IVA Richards (WI)





3. VT Trumper (Aus)





4. DA Warner (Aus)





5. SM Patil (Ind)





6. K Srikkanth (Ind)





7. ST Jayasuriya (SL)





8. SJ McCabe (Aus)





9. DG Bradman (Aus)





10. FE Woolley (Eng)





11. CH Lloyd (WI)





12. S Dhawan (Ind)





13. FM Engineer (Ind)





14. EdeC Weekes (WI)





15. C Hill (Aus)





16. AL Logie (WI)





17. TM Dilshan (SL)





18. BC Lara (WI)





19. RA McLean (SAf)





20. CG Macartney (Aus)





21. DW Hookes (Aus)





22. M Azharuddin (Ind)





23. BB McCullum (NZ)





24. Habibul Bashar (Ban)





25. RG Pollock (SAf)





26. ML Hayden (Aus)





27. Saeed Anwar (Pak)





28. CH Gayle (WI)





29. Shakib Al Hasan (Ban)





30. RT Ponting (Aus)





31. KP Pietersen (Eng)





32. GC Smith (SAf)





33. LRPL Taylor (NZ)





34. V Kohli (Ind)





35. Mohammad Hafeez (Pak)





36. JE Root (Eng)





37. SPD Smith (Aus)





38. MJ Clarke (Aus)






I have updated the Hot 100 scoring lists, and the above table is included.




The online database now encompasses 100 years of Test cricket 1877 to 1977!



In the second Test of 1936-37 at the SCG, Joe Hardstaff, on 11, offered a catch off Bill O’Reilly, but it was dropped by 12th man Ray Robinson at square leg. That’s not so unusual, but Hardstaff had a double dose of luck; he trod on his stumps during the shot, but umpire Borwick, watching the catch, did not see it. Stan McCabe appealed, but the umpire ruled in the batsman’s favour.


There is a picture of the incident in Jack Fingleton’s Cricket Crisis.


(Thanks to Ashru)




In 1974-75, Srinivas Venkataraghavan (Venkat) captained India against West Indies in the second Test in Delhi, but was dropped to 12th man for the next Test and did not play again in the five-Test series. His captaincy had been a fill-in job in the absence of the Injured Pataudi, and once Pataudi returned, the spin team of Prasanna, Bedi and Chandra kept Venkat on the sidelines.


Lindsay Hassett also experienced the captaincy in one Test and 12th man the next, in 1951-52. Hassett was injured, however, and his appointment as 12th man seems to have happened as part of some strange selections, with Sid Barnes kicked out of the team “for reasons other than cricket”, and Phil Ridings selected and then dropped again before the match began. Ridings never did play Test cricket.


15 April 2019


I have re-scored the two (complete) Test scores from 1893 (second and third Tests) that I obtained some weeks ago. Some notes of interest...


At Old Trafford, George Giffen opened the bowling for Australia and bowled his 67 overs without change (!) These were 5-ball overs, but even so, the 335 balls ranks third on the longest spells of all time (where known). It is the longest spell by an opening bowler.


The first hit for 'six' in a Test in England: W Gunn scored six by running four with two overthrows, off CTB Turner. All-run sixes, even with overthrows, are still very rare.


JJ Lyons hitting fours off five consecutive deliveries at The Oval, in two separate overs, is confirmed. (This is still very rare). The last two would be counted as six nowadays. He was out next ball.


Harry Trott played a very unusual innings: out for 12 off 4 balls (444W). AB De Villiers in 2004 is the only other who has played a similar innings.


W Bruce hit 18 off a Briggs over at Old Trafford (44244). This is the most expensive over known in the 19th century. The shorter overs and lack of sixes back then made it harder to do this.


Alec Bannerman scored some runs in this series (his last). There is now enough balls faced data to clearly calculate is his scoring speed: 22.4 runs per 100 balls, the slowest (by some margin) for anyone who made over 1000 Test runs.


The ball-by ball records of this series have been added to the online database. The first Test score in the scorebook lacks bowling details, so cannot be re-scored into ball-by-ball form.





Brothers in Australian first-class cricket, some quick notes.


In a couple of matches in 1953-54, two pairs of brothers played for Victoria (Harvey and Maddocks) against the Archer brothers playing for Queensland.

In 1955, the Archer brothers played again for Queensland against Victoria, but this time, also playing for Queensland, was CE (Mick) Harvey, whose brothers Neil and Ray were playing for Victoria.


In 1909-10, The Waddy brothers of NSW played against three Hill brothers for South Australia.


In a match in 1894-95, Victoria had the Trott brothers AND the McLeod brothers, while South Australia had the Giffen brothers AND the Jarvis brothers.






I have started adding a few more series to the database, from 1976-77.






In an ODI at Bridgetown in 1998, Carl Hooper and Stuart Williams, in the space of 16 overs (from over #16 to 31), added 57 runs, comprising 53 singles and two 2s. This was an extreme case of the mediocre and unadventurous batting that was then commonplace in the middle overs, and had authorities scratching their heads. Eventually, Power Plays and the like were introduced to try to spice up the middle overs of ODIs. Ultimately it would lead to Twenty20 cricket.


Williams broke the monotony by hitting Robert Croft for 6 in the 32nd over. West Indies won the game.




Mysteries of Pakistani players’ names continued. In a List A match on 26 Jan 2011, two players named Hasan Mahmood turned out for Faisalabad Wolves. Both were out for 53.




Another curious coincidence. Greg Chappell played just one innings his first calendar year in Test cricket (1970): he scored 108. At the end of his career, Chappell played just one innings in his last calendar year (1984,) scoring 182.





28 March 2019


The 400-wicket bowlers


Runs, balls and Tests on taking 400 wickets


Total Runs (Rank)

Total Balls (Rank)

Bowler Test # (Rank)

CEL Ambrose

8392 (1)

21695 (5)

97 (9)

GD McGrath

8658 (2)

20526 (3)

87 (6)

RJ Hadlee

8900 (3)

20500 (2)

80 (2)

DW Steyn

9015 (4)

16634 (1)

80 (2)

Wasim Akram

9191 (5)

21206 (4)

96 (8)

SM Pollock

9292 (6)

23285 (8)

103 (11)

M Muralitharan

9495 (7)

24061 (11)

72 (1)

CA Walsh

10084 (8)

23094 (7)

107 (13)

SK Warne

10477 (9)

25328 (13)

92 (7)

HMRKB Herath

11128 (10)

23835 (10)

84 (4)

A Kumble

11281 (11)

26782 (14)

85 (5)

JM Anderson

11689 (12)

23006 (6)

103 (11)

SCJ Broad

11723 (13)

23586 (9)

115 (14)

N Kapil Dev

11859 (14)

24853 (12)

115 (14)

Harbhajan Singh

12955 (15)

27458 (15)

97 (9)


These are exact numbers for the bowlers on taking their 400th wicket. The exception is Richard Hadlee – I don’t have the scorebook for the Test in question, so his figures are estimates. However, the estimates should be reasonably accurate, based on other information.




A short article that I wrote last year on the pressure (of playing schedules) faced by Steve Smith and players of earlier generations.




A small breakthrough in the search for old Test scores… I have obtained copies of the original scores of the Tests of 1893; the original tour scorebook turns out to be in the National Sports Museum here in Melbourne.


Some years ago I visited the museum and copied what scores they had. The 1893 book was purchased after that, and I was unaware of its existence until now.


Overall, the 1890s have been the most difficult decade of Test cricket to study statistically, so this is a boon. Unfortunately the first Test in 1893 does not have a full score (bowling analysis is missing) but the other two are complete.


I believe that the museum paid over five thousand pounds for the scorebook at an auction. I note this for the benefit for all those teams and grounds that have thrown these things away considering them worthless (Kennington Oval among many others, including almost every venue in India).






In an ODI at Edgbaston in 1991, England, set 174 to win in 55 overs, reached the target in 49.4 overs to win by one wicket, with opener Mike Atherton still at the crease on 69*. The West Indies, though, had been called for no less than 39 no balls and wides, and had thus bowled the equivalent of 55+ overs anyway. Without all the extra runs, England would have been nowhere near victory.




In 2015, New Zealand went 147 overs (513 runs) without losing a wicket in 2 consecutive partnerships, but in different series (v Sri Lanka and England). The time, 630 minutes, was greater than the Turner/Jarvis partnership of 540 minutes, but shorter than the Jayasuriya/Mahanama partnership of 1997 (753 minutes).




At the Oval in 1952, Len Hutton was the beneficiary of eight overthrows in the space of two overs bowled by GS Ramchand on the first morning. There was a ‘six’ (two runs + four overthrows) in one over and a five in the next (1+4).


Without them, England would have scored only 48 runs off 42 overs before lunch. David Sheppard was only 20 at lunch, and after lunch hit his first boundary after facing 180 balls.






2 March 2019


I am posting an article that I submitted to The Cricket Statistician last year. They haven’t fit to publish it yet (these things take time) but these days I no longer have the necessary patience to wait. It is on the subject of Victor Trumper’s famous 335 at Redfern Oval in 1903.


The article is here.

A ball-by-ball record of the innings is here.


I hope that readers find it interesting. I think it is an interesting subject. For those who would like more info there is a recent booklet on the innings by Caitlin and Cardwell. Roger Page Cricket Books should have it.





In the current Dunedin Test (NZ v Ban), there were 327 runs scored before the first extra (sundry). The most runs before first extra that I know of is 400 at Joburg 1957-58 (4th Test) by Australia. That extra (a leg bye) came after tea on the second day with the equivalent of 198 six-ball overs having been bowled. However, there had been two no balls that were scored from (did not count as extras in those days).


The most consecutive runs without an extra (where known) is 471 runs at Mumbai 2012-13: India's last 173 runs and England's first 298 in the first innings. 157 overs. The second day was free of extras. This sort of thing is a bit more likely recently than before, given the 'decline' in no balls.






Taking wickets in the first over of a Test. Irfan Pathan (Karachi 2006) is the only one with three. I know of five cases of two


J Srinath  Ind v Aus (2), Kolkata 1997/98

J Srinath  Ind v NZ (2), Hamilton 1998/99

CL Cairns  NZ v Eng (1), Christchurch 2001/02

SCJ Broad  Eng v Aus (4), Nottingham (Trent Bridge) 2015

ST Gabriel  WI v Pak (3), Sharjah 2016/17


There were two wickets in the first over of the Adelaide Test of 2010-11 (Anderson bowling) but one was a run out.


Curious that there do not seem to be any cases before 1997.




Two bowlers only in the first 20 overs of an ODI innings. There are gaps in the early data, so there could be more.


GD McGrath/AC Dale Aus v SL, Adelaide Oval 24-Jan-1999


J Srinath/BKV Prasad Ind v Aus, Sydney 14-Jan-2000


Waqar Younis/Fazl-e-Akbar Pak v Eng, Leeds 17-Jun-2001


AR Caddick/JM Anderson Eng v Aus, Adelaide Oval 19-Jan-2003


JN Gillespie/MS Kasprowicz Aus v Zim, Harare 29-May-2004


KAD Hurdle/S Mukuddem Ber v Ned, Benoni 2-Dec-2006


Seems to have gone out of fashion.

29 January 2019


I am busy with non-cricket related work at the moment, but here are a few items presented briefly.


Most minutes batted in a series of 4 Tests (or fewer) :


1869 min CA Pujara (521 runs) in Aus 2018-19

1861 Min R Dravid (602 runs) in Eng 2002

1814 RB Richardson (619 runs) WI v Ind 1988-89


No wonder I was getting a little tired of watching Mr Pujara.




Here is an addendum to my list of five wickets in fewest balls in Tests. These are the instances since 2016.


2018 Update

5 in 11 balls (4 runs)

TA Boult*

NZ v SL (1), Christchurch (Hagley) 2018/19

5 in 12 balls (4 runs)

KAJ Roach

WI v Ban (1), Antigua (Richards) 2018

5 in 15 balls (7 runs)

D Bishoo

WI v Pak (1), Dubai 2016/17

5 in 18 balls (13 runs)

K Rabada

SAf v Aus (2), Port Elizabeth 2017/18

5 in 19 balls (3 runs)

SNJ O'Keefe

Aus v Ind (1), Pune (Subrata) 2016/17

5 in 19 balls (6 runs)

N Wagner

NZ v WI (1), Wellington (Basin Reserve) 2017/18

5 in 15 balls (7 runs)

D Bishoo

WI v Pak (1), Dubai 2016/17

*Boult took six wickets in 15 balls.





It occurred to me that it might be interesting to compile official batting rankings of Test batsmen in terms of Median rather than Average ranking. (Average can be unduly affected by low ranking early in a career). The following list is based on a download of month-by-month ICC batting rankings since 1955 (for completeness I included Sobers’ rankings for 1954 as well). Players with substantial careers before 1955 are not included. I have added a column to show how many competitive countries were active at the time of a career. Sobers gets a 6.5 because although South Africa was active at the time, it was playing only a limited number of Tests against just a few countries. Richards gets a 6.5 because Sri Lanka were only playing for part of Richards’ career; in fact West Indies did not play Sri Lanka until 1993, after Richards retired.


Sobers median of 1.5 means that he was ranked #1 almost the same number of times as all other rankings put together. Tendulkar’s figure of 7 means that he was inside the top 7 about as many times as he was outside the top 7.




Active Countries

G.S. Sobers





I.V.A. Richards





B.C. Lara





A.R. Border





Javed Miandad





K.C. Sangakkara





R.B. Kanhai





R.B. Richardson





G.S. Chappell





R.G. Pollock





S.M. Gavaskar





J.H. Kallis





S.R. Tendulkar





K.F. Barrington





M.L. Hayden





W.M. Lawry





N.C. O'Neill








Jason Gillespie’s double-century against Bangladesh in 2006 remains one of the strangest ever played. It keeps cropping up unexpectedly when records are calculated. Here is a list of notable records, related to this 201*…

-       Highest score by a nightwatchman

-       Career average batting position of 8.8, lowest position by a double-century scorer.

-       Only player to be dropped from his team after winning a man of the match award and never play another Test. (current active careers excluded)

-       Only batsman to bat on four days of a Test in a single innings, for a winning side.

-       Averaged 231.0 in Tests in calendar year 2006, highest for a calendar year since Bradman in 1932.

-       Series batting average of 231 and bowling average of 11.3 unsurpassed combination (minimum 8 wickets).

-       Only batsman to score a double-century the only time he batted at #3.

-       Only Australian with a top score more than 10 times his batting average. Wasim Akram the only one from other countries.

-       Tallest batsman to score a Test double-century (since broken).

-       Partnership of 320 with Mike Hussey was the only time they batted in partnership. Highest since Hutton/Leyland in 1938.

-       Gillespie is the only player in history (at that time) whose only first-class century is a Test double-century.

-       Gillespie made his first Test century in his 92nd innings, the longest wait for any player (since broken)

I have tried to focus on records that could theoretically be broken in any Test. There would be many other records of more specific type (team/country/ground).




I have reached a milestone in the re-scoring of ODI scores prior to the ‘Cricinfo era’, into ball-by-ball form. In 2016-2017, I rescored matches from 1985 to 1999; I then went back to the beginning and have now finished the matches from 1971 to 1985. I have not actually finished, though, since I have collected about 60 additional scores this year, and I will have to tackle those before long. Overall, the project will produce ball-by-ball records of about 750 of the first 1400 ODIs. There are prospects for obtaining a significant number of additional scores; but there will still be hundreds of matches for which complete records cannot be found.


I also have obtained about 15 scores that Cricinfo did not cover after 1999. In the early years, Cricinfo’s ball-by-ball coverages was somewhat incomplete.




1 January 2019


The Greatest Umpiring Blunder?


One of the most exciting Tests of its era was the Bombay Test of 1948-49, which ended with India eight down and needing another six runs, with the umpire erroneously calling stumps early on the fifth ball of an over. I had understood, based on newspapers reports at the time (Times of India, and Calcutta Statesman) that this was the extent of the error, but when discussing this, Ashru Mitra pointed out evidence that it was worse than this, and that an additional over should also have been bowled.


I have now found some more evidence supporting Ashru on this one. It is from an article by Berry Sarbadhikary, published in a book in 1975 (India v West Indies Tests) but probably written much earlier. I borrowed this rather rare book from Roger Page's inestimable collection.


Sarbadhikary was a radio commentator at the time and was well placed to know exactly what was going on. He states that there was more than a minute remaining and the extra over should have been bowled; he goes into some detail.


The only difficulty I have with this is understanding how Sarbadhikary can quote his own spoken commentary verbatim in such detail. He does not explicitly say that he has a recording. Was Indian radio really recording its broadcasts as early as 1949?


One inconsistency is that Phadkar is described as facing the last ball when other sources say it was Ghulam Ahmed.


It even appears possible that the umpire (AR Joshi, in fact) may have been tricked by Stollmeyer ‘swooping’ to seize the stumps as though the match was over. Maybe this caused Joshi to panic and call stumps. In any case, this may be the worst umpiring error in Test history.


Although two wickets were in hand, the last man, P Sen, had a broken arm. He was reportedly ready to bat with his arm in a sling.


I have updated my online scores to reflect this new information.




Bowlers Taking 4 wickets for 0 run in 7, 8, or 9 balls


This is an addendum to a list from 24 October 2018, on the subject of bowlers who took four wickets in very few balls.



WP Howell

Aus v SAf (3), Cape Town 1902/03


GAR Lock

Eng v WI (5), The Oval 1957


WH Ashley

SAf v Eng (2), Cape Town 1888/89


Waqar Younis

Pak v Ban (1), Dhaka 2001/02


Z Khan

Ind v Ban (2), Dhaka (Mirpur) 2009/10


Mohammad Aamer

Pak v Eng (4), Lord's 2010


SCJ Broad

Eng v Ind (2), Nottingham (Trent Bridge) 2011


PJ Cummins

Aus v Ind (3), MCG 2018-19


AR Border

Aus v WI (2), Georgetown, Guyana 1991


PCR Tufnell

Eng v WI (5), The Oval 1991


GD McGrath

Aus v SAf (1), Johannesburg (Wanderers) 2001/02


Many of these instances involve the bowler running through the tail. Cummins is the first bowler in Tests to take the first four wickets of an innings for no runs in the space of fewer than 10 balls.





Days where the only wicket was a run out


When Sri Lanka recently batted through a day without loss of a wicket, various lists appeared of such instances. Here is an addition: complete days’ play where no wickets fell to bowlers, but a run out occurred.





Pak v Aus (2), Faisalabad 1979/80




SL v Ind (2), Colombo1 (PSS) 1985/86




SAf v Ban (2), Potchefstroom 2002/03




Aus v SAf (1), Brisbane ('Gabba') 2012/13




SAf v Ban (1), Potchefstroom 2017/18





In the Colombo Test of 1985-86, India dropped seven catches during the day.





Most Time spent on Field in a Test (Minutes)


I don’t think I have ever put up a list like this, combining batting and fielding time. The list excludes Timeless Tests. If the Durban Timeless Test of 1939 is included, it would take the top three positions, led by PGV van der Bijl on 1936 minutes.



BC Lara

WI v Eng (4), Antigua (St John's) 2004


Taufeeq Umar

Pak v SL (1), Abu Dhabi 2011/12


CT Radley

Eng v NZ (3), Auckland 1977/78


HM Amla

SAf v Eng (1), The Oval 2012


AN Cook

Eng v Pak (1), Abu Dhabi 2015/16


RS Dravid

Ind v NZ (2), Hamilton 1998/99


Younis Khan

Pak v Ind (3), Bangalore 2004/05


N Hussain

Eng v SAf (3), Durban (Kingsmead) 1999/00


Azhar Ali

Pak v WI (1), Dubai 2016/17


DPMD Jayawardene

SL v Ind (1), Colombo2 (SSC) 1998/99



The list assumes that the player fielded throughout the opposition’s innings. In most cases, I have no way of confirming if this is true. The list is dominated by recent performances because the addition of extra time at the end of a day (due to slow over rates) has become quite standard.






The English team that toured Australia in 1884-85 under the management of Alfred Shaw went through the whole five-Test series unchanged. In fact, the team was unchanged in every first-class match on tour.


There was a simple reason for this: there were only eleven players touring. As a former Test player, Shaw was on hand to fill in, but he only played in minor games, as did assistant manager James Lillywhite.


Robert Peel (reportedly) managed to take no fewer than 356 wickets on tour, thanks in no small part to the number of games against odds of teams up to 22. Peel took 18 for 7 in one innings against Moss Vale.


For comparison, bear in mind that the most wickets in a first-class Australian season is 106 by CTB Turner (if my old record book is still correct).






15 December 2018


Here is a trend that will become a bit of a worry if it continues: the last 12 Tests have all been won by the team winning the toss and choosing to bat.


Of the last 22 Tests, only two have been won by the side batting second, or the side losing the toss. There has been one draw, and 19 wins to the side batting first.


In the last 38 Tests, the highest score by a team batting second is 427, with a batting average of 22.2.





Updated list of no ball ‘dismissals’ beginning in 2001 and including Adelaide Test.


M Morkel


KAJ Roach


I Sharma


B Lee


ST Gabriel


Z Khan


Wahab Riaz


A Flintoff


DAJ Bracewell


DW Steyn


PM Siddle


PT Collins


Rubel Hossain


SL Malinga



Bear in mind that this relies on Cricinfo ball-by-ball texts, and my ability to search them. There are some cases of ‘lbw off no ball’ which require a measure of judgement, including the most recent at Adelaide.


It appears that the % of no balls that are attached to ‘dismissals’ is increasing. This is because umpires are ignoring a lot of no balls when a dismissal does not occur. I think that this is a bad thing. One day a match will hinge on this. It may well have at Abu Dhabi or even Adelaide – who knows?





I wouldn't go so far as to call them unsung heroes, but in international cricket, the scorers must be the most unsung officials. This came home to me when I tried to google for information on Geoffrey Saulez, who scored a great number of Tests all over the world from the 1970s to the 90s. Very little of any substance turned up. A search of London Times from 1970 to 2009 turned up one – single-line – mention.


I was interested in finding a list of Tests that Saulez (whose name I don't even know how to pronounce) scored, but I doubt if there is one. My interest was piqued when I found a note that Saulez had scored some of the 1971-72 New Zealand tour of the West Indies. He scored India's tour of Sri Lanka in 1985-86 and many other 'exotic' Tests.


Saulez would go anywhere, at his own expense, to score Tests. The 'at his own expense' bit was the key to his popularity with touring teams. He was 'official' scorer for England many times, but always had to pay his own way.


John Kobylecky is one of the very few who have collected old Test match scores. He told me that he corresponded with Saulez before the latter's death in 2008, and obtained a few scores. It appeared that Saulez had kept copies of many others. When Saulez died, John heard about it and urgently called the family, to make sure nothing was thrown out before statisticians could have a look at Saulez's papers. However, when he was able to go visit, John found that all the papers and old scores had been thrown away anyway.


This was a huge and irreplaceable loss to cricket statistics. There must have been dozens of Test scores of his that are now on the 'lost forever' list.


Anyway, if anyone knows of other info on Saulez, (apart from his Wisden obituary), let me know. I presume there is some stuff in various tour books.


I do wonder, though, if Saulez devalued the craft and importance of scoring by doing it all for free (and at great personal expense). Mind you, I post all this for free too so perhaps I am not one to talk.







The first player from a major county who played in List A but never played first-class cricket was Len Beel from Somerset, in 1969.




Double-century partnership in each innings of a Test match (individuals):


Doug Walters (242&103) SCG 1968-69 – 336 with Bill Lawry and 210 with Ian Redpath.


Graham Gooch (333&123) Lord’s 1990 – 308 with Allan Lamb and 204 with Mike Atherton.


Gary Kirsten (102&133) Kolkata 1996-97 – 236 with Andrew Hudson and 212 with Daryll Cullinan.




More on the counting of no balls and wides against bowlers: Even though this was introduced in October 1983, the ODIs in New Zealand in February 1984 (the Rothman’s series against England) used the old counting system. The runs conceded by some bowlers in this series remain technically incorrect to this day.


The old method seems to have persisted in some ODIs well into 1984. As I mentioned before, scoresheets in the ODIs in Australia in 1983-84 used the old counting method, but the bowlers’ figures were adjusted when the scores were published. The adjustments did not happen in a number of England’s ODIs in 1984.




When Graham Gooch was injured during the 1990-91 Ashes tour, Hugh Morris of Glamorgan was flown out to Australia as a fill-in replacement. Morris played just two games – both minor one-dayers – before Gooch recovered. Morris then flew home, apparently flying right around the world. It wasn’t much of a ‘tour’, but Morris did have the pleasure of playing at the Bradman Oval in Bowral.





29 November 2018


Test Matches of the 1970s


I have begun posting detailed scores of Test matches in the 1970s as part of the Test Match Database Project.


Ball-by-ball records for the 1970s are actually more limited than for the 1960s (67% vs 77%), largely because of increasing numbers of Tests outside the ‘England/Australia’ axis. Keeping of official records in India, Pakistan and West Indies during this decade was practically non-existent. Another factor was South Africa dropping out of Test cricket. On the other hand, scores exist for all of England’s Tests home and away, and all Tests in Australia bar one, plus some of Australia’s tours.


However, published scores began to show more detail in this decade. Balls faced for some major innings can still be found even where original scorebooks are lost. Overall, about 78% of innings in the 1970s (on a runs scored basis) have balls faced figures, a figure comparable to the 1960s.




A Long-Time Record Examined


The partnership of 577 by Vijay Hazare and Gul Mahomed, for Baroda v Holkar in 1947, stood as the highest in first-class cricket for almost 60 years. It remains the highest for the fourth wicket. However, apart from these bare statistics, not much has ever been said about this stand. I have gleaned a little more on this; however, information is limited – it was a long time ago, in a non-international, and outside the major cricket centres.


The match was the final of the Ranji Trophy, and was played to a finish without a rest day. Timeless cricket had been discontinued in Australia and elsewhere by this time, so by 1947 such matches were unusual. The playing hours appear to have been five hours per day (2+2+1, starting at 11 am) but even this is not completely certain.


Holkar was bowled out just after tea on the first day for 202 in 248 minutes, and by stumps Baroda was 16/0 off 11 overs. Next morning, Baroda scored slowly until Adhikari was out at 91/3, 7 minutes before lunch. The fourth-wicket partnership then extended until the first session of the fourth day. The known intervals are as follows:-


Baroda 1st Inns

Day 1


16/0 (11ov)

Day 2



G 3, H 10

Partn 4

Day 2



Day 2


283/3 (119 ov)

G 117, H 67

Partn 192

Day 3



G171, H 115

Partn 298

Day 3



G 243, H 173

Partn 428

Day 3


574/3 (205 ov)

G 269, H 200

Partn 483


G 319 in 533'

Partn 577

Day 4



H 254

Day 4


779/9 (~290 ov)

Day 4

784/10 (291 ov)

Day 4


Holkar 23/1 (15 ov)



Gul Mahommad was the more aggressive and his 319 was scored entirely within the one partnership. He reached 200 in 302 minutes, 300 in 505, and 319 in 533. Hazare was more circumspect: he reached 100 in 268 minutes and was out at 746/8 for 288 in 628 minutes.


All these figures are from newspapers or other publications. They cannot be regarded as ironclad. However, there is some internal consistency in the time figures for Gul Mohammad.


There is a specific puzzle in the number of overs per day: 108 on Day 2 but only 86 on Day 3, while 85 overs were bowled before tea on Day 4. The Day 3 figure seems too low to be explained by tiring bowling alone. No delays are mentioned in the available sources. However, a delay, probably before lunch on Day 3, is necessary to explain the low over count and Gul Mohammad’s batting times. Mohammad was only 171 at lunch on Day 3, by which time he should have been batting over 5 hours, in conflict with his reported 200 in 302 minutes. The reports describe Mohammad batting with great aggression before lunch on Day 3, yet he scored only 57 runs. A shortened session seems the best explanation.


Estimated number of overs for the partnership: 65 on Day 2, 86 on Day 3, and 25 on Day 4. At about 1050 balls, this makes the partnership shorter than the longest stands in Test matches, led by 1152 balls of the Turner/ Jarvis stand at Georgetown in 1972. The 577 may well be the longest stand outside Test cricket, however.


This is an incomplete study. Any help from readers would be appreciated.





Highest Scores with no Boundaries in ODIs


The record is attributed to Adam Parore in making 96 at Baroda in 1994-95. I have no reason to doubt this, but I have a couple of corrections to other innings high on this list.




AC Parore (96)

Baroda (IPCL)


Presumed correct

KJ Barnett (84)

The Oval


Actually 5x4

Zaheer Abbas (84)

Melbourne (MCG)



DL Haynes (76)

Sydney (SCG)


Actually 4x4

A Bagai (74)

Nairobi (Ruaraka)



JP Duminy (71)

Melbourne (MCG)





The Barnett and Haynes innings are given as boundary-free by online scorecards, but this is contradicted by surviving scores. It is conceivable, perhaps, that the fours were all-run, but I very much doubt it.


It reminds me of the 84 by Bill Lawry in a Test match at Brisbane in 1970. For years this was identified as the highest boundary-free innings in a Test match, but it all went back to a typing error in a magazine scorecard, carelessly repeated in a RS Whitington tour book. Lawry actually hit 9 fours.





The first player from a major county who played in List A but never played first-class cricket was Len Beel from Somerset, in 1969.





Double-century partnership in each innings of a Test match (individuals):


Doug Walters (242&103) SCG 1968-69 – 336 with Bill Lawry and 210 with Ian Redpath.


Graham Gooch (333&123) Lord’s 1990 – 308 with Allan Lamb and 204 with Mike Atherton.


Gary Kirsten (102&133) Kolkata 1996-97 – 236 with Andrew Hudson and 212 with Daryll Cullinan.




More on the counting of no balls and wides against bowlers:Even though this was introduced in October 1983, the ODIs in New Zealand in February 1984 (the Rothman’s series against England) used the old counting system. The runs conceded by some bowlers in this series remain technically incorrect to this day.


The old method seems to have persisted in some ODIs well into 1984. As I mentioned before, scoresheets in the ODIs in Australia in 1983-84 used the old counting method, but the bowlers’ figures were adjusted when the scores were published. The adjustments did not happen in a number of England’s ODIs in 1984.





When Graham Gooch was injured during the 1990-91 Ashes tour, Hugh Morris of Glamorgan was flown out to Australia as a fill-in replacement. Morris played just two games – both minor one-dayers – before Gooch recovered. Morris then flew home, apparently flying right around the world. It wasn’t much of a ‘tour’, but Morris did have the pleasure of playing at the Bradman Oval in Bowral.






14 November 2018


Most balls bowled before conceding first run in Tests



AR Dell




DAJ Bracewell

New Zealand



WE Russell




SJ Harmison




BA Murphy




HJ Butler




JE Emburey




Sarandeep Singh




DJ Nash

New Zealand




UPDATE: Sreeram tells me that Wisden reports ‘Tufty’ Mann, at Trent Bridge in 1947, starting his career with eight maidens. I don’t have this scorebook, and don’t know the exact number of balls before the first run.


The available data covers only about 80% of Tests. Tony Dell was an England-born fast-medium bowler who played only two Tests.


I only have data for about two-thirds of bowlers in ODIs, but I found that over 100 bowlers have bowled a maiden as their first over. More than 15 have bowled two maidens to start. Not many famous names, the most recent being Kane Richardson of Australia.


I found only two bowlers who started with three maidens. Asad Ali, who played just four ODIs for Pakistan, did so against Ireland.


The other was none other than Garry Sobers, who played only one ODI (and made a duck), in 1973, opening the bowling in West Indies’ first ever ODI. Sobers' first 21 balls were scoreless, one more than Asad Ali. Who would have thought that Sobers held an ODI record!





Here's a strange one. There are two unrelated players in international cricket named HMCM Bandara, one male and one female. It is strange enough, perhaps unique, that two players would share a surname and all four initials, but I also found (a week ago) that the woman (Chamika Bandara) was also listed as playing in Mens’ List A matches. According to Cricket Archive, she played 5 matches for a team called "Neganahira and Uthura" in 2012/13.


I wondered whether this was the only case of a woman playing in Mens’ senior cricket, but it turns out it was an error on Cricket Archive’s part, and this has now been corrected. The player in those Mens’ matches is now identified as Malinga Bandara.


I note that that this Neganahira and Uthura team has played no senior cricket apart from those five List A games. Such is the strange state of Sri Lankan domestic cricket.





Most first-class wickets in a calendar year



CTB Turner



AP Freeman



T Richardson



T Richardson



AP Freeman



Tich Freeman took over 250 wickets in a season in England six times. These old records will never be broken. The most in the last 20 years are…



CA Walsh



Danish Kaneria



SK Warne



SCG MacGill








The counting of no balls and wides against bowlers’ runs conceded commenced in 1983-84 (October). Curiously, official scoresheets of the 1983-84 season in Australia continued to use the old counting system. Wisden, however, published the scores using the revised counting, as they appear in current ‘official’ online scores.




Victor Trumper scored 178 in his 178th first-class innings.




They made hat-tricks with every hat-trick ball they bowled in Tests: TJ Matthews (2), PJ Loader (1), PJ Petherick (1).


Murali bowled 17 hat-trick balls in Tests without success.




At Windsor Park in 2017, Mohammad Abbas bowled a hat-trick ball (to AS Joseph) and faced a hat-trick ball (bowled by JO Holder). Neither resulted in a hat-trick.


The same happened to Brad Stokes at Lord’s later that year. Keiran Powell was the batsman facing Stokes, and Jason Holder, once again, was the bowler.






24 October 2018


One of the most freakish innings in the early years of ODIs came from Lance Cairns. It was at the MCG in February 1983 where Cairns scored 52 off 25 balls against Australia. Cairns hit one 4 and six 6s; his 50 off 21 balls was the fastest of its time (see entry for 19 May 2018). A re-score has now been done and gives Cairns the following sequence




The sixes were hit on the full-size MCG with no boundary ropes, long before the age of ‘superbats’. Cairns reached 44 off 14 balls, which would still rival the fastest first 14 balls in any ODI. I did find one (and only one) innings that was faster out of the gate: Martin Guptill reached 46 off 12 balls against Sri Lanka at Christchurch on 28 Dec 2015.


Cairn’s innings was in a very much lost cause. He came in when New Zealand was 45/6 off 18.3 overs chasing 302 (regarded as a near-impossible target in those days; in fact it was only the second time that a team had scored 300+ in a 50-over ODI) and New Zealand was thrashed by 149 runs.




Scoring Test centuries in the same innings: a curious result


AB de Villiers/JH Kallis


GC Smith/JH Kallis


HM Amla/JH Kallis


HH Gibbs/JH Kallis


AB de Villiers/GC Smith


AN Cook/IR Bell


JL Langer/ML Hayden


RS Dravid/SR Tendulkar


RS Dravid/V Sehwag


SC Ganguly/SR Tendulkar



I might have expected to see Adam Gilchrist on this list.




Lyon joins a short list, four wickets in six balls


Nathan Lyon tour four wickets before lunch on the first day in the Abu Dhabi Test. The last time a spinner took four wickets before lunch on the first day was also in the UAE for Australia v Pakistan, Shane Warne in 2002, in the match where Pakistan scored 59 and 53.


4 in 4 and 5 in 6 balls

GA Lohmann

SAf v Eng 1895/96 across 2 Tests


2 Tests

4 in 5 balls

MJC Allom

NZ v Eng (1), Christchurch 1929/30  


same over

CM Old

Eng v Pak (1), Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1978 


same over

Wasim Akram

Pak v WI (3), Lahore (Gaddafi) 1990/91 


same over

4 in 6 balls

W Bates

Aus v Eng (2), Melbourne (MCG) 1882/83


2 overs

K Cranston

Eng v SAf (4), Leeds (Headingley) 1947 


same over

FJ Titmus

Eng v NZ (3), Leeds (Headingley) 1965 


same over

JN Gillespie

Aus v Eng (2), Perth (WACA) 1998/99 


2 overs

Mohammad Sami

Pak v SL (1), Lahore (Gaddafi) 2001/02 


2 inns

Sohag Gazi

Ban v NZ (1), Chittagong 2013/14


2 overs

TA Boult

NZ v WI (2), Wellington (Basin Reserve) 2013/14


2 overs

KAJ Roach

WI v Ban (1), Antigua (Richards) 2018 


2 overs

NM Lyon

Pak v Aus (2), Abu Dhabi 2018  


2 overs


 * Probable


Roach, like Lyon, took his sequence in the first session of the match. He conceded 2 runs off the last ball of the over. Perhaps that was too expensive, because he did not bowl again in the match, finishing with 5-1-8-5.


Andy Caddick took four wickets in an over in 2000, but thanks to a no ball it was four wickets in seven deliveries.








The ‘explosion’ of List A cricket: 150 List A matches were played in England in 1969, more than all previous seasons in all countries combined (1963-1968). Numbers continued to rise, towards 200 per English season in the late 1970s.



An old ODI score (made by Irving Rosenwater, copy supplied by Andrew Samson) has recently been obtained, from the MCG on 9 Dec 1979 – the one where Viv Richards scored 153*. It records an all-run five, apparently without overthrows. It is annotated as “all-run m/wkt”, referring to midwicket. It was hit by Desmond Haynes off Dennis Lillee in the 7th over.


I haven’t come across any all-run fives without overthrows in an ODI before. Midwicket/ square of the wicket at the MCG is one of the few places where such a hit would be possible.


UPDATE: of course I was forgetting the five + run out at the MCG in the previous season (DL Bairstow). It appears from descriptions that there were no overthrows involved.



Twelve players batted in Leicestershire’s first innings against Kent in August. One batsman, ZJ Chappell, retired hurt, and apparently was given a full substitute under a ‘concussion rule’. The substitute was Dieter Klein, who was permitted to bat and bowl. Chappell took no further part in the match.


Full substitutes are not uncommon in modern f-c cricket, but allowing them to bat in the same innings as the player they are replacing is, I am sure, quite unusual.



For decades praise has been heaped on the 1948 Australian touring team to England, for going through the tour undefeated; they became “The Invincibles”.


Far less well-known is the fact that in the following year, the touring New Zealanders lost only once on an entire tour of England, out of 39 matches, and were undefeated in both the Tests and all the county games. Perhaps this speaks volumes of the strength of English bowling after the War. When New Zealand toured England in 1958, things were dramatically different, disastrously so for the New Zealanders.



Mohammad Shahzad reached his century when Afghanistan had only 131 runs on the board in an ODI against India on the 25th of September. This was described as a record, but was actually one run shy of the 100 out of 130 by Dennis Amiss in 1973, in only the 6th ODI ever played.


Shahzad did have 103 out of the 131 runs, so he had a higher percentage of the runs than Amiss.



29 September 2018

Following up on earlier posts, a small compilation of the youngest official Test scorers, where known


Mark Kerly (16), Auckland in 1977-78.

Scott Sinclair (16), Dunedin 1979-80.

(Sinclair was just 8 days older than Kerly had been when he scored his first Test.)

Alison Margaret Hall (19) Auckland 1930

Sydney James Southerton (19), 1893 Tests


H/T to Sreeram for the Southerton info. Southerton was an Englishman and the son of the James Southerton who had played in the first Test in 1877, aged 49. As young man, Sydney worked on the ship that carried the 1893 Australia touring team to Britain. He seems to have talked tour manager Victor Cohen into appointing him as scorer/assistant for the team. It was the start of an impressive career as journalist and writer: Southerton eventually became editor of Wisden in 1933, but died in 1935.


Earlier information that Ninion Batchelor was a scorer on the 1893 tour needs to be corrected. That information was always tenuous. Batchelor did act as scorer on the 1890 tour, though.


For Tests in Australia, there are no known scorers younger than age 26. E.C Weller, who was a scorer in 1881-82, was 26 years and 3 months.





I have recently been surveying List A matches as held by Cricket Archive, trying to get the numbering straight in my system. One thing that has really surprised me is the number of matches for which scores are very incomplete or absent altogether. I haven’t been counting but there may be hundreds of such matches. All the ones I have seen are from Pakistan or Sri Lanka in the 1980s and (particularly) the 1990s. There are even matches where only one team name is known, such as “Multan v not known” on 10 Mar 1985 (CA# a4340). Practically no other details are recorded for that match.


A good deal of the missing Sri Lanka data seems to come from the time of civil War in that country. It does mean that career data for players from that time is very incomplete. The assessment of what was, and what was not, a List A match in those days seems to be rather haphazard.





Some recent progress in finding old scores for internationals and other matches:


·      I was able to get permission to copy Bill Frindall's ODI scores kept at Lord's. (Researchers could access the scores but could not copy them for copyright reasons.) Getting permission involved a chain of four contacts passing on my request to Debbie Frindall (who held copyright), but once I finally was able to get in contact, Mrs Frindall kindly gave permission. By good fortune, Andrew Samson was just about to visit Lord’s, and he was able to copy about 30 ODI scores.

·      In his younger days, Lawrie Colliver in South Australia scored the 1987 World Cup Final from a TV broadcast, and he has sent me a copy of his score. Apparently South Australia was the only state to broadcast the entire match. I now have all World Cup finals ball-by-ball. No official score for that 1987 match has been found in Australian, English or Indian archives.

·      Lawrie also has sent me scores of various other ODIs and Tests that he scored off TV in the 80s and 90s. A true enthusiast!

·      Ronald Cardwell has sent me a copy of an original score of Victor Trumper’s famous 335 in Sydney in 1903. Although the score is difficult to decipher, I have managed to re-score the innings. I will report on this later.