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Detailed scores for all Tests from 1877 to 1970 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.
A Bonus Page: some remarkable first-class innings, re-scored.
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.
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
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
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
· Jamie Bell in New Zealand sent me scores from some ODIs in New Zealand in 2000 that had no online ball-by-ball coverage. Cricinfo was doing bbb by then, but their coverage was patchy in the early days and they missed a number of early ODIs in New Zealand (and one Test). They also missed a few ODIs in Australia, which I have also obtained elsewhere.
· I have now obtained scores or ball-by-ball records of all bar five of the 617 ODIs played in Australia since 1971.
Keith Stackpole made a pair of ducks
in his last Test match in 1974 (Eden Park). He was out to the first ball of
the match, to a waist-high full toss from Richard Hadlee, (a height that
might be called a no ball today). Stackpole ‘had a go’ at it but edged it to
John Parker at slip, who surprised many onlookers by taking a good catch. I
am told by Francis Payne that Parker dropped as many catches as he took at
Francis also tells me that the crowd on the final day in this Test was 34,000, which remains the highest in any New Zealand Test.
Possibly (probably?) the last pre-War
player to play List A cricket was Bill Edrich. Edrich’s last innings, at age
54, was at Lord’s (in a Gillette Cup match) in 1970, 36 years after his
first-class debut. He scored 36, and his innings finished with 22 runs off
six balls (2,4,6,0,4,6,W). (H/T Sreeram)
It has been noted by others, but worth noting again: Eric Tindall of New Zealand, who died in 2010, just months before his 100th birthday, was a dual international in Rugby and cricket both as a player and as a referee/umpire.
Bowlers taking wickets with the last ball of a session and the first ball of the next.
This list, drawn from the ball-by-ball database, is probably not complete. The data includes wickets with the last ball of the day and first ball of the next day.
The shortness of this list highlights the astonishing coincidence of Mohammed Shami doing it twice in one match. Rabada is the only other bowler to do it more than once in a career.
It has become more common. I get the impression that umpires are more inclined to call a halt when a wicket falls in the last over of a session than they used to, although when tried to look at this statistically, the data was inconclusive. There has been a change in the rule in recent years; when a wicket falls within three minutes of an interval, there is no more play. The limit used to be less than that.
In 200 Tests from 1998 to 2002, there were 211 sessions (out of 2200) that ended with a wicket on the last ball. In the last 200 Tests, there have been 265 such sessions out of 2400.
I have been fortunate to receive a complete set of copies of Bill Ferguson’s scores of the Ashes Tests of 1926. For a long time, the whereabouts of this scorebook was unknown. Other scores from this series were known, but they were sometimes in poor condition, with many errors (particularly the historic final Test). The new material has allowed me to make greatly improved ball-by-ball records of this series. The updated series link is here.
This means that all of Fergie’s Ashes scores (1905-1953) have been located, with the exception of 1912. Fergie scored all of the Ashes Test in this period, with the exception of the 1907-08 series.
At the first-ever Limited Overs
match, between Lancashire and Leicestershire in 1963, the ‘Man of the Match’
was a brand new innovation; nevertheless it was an old-timer, Frank Woolley,
who presented the award to Peter Marner. Woolley was then 76 years old, and
his first-class career had begun 57 years earlier.
Brian J Booth faced the first ball
from Terry Spencer. Booth hit one six in his 50, which was almost certainly
the first six hit in One-Dayers. Later, Marner (121) hit four sixes.
Early in England’s first innings at Leeds in 1971, an over by Salim Altaf was left unfinished. Nothing to do with injury: the bowler split his trousers and left the field for repairs. Under regulations at that time, incomplete overs did not need to be completed by another bowler.
I have notes on 16 instances of 5 all-run without overthrows in Tests, but I don't know of any since the Craig McDermott at Adelaide Oval in 1996.
They have happened at only four grounds: The Oval, MCG, Adelaide and Perth.
Neil Harvey went from 95 to 100 to reach his first Test century with one such shot, in 1948.
I am slowly working through my collection of One-Day International scores, analysing each one fully to create ball-by-ball records. Most analysis confirms, or is reasonably consistent with, ‘official’ figures, but sometimes there are departures. Here is an example: the 1st ODI of 1981-82 between India and England, the first ODI played in India. When I completed the ball-by-ball analysis, the core stats were confirmed, but the balls faced stats for the batsmen showed some significant differences in comparison to ‘official’ online sources.
One peculiarity is that the balls faced figures are not
explicitly given in the score; they have to be derived, rather painstakingly,
by re-scoring into ball-by-ball form. I am confident in the figures, however:
the score is by Geoffrey Saulez and is rock solid. Apart from balls faced,
every stat checks out 100%.
I should add that the other two matches of this series have the same problem. One other curious thing about these first ODIs in India: the innings were cut short if the 50 overs were not completed in time. One of the matches was shortened by bad weather, but in the other two the Indian bowlers, bowling first, got through only 46 overs in 210 minutes, at which point the innings was stopped. India were then allowed a 46-over chase, but as we know from Duckworth and Lewis, chopping off the last four overs of an innings is a bigger penalty than losing the first four overs, and India thus enjoyed a considerable advantage by failing to get through its overs!
A question from Sreeram:
In the recent test, England lost 16/20 wickets to a catch to keeper / slip cordon. Is that a record?
At Perth in 1983, Pakistan lost 17 wickets to catches in the cordon from keeper to gully. There was one batsman bowled, one lbw and one run out.
16 is the most I know of for England. England lost 15 this way at Leeds in 2008, and also at Trent Bridge against India in 2011 (curiously)
It occurred to me that, in my Test Match Database, major partnerships are not presented with detail in a convenient format. In light of that, I have prepared a table listing all partnership of 200 or more, from 1877 to 1970. The table includes breakdown, where known, of the relative scoring of the two partners, and partnership milestones. Milestones are expressed as balls bowled where available; where absent, minutes have been substituted. Speeds of the partnerships in runs per 100 balls have been estimated even in the absence of ball-by-ball records; it is reasonable to estimate these from times and prevailing over rates, especially as the complication of strike-sharing does not apply to partnerships.
The Database is now complete to 1970. I will continue posting Tests after a pause.
A while back I reported that Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh was the only batsman in Tests to score 50 or more consecutive runs entirely in boundaries within a single innings (Hamilton 2009/10). Now I have found a rather similar case and it is Shakib Al Hasan again. At Mirpur in 2015, Shakib scored his last 46 runs in boundaries in making 89 not out against Pakistan. He then started his second innings with a boundary giving him 50 runs in a row.
For the first few days of the Lord’s Test of 1948, a significant number of spectators, leaving at the end of the day’s play, went straight to the entrance gates and began queuing for the next day’s play.
A century stand lost: the online scores of the ODI at the SCG on 15 Jan 1981 (Australia v India) have Australia losing its 4th wicket at 155 after a partnership of 100 between Allan Border and Kim Hughes. The ball-by-ball scoresheet by Irving Rosenwater tells a different story. The wicket fell at 135, not 155; the partnership was only worth 80 runs.
At the MCG in 1931-32, South African Ken Viljoen hit a shot for six runs – all run. The shot started with an all-run four where Viljoen was almost run out by a ‘relay’ throw; the return from Ponsford ricocheted off the stumps and two more were run. Wicketkeeper Oldfield attempted another run out at the other end, but Quintin McMillan was home for the 6th run. Overall, four fielders plus the keeper handled the ball and both wickets were put down, while Bert Ironmonger was the unfortunate bowler.
I have notes on only two other all-run sixes in Tests. Both also involved overthrows. Hugh Massie scored the first six in Tests in 1881-82, with a three plus three overthrows. (Hits clearing the boundary scored only four or five at the time.) Mike Atherton hit a similar shot off Aqib Javed in 1992.
There was also, of course, an all-run seven hit by Majid Khan off Dennis Lillee, at the MCG in 1981-82, four all-run plus three overthrows.
I know of no all-run sixes without overthrows in Tests, although they were not unknown in the past in first-class cricket. Sixes with boundary overthrows still occur from time to time.
Towards the end of the second day of that Delhi Test against Pakistan in 1979-80, Dilip Doshi was given run out by umpire Mohammad Ghouse, after Doshi left his crease thinking that the ball was dead. Ghouse was technically correct, but with a major disturbance brewing, the acting captain, Majid Khan (deputising for Asif Iqbal) showed admirable discretion and withdrew the appeal – against the advice of some more hot-headed team mates. Considering that Pakistan was playing its first series in India for almost 20 years after years of hostility between the countries, Majid avoided what could have been an escalating diplomatic incident.
Please note the new contact email address in the header to this blog. The old address will be checked and remain open for a time, but will be shut down before long.
In March I reported the discovery of earliest known female scorer in a Test match, a Miss A. Hall at Auckland in 1930. Initially it was hard to get more detail about Miss Hall, but Steven Lynch, and others in the ToSH group, ran with this one and identified Alison Margaret Hall (1910-2004). Steven has now published an article on the subject here.
I won’t add much to Steven’s article, except that Alison married New Zealand Test player Paul Whitelaw in 1948. Also, it has been established that Alison Hall is not Miss A.W Hall, who was chair of the New Zealand Women's Cricket Council in 1937-38.
Here is a short list of early female Test scorers…
A.M. (Alison) Hall, Auckland 1930
S.H. (Shirley) Crouch, Brisbane from 1960-61.
Miss P. Williams, Johannesburg from 1964-65
Miss S.R. Hall, Johannesburg from 1966-67.
Alison Hall at age 19 also seemed a good candidate for the youngest official scorer of a Test match, but Steven found someone younger (identified by Francis Payne): Mark Kerly at the age of 16 in Auckland in 1977-78. Remarkably, it transpires that another New Zealand scorer, Scott Sinclair, was also an official scorer at age 16 (Dunedin 1979-80). Sinclair was just 8 days older than Kerly had been when he scored his first Test.
This reminded me of a school friend, Malcolm Gorham; we went through high school together in Sydney. Malcolm was a cricket tragic from a very young age and used to keep meticulous ledger books in the days before computers, with all the scores of every active player in Australia. Malcolm had a roller and kept a cricket pitch mowed and rolled in his backyard; unfortunately his skill at the game was no greater than mine. However, by the time he was 15 or 16, Malcolm was the official scorer for Western Suburbs 1st Grade (next level below Sheffield Shield) every weekend. I remember going to a game at Pratten Park circa 1971 and seeing his linear scores. It was the first time I had seen linear scoring: I think my initial reaction was that it looked like a waste of paper. (I have very much changed my view!)
Unlike the New Zealand teenagers, Malcolm took a while to graduate to more senior scoring – it is normally the preserve of older gents – but he did eventually become official scorer for some Test matches and ODIs at the SCG. Very sadly, however, he was stricken by a neurological disorder and died in his mid 40s. I very much regret that I never kept in touch with him after we left school.
I have copies of some of Malcolm’s Test scores. I think
they are the neatest, clearest scores that I have ever seen.
I count 86 innings in Tests where one bowler (but not two) remained unchanged through an all out innings (136 including cases where two bowlers were unchanged). It was common in the early days of Tests, but there have been only 14 cases since 1993.
A few curious cases...
Fred Spofforth bowled 36.3 out of 71.3 overs in an innings at the Oval in 1882. He did so by 'changing ends' which meant bowling two consecutive overs, which was permitted (once per innings) in those days.
At Delhi in 1979, Sikander Bakht bowled more than half the overs even though he bowled second; this happened because Imran Khan was unable to complete one of his overs due to injury (reports that Sikhander completed Imran's unfinished over are incorrect; the over was left unfinished). Six bowlers bowled in this innings, the most in an innings where one bowler was unchanged.
At Lahore 1987 v England, Abdul Qadir, across both innings, bowled his 73 overs in the space of 148 team overs, missing only one possible over, plus one change of end.
The most overs by an unchanged bowler in an innings in the last 100 years is 30.3 by Kapil Dev at Ahmedabad in 1983, taking 9 for 83. Incredibly, Kapil, who was captain, was criticised for his effort and did not win the Man of the Match Award.
Bowling unchanged in most Test innings
Bowlers on 3 include Courtney Walsh and Wasim Akram.
Bowlers with 10 wickets in a day in Tests
It may be that the explosive increase in six-hitting that began about 15 years ago is reaching a plateau. In the list of batsmen with most sixes in Tests, there are no currently-active Test players in the Top 25. (I am treating players like Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers as non-active here.) Brendon McCullum leads with 107 sixes followed by Adam Gilchrist on 100, but the most for any active player is 55 by David Warner, in 28th position. Warner, of course, can be expected to advance up the rankings.
However, it’s a different story with the bowlers. Both Rangana Herath and Nathan Lyon have conceded 192 sixes, just two short of the number recorded off Murali. The exact number conceded by Murali is uncertain, but is in the range 194-198.
The most minutes batted for a winning side in a Test match is 835 by Rahul Dravid (233 & 72*) at Adelaide in 2003-04. He batted on four days, and nine sessions in total.
Geoff Boycott (99 & 112) batted for 799 minutes spanning 10 sessions on 5 days for the winning side at Port of Spain 1974. It was a 6-day Test match, with some sessions rain-shortened. Boycott lasted only one ball in one of the sessions.
The most minutes batted in a drawn Test is of course Hanif Mohammad. Hanif batted 1018 minutes at Bridgetown in 1958 if my sources are correct. Although Hanif lost the record for a single innings in first-class cricket, to RR Nayar, his match total appears to just shade Nayar’s 1015 minutes. Andy Flower batted 879 minutes for a losing side against South Africa at Harare in 2001.
A questioner on Ask Steven asked if anyone had batted on four days of a Test, in a single innings, and for a winning side. My initial reaction was that this could not possibly have happened in a five-day Test, and any Test with an individual innings spanning four days would surely have to be a rain-affected draw, but to my surprise it turns out there is one case. It was one of the most unexpected innings in Test history, an innings that crops up from time to time in records: Jason Gillespie, who at Chittagong in 2006 made 201* as a nightwatchman, batted on each of the first four days (with rain interruptions). Australia won the match by an innings.
Some early female cricket commentators …
o Chandra Nayudu, daughter of CK Nayudu, commentated for radio in India in the 1970s.
o Kate Fitzpatrick commentated for Channel Nine in the 1983-84 series in Australia. Fitzpatrick was a well-known actress who was keen on cricket, but she was not a good commentator (my opinion; I remember listening to her) and her contract was not renewed.
o Sreerupa Bose, a former international, commentated on radio and Indian TV from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s.
o Donna Symonds of Barbados commentated Test matches from 1988 (radio only?) and appeared on the BBC’s Test Match Special in 1998.
recently signed as a leading commentator for Channel Seven’s upcoming cricket
coverage, has been operating as a commentator since 2005 and commentated for
ABC radio in 2014.
On the first day of the recent West Indies/Bangladesh Test at Kingston, Bangladesh bowled 35 overs before lunch on the first day, a number so great that it had the Cricinfo commentator checking his notes to see if it was right. Bangladesh bowled a similar number in a Test in 2013, but apart from that you have to go back to 1987 to find more overs bowled before lunch on the first day. (I’m looking at 2-hour sessions here: there have several more extreme cases in Pakistan, but always when sessions were 2.5 or 3 hours). The 1987 Test was at Edgbaston, where England bowled 38 overs before lunch on the first day.
It's as though Test cricket and ODI cricket are being played on different planets at the moment. Some stats...
Last 10 Tests runs per wicket = 23.25 with 17 teams bowled out for less than 200.
Last 10 ODIs runs per wicket = 35.5 with 2 teams bowled out for less than 200.
There have been 64 Test innings since the last team score over 500.
The 23.25 average for the last 10 Tests is the lowest for 10 consecutive Tests since 1969, and before that, 1956, and before that, 1914. What is going on?
What we are also seeing is ever-increasing numbers of 'off-season' Tests, as other formats crowd out the traditional game. The traditional seasons were chosen for a reason. The wickets for the off-season Tests can be difficult for batsmen, it seems.
It used to be that the only Tests in June and July were in England. Now they crop up in all sorts of places, with the exception of England I am sorry to say. I thought for many years that Test cricket was holding its own in England, but now it has been shunted into the season fringes, in favour of ever more meaningless ODI and T20 series.
(Stats calculated on 17 July 2018)
In addition to uploading series from 1965 to 1970 Into the
Davis Test Match Database, I am re-uploading series from 1945 to 1960 (one at
a time). Some of these were originally uploaded as long ago as 2012, and more
information has come to light since then. I have also expanded the scope of
the data a bit since then, and this will bring the Tests of the 1940s to the
same level of detail, where possible, as later Tests.
On Test debut at Kingston in 1976, Wayne Daniel bowled 20 no balls in India’s first innings (reported in the Georgetown Chronicle). It is not clear how many actual no ball calls there were. There could have been some multiple-run no balls, which would have reduced the number, and/or no balls that were scored from, increasing the number. The latter is actually quite likely.
Challenging Daniel for most no balls on debut is AL ‘Froggy’ Thomson at Brisbane in 1970. Thomson recorded 17 no balls in the first innings, but also bowled three other no balls that were scored from.
On a match basis, Patterson Thompson bowled 22 no balls, plus 9 scored from, at Bridgetown in 1996. In the same year, Mohammad Zahid registered 21 no balls on debut. However, there were only 18 no ball calls off him; there was one ‘four no balls’ and no other no balls were scored from.
I am back home now after a long holiday. I managed to visit Lord's again and I got copies of most of their ODI scores that I had not obtained previously, except for some of Frindall's scores that they won't allow me to copy. Overall I obtained about 60 scores.
I visited The Oval as well. I was disappointed to find that some of their international original scores have gone missing, with almost nothing before 1995. Ironically, I now have a collection of Test scores from The Oval that far exceeds theirs. I have scores for all Oval Tests since 1952 and many earlier Tests.
This is largely thanks to John Kobylecky, who almost 20 years ago visited The Oval and photocopied all the Test scores that he could find. In 2002, John kindly let allowed me to make copies of these, including the 1880 Test, the oldest existing Test score.
Sometime after that, The Oval lost track of all the pre-1995 originals. The current archivist (who was not responsible for the loss) and I searched a small storeroom full of documents (in disarray) without success.
The 1880 scorebook alone would have been worth a lot of money to collectors. Let’s hope it is found come day.
In 2016 (see blog entry for 1 Feb) I speculated that during the first World Cup, on 7 June 1975, Dennis Amiss may have retaken the ODI innings scoring record for a few minutes, before being overtaken in turn by Glenn Turner. (it was an answer I offered to the question “Who held an important record for the shortest period of time?”)
Amiss had scored the first ODI century in 1972, but by 1975 David Lloyd held the record with a score of 116. On the 7th of June, Amiss scored 137 and Turner 171 not out, in separate matches that started simultaneously. I now have some more information; although he reached his century first, it appears that at no stage did Amiss re-take the record.
From separate scorebooks, I determined that Amiss reached his century at 1:46 and Turner reached his at 2:00. From this, one might expect that Amiss would have reached the 116 record first, but it is probably not the case. Amiss lost the strike for a bit and did not reach 116 until 2:15. Turner, meanwhile, scored at a furious pace and reached 146 by 2:23. I don’t have an exact score for Turner eight minutes earlier at 2:15, but it almost certainly would have been greater than 116.
I have re-started the uploading of Test series in the Davis Online Database. The next stage of the project will tackle series from 1965 to 1970. The starting page for this section is here.
Recently I mentioned the case of Bob Crisp, the South African bowler who fell over in the delivery stride of his first ball in Test cricket. Ashru informs me that the same fate befell Bharat Arun at Kanpur in 1986-87, and also Mike Gatting at Auckland in 1977-78. Gatting was bowling his first ball but was not making his Test debut, having not bowled in his first two Tests.
Mahela Jayawardene hit the winning run off the first ball he ever faced in a One-Day International, in making 1* at Colombo Premadasa against Zimbabwe on 24 Jan 1998. He would go on to play 448 ODIs.
Overall, there are about 30 batsmen who have hit the winning run in their debut ODI, starting with Rod Marsh in ODI#1. Notable names include Michael Clarke, Mohammad Yousuf, and Kevin Pietersen. There have been a few surprises, like Bob Willis in 1973.
ODIs: Hot and Cold
Long-time correspondent Sreeram (I recently came across emails from him from 2004, on an old laptop) has sent me a copy of a score he made from a TV broadcast of Sanath Jayasuriya’s record-breaking half-century in an ODI in 1996 (50 off 17 balls), against Pakistan at Singapore. I have lined up the balls faced by Jayasuriya against the previous record-holder, Simon O’Donnell in 1990 (50 off 18 at Sharjah). Note that these innings were played before “superbats” came into vogue or the grounds were shrunk down.
O’Donnell’s innings was notable for the lack of dot balls – none at all after he reached 20. It was freakish at the time; there had been very few other innings anything like it until Jayasuriya came along. The previous record for fastest 50 was probably held by Lance Cairns with 50 off 21 at Melbourne in 1982-83. Cairns was out for 52 and his overall strike rate was 208 to O’Donnell’s 255.
Thanks again to Sreeram for providing this, and much other interesting material over the years.
Slowest Centuries in One-Day Internationals
†More than 50 overs
The balls faced for Boon and Greenidge differ slightly from online versions. In Boon’s case, this is because early sources included wides in balls faced, whereas the above figures, obtained by re-scoring original scores, use the modern protocol of ignoring wides. Boon faced 166 deliveries including wides. Greenidge faced no wides.
‡ UPDATE: I have added a figure found for Glenn Turner’s 171* against East Africa in 1975. The balls faced probably includes any wides (up to five, probably two or three). I don’t have this innings ball-by-ball.
The majority of these innings were played for winning sides carefully chasing down modest targets. The slowest for a team batting first is the 157 balls by Ramiz Raja.
“Wider Still and Wider Shall Thy Bounds Be Set”
Those who have followed One-Day Internationals from the beginning may remember a time when wides were called far less often; at some point a directive must have gone out for umpires to be much stricter on one-day wides than in multi-day cricket. To examine this, I made a table of the historical incidence of wides, and found that the calling of wides tripled, more or less, between 1980 and 1982, and remained high thereafter.
Historical Incidence of wides in ODIs (wides/100 balls)
My memory was that the calling of wides in the early days was along the same lines as Tests, but looking at the figures, this was not so. Wides in ODIs were always much more common that in Tests.
1960s: 0.04 wd/100b
1970s: 0.10 wd/100b
1980s: 0.16 wd/100b
The first table also shows that the incidence of wides, after the sudden rise in the early 1980s, remained fairly steady until 1990 and then began to rise again, over the next 10 years. It seems to have plateaued at a new level in this century. At some stage of this process there was the introduction of the (somewhat draconian) ‘wide line’ just outside the leg stump, which penalises bowlers for even small departures. I don’t know when these lines were introduced, although I suspect they had something to do with that post-1995 increase in wides. Readers might help me here if they know about this.
I doubt that the actual accuracy of bowlers has changed much over the years. Most of the changes in the incidence of wides probably come down to changing fashions in umpiring.
[Having said that, there is an anecdote about George Giffen, who at some point late in his career made a bet that he could hit a single stump at least 18 times out of 24 from 22 yards. He won the bet. I certainly can’t vouch for the truth of this, but I doubt if there are many bowlers today who would take on such a bet.]
The Changing Game: the Test at the Oval in 1965 was drawn after rain interrupted England on 308/4 and in sight of their target. “South Africa’s slow over rate hinders progress” said the headline in the Guardian. What was that over rate then? It was 98 balls per hour (or 98 overs per six hours) a rate higher than almost anything seen in the modern game.
With war looming, the 1939 tour of
West Indies to England was curtailed in late August and seven matches
cancelled. The West Indians took the first available ship across the
Atlantic, which travelled under naval escort.
26 April 2018
ODIs: The Early Days
I have been pursuing original scoresheets of ODIs in the 1970s and 80s, with some surprising success. It turns out to be easier to find scores from the 70s than it is from the 90s. In fact, I now have 17 out of the 18 ODIs that were played before the 1975 World Cup, and 68% from the 1970s as a whole, with possibly more to come. The main reason that these scores can still be found is that most of the matches were played in England or Australia, where such things are better preserved.
The first ODI was organised in a hurry during the 1970-71 Ashes tour, when a Melbourne Test was cancelled due to poor weather. Although it was a success (attendance 46,000) authorities did not quite know what to make of it. In 1971-72, two one-dayers were played against a World XI (filling in for a cancelled South Africa tour; there was also a virtual T20 match of 15 8-ball overs each), but there were only two more ODIs in Australia over the next seven seasons. Although a domestic competition was held every year, Australia did not really begin to embrace one-day cricket until Packer’s World Series Cricket pioneered day/night games in 1977-78.
While Wisden had practically ignored the original ODI in its tour report, England was more proactive than Australia and began the regular scheduling of ODIs during the Ashes tour of 1972.
Looking through the scoresheets of those early matches, the two ODIs played in New Zealand in 1973-74 stood out. Most previous ODIs had been rather dreary, producing less than 190 runs per innings even though most were played over 55 overs. The New Zealand/Australia matches were limited to 35 eight-ball overs, and included cricket that was of a different quality. One imagines also that the matches were not taken too seriously – a ‘picnic’ atmosphere. Press reporting of the matches was limited, and Wisden offered only potted scores.
New Zealand’s 194 in the first match in far-off Dunedin looked much like earlier ODIs, but Australia broke the mould by chasing the runs down in only 24.3 overs. Ian Chappell’s 83 off 68 balls was something of a pioneering innings; the first ODI innings that looks impressive by modern standards, and bear in mind that there were no fielding restrictions, and ‘wide’ bowling was allowed.
The Australian innings included what was almost certainly the first ODI over to produce more than 20 runs: 22 by Chappell and Stackpole (44441401) off Bevan Congdon. It was an 8-ball over, but there were 21 off the first 6 balls. (The first known 6-ball over with 22 runs was in 1978.)
The Australians continued in this fashion in the second match in Christchurch, with Ian Chappell this time scoring 86 off 67 and Australia reaching 265 in their 35 overs (164 minutes). This was scoring rarely, if ever, seen in Test cricket history up to that point. Congdon was clobbered again, conceding 11 runs per over. Not to be outdone, New Zealand gave it a good shot, reaching 234. Ken Wadsworth scored the first run-a-ball century, reaching 100 off 96 balls and out for 104 off 98. The real potential of limited-overs cricket was being explored.
Progressive Fastest Centuries in Early ODIs
A thank you to Colin Clowes at Cricket NSW, who found the New Zealand scores.
Statistics of Test fours since 2009
In India, there have been over 5000 fours since 2009; only two of them were all-run without overthrows. Both were at Nagpur in 2010; there have been none since. (I am rather relying on reliability of the Cricinfo texts here.)
Since 2009 there have been 20 all-run fours without overthrows at the Gabba and 19 at the MCG, 17 at Lord's and 9 at Adelaide. The very long square boundaries in Brisbane and Melbourne are more conducive to this than the straight boundaries in Adelaide, where fieldsmen are more likely to be lurking.
Brisbane and Melbourne were both originally classic ovals,
longer than they were wide. However, the pitches faced east-west. When this
was altered to the more normal north-south (many many years ago) the boundary
points were not changed, so the straight boundaries became rather short and
the square boundaries very long.
A couple of milestones have been reached in posting the Davis Test data online. I have completed the 1960-65 section, and I have also updated all interwar Tests (1920-39) with new information including locations of catches and names of scorers where known. I will start posting Tests from 1965 onward before long, and begin updating existing scorecards from 1946 to 1960.
Fergie’s Monopoly: Legendary Australian scorer Bill Ferguson was an official scorer of every Test played in the world from mid-1935 to 1939 – 33 consecutive Tests. Nineteen of these Tests did not actually involve Australia. After the War, Ferguson missed one Test (NZ v Aus in 1946, which was only accorded Test status in 1948) but then scored the next 17 Tests, giving him 50 out of 51 Tests. Ferguson travelled by ship to England seven times in this period, and twice to South Africa.
Fergie toured England with the 1935 South African team, then South Africa with the 1935-36 Australians. He went back to England to score for the 1936 Indian team, then Australia and New Zealand with the England team in 1936-37. He accompanied the team back to England, where he served as scorer for the 1937 New Zealand tourists. His wife accompanied him on some of these tours; perhaps it was the only way of getting to see him.
The New Zealand Herald reported that in the Lahore Test of 1965 between Pakistan and New Zealand, there were at least 17 catches dropped in the match, and only 13 taken.
In my surveys of almost 700 21st Century Tests, I have found only one Test with more dropped catches than this. At Mumbai in 2005-06 (India v England), 19 catches were dropped, although 28 were taken.
At the Last Gasp
Here is a list of Test matches completed with very little time left (up to 3 overs or 10 minutes remaining). This is actually tricky to research. Readers might let me know of omissions or errors.
* One day lost.
** 3 days lost. Contrived result; match fixing (Cronje)
Two drawn Tests have finished with scores tied:
Bulawayo 1996 (Zim v Eng)
Mumbai 2011 (Ind v WI)
There was also a Test in Pakistan in 1955-56 (Lahore) that some sources say Pakistan won on the last possible ball. This is probably in error; other sources say there were 18 minutes to go.
The lack of matches before 1934 is partly because Tests in Australia were played to a finish. There was never a “last possible over”. It is a little surprising, however, that no early Tests in England went ‘down to the wire’.
***UPDATE: Alastair Lynch has alerted me to the following additions:
I had flagged these as tight finishes, but in my notes I had incorrectly added one over to each, and so they missed the cut.
100 runs in a match: most consecutive Tests
Faulkner and Nourse are the only players to score 100 runs or more in every Test of a five-Test series.
Here is Garry Sobers’ entire ODI batting career, as recorded by scorer Irving Rosenwater. A six-ball duck at Leeds in 1973.
An article of mine has appeared in Cricket Monthly online, on the subject of the trends in scoring speeds, and the fastest scorers of all time. It can be found here. I will post it on this website in due course.
In the Auckland Test, England was out for 58 in the first session, and in reply Kane Williamson reached 59 at the end of the second session (dinner, not tea, this being a day/night match). He was the first batsman, batting second, to outscore his opponents before the end of the second session of a Test match.
At Cape Town in 2013, Alviro Peterson of South Africa was 45 at tea after New Zealand was bowled out for 45. At Lord’s in 1912, South Africa was bowled out before tea for 58 after there was no play before lunch. RT Spooner was not out 67 at stumps.
The most runs before tea by a batsman batting second is 67 by Sanath Jayasuriya at Colombo SSC against Bangladesh in 2001. Bangladesh was out for 90.
At Trent Bridge in 1935, South African bowler Bob Crisp came in to bowl the first ball of the series, and the first of Crisp’s Test career, only to fall over. He was not injured, but ended up on his backside, with ball still in hand, next to the stumps.
Statistician of the Year 2017
I have just returned from a flying visit to Britain that included receiving an award: the “Statistician of the Year 2017” from the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians. The award was made at the AGM of the Association, held in Derby. I was treated as an honoured guest. It was also terrific to meet up in person with various contacts who have helped me with my work in the past.
Only one Australian has previously won the award, which has been awarded annually for over 30 years. That was Ray Webster.
At Johannesburg in 1994-95, Aamir Nazir was called for as a Pakistan replacement but had to fly in from Pakistan. He arrived at the ground 36 minutes after the match had started. The South African captain had permitted a substitute while Pakistan fielded. Nazir broke down and was unable to finish an over twice on this first day. It is the only case I have on record (up to 2015) of a bowler breaking down and not finishing an over twice in one Test match.
CORRECTION: Boyd Rankin was unable to complete an over twice in one innings at the SCG in 2013-14. It was his only Test match (UPDATE, until Ireland’s first Test).
GC ‘Jackie’ Grant was appointed captain of the West Indies team to Australia in 1930-31 without ever having played first-class cricket in the West Indies. His cricket had been in England, mostly in university matches. Nevertheless, he was a considerable success as captain. He did not return to the Caribbean with the team, but sailed to Rhodesia to work as a missionary. Grant did not play f-c cricket in the West Indies until1934-35, when he captained the team again, against the touring England side.
A little statistic finally confirmed...
There were 60 Tests played on matting wickets. I can confirm this after correspondence with cricket historian Rollins Howard in the West Indies. Previously I was unsure of some Tests there.
The only Tests in West Indies played on matting were at Port of Spain. The last was in 1954 (v England).
There were 42 such Tests in South Africa (the last in 1931), 10 in Pakistan (including some in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh), 6 in West Indies and 2 in India. The last Test played on matting was at Karachi in 1959 (Pakistan v Australia).
Here's a funny little discovery...
For the 4th Test of England's tour of New Zealand in 1929-30, one of the official scorers was a "Miss A Hall". Hall scored the match with Bill Ferguson ("WF"), the Australian who was doing duty as the tour scorer for the English team.
As far as I know, this would be the earliest case of a woman being official scorer of a Test, previously thought to be Shirley Crouch at the Brisbane Tied Test in 1960-61.
Jamie Bell of NZ Cricket Museum tells me that a Miss A.W. Hall was chair of the New Zealand Women's Cricket Council in 1937-38. Almost certainly the same person, and they may be able to come up with more information.
That 4th Test in Auckland had been organised in a rush, after the 3rd Test a few days earlier had been ruined by rain. The 3rd Test had been scored by someone else (TSC Haig, with Ferguson). Perhaps Haig was not available at short notice, and Hall filled in.
Sreeram reports that a young woman named Margaret Platts was the scorer in the Essex v Worcestershire match in 1939 under unfortunate circumstances (a car accident involving multiple players). It was discussed in the ACS list in 2014 as the first fc match involving a woman scorer. So this discovery has precedence. It may well be that Miss Hall had already scored first-class cricket in Auckland.
Grace Morgan scored in the first four women's Tests and is named in Cricket Archive scorecards.
There are 30 or more bowlers who have taken wickets with both their first ball and their last ball in a Test match. I haven't checked them all. Possibly the first was RO Schwarz in 1905, and the most recent was Mitchell Starc at Galle in 2016.
Two bowlers have done it twice, Maurice Tate and (amazingly) JP Duminy. Duminy did it at Dubai in 2103, and at Johannesburg in 2010, where he bowled only 1.5 overs in the match and took just two wickets.
In 1962, Subhash Gupte was excluded from the Indian team on disciplinary grounds. His ‘offense’ was being the room-mate of AG Kripal Singh, who had had the temerity to ask a woman (a hotel receptionist) out on a date during a Test match. “Gupte was accused of failing to control his room mate's behaviour.”(!) Gupte was the best bowler in the Indian side, but was not selected for the tour of the West Indies.
India lost the series in the West Indies 5-0, having also lost the previous tour abroad 5-0 (in England). The team did not tour abroad again for more than five years.
More Test match Database!
I have begun to extend the Test Match Database into the 1960s, and I have reached 1962 so far. Series will be added progressively. At the same time I am progressively upgrading scorecards from 1920 to 1960 to include a little more information including the fielding locations of catches. The official scorers of Tests are being identified wherever possible.
Eight Wickets in Fewest Balls (individual bowlers, where known)
The records for five wickets, six wickets and eight wickets in fewest balls (by an individual bowler in a single Test) have all been set against Bangladesh. Bangladesh does occasionally have some good matches, but their capacity for ridiculous collapses is tiresome.
Sole Run out credits in ODI
There are another three run outs where Rhodes was fielding but no run out credit is recorded.
Sole Run out Credits in Tests (where known)
An odd coincidence: long delay before first boundary in an ODI (teams).
In an ODI at Perth 6 Dec 1991, India (all out 126 with two fours) hit the first boundary off the LAST ball of the 26th over against West Indies. The score was 53.
One year later – to the day – Australia (160) hit the first boundary off the FIFTH ball of the 26th over, on the same ground against the same team, with the score on 52.
There is an unconfirmed report of no boundaries in the first 38 overs of an India/SriLanka ODI in 1986 (Austral-Asia Cup).
UPDATE: Steve Pittard records the following cases…
In the 1975 World Cup qualifier,West Indies v Australia, the first boundary was hit in the 27th over (Clive Lloyd).
At Lord’s in 1988, there were no boundaries until the 31st over (Graham Gooch).
Last time ODIs were played in the middle of a Test series (between the same teams).
Looks like the 2002-03 Ashes tour, where ODIs were played between the 3rd and 4th Tests.
ODIs were played in India between Tests in 2017, but they did not involve the Indian team (Afghanistan v Ireland).
In 1992-93 an ODI in Zimbabwe was actually played in the middle of a Test, in a never-repeated experiment. The Test in Harare was on Dec 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 with the ODI on the 8th.
Origin of Abdominal Protectors. They were advertised as "Private Guards" as early as 1855. There was an earlier cryptic 1851 reference to a "cross-bar india rubber guard".
It is said that Jack Gregory batted without one, even when facing Larwood. The story seems to originate with Jack Fingleton writing in 1973. It is known that Gregory often batted without gloves, as did Herbie Collins (both were WWI veterans, if that is relevant).
Eric Rowan of South Africa also sometimes batted without one. "Made me concentrate" he said.
(Research by Gideon Haigh and David Studham, found in Haigh’s book Silent Revolutions.)
It would seem that abdominal protectors were introduced only a few years after the first gloves and pads, which first appear in illustrations in the late 1840s.
At Hamilton in 1996-97, Kumar Dharmasena was bowled by Daniel Vettori, but the Pakistani umpire Mahboob Shah, confused by the wicketkeeper Adam Parore taking off the other bail, ruled the batsman not out. Video review, which showed the incident clearly, was not available to the umpires.
On a related issue, I came across an English newspaper report of a Test match in South Africa in 1999. It is a reminder of how obsessed reports and commentary could be about umpiring, in the days when there was abundant video but before DRS.
I don't know how much of it is justified, but I would say that some of the disputation in the report is really just the reporter's opinion. There is substantial agreement in other reports, however, and it appears that the players went out of their way to try to intimidate the umpires.
I also came across a Test report in the Guardian in March 2001 with a headline “Bitterness Mars England’s Progress” followed by sub-headings “Uproar over Jayasuriya dismissal” and “Umpiring falls to pieces under pressure”.
Bowlers Taking Three Wickets in Four Balls: Some Issues.
Cricinfo has a list of bowlers taking three wickets in four balls in Tests here. The list starts as follows:
There are some problems with this list. I would mention these:
· Spofforth, The Oval 1882: this is not correct; it is actually three wickets in eight balls. I think this came from a misreading of the original score, which has an odd way of presenting the bowling.
· Gregory, Nottingham 1921: the scorebook gives Gregory 3 in 5 balls WW[new over]00W.
· Mitchell, Johannesburg 1935-36: again the scorebook has 3 in 5 balls WW01W.
I would also add these confirmed instances to the list prior to 1997-98
The Cricinfo list is also a bit misleading. It basically stops in 1997-98 but adds a single instance in 2015. There are actually more than two dozen other cases in the intervening period.
Here is some info that might be worthy of further investigation. Some commentators seem almost obsessed with the idea of ‘rotating the strike’. It occurred to me that there is virtually no evidence on the effectiveness of this, one way or the other. So I took a look at the incidence of singles in partnerships of different sizes (in the last five years or so). I kind of expected to find no effect, but there is something here.
Per Cent Singles in Test Partnerships
There is some trend, and it is fairly consistent albeit rather weak. Higher partnerships tend to have a higher incidence of singles. Since a higher incidence of singles will tend to rotate the strike, maybe there is some benefit after all.
Here is something so arcane that I doubt if any list has been seen before…
Fielders taking catches off consecutive balls in different fielding positions.
I know of about 20 cases of fielders taking catches off consecutive balls, usually in the same position. Dilip Vengsarkar once took three catches in four balls at short leg, in one over by Ravi Shastri at Wellington 1980-81.
In the first Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 1997, Ijaz Ahmed was given out, run out, on a score of 98 early on the second day. There was initial confusion over which batsman was out (Ijaz or Salim Malik). The decision against Ijaz was given by TV umpire KT Francis, who nevertheless continued to review the video. The disconsolate Ijaz was back in the dressing room by the time Francis decided to change his decision, and informed on-field umpire David Shepherd that Ijaz was to be recalled and Salim Malik was the one out (for 58). Ijaz went on to a score of 113.
This echoes an incident from Don Bradman’s career when he was run out and left the field, only to be recalled and Stan McCabe given out instead.
Fewest runs conceded by a bowler in taking his first ten wickets in Tests: 39 runs by Ernie Toshack. JK Lever conceded 70 runs. Both bowlers bowled a few no balls, which weren't counted against bowlers in those days. Charles Turner conceded 75 runs in taking his first ten wickets in the 1880s, with no no balls.
Until this season the slowest century by an Australian, in minutes batted, was by Justin Langer against Pakistan in 1999-2000, at 388 minutes. But now Steve Smith has exceeded this twice, with two centuries, at Brisbane and Melbourne, weighing in at an identical 416 minutes.
There are more than 40 centuries by batsmen from other countries that are slower than Smith’s, and about 70 that are slower than Langer’s. Smith’s ‘slowness’ is really an indication of slow over rates; at 259 and 261 balls faced, neither was a particularly slow scoring rate. Contrast the minutes vs ball rate with Bill Woodfull’s century in 1929, where he faced 372 balls but batted only 322 minutes.
I think that the fact that Smith set records also reflects Australia’s dominance during most of the era of slow over rates; Australian batsmen since 1975 (the era of slow over rates) have played far fewer really defensive centuries than batsmen from other countries.
Steve Smith missed two catches off Alastair Cook (244*) in the MCG Ashes Test. As it happened, this deprived him of a record. Smith took no catches in the match, having taken at least one catch in each of his 26 previous Tests. The record for catches in consecutive Tests (non-wicketkeepers) is 27 by Bob Simpson in 1961-64.
On 21 December 1998, New Zealand and India played an unofficial One-Day game in Dunedin. It was a day-night game, yet a red ball was used and the players were in whites. Curious.
A Dull Session, a Mind Wanders
While I was sitting (at the ground) watching Mitch Marsh score ten runs in a complete session, on the last day of the drawn Boxing day Test, I resolved to update my list of fewest runs in a full session by an individual batsman. I restricted myself to ten runs or fewer in a session, in the last 20 years.
Fewest runs in a 2-hour session (individuals) since 1998.
2-hour sessions with at least 24 overs.
Among Australians, Marsh’s 10 runs in a session is ‘unsurpassed’ going back decades. Mitch’s father Geoff, scored just nine in the opening session of the MCG Test against Pakistan in 1989-90. In 1988-89, Allan Border (75) scored nine in a full session – all in singles – against the West Indies at the SCG. For Australians in Ashes Tests, Mitch’s effort is at the extreme. Alec Bannerman scored eight in a session at the MCG in 1891-92, but that may have been a bit short of two hours (there were 45 overs though).
[In some recent extreme defensive sessions, such as Peter Nevill and Steve O’Keefe and others at Pallekele in 2016, no one actually batted through a complete session.]
There are also the following cases from sessions with at least 24 overs but which were interrupted or shortened…
The Tendulkar and Misbah sessions were curtailed when matches were called off. Wagner’s session had a 20-minute rain interruption.
Curious goings on at the Faisalabad Test of 1997-98, Pakistan v South Africa on the first day. The report is from Dawn (Karachi) reproduced in the Cricinfo Archive.
The second session belonged to South Africa as the pitch eased and the
ball softened. The veteran Symcox attacked with relish, hitting two
sixes, and outpaced his senior partner.
Symcox must have realised the force was with him when, on 56, he played
inside Mushtaq. The ball went between off and middle stumps, nudging
them on the way. They parted, then came back into place without
disturbing the bail.
A grinning Symcox, a wistful Mushtaq and the rest gathered round the
offending set and it transpired that the bail was not properly cut,
allowing it to stay in place as the stumps moved. Both sets were later
If that was perplexing, Kirsten's extra run was in the classic mystery
mould. Symcox was eventually bowled for his Test highest score of 81,
only his second fifty, and Kirsten was left - so we thought - on 91 when
last man Paul Adams joined him.
The scoreboard registered his century, brought up with a single, and the
player rightly rejoiced in a quality innings. Adams was out next ball
and then it was discovered that two sets of scorers had the opener on
Kirsten said: "I heard there were some doubts when I got back to the
dressing room. It is official, isn't it?"
The official scorer put his seal of approval on the innings, saying a
leg bye had been missed somewhere. There were some nods and winks, but
I would add that I have a score for this innings, a linear score kept for Pakistan TV. In the 58th over with Kirsten on 85, it has recorded a leg bye, but added a note “leg bye but official scorer given run”. So the TV scorer knew this to be a leg bye, but has registered it this as a run, perhaps to conform to the official score. The run, taking Kirsten to 86, is necessary to give Kirsten his 100. It would appear almost certain that Kirsten’s score was really 99 not out. A contact who has met the scorers confirms this. He said that the scorers were quite open about fudging the score to give Kirsten his 100.
Players on the field throughout a Test
These are really the cases of openers who batted through their respective team’s innings, usually by carrying their bats when their team batted only once. In most cases it is uncertain whether or not the players were substituted in the field at any stage.
Alastair Cook’s recent effort at the MCG is the longest Test (in time) featuring on this list, at 1714 minutes. However, MC Atapattu’s Test at Galle in 2000-01 was longer in terms of balls bowled (2520 to Cook’s 2325).
*Haynes was last out in both innings but did not field throughout
Minimum: play occurred on four days.
In addition to the above, there are 14 cases of a player on-field throughout in 3-day Tests (including another one for Cook), and another 19 cases in one- or two-day Tests (generally, severely weather-affected).
Haynes, Tharanga, and Brathwaite are the only batsmen on any of the lists who batted twice in the match.
In the first ever Test between South
Africa and Pakistan at Johannesburg in 1994-95, the injured
John Commins came in to bat using a runner (perhaps the fastest runner in
world cricket, Jonty Rhodes, who had been out the previous ball). Off his
first ball, Commins completely forgot about the runner and set off on a run,
and was hopelessly run out going for a second as confusion reigned. He
collapsed on the ground, having aggravated his injury. In a final insult, the
umpire called the run a leg bye, so Commins was out for a golden duck.
UPDATE: although the newspaper report that this is based on specifically describes a leg bye, the ball-by-ball record shows that no run was completed, and the published score confirms this. Commins was run out at the striker’s end. There was a leg bye earlier in the over, before Rhodes was out.
Have I discovered a new Test cricket record?
The New Zealand Herald reported that, on the fourth day of the Bulawayo Test in 1992 (Zim v NZ), "play started in front of one paying spectator". If true, this is the smallest recorded crowd at a Test match where spectators were permitted. There has been a small number of other Tests where spectators were excluded for security reasons on one or more days.
Of course, it is possible that the reporter was exaggerating for effect.
A curious moment in cricket history that Wisden may prefer to forget: In March 1982, Wisden announced that the matches then being played by a ‘rebel’ English team against South Africa would be recognised as Test matches. The announcement met with immediate criticism, and Wisden never followed through.
In 1996, the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians reported that pre-1970 Wisdens contained errors in 70 per cent of their scorecards of county matches. They determined this by comparison with official county scorebooks.
A couple of points in Wisden’s defence: 1) many of the errors were trivial, for example confusing byes with leg byes. 2) I have found plenty of ‘official’ scorebooks that contain errors if you look closely enough.
On the fourth day of the Test at Ahmedabad in 1987, Pakistani fielders were pelted with stones by “hooligan” spectators. Pakistan captain Imran Khan refused to continue and about an hour of play was lost. Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar made appeals for calm in Gujarati and Hindi. When order had apparently been restored and play was re-started, eight of the Pakistan players came onto the field wearing helmets. According to The Hindu newspaper, this demonstrated the players’ “sense of humour”; personally, I very much doubt that they were trying to be funny.
The most popular days of the Test year: If I calculate correctly, there have been 113 Tests with play on January 3, and 103 on January 4. I haven't excluded washed out days, but rest days are excluded. Boxing Day is fourth place on 90.
Those 113 Tests occurred in 71 different years, since some of them had concurrent Tests.
In Australia, 'New Year' Tests have a longer tradition than Boxing Day, although they often did not start exactly on New Year's Day.
There have been only 3 Tests with scheduled play on May 9, and in one of those play was washed out.
There have been 87 Test innings with just two individual centuries, where the two centurions did not bat together in partnership. The smallest such innings was 374 by New Zealand at Hamilton 1990-91, where John Wright scored 101 and Andrew Jones 100*, but they did not bat together. There has been only one case where both batsmen reached 150: Auckland 2003-04 where Scott Styris made 170 and Chris Cairns 158.
A Long Day’s Batting
The most balls faced by a batsman in a day’s play, that I know of, is 424 deliveries faced by Alec Bannerman on the third day at Sydney in 1891-92. He scored just 67 runs. There is a small uncertainty about the balls faced (plus or minus) which may be important because Bradman faced 421 in a day during his triple-century in 1934 and 420 in a day during his triple in 1930. There are 3 others in the range 410-420 so it is all very close.
This is a category that is really 'set in stone'. All these marks were set in the days when more than 140 overs could be bowled in a day. There is no possibility that any modern batsman could rival these numbers.
Most balls Faced in a Day of Test cricket: Individuals
I was looking at Test series where one bowler completely outclassed his team mates. The ultimate example (excluding one-off Tests) was Bangladesh in England in 2005, where Mashrafe Mortaza took 4 wickets at 49.5 (in itself, pretty ordinary), but his team mates combined managed only two wickets at 375.5, a difference in average of 326.
For a more substantial series, with a bowler who took ten wickets or more in a minimum three Tests, Ray Bright took 15 wickets at 23.8 for Australia in Pakistan in 1979-80, while the other bowlers (including Dennis Lillee) put together took just 8 wickets at 92.4. In a six-Test series in Pakistan in 1982-83, Kapil Dev took 24 wickets at 34.6 while his team mates averaged 85.
At the other end of the scale, Graham McKenzie took one wicket for 333 runs in South Africa in 1969-70. His fellow bowlers took 64 wickets at 40.5 – still not very good, Australia lost the series 4-0.
A few years ago Benedict Bermange kindly sent me lists of the longest-serving #1 players in the ICC Test ranking lists. He has now updated them in comments on an Ask Steven post. I am copying them here since Facebook posts soon get hard to find.
Benedict has been involved in the development of the
ratings systems for many years and has a copy of the algorithm. Without that,
these numbers would be jolly hard to calculate.
Most Matches Ranked #1 Batsman
Most Days Ranked #1 Batsman
Most Matches Ranked #1 Bowler
Most Days Ranked #1 Bowler
I am of the opinion that the ratings system is very sound, but becomes less reliable further back in time. There were probably enough teams and enough Tests played from about 1955 onwards to produce useful rankings; before that, I am a bit dubious. The suspension of Test cricket in wartime, in particular, produces some funny results. Aubrey Faulkner did not take a single wicket during his period as “#1” bowler from 1914 to 1920. The reason is that S.F Barnes, who was #1 (by a country mile) up to 1914, did not play after the war, so his career ratings were terminated. Faulkner, on the other hand, played a single Test after the War (in which he took no wickets) and so is considered one of the few bowlers whose careers straddled the War. Of these bowlers, he had the best career record in 1914, even though he took his last Test wicket in 1912.
There is certainly a case for arguing that Dale Steyn is the greatest bowler of all time, based on these figures.
A report of a Sri Lanka/India Test from 1993 describes Sachin Tendulkar as India’s vice-captain. Tendulkar was barely 20 years old at the time. I don’t have any info on vice-captains, but I wonder if he was the youngest. “Vice-captain” is not an official position, and teams are not required to have one.
Tendulkar filled in as acting captain when Azharuddin was indisposed for part of the third Test.
During the first Test between Sri Lanka at Morutawa in1993, Sri Lanka appealed against Richie Richardson, simultaneously for caught behind and a stumping. Umpire Samarasinghe gave the stumping not out, but umpire Francis gave Richardson out caught behind. Replays showed that both decisions were probably wrong; the upshot was that Richardson was out anyway.
At Lucknow in 1994 against Sri Lanka, Sachin Tendulkar went from 88 to 100 in four balls (4, 0, 4, 4 off Wickremasinghe). Others have done it faster, but Tendulkar’s effort was notable because it was off the first four balls of the day.
Indian paceman Atil Wassan broke a stump when he bowled Mark Greatbatch to take his first Test wicket, at Christchurch in 1990.
I was surprised to see on Ask Steven that Peter Siddle went the most Tests without taking a catch (25). In fact the 25 Tests were the last 25 of his career. Siddle dropped three catches during that sequence.
At Nagpur in 1994 (Ind v WI), the first 16 wickets fell to catches. Only two of them went to wicketkeepers.
Just a few bits and pieces, while I search for inspiration…
Four dropped catches in an innings, since 2001
No one has recorded more than four drops in an innings in this period.
A recent Item in Ask Steven dealt with the longest gap between Tests for a player, in terms of number of matches missed. I wondered which players had missed the most total matches in his career, not just between two appearances. I should have been able to guess the answer.
Most Tests missed during whole career.
Here are the players who both played more than 75 Tests, and missed more than 75 Tests, during their careers
Most number of separate gaps in career
Longest Test careers without missing a single Test.
AR Border missed only one Test during a 156-Test career. Kapil Dev (131 Tests) missed only one Test, and that was for disciplinary reasons.
Debutants who top scored and had best bowling return for their teams (first innings only)
At the start of play on the third day at Christchurch in 1987, Gordon Greenidge, 16 not out overnight, went out to bat without his batting gloves. After five balls (faced by Haynes) he interrupted play to go and get some. After a delay, Haynes was out next ball, to Chatfield. Haynes evidently had something to say to Greenidge about the interruption. Greenidge was out to the next ball after that, to Hadlee’s first ball of the day.
Most balls faced between dismissal in ODIs: Chris Harris in 1997-98. He faced 465 balls between dismissals (9 innings) and batted for 150 overs.
Wellington 1990, a ball from Danny Morrison slipped from his grip and rolled to square leg. Alan Border claimed it, walked over and hit it to the boundary, with Morrison standing (glaring at him, I daresay) a few yards away.
During the first Test at Karachi in 1988-89, the Australians were furious at the umpiring of Mahboob Shah, claiming a number of unfair lbw decisions. The year previously, England had almost curtailed a Pakistan tour over similar issues. As they had in the previous season, Pakistan authorities resisted the Australian complaints and appointed Shah to the second Test as well. The Australians were a little mollified when Shah gave opener Ramiz Raja out lbw, second ball to Bruce Reid.
Shah also gave Javed Miandad out lbw in the same Test (for 107). This was a rare experience for Javed in home Tests.
Most Expensive First Over in Test Cricket (Runs)
Sohag’s over included four leg byes, so his figures at the end of the over were 1-0-14-0. Bartlett’s over would have cost 17 runs using modern counting (a no ball was scored from) but also included four byes. DD Ebrahim scored 15 runs in the Anderson over, the most by a single batsman off a bowler’s first over in Tests. Anderson first four deliveries in Tests were: no ball, FOUR, no ball, FOUR. “…not the greatest of starts for Anderson” said Cricinfo in the ball-by-ball text.
Allan Border’s two highest scores in Tests (at the time) both included incidents where the batsman believed himself to be out, but was recalled.
At Lord’s in 1985, Border, on 87 (the co-called Devil’s number for Australians) had turned towards the pavilion when Mike Gatting juggled a catch at short leg, then appeared to throw the ball in the air in celebration. Gatting, however, made a hash of the whole thing and umpire ‘Dickie’ Bird ruled that he had not controlled the ball sufficiently. Border went on to make 196.
At Adelaide in 1987-88, Border, on 66, appeared to be caught at mid-on by Jeff Crowe. The fielder, however, was not sure if he had caught it cleanly and called Border, who was heading for the pavilion again, back.
In that innings, Border was also given not out to an lbw appeal that Robelinda calls the “Plumbest ever LBW turned down in cricket”. I tend to agree. Even Border looked bemused. At the time of writing, the video is here.
Fastest ODI Centuries on Debut
Perhaps the most enduring important ODI record that could still be broken is Desmond Haynes’ highest score on ODI debut: 148 against Australia in 1978. Since then, almost 3900 ODIs have been played without anyone topping Haynes’ mark, representing almost 99% of all ODIs. Scoring a century on ODI debut is still fairly rare, and there have been only 14; one reason is that with so many matches played, debuts are not particularly common.
Here’s a list of most of the debut centuries ranked according to fastest to reach the century.
For the innings as a whole, Haynes’ remains the fastest century on debut (108.8 runs per 100 balls).
To get a first-100 figure for Haynes, I had to get a copy of the original scorebook, kindly supplied by Colin Clowes at Cricket NSW. Even this did not give a balls faced figure for first 100, but by re-scoring the scoresheet, I was able to get a reasonably accurate figure. The scoresheet was not very easy to read in places, but I am happy with the final figure.
There are a handful of ODI early debut centuries for which balls faced are not available for the first 100 runs, including the first by Dennis Amiss. However, these were not scored at a speed that would rival the highest-ranked.
[I forgot to add that none of these innings compare for speed with Shahid Afridi’s first ODI innings (100 off 37 balls), but that was scored in his second match.]
Against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi in
2011-12, Graeme Swann took a wicket with the last ball of an over, but was
then taken off because the new ball was available in the next over. When
Swann was brought back on, he took a wicket with his first ball, and thus
took wickets with consecutive balls in the same innings, but 14 overs apart.
In an ODI in Guwahati in 1993 between
Sri Lanka and South Africa, Rumesh Ratnayake, who was batting with a runner, was run out when
he set off for a run while his runner did not move from the crease. He
remonstrated with the umpire, who changed his decision to ‘not out’, only to
finally – and correctly – give the batsman out when the South Africans
fielders had something to say.
On the final day of the Sydney Test of 1985-86, against, India, Australian captain Allan Border was out twice, and only scored 10 runs. He was out at 11:18am (for 71, having been on 64 overnight) and again at 5:46pm, for 3. In between, at 3:40pm in Brisbane, his wife gave birth to a daughter.
Australia, 347 for 4 in their first innings overnight on the fourth day, managed
to nearly lose the match, being all out for 396 against India’s 600 for 4,
and losing six wickets for 119 in the follow-on. There had been just eight
wickets in 321 overs on the first four days, but there were 12 wickets off
104 overs on the fifth.
At Old Trafford in 1948, the Australian batsmen (batting for a draw) did not change ends for the first 38.5 overs. All the runs, more than 50, were in twos and fours. Alec Bedser's first spell was 8 overs: 48 balls, and Arthur Morris faced all 48. Bedser’s spell finished, and there were, of course, other bowling changes during those 38.5 overs.
Ian Johnson was out for 6 off 32 balls, but only faced Pollard.
When Bedser came on for a second spell, Morris was still at the same end and faced the first 23 balls; so he faced the first 71 balls that Bedser bowled in the innings.
At Melbourne in 1883, Bill Murdoch faced up to 48 consecutive balls from Barlow without facing anyone else. He did not score.
Bowling to Exhaustion
I have tried to nail down the most balls bowled in a Test without a bowling change. I already knew that it was probably Ramadhin and Valentine at the Gabba in 1951 (final innings), but there is no surviving score. I think I can say now that it was 69.7 eight-ball overs (plus or minus one, perhaps) which translates to 93 six-ball overs (rounded). The next best known is 86 overs, by the same bowlers at Lord's in 1950.
Ram and Val came on immediately after a wicket in the fourth over (1 for 8), and the score was on 12. They bowled the last 11 overs before tea (very probably). There was a change of ends immediately following tea (one over for two runs by Gomez, in place of Ramadhin), then the 69.7 by Ram and Val extending into the next day. Ramadhin bowled from the Stanley St end before tea and the Vulture St end afterwards.
Australia won by 3 wickets. Note the lack of imagination on the captain's part not to try any other options, especially as Gomez had taken a wicket, and Valentine took 1 for 117.
I found an interesting line about Ramadhin in the match. It says that when called on to bowl, he rolled his sleeves DOWN. I have read somewhere that he once admitted that he bowled in long sleeves to disguise the possibility of chucking.
Australia had some luck. Hassett, on 11, played a ball from Ramadhin onto his stumps without the bails falling.
A quote from Wisden. [Note: the "first five overs" comment is incorrect; it was the first four.]
"Goddard's tactics caused considerable comment. Although Gomez took a wicket in his opening spell, he and Worrell bowled only the first five overs of the innings – they conceded fourteen runs – before Goddard switched to Ramadhin and Valentine, who were called upon to bowl unchanged to the end. Between them they sent down over 80 overs and both gave signs of having been over worked. Valentine lost his usually splendid length and Ramadhin suffered reaction in subsequent games. After calling for the new ball Goddard rubbed it on the ground to remove the shine and asked his spinners to continue."
Sreeram added the following: Frank Worrell said that Goddard was tactically naive and did not know anything besides bowling Ramadhin and Valentine. He relied heavily on the players for his tactics (I don't now remember who these were apart from Worrell. Stollmeyer, Gomez etc possibly)
In the 1951-52 Australia series, the players fell out with Goddard and they stopped providing their feedback to Goddard. So when Australians began to work Ramadhin & Valentine out, Goddard did not know what else to do.
[I would add that team discipline fell apart when Johnston and Ring were playing their match-winning last-wicket stand at Melbourne. Bowlers and other fielders changed the field around when the captain’s back was turned. Ramadhin just walked off the field. Goddard withdrew from the next (final) Test, citing “nervous exhaustion”.]
Two bowlers unchanged (six-ball overs equivalent):
93 overs, S Ramadhin and AL Valentine, Brisbane 1951
86 overs, S Ramadhin and AL Valentine, Lord’s 1950
79 overs, W Rhodes and WE Astill, Georgetown 1930
75 overs, DA Allen and GAR Lock, Calcutta 1961/62
73 overs, S Ramadhin and AL Valentine, Christchurch 1952.
65 overs Iqbal Qasim and Tauseef Ahmed, Karachi 1979/80
Rutherford Does an Alletson (well not quite)
I have carried out an unusual re-score, on a partial score of Ken Rutherford’s 317 off 245 balls at Scarborough in 1986. I have the batting page for this innings (kindly supplied by Jamie Bell at the Cricket Museum, Wellington), but not the bowling page. However, I was able to come up with something akin to a ball-by-ball analysis after I realised that the scoring strokes on the batting page were colour-coded according to the bowler who conceded the runs. Eventually, I was able to identify the bowler and tease out the scoring for each over, although the placement of dot balls within each over could only be estimated. Even so, it was possible to reproduce exactly all the published bowling figures, and the balls faced figures for batsmen (including milestones) seen on the batting page. It was made easier by the extremely fast scoring, which meant there were few maiden overs.
Rutherford’s scoring was a close rival for Charlie Macartney’s 345 in 1921, and especially remarkable after a regulation early phase: he did not score until his 14th ball and took 64 balls to reach 50. Rutherford scored 199 runs between lunch and tea, and at one stage scored 100 runs (213 to 313) in the space of nine overs – in just under half an hour. (Compton scored more than 100 in nine overs at Benoni in 1948-49, but they were eight-ball overs.)
These latter stages of Rutherford’s innings rival Ted Allettson’s 189 off about 106 balls in 1911 (the last 142 off about 51 balls) – perhaps.
Kings of the No Ball
On I briefly reviewed the bowlers, with the longest careers, who had bowled very few no balls in Tests. To follow up, here is the other extreme: bowlers who bowled no balls most frequently. This sometimes has to be done from incomplete data, as oftentimes in the past no balls in scores were not ascribed individually to bowlers. The ball-by-ball database helps here.
Wherever possible, I have used the number of deliveries that were called no ball or wide, rather than the number of runs conceded, so a delivery that goes for ‘four no balls’ counts as only one against the bowler, something that has been enshrined in official scoring protocols only in the last few weeks. No balls that were scored from are also counted wherever possible; these were not added to no ball totals in conventional scorecards before 1998, and have to be derived from original scoresheets.
The bowler with the most no balls in the database is Bob Willis with 762. However, Wasim Akram certainly bowled more: I have 745 in the database, covering 82% of his bowling career, and so have used an estimate of 838 no balls in total.
Bowlers with highest rates of no balls (Tests)
*Estimated from incomplete data. Qualification 100 wickets.
The bowler with most recorded wides is Jacques Kallis with 104, followed by Mitchell Johnson with 90 and Ian Botham on 77. Currently, Morne Morkel is on 75 with probably more to come.
Most consecutive dot balls in ODIs:
The most in the available data for a
single bowler is 39, across two games by Ray Price of Zimbabwe in 2008
(against Ireland and Kenya).
Jimmy Anderson bowled 31 in a row, including five consecutive maidens, in one game against Australia at Adelaide in 2003.
These sequences did not contain byes or leg byes.
Note: I only have data for about
two-thirds of ODIs, and almost none before 1985. About half of the cases of
bowlers bowling six or more maidens occurred before 1980; almost all of them
were in 55- or 60-over games. I do have data for Phil Simmons 10-8-3-4 in
1992, but his longest sequence was shorter than Anderson.
In a Colombo Test in 1985-86, Roy Dias (4) was out caught second ball, after being dropped first ball by Viswanath at slip, with the ball going to the boundary.
To supplement the Test Match Database Online, I have posted a small number of notable first-class innings that I have been able to re-score.
- Trumper 293 in three hours in 1914 (Cricket NSW Library)
- Woolley 305 in 3.5 hours in 1912. (National Library of Australia collection)
- Macartney 345 in under four hours in 1921. (Cricket NSW Library)
- Bradman 452* in 1929-30. (Cricket NSW Library)
- Compton 300* in three hours in 1948-49. (M.C.C. Library, Lord’s)
- Lara 501* in 1994. (Warwickshire C.C.C. Archive)
The sources are original scorebooks found in various locations, listed above. They have been re-scored into linear form, along the same lines as the Test matches. As is sometimes the case with old scores, the early ones have occasional anomalies, with slight corrections required. The Trumper re-score produces a score of 294 not 293, while Macartney comes in at 343 not 345. Careful analysis has isolated an over where Macartney’s missing 2 runs were probably scored, and that has been added.
Comparing Bowling Performances: a Simple but Effective Way?
I have found an interesting and simple way to compare great bowling performances, which I would suggest has some validity. (The idea was suggested by Michael Jones.) It looks at the value of the batsmen dismissed. Simply add up the career batting averages of the batsmen dismissed by a bowler. A performance where a bowler dismisses five top-order batsman will be rated much higher than one who dismisses five tailenders, and this method allows for strength of opposition almost automatically. Here are the results for innings bowling.
Figures are sum totals of batting averages of batsmen dismissed in the innings.
Although it wasn’t in a Test match, Lillee's 8 for 29 against the World XI in 1971/72 beats this lot, but only just, with a total of 346.2.
I was surprised not to see a bigger presence of bowlers
who had dismissed Bradman, but Bowes in 1934 is the only one. It was
surprisingly uncommon for a bowler to dismiss Bradman along with the other
top batsmen in the same innings.
Highest Total Batting Value, Allowing for Runs Conceded (Test Innings Bowling)
A few of these performances are provisional, since the final career batting averages of the batsmen are yet to be resolved. Steve O’Keefe makes it onto the list with a ‘mere’ 6 for 35, but it was a remarkable return for very few runs. All six of his victims had batting averages over 32.
Well, there are limits to the usefulness of this. Judging those with very short careers by their batting average is a bit dubious. It’s an interesting exercise, nevertheless. One thing that I like about it is that it does not require a battery of ‘adjustment factors’. I don’t much care for ratings that bring in too many factors. Ultimately, the choice and weighting of the factors can be more important than the raw performances.
I will do an analysis of match figures at some stage. Since both of Laker’s innings returns in 1956 are found in these lists, I know what would be #1.
Over a whole career, the value of batsmen dismissed tends to even out, but pace bowlers do tend to dismiss higher-value batsmen, on average.
Playing for Australia v Pakistan in
an ODI at the MCG on 16 Jan 1997, Anthony Stuart (5-26) took five wickets for
2 runs in the space of 14 balls, including a hat-trick and all of them top-
or middle-order batsmen. It was his last appearance for Australia; he was not
A curious (and rare) anomaly in the
score of the 1st Test of the 1982-83 India tour of West Indies at Kingston.
In India’s first innings, Venkataraghavan is listed as “b Roberts 0”. However, multiple independent
reports, from the West Indies and India, say that Venkat was out hit wicket.
Both the West Indies Cricket Annual and Jamaica
Daily Gleaner say that Venkat’s helmet came off and fell onto the stumps.
Against Sri Lanka At Wellington in 1982-83, New Zealand wicketkeeper Warren Lees took five catches in the space of 70 minutes on the fourth day.
Playing in last Test series in
1983-84, champion slipper Greg Chappell was keen to overtake Colin Cowdrey’s
record for most catches in the field. Going into the third Test, he needed
only one to tie; however the third and fourth Tests passed without any
catches for Chappell, and in fact no catches at all
were taken by Australia in the slips in the fourth Test.
I have reached a milestone in uploading the Test Match Online Database, with the uploading of the 1913-14 England tour of South Africa. This completes the pre-WWI Test matches and means that all Tests from 1877 to 1960 have been completed with as much data as I can easily muster.
Some upgrading of the 1920-1960 material will take place. For instance, I now have info on the locations of catches for about 97 per cent of catches. I am working on carrying this data through further and have reached 1984 (the first 1000 Tests). There is a gap to 1999 and from then on I have quite good data. I hope to continue the post-1960 uploading before long.
In the meantime I might polish up and upload a handful of first-class matches that I have re-scored ball-by-ball. The list is short but interesting and will include the following, if I can find them among my computer files –
- Trumper 293 in three hours in 1914
- Woolley 305 in 3.5 hours in 1912.
- Macartney 345 in two sessions in 1921.
- Bradman 452*.
- Compton 300* in three hours in 1948-49.
- Lara 501*.
A question on Ask Steven got me thinking about the effect of no balls and wides on bowling averages. Historically, the counting of no balls and wides against bowling analyses has varied, from not at all before 1983, to a complete counting since 1998, even when runs are scored of the no ball. This has had an effect on bowlers’ averages; not a great effect, but for some bowlers there is a considerable change when it comes to rankings. This can be seen in the following table, which shows the best Test career bowling averages in the last 100 years. The shows the bowlers ‘official’ bowling average alongside the averages those bowlers would have obtained if their performances were counted according to pre-1983 protocols.
The biggest differences are recorded by relatively modern bowlers who bowled a lot of no balls, such as Wasim Akram and Sean Pollock. By deleting these runs conceded from no balls and wides, their averages improve. Wasim Akram, who bowled more no balls than any other bowler, actually gains 12 places on the all-time list.
Best Test bowling averages of the last 100 years, with no balls and wides not counted
Minimum 100 Test wickets.
This is not necessarily a ‘fair’ adjustment. No balls and wides are the bowler’s fault of course, and should be counted against them. But this table does give a more level historical comparison. I find it interesting how tightly bunched the averages are, more so than the averages of batsmen.
Incidentally, I would expect that doing the operation in reverse, that is, counting pre-1983 bowlers by post-1998 counting, would have less effect on the original rankings, because the earlier bowlers in this list did not bowl a lot of no balls. Some benefited from the back-foot no ball rule prior to the late-60s.
It is a curious thing that, prior to the adjustment, Johnny Wardle, the English spinner, has the best average in the past 100 years. This is not something that many people would guess. Wardle was the ‘junior’ spinner to Jim Laker and in the 1950s was in and out of the England team, which also had periods of strongly favouring pace bowling. Wardle never played more than seven Tests in a row, played only 28 Tests in all, and barely qualifies with his 102 wickets. He tended to be selected when conditions favoured spin bowling, and that may be why his average is so exceptional.
Most ‘Total’ Test dismissal credits. Wickets + catches + run out credits.
Caught & bowled count as only one each.
At Lahore in 1977, Geoff Cope, on
Test debut, came as close to a hat-trick as it is possible to come without
actually getting one. After Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz were out, Iqbal Qasim
edged Cope’s hat-trick ball to Brearley at slip, and the umpire upheld the
appeal. Wild celebrations had already begun and Iqbal was heading for the
pavilion when Brearley indicated that he thought the ball not carried to him,
and recalled the batsman.
Kapil Dev, 94 not out overnight at Delhi in 1978-79, reached his first Test century by hitting the first two balls of the day from Norbert Phillip for four and six. His century came off 101 balls.
The third day of the Karachi Test in 1980-81 was delayed 20 minutes because umpire Shakoor Rana had left his bag in the car that dropped him off at the ground.
At Sabina Park in 1981, Michael Holding had three batsmen caught and two catches dropped, all in the space of two overs.
At Banglaore in 1974-75, Alvin Kallicharran (124) was involved in ten partnerships in one innings even though he did not open. He came to the crease at 38/0 after Roy Fredericks retired hurt, and was last out. (Fredericks returned at 264/8 and was ninth out.)
Here’s some data on the bowlers who bowled the fewest no balls and wides in Tests. Naturally, data on this subject is not complete, but with about 90% available, we can make some comparisons. About 80% is from scoresheets, the other 10% from published data.
Wherever possible, I have used the number of deliveries that were called no ball or wide, rather than the number of runs conceded, so a delivery that goes for four wides counts as only one. No balls that were scored from are also counted wherever possible. The data is something of a hybrid, in that even when no ball numbers are published, no balls scored from are not always. You need a full scoresheet for that; but make of this what you will.
There have been reports floating around the internet that bowlers like Kapil Dev and Michael Holding never bowled a no ball. These are nonsense. They bowled scores of no balls and wides, hundreds in the case of Kapil.
Zero Recorded No Balls and Wides in Test Career
While we can be pretty certain that Tayfield never bowled a no ball or wide, Mankad and Venkat are no so clear. Unfortunately, Indian sources for this sort of data are often weak.
Grimmett was already well known as a bowler who almost never strayed. In 1989, Greg McKie analysed Grimmett’s first-class career and found that he did not bowl any no balls at all among 50,000 deliveries. McKie found just five wides.
Wides but Zero No Balls in Test Career
Swann did record one no ball in ODIs, but it was called for having an illegal leg side field! Another bowler reputed to have never bowled a no ball was Lance Gibbs, but there is one in a scorebook from the 1965 series against Australia, and another reported from a Test in Pakistan in 1974-75. Tate, in addition to bowling no no balls, was never hit for six in a Test match, the longest such career.
No Balls but Zero Wides in Test Career
Certainly an extraordinary contrast in no balls and wides from Underwood.
Maiden Over in the Final Over of an ODI (50 overs)
I don't have all matches, but I know of eight occasions. Two are in the first innings
AA Donald SAf v Ban, Benoni 6-Oct-2002
CJ Anderson NZ v SAf, Mt Maunganui 24-Oct-2014
The others were in the second innings
C Pringle Aus v NZ, Hobart 18-Dec-1990
SK Warne Aus v Pak, Colombo 7-Sep-1994
AJ Hall SAf v SL, Adelaide Oval 24-Jan-2006
RN ten Doeschate Ber v Ned, Potchefstroom 8-Apr-2009
N Deonarine WI v Zim, Grenada 22-Feb-2013
GJ Maxwell Pak v Aus, Abu Dhabi 12-Oct-2014
In the overs by Warne, ten Doeschate, and Deonarine, the batting team had no chance of winning.
In the Pringle and Maxwell overs, the batting team needed only 2 runs to win and 1 to tie. Bruce Reid faced the Pringle over, and was unable to put bat to ball. In the Hall over, 11 runs were required.
Jerome Taylor's first first-class century was 106 in a Test match. His previous highest score was 40, and his first-class average prior to the century was 12.5. To date he has played over 50 non-Test first-class matches, and has still not made a score over 50. His first-class average outside Tests has dropped to 10.5.
Bruce Taylor of New Zealand scored a century in his first Test innings. It was only his fifth innings in first-class cricket and his previous best was 49.
Ian Healy scored four first-class centuries, all of them in Tests. He is the only player with more than 2, if I have calculated correctly.
At Auckland in 1977, Greg Chappell’s innings of 58 was interrupted when he was menaced by a streaker. Chappell attempted, apparently successfully, to hit the intruder on the backside with his bat. The incident appeared to distract Chappell, as he was run out off the very next ball.
Another snippet on early use of the reverse sweep: during that innings Chappell was described as playing a “back-handed” sweep.
Dropped Catches Report 2016-17
I have surveyed more ball-by-ball texts for dropped catches and missed stumpings, covering the period Feb 2016 to April 2017. This extends the missed chance data to about 700 Tests going back to year 2000.
There was increase in the percentage of catches dropped in the recent data. The 2016-17 figure was 26.5% chances missed, about two percentage points higher than the average over the previous four years. However, the miss rate was very similar to other years, including 2003 and the four years from 2008 to 2011.
It is not entirely clear why the rate was higher this year. One factor is an increased number of Tests involving Zimbabwe (30% misses) and Bangladesh (32.2% misses) which drags the overall percentage upward. If it is apparent from their match results that Sri Lanka is in decline, this is also borne out in the catch stats; SL’s stats have increased from 25% misses in 2015 to 30% in 2016-17.
Unlike the all-country data, the combined average for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England is steady at 23%. South Africa recorded only 18% misses, one of the lowest single-year figures for any country since surveys began in 2000.
The recent figures reverse a slight historical improvement trend seen over the previous decade.
Figures for individual countries in 2016-17 are
On the individual front, Alistair Cook has overtaken MS Dhoni to claim the most career misses of any modern player. He has 70 misses to Dhoni’s 66; the latter is probably a career final, while Cook’s figures do not include the current England season. Rahul Dravid is one recent player who may have dropped more catches than Cook; I only have data for about 70% of his career; from that I would estimate about 75 misses in total.
Most expensive miss of the year occurred when Azhar Ali was 17 against West Indies at Dubai; he was missed by Leon Johnson in the gully, and went on to 302 not out. KK Nair, who against England made one run more, was missed on 34, 217 and 246. Steve Smith was missed four times in his 109 against Sri Lanka; the innings, under difficult conditions, was nevertheless rightly acclaimed.
Kane Williamson had an exceptional year in the field, taking 14 catches and dropping only one. Johnny Bairstow recorded the most misses, 15.
At the time of writing, Jimmy Anderson has probably become
the first bowler in this century to have 100 catches dropped. I have 97 for
him, but that does not include the current England season. Harbhajan Singh
had more than 100, but some of those, an unknown number, occurred before
2000. Stuart Broad is not far behind Anderson. It will take further analysis.
I have posted pdf versions of a couple of articles by me
that have appeared online in Cricket Monthly.
2) “End-over” jitters, that is the effect of having to bat in the final overs of the day (very little as it turns out). March 2017.
SOME SNIPPETS FROM THE 1970s…
In the final over of the drawn third Test
of 1974-75, bowled by Tony Greig with Australia needing 14 runs to win, umpire
Bailhache (officiating at point) called no ball on the grounds of three
fielders behind square leg. According to reporters, three previous balls in
the over had also been bowled with this (illegal) configuration, but not
noticed by the umpires. There were six runs and one wicket off the over, and
the match was drawn with Australia finishing on 238 for 8, eight runs short
of victory. The penultimate over, bowled by Derek Underwood, had been an
In the Test at Auckland in 1975,
England’s Keith Fletcher took five ‘brilliant’ catches at slip according to The Times, but the Manchester Guardian reported that he
dropped another five.
In the Christchurch Test that followed, Barry Hadlee (12th man) fielded as a substitute, joining his brothers Dale and Richard on the field, while their father Walter watched from the stands. Barry never played in New Zealand’s first XI in A Test, although he played two ODIs for New Zealand alongside his brothers.
On the first day of the Kanpur Test of 1972-73, two thousand police were assigned to the ground. There were 30,000 spectators. There was supposed to be play on the following day, but it was a public holiday, and the police force could not find enough available officers, so it was declared a rest day.
In the Adelaide Test in 72-73, Talat Ali, on debut, suffered a broken hand in Pakistan’s first innings. He was the first batsman since Charles Bannerman to be listed as retired hurt in his first Test innings. He was not expected to bat again, but came out to bat in the second innings, late in the day, with Pakistan 214 for 9 and on the verge of an innings defeat. Holding the bat with one hand, he faced nine balls and forced play into the fifth day, but only thanks to a dropped catch by Ian Redpath on the very last ball of the fourth day.
What a finish that would have been if it had been a four-day Test!
The hoped-for rain did not arrive, and Talat was out in the second over next morning: 0 off 16 balls. A fourth-day photo shows him batting right-handed, but a report from the fifth day says he switched to left-handed. If so, he was the first known batsman to bat both ways in a Test innings, Salim Malik being the only other known case (see entry for 23 Oct 2016).
On the subject of ‘switch hitting’, one of the claimed inventors of the reverse sweep was Mushtaq Mohammad. Here’s some proof that he used the stroke in Tests – a quote from the Otago Daily Times during the Dunedin Test of 1972-73.
“After tea, both batsmen produced as fine a hitting display as seen on Carisbrook in memory. Off the first four overs, 46 runs came from spinners Pollard and O’Sullivan with Mushtaq showing incredible footwork by switching from right-hand to left-hand during the flight of the ball to sweep boundaries.”
Mushtaq made 201 off 407 balls and
his partnership with Asif Iqbal (175 off 299) produced 350 runs off
about 575 balls.
The later stages of the partnership included 100 runs in the space of 37 minutes.
Ashru Mitra has done a nice piece of research on Test umpires who, on their Test debuts, gave a batsman out, or saw a wicket fall, on their very first ball (at the bowler’s end). I had heard of Bill Alley and maybe one other, but I was a little surprised at the number of names that came up. Although, technically, all dismissals require a decision by an umpire, not all of these necessarily required an active decision.
Ashru has kindly allowed me to publish his findings here.
giving dismissal verdict on the very first ball of the Test: A preparatory
Umpire Debut: Thomas Burgess and Richard Torrance
Both umpires were making their Test debuts. Which ends they took is not known but wickets fell on the first balls of both the first and second overs.
Batsman dismissed: Herbert Sutcliffe cwk James b Badcock (UPDATE: Umpire Torrance)
Batsman dismissed: E Paynter b HD Smith (UPDATE: Umpire Burgess)
Australia v. England at Brisbane, 1936-37
Batsman dismissed: Stanley Worthington cwk Oldfield b McCormick
v West Indies at Calcutta, 1974-75
Indies v Bangladesh at Gros Islet, 2004
First ball of the second over of the match:
Australia vs England at Melbourne (5th), 1958-59
Umpire Debut: L Townsend (Confirmed: His decision)
Batsman dismissed: TE Bailey c Davidson b Lindwall
The following umpires were making their debuts when a wicket fell first ball, but the decision either fell to the other umpire or is not known:
Australia vs England at Sydney, 1903-04
Umpire Debut: AC Jones (Confirmed: Not his decision)
Batsman dismissed: VT Trumper c Foster b Arnold
South Africa vs England at Cape Town, 1922-23
Debut: GJ Thompson (No information available)
West Indies v. Pakistan at Port of Spain, 1957-58
v Australia at Auckland, 1973-74
Pakistan vs West Indies at Karachi, 1990-91
Umpire Debut: Riazuddin (Confirmed: NOT his decision)
dismissed: CG Greenidge lbw b Waqar Younis
South Africa v India at Durban, 1992-93
Sri Lanka v West Indies at Pallekele, 2010-11
Umpire Debut: Bruce Oxenford (Confirmed: Not his decision)
Batsman dismissed: Chris Gayle lbw b Lakmal
In Tests, the practice of having another bowler complete an over, when a bowler was injured mid-over, seems to have started in 1981. At Kingston in that year, Graham Dilley was unable to complete an over, and Robin Jackman bowled the last two balls.
I can’t find any earlier cases in ODIs. Perhaps the need never came up.
A questioner on Ask Steven asked if there were completed first-class matches where no one made 50 and no one took five in an innings. I looked at the last few years and found (only) one: Badureliya Sports Club v Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club in 2014. The highest score was 45 and the best bowling was 4/17. It was an interesting scorecard: Bloomfield led by 2 runs on first innings and also won by 2 runs when both teams made 175 in the second innings.
The Oval Test of 1905 featured a
strange set of high-scoring strokes. Joe Darling hit a six, but that was
thanks to overthrows. He also cleared the boundary with another stroke, but
that counted only five. Kelly and Hill hit similar strokes. Two batsmen,
Hayward and Spooner, hit all-run fives without overthrows (the only Test
where this happened twice), while Rhodes hit a five with overthrows.
By this time, Australian (and South African) authorities were being more sensible and awarded six runs to all hits clearing the boundary. This did not come into universal use in England until 1912.
‘Century in a session’ is a familiar record category. How about most runs in two consecutive sessions? Not so familiar, but here is a list. I did this calculation after Shikha Dhawan’s tour de force in Galle.
Most Runs in Two Consecutive Sessions (Test Matches)
Where a player qualifies twice for the same innings, the higher value only is listed. Dhawan’s 190 is the highest innings to be contained entirely within two sessions. His 126 between lunch and tea is a record for the first day, and the third-highest between lunch and tea on any day, after the 173 by Compton and 150 (or 151 or 152) by Hammond.
Of course, the old-timers had the advantage of higher over rates, and so comparisons must be considered with that in mind, but they did also play with much inferior bats and on larger grounds.
Five wickets in fewest balls in an ODI, where known
11 balls J Garner, WI v Eng, Lord’s 23-Jun-1979 (World Cup Final)
11 ACI Lock, Zim v NZ, Napier 3-Feb-1996
11 Shoaib Akhtar, Pak v NZ, Auckland 18-Feb-2001
12 Mohammad Sami, Pak v NZ, Lahore 1-Dec-2003
12 M Morkel, SAf v NZ, Napier 29-Feb-2012
Zahoor Khan took six wickets in 15 balls, Dubai 2-Mar-2017.
KAJ Roach took 5 wickets in 9 balls, over 2 games in 2011.
B Lee took 8 wickets in 27 balls, over 2 games in 2003.
I wrote an article on the statistics of DRS a while back, which was published online by Cricket Monthly. I have posted it in my longer articles section here.
A Note on Score Reconstruction
I have been including, in the database for pre-1915 Tests, ball-by-ball reconstructions for certain innings and/or matches, made in the absence of complete scorebooks. I just wanted to make some points clear about this process, especially as the Database approaches the 1902 Tests played by Australia in England and South Africa.
It is a great misfortune that no scorebooks are known to exist for these matches. However, greater resources are becoming available in terms of match reports in newspapers, to the extent that it is possible to construct over-by-over (sometimes ball-by-ball) versions of some innings, particularly those that involve rapid scoring or frequent falls of wickets. The British Newspaper Archive now boasts dozens of titles, available in full and online, for the year 1902. In addition to this I have accessed, from libraries, copies of other newspapers that are not in this Archive. These reports vary in detail, but when distilled together, and taken with information from other sources (such as a partial score available for the Old Trafford Test), it makes possible a ‘best rendering’ of important innings that in turn allow estimates of balls faced and other important statistics.
This has also been done for the series in South Africa. Although sources are fewer, the South African papers of the time often used a strictly narrative style (old-fashioned at the time) of reporting that mentions almost all scoring shots in sequence. Australian papers prior to 1894 often used the same style; after that, a more interpretive style of reporting came into vogue that makes it much harder to reconstruct innings statistically.
1) Even with combined sources, gaps occur that must be filled using educated interpolation,
2) The sources sometimes conflict.
3) It is not always possible to come up with a sequence of overs that is perfectly consistent with every source.
Generally, however, the broad structure of innings are clear (who was bowling when, and in which overs wickets fell), and many of the scoring details can be accurately placed. It is just certain passages of play that must be filled in. Periods of slow play with occasional singles and maidens are particularly difficult; by the same token, they are often not important. Some other detail from the sources can assist, such as the reporting of the number of ones, twos, threes and fours for major innings, and this can be found in certain sources.
I hope that the reconstructions can be accepted in this spirit; that they are not exact, but offer a useful guide to the progress of certain important innings and matches.
There are more sources out there, unexamined: perhaps others can take up the challenge of tracking more of them down. For instance, Gerald Brodribb gives a ball-by-ball list of Gilbert Jessop’s famous 104 at the Oval, but does not name his (newspaper) source. Having looked at dozens of potential sources, I have yet to find this.
So don’t fret over potential errors: improve on it if you can!
A question on Ask Steven had me looking for bowlers who took wickets with their last two balls in Tests. The only ones that I found were Gerry Hazlitt (Australia) in 1912 and Godfrey Lawrence (South Africa) in 1962. Current players were not considered.
Hazlitt, who only took 23 wickets in Tests, took 5 for 1 off his last 17 balls at the Oval in 1912.
Lawrence took just 28 wickets in Tests. His last two were the 8th and 9th of New Zealand’s second innings at Port Elizabeth in 1961/62. Peter Pollock then took a wicket with the first ball of the next over to finish the innings and complete a rare 'team hat-trick': three wickets in three balls by two different bowlers.
That said, I thought I would re-visit these ‘team hat-tricks’, which I reported on in 2012. The only ones I know of are listed below, followed by a few other cases where three wickets fell in the space of three balls, but no hat-trick occurred. They are rare indeed and getting rarer: it appears that it has never happened in Australia, or India. The most extraordinary thing is that Godfrey Lawrence was involved in two, and in consecutive Tests. This is one of the strangest coincidences that I have seen in cricket statistics.
Three wickets in three balls, by two different bowlers
I have been successfully convalescing after major surgery, and while doing so I have been able to keep up with updates to my Online Database. The data update is now complete for Tests in the 19th Century. Once I finish 1900 to 1914 the database will be complete up to 1960. The next step would be to refine and update some of the Test data from 1920 to 1939.
Slowest 50s in ODIs (balls faced)
50-over matches only
UPDATE: 132 balls KR Stackpole (61 off 145) Australia v England, Edgbaston 28-Aug-1972
Most ‘Dismissals’ by no balls since 2000 – an updated list (bowlers).
The most runs scored after a no ball 'dismissal', recorded since 2001, is 279 by Kumar Sangakkara (287) in Colombo in 2006. He was bowled by a Dale Steyn no ball on 8. A catch was dropped in the same over. The next wicket fell 603 runs later.
Chris Gayle (333) was caught off a no ball when on 287, at Galle in 2010.
Earlier this year at Galle, Kusal Mendis was caught first ball off a no ball, and went on to make 194.
At Wellington in 2016, Adam Voges, on 7, was bowled by a no ball from Doug Bracewell. Replays showed that the umpire erred, and that the ball was legal. Voges went on to make 239.
The leading beneficiaries among batsmen are Rahul Dravid on 7, with Michael Clarke, Virender Sehwag and Alistair Cook on 5. Although he has benefited only twice, Sangakkara has added the most runs after his ‘dismissals’ with 326, followed by Kevin Pietersen on 323 (three innings) and Michael Clarke on 295.
I recently came across a note, in a linear score, of Len Hutton being caught off a no ball (by Bill O'Reilly) during his 364 at The Oval in 1938. Hutton was on 153 at the time.
This is not really the same thing as modern instances, because under the back-foot rule, the batsman had time to change his shot after the no ball call. Hutton was, in effect, taking a 'free hit' which was caught in the deep. He scored one run.
I have embarked on an effort to expand the Davis Test Match Database Online, to cover Tests from the beginning in 1877, up to 1914 (1920-1960 is already online).
A covering page for the early Test series is here. The match scoresheets have a new feature, in that the fielding locations of nearly all catches are specified, using ‘shorthand’ notation of “sl” (slip), “wk” (wicketkeeper), “mn” (mid-on) etc. Each series cover page has a full key to the notation used.
Ball-by-ball records of Tests have been posted, where possible. In the case of most very early Tests, these are not derived from scorebooks, but are reconstructions based on the very detailed reports in some newspapers of the time, which often mention the events of every over if not quite every ball. As such, there are inevitably some approximations and anomalies, and readers should bear in mind that complete precision is not possible in such cases. Balls faced data from these reconstructions should be regarded as indicative only. I hope that they can be regarded as useful, nevertheless.
In some Tests of the 1890s and later 1880s, I have been able to reconstruct only parts of the matches, but I will post these fragments anyway, since they usually relate to interesting parts of Tests.
I will endeavour to update the Database when I can; however, impending health problems may reduce the rate of updating of the Database, and the blog, for the foreseeable future.
For something completely different, I have started writing reminiscences from some of my travels over the years. The stories are spiced up with photos from those travels. I have posted a story, of a journey from China to Pakistan along the old Silk Road and the Karakoram Highway in 1989, in two parts. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. An account of the joys of ‘Hard Seat Class’ on Chinese trains is here.
The first ball faced by Bob Willis in Test cricket was a hat-trick ball (Perth 1971, bowled by John Gleeson). I was surprised to find that this is not particularly uncommon, with a few dozen cases.
The LBW Miser
It’s somewhat notorious but also true: in the six Tests of the 1970-71 Ashes series, not a single Australian batsman was given out leg before wicket. The umpires involved were Lou Rowan and Tom Brooks (five Tests each) and Max O’Connell (two Tests).
These men did see their way clear to give five Englishmen out lbw (itself a very small number) in that series. I have been able to determine which umpires gave the decisions. Three of them were given by Rowan, one by O’Connell, and just the one (in five Tests!) by Brooks. The rather unfortunate batsman was John Hampshire, given out at Adelaide, just before a declaration when England was chasing quick runs.
I do recall my father talking about Tom Brooks. Dad was a first grade umpire in Sydney the 1970s when Brooks was the dominant figure in umpiring there. Brooks, Dad told me, was adamant that the conditions for lbw were extremely hard to satisfy, and that lbw decisions should be rare. I don’t think Dad actually agreed with this, and modern-day DRS data shows conclusively that Brooks’ opinion was incorrect.
Rowan was a police Sergeant. He was, I am told, also a man of unswerving opinions, with great confidence in his own judgement. I suppose that helps if you want to be a top-flight umpire.
With only one lbw decision against them, the Englishmen could hardly accuse Brooks of bias, I suppose. They were troubled, though, by the umpires intervening to apply restrictions on intimidatory bowling, in a way that they saw as being unfair to star fast bowler John Snow.
I happened to be at the SCG on the day that Snow hit Terry Jenner on the head with a bouncer; it is just about my earliest ‘live’ memory of a major event on the cricket field. Jenner retired hurt, although he was able to bat again later. Rowan stepped in and warned Snow about bowling bouncers, arguably unfairly under the guidelines of the time. It was arguable enough for England captain Ray Illingworth to get into a shouting match with Rowan. Shortly afterward, Snow was accosted by a drunken spectator, and England stormed off in protest. With the Ashes at stake, cooler heads prevailed and the match continued. England won the match and the Ashes.
It was a rugged series. Here is a photo of Graham McKenzie’s last ball in Test cricket. Hit on the face by a good length ball from Snow and retired hurt. That was “Blow Number One” as the photo says. Blow Number Two was delivered by the selectors, who obligingly told McKenzie, that very evening while he was convalescing, that he was dropped from the team.
I don’t know if it was a fashion at the time, but there were also only five batsmen given out lbw in the six Tests of the subsequent 1971 season in England. Only two of the five were English. Something seems to have happened between then and the 1972 Ashes series, in which 27 batsmen were given out lbw in five Tests.
Did Brooks relax his views? In the 1974/75 Ashes, he stood in all six Tests. He gave nine batsmen out lbw, six of them Australian, including two ducks for Wally Edwards, who would later become Cricket Australia chairman. The other umpire, Robin Bailhache, gave six lbws, two of them Australian batsmen.
I have notes on 46 instances in Tests of a batsman being run out ‘accidentally’ at the non-strikers end, when a shot ricocheted off the bowler. No batsman has been out this way twice. However, there are two batsmen who, as striker, twice saw their partners run out this way, VVS Laxman and SV Carlisle. In Laxman's case, Harbhajan Singh was run out at Mohali in 2003, and Dravid was run out at Kanpur in 2009. In the Dravid incident, the ricochet was a dropped catch by Herath off Laxman.
In Carlisle's case, the batsmen run out were Ebrahim at Bulawayo in 2001, and Taylor at Harare in 2005.
It is possible, though unlikely, that there are others.
Hugh Tayfield took a catch off the second ball of his debut Test, and Ian Chappell took one off the third ball of his.
A substitute named Chris Sabburg took a catch off his second ball on the field in a Test a few years ago. Sabburg has not yet played first-class cricket, although he has appeared in the BBL.
There has been at least one umpire
who was required to give a batsman out caught behind from his first ball in
Test cricket (HP Sharma in India in 1974-75, I think).
This was probably exceeded by Hanif in 1958, but there is no data available. Alec Bannerman failed to score off 568 out of 620 balls faced at the SCG in 1891/92. He scored only 91 runs.
The list of non-Test players who scored most first-class runs is dominated by England county cricketers (not all of them English), led by Alan Jones. So I wondered who hit the most f-c runs among those who never played in England. The database came up with Sajid Ali who hit 15,368 f-c runs. Ali played no Tests; however, he did play ODIs for Pakistan. The player with most f-c runs without ever appearing for his country or playing in England appears to be Amol Muzumdar with 11,167 runs in 171 matches.
In the Ranchi Test against Australia, Cheteshwar Pujara became the first Indian batsman to officially face more than 500 balls in a Test innings (202 off 525 balls, batting for 162 overs). As a first, this is actually quite odd, since more than 60 batsmen from other countries have played innings longer than 500 balls.
However, it is likely that Pujara has at least one Indian predecessor. At Port of Spain in 1952, Midhav Apte batted for 200 overs for 163. With half the strike, that would come to 600 balls.