Ask Bearders # 156
Below are Bill's responses to some of your questions posed at the end of his last column and if you have a question for Bill, leave it at the end of this blog entry. Please do include your country of residence - Bill loves to hear where all his correspondents are posting from.
Bill isn’t able to answer all of your questions, however. BBC Sport staff will choose a selection of them and send them to Bearders for him to answer.
Q: Could you tell me how many runs Mark Ramprakash has scored at The Oval and how this compares with the runs he scored at Lord's? He seems to have improved since moving to Surrey and I was wondering if it had anything to do with a better batting wicket? Peter Booth
Bearders' Answer:An intriguing question Peter, and I am indebted to Philip Bailey for providing stats showing that Rampers has increased his batting average by 32 runs per innings since moving across the Thames.
Although he is a much improved and less stressed player than in his early days, it is a considerable difference. The quality of the Kennington pitch is bound to have been a factor but remember that half his matches are played away, while two of the home ones are staged at Guildford and at Whitgift School, Croydon.
In all first-class matches his figures for Middlesex at Lord’s and Surrey at The Oval are:
Lord's: 80 matches, 133 innings, 19 not outs, 233 highest, 5959 runs, 52.2 average, 17 hundreds
The Oval : 41 matches, 66 innings, 9 not outs, 301* highest, 4806 runs, 84.31 average, 21 hundreds
Q: How many people have matched Mark Ramprakash's achievement of averaging over 100 in first-class cricket in two separate seasons? Alison B
Bearders' Answer: Only one, Alison. Geoff Boycott averaged 100.12 in 1971 and 102.53 in 1979. Mark is alone in achieving this feat in successive seasons.
Three other batsmen and one tail ender have averaged 100: Don Bradman (115.66 in 1938); Damien Martyn (104.66 in 2001), Graham Gooch (101.70 in 1990); and the fluke, Bill Johnston (102.00 by being out only once in 17 innings in 1953).
Q: Based on the highest percentage of victories, who is the most successful Test captain of all time? Matthew Ryder
Bearders' Answer: Given a qualification of 20 matches as captain, Ricky Ponting is currently top with 26 wins from 34 Tests and a success rating of 76.4%.
Interestingly, seven of the 12 captains with a success rating of 50% or higher are Australian, including the top four. The other 11 are: Steve Waugh (Aus – 71.9%); Don Bradman (Aus -62.5%); Lindsay Hassett (Aus – 58.3%); Mike Brearley (Eng – 58.0%); Michael Vaughan (Eng – 56.4%); Bill Woodfull (Aus – 56.0%); Viv Richards (WI – 54.0%); Shaun Pollock (SA – 53.8%); Mark Taylor (Aus – 52.0%); ‘Hansie’ Cronje (SA – 50.9%); Ian Chappell (Aus – 50.0%).
Q: Am I correct in remembering Geoff Boycott batting on all five days of a Test match? I believe he batted through day one and the early part of day two, before batting again towards the end of day three, all through day four and the early part of day five. Has any other batsman achieved this? Hugo
Bearders' Answer: Yes, you are correct but the details are slightly awry. Boycott achieved this feat in the Trent Bridge Ashes Test of 1977. Returning after three years of self-imposed exile, he began his first innings at 6.17 on the first evening and had scored 1 off 3 balls at stumps.
On the second day his interval scores were: lunch - 14 off 96 balls, having run out Nottingham hero, Derek Randall; tea – 63 off 199; stumps (29 minutes early due to bad light) – 88 off 268. He was out for 107 off 315 balls in 419 minutes at 12.45pm on the third day.
He began his second innings at 6.05 on the fourth evening and raced to 12 off 20 balls at stumps. When England completed a seven-wicket victory at 4.42pm on the fifth day he was not out 80 from 231 balls in 311 minutes.
Six others have batted on each day of a five-day Test: Allan Lamb and Andrew Flintoff (England); Kim Hughes (Australia); Adrian Griffith (WI); M.L.Jaisimha and Ravi Shastri (India).
Q: I know that England have had a Scotsman and a Welshman as captains (Mike Denness and Tony Lewis), but have they ever been captained by an Irishman? Evan Jones, England
Bearders' Answer: Yes, two Irish-born cricketers have led England but both learned the game in England. Freddie Fane, born at Curragh Camp in 1875 (Charterhouse, Oxford and Essex), deputised for injured appointed captains in five Tests (three v Australia 1907-08 and two v South Africa 1909-10).
Sir Timothy O’Brien, born at Dublin in 1861 (Downside, Oxford and Middlesex), skippered England in the opening Test against South Africa in 1895-96.
Q: What is the highest last-wicket stand in first class and Test cricket? Sam Cooper
Bearders' Answer: The highest in Tests is 151. Scored in 155 minutes by Brian Hastings (110) and Richard Collinge (68*) for New Zealand v Pakistan at Auckland on 18 February 1973, it took the total from 251 to 402, levelling the first innings totals in a drawn match.
Their record was equalled, in 183 minutes, by Azhar Mahmood (128*) and Mushtaq Ahmed (59) for Pakistan v South Africa at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on 7, 8 October 1997.
The tenth-wicket first-class record is 307 in 304 minutes by Alan Kippax (260*) and Hal Hooker (62) for New South Wales v Victoria at Melbourne on 25, 26 December 1928.
It took the score from 113 for 9 to 420 and enabled the eventual Sheffield Shield champions to draw this vital match.
Q: Who did Sir Don Bradman choose as his wicket-keeper in his all time XI? Taru, India
Bearders' Answer: Don Tallon (Queensland and Australia) was The Don’s chosen gloveman in his All Time XI (2001). His full side was Barry Richards, Arthur Morris, Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Gary Sobers, Tallon, Ray Lindwall, Dennis Lillee, Alec Bedser, Bill O'Reilly and Clarrie Grimmett.
Q: Which player has been on the losing side the most times in Test matches? Paul Adams, England
Bearders' Answer: Brian Lara has that dubious honour, having been on the losing side in 62 of his 130 Test matches for West Indies (32 wins, 36 draws).
Two other players have featured in 50 or more defeats: Alec Stewart (54 out of 133 Tests for England) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (51 out of 104 for West Indies).
Q: Bearders, indeed all cricket lovers might be interested to know of a century that might well be unique. Playing for Herongate in Essex on a full-size away ground, their beefy slogger Colin Hart scored a century from 26 balls.
He faced every ball bowled during his stay at the crease, striking ten sixes, ten fours, three singles and a two. One ball he missed (taking a leg-bye) and the last he was dismissed by a catch on the mid-wicket boundary, where most of his hits went.
The whole thing lasted about 15 minutes and of course his 105 came in a partnership of 106. Colin was no batter, taking a cross-batted swipe at everything, regardless of the delivery or the state of the match, but he was an excellent medium pace bowler.
He told me afterwards that the man who caught him was actually well over the boundary, but that he was too puffed to return to the crease having run half way to the pavilion!
I have never heard of a faster ton, in terms of balls or time, or indeed a partnership of this size where all but one run were scored by one player. This took place in, I think, 1963 or 1964. Paul Money
Bearders' Answer: It is a fascinating account, Paul, and will greatly cheer all chronic swipers. Records of minor cricket are inevitably far from complete but I have details of a faster hundred against genuine bowling. Playing for Rosewater against Warradale, Adelaide, on 19 December 1987, Lindsay Martin scored 100 off 20 balls, hitting them for 13 sixes, 5 fours and 2 singles.
As far as the partnership is concerned, there are probably many similar instances. A comparable one at Test level would be Sanath Jayasuriya (253) and Dilhara Fernando (1) sharing a ninth-wicket stand of 101 for Sri Lanka against Pakistan at Faisalabad in October 2004.
Q: At 16 years and 351 days, was Glamorgan's James Harris the youngest ever bowler to open the bowling in the County Championship? Peter Williamson
Bearders' Answer: Not if you accept that the County Championship, although not officially constituted until 1890, existed from at least 1864.
I have found a pair of Victorian Charlies who were younger and there may have been other less obvious instances.
Charles Young, born 2 February 1852, opened the bowling and took 2-61 for Hampshire v Kent at Southborough on 8 July 1867 when aged 15 years 157 days.
Charles Winter, born 9 October 1866, opened the bowling (0-23) for Somerset v Hampshire at Southampton on 6 August 1883 when aged 16 years 301 days.
Harris is the youngest to take a Championship wicket for Glamorgan.
Q: Plenty of bowlers have taken a wicket with the first ball of a game (including quite a few in Test cricket). However, to my knowledge, no batsman has ever achieved the feat of hitting a six off the first ball of a game/innings (although I've seen a fair few 4s over the years). Is this correct? Lydiard
I am sure that it happens frequently in minor cricket but I cannot readily recall an instance in Test matches. Trevor Bailey told me that T.C. ‘Dickie’ Dodds had made a habit of hitting the opening ball of an Essex innings for six.
Apparently he was a rather stodgy batsman before he took to religion halfway through his career (1943-44 to 1961). Then, according to the testament of ‘The Boil’, God told him to hit his first ball for six – and he did!
Q: What is the highest batting partnership in a Test match and what number batsmen completed the feat? Keith O Brown
Bearders' Answer: The record is the highest partnership in all first-class cricket - 624 for the third wicket off 157 overs – and it is a fairly recent one, having been achieved on 27, 28, 29 July 2006 by Sri Lanka’s numbers 3 and 4 batsmen, Kumar Sangakkara (287) and Mahela Jayawardena (374) against South Africa at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo.
Having dismissed South Africa for 169, the hosts were 128 for 2 at stumps on the first day (Sangakkara 59, Jayawardena 55). The pair then batted throughout the second day to take the score to 485 for 2 (Sangakkara 229, Jayawardena 224).