Ask Bearders # 157
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: Here is a challenge for cricket's record keepers: how many runs, give or take a few, have been scored in first-class and Test cricket in the entire history of the game? The aggregate of runs must run into the millions for the first-class game. Similarly, how many wickets all time in first-class and Test cricket? Chris Thomas
Bearders' Answer: The tallies in Test cricket are currently 6,663 innings, 1,788,539 runs (including 105,306 extras) and 56,393 wickets.
I am indebted to Philip Bailey, guru of Cricket Archive and the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians, for number-crunching the aggregates from just over 50,000 first-class matches (including Tests). Runs have just passed 39 million, while wickets are approaching one and a half million.
Q: The international career of Fred Spofforth for Australia is easily obtained but I am interested to know how he fared in the county game for, I believe, Derbyshire and maybe Surrey. Neil Spofforth
Bearders' Answer: Having ended his first-class career in 1897, The Demon did appear for Derbyshire in six non-first-class matches in 1889 (1), 1890 (4) and 1891 (1). He represented no other county. His best performances for Derbyshire were 3-34 (off 26 overs) and 6-42 against the 1890 Australians and
9-56 against Leicestershire later that season.
Q: I recall reading that the highest two innings victory on record was something like an innings and 800 runs. Can you confirm the details or was I dreaming? Please don't tell me it was an England Test result. Paul Blacknell
Bearders' Answer: No, Paul, England's largest margin of defeat is an innings and 332 runs by Australia at Brisbane in 1946-47. In fact England holds the record for the greatest winning innings margin in Test cricket: an innings and 579 runs against Australia in Hutton's Test at The Oval in 1938.
The world first-class record that you have recalled was an innings and 851 runs inflicted by Pakistan Railways (910-6 declared) against Dera Ismail Khan (32 and 27) at the Railways Moghalpura Institute Ground in Lahore on 2-4 December 1964.
Q: When a wide ball goes to the boundary the score goes up by five runs. Has this always been the case or was it previously just four?
Also, if a batsman hits a no-ball for four, am I correct in assuming that the batsman is credited with four runs, with the no-ball going in the extras' column? How is this shown in the bowler's column? Barrie Darby
Bearders' Answer: Until a new Code of Laws was introduced in 2000, a boundary wide counted only four runs; now the penalty run is added, all five runs being recorded as wides.
Yes, a boundary hit off a no-ball is recorded as four runs to the batsman and one to no-ball extras.
Q: In the famous NatWest final of 1993, Warwickshire v Sussex, who did Martin Speight hit for the first six of the day over the bowler's head into the pavilion, which acted as a catalyst for the high scoring? It was either Tim Munton or Gladstone Small, but they were definitely bowling from the pavilion end. It was mine and my friend's first trip to Lords (aged 11) and is always a point of disagreement when reminiscing on what was a staggering game. For the record I am sure it was Tim who was dispatched, as 'Gladys' was trying to bowl leg cutters going down the slope. Tom Goodley
Bearders' Answer: My scoresheets confirm that Speight's only six was indeed hit off Munton bowling from the Pavilion End. It came off the third ball of the 10th over (Munton's fifth) and took Speight from 26 to 32 at 11.14am. Speight went on to score 50 off 51 balls, hitting eight fours besides that six. Only one other six was hit in the entire match, by D.M. (David) Smith, as Sussex scored 321-6 off their 60 overs. Warwickshire gained a sensational five-wicket win off the final ball of their 60th over at 7.36pm.
Q: What time did the famous Gillette Cup semi-final between Lancashire and Gloucestershire actually end? How many runs did David Hughes score off the penultimate over? Steve Smout
Bearders' Answer: I wasn't at Old Trafford on 28 July 1971 but 'Wisden' records that the match, having begun at 11am and being delayed by rain for an hour at lunch, ended at 8.50pm. Hughes scored 24 (2 sixes, 2 fours and 2 twos) of John Mortimore's 11th over to level the scores. Jack Bond scored the winning run off the fifth ball of the next over (the 57th) bowled by Mike Procter. Lancashire, the holders, went on to beat Kent by 24 runs in the Lord's Final.
Q: Has any wicket-keeper ever made 1000 first-class dismissals? Thomas, England
Bearders' Answer: A grand total of 24 glovemen have reached that tally, Thomas. You will find the complete list in Wisden Cricketer's Almanack and the Playfair Cricket Annual. It is headed by R.W. (Bob) Taylor of Derbyshire and England whose 1,649 dismissals (1,473 caught, 176 stumped) were made between 1960 and 1988. The most by a current keeper is 888 by Paul Nixon of Leicestershire and Kent.
Q: What is the highest Test score ever made by a South African batsman in England? Taushulu Freedom Aluteni
Bearders' Answer: Graeme Smith's 277 at Edgbaston in 2003 is the highest individual score for South Africa against England in either country. He batted for 541 minutes, faced 373 balls and hit 35 fours. It was his first innings against England and remains the highest Test score against all opposition for South Africa.
Q: My Dad, playing for a local village side, once took wickets with both of his last two balls of a season. He then missed the entire next season due to injury before returning a couple of months into the next season and taking a wicket with his first ball - completing a fairly long-winded hat-trick of sorts. Do you know of any similarly long-winded hat-tricks or other bowling feats? Rick De'Laglio
Bearders' Answer: No, I do not. Your Dad's triple strike is probably unique. Of course, hat-tricks can only be claimed within the same match - not within the same lifetime! It would take a player with Geoffrey Boycott's supreme dedication to personal records to even notice that he had achieved such a feat.
Q: I know that Andrew Symonds can bowl both off-spin and medium-paced deliveries, and also that Malcolm Nash used to do the same (or at least experimented with spin against Garfield Sobers). I was just wondering if you could think of a time when a player managed to take wickets in a match with two different types of delivery. Alistair McLagan, England
Bearders' Answer: I should think it has occurred a great many times. The obvious example is Gary Sobers who frequently took wickets by swinging the new ball late before reverting to two types of left-arm spin. More recently, Australia's Colin Miller would often switch between medium-fast swing and off-spin during an innings.
Q: In a five-Test series, who holds the records for the most runs, most hundreds, most wickets, most dismissals and most catches as a fielder? As for the bowlers, I think that Colin Croft's 33 wickets against Pakistan in 1977 was the most but I'm sure you will correct me. Thanks. Keith O. Brown (Jamaican by birth), Germany
Bearders' Answer: The series records are: most runs - 974 by D.G. (Don) Bradman for Australia v England in 1930; most hundreds - five by C.L. (Clyde) Walcott for West Indies v Australia in 1954-55; most wickets - 49 by S.F. (Sydney) Barnes for England v South Africa in just four Tests in 1913-14 (Malcolm Marshall holds the West Indies record with 35 v England in 1988 - Croft's 33 is their equal-third highest); most wicket-keeping dismissals - 28 by R.W. (Rodney) Marsh for Australia v England in 1982-83; most catches as a fielder - 15 by J.M. (Jack) Gregory for Australia v England in 1920-21.
Q: I would like to know the smallest fourth innings target where the batting team were all out and lost the Test match. I know that in the famous 1882 match between Australia and England, the English had a target of 85 and fell eight runs short. Has anyone missed a smaller target? Marc (Canada)
Bearders' Answer: No, Australia's lead of 84 is the lowest ever defended in a Test, England being dismissed for 77. There have been 17 Test match totals under 150 that have been defended, the only other one below 100 being 98 by West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1999-2000 when they bowled Zimbabwe out for 63.