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Ask Bearders #177

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Bill Frindall | 10:42 UK time, Thursday, 11 September 2008

Welcome to Ask Bearders, where Test Match Special statistician Bill "The Bearded Wonder" Frindall answers your questions on all things cricket.

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. In the last Test between England and South Africa I noticed all five front-line bowlers took at least one wicket in each innings. Has this happened before? 6andOut

Bearders' Answer: Well done for spotting that Harmison, Anderson, Flintoff, Broad and Panesar all took at least one wicket in each innings in the fourth Test against South Africa at The Oval last month. I don't think it is a well-documented record and will have occurred to very few. It is necessary only to check the scores of the first 56 Test matches played to find a similar instance. Australia's first five bowlers (Howell, Trott, Noble, Trumper and Jones) were the first to achieve this feat - against England at Melbourne in 1897-98.

Q. Is 229 still the lowest score never achieved by a batsman in Test cricket? I note it was 228 up until Gibbs scored 228. What's the lowest in limited-overs internationals? No More Sweeping PUH-LEASE!

Bearders' Answer: Yes, 229 is the lowest absentee individual Test score.

The counterpart in internationals is 155.

Q. Do you record a player's weight? If so, who (at their heaviest) was the heaviest person to play for England? Some contenders I can think of: Colin Milburn, Andrew Flintoff, Devon Malcolm, Robin Smith, Ian Botham, Graham Gooch and of course Mike Gatting. RobM1974

Bearders' Answer: Pity you've hidden your identity behind a code - is this yet another bizarre newfangled fashion that has passed me by? I'm sure that the last six names on your list would enjoy meeting you on a dark night!

No, I don't keep a record of players' weights because they tend to vary season by season. W.G.Grace and Alfred Mynn must be near the top of England's list of heavyweights. One of the heaviest Test cricketers was Australia's Warwick Armstrong whose shirt used to occupy most of a wall of the museum at the MCG. Known as 'The Big Ship' he weighed 22 stone at the end of his first-class playing career in February 1922.

Q. A rather unusual incident occurred whilst playing a league game a few Sundays ago. We were playing on a little village green in Benenden with very short straight boundaries and our fast bowler was on. On one occasion he bowled a ball with a bit of extra pace and it flew past the batsman and burst through the keeper's gloves, hitting him on the head and going for six byes! I was wondering if there is any other instance of six byes being given in first-class cricket or any other form of cricket you have records for. Dan, Kent

Bearders' Answer: Thank you Dan for revealing both your name and county - very refreshing!

It should have been signalled as four byes. You cannot score six of anything except for hits off the bat - see Law 19 (4.b).

My XI used to play an annual match at Benenden. Their sightscreens used to be stored in the adjacent vicarage during the winter months until a new incumbent, unfamiliar with cricket, grew his runner beans up them.

Q. What value of English banknote featured a cricket match? Anthony Robinson, London

Bearders' Answer: That was a £10 note (Series E) issued in 1992. It depicted Charles Dickens and a scene from All-Muggleton's home match against Dingley Dell in chapter seven of his first novel, 'The Pickwick Papers'.

Q. I note that Lord's will be staging archery at the London Olympics in 2012. I know that The Oval hosted some early FA Cup finals but have these two cricket grounds been used for any other sports over the years? David Gunner

Bearders' Answer: Lord's has staged international hockey, as well as bowls, tennis (there is a permanent real tennis court) and archery. Rugby and soccer have not been played there. During the First World War a baseball game between Canadian and American teams to raise money for Canadian widows and orphans attracted a crowd of 10,000 people.

As you point out, Kennington Oval staged 20 of the first 21 FA Cup Finals (1872 and 1874-92). Besides hosting England's first home soccer international, it has also been the venue for a rugby union international as well as for hockey and Australian rules football.

Q. The first seven Sri Lanka A batsman scored 50 or more during their innings of 749-5 declared against South Africa A in the recent first unofficial Test at Potchefstroom. What is the record for most players scoring fifties in a single innings? Is this a record for the most consecutive players in the batting order registering one? Alex, UK via Brisbane

Bearders' Answer: The most fifties in a first-class innings is eight by the 1893 Australians against Oxford & Cambridge Past & Present at Portsmouth but they were not scored by the first eight batsmen.

The Test record is seven and there have been three instances: England v Australia at Manchester in 1934; Pakistan v India at Karachi in 2005-06; and Sri Lanka v England at Lord's in 2006. The second instance, involving Pakistan, was achieved by the first seven batsmen. So the recent Sri Lanka A performance was one short of the first-class record but equalled the one involving consecutive batsmen.

Q. Ben Smith of Worcestershire has scored 1,000 first-class runs this season yet so far he has failed to notch up a century. Is it a normal occurrence for a batsman to reach 1000 runs in a season without registering a ton along the way? Dean, Leeds

Bearders' Answer: It is very unusual but not unique. For the record (as at 9 September), Ben Smith had scored 1,020 runs at an average of 46.36 from 23 innings in 15 first-class matches. The highest of his ten fifties was 99 and he had also made a 93.

The record number of runs in an English first-class season without a century, and the only instance involving an aggregate of 2,000 runs, was achieved by D.M. (David) Green of Oxford University, Lancashire and Gloucestershire. In 1965 he played in 35 matches for Lancashire, MCC and T.N.Pearce's XI, scoring 2,037 runs at an average of 32.85 in 63 innings. The highest of his 14 half-centuries was only 85.

Q. Mark Ramprakash has just scored 490 runs across consecutive innings in multiple matches before losing his wicket. Who and what are the records for this in Tests and first-class cricket? Is over 500 commonplace or as exceptional as I'd imagine? Iain

Bearders' Answer: No batsman has scored 500 runs between dismissals in Test match cricket and only eight have managed 400 or more. Sachin Tendulkar holds the record with 497 for India in four innings in 2003-04: 241* and 60* v Australia (Sydney), 194* v Pakistan (Multan) and 2 v Pakistan (Lahore).

The first-class record is 709 (218*, 36*, 234*, 77* and 144) by K.C.Ibrahim for Bombay in 1947-48. Three others (G.A.Hick 645, V.M.Merchant 634 and E.H.Hendren 630) have enjoyed an unbroken runs sequence of 600 or more.

In 1994, J.D.Carr (Middlesex) ended the season by scoring 854 runs for once out: 78*, 171*, 136, 106*, 40*, 62* and 261*.

Q. Who has hit the most centuries before lunch in Test cricket? Has anyone ever hit a century in each of the three sessions of a day of Test cricket? westcotoby

Bearders' Answer: Four batsmen have scored a hundred before lunch on the first day of a Test. Fourteen others have either added 100 runs to an overnight score or scored a fresh century on other days - Brian Lara is unique in having twice scored/added a pre-lunch century.

Sir Donald Bradman came closest to scoring a hundred in each session when he made 309 runs for Australia against England on the first day at Leeds in 1930 - 105 before lunch, 115 between lunch and tea, and 89 in the final session.

Q. In a recent limited-overs Sunday friendly match I played in, our third-change bowler was forced to abort an over after two deliveries having sustained an injury. A team-mate who had not previously bowled in the match completed the over. Had it been an international or domestic cup tie, would a bowler who had already completed his allocation of overs been allowed to complete his injured team-mate's over? Mike, Cheshire

Bearders' Answer: No, Mike. The over would have had to have been completed by someone who had not already exhausted his allocation. Whatever number of balls needed to complete the aborted over (four in your example) would count as a full over for the entitlement of the bowler who deputised.

Q. Who scored the 1,000th century in Test cricket? Ross Deere, Queensland

Bearders' Answer: That was Ian Chappell against West Indies in Australia's first innings of the second Test at Melbourne on 27 December 1968. He just pipped Bill Lawry who recorded the 1,001st later in the same (final) session of the second day. By coincidence Chappell was dismissed for 165, the same score on which Charles Bannerman was compelled to retire hurt having completed the very first hundred in the inaugural Test on the same ground in March 1877.


  • Comment number 1.

    Bill, I used to play at Chalkwell Park for both Westcliff and subsequently Leigh-On-Sea. I remember when I was younger that Australia were rumoured to have played there and scored a record amount of runs in one day. I have tried to use google but to no avail.

    Could you confirm whether this myth is true and does it still hold the record for most runs scored by a team in one day?

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Bill - Phil from Norfolk.

    Not too long a go Monty Panesar was batting with Ryan Sidebottom in a test. Both are both left arm bowlers AND left handed batsmen. This seems a very rare ocurrence in test cricket - has it ever happened before?

  • Comment number 3.

    Many sources regularly refer to any matches played at the current main ground of Lancashire as being played at Manchester, despite the official name being (at least partially) Old Trafford.

    Are there other test grounds throughout the world which are regularly referred to not by their true name, but rather by the name of the connurbation/city they are in, excluding a contraction like the GABBA or WACA?

  • Comment number 4.

    Further to dannymagix comment Australia scored 721 in the day at Southchurch Park on 15 May 1948 - also I believe the only time the Australians were dismissed inside a day in the English summer of 1948.

  • Comment number 5.

    Re: BigHairRef 1:09pm - and of course as most Mancunians will tell you, old trafford is simply NEAR Manchester, not actually in it!

  • Comment number 6.

    I am naturally left handed and would bowl left handed at cricket yet bat right handed. Weird I know. How many players bowled with one hand yet then played the opposite way with the bat?
    Liam, Lancs

  • Comment number 7.

    Given that from a no-ball or free hit a batsman can only be given out run out, is there anything to stop him blocking the ball at his feet, and then either teeing it up or otherwise striking the ball again to score runs? Normally this would be given out for hitting the ball twice--does that rule still apply to a free hit or no-ball?

  • Comment number 8.

    #7 - Off a free hit, a batsman can be out in any of the ways that he can be out off a no-ball, including hit the ball twice.

    Run out is the most (and only) common method of being out off a no-ball / free hit, but handled the ball, and obstructied the field are equally possible and valid, in addition to hit the ball twice.

  • Comment number 9.

    I recently watched highlights of the England v South Africa world cup game in 1992 where under the rain rule South Africa's winning target was modified from 22 off 13 balls to 21 off 1 ball. What would have the target off 1 ball have been under the Duckworth Lewis rule?

  • Comment number 10.

    Dear Bill, I've been trying to explain the "beautiful" idiosyncrasies of cricket to my girlfriend (I think they make the game all the more loveable; she seems to think it proof that anyone who plays cricket is completely potty) and was pointing out that a test match can last five days but can be very short indeed.

    Theoretically, I suppose, since one can declare the innings at any time, once it is started and each side can forfeit an innings, the shortest (although most pointless) game could last just two balls. If there were no declarations, forfeitures or retirements, presumably the shortest two innings game would be thirty-one balls (ten balls for each first innings, ten balls for one side's second innnings and a final ball for their opposition to score the winning run).

    First, I would be grateful if you could check this and see if I have some wonky logic or have misunderstood the laws (both highly likely). The main point of my query, though was to find out what the shortest ever Test match actually played was.

    I hope that you are able to answer the query.

  • Comment number 11.

    Gareth from Kent,

    A thirty-ball test match would be possible without any declarations. The side batting first would need to lose 20 wickets in 20 balls (shorter is not possible) for no runs; and the side batting second would have to lose 10 wickets in 10 balls in their first run, but one of the dismissals would have to be a run out going for the second run. The side batting second would thereby win by an innings and one run in just 30 balls.

    Of course, this seems as unlikely a scenario as the famous answer to the question of what is the lowest complete clearance in snooker (the maximum being 147). People ponder this for ages and rarely get the answer which involves potting all fifteen reds with the first shot of the break!

  • Comment number 12.

    Bill. I notice that each international player have an appearance number showing the number they are on the list of players who have represented their country. With regard to England, can you tell me what the greatest difference in number is between two players in the same test team - ie the difference between the player who made their debut first and the player making their debut in a given match?

    And a supplementary question, which decade saw the most players making their debut - ie the greatest increase in the alotted numbers in that decade? My guess would be the 1990s.

  • Comment number 13.

    re 3

    Short matches

    A completed match can theoretically last 0 legitamate balls

    let me explain

    ball 1 'wide' batsmen run; do not cross, batsman out of ground 'run out'.

    batsmen 3 - 11 are lazy and each one does do not appear until over 3 minutes have elapsed, therfore out 'timed out'

    as No. 11 comes on and is given 'out' 'timed out' he rips out a stump and starts to bang it into the pitch

    umpires award 5 penalty runs to the bowling side 'willful dammage to the pitch by batsman'

    innings closes at 1 all out,

    bowling team win by penalty runs

    so the bowling team have not even had to face a delivery, the side batting 1st recieved one wide ball so no batsmen faced a legitamate delivery that they could have even hit.

    if this were a 2 innings match then obviously just slot in forfieture of 1st and second innings respectively

    this is off the top of my head the shortest I can get it down to. If anyone can get less than 1 illegitamte ball - let me know

  • Comment number 14.

    In answer to liam141, I think you will be advised by the statisticians there are and have been quite a few top players who bat or batted "Southpaw".

    Perhaps is something to do with the hand - eye coordination and/or the instruction everyone gets playing cricket to grip the top hand a little firmer than the bottom. Snooker players vary slightly how they "sight" the pot and Rocket Ronnie is unique in that he can play both ways.

    When I used to ring bells, I actually found it easier ringing LH.

    My father is right handed and used to bat left. He didn't deign to play much with us as children; even at around 50 he was much better than his teenage sons and had very bad veins so we had to give him plenty of width...Once I persuaded him to bat RH and he was useless - even I got him first ball.

    He tells a story of why his aquiline nose is bent to one side. He was told by his captain not to bowl a certain type of delivery at a renowned batter. Whatever the precise nature of the circumstances he did and took the full force of the return smash just below the bridge of his nose, knocking him out for three days.

    Perhaps that is why he always encouraged us to bowl him wide long-hops...

  • Comment number 15.

    You don't even need the first wide. As the bowler runs up for the first delivery, the batsman at the bowler's end walks out of his ground and the bowler runs him out (unsporting, but there it is.) Thereafter the rest of the team is timed out, as before...

  • Comment number 16.

    Re: #6 Liam:

    John Edrich was right-handed and batted left-handed - I recall once seeing a batsman chance a run on a ball hit to his "weaker" right hand and being run out.

    Derek Underwood was right-handed as well, and bowled left-handed, though batted right-handed.

  • Comment number 17.

    Comment 9 - this was answered in an Ask Bearders some time ago, if you are handy with search engines you will find it.

    One other non-cricketing use of the Oval was as a POW camp during the war - where presumably some of the Germans, had they been permitted, would have managed a soccer match!

  • Comment number 18.

    Re- Post 12

    I'd guess it would be Brian Close (344) and Mike Selvey (466) on July 8th 1976 Test match after Close made his debut way back in 1949.

  • Comment number 19.

    question 10 - Gareth from Kent

    there are 19 cases of a test being over in 2 days

    by balls the shortest is WI vs ENG in 1998 which was called off, due to the extremely bad pitch, after 61 balls

    there are 10 other drawn matches with less than 650 balls, mostly due to rain curtailing the match in the middle of one innings, but occasionally with both teams at least batting

    the shortest match to actually end in a win was AUS winning vs SA in 1932 in 656 balls, spread over 3 days (and a rest day) but with one called off due to rain

    question 9 - Philosphical Rourkey

    from the bearded one's previous answer

    "Under the current D-L format, South Africa's target would have been 236 - four to tie and five to win."


    question 12 - Laurie 81

    for recent decades the figures for Test debuts are:

    1960s - 46
    1970s - 38
    1980s - 57
    1990s - 58
    2000+ - 40

    however there were 64 in the 1930s and the same in the 1920s which are the two record holding decades

  • Comment number 20.

    Q. The names please of the only time a father and two sons have played in the same international team......

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Bill, one of the key elements of cricket that I cite to my less-informed, American girlfriend, is the artistry of stroke play and the satisfying sounds made on impact with the ball, which couple together to make a masterful looking action when someone is at the top of their game. Who were some of the most artistic batsmen in your eyes? And, has the satisfying sound of striking a cricket ball changed over the years as balls, bats, deliveries, shots, stump mikes and technologies change? Thanks, Ben, Somerset.

  • Comment number 22.

    Re #9

    All test grounds are now referred to by the name of the town/city in which they are situated except, I think, Lord's and The Oval which would obviously otherwise simply be called London. Are there any other cities around the world with 2 or more test grounds which need to be referred to specifically by the name of the ground?
    Alan, Bolton.

  • Comment number 23.

    Sorry #22 should start


  • Comment number 24.

    Re 22: Off the top of my head -

    In New Zealand: Eden Park (Auckland), the Basin Reserve (Wellington), Lancaster Park (I decline to say the sponsors' name) (Christchurch).

    India: Eden Gardens

    Australia: the Gabba (Wollongabba), the WACA.

    Windies: Sabina Park

  • Comment number 25.


    I remember when I was very young and watching England v The West Indies in 1966. One of the commentators mentioned that Gary Sobers had bowled a maiden over to one of the England batsmen who played forward to every ball and hit them all straight back to the bowler. I am sure he gave this particular type of over a name but I can't for the life of me remember what it was (it was a long time ago!).

    Any thoughts?


  • Comment number 26.

    question 20 - Avitohyes

    a trick question, but one possible answer (of many) would be ENG vs WI 1963, 3rd test when MJ Stewart (father of Alec) played with JM Parks (son of JH) and PE RichardSON

    however when looking this up i did notice that IJ Jones (father of Simon) played his first 13 tests (of 15) with a son (JM Parks again) and another father to be (either Mickey Stewart in his first test or MC Cowdrey, father of Colin), this must be a record of sorts

  • Comment number 27.

    re #12 and 18

    I think I can beat Close/Selvey. What about W Rhodes (121) and LF Townsend (254)?

    Rhodes played test cricket over an even longer period than Close. Having made his debut under WG Grace he was still playing test cricket nearly 31 years later.

  • Comment number 28.

    Can Hampshire still win the Pro 40 league if Notts Beat Sussex on Sunday?

    (My runrate knowledge is very poor I am afraid!)

  • Comment number 29.

    In which year were most cricketing days' play lost in the UK ?

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Bill. Recently in my Sunday League match, due to very short, straight boundaries, we placed a man directly behind the 'keeper. The batsman at the time was unhappy and said this was against the rules. I pointed out that we cannot place a fielder behind the bowler but can behind the 'keeper. Was I right?

    Sahil, Middlesex

  • Comment number 31.

    When, who and where did international batsmen first punch gloves at the square to celebrate? It feels like a WA thing in the 70's but would like to know more definitely. Any ideas?

  • Comment number 32.

    When Middlesex play England in the Stanford 20/20 on 26th Oct 2008, will this be the first time England have played against a first class Englsih county team?

  • Comment number 33.

    I have a vague recollection of being told that both the grandfather and father of a childhood friend participated in tandem cycle races around the boundary of a London cricket ground, Lords I think. It's unlike Bearders to miss anything, so are there any ideas for the cycling venue that I'm thinking of?

  • Comment number 34.

    Bearders, has a six ever been scored from the first ball of a test match/ODI? Whats the most amount of runs scored from the first over of a test match?
    Cheers Duncan, London

  • Comment number 35.

    Essex did play Australia in Southend, but it was at Southchurch Park, not Chalkwell Park. The match took place in 1948 and Australia were bowled out in one day having scored 721 runs, Bradman scoring 187 of them.

  • Comment number 36.


    We have heard a lot in recent months about Twenty20 cricket having been invented in England and Wales. I am a little unsure about this as I seem to recall that the format, if not the nmae, originated in New Zealand as Cricket Max or something similar. Am I right or is this a false memory?

    Keith, now of Essex , formerly Manchester

  • Comment number 37.

    When were batting and bowling points introduced into the County Championship? Did there used to be ties for the title or did they draw lots or rely on the head-to-head result?

    Which counties have provided the most England test players and which the most test caps (and least in each case)?

  • Comment number 38.


    We have heard a lot in recent months about Twenty20 cricket having been invented in England and Wales. I am a little unsure about this as I seem to recall that the format, if not the name, originated in New Zealand as Cricket Max or something similar. Am I right or is this a false memory?

    Keith, now of Essex , formerly Manchester

  • Comment number 39.

    Surely the shortest possible match of anytype would be if one tam refused to take the field so the umpires awarded the match to their opponents as a forfit, giving a win without any balls being owled, legitamate or not.

  • Comment number 40.

    Can you tell me if a test match has ever been won with an "own goal" type event ie the winning run being a no-ball or an extra?

  • Comment number 41.

    question 36 - Blue Lancy Fan

    no, it isn't a false memory, cricket max was invented before 20/20 (1996) in NZ and it was 20 overs


    the 20 overs were split into 2 innings each of 10 overs, and there were "special" areas of the out field that scored "bonuses", also in the first year there was no lbw rule and in consequence 4 stumps

    so not exactly 20/20

    question 32 - Gav Barn

    just using WG Grace as an example (and there are many many more) he played for England against Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex, Notts, Yorkshire, Kent and both University teams, all of which were 1st class matches (this list doesn't include Gentlemen of England which would involve several more teams)

  • Comment number 42.

    RE No. 2, i can think of Vettori and Franklin from New Zealand as Lefties who will have batted together. Also Jayasuriya and Vaas of Sri Lanka, im sure there's plenty of others.

  • Comment number 43.

    and i should point out that England played Kent in 1999 as a warm up for the 50 over world cup, a game ENG won at Canterbury by 32 under the D-L method

  • Comment number 44.

    Dear Bill,
    In Viv Richards' autobiography, he claims to have scored a century for Somerset in 30 balls. I would be interested to know more about what sounds like an incredible innings.
    Many thanks.
    Steve, Cambridgeshire

  • Comment number 45.

    question 44 - Steve Drums

    if he did it wasn't in 1st class or list A (limited over) cricket

    The fastest recorded authentic hundred in 1st class cricket in terms of balls received was scored off 34 balls in 43 minutes by D. W. Hookes

    The following fast hundreds were scored in contrived circumstances when full tosses, long hops etc were bowled deliberately to expedite a declaration: G Chapple (21 minutes), Lancashire v Glamorgan at Manchester, 1993; TM Moody (26 minutes), Warwickshire v Glamorgan at Swansea, 1990; SJ O'Shaughnessy (35 minutes), Lancashire v Leicestershire at Manchester, 1983; CM Old (37 minutes), Yorkshire v Warwickshire at Birmingham, 1977; NFM Popplewell (41 minutes), Somerset v Gloucestershire at Bath, 1983; MW Goodwin (25 minutes), Sussex v Middlesex, 2006, ML Pettini (24 minutes), Essex v Leicestershire, 2006.

    for limited overs (in county cricket) the top 5 are:

    36 GD Rose (110) Som v Devon 1990
    43 RR Watson (103*) Scot v Som 2003
    44 MA Ealham (112) Kent v Der 1995
    46 GD Rose (148) Som v Glam 1990
    47 MP Speight (126) Sus v Som 1993

    He does however have the fastest test 100 in terms of balls (56) vs ENG 1985/6

  • Comment number 46.

    ah..unless it was for a 100 between 100 and 200/300 of which he had 6 for somerset...hmmmm

  • Comment number 47.

    RE: 38

    It is possible that my club holds the record for the earliest recorded Twenty20 match in all but name with an annual Boxing Day match being held at Brooksbottom CC (Lancashire) since at least 1963.

    Given the cold conditions the matches were always kept down to 20 overs so that frostbite was staved off for the competitors!

  • Comment number 48.


  • Comment number 49.

    Re No 40. There must have been several instances, but England v WI at Sabina Park in 1985-86 springs to mind. Needing just 5 to win, Desmond Haynes took 4 off Greg Thomas' opening over. At this point, England unleashed their secret weapon - Allan Lamb. Coming in off his long run (it must have been from the boundary), he delivered a no ball (I had thought it was a wide, but we were well refreshed at that point) adn that was that. Who knows what might have been.

  • Comment number 50.


    seeing that England are likely to field a number of ex- captains (Strauss, Flintoff, Vaughan) in their next Test series, I wonder what the record is for the most number of ex-captains to have been part of a Test side?

    On a similar note, has there even been a Test side where all 11 members were either ex-, current or future captains?

    i wonder if the surplus of leadership experience/potential/egos led to interesting results/stories.

    ... the Pakistani team in the late 90s comes to my mind, though i'm sure you will be able to offer a much more interesting answer.

    many thanks,
    Arindam, Bristol.

  • Comment number 51.

    Hi Bill

    If a bowler bowls to a right handed batsman in a 20/20 game with 2 slips and a third man and bowls an overstep no ball, the batsman then take a single to have a left hander on strike, because the resulting delivery is a free hit is it automatically a no ball because the field cannot be changed and their are more than to fielders behind square on the legside?


  • Comment number 52.

    question 50 - arindampal2

    not sure if these are records but they would take some beating:

    in India in 1982 ENG fielded Gooch, Boycott, Gower, Gatting, Botham, Emburey, Willis and Fletcher (8 captains, either past or future)

    vs Aus in 1981 basically the same team, but without Fletcher, but with Brearley

    question 51 - matt 2493

    the entire field would move to the same "named" positions but for a left hander, a mid on would move to mid on for the left hander, the slips to slips for left hander, etc...

  • Comment number 53.

    51/52 :

    Totally irrelevant, because you ARE allowed to change the field if the batsman facing the free hit is not the same batsman who faced the original no ball.

  • Comment number 54.

    question 51/52/53 - Arindampal2/Me/ScragEnd

    well it seems to depend on whose "laws" you use, the AUS cricket authorities go for

    "Free Hit after a Foot Fault No Ball
    The delivery following a no ball called for a foot fault (Law 24.5) shall be a free hit for whichever batsman is facing it. If the delivery for the free hit is not a legitimate delivery (any kind of no ball or a wide ball), then the next delivery will become a free hit for whichever batsman is facing it.
    For any free hit, the striker can be dismissed only under the circumstances that apply for a no ball, even if the delivery for the free hit is called wide ball.
    Field changes ARE PERMITTED for free hit deliveries"

    but the IND board says

    "Free Hit: If the bowler bowls a no-ball as a result of overstepping, the next ball shall be a Free Hit. For this ball, the batsman is not given out by any way in the cricket rules apart from being run-out. The captain CANNOT CHANGE THE FIELD SETTING and it will be the same as the previous ball."

    which implies even if the batsmen have changed

    but as Scrag End stated, the ICC laws for the 2007 world cup state

    "...field changes are not permited for free hit deliveries ... unless there is a change of striker..."

    so it just seems to be where you are playing

  • Comment number 55.

    Re message 40: I seem to recall that England's winning run in the Third Test at Lord's against New Zealand in 1978 was a no ball by Richard Hadlee. I think Hadlee had a smile on his face immediately afterwards, suggesting it was deliberate! England won that particular series 3-0.

  • Comment number 56.

    I was playing in a match where the bowler, during his delivery stride, broke the wicket with his hand (accidentally) at the non-striker's end. The batsmen was caught out of this delivery but, the umpire signalled a no-ball because the stumps had been broken. Was this correct decision? And has ever such an incident been recorded in first-class crikcte??

  • Comment number 57.

    Batsman strikes ball down to ground from where it bounces up, batsman fears it is going to drop on his stumps and with his bat knocks it away to where it is caught before touching the ground a second time, is he out? Saw this almost happen the other week butas the ball was grounded it was irrelevant


    jon brown

  • Comment number 58.

    Dear Bill

    I see that in the 20/20 games there is a tendency for the boundaries to be brought in to encourage more fours and sixes. Are there any rules as to the minimum and maximum distances for boundaries in any form of the game?

    Many thanks.

    John from Dudley, West Midlands

  • Comment number 59.

    Re: post no. 40 - I recall England losing the Ashes series in 2001 with a no-ball:

  • Comment number 60.

    Re: post 30 - you can have a fielder behind the keeper, position known as backstop and sometimes used in colts cricket as generally the keeper is too scared to catch the ball in case his nose gets splattered.

    In relation to the games at Soutchchurch Park, unless it has changed location (which it has'nt), the game was definately at Chalkwell Park and they used the Westcliff Pavillion (Leigh i a more recent formation).

    The only reason I know this was the article in relation hanging on to the clubhouse (bar area) wall, but it was so long ago I cant seem to find anything else about it. Although the 700 figure does ring a bell - maybe it was the article that was wrong or my memory or google (the second option seems most likely though) :-(

  • Comment number 61.

    Dear Bill,

    In an under-15 game at our local ground recently, my son Gummo and his friend Joss ran six off one delivery. The ball never crossed the boundary (although there was obviously a bit of duff fielding). How common is this in 'proper' cricket, and what should the umpire have signalled?

    Many thanks.

    Martin, Gloucestershire

  • Comment number 62.

  • Comment number 63.

    Who was the last person to hit a 6 over the lords pavilion?

  • Comment number 64.

    How many runs (approx) have been scored over the history of first class (commencing 1870) and test cricket? Must be in the millions.

    Likewise wickets - must be many thousands.

    This must be the most trivial yet the most difficult question you have yet been asked. I'm simply fascinated by the potential scale of the aggregates.

  • Comment number 65.

    question 64 - Doctor Quelch

    just the Test aggregates (for now) from 1877 to 11 Aug 2008

    Matches - 1886

    Runs - 1834235

    Wkts - 57711

    Balls bowled - 3946779

    Ave.runs/wkt - 31.78

    still working on 1st Class.....don't hold your breath

  • Comment number 66.

    The other day I was talking to a fellow international student from Bangladesh about cricket, and he told me that in a Test against India in 2007 Bangladesh opener Javed Omar was out to the first ball of both innings.

    I know that there will have been a few occurances of King pairs in cricket, but have there been other times when this has been the first ball of both innings?

    Sam in Melbourne

  • Comment number 67.

    Re #39
    I think you'll find that if one team refuses to take the field, the ICC will now class it as a draw (though you may have to wait a few years for national cricket boards to exert their authority for this decision to be made)

  • Comment number 68.

    A much simpler way to have a test match end in zero legitimate balls is to have everyone run out off a no ball with one batsman completing a run and out going for the 2nd.

  • Comment number 69.

    #56 - there is no penalty for accidentally breaking the wicket at the bowler's end when delivering the ball, and therefore the umpire was wrong to call no-ball, and disallow the dismissal.

    #57 - as the ball has hit the ground between when it was first struck and when it was caught, the batsman is not out caught. As the second stroke was in defence of his wicket, he's also not out hit the ball twice.

    #61 - It's very likely that 6 runs will have been scored in 1st class cricket without a boundary being scored, but unless a note was made at the time, it may be impossible to distinguish these from more conventional sixes. As the ball didn't reach the boundary, the umpire should not make any signal, in the same way that no signal is made when there is an all-run 4. The signals for 4 and 6 are only made when a boundary allowance is awarded.

  • Comment number 70.

    Re: 21.

    My better half is not American Girlfriend - but Polish. They don't even have baseball in Poland and so explaining Cricket is a complete uphil struggle. It's made worse by the fact that she has not a competitive bone in her body and can't even understand the point of keeping score or having winners and losers.

    The only thing that I have managed to get her interested is the sound of the ball hitting various parts of the bat; the stumps; the keeper's gloves; the batsman's box; first slips hands. This is because she's a sound recordist; pianist, percussionist and conductor. I screen my copy of, "The Natural", which has some interesting sound effects as Roy Hobbs (played by Robert Redford) strikes the baseball.

  • Comment number 71.

    Re 47: There's been a 20-over competition held amongst the clubs in the London Borough of Harrow, called the Mayor of Harrow Cup. I'm fairly sure it's been going since around 1960, possibly a couple of years earlier. We don't currently have the trophy in out Club House and so I can't actually check when it started.

  • Comment number 72.

    Hi Bill, The concept of batsmen becoming a bowlers 'bunny' in a series is well known, but has there ever been a series where a batsman lost his wicket to the same bowler in every innings of a test series? If not, what is the most times one bowler has dismissed the same batsman in a series?
    Tom, London

  • Comment number 73.

    No. 66. Almost as impressive as Javed Omar's achievement was that of Pakistan's Taufeeq Umar v Australia in 2002-03. Bowled by Brett Lee's second delivery (the first was a no-ball) in the first innings for 0, he was run out without facing a ball in the second. A pair having faced only one legitimate ball - that has to be hard to beat.

    In the same match, Pakistan managed 59 in the first innings, 53 in the second, seven less than Matthew Hayden's 119 in Australia's only innings. Have there been other instances in test cricket of one batsman scoring more than the opposition combined (in 2 completed all out innings)?

  • Comment number 74.

    Lancashire's first innings total against Kent in the County Championship at Liverpool this week (17/9/09) was 107 with "top scorer" being Extras (32).
    Just how unusual is this phenomenon in first class cricket, and what please is the highest innings total in which no batsman managed to outscore Extras?

    Chris, Cambridge

  • Comment number 75.

    Re comment 20 - there are two famous father and son combinations who have played in the same team in recent times: Richards and Richardson for WI and Miandad (me and dad) for Pak. There's a hoary old chestnut for you. Ho ho ho.

    Now on to the serious stuff. There doesn't appear to be any rule preventing the batsman handling the wicket or its component pieces. Is it therefore possible if the ball has hit the wicket gently and a bail is about to fall for the batsman to steady and replace it before the wicket is technically down? Extending this (as it is admittedly an extremely unlikely scenario) as the ball is bowled, could the batsman stand holding the wicket preventing it being broken?

  • Comment number 76.

    question 74 - Wise Chris

    as for 1st class cricket i don't know but

    in TESTS extras have been highest scorer in 17 innings, ranging from 30 all out, extras 11 for SA vs ENG 1924, to 339 all out, extras 60, for ENG vs WI in 2004

    these are highest innings scores, "extras" have in fact managed more than this on occasion, and even when they have, like the above, led the scoring, the highest being 65 out of 319 for 8 dec ZIM vs SL 1994

    question 73 - Mr Chablis

    there have been a few

    the highest individual score being Len Hutton's 364 against AUS in 1938, where the two AUS innings were 201 and 123 making 324

    others would include

    R Abel ENG 120 vs SA 47 and 43 1889
    Bradman AUS 185 vs IND 58 and 98 1947

    question 75 - I Love My Denham

    while there may not be a specific Law i think Law 42 covers this, and many other "oddities", quite simply

    "...The umpires shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play. If either umpire considers an action, not covered by the Laws, to be unfair, he shall intervene without appeal and, if the ball is in play, shall call and signal Dead ball ...The umpires together shall
    (i) inform the player's captain of the occurrence, instructing the latter to take action"

    which rather suggests you can maybe do it once then, the umpire calls dead ball, warns you, and if you do it again...finished! (providing your captain plays "fairly")

    all of which is also covered here,475,AR.html

  • Comment number 77.

    Hi bill has there ever been a left arm bowler who batted right handed?.I know there are many left hand batsmen who bowl right handed like james anderson.thanks for your reply in advance.Ron from st.lucia.

  • Comment number 78.


    Is it possible to get two batsmen out in one ball (e.g: catch then a run out?)

    keep up the good work


  • Comment number 79.

    question 77 - Gr8ron

    off the top of my head, Ashley Giles, and many many more

    Question 78 - Super Dawidmalan

    no, as soon as one wkt falls the ball is dead and no one else can be out

    law 23

    1. Ball is dead
    (a) The ball becomes dead when
    (iii) a batsman is dismissed

  • Comment number 80.

    Thanks for your answer. I had come to the same conclusion. However if you had a complete rabbit going in at 11 with one ball of the match to see off in order to draw rather than lose, I reckon it could be a useful tactic (although outrageous).
    Then it's down to timing - what is the rule if the umpire calls dead ball after the ball has left the bowler's hand but before it reaches the batsman? If it counts as one of the over then you've got away with it; if it doesn't, then there is no benefit.

    Even if the umpires didn't consider it unfair, I think the practical outcome of the situation is that you would probably knock a bail off accidentally (because you're wearing hefty gloves, looking the wrong way and holding a bat in the other hand) and be out hit wicket. And if you did have the skill to hold the bat and not take off the bails, the bowler would probably get wise after a ball or two and just start bowling some bodyline stuff at your now largely unprotected body (as you can't expect a one-hand-held bat will be much use for defence) forcing you to take evasive action, during which you're almost guaranteed to get out hit wicket.

  • Comment number 81.


    Two questions, both related to age and prompted by our game against Coaver CC on Sunday.

    Our 67 year old opening bat scored a ton on Sunday. He has now scored club cricket centuries in each of 6 decades, his first being in 1959. Has anyone heard of this being done before and have any first class players managed tons in more than 3 decades?

    Who is the oldest person ever to score a first class hundred?

    Charles Sheldrick, Cheriton Fitzpaine CC

  • Comment number 82.

    Dear Bill,
    when and where was first test match ever was played?

  • Comment number 83.

    In 1993, Mark Ilott played Test cricket and his older brother Nigel played Minor County cricket for Hertfordshire. Are there any other brothers who have been involved in Test and Minor County cricket in the same summer?

  • Comment number 84.

    why don't international or county cricket games, particularly the 20 : 20, report match attendance?

  • Comment number 85.

    Dear Bill

    In response to your answer regarding other sports that have been played at Lords, was Rackets also played at Lords - was the museum formerly a rackets court?

    Many thanks

  • Comment number 86.

    I like to keep my questions topical so this one is about recently retired Graeme Hick.

    His qualification period for the England team was closely scrutinised due to his billing as the next big thing. So I would be interested to know what his career batting stats were before he made his Test debut against the West Indies in 1991.


    Dean, Leeds

  • Comment number 87.

    Bill, earlier this year my team 'Stalybridge St Pauls' managed a total of 125 all out, what was remarkable is that 1 member of the side had amassed 106 of those runs. What is the highest percentage of the teams runs scored by a player in International cricket? Also what is the lowest score by a team where one of the players had reached a century?

    M.Stafford from Stalybridge, Cheshire

  • Comment number 88.

    Re Question 81. Can't find conclusive proof of a cricketer making centuries in 4 different decades but Brian Close did the double in his debut season of 1949 and plyed county cricket until the late 70s so must surely have done it. Similarly Jack Hobbs' county career also spanned 4 decades-1905-1934.

  • Comment number 89.

    Bill, who and when was the last player to be given out "hit the ball twice" and what exactly defines hitting the ball twice?

  • Comment number 90.

    Oh, I'm from Annfield Plain in County Durham, not far from Colly's club Shotley Bridge.

  • Comment number 91.

    Hi Bill, To be given out in cricket unless the batsmen walks I believe that the fielding side has to appeal to the umpire.

    One of the stranger possibile dissmissles is Batsman Timed Out where a batsman takes longer than 3 miniutes to arrive at the crease. To apeal for this type of dissmissal seems very unsporting and could be forseen to be against the spirit of the game which is a very ambigious but good law of the game.

    Has any team ever apealed for this type of dissmissal or has any batsmen ever been given out timed, in first class or International Cricket?

    Jim Hyde Cleethorpes N.E.Lincs.

  • Comment number 92.

    question 89 - Queens Parader

    no International player has ever been given out "hit ball twice"

    in 1st class there have been 21 cases, the last in ENG was in 1906 (King of LEICS vs SURREY)

    the last in all the world was in 2005/6, J Mahajan for Jammu and Kashmir vs Bihar

    basically you are out "hit ball twice" if you "stop" the ball with your bat or body and then "tee off" a static ball (although being static is not necessary) and, importantly, try to score runs (protecting your wkt is not counted)

    see law 34,60,AR.html

    question 91 - Jim Hyde

    like the last answer no International player has ever been out "Timed Out"

    in all 1st class this has only happened 4 times, the last AJ Harris for NOTTS vs DURHAM UNIV in 2003

    question 87 - M Stafford

    the highest % in tests is the famous case of C Bannerman scoring 165 not out for AUS in the very first test in 1877, from a total of 245, being 67.34% (there are 9 other cases of 100s being 60%+ of team totals, together with 5 non-100s)

    in ODIs the record is 69.48% when Viv Richards scored 189 not out of 272 for WI vs ENG 1984

    question 82 - Masroor1

    the first recognised Test match was between AUS and ENG, 15th March, 1877 at the MCG in AUS

  • Comment number 93.

    question 86 - Nicky Boye

    until 1990 (the season before his ENG debut) Hick had scored 16065 runs at 63.00

    from 1991 until 2001 (the season he played his last game for ENG) he scored 17728 runs at 47.28

    and from 2002 until 2008 (when he retired) he scored 7319 runs at 46.62

    overall his average was 52.23 in all first class and 31.32 for ENG

  • Comment number 94.

    Has there ever been an innings in which all 10 wickets to fall were taken by 10 bowlers ? If not, what is the maximum number of wicket-takers in an innings.

    Ajay Baluja, Canada

  • Comment number 95.

    question 94 - Ajaybaluja

    for a test match the record in an innings is 7, which has happened 4 times (the team with 7 wkt/bowl first):

    ENG vs AUS 1891
    SA vs ENG 1923
    AUS vs SA 1966
    NZ vs SA 2006

    in all cases the side with 7 wkt taking bowlers lost

    in ODIs the record is also 7, only 3 times:

    NZ vs IND 1976
    NZ vs SL 1991
    NETH vs BERM 2007

    in all cases, this time, the side with 7 wkts taking bowlers won

  • Comment number 96.

    At the end of the county championship season when achieving a result is of the utmost importance and a significant amount of play has been lost to weather, quite often innings are manufactured between the teams, for example one team will use non recognised bowlers so that the batting team can accumulate a large total in a short time. Do these innings contribute to a batsman's official average?

  • Comment number 97.


    Yes all runs scored from occasional bowlers count-and indeed wickets taken by the occasional bowlers. Instances of this used to be more frequent in days of 3 day matches. However where batsman score a quickfire hundred off occasional bowlers either in terms of minutes taken or balls faced, such centuries are generally not recognised in lists of quickest hundreds.

  • Comment number 98.

    This season one of my 1st X1 bowlers took 8 wickets for 6 runs in 5 overs, including taking 2 hatricks.
    Has this been done before ?

  • Comment number 99.

    question 98 - Jimmy Boy Stanley

    well assuming this is not a first class match then no, many bowlers have taken more wkts for less runs at club level

    just opening a cricket book more or less at random

    "...a 14 year old Marlborough College bowler called Stephen Fleming achieved the phenomenal match figures of 1.1-1-0-9. Fleming bowled 9 balls in the match and took a wicket with each ball"

    i also remember a framed scorecard from the 70s in a pavillion in (or near) Chipping Campden (Broadway maybe?), with one side all out for 1 in 6 overs, the first bowler bowling 3 maidens, the second taking all 10 wkts for 0 in 3 overs and 1 run being an extra

    in first class cricket Pat Pocock had figures of 16-1-67-7 in 1972 for Surrey vs Sussex, which hides the dramatic last 2 overs he bowled, 2-0-4-7, including a hatrick, and one more run out! this, i believe, still stand as the most wkts in 2 consecutive overs

    and by the way the next, 178, blog has started


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