Ask Bearders #182
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 Australia's recent Fourth Test in India, Jason Krejza had figures of 8 for 215. From 0 to 10 wickets taken, what are the worst figures in terms of runs conceded by any bowler in Test matches?
Bearders' Answer: Krejza's analysis has established a new record for the most expensive eight-wicket haul. The full list that you requested includes a few surprises:-
0-259 Khan Mohammad P v WI Kingston 1957-58
1-298 L.O.Fleetwood-Smith A v E The Oval 1938
2-247 Fazal Mahmood P v WI Kingston 1957-58
3-237 Saqlain Mushtaq P v SA Cape Town 2002-03
4-201 B.Lee A v I Sydney 2003-04
5-266 O.C.Scott WI v E Kingston 1929-30
6-226 B.S.Bedi I v E Lord's 1974
7-220 Kapil Dev I v P Faisalabad 1982-83
8-215 J.J.Krejza A v I Nagpur 2008-09
9-121 A.A.Mailey A v E Melbourne 1920-21
10- 74 A.Kumble I v P Delhi 1998-99
Q. In the recent Fourth Test between India and Australia, Jason Krejza went for 358 runs in the match - this can't be far off being a record!
Bearders' Answer: Krejza's tally is the runner-up. Only West Indian leg-break bowler O.C. ('Tommy') Scott, with match figures of 9 for 374 at Kingston in 1929-30, has conceded more. The bulk of those runs were scored off him in the first innings when he returned the remarkable figures of 80.2 overs, 13 maidens, 266 runs and 5 wickets as England amassed 849 runs at the start of a timeless Test. Andy Sandham was chiefly responsible as he posted the first international triple century in what turned out to be his final Test.
Q. What is the lowest score made by a team winning a Test match by an innings - batting first and second?
Bearders' Answer: Both those lowest innings-winning totals were made on vicious 'sticky' pitches as they dried after heavy rain.
The lowest such first-innings score is 172 by England against Australia (81 and 70) at Manchester in 1888 when a record 18 (Australian) wickets fell before lunch on the second day in the shortest completed Test match in England - 6 hours 34 minutes. The tourists were compelled to follow on as the margin in 1888 was a mere 80 runs.
Australia's 153 against South Africa (36 and 45) at Melbourne in 1931-32 is the lowest to gain an innings victory batting second.
Q. I am sure that all three Chappell brothers played Test cricket for Australia together at some point. Has this feat been equalled or surpassed?
Bearders' Answer: Oh, no, they didn't! In fact Trevor did not appear in the same Test as either of his brothers. His three appearances, all against England in 1981, were made after Ian had retired and when Greg was unavailable.
The three Grace brethren, E.M., G.F. and W.G., are alone in appearing for the same side in a Test match. They all made their debuts against Australia at The Oval in 1880 in the first Test to be staged in England.
Three Hearne brothers appeared in the Cape Town Test of March 1892 when Alec and George made their debuts for England and Frank appeared for South Africa after playing twice for England. Their cousin, John Thomas, also made his debut in that match.
Q. When one says 'a batsman was out without troubling the scorers', how much trouble does the batsman really cause?
Aaron van Geordieland
Bearders' Answer: Frequently I have publicly threatened to throttle any commentator who uses that hackneyed and erroneous expression. The fall of a wicket produces pressure points in any scoring system. If wickets fall in swift succession that pressure is dramatically increased.
The linear method I have designed for TMS commentaries involves three A4 sheets: the Ball-by-Ball Record of Play, the Innings Scorecard and the Cumulative Bowling Analyses. Only the first two are immediately affected by the fall of a wicket. First I stop the watch recording the length of his innings and zero it for the new batsman.
Record of Play: I enter 'W' in the dismissed batsman's column to show which ball took his wicket and the time of his dismissal on the next line of the 'time' column. I complete all totals in the 'End-of-Over' section and the outgoing batsman's balls and boundaries columns. Then I rule off that batsman's section and his column in the 'Totals' section. The new batsman's name is then entered on the next line of the batting column.
Innings Scorecard: I enter details of that batsman's dismissal (time out, minutes batted, how out, runs, fall-of-wicket, fours, sixes and balls faced) and his partnership details (runs, minutes and balls). Finally I add the new batsman's name and enter the time he went in.
In Test matches there would normally be a two-minute hiatus before play is resumed but it is far shorter in limited-overs games and virtually non-existent in the 20-over format.
Q. Gordon Greenidge scored 134 out of 211 for West Indies v England in the Third Test at Old Trafford in 1976. I think he actually scored 134 out of 192 runs scored while he was at the wicket, as he was ninth man out, after opening. I'll leave Bearders to do the maths but does this come very close to Bannerman's highest percentage of runs by one batsman out of a team's overall total, before Slater's innings?
Bearders' Answer: Greenidge did indeed score 134 of his side's 211 runs in that innings - 63.5% of the total - and at the time only Charles Bannerman (67.35) had bettered it. Subsequently Michael Slater (66.6% in 1998-99) and V.V.S.Laxman (63.9% in 1999-2000) have demoted him to fourth place. Greenidge actually scored 134 out of 193-9 - 69.4%.
Q. In what year was the first Test match between Australia and England at Melbourne in March 1877 recognised as an official Test match? What would its designation have been until then?
Bearders' Answer: Arranged at short notice following successful odds matches between James Lillywhite's team of English professionals and sides representing New South Wales and Victoria, the inaugural Test match was billed as 'A Grand Combined Melbourne and Sydney Eleven v James Lillywhite's Professional Touring Team'. It was the first match played on level terms (the same number of players on each side) by an English team abroad.
It's anointment as the first 'Test' match came initially at the hands of contemporary cricket historians/statisticians. In 1894 Melbourne's Clarence Percival Moody produced a 98-page publication entitled 'Australian Cricket and Cricketers 1856-1893/4'. It listed, with brief résumés, averages, records and curiosities, Australia's earliest intercolonial and international matches. Then, in 1895, John Nix Pentelow's 'England v. Australia - The Story of Test Matches' was published as Vol LXIV of Arrowsmith's Bristol Library. It included the full scores of the first 43 Anglo-Australian Tests (1877-95), together with match reports and a brief records section with full names and birthdates for most of players involved.
Q. When Ireland played England in Belfast in June 2006, brothers Dominic and Ed Joyce played against each other. Both were also making their limited-overs international debuts. Surely these are both firsts?
Bearders' Answer: Probably the only comparable instance occurred at Cape Town in March 1892 when Alec and George Hearne made their debuts for England and their brother, Frank, appeared for the opposing South Africa team after playing twice for England.
Q. Sid Barnes and Don Bradman both scored 234 in the same innings for Australia against England at Sydney in 1946-47. Is this the joint highest score made by two batsmen in Tests? What about in all first-class cricket?
Bearders' Answer: Their score of 234 is the highest jointly recorded in any first-class innings. Bradman dropped himself down the order because of a leg injury and gastric problems, joining Barnes, who had opened the batting, when he had scored 71 out of 159-4 in 244 minutes. Their partnership of 405 in 393 minutes remained the Test record for any wicket until 1990-91. Bradman was trapped lbw immediately after scoring 16 off an over from Denis Compton. Four minutes later, Barnes, after batting for 642 minutes, the longest innings for Australia until R.B.Simpson scored 311 in 762 minutes in 1964, gave a tame catch to mid-on at the same total (564). Later Barnes confessed to having thrown away his wicket so that he would finish with the same score as his captain.
Q. When was the option of taking the new ball after 80 overs introduced in Tests? What is the largest number of overs that a side has continued with the old ball?
Bearders' Answer: Playing conditions governing the availability of a new ball have varied considerably even since the Second World War. The Ashes series of 1948 was played under an experimental law that allowed a new ball after only 55 overs. The limit had risen to 85 overs when I began my stint with Test Match Special in 1966. A lengthy trawl of my scoresheets has revealed that the 80-over edict was introduced in 1996.
The highest recorded number of overs for which the original ball has been retained in Test cricket is 177. Bereft of the services of two of his key bowlers (Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding) and hampered by one of Wellington's notorious northerly winds in February 1987, West Indies captain Viv Richards countered with this tactic throughout New Zealand's second innings as they amassed 386 for five.
Q. If a batsman is stumped off a wide, how do you score it and how do you enter it in the book?
Mr J. Morrall
Bearders' Answer: I use my own A4 loose-leaf sheet scoring system. In the dismissed batsmen's space for that over, on the main scoresheet, I would enter a plus sign with a dot in the top left sector to denote the wide. Above that I would put a red 'W' denoting the fall of his wicket. On the innings scorecard I would record 'stumped off a wide' in the Notes on Dismissal section.
Q. What is the record for the most consecutive innings victories by a Test team?
Bearders' Answer: An intriguing question with a messy answer - scant reward for much research. The answer is three and there have been 13 instances shared by seven countries: Australia (4 times); England, South Africa and India (twice); New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (once). The most successive innings defeats is five and no prize for guessing that the victims have been Bangladesh (twice) and Zimbabwe (once).