Ask Bearders #181
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. Gambhir and VVS are (I think) the first two Indians to score double tons in the same innings. I have not found another occasion when two batsmen have scored double tons in the same innings against the Baggy Greens. Is this a first in all Test cricket? rustic_cricketer
Just wondering about the amazing achievement of Gambhir and Laxman in scoring double centuries against Australia. How many times has it been done? Also, has anyone ever done it against Australia before?
Tom B (Suffolk)
Bearders' Answer: As the following table shows, the Gautam Gambhir/VVS Laxman double is the 14th in Test cricket, the first for India and the first for any team against Australia:
- W.H.Ponsford (266)/D.G.Bradman (244) Australia v England, The Oval, 1934
- S.G.Barnes (234)/D.G.Bradman (234) Australia v England, Sydney, 1946-47
- C.C.Hunte (260)/G.St A.Sobers (365*) West Indies v Pakistan, Kingston, 1957-58
- W.M.Lawry (210)/R.B.Simpson (201) Australia v West Indies, Bridgetown, 1964-65
- Mudassar Nazar (231)/Javed Miandad (280*) Pakistan v India, Hyderabad, 1982-83
- G.Fowler (201)/M.W.Gatting (207) England v India, Madras, 1984-85
- Qasim Omar (206)/Javed Miandad (203*) Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Faisalabad, 1985-86
- S.T.Jayasuriya (340)/R.S.Mahanama (225) Sri Lanka v India, Colombo (RPS), 1997-98
- Ijaz Ahmed (211)/Inzamam-ul-Haq (200*) Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Dhaka, 1998-99
- M.S.Atapattu (249)/K.C.Sangakkara (270) Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, 2003-04
- W.W.Hinds (213)/S.Chanderpaul (203*) West Indies v South Africa, Georgetown, 2004-05
- K.C.Sangakkara (287)/D.P.M.D.Jayawardena (374) Sri Lanka v South Africa, Colombo (SSC), 2006
- N.D.McKenzie (226)/G.C.Smith (232) South Africa v Bangladesh, Chittagong, 2007-08
- G.Gambhir (206)/VVS Laxman (200*) India v Australia, Delhi, 2008-09
Q. The MCC has recommended that the ICC overturns its recent awarding of a draw instead of a forfeiture for the England-Pakistan Test at The Oval in 2006. Who you think is correct?
Bearders' Answer: According to the Laws of Cricket, which the ICC apparently chooses to ignore for political expediency, the MCC Cricket Committee, the game's law-making body, is correct. Indeed there is no precedent for the result of a Test match being changed after the day of its completion. 'Match forfeited' was the correct result under Law 21 when Pakistan refused to take the field with the England batsmen ready to play after tea on the fourth day.
I was delighted to read that the ICC President, David Morgan, has said that reversing the result of that match was inappropriate and indicated that the ICC might reconsider their decision. Hopefully he will also turn his attention to the ICC's ludicrous award of Test status to that superfluous Australians v ICC World XI game.
Q. It would be interesting to know who has been run out least in limited-overs internationals of those players who have played a lot of them.
Bearders' Answer: Maurice Odumbe of Kenya holds the record for most innings in internationals without a run out with 59 in 61 matches. The only other batsmen with more than 25 such innings are Glenn Turner (New Zealand) with 40 and Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan) with 35.
Q. What is the maximum number of Tests in a series? How many Test series of six or more matches have taken place? When was the last six-match Test series?
Ajay Baluja (Canada)
Bearders' Answer: There is no limit. The most has been seven between Australia and England in 1970-71, although the seventh was actually a late replacement for the Third Test at Melbourne after it had been abandoned without a ball bowled because of rain.
There have been 17 six-match series, the last of which, played between West Indies and England from January to March 1998, also involved a replacement match after the First Test had been abandoned because of a dangerous pitch. The last scheduled six-match rubber took place between England and Australia in 1997.
Q. Who has the highest Test average without having made a century?
Bearders' Answer: Given a qualification of eight innings, Australia's right-handed all-rounder, Alan Fairfax is alone in averaging 46 or more without a century. In 10 Tests (1928-29 to 1930-31), he averaged 51.25, scoring 410 runs in 12 innings, the highest of his four fifties being 65.
Q. The school in which I work counts one Francis Alexander MacKinnon amongst its alumni. In fact one of their houses is named after him. They claim he has the distinction of being the longest lived Test-cricketer in history, reaching the age of 98. This would mean obviously that no one who has played Test cricket has ever 'reached 100'. Is this true, and if so is there anyone currently threatening the record?
Bearders' Answer: Yes, you are absolutely correct. He was born in Paddington, London, on 9 April 1848 and died at Drumduan, Forres, Morayshire, on 27 February 1947 at the age of 98 years and 324 days. Educated at Harrow and St John's College, Cambridge, he won a blue for his right-handed batting in 1870 (in the epic 'Cobden's Match') before playing for Kent (1875-85). In 88 first-class appearances he scored 2,310 runs at 15.71 per completed innings, including two hundreds, the higher being 115. He became a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Kent and was President of Kent CCC in 1889. In 1903 he succeeded his father as the Mackinnon of Mackinnon, becoming the 35th chief of that Clan. His bat is exhibited in the local museum.
His solitary Test cap was gained for Lord Harris's England team at Melbourne in January 1879 when he was dismissed twice by Fred ('The Demon') Spofforth for 0 and 5.
Eric Tindill (New Zealand) born 18 December 1910 and approaching his 98th birthday is his closest challenger, with South Africa's Norman Gordon (born 6 August 1911) also in his 98th year. Only one other Test cricketer has celebrated even a 96th birthday, New Zealand's opening batsman John Kerr notching 96 years and 150 days. The oldest England Test cricketers still on board are Surrey's Arthur McIntyre and Sir Alec Bedser who celebrated their 90th birthdays last summer.
Q. During the 2007 Headingley Test match between England and West Indies, Daren Powell was dismissed twice in the final session of the second day. I am unable to be exact about the times he was dismissed (I'm sure you can be precise on this matter), but it was at approximately 16:55 in the first innings, and 18:30 in the second innings, meaning he was dismissed twice within 95 minutes. Is this a Test record?
Rupert Merrick (UK)
Bearders' Answer: You were only a minute out, Rupert. His dismissals occurred 94 minutes apart, at 4.56pm (c Collingwood b Plunkett 8) and, as a night-watchman batting at number 3, at 6.30pm (lbw b Sidebottom 0).
This is certainly the shortest interval between dismissals in a Test match that I have on record. The closest (and the fastest 'pair' in Test cricket) of which I have a note was inflicted upon M.E.Z. ('Ebbu') Ghazali of Pakistan by England at Old Trafford on 24 July 1954. He began his first innings at 4.14pm and completed his 'pair' at 6.14pm so the dismissals would have been at least 110 minutes apart.
Q. VVS Laxman scored his second Test double century against Australia in the current series. How many other players have passed 200 against Australia more than once? I know Lara has done so three times and Hammond four, but are there any others?
Bearders' Answer: You missed South Africa's Graeme Pollock who also scored two double hundreds against Australia - 209 at Cape Town in 1966-67 and 274 at Durban in 1969-70.
Q. I want to know if Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart, Nasser Hussain, Graeme Hick and Mark Ramprakash ever played for England together in the same Test match. If so, against who and what was the result?
Bearders' Answer: They did indeed - on nine occasions (results in brackets): against Australia at The Oval (W) in 1993; against South Africa at Nottingham (W) and Leeds (W) in 1998; against Australia at Perth (L), Adelaide (L) and Melbourne (W) in 1998-99; against Zimbabwe at Lord's (W) and Nottingham (D) 1980; and against West Indies (L) in 2000. A tally of five wins, three defeats and a draw.
Q. Curious about those games where all 11 batsmen bowled, I looked up the last instance (South Africa in Antigua in 2005) and saw that Mark Boucher actually took the last West Indian wicket (Dwayne Bravo's). On how many occasions has a keeper taken a Test scalp and was Boucher the last?
Bearders' Answer: Fifteen cricketers have made a stumping and taken a wicket as a bowler during their Test careers and a good many others will have enjoyed both roles, albeit briefly. Boucher was the last keeper to take a wicket (at St John's, Antigua on 3 May 2005 - the fifth and final day - as the host's amassed 747). Almost exactly a year earlier, Tatenda Taibu had dismissed Sanath Jayasuriya at Harare. The best bowling analysis by a keeper in a match in which he kept is 4 for 19 (off 48 balls) by Alfred Lyttelton for England v Australia at The Oval in 1884 with right-arm lobs and while still wearing his pads.
Q. I have been told that the biggest percentage contribution to a team's total by one batsman in a Test match was Charles Bannerman's 165, which was 67.34% of Australia's total of 245 in the very first Test. Is that true? Has anyone got close since then?
Bearders' Answer: Absolutely true and it remained Bannerman's only hundred in a first-class career involving 84 innings between 1870-71 and 1887-88. The only other batsman to contribute more than 64% of an innings total in Tests is Michael Slater (67.34%) for Australia v England at Sydney in January 1999. He should have been adjudged run out when 35 but was reprieved by inadequately positioned replay cameras.
Q. What is the lowest first-class total where one batsman has scored a century? Joe Denly scored 115* out of 199 for Kent v Hampshire at Canterbury in 2007 but I am sure there must be much lower scores than that.
Bearders' Answer: Frank Woolley scored 103 of Kent's 144 against Warwickshire at Folkestone in 1931 so Denly's commendable innings is not even the county record.
Glenn Turner holds the record for the highest percentage of an innings total with 83.4%, achieved against Glamorgan at Swansea in 1977 when he carried his bat for 141 in Worcestershire's innings of 169 all out. Curiously the lowest completed total to include a 200 was achieved by Tom Graveney, then playing for Gloucestershire, against the same opponents at Newport in 1956. Tom told me recently that as he left the field, the generous host captain, Wilf Wooller, announced that it was the worst 200 he had ever seen!