BBC BLOGS - Test Match Special
« Previous | Main | Next »

Ask Bearders #185

Post categories:

Bill Frindall | 13:13 UK time, Monday, 12 January 2009

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. I've been doing my own research into this but have hit a bit of a brick wall. I'm trying to compile a list of players who have taken a Test wicket, made a Test stumping and scored a Test hundred, obviously not necessarily in the same match. So far, I have Mark Boucher, A.B. de Villiers and Javed Miandad, but I'd expect to find a couple more. Could you help at all on this?
Mike (Liverpool)

Bearders' Answer: Intriguingly no Australian and only one Englishman has qualified for this eclectic club which has a dozen members: England - J.M.Parks (2 hundreds, 1 wicket, 11 stumpings); South Africa - M.V.Boucher (5, 1, 2), Villiers (7, 2, 1); West Indies - R.J.Christiani (1, 3, 2), C.L.Walcott (15, 11, 11); New Zealand - J.R.Reid (6, 85, 1); India - S.M.H.Kirmani (2, 1, 38), V.L.Manjrekar (7, 1, 2); Pakistan - Aamer Malik (2, 1, 1), Javed Miandad (23, 17, 1), Taslim Arif (1, 1, 3); Zimbabwe - Tatenda Taibu (1, 1, 4). Clyde Walcott is alone in reaching double figures in all three categories.

Q. Has anybody apart from Andrew Strauss been on the losing side despite scoring a century in both innings of a Test match?

Bearders' Answer: Strauss is the eighth batsman to join this list:
H.Sutcliffe 176 127 E v A Melbourne Jan 1925
G.A.Headley 106 107 WI v E Lord's Jun 1939
V.S.Hazare 116 145 I v A Adelaide Jan 1948
C.L.Walcott 155 110 WI v A Kingston Jun 1955
S.M.Gavaskar 111 137 I v P Karachi Nov 1978
A.Flower 142 199* Z v SA Harare Sep 2001
B.C.Lara 221 130 WI v SL Colombo Nov 2001
A.J.Strauss 123 108 E v I Madras Dec 2008

Q. In Tests, what is the highest first innings total posted by a team batting first, only to go on to lose the match?

Bearders' Answer: Australia's 586 all out at Sydney in December 1894 remains the highest losing total for the opening innings of a Test match. England replied with 325 and, following on, scored 437 before the left-arm spin of Bobby Peel (6-67) and Johnny Briggs (3-25) snatched victory by ten runs on a 'sticky' pitch. The first Test to involve a sixth playing day, it was also the first to be won by a team following on. Spare a thought for George Giffen, Australia's champion all-rounder, who contributed 202 runs and eight wickets to a losing cause.

Q. Greetings from the US where we have one, real turf wicket! I was wondering (surprisingly hard to find) how many sides have won a Test series in Australia. If you subtract West Indies (1970-2000) and England (1877-1900), it must be only a handful?

Bearders' Answer: In fact it is two handfuls! Discounting the seasons you list, England have won eight series in Australia (1903-04, 1911-12, 1928-29, 1932-33, 1954-55, 1970-71, 1978-79, 1986-87), New Zealand one (1985-86) and now South Africa one (2008-09).
Presumably your turf wicket is on the Woodley Complex in Los Angeles where I had the privilege of playing for the MCC in 1991. Only last week I received an invitation from the Corinthians Cricket Club to speak at their 75th Anniversary Dinner in October and play for the Occasionals at Woodley the following day. I will look out for you at Cow Corner!

Q. I have a question about Greek Cricketers. Now I know that ex-Aussie fast bowler Jason Gillespie is half Greek and Hampshire's South African keeper, Nic Pothas, is also of Greek descent - but are these the only "Greeks" to have played international cricket? By the way, we have a new ground in Athens which, fingers crossed, will herald the rise of the Minotaurs on the world cricket scene.

Bearders' Answer: No Test cricketer was actually born in Greece. Zenophon Constantine Balaskas, a thickset leg-spinner and a lower-order batsman skilled enough to score two first-class double centuries, had Greek parents. Born in Johannesburg in 1910 and known as 'Bally' or 'Saxophone', he appeared for no fewer than five first-class provincial teams as well as in nine Tests. Notably, at Lord's in 1935, he contributed nine wickets to South Africa's first victory in England.
One Test cricketer, L.J. (Leonard) Moon, died in Greece. His 96 first-class matches, mainly for Cambridge University and Middlesex, included four Tests for England in South Africa in 1905-06. An aggressive opening batsman who scored 138 against the 1899 Australians, he could also keep wicket. As a 2nd Lieutenant with the Devon Regiment during the First World War, he died of wounds near Karasouli, Salonica, in 1916.
Congratulations on acquiring your new ground in Athens. As Patron of their Cricket Board, I will advise Germany to tour there.

Q. How many times has a Test side scored 400+ runs and lost all 10 wickets in one day? I think it happened in 2005 between England and Australia. sleepingkerrps

Bearders' Answer: Your instance was in that epic match at Edgbaston when Ricky Ponting ignored the loss of key bowler Glenn McGrath through a freak training accident shortly before the start, put England in and bowled them out for 407 in 79.2 overs just before stumps. England eventually scraped to victory by two runs - the narrowest runs margin in Ashes Tests.
I have found five other instances (match day in brackets):-
South Africa 451 (2nd) v New Zealand Christchurch 1931-32
Australia 450 (1st) v South Africa Johannesburg 1921-22
Australia 448 (1st) v South Africa Manchester 1912
England 428 (1st) v South Africa Lord's 1907
Australia 407 (1st) v England Leeds 1921

Q. I notice that you often refer to the method or location of death of cricketers. Is this an interest? What is the most unusual method of death for a first-class cricketer?

Bearders' Answer: When I compiled my Index of Test Cricketers for 'The Wisden Book of Test Cricket' series, I included their places of birth and, where appropriate, death. In researching my 'England Test Cricketers' I found that fate had dealt a surprising number with bizarre and unusual ends. My favourites include: crushed by a crane loading sugar aboard the SS Muriel (Charlie Absolom); in a mud hut after falling off a cart and being interred in a coffin made from whisky cases (Monty Bowden); as he was putting on his boots to go to work (Johnny Tyldesley); from pneumonia contracted while watching Yorkshire play at Sheffield (George Ulyett); from septicaemia after falling on a dance floor ('Dodger' Whysall).

Q. I think England win more Tests when Hoggard plays and lose more Tests when Anderson plays. How many of Hoggard's 67 Tests have England won? How many of Anderson's 31 Tests have England lost?

Bearders' Answer: Only because Matthew Hoggard has played more than double the number of Tests enjoyed by James Anderson your statement is basically correct! Expressed as a percentage the difference is a mere 1.11%. England have won 31 (46.27%), lost 18 and drawn 18 of Hoggard's 67 Tests. Anderson's 31 appearances have resulted in 14 wins (45.16%), 11 defeats and six draws. Their nine joint appearances began with a sequence of six wins but ended with three defeats.

Q. Bangladesh recently scored 413 in the fourth innings in their attempt to score 521 to beat Sri Lanka. Aside from the fact that this shows they can make a big score, what is the highest ever fourth innings score in Test and first-class cricket?

Bearders' Answer: The record fourth innings score in all first-class matches is the 654-5 amassed by England in the timeless Test at Durban in March 1939. Beginning on the day I was born, it was abandoned as a draw 11 days later (when rain ended play at tea with England just 42 runs short of victory), because the tourists had to begin a two-day train journey to catch their ship in Cape Town.

Q. During a recent Australia v South Africa Test match I noticed that four leg-byes were scored in an over yet no other runs. When they showed the bowling stats later, that over was considered a maiden. Why don't leg-byes count towards a bowler's stats?

Bearders' Answer: Simply because neither byes nor leg-byes result from bowling errors whereas no-balls and wides do. Not until 1983-84 were penalties and runs scored off no-balls and wides debited to a bowler's analysis. Before that season, maiden overs could include no-balls and wides.

Q. Recently you have been referring to ODI's as "internationals", where you used to call them LOI's. Is there any reason for this? Do you include 20-20 games in this classification?
Aaron (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

Bearders' Answer: I have always referred to them by the correct nomenclature of Limited-Overs Internationals. That was their original title and it was the only one used when, in the mid-Eighties, the then ICC Secretary Jack Bailey commissioned me to compile a list of all such internationals commencing with their accidental conception at Melbourne in January 1971. They are not 'One-Day Internationals' because a substantial number have involved more than a single day's play. In these blogs I use the term 'internationals' in deference to BBC Online's instruction to avoid the abbreviation 'LOI'. Twenty-over matches are Very Limited-Overs Internationals. Their statistics are a separate entity and do not qualify for inclusion in List A records

Q. Which England players have scored a hundred in both innings of a Test on tour apart from Strauss and Compton in Adelaide in 1947?
Paul Hawkins (Dubai)

Bearders' Answer: Thank you for your question, 'Hawkeye'. I hope to see you when I am over there with the Lord's Taverners later this week.
Five others have scored hundreds in both innings for England overseas: C.A.G. 'Jack' Russell (Durban 1922-23); Herbert Sutcliffe (Melbourne 1924-25); Wally Hammond (Adelaide 1928-29); Eddie Paynter (Johannesburg 1938-39); and Alec Stewart (Bridgetown 1993-94).


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Bill.

    Is Kevin Pietersen's reign as England captain the shortest in terms of test matches for a permanent captain, at only three matches?

    Julian Evitts, Chester, UK

  • Comment number 2.

    I know you're not a dating agency but as an exile in Athens I would love to be put in touch with elgreco Athens to find out about the mighty Minotaurs. Do you think you might be able to help?

  • Comment number 3.


    I always thought that Dmitri Mascarenhas must have some Greek heritage somewhere along the line, until I did a quick bit of research to find that his family are of a Sri Lankan lineage.

    Although born in Chiswick, is he the only England player in modern times (post 1900) to hold such recent Sri Lankan heritage?

    Also, what is your view on the fact that the BBC cricket scoreboards do not currently show wides or no-balls in the bowler's figures?

    I personally think they should be included, as even the humble village cricketer (of which I just about qualify for) has to include them. I could also mention the lack of notation surrounding captains and wicketkeepers, but am sure you will also have an opinion on these to!


    dr. nightmare, Guildford

  • Comment number 4.

    who is the quickest person to get 1000 test runs and ODI runs as well as taking 100 test wickets and 100 ODI wickets

  • Comment number 5.

    sorry as well as 1000 ODI runs

  • Comment number 6.

    I was watching a ODI between New Zealand and West Indies. On the stats bar that they bring up for players, showing their score, strike rate, duration of innings etc... there was a column labelled 'SS'. I spent ages trying to work out what it related to, but rather drew a blank.
    Any thoughts?

  • Comment number 7.

    I refer to your answer to me above, please explain the following intriguing statements.
    What is the story surrounding the "accidental conception" of LOI's "at Melbourne in January 1971"?
    Secondly, why is it that 20-20 games "do not qualify for inclusion in List A records"?
    Thank you for this most absorbing column.
    Aaron, Newcastle.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hello Bill. Possibly a bit of an random question, but have cricket balls always been the same weight that they are now? Were they ever made from different materials?

    Poppyastonvanilla, Barford, Warwick

  • Comment number 9.

    #7 - The very first LOI was not planned, but instead hastily scheduled to partially replace the Melbourne Test of that year, which was abandoned to to persistent rain.

    The Association of Cricket Statisticians has defined a "List A" game as being one which, in addition to other criteria, is originally scheduled for 40 overs or more. There is a slight inconsistency, in that an LOI can be reduced by rain to 20 overs before play starts, making it effectively a T20, and in some competitions matches can be reduced to as few as 10 overs/side, but the definitions are reasonably clear.

  • Comment number 10.

    A KP-era question. A batsman takes guard as a right-hander and then switches into left-hand mode as the ball is delivered. The ball is a good length and hits him on the rear pad. The umpire judges that it would have hit the stumps. Which side counts as the off side for the purpose of deciding whether or not to give the batsman out? Has this situation arisen yet?

  • Comment number 11.

    Do you know the instance of the Test player who last scored a century without wearing a helmet for any part of his innings?

  • Comment number 12.

    Who was the last Test player to make a century without wearing a helmet for any part of his innings?

  • Comment number 13.

    The Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique are nestled among the cricket-mad countries of Antigua, Domnica, St Lucia, Barbados and Grenada yet, having lived in Guadeloupe for a year, I can tell you that they have barely heard of the sport because of their French colonial history. Given the contact between the islands, I would be very interested to learn if a West Indian player has ever been of Guadeloupean or Martinician origin. Can you help me, Beaders?

  • Comment number 14.

    In the recent Twenty 20 match between Asutralia and South Africa in Melbourne, Gibbs was given out for a duck from 3 balls. One of these balls I believe was a wide. Is it correct to record a wide delivery in balls faced. Should a no-ball also be recorded?

    Peter, Dublin Ireland

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Bill

    A lot has been made about how the game has become easier for batsmen, due to smaller grounds, friendlier pitches, bigger bats and (perhaps) weaker bowling, than in days gone by. Are there any stats to back this up e.g. average scores per innings in tests, or seasons averages for batsmen?

    Barney, London UK

  • Comment number 16.

    How many testmatch batsmen have been run out after playing a no ball ?

  • Comment number 17.

    Re Wigs666 - I believe that the SS you refer to are the 'scoring shots' of the batsman - the shots that the batsman has played that have scored runs. Hope this helps (and isn't too patronising!)

  • Comment number 18.

    #10 - my understanding (and this is by no means definitive) is that the off and leg side are defined by the batsman's initial stance, and so if the batsman switches to a left hand stance and the ball hits him/her outside what is now the leg side it would still count as being the off side and (other conditions prevailing) the batsman could be given out.

  • Comment number 19.

    Correction - PITCHES outside the new leg stump

  • Comment number 20.

    #1 - shortest reign as England captain

    Chris Cowdrey captained England vs West Indies in 1988, "the year of four captains", at Headingley. He scored 0 and 5, and England lost by 10 wickets. He was injured before the next match and never added to his tally of 6 tests, with just this one as captain. I don't know whether there are any more one-test-captaincy wonders, excluding stand-in captains, but I wouldn't be surprised.

  • Comment number 21.

    Question 10 - Onirus

    from law 36 - LBW - that defines on and off side

    "The off side of the striker's wicket shall be determined by the striker's stance at the moment the ball comes into play for that delivery."

    and the ball comes into play, from law 23 - dead ball

    "..(the ball) comes into play - when the bowler starts his run up or, if he has no run up, his bowling action."

    so it all depends which way the batsman has taken guard, exactly as Jon Parsons said

  • Comment number 22.

    #6 - the 'SS' you refer too is indeed 'scoring strokes'

    #12 - probably Viv Richards, if not any number of players who've taken tons of Bangladesh's or Zimbabwe's pea-shooter attacks

    #14 - wides should not be counted as a ball faced by a batsman as by definition he cannot reach it to hit. Gibbs definitely faced three legitimate balls, including the one to which he was (rather harshly I thought) adjudged out. No-balls do count as balls faced because they can be scored off.

    #16 - don't know the exact answer although I remember Colin Croft being run out off a no-ball at Lords in 1980. Dean Jones was incorrectly given run out off a no-ball in the West Indies in the mid 1980's. He was bowled by a no-ball but did not hear the call and set off towards the pavilion (at extra cover). The fielder then broke the wicket again and Jones was given run out, despite the law stating that a player can only be run out from a no-ball if he is attempting a run!

  • Comment number 23.

    I am trying to find the answer to the following question :
    Who were England’s opponents when they compiled over 300 runs and conceded over 300 runs in the same day during a test match?
    My research shows that the most runs in a single day of Test cricket is 588, on the second day of the 1936 Old Trafford Test between England v India when England, 173 for 2 overnight, declared at 571 for 8, and then India reached 190 for 0 by the close
    Are you aware of a test match involving England where over 600 runs were scored ?


  • Comment number 24.

    I too am an Expat in Athens and would love to get down to this new ground.. Where is it? Website? Matches?


    Mr. Pink

  • Comment number 25.

    question 1 - Jules

    a full list of all test captains for only 1 test

    Massie, H H
    Brown, W A
    Lindwall, R R
    Harvey, R N
    Jarman, B N
    Smith, C A
    Bowden, M P
    O'Brien, T C
    Stevens, G T S
    Walters, C F
    Cranston, K
    Carr, D B
    Graveney, T W
    Edrich, J H
    Cowdrey, C S
    Butcher, M A
    Adhikari, H R
    Roy, P
    Borde, C G
    Shastri, R J
    Sehwag, V
    Chapple, M E
    Parker, J M
    Smith, I D S
    Dunell, O R
    Richards, A R
    Taberer, H M
    Anderson, J H
    Nupen, E P
    Kirsten, G
    Kallis, J H
    Hoad, E L G
    Betancourt, N
    Fernandes, M P
    Headley, G A
    Gomez, G E
    Murray, D L
    Greenidge, C G
    Bravo, D J J
    Murphy, B A

    i suspect that most are stand ins for injured "regular" capts, but a few, Bentancourt for example, played their only test as capt, and might have been selected for their "captaincy", others just came at the wrong time, Cowdrey for example

  • Comment number 26.

    Hello Bill. This week I read that Andrew Strauss was born In Johannesburg. Since his predecessor was also born in South Africa, and people like Mike Denness, Tony Greig and Ted Dexter also arrived in the world far from England, I have found myself wondering what percentage of England test captains were actually born in the old country. Any chance you can enlighten me, and perhaps a few other curious cricket fans? If so, and by way of follow-up, does any other test-playing country have a comparable percentage of captains not born in the country they captained?

  • Comment number 27.

    Hello Bill. Ok this is a complicated one. I know that if a ball pitches outside a batsmen's leg stump he cannot be given out lbw. However i was wondering if a bowler swings a ball into a batsmen's pads and hits them on the full outside leg stump, what's the case? If the ball looks as though it's going to hit leg stump because of the swing, can they be given out?

    Thank you,

    Nathan, south wales.

  • Comment number 28.

    Re: the post above, if the batsman is hit outside the line of the leg stump, or the off stump if they are playing a shot, then they definitively shouldn't be given out.

    How many 4 test series have been drawn 2-2 Bill?

    Thanks for the fascinating column,
    Dominic, Bath

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm actually surprised that Chris Cowdrey was actually ever considered as being a potential "regular" captain for England in the disastrous series of 1988... since he hadn't played a test for several years, and clearly was not a good enough player for Test cricket.

    Of course, that series started with Gatting as the regular captain. It probably shouldn't, because he should have been sacked after his on-field spat with Shakoor Rana the previous winter (for all that he was in the right, far too many umpiring decisions WERE incorrect, almost all against England, it's a matter of manners - you just don't swear at the umpire on the field): but, having kept faith with Gatting over that, there was absolutely no justification for sacking him over the entirely unrelated story of whether he did or didn't have an affair with a barmaid. (Gatting's record as captain looks poor, but one should remember he also didn't lose many: and England were in superior positions in several rain-ruined matches under him, and unlucky not to win more than two.)

    Emburey, of course, was captain for two matches after that: but it was quite clear he was only ever intended as a stand-in captain until a more permanent candidate could be appointed - he was struggling for his place in the team, which he duly lost for the fourth Test, and with it the captaincy (he was the kind of guy you always wanted as vice-captain, and never as captain, anyway.)

    The decision to appoint Cowdrey was a total shock to everybody - no matter whether the selectors claimed he was the real "captain", it's obvious to everybody ELSE that he was only a stand-in, and should inevitably have lost his place for the Fifth Test purely on grounds of not being good enough (what on earth do you DO with a person who is not good enough to bat higher than eight, and cannot bowl?) About the only thing the selectors got right for that match was giving a debut to Robin Smith...

    Then for the fifth match, the selectors finally did what they should have done for the second, and appointed Gooch: if Gatting was out of the frame, and Gower's previous reign had not exactly been a success, Gooch was the only other genuinely credible candidate. Appointing Emburey and then Cowdrey was quite clearly a "let's keep the captaincy away from the obvious candidate, i.e. Gooch" manoeuvre because, for whatever reason, the selectors didn't like him at this time. I assume it was because of his three-year exile from Test cricket because of his participation in the South African tour: but if that were the case, why select him in the team at all?

    Of course, England lost the match, but at least they put up a fight this time (getting a first innings lead, and forced Windies to score the highest total of the match to win), for the first time since Gatting's sacking: and they won Gooch's second match in charge, albeit against Sri Lanka.

    Of course, then came the most ludicrous decision of all: having stuck by Gooch as captain for the winter tour, against objections from India which caused the tour's cancellation, they had no reason to dump him for Gower against Australia, although Australia had had no such "moral objections" to Gooch... hence the disaster of the 1989 Ashes, especially as this mistreatment could well have been the cause of Gooch's poor form in that series.

    The amazing thing is that, when the next South African rebel tour was arranged, he didn't sign up for that one as well: but of course, he didn't, and he was finally restored to the captaincy that he should never have lost. And went about showing exactly why he should never have lost it, by getting some serious effort and better performances out of the players, and nearly drawing (or even winning) the away series against the Windies...

    And we think that the modern-day shenanigans over the captaincy are daft, with people sticking to a captain who should have been sacked, then sacking him for the wrong reasons, or appointing exactly the wrong person to the job in the first place, or ignoring the obvious candidate for far too long until it's clear nobody else is available (Strauss should always have been captain during Vaughan's injury, instead of Flintoff - and who's to say that the knowledge of being unfairly snubbed even after having done a decent job in a few matches didn't affect his form, as it affected Gooch's in 1989 after his good start to the captaincy in 1988?)

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Bill,

    On a few occasions during the recent tours of India by Australia and England I read of Dhoni putting down "a difficult chance."
    On each occasion it seemed to be a left-handed batsman that was dropped.

    Does Dhoni (or any other wicket-keeper) have a left or right "side" on which they are more successful at taking catches?
    Are there any statistics available at all on this matter?

    Perhaps this kind of analysis might help the choice of wicket-keeper for England!

    Of course, the bowler might also have an effect on the "handedness" of a wicket-keeper.

    Michael Hart
    (currently living in Charleston, South Carolina)

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 17 - You are correct, but I would make the provision that the grip must be taken as the 1st consideration. All batsman must take their ground with either a right or left handed grip, no matter what the position of their legs may be, and I believe it is this that determines off and leg for purposes of fielding and also ruling - but I could be wrong.

  • Comment number 32.

    @ 30 - as a goalkeeper and occasional wicketkeeper, I think I can safely say that it is always easier to dive in a reverse direction to your handedness - i.e. towards the left for a right handed keeper - it has to do with the curvature of the spine. This typically favours keepers of the same handedness of the batsman vs. seam bowling, though obviously the tactics of the bowler (my more regular profession) make a huge difference. Still, it would be interesting if there was any pattern amongst the stats.

    I hope you're enjoying Charleston - it's one of my more favoured American cities :)

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi Bill,

    What is the highest number of wickets to fall in a single day's play at a test match?

    I recall being at Headingly in 1986 (England vs India) where England were bowled out for a little over 100 runs and India then lost 7 wickets (I believe) all on the first day, making it 17 (please correct me if my memory has failed me).

    Incidentally, I believe that match saw the first Mexican Wave at a test match. India were batting and everyone was so amazed that play even stopped for a few minutes. The Indians then lost a wicket almost immediately upon resumption of play.

    Despite the obvious interruption (not to everyone's taste) I wish I could claim to have been the person to start it all!

  • Comment number 34.

    question 33 - Former Fratton Ender

    in a single day's test cricket there have been 11 cases of more than 20 wkts falling, the best (worst?) was the 2nd day of the 1888 test between AUS and ENG when 27 wkts fell

    since the war the record is 22 on the 1st day of the 1951 test between AUS and WI, and since the new millenium its 22 on the 3rd day in the SL vs ENG test in 2001

    this is also probably the place to tell Kentish Stokie (20) that he is correct, 588 is the max runs scored in one test day...maybe his teaser relates to a day between lunches (or teas)?

  • Comment number 35.

    question 28 - Atletico Love Aguero

    surprisingly only one 4 match series has been drawn 2-2, the series between AUS and WI in 1998/99

    ...several 5 test series (and even one 6 test series) have ended 2-2, and several 4 test series have been drawn 1-1 (or 0-0) but 2-2 is just the one

  • Comment number 36.

    question 26 - Laskeyst

    i make it 12 ENG captains born outside ENG, from 78 captains, or 15.4%

    of these 12 four actually held a different nationality at some point:
    Gubby Allen
    Tony Greig
    Allen Lamb
    Kevin Pietersen

    the other 8 were born outside UK but always held British nationality:
    Lord Harris
    Plum Warner
    Douglas Jardine
    D. Carr
    Colin Cowdrey
    Ted Dexter
    Nassar Hussain
    Andrew Strauss

  • Comment number 37.

    Surely Mark Boucher has more than 2 test stumpings?

  • Comment number 38.


    Yes, a typo from Bill - he has 21 test stumpings.

  • Comment number 39.

    If he has only made 2 test stumpings, is he the wicketkeeper who has the worst Test Match Appearances to Stumpings ratio? If not who is?

  • Comment number 40.

    Re 27 and 28,

    Just to back up what AtleticoLoveAguero says, Law 36 (lbw) states, "... and the point of impact, even if above the level of the bails either (i) is between wicket and wicket or (ii) is either between wicket and wicket or outside the line of the off stump, if the striker has made no genuine attempt to play the ball with his bat...", so the not-playing-shot risk only applies to balls outside of off-stump (and not the leg stump).

  • Comment number 41.

    Bearders: Here's a good one, although probably very easy for most posters. You should be able to give more details though...

    What England bowler rarely bowled a maiden over in his England career, but saved two at Fisherman's Cove?

  • Comment number 42.

    edofmund 31 - I don't know if Tom Smith's expands on the interpretation of Law 36(3), but I would have thought that it must refer to the side of the wicket the batsman is standing when he is ready to face the ball. Under your suggestion you allow the batsman to abuse the law by holding the bat cross-handed when the bowler begins his run-up and changing back to a normal grip by the time of delivery, resulting in his being able now to safely pad up to any ball pitching outside what is clearly in substance his off stump. At least if he has to dance to the other side of the wicket some kind of jeopardy is involved. Also how would you decide the 'sidedness' of a one-handed batsman or someone holding the bat with one hand when the ball becomes live?

  • Comment number 43.

    Have there ever been any first-class innings with all dismissals catches, and all catchers different?

  • Comment number 44.

    A full 10 wicket innings that is

  • Comment number 45.

    #23 Charlie

    I think I've found an answer to your conundrum - and it's a good one too!

    Q: Who were England's opponents?
    A: New Zealand and West Indies?

    In Jan/Feb 1930, England had two teams touring at the same time. On 21 Feb, one team started a test match against NZ at Auckland, batted and scored on that day 375/6. The same day, the other team started another test against WI at Georgetown. WI batted and scored 336/2 on the first day.

    Although they are on the same date, by the time WI started batting it was early on the 22nd in New Zealand.


  • Comment number 46.

    Dear Bearded one,
    In almost every match in all the 3 forms of cricket, towards the end of each innings any surviving top order batsmen always try to 'keep the strike' by getting only an even no. of runs 2, 4 0r 6 for the first 5 balls & a single off the last ball of the over.
    To my mind and observation, with limited success. So here's my question.
    What is the record number of consecutive balls faced by any batsmen in the 3 forms of cricket?

  • Comment number 47.

    Re 43 (cosmicayeaye)

    It has probably happened quite a number of times. I cannot recall the details but I believe it once happened in a County Championship match with Devon Malcolm being the lone non-catcher. Could be wrong, of course!

    The test record is 'only' nine achieved twice at Bridgetown:
    E-WI, 1997-98 (non-catchers: CB Lambert, IR Bishop)
    WI-NZ, 2002 (non-catchers: MH Richardson, SE Bond)

  • Comment number 48.

    #43, 47

    I'm not so confident it has happened several times. I did a back-of-the-envelope statistical estimate, and thought that it might happen about 1 in every 2000 times that all 10 wickets were caught (there are a few ropy assumptions in that estimate). That means we would expect at least one occurrence if there were more than 2000 10-caught innings in first class cricket. I can't believe there are many more than that.

  • Comment number 49.

    As a right handed wicket keeper myself, it is easier to take diving one handed catches at the extremities of my range with my right glove rather than my left. As most catches are outside edges, this make it easier to keep to right handed batsmen then lefties.

  • Comment number 50.

    Hi Bill,

    In the third Test between Australia and South Africa Graeme Smith broke his hand in the first innings but returned to bat in the second to conclude a tremendously exciting finish. In this instance, was Graeme Smith the most over-qualified number 11?

    Jak Soppet, Banbury XX

  • Comment number 51.


    I would say that George Headley who batted at no 11 against England towards the end of his test career at a stage when his career average was about 66, is at least as over-qualified.

  • Comment number 52.

    Re 48 (Nick)

    On reflection I am inclined to agree that the number of instances probably is quite limited, and think the incidence is probably somewhat less than your estimate.

    In saying that I am assuming that tests are a fair reflection of all first-class matches as far as the distribution of the number of catches is concerned, and that the binomial statistical distribution can be used without modification. I am not qualified to have an opinion on how fair that assumption is.

    In tests the average number of catchers in completed innings is approximately 4.07 therefore the binomial distribution (if it can be used with a probability of 0.407 over 10 trials) suggests that the full ten will occur, on average, once in approximately 8,000 completed innings (as compared to your estimate of 2,000). So, I have to agree that is hardly "several times." The real figure could be quite low indeed.

  • Comment number 53.


    I am very impressed with your answer, I would never have got that, very well done !!!
    How about this one then, Who is the shortest batsman to score a Test century for England ?


  • Comment number 54.

    Hi Bill,

    In the past, the amount of balls per over differed from time to time, and from country to country. How many Test matches and Limited Over Internationals have been played where 6 balls per over was not the norm?

    I would guess that there is a very low number of 8 balls per over Limited Over Internationals, but quite a few Tests.

    Many thanks,

    Damien, Dublin.

  • Comment number 55.

    In the Second 20/20 match between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane, there was a brief period during the Australia innings when the Hussey brothers were facing the Morkel brothers. On what other occasions have brothers faced one another in international matches, and has there ever been another occasion when all four players were occupying both ends? It seems the cricketing gods were not too comfortable with the arrangement as it only lasted a few deliveries!

  • Comment number 56.

    Greetings Mr. Frindall, Thanks for answering my two previous questions on your column.

    On this occasion I'd like to ask who in test cricket holds the record for the lowest runs scored to balls faced ratio (when facing at least 1000 balls).

    Thanks for your reply.

    Eric Perez, Caracas, Venezuela.

  • Comment number 57.

    #56, Eric

    Numbers of balls faced haave not always been recorded so it's impossible to get a firm answer. But the lowest verifiable scoring rate across a career of at least 1000 balls faced is for Danny Morrison, one of NZ's great rabbits, who played 71 innings, faced 1696 balls and scored 379 runs - a scoring rate of 22.34 per hundred balls.

    Chris Martin, NZ's uber-rabbit, has a lower scoring rate - but in almost as many innings as Morrison has only managed to survive 388 balls.


  • Comment number 58.

    Hello Bill,

    Could you tell me, please, who were the - say - 5 most successful left arm "chinaman" wrist spinners in the history of test cricket - in terms of wickets taken? Do you have a view on why there seem to be so few - is it because it's a lot of stress to put your body under to basically turn the ball in the same direction as an off spinner?

  • Comment number 59.

    South Africa's stand-in one day captain is Johan Botha, who is not even in the test squad. He has led the Proteas on a number of occasions. Has this happened before? I don't remember another Limited-overs captain (for a test playing nation) who didn't play in the test side.

  • Comment number 60.

    #59 - Adam Hollioake was LOI captain of England during a period when he was, at best, on the fringes of the Test side.

  • Comment number 61.

    How many players have made their test debut as captain? I'm guessing that there's only one for each test side (ie in their first match).

  • Comment number 62.

    Re 61 - Not even Brearley debuted as captain.

  • Comment number 63.

    #61 - There are actually 32 players who have captained their country on Test debut. The most recent one (apart from the inaugural Tests for Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) was Tony Lewis, who skippered England against India on his debut in 1972.

  • Comment number 64.

    #61, 63

    Actually, since Tony Lewis, Lee Germon captained NZ on his debut in 1995. Incidentally, nobody has ever done this for Pakistan - in their first test in 1953, the captain was AH Kandar who had already played for India.

  • Comment number 65.

    question 61 - JI March

    futher to the previous answers 5 players made their Test debut as captain in their ONLY first and last

    CA Smith 1889 ENG (the actor)
    AR Richards 1896 SA (also SA rugby player)
    HM Taberer 1902 SA
    JH Anderson 1902 SA
    N Betancourt 1930 WI

    only Smith won his test, Taberer drawing and the other 3 losing

    Richards had only played 9 first class matches before his test, and it was his last 1st class match (as it was Betancourt's last of 19)

    which leads me to a question, who played the least 1st class cricket before being made Test captain (was it Richards)?

  • Comment number 66.

    ah, no, i've found the answer to my own question

    OR Dunell made his 1st class debut as captain for SA in 1889


  • Comment number 67.

    Hello Bill,

    As a percentage how many test captains have been specialist bowlers? It's seems to me that specialist batsmen seem to be the preferred choice for captain although I'm not sure why!


  • Comment number 68.

    Re Greek cricketers, Balaskas has long been a favourite quiz question of mine viz: Who is the only Greek cricketer to take nine wickets in a Test Match at Lords? Xenophon Balaskas. He was, until recently also unique in another respect, in that he was the only Test Cricketer (I could find) whose first name began with an 'X' (per Wisden, not 'Z' as above). However, Xavier Marshall (West Indies) has now played 6 Tests, so Balaskas' unique first name is not, anymore.

  • Comment number 69.

    Re 53

    How about Tim Ambrose ?What do you think ?


  • Comment number 70.

    What is the average number of ham sandwiches consumed in Middlesex Surrey matches (At Lords) in the pre-lunch session when the bowling is over the wicket to a 5-4 field?
    PS only on the first day

  • Comment number 71.

    Tim Ambrose is listed as 5'7". There must be shorter centurians than that ("Tich" Freeman was only 5'2", but his best score in a Test was 50*). However, the lack of a height for many players in their profile makes it hard to pick out the real shorties.

  • Comment number 72.

    What is your view of the scoring card as given by the BBC on Ceefax/ page 340 and following in the event of a player being "retired hurt". If the side then are dismissed, although 9 wickets have been taken, history has always shown the team as ALL OUT. The person responsible for these statistics is now persisting in showing the team as 210 for 9 as if it were a single innings match. Is this correct from a scoring statisticians viewpoint? This seems to be a new practice which may not be understood by a younger scorer who has so much one day stuff to record.

  • Comment number 73.

    Re 22 (in relation to question 16)

    There is a misapprehension that when a No Ball has been called a batsman can only be run out if a run is being attempted.

    This is incorrect as Law38.1 states:
    (a) Either batsman is out Run Out if at any time while the ball is in play he is out of his ground and his wicket is fairly put down by the opposing side.
    (b) (a)above shall apply even though No Ball has been called and whether OR NOT (my caps) a run is being attempted.

    There is further explanation in Tom Smith's saying that if no run is attempted then the wicket-keeper alone cannot effect a Run Out (as this would be classed as a stumping and a batsman cannot be stumped off a No Ball). However, a fielder could return the ball to the wicket-keeper who could break the wicket and if a batsman is out of his ground then he would be out Run Out, whether or not a run is attempted.

    The example of Dean Jones incorrectly being given Run Out when he did not hear the call of No Ball was not because a batsman cannot be given Run Out whilst not attempting a run following a No Ball. The reason he should not have been given out can be found under Law27.7 which states the umpire should have called Dead Ball as soon as it became apparent that Dean Jones was walking off the ground under the misapprehension that he had been bowled because he did not realise it was a No ball.

  • Comment number 74.

    #12 .. i'd guess Ritchie Richardson.. but Hooper and Lara also went through spells without wearing a helmet - that is until Phil Simmons was smacked in the face in a warm up game in England (hooper at the other end i think)- in 1988 by David 'sid' Lawrence... then they all decided to wear one - apart from R B Richardson who relented until the last few months of his test career!

  • Comment number 75.

    Further to my question of the last Test player to score a century without having worn a helmet for all or part of his innings, who was the last Englishman to get to three figures without one?

  • Comment number 76.

    Are Mark and Adam Ealham the only family pair to have the same highest score in first class cricket (153)??

  • Comment number 77.

    At todays ODI, between Aus and SA at Melbourne, I see Duminy scored 71 runs off 93 balls and didnt hit one boundary!

    What is the highest total for a batsman in ODI's and Test matches without hitting a boundary?

  • Comment number 78.

    After Duminy's 71 without a boundary in the limited overs match today at MCG, what is the highest individual score - in tests or limited overs matches - without a 4 or a 6 being scored?

  • Comment number 79.

    Hey Bill,

    Greame Smith the South African captain was one of the youngest International captains ever when he took over the reigns. He also has, I believe, captained at some stage, every team he has played for. Are there any younger International captains in the history of the game, and any who have the same captaincy history as he does?


  • Comment number 80.

    Re 67.

    Whilst fielding the captain has many things to consider including: setting the field; motivating others; calculating run rates; considering the freshness of other bowlers; and assessing batsmen's strenths and weaknesses.

    Even if there was a bowler in the side who had the mental capacity for such things; it is doubtful whether he could find the 'band width' to think about these things when he's having to worry about his bowling.

    This is why most sane selectors pick a batsman as a captain. Sometimes selectors go for a half-way house and select an all-rounder; but this generally fails since the bowling gene is the dominant one in most all-rounders.

  • Comment number 81.

    re 80 Moby,
    Clive Rice and Sir Richard Hadlee were VERY successful bowling-all-rounder captains.

  • Comment number 82.

    What is the highest score in both Test and LOI cricket to include a six but no fours?
    (a friend reckons Paul Collingwood (the Mackem) holds both records!)

  • Comment number 83.


    Sorry to contradict you Aaron Geordie. Richard Hadlee never captained in a test and was certainly not a regular captain in any other form of the game.

    Clive Rice was of course a great captain for Nottinghamshire and Transvaal, but unfirtuately for him never managed to play test cricket.

    Great test captain all-rounders - Imran, Kapil Dev, Benaud (perhaps a lesser cricket but a great captain) ...

  • Comment number 84.

    questions 67/80/81 and 83

    surely Sobers should count as one of the best all rounders to be regular captain, certainly he was captain for longer than Benaud and Dev

    Shaun Pollock must count as the best bowler to make captain, winning more than 50% of his 26 matches (the only bowler or even all rounder to do so, with more than 20 matches) Illingworth too was a good captain, with nearly 40% of his 31 matches won

  • Comment number 85.

    Sobers, I would say, was more of a batting all-rounder; but both his batting and his bowling were better than his captaincy.

    Illingworth and Benaud were both spinners; and therefore better mentally equipped for captaincy than the, "Thick Quicks".

  • Comment number 86.

    Please could you tell me what is the highest 4th innings total to have achieved a 10 wicket victory and also the lowest 4th innings target that was unsuccessfully chased.

    Buzz1989, Cambs

  • Comment number 87.

    #86, Buzz1989

    The highest 4th innings total for a 10 wkt victory was 172/0 by Australia vs WI in Adelaide in Dec 1930.

    The lowest 4th innings target, where the chasing team were all out was 84 set for England by Australia at the Oval in 1882. England were all out for 77. The next lowest was when Zimbabwe were all out for 63 vs WI in Port of Spain (Mar 2000) chasing 98.

  • Comment number 88.

    Flintoff won the Oval test in 2008 with a 6. Has this been done before by an England batsman in England?

  • Comment number 89.

    re 69 - Eddie Paynter?

  • Comment number 90.

    Regarding test cricketers of Greek descent, there is also John Traicos who played for two countries - South Africa and Zimbabwe. He was born in Egypt which I suppose starts another question- how many test cricketers were born in Egypt ? Another odd one- Ted dexter was born in Milan.

  • Comment number 91.

    Having watched Bangladesh reduce Sri Lanka this morning to 6 for 5, what is the most number of wicket lost by a team before they reached a double figure total score?

  • Comment number 92.

    question 91 - Jonathan Twite

    6 wkts, in the 1888 test between AUS and ENG the australians lost their first 6 wickets for 7 runs in the second innings

  • Comment number 93.

    i should say the above is only for international matches, for first class the record is 8 recently

    ESSEX vs SURREY 1983, when in Surrey's first innings the first 8 wkts fell for 8 before they struggled to 14 all out

    and 9 in all matches (possibly) for the MCC vs SURREY in 1839, where the MCC second innings was 15 all out, the number 11 scoring 5 and 4 extras, unfortunately the fall of wkt was not recorded, but the first nine could not have got more than 10 and maybe as low as 6 (it is said that the last wkt doubled the score, but then the score would have had to be 7.5 which is extremely unlikely, but could have been 7 or 8 for 9wkts)

  • Comment number 94.

    question 82 - Aaron Geordie

    Collingwood does indeed hold the test record with one six and no fours in his 48 vs SL in 2006 but not the ODI record with is 82 by Kallis vs SL in 2001 with 4 sixes and no fours

    question 77 - Where's the next Kenny?

    AC Parore for NZ scored 96 vs IND in 1994 in a ODI without a boundary

    the highest Test score without a boundary is Geoff Boycott's 77 for ENG against AUS in 1978-79. His score did include one four - but it was all-run and didn't actually reach the ropes.

  • Comment number 95.

    Dear Bill,

    In the film 'Slumdog Millionaire', which features the Indian version of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?', the penultimate question asked to the protagonist is 'which cricketer has the most first-class centuries?'

    The choices were Jack Hobbs, Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and Michael Slater. Hobbs was of course the correct answer, but I'm sure the 'host' claimed Hobbs had 197 centuries as opposed to the 199 I thought he had scored. Is there anything in the records that would explain this disparity?


    Simon, S.Wales.

  • Comment number 96.

    What is the Highest score recorded for a batsman in an Ashes series and who was it?

    I imagine it would be Bradman

  • Comment number 97.

    re qu 96 its from Ben in Herts

  • Comment number 98.

    question 96 - Marsbend02

    the AUS player with the highest score in the ashes is indeed Bradman in 1930 with 334 at Headingley

    but the ENG record (and overall) for an ashes match is Len Hutton's 364 in 1938 at the Oval

  • Comment number 99.

    question 95 - Simon AJ 2037

    the difference is accounted for by a "private" tour in Dec 1930 Hobbs went on to Ceylon when he scored 2 centuries which were, retrospectively, called first class

  • Comment number 100.

    Re 93 (PortoIan)

    There are two different MCC v Surrey matches here.

    In the 1839 one MCC did score 15, the No 11 did get 5 and the 9th wicket did go down at 6,7,8,9 or 10 (impossible to say which.)

    But in was in a later 1872 match when the last wicket doubled the score - from 9-8 to 16 all out. So there is at least one, possibly at least two matches where the ninth wicket fell still in single figures. It could have been worse in 1872 - MCC lost SEVEN wickets before scoring and put on only two for the 8th. Needless to say, they lost both encounters!


Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.