For comments, or to contact Z-score (Charles Davis) email
stats334 at iprimus dot
(The address is like this to avoid SPAM. Type the address in the usual format)
UPDATED Test Program: The Davis Test Match Database Online.
I am working on a set of Test pages that may in the future lead to a large project. I have created some extended statistics for Test from a selected period (the 1940s) to see how they look. Having almost no skill in these matters, I don’t know how it will come out. Any feedback will be welcome.
Modifications will occur, so be patient as it is developed. Ball-by-ball pages have been added where available (most Tests). By putting two overs to a line, Test files can be kept well below 10 pages. Maybe it is not the easiest thing to read, but such stuff is for more dedicated fans.
There is also extra detailed information of falls of wicket for some series.
17 February 2014
Following the Follow-On
When New Zealand declined to enforce the follow-on when leading by 301 runs in the recent Auckland Test, it created a mild flurry of debate. Some hold that enforcing the follow-on is an essential tactic. The stats, surprisingly perhaps, suggest otherwise.
I looked at follow-on situations in Tests over the past 20 years, and excluded Bangladesh and Zimbabwe matches. There were 108 follow-on opportunities; 69 were enforced, and 39 not enforced. Average runs (rounded) for the teams involved were…
A key thing to remember is that any team leading by 200 runs is in a dominant position, and will very likely win, whether or not the follow-on is chosen. There is not much point citing specific matches anecdotally to try to prove a point.
Given that the “enforced” category teams were more dominant, you might expect them to win more matches. However, the opposite is the case. Teams enforcing the follow-on won 72.5% of the matches, while teams not enforcing it won 82%. The rest of the matches were draws, except for one (famous) case where Australia enforced the follow-on at Kolkata in 2001 and lost. So even though teams enforcing the follow-on tend to have bigger leads (310 to 246), they are less likely to win.
One possible factor is that high-scoring matches on really easy pitches tend to be drawn, and the follow-on is more likely to be enforced in such cases. Naturally, higher scoring matches are more likely to be drawn. However, even when we compare “like with like”, the advantage of not enforcing remains. If we filter out the higher-scoring matches, by including only matches where the combined first innings is less than 800, and the lead less than 300, not enforcing still has a significant lead, with 92% wins vs 79% for the enforced cases.
There may be other factors in play – perhaps the enforced
cases were more rain-affected (I don’t know) – but the bottom line is that enforcing
the follow-on is not statistically supportable in terms of outcomes.
The figures do support a contention I made years ago: if you want to maximise your chances of winning, declare before a score of 500. A risk arises of losing (Freddie Flintoff must have had nightmares over Adelaide 2006/07), but the probability of a draw falls even more.
Of course, New Zealand did eventually win that Auckland Test. One wonders if the follow-on had been enforced: with India at 240/3, would New Zealand’s tiring bowlers have been able to power on and finish the job? Maybe yes, but India may have finished with more than 366, in a match they only lost by 40 runs.
Fastest Maiden Test centuries, balls faced to 100:
GL Jessop 76
Kapil Dev reached 102 off 101 balls with a boundary.
New Zealand wicket-keeper/captain Lee Germon did not concede a bye for the first 1242 runs of his Test career. Other clean starters include TE Blain 1062, RG de Alwis 955 runs. (AP Binns up to 1000 runs, exact number uncertain). Germon had a remarkable Test debut: not only did he concede no byes, he captained his team on debut (no one has done this since, except in the first Test for Bangladesh) and he top scored in both innings.
For records at any stage of career, the probable maximum without byes, in terms of runs or balls, is 2431 runs (5426 balls) by Mark Boucher spanning 7 Tests in 1999/99. He finally conceded a bye, off Paul Adams, at Auckland in 1999 after New Zealand had been batting for 190 overs (including follow-on). Strangely, he conceded four byes off the very next ball. Adam Parore went bye-free for a long period in 1994/95. Unfortunately one of the necessary scorebooks is missing: the number of runs is in the range 2274-2373 (around 4100 balls). There is an oddity about this case as well; just a few Tests later, Parore was replaced as keeper but remained in the team as a batsman. He was replaced behind the stumps by the aforesaid Lee Germon.
There was an extraordinary innings by Victoria against New South Wales in a recent Shield match. Victoria lost its first 6 wickets for 9 runs, with the first four batsmen making ducks. The latter is unprecedented in Australian first-class cricket, the former has not been seen since 1881. [Once again, the folly of using nightwatchmen (two in this case) is demonstrated.] The sensations did not end there, with Glenn Maxwell coming in and scoring 127 off 102 balls. A century by a #8 when the first seven did not get to double figures has happened before (not in Australia), but never when so few runs were scored by the first seven batsmen (10 runs in Maxwell’s case). For precedents, or near-precedents, here is an interesting one.
Consecutive first-class innings without a duck
Up to mid 2013.
Rajan Chawla on Ask Steven asked about streaks of singles in Test matches. While I have it on hand here's some extremes...
Longest sequence of singles by an individual batsman... DA Marillier (52) scored his last 38 runs in singles at Chittagong in 2001. In his next innings, his first two scoring shots were singles, giving 40 in all.
Most singles to start an innings... 15 by Bruce Dooland MCG 1946/47 and Warren Bardsley MCG 1924/25.
Biggest complete innings in singles only, 12 by 4 players
AI Taylor Joburg 1956/57
GM Wood MCG 1988/89
RS Dravid Ahmedabad 1999/00
SH Curnow Joburg 1930/31
Dravid was run out going for his 13th single.
Longest sequence in partnership: 29 singles, plus a wide and a bye, by GA Hick and GP Thorpe, Karachi 2000. This was in the final session of the match, which England won with 3.3 overs to spare and became the first team to beat Pakistan in a Test in Karachi.
This is from my database, which covers only about 80% of Tests.
Man of the Match in their last Test match. I believe that Jason Gillespie was the only one of these who was dropped from the team. Goodwin left Zimbabwe to live in Australia: the others retired, although Sarfraz may have been ‘tapped on the shoulder’.
Up to and including 2010
22 January 2014
An Early Switch-Hit
There are various claimants to the invention of the reverse sweep or switch-hit (not necessarily exactly the same thing). There is mention of Mushtaq Mohammad, or going back further, Percy Fender or Plum Warner. Generally, the claims do not have a lot of hard evidence. However, Sreeram has uncovered an incontrovertible example from a Test in 1921. In the Manchester Test, Fender employed the shot, as described in The Times…
“Mr. Armstrong kept the runs down at one end by bowling a couple of feet outside the leg stump. Mr. Fender was the more resourceful of the two batsmen, for, in dealing with Mr. Armstrong, he contrived at times to get away and place the ball on the deserted off side. He once shifted hands on the handle of the bat and pulled him back-handed across the wicket to the place where cover-point generally stands.”
Fender’s shot was also described in some detail by Charlie Macartney in an article 16 years later, so it must have made an impression.
The shot was made in the midst of some controversy. England had attempted to declare their innings closed in what was a rain-shortened match, only to be stymied when Armstrong pointed out that this was against the rules of the time. When England was forced to resume, Armstrong, who had bowled the last over before the interruption, bowled again. Apparently, calls from the crowd that this was about to happen were ignored by the umpires. Fender’s switch-hit occurred shortly thereafter, apparently gathering 2 runs, but the exact ball is uncertain.
As I said in an earlier post, I’m sure I read of such a shot in the 1909/10 MCC series in South Africa, (although I can’t find it now). Viv Richards definitely played the shot at Mumbai in 1975. Many inventions are made independently by different people, and I daresay the reverse sweep is one such.
UPDATE: Steve Pittard has emailed with a case from 1870. It is not completely clear that this batsman changed his stance as the ball was being bowled, or during the run up.
Kent were shot out for 20 at the Oval in 1870, with their latecomer William Yardley - ‘had not arrived 0’ - trying to make amends in the 2nd innings by way of a cunning plan. Opening the batting, as fast bowler Walter Anstead came in to bowl, the ambidextrous Yardley - able to throw 75 yards left handed – reversed his normal right handed stance and leathered the ball, only narrowly missing the nearby fielder Southerton at point, who now was an aunt sally at effectively silly mid on . In fairness Yardley had enigmatically warned Southerton that should he see him suddenly change stance to make himself scarce but he had merely laughed. The next ball Yardley successfully repeated the trick with Southerton this time dropping spread eagled to the ground. This greatly amused Yardley though the Surrey supporters were incensed; shouting “Not cricket! Not cricket”. Yardley, a thespian and later notable playwright, had turned the proceedings into a farce and when Anstead was withdrawn from the attack the crowd hissed and hooted him like a pantomime villain. Anstead later returned to clean bowl Yardley for 14 and with his innovation ultimately proving to no avail - Kent lost by an innings - one imagines the incident was dismissed as a bit of nonsense
Alastair Cook was around for 59.5% of England's runs in the 2010/11 Ashes series, which appears to be the most for a 5-Test series. Shoaib Mohammad batted during 82.3% of Pakistan's runs in a 3-Test 1990 series against New Zealand. Brad Haddin's efforts in the 2013/14 series are surely exceptional for someone batting down the order.
DSBP Kuruppu batted in 100% of Sri Lanka's runs in a one-off Test against New Zealand in 1986/87.
Here’s two bowlers who had catches missed off their first ball in Test cricket: David Warner (Brisbane 2012, Brownlie dropped by Pattinson) and RP Singh (Shoaib Malik dropped by Kumble) in Faisalabad 2006. My database doesn't have much on this category before 2002.
They took their first Test wicket with
their last ball in Test cricket
Wilf Barber (2 balls in 1935) came closest to taking a wicket with his only ball in Test cricket.
Most runs by a batsman while partner(s) scored 0
†The last 66 runs of the innings, in a partnership of 77 with LO Fleetwood-Smith (5). No extras were scored.
Yousuf batted with more than one partner.
McCullum’s innings included a partnership of 50 with IE O’Brien, the largest complete Test partnership where one partner contributed 0 runs.
The most Tests by a player who never hit the winning run is 145 by Shane Warne. Among top batsmen, Graham Gooch never did so in his whole career of 118 Tests. Kumar Sangakkara hit the winning run for the first time in his 119th Test, so in effect he ties Gooch.
In the 2013/14 Ashes, Kevin Pietersen averaged 29.4, and still topped England’s averages among those who played all five Tests. This is the first time that a team in a full-length Ashes series has had no batsman averaging over 30 in the full series. (Ben Stokes averaged 34.8, but played in only four Tests.) Here is a list of such “Worst Best” averages historically.
Worst Best Ashes Batting Average
Qualification: players who played all Tests in a series. 5- or 6-Test series only. In 1930, H Sutcliffe averaged 87.2 but played in only 4 Tests.
Tendulkar Head to Head
After a couple of requests, I am posting a complete set of Sachin Tendulkar’s player-v-player stats in Tests at the link below. There was an earlier version of this in 2012, but that had a few problems, which I have painstakingly ironed out, I hope.
Such data requires ball-by-ball records, and unfortunately this is not available for some of Tendulkar’s Tests in the 1990s. In such cases, I have substituted estimates based on the runs scored by Tendulkar and the runs conceded by the bowlers in the innings in question. Where this happens, the data is labelled “Est”. For some bowlers such as Muralitharan, there is a combination of such data with real ball-by-ball data. For those who demand exactitude, sorry, but it is the best I can do.
Bbb data is complete for all Australia, England and South Africa bowlers.
24 December 2013
Man of the Match in Tests
I have calculated the most successful Man of the Match winners as percentages of matches played. The concept of an ‘official’ (usually sponsored) award developed gradually from 1975/76 (Brisbane, Greg Chappell) through the 70s and 80s. In those years, there were many Tests for which no record of an award can be found, so I have only used recorded matches in the calculations
Vernon Philander currently has 5 out of 18.
My data may not conform exactly to Cricinfo. I have found a few awards that are not in the Cricinfo system.
Historical Note: prior to 1975, there were player awards handed out for some Tests, including England in 1967 and 1968, separate awards for batsmen and bowlers. There were various awards made in Tests in India from 1969 to 72, again with multiple awards for a given Test. The 1966/67 India v West Indies series had player awards. Garry Sobers won both the batting and bowling awards at Calcutta, so could claim to be the first true awarded “Man of the Match”. However, for a Test in 1964 in Pakistan, there is a newspaper mention of Asif Iqbal being “Man-of-the-match”; this may have been just a turn of phrase, not an official award.
When Ross Taylor made 217 not out
at Dunedin recently, he might reasonably have expected to be the highest
scorer of the match. However, he may have been surprised when was edged out
Highest individual scores surpassed (subsequently) by an opponent in a Test match…
267 by PA de Silva, exceeded by MD Crowe 299, Wellington 1990.
240 by DPMD Jayawardene, (also 231 by TT Samaraweera), exceeded by Younis Khan 313, Karachi 2008.
217* by LRPL Taylor, exceeded by DM Bravo 218, Dunedin 2013.
216* by E Paynter, exceeded by SJ McCabe 232, Nottingham 1938.
214 by LR Rowe, exceeded by GM Turner 223*, Kingston 1972.
A few statistical morsels
Most consecutive 5WI in
first-class cricket: ten by AP Freeman in 1930.
I once looked for the maximum number of consecutive balls scored from in Tests. The answer wasn't very interesting, only 16 in a row (23 runs) by Rashid Latif during an otherwise unremarkable innings of 47 off 42 balls at Sharjah in 2001/02.
There are more than a dozen players in first-class cricket who have taken a wicket in their only over. At least two of them took a wicket with their only ball, BN Khanna and MM Agasti.
Mitchell Johnson was twice on a hat-trick in the same innings in the Adelaide Test. This got me looking at the database...
Last bowler to be on a hat-trick twice within the same innings in Ashes Tests: KR Miller Brisbane 1946/47.
Last Australian bowler in all Tests: GD McGrath v West Indies Brisbane 2000/01.
Last bowler in all Tests: Chaminda Vaas v NZ Wellington 2004/05.
Only bowler to take wickets with consecutive balls three times in an innings (where known) J Srinath v South Africa at Ahmedabad 1996/97.
There are over 40 triple-wicket maidens in complete overs in the database, (covering 80% of Tests). Last one found: Ben Hilfenhaus v India at Perth 2012. No one has more than 2 (Caddick, Vettori, McGrath, DJ Brown).
There are other cases of 3 in an over where the over was incomplete.
At the other end of the scale, Kallis once took 3 wickets in an over while conceding 10 runs (6 0 W 4 W W).
Sunday Play in Australia
In first-class cricket, regular Sunday play commenced in 1967/68, same year as in Tests. Brian Booth, a devout Christian, played only one match in 1968/69 and then retired because he did not wish to play on Sundays. Adelaide was the last center to introduce Sunday play.
Prior to 1967, there was Sunday play in some Shield matches in Brisbane and Perth. The first was QLD v WA at the Gabba in 1964/65. It was introduced as "the answer to declining attendances". If only.
Most runs in international cricket in any 31-day period. Sanath Jayasuriya hit 881 runs for 22 July to 20 August 1997. Aravinda de Silva’s best was 842. Graham Smith has 822 for 3 July to 2 August 2003. I believe that these are the only ones above 800 in a 31-day period. Next is Zaheer Abbas on 792.
Chris Gayle, at Edgbaston in 2004, took 5 wickets and scored 82 runs on the same day (the fourth). I can find (if I programmed by search correctly) only two other cases of 50 runs and five wickets on the same day. Jimmy Sinclair took 6/26 and made 59* on the first day at Cape Town in 1898/99, and Wes Hall scored 50* and took 5/20 on the second day against India at Port of Spain 1962.
Perhaps the most notable other is Shakib al Hasan of Bangladesh who took 4/40 and scored 97 on the fourth day at Khulna against West Indies in 2012. The wickets, however, were tailenders in a score of 648.
Bill Edrich (Manchester 1947) and Garry Sobers (Sydney 1969) scored over 100 runs and took 3 wickets on the same day.
Graham Swann’s abrupt retirement means that he conceded 22 runs off his last over in Test cricket. This is not quite a record. Derek Stirling conceded 24 runs in the last over of his Test career, at the Oval in 1986. 4, 6, 4, 6, 0, 4 courtesy Ian Botham.
Mark Gillespie's last over in Tests conceded 20 runs in 2012, but he may play again.
Of course, there is no law that says that Swann cannot play Tests again. Others have 'retired' in the heat of the moment and regretted it afterwards. Whether Swann would be welcomed back I don't know.
28 November 2013
More Simple Stats that are Hard to Find
I have been extracting some more statistical information from the Cricinfo texts – yes, it is painstaking – to get some baseline stats on catches and other dismissals. Here is a summary list of the location of catches, based on nearly all Tests from 2002 to 2013.
* “Slip” in this context generally refers to slip fieldsman for spin bowlers.
The locations are based on descriptive names of locations given in the texts, so there are no hard and fast rules, and different commentators may have different definitions. But mostly, this should be a useful baseline for comparison of dismissal locations between from country to country and team to team, and even individual players.
There is also potential for historical comparison (but not now), especially using Bill Frindall’s old England scores, which describe locations. [A slight complication is that Frindall sometimes used categories of locations that did not directly compare to standard definitions when categorising run-scoring. In Frindall’s runs-scoring records, there is no “point” or “square leg” area. The boundary between categories is perpendicular to the pitch and goes right through the middle of what others would regard as point and square leg. This problem is also seen in Cricinfo’s batting charts.]
I have also looked at bowled dismissals in little more detail. About 17% of batsmen were out bowled since 2002, a figure that has remained reasonably steady since about 1990, but well down on earlier times. About 26% of batsmen out bowled edged or hit the ball onto the stumps (at least to the extent that it was noticed), and a further 4% were bowled off the pads (less than I would have thought), so only 70% of batsmen out bowled are ‘clean’ bowled. It would be interesting to know how many of those who played on did so to a ball that would not have hit the stumps. This is hard to say: I would estimate roughly about half, or a bit more, based on reading a lot of descriptions. Overall, then, maybe 15% of batsmen out bowled were out to balls that were not directed at the stumps.
About 55% of batsmen out bowled were playing a defensive stroke, 37% appeared to be attempting to score, and the remaining 9% were playing no stroke at all. Of course, sometimes there is grey area around the definitions. The percentages for top batsmen seem to be quite similar.
In general, this underscores that it is quite hard to bowl a batsman in a defensive frame of mind. Perhaps only one wicket in 11 falls this way, perhaps three per Test.
Slightly more batsmen are out lbw than bowled, 18% to 17%. This is quite interesting given that the lbw law is so difficult to satisfy. For every batsman out clean bowled, there must be several who are hit on the pad by a ball directed at the stumps, but who are not out thanks to the various technicalities such as the ball pitching outside leg stump.
There seems to have been little change in the incidence of lbws since the advent of the Decision Review System. About 17.5% of all dismissals from 1999-2004 were lbw, rising marginally to about 18.1% since 2009.
Perhaps half of batsmen out lbw are playing defensive shots. It is rather hard to be more precise from the descriptions. It appears that only about 3% of lbws are ‘no shot’ dismissals, quite a difference from the 9% who are out bowled this way.
Three wickets and ten runs in an over (Tests): JH Kallis Melbourne 2005/06: 60W4WW
30 October 2013
Some Simple Stats that are Hard to Find
The Cricinfo ball-by-ball texts for Test matches now extend for nearly 15 years, and about 30 per cent of all Tests. Oddly enough, some of the early ones seem to have disappeared from the Cricinfo site (or at least I cannot find them). In other matches from earlier than 2005, the original rich descriptive texts have been replaced by simple records of scoring. It is still possible to find some of the original versions online via Google archive; I am not sure if all can be found this way.
Never mind, I have been around long enough to have kept just about all of them. One possible reason that Cricinfo is not keen on keeping the early ones available is that they are not very reliable. They were only intended as descriptive commentary rather than rigorous scorekeeping, and gaps do occur. Nevertheless, they can be used for some general statistics that it is not possible to find any other way.
I have been I have been trawling through the Cricinfo ball-by-ball texts for data on appeals in Test cricket. I have analysed the whole 14+ years for mentions of appeals, and the last 100 Tests in more detail.
I found descriptions of more than 20,000 unsuccessful appeals. About 30 appeals per match. If you add up lbw, caught behind, stumpings and catches at short leg, you get a figure for successful appeals. The ratio is around to 2.6 to 1, unsuccessful appeals outnumbering the successful. Putting it another way, about 28% of appeals are successful.
The most appeals attributed to a bowler are 860 by Muralitharan. Not surprising given that he took more wickets than anyone during the analysis period. The most by a fast bowler is 415 by Zaheer Khan.
More interesting is the fact that, in number of appeals, the top five places, and eight out of the top 10, are taken by spin bowlers. The leading appealers in this dataset are
Most appeals by bowlers 1999-2013
Giles and Panesar
are the least successful appealers in the top 30. Almost all bowlers with
high rates of appealing, and low success rates, were spinners. Pace bowlers
had an average successful appeal rate of 34%, spinners 21%. The bowlers with
the highest success rates – the most selective appealers – are two of the
greatest: Glen McGrath and Dale Steyn with 46%
Looking at recent data more closely (100 recent Tests, about 2,900 appeals), I found that about 79% of appeals were for lbw, about 11% for caught behind and 7% for other catches, with other types making up the balance. There were fewer appeals for short leg catches (4% of the total) than I expected. There were even a couple of appeals (unsuccessful) for obstructing the field. Success rates: only 20% for lbw appeals, 53% for stumpings, and 65% for caught behind. It would be interesting to know what percentage of lbw appeals were balls that would have hit the stumps, but were rejected on ‘technical’ grounds of where the ball pitches or struck the pad. Alas, this is not really possible from the text description.
An over at Kandy 2001/02 that required three bowlers. Dillon bowled two balls and was injured; Stuart bowled two beamers that were called no ball and he was banned; and the over was completed by Gayle.
Some recent data (from Andrew Samson) shows that Jonty Rhodes is a challenger for Ricky Ponting for most run out credits in ODIs. We now know of 62 credits for Rhodes and 65 for Ponting. In five other run outs when Rhodes was fielding, the fielder is not identified. In 'primary' credits, Ponting is still probably the leader, currently at 64 to 59.
Rhodes played 245 ODIs to Ponting's 375, so his run out rate per match is superior.
Openers in Tests who dominated
the scoring. Highest % runs by players reaching 100:
11 October 2013
Hot 100 Update
I have re-calculated the Hot 100 – the fastest- and slowest-scoring batsmen in Test cricket – and posted it here. I have added a new column showing the change from last year, which, as in previous years, is not much. In spite of a loss in form, Virender Sehwag has held his edge in second place just ahead of Adam Gilchrist. The Top Ten remains unchanged. It is clear that individuals have specific natural scoring rates that do not vary much, or at least vary much less than their batting averages. Poor scoring affects batting average far more than average scoring speed; a duck will bring down the batting average but have almost no effect on average scoring speed.
In spite of the speeding up of the game with super bats and smaller grounds, Sehwag remains the only modern specialist batsman who scores faster than Victor Trumper did more than a century ago.
I have updated my notes on 'dismissals' off no balls in Tests since 1999. There are now 170 cases, although there are almost certainly others that I have missed. The bowler with the most is Morne Morkel with ten. This list for bowlers, as it stands, is
Most ‘dismissals’ off no balls since 1999
The luckiest batsman is Rahul Dravid with six cases; no one else has more than three. These figures include some “lbw off no ball” incidents that may be debatable.
Some extremely lucky batsmen have been firstly dropped and then dismissed off a no ball in quick succession. Early on during a world record partnership of 624 at Colombo in 2006, Kumar Sangakkara (on 7) was dropped at cover by Rudolph off Dale Steyn, and in the same over Steyn bowled Sangakkara with a no ball. Sangakkara went on to score 287, and the next wicket fell 603 runs later.
Two cases of batsmen being dropped, and being dismissed by a no ball, off consecutive deliveries: SC Ganguly at Mohali (off Mohammad Sami) 2004, and Michael Vaughan at Old Trafford 2005 (off Glenn McGrath).
At the SCG in 2004, Brett Lee twice had batsmen dropped, and also caught off no balls, in the same over (Chopra in the 1st innings and Sehwag in the second).
16 September 2013
Head-to-Head Stats at Last
Cricket has an intriguing mix of team and individual aspects, but at its heart are one-on-one contests between bowler and batsman. As such, the absence of extensive data on individual player-versus-player contests is quite a glaring gap in Test statistics. There is some data to be found, of course, with regards to bowlers who frequently dismissed particular batsmen. This stat, led by Glen McGrath’s 19 dismissals of Mike Atherton, has been published or reported from time to time. However, the converse – the batsmen who made most runs of individual bowlers – is a much more elusive stat.
Even traditional style scores are little help here. One needs ball-by-ball records. Fortunately, such records for those opponents who faced each other most often (mostly in Ashes Tests) are now in most cases complete. However, up to recently there was a frustrating gap in the database. I knew that Graham Gooch’s record against Kapil Dev was a top contender, but one Test, the ‘Jubilee’ Test at Bombay in 1980, was missing. The score of this match has now been found at Lord’s, and Benedict Bermange kindly sent me a copy.
Re-scoring this Test resulted in the elevation of Gooch/Kapil to #1. However, it is a close-run thing. Here is the list as it stands:
Individual Player v Player: Most Runs, all Tests
**Javed off Kapil is an estimate only.
Note that “Inns” denotes only those innings where the batsman actually faced the bowler.
The pairing of Herbert Sutcliffe and Clarrie Grimmett runs second by just two runs. Unfortunately, there is some uncertainty here, because a couple of the source scores, particularly the Oval 1926, contain anomalies and errors that may have a small effect. This applies to Hobbs/Mailey as well. Ultimately there is uncertainty as to the top position, but it is an interesting list nevertheless.
There are relatively few recent opponents. The fact is that, even though players are playing more Tests, the number of Tests against specific opponents is not rising much: careers are spread out over more opponents than before. Hence the domination of Ashes Tests, which remain the most common head-to-head contests. Perhaps then, it is surprising that Bradman is not higher on the list. The reason is that few major England bowlers had a complete career overlap with Bradman. One who did, Hedley Verity, sometimes got the better of the Don (398 runs at 49.8 off Verity’s bowling), a fact that has probably been under-emphasised previously, and is quite remarkable when you think about it.
There are a few ‘unknown’ contests that might belong on the list. The most prominent one is shown: Javed off Kapil. Most of the Tests for this pairing are not available ball-by-ball. The estimate shown is partly based on a calculation of the number of runs scored by Javed in matches where Kapil was bowling, as a proportion of the runs conceded by Kapil. Since Kapil was an opening bowler and Javed tended to bat middle order, the real value is more likely to be a bit lower than the calculated estimate.
A few incidental records:
· The most runs scored by a batsman off a bowler without ever being dismissed is 278 by Viv Richards off John Emburey. John Edrich scored 271 runs off Johnny Gleeson in Ashes Tests without losing his wicket.
· The highest known average is a similar case: 278 runs for once out by Kumar Sangakkara off Umar Gul.
· Bradman scored 243 runs off Vinoo Mankad in a single series without being dismissed.
· Greg Matthews bowled Marvan Attapattu with the only two balls he ever bowled to him.
· Steve Smith dismissed Sachin Tendulkar with the first and (so far) only ball he has bowled to him in Tests.
· Grimmett dismissed Xenophon Balaskas of South Africa five times in Tests while conceding two runs.
· Tim May bowled 54 balls to Mark Illott without conceding a run, dismissing him three times.
· Ashwell Prince faced only 19 balls from Bryce McGain, but scored 48 runs.
One of the most dramatic final innings in Tests happened in faraway Bulawayo in 1996, when England chased 205 to win off 37 overs. With five wickets down and England needing three to win of the last ball, Nick Knight was run out for 96 going for a third and winning run, leaving the scores tied but the match drawn, the first time there had been such a result (repeated recently in a India/West Indies Test). There are a few statistical curiosities from this innings (drawn from the scorebook) and match that show how knife-edges such matches are:
· England would have won the match under a rule change that was introduced less than 2 years later. Prior to the change, a no ball attracted a one run penalty only if there were no other runs scored; in 1998 this was changed so that an extra run was added in all cases. At Bulawayo, England scored off five no balls and Zimbabwe two. This would have given England three extra runs under the rule change, and the match.
· In the final innings, Umpire Dunne called a 7-ball over in the second over, bowled by Olonga. The error had extra impact in that Olonga then bowled a wide and so had to bowl the seventh ball again, only to see it hit for four by Knight.
· The fourth ball of the final over was a “very wide” ball bowled by Streak, but umpire Robinson declined to call it. Everyone else, including the bowler, later agreed it should have been called a wide.
Thanks to Benedict Bermange for supplying a copy of the score from Lord’s.
Most runs before lunch on the first day by a #3 batsman:
112 Macartney 1926
105 Bradman 1930
80 Watson The Oval 2013
76 Kanhai 1960/61, Richards 1979/80 (both at Adelaide)
Changing averages: I looked at first days of Tests where at least 450 balls were bowled. Between the Wars the average was 305 runs; since 2000 it is 285 runs. However the average number of balls bowled on the days surveyed has fallen from 650 to 524. There are complications. Before the War, days were 5 hours in Australia and up to 6.5 in England. Also, the practice of extending days when time is lost on previous days, is relatively recent
20 August 2013
Gluttons for Punishment
It is quite well established that Narendra Hirwani bowled the longest bowling spell in Test matches, 59 overs at The Oval in 1990. Less well-known is the most expensive bowling spell. Which bowler conceded the most runs in a continuous spell without being taken off? Most very long spells were sustained because the bowler was very economical. Hirwani was a bit of an exception and conceded 137 runs in his spell, so this is a pretty impressive candidate for most runs. But there a couple of spells in the database that were even more expensive. At Bulawayo in 2003/04, Ray Price (5 for 199) bowled a sustained spell in an innings where Brian Lara went to town (191 off 203 balls). Price’s first spell lasted 33 overs, and he took 3 wickets for 157. After two overs off for the new ball, Price returned to bowl another 10 overs for 42 runs. Price conceded six sixes, four from Lara and two from Wavell Hinds.
Curiously, the next on the list was also for Zimbabwe and at the same ground: Adam Huckle, 5 for 146 off 32 overs against New Zealand in 1997/98. Hirwani is next, followed by Danish Kaneria 2 for 130 off 32 overs at the WACA in Perth in 2004/05.
The database covers only about 80% of Tests, so there might be other cases out there.
The bowler with greatest number of bowling spells in one innings was Maurice Tate (65.1-12-153-1), with 15 separate spells at the Oval in 1930, when Australia scored 695 in 256 overs.
Anil Kumble took all ten wickets in a single spell. Bowlers taking nine in a spell include Lohmann, Laker (first innings at Old Trafford, not second), Tayfield and Abdul Qadir.
Is Catching Improving?
I have completed a survey of dropped catches in Tests for the year 2012, which extends previous surveys that started in 2001, based on Cricinfo’s ball-by-ball texts. There is a surprising result in the percentages. After years of relatively steady figures, in the range 25-27% chances missed, the incidence of misses fell to 23.5% in 2012.
Looking closer, part of the explanation is the near disappearance of Bangladesh from the Test scene in the year 2012. Bangladesh has always been the most generous contributor of dropped catches, reaching 45% in 2011, and overall catching figures improve if Bangladesh is excluded. Even so, this only explains about one-third of the fall from 26.9% to 23.5% from 2011 to 2012. Another factor is a remarkable improvement in the catching from the West Indies. West Indies players missed a steady 31-32% of chances from 2001 to 2009. This fell to 24% in 2011, and to 20% (!) in 2012. West Indies has gone from being one of the poorest teams to being one of the best. Pakistan has also improved out of sight, from the 30s down to 23%.
Australia led with only 18.5% misses, which appears to be the best one-year figure for any team in these surveys.
There are always niggling worries with the data. It relies on Cricinfo reporters reliably mentioning missed chances, and on being able to reliably detect the references in the long texts. The method I use is to use a macro that automatically flag mentions of dropped catches in the text, searching for more than 30 synonyms or euphemisms that are used by the reporters, and then checking each flag individually.
I don’t know if anything has changed in the reporting. It seems to be much the same, and just as detailed as before. It will be interesting to see if the recent figures are maintained.
Some Notes on Six-Hitting in Tests
Shane Warne conceded 174 sixes (data complete). He has recently been overtaken by Vettori on 183. However, even though data for Murali is incomplete, there are records of 189 sixes hit off him. There are 12 other sixes unaccounted for in Murali's career; he would have shared them with the other bowlers. Murali conceded maybe 40% of Sri Lanka's sixes in Test that he played, so a fair estimate would be 195 sixes conceded in his career.
The only other bowlers registering more than 100 sixes are Harbhajan Singh 157, Danish Kaneria 121, and Anil Kumble with at least 120 (data incomplete for Kumble).
The very first sixes: early hits over the boundary were only awarded five or even four runs. The first such hit is credited to Charles Bannerman off James Lillywhite in the second Test match played, at the MCG in 1877. The first hit over the boundary to register six runs (“out of the ground”) has sometimes been credited to Joe Darling off Johnny Briggs during an innings of 178 at Adelaide in 1897/98.
However, prior to Darling, there were several genuine hits over the boundary in Tests in South Africa that were awarded six runs. The first I have noted was by AJ Fothergill off A Rose-Innes at Port Elizabeth in 1889. George Ulyett made a similar stroke in the same match. Jimmy Sinclair hit two genuine sixes at Cape Town in the 1895/96 series, and AJL Hill also hit one in that match.
Technically, the first 'six' in Test cricket was by HH Massie at MCG in 1881/82, whose hit for six included three overthrows. I don’t know how many players have since hit a six without the ball reaching the boundary, but it must be very few.
24 July 2013
A few titbits on fast scoring in ODIs
It is extremely difficult to
score off every ball for long, and it is almost certain that there have been
no major innings where a batsman has scored off every ball, even if you count
extras as scoring balls and ignore dismissals. Younis
Khan scored off all 18 balls he faced in
this ODI in 2002
There were no dot balls in Kevin Pietersen's 39 off 23 balls in this match but there was a leg bye and a dismissal.
Most runs successfully chased down in the last 2 overs of an ODI: 29 by Zimbabwe to beat Bangladesh at Harare in 2006. For 3 overs there was 37 by South Africa against New Zealand at Cape Town 2000, and for 5 overs, 60 by Zimbabwe against India at Faridabad 2002. These are from data since 1997, and that data contains gaps (6% of games).
Batsmen on the field throughout a Test
Qualification: Test completed, or drawn with play on at least four days. Generally, it is not known if substitute fieldsmen were used; *Haynes was definitely substituted for a significant period.
Most Overs on the Field in a Test Match (at the crease or fielding)
*Timeless Tests. Eight ball overs converted to six-ball equivalent. Generally, it is not known if substitute fieldsmen were used.
Most Overs at the Crease in a Test Match
*Timeless Tests. Eight ball overs converted to six-ball equivalent.
Bowlers who took a wicket in their first over most often
20 June 2013
A Rare Pause
As the recent England/ New Zealand Test series faded away at Headingley, the New Zealand tailenders failed to score for the last 68 balls of the match. This is the longest known spell without scoring (off the bat) since 1964, when some Australian batsmen conspired to face 78 dot balls in a row at Calcutta. At Headingley, there was one wide during the scoreless spell.
The subject of the biggest six hits has become a perennial favourite, a question that is as intractable as it is popular. Without suggesting this can be resolved, here is a contribution, from the Sun-Herald newspaper in October 1963, concerning a famous innings by Victor Trumper in 1902/03. At Redfern Oval in a club (1st grade) match, Trumper hit 335 in 165 minutes (less time searching for six lost balls) with 22 ‘fives’, shots that would count for six today. Under the scoring system at the time, a batsman lost the strike by hitting the ball over the boundary. Trumper and his partner Dan Gee at one point hit six fives off an over, three each, taking turns. Trumper’s score remains the record for Sydney 1st Grade cricket.
Anyway, one of Trumper’s shots smashed a second-storey window in a factory across the street from the ground. The article illustrates the shot, which was estimated at 150 yards (135+ metres). One good thing about this one, unlike earlier, more dubious, claims for massive hits, is that its trajectory was definitely known, since the window was broken. Personally (checking against Google Earth) I think that 150 yards is a slight exaggeration, but it was certainly a mighty hit.
Wickets by Substitute Bowlers
From time to time (once in every ten Tests, roughly) a bowler cannot complete an over, usually due to injury. Traditionally, such overs were left unfinished, but since the 1980s another bowler has been called on to complete the over. In a few rare cases, this bowler takes a wicket before the end of the over. Here is a list of such cases
McMillan, uniquely, managed two wickets. Bravo’s wicket came after Taylor was barred from bowling, following a beamer at a tailender. Harbhajan was out first ball, possibly confused by a unique case of batsman (Dravid) and bowler (Dillon) both retiring hurt after the same ball.
Recently, there was a discussion at Cricinfo about the most no balls bowled by a bowler in a Test match, which had Ramanayake at Colombo in 1992/93 leading the way. The numbers presented were rather incomplete; here is a more rigorous analysis…
Willis bowled 34 no balls in all at Edgbaston 1981; four of them were scored from. This is the most I know of. Most in an innings is 32 by Wasim Akram at Old Trafford 1992, 3 of them scored from, but he didn't get a second innings. Seems to be an 'English conditions' thing.
Strangely, the online score for Ramanayake at Colombo is incorrect; he registered 24 no balls not 26, plus six that were scored from.
Most no balls in a match (including those with runs off the bat)
(This table has been edited; previous references to Jeff Thomson were in error)
Rest of the World Again
To follow up the item last month on Dennis Lillee against the World XI in 1971/72, here are some figures for the famous innings of Garfield Sobers at the MCG in the same series. They turned up in Australian Cricket magazine in Feb 1972, but I doubt if they have been otherwise published.
*The original table gives a figure of 373
Off each Bowler
Sobers had been dismissed second ball by Lillee in the previous match in Perth, and first ball in the first innings in Melbourne, so by the time the second innings came around, he really had something to prove against the “six foot Perth bank officer”, as one newspaper described Lillee. Sobers scored effortlessly off every bowler in the second innings, as the head-to head figures show. The innings was very fast but not superfast: Bradman had on several occasions reached 200 faster, although he had rarely matched Sobers speed from 200 to 250. Comparisons were made with Bradman’s own 254 (370 balls) at Lord’s in 1930, and Graeme Pollock’s 274 (413 balls) in 1970; Sobers was faster than both. The only innings of Bradman’s that was clearly faster was his 244 off 275 balls at the Oval 1934. Bradman himself was uncharacteristically effusive about Sobers’ innings, describing it as the finest he had seen in Australia.
It was a speed of scoring that Sobers had demonstrated before in Australia, being similar to his 132 at the Gabba in 1960/61 and two centuries he scored in 1968/69. Sobers’ five centuries against Australia came in an average of 125 balls, significantly faster than his 100s elsewhere, which typically took 200 balls.
There is no parallel in Test cricket for a player scoring a double century in one innings and being out first ball in the other. At Hyderabad in 1972/73, Dennis Amiss made 158 in the first innings, and a golden duck in the second. Dudley Nourse in 1935/36 and Viv Richards in 1984/85 combined double centuries with second ball ducks.
Another curiosity from that series: Greg Chappell, who eventually dismissed Sobers with his medium-pacers, had unaccountably been dropped to 12th man in the first two matches. Once back in the team, he scored 115* in Melbourne, 197* at the SCG, and 85 at Adelaide Oval. The same day as Sobers’ completed his 254, Chappell was caught off Bishen Bedi when a full-blooded sweep shot ricocheted off Norman Gifford’s ankle and ballooned to Sobers at mid-on. Gifford had to be helped from the field.
14 May 2013
Recently I have done a compilation of batsmen retiring hurt in Test matches. I found 306 cases up to now, 195 of whom later returned to the crease. This statistic has varied quite a lot over the years, rising to 25 cases per 100 Tests in the 1970s and 80s, but falling again as protective equipment improved, levelling out in the last 20 years at 10-12 cases per 100 Tests. Batting is now, if anything, less dangerous than bowling: the rate of bowlers retiring injured in mid-over is now about the same as for batsmen, and it is more likely that an injured bowler will not bowl again in the innings.
The compilation allows some statistics, although they are limited by the comparative rarity of the incidents. The batsman with the most retired hurts is DB Vengsarkar with six, a tally now threatened by Chris Gayle with five. A more novel aspect is the identification of bowlers who ‘retired’ batsmen. Here is a list of the bowlers most responsible.
Hadlee was not really regarded as a particularly dangerous bowler, but the figures suggest he was worthy of respect in this area as well. Hall’s reputation is confirmed, and the above figures do not include incidents such as Hall cracking Colin McDonald’s ribs in the Tied Test (McDonald continued batting). One bowler, not on the list, had a rate similar to Hall: Colin Croft, who was perhaps the most feared of the 80s Windies pacemen, retired four batsmen in a short 27-Test career.
Note that there are qualifications to this data. Some batsmen retire hurt (or ill) for reasons other than the bowler. I have tried to winnow these out of the data (indeed, ‘pulled muscle’ is a leading cause of retirement) but some may remain. There are maybe a dozen cases where the bowler, if one was responsible, has not been identified, most of these before 1980.
Sachin Tendulkar, incidentally, has never retired hurt in a Test match.
Meanwhile, in the Rest of the World
Speaking of feared fast bowling, I found in an old Australian Cricket magazine an analysis of Dennis Lillee’s 8 for 29 at Perth against “Rest of the World” in 1971/72. Now, this wasn’t a Test match, but it was certainly the next best thing, and the list of victims include some very big names: Gavaskar, Greig, Sobers, Lloyd (if this was not like “real Test cricket”, as some said, then the same surely applies to many actual Test matches, then and now). Anyway, Lillee’s analysis is intriguing in that it includes sequences of wickets that are unmatched in Test cricket. This includes five wickets for no runs in nine balls, and six wickets for no runs in 15. It is said that when Sobers came out to bat, he had never seen slips (five slips and two leg slips) and keeper standing so deep, and asked why. “You’ll find out” answered Rod Marsh, who caught Sobers two balls later off a particularly fierce length ball.
The full analysis is worth recording (I presume for the first time online). Lillee bowled 7.1 eight-ball overs
0 0 0 W 0 0 0 2 (Gavaskar c Marsh wk)
4 2 0 4 W 0 4 0 (Engineer c & b)
0 4 0 0 0 1 0 4
0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 W 0 W 0 W 0 (Greig c Stackpole 3rd slip, Sobers c Marsh wk, Hutton c McKenzie leg slip)
W 0 W 0 0 0 0 0 (Intikhab c Sheahan cover, Cunis c Stackpole 3rd slip)
W (Lloyd c Marsh wk)
Here are some snippets recently gathered. Some of these were published on the Ask Steven Facebook page…
Tests won in the last possible over are very few. I count only four (plus two Tied Tests) and that includes the Cronje Test and one won by the bowling side (Port-of-Spain 1935). Port-of-Spain 1968 finished at 5:27 and almost certainly had time for one more over.
Of the few, England hit 8 runs in the last over to win at Durban in 1948/49, an eight ball over. Only three came off the last six balls. At Kingston 1983, WI needed five off the last over and hit 1+6 off the first two balls.
Precursor: Nathan Astle is famous for doing an ‘Alletson’ in a Test match, when he scored 222 off 168 balls at Christchurch in 2002. Here is an earlier Astle special: at Bridgetown in 1996, Astle outscored JTC Vaughan 102 to 24 in a fifth wicket stand of 144. Astle hit 17 fours and 2 sixes during the partnership, while Vaughan hit no boundaries at all.
Alan Border once had a sequence of 51 innings (Sydney 1989 to Colombo 1992) where he did not hit a century, yet averaged 50.8. Border is certainly the only batsman to average over 50 for 50 innings in a row without hitting a century.
At Hamilton in 2010, Martin Guptill became the only Test batsman to hit a Test half century that included sixes but no fours.
Colin Cowdrey played 246 dot balls from
Sonny Ramadhin in his 154 at Edgbaston 1957. Bob
Simpson played 203 from TW Cartwright when he made 311 in 1964.
There are about 107 instances of a batsman reaching a Test century during a 10th wicket partnership. Among the century-makers the lowest scores at the fall of the ninth wicket were
13 : P Willey(100*) Eng v WI, The Oval 1980
16 : NJ Astle(102*) NZ v Eng, Auckland 1996/97
27 : JM Taylor(108) Aus v Eng, Sydney (SCG) 1924/25
27 : MEK Hussey(122) Aus v SAf, Melbourne (MCG) 2005/06
29 : RA Duff(104) Aus v Eng, Melbourne (MCG) 1901/02
31 : BF Hastings(110) NZ v Pak, Auckland 1972/73
32 : Harbhajan Singh(111*) Ind v NZ, Hyderabad (Uppal) 2010/11
I wonder how often a disparity like this happens. At Karachi in 1997/98, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq were bowling in tandem to Carl Hooper and Brian Lara. They bowled seven overs each; Mushtaq took 0 for 67, while Saqlain at the other end took 1 for 5, finishing with the wicket of Lara. Hooper made 50 runs in these overs, and 47 of them came off Mushtaq; Hooper went on to a century off 80 balls. Mushtaq was spelled, but the run flow continued off Azhar Mahmood for a couple of overs. Between them, Mushtaq and Azhar conceded 87 runs at the Pavilion end, while Saqlain was conceding seven runs at the University Road end.
When Mahela Jayawardene made 99 against West Indies at Galle in 2001/02, not only was he run out going for his 100th run, but earlier in the innings he appears to have been docked a run for ‘one short’. He was batting with Kumar Sangakkara at the time, but it is not recorded which of the batsman was called for the short run. Sri Lanka made 590 in that innings, including a partnership of 154 for the sixth wicket between Tillakeratne and Samaraweera that included only two boundaries, and a spell of 215 balls without a boundary. Maybe the “Super Bats” hadn’t made it to Sri Lanka at that time.
Strangely enough, on the same day, DA Marillier made 38 runs in a row entirely in singles, during his 52 against Bangladesh at Chittagong.
9 April 2013
The Man Who Faced 115 Balls for 0
Looking around for long spells of Test batsmen failing to score, I came across Tony Lock, who in the West Indies in 1954, faced 115 balls in a row without scoring, spread across three Tests. At Kingston, Lock’s last 18 balls were scoreless; at Bridgetown, he scored 0 off 45 and 0 off 22; at Georgetown, he finally broke this ultimate of ducks when he hit Alf Valentine for two off his 32nd ball.
I have made a list of known cases of extreme scorelessness including those spread over multiple innings
Price is an intriguing case. After starting his career with a solid 32 in India, he scored only two runs in his next ten Tests, including none at all in South Africa in 1964/65. He wasn’t completely without opportunity, as the number of balls faced shows, but his 5* at Lord’s in 1971 represented his first Test runs since 1964.
I have posted an article on run outs in Test matches, as published in the Cricket Statistician in 2012. Find it here.
GM Turner (101) spent 36 balls on 99,
I can find only two cases of a bowler taking wickets with consecutive balls but against different countries. Geoff Miller (v Pakistan, Australia 1982), and Monty Panesar (Australia, West Indies 2007). Neither got three in three.
Brian Lara scored 30 runs in the first four overs of the West Indies first innings at Headingley in 1995, even though he batted at #3.
Four New Balls in one innings: There are a handful of recorded cases from days when new ball intervals were shorter, although data is incomplete. It happened twice in one match at Leeds in 1951. More recent was Port-of-Spain 1954, not West Indies 681 but England's reply of 537. Those Tests in the WI back then were 6 days, but only 5 hours per day. Note that the new ball rules have varied a lot over the years.
In a three-Test series in India in 1992/93, Graham Hick had most runs, best batting average, most wickets, best bowling average, highest score, best match bowling, and most catches for England. This was not necessarily a good sign; England was thrashed.
There are 12 cases of same player having most match runs and most match wickets for a team in a Test, some of them washed out draws, but none where that applies to all four innings. At Johannesburg 1957/58, Richie Benaud top scored in 1st innings and had best bowling in both innings, but Australia needed only one run to win in the second innings. At Christchurch 1977/78, Botham 'top scored' in both innings (second was incomplete), and had best match bowling, but Bob Willis took more wickets in the second innings.
11 March 2013
End of Days Myth?
Michael Clarke at Hyderabad became the first Test captain to declare an innings closed, and then lose by an innings. That much was noted widely, but I thought I would look into the reason for the declaration, which was to give India a ‘difficult’ short session of batting at the end of the first day. Do batsmen really struggle in that situation, or is it another cricketing myth?
I took 95 cases of teams batting six overs or less at the end of a day of more than 80 overs, on days 1, 2 and 3, since 1998. I compared them to the results for all teams in innings 2 or 3 (over 1300 innings). I subdivided the results into teams batting 1 to 2 over, 2 to 3 overs, 3 to 4 etc. The table compares the average number of wickets falling under the two scenarios: end of day start versus normal start.
Average number of wickets falling in early overs.
There is a slightly elevated chance of getting a wicket if you leave a team four overs or less to bat at the end of the day. However, this advantage is reversed for teams given five or six overs. Overall, the effect is weak, and the fluctuations are probably due to chance and the somewhat restricted sample size. Overall, it is very hard to see any significant advantage to putting a team in to bat for the last few overs of the day.
Still, the perception of advantage must be strong: it is still tried regularly. It could be because of the natural insecurities of batsmen. They feel that they have a lot to lose and little to gain when asked to bat for just a few overs; in reality, they generally cope well.
A Very Short History of Matting Wickets in Tests
All Tests in Australia and England have been on turf. I have notes on 59 Tests elsewhere that were on matting, mostly in Pakistan and South Africa. All Tests in South Africa before 1930 were on matting, the last being Johannesburg 1931 (thanks to Robin Isherwood for the intel). The situation in the West Indies is less clear. The only pre-War Tests in the Caribbean known to be on matting were at Port-of-Spain, but there may have been others. Bridgetown and Kingston 1934/35 appear to have been on turf. The last Test on matting in West Indies was Port-of-Spain 1954.
Only two matting Tests are known in India, Lucknow 1952/53 and Kanpur 1958/59. The odd thing about the latter is that an earlier Test in Kanpur was on turf. It appears that all Tests in Pakistan before 1960, except at Lahore and Peshawar, were on matting wickets. The last matting Test ever played was Pakistan against Australia at Karachi in 1959.
You might be surprised at how at much work is required to produce prosaic research like this.
Some more comments that I placed on the Ask Steven Facebook page follow.
Taking of new ball has varied quite a bit in the past, and was as early as 55 overs in the 1940s. The lowest score for a second new ball that I know of is 80/3 for West Indies bowling against England at Bridgetown in 1954. It was taken in the 73rd over, so England were scoring at barely one run per over. The lowest known score for a new ball after 80 overs or more is 103/6 in the 81st over, England bowling against New Zealand at Leeds in 1958.
At Joburg in 1938, Hedley Verity conceded his first boundary with his 478th ball of the match. He was then taken off, much too expensive I suppose.
Spanning multiple matches, Alan Davidson bowled 522 balls in a row without being hit for four, in South Africa in 1957/58. The sequence spanned three matches.
Only one Test batsman has ever scored a half-century without having batted in the first innings. Richard Hutton, son of Sir Len, made 58* in the second innings for England v Pakistan at Lord’s 1971. The match was largely a washout: England had declared the first innings at 241/2 to try to precipitate a result, but there was no real chance. Hutton was given a chance to play his first Test innings on the final afternoon. [I have excluded the ‘Cronje’ Test in 2000 from this analysis.]
UPDATE: Days after I wrote this, after Hutton’s record had stood for more than 40 years, Kithuruwan Vithanage of Sri Lanka scored 59 against Bangladesh without having batted in the first innings.
A question arose about bowler’s switching arms and bowling with opposite to normal hand. Gerald Brodribb's Next Man In it provides six or seven instances of bowlers doing that in fc cricket, but is not specific about Tests: CEM Wilson, J Harry, RG Marlar, Hanif Mohammad (1954 & 1967 tours of England), H Jarman, J Whitehouse, V Marks and 'occasionally' Peter Bowler, and GA Gooch. It turns out that the right-handed Hanif tried this at an important juncture in Test history. Here is an eyewitness account from the Barbados Advocate from 2 Mar 1958:
"Hanif appeared at the northern end as a relief bowler. Walcott singled off his second ball and Sobers now faced Hanif, who changed to round the wicket and bowled left hand slows. Sobers pushed him to long off for a single to tie Hutton's 364 and Walcott hit the next ball for a mighty six..."
"Facing Fazal next over his first was a wide, the next ball rapped Sobers on the pads and Fazal roared a leg before appeal to umpire Ewart who turned it down. Fazal blared [sic] at the umpire and delivered the next ball without his run. Sobers pushed to cover for a single and bedlam broke loose..."
A Pakistan contact, Shahzad, tells me that Hanif’s one Test wicket was bowling conventionally. (Source: Hanif himself). The only other note I have of a Test bowler switching arms is Graham Gooch in his last over of the drawn Test at Calcutta in 1981/82.
Bradman, of course, gathered his 6996 runs in only 80 innings. To find an innings sequence with more than 6996 runs, you have to go to Ricky Ponting, 7026 in 116 innings, finishing with 123 in Test #1887, which was his 200th innings.
13 February 2013
Some of these remarks are ones I made on the ‘Ask Steven’ Facebook page.
Most One-on-One Dismissals in First-Class Cricket
The answers are a bit strange. Against Bradman, no one did better than Grimmett, with 10 dismissals, which is a little odd considering they played for the same teams far more often than they were opposed. In all FC cricket, the answers go WAY back. This is because in the days before county Championship, there were fewer players and teams, but they played one another very often. William Hillyer dismissed James Dean 59 times, and Alfred Mynn had similar success against Thomas Box. Most of this happened in the 1840s. Hillyer dismissed Box 56 times. The most I can find in modern cricket (all forms) is 29 by Marshall against Gooch.
If my calculations are correct (not guaranteed), Hillyer played against Box 140 times and against Dean exactly the same number. Mynn played 129 against Box, and 99 against Dean. These are remarkable numbers considering that none of them played more than 300 fc matches. I should add that the Hillyer/Box 140 and other totals would include matches where they played on the same side.
Personally, I am dubious about many matches of this era that have been granted fc status, but that is another issue.
The Slowest Sessions: A More Complete List
I have revised some earlier work on the lowest-scoring sessions (12 Dec 2011), to take account of the fact that there are generally a lot fewer overs being bowled in a session than once was the case. I have also discovered new candidates for the slowest two-hour session. On the final day of a Test in Colombo in 1983, New Zealand ‘advanced’ from 50/3 to 76/3 in the post-lunch session, producing just 21 runs off the bat. This was the innings where Martin Crowe, suffering from a fractured thumb and food poisoning, took two hours to reach five and 156 balls to get to double figures. Crowe hit just four runs off 90 balls in the session in question, the fewest known for any individual (and even that included a single off the first ball of the session). This is one fewer that Arshad Khan scored in a session at the same ground in 2000; Khan was supporting Wasim Akram, who scored 63 at the other end.
The fewest runs table has been divided into two: the first lists sessions of thirty overs or more, the nominal minimum nowadays. The second shows complete sessions that saw only 24-30 overs. Once again, it is a New Zealand team in Sri Lanka currently in the ‘yellow jersey’ (Morutawa 1992). In this session Lankan spinner Warnaweera returned figures of 13-11-5-0, one of the runs being a no ball. New Zealand was happy to draw the match, which was their first after their hotel in Colombo had been hit by a big terrorist bomb. I hadn’t realised before that they had not called off that tour.
Fewest Runs in a Full Two-Hour Session (where known)
Minimum 30 six-ball overs. Does not include weather-interrupted sessions, or those with change of innings.
Sessions that fell a few minutes short of two hours have been included, but not 60- and 90-minute sessions, which were commonplace in some countries before 1980. At Brisbane 1958/59, England scored 19 off 168 balls in 90 minutes before lunch on the fourth day. England scored only 27 in 39 overs before lunch on the third day at Bridgetown in 1954, but it was still only a 90 minute session(!).
At Trent Bridge 1934, England scored 26 off 232 balls in the final session of the match before being all out.
Fewest Runs in a Full Two-Hour Session (24-30 overs)
†17-minute injury break
At Edgbaston in 1999, Alex Tudor and Nasser Hussain hit 22 boundaries in a partnership of 98. There were four sundries. I would be very surprised if any partnership of less than 100 would have more boundaries. Tudor hit 21 in his score of 99*, the most boundaries by anyone not making a century, and Hussain 10 fours in 44 is the most known in a score of less than 45. Sobers hit 10 boundaries in 43 at Bridgetown in 1955.
The partnership scoring strokes (leaving out sundries) were 44144444444444414414344444.
Shane Warne saw 750 wickets (including run outs) fall at the other end after he bowled the previous over. Warne took 708 wickets plus 20 run outs during his overs, so it is quite interesting that his bowling partners took more wickets than he did. His main bowling partner was Glenn McGrath. McGrath took 563 wickets (plus 15 run outs while he was bowling), but saw 533 wickets from his bowling partners including run outs. I have 528 for Murali, but Sri Lanka data is incomplete before 1998; he is very unlikely to exceed Warne. The numbers above are not absolutely guaranteed.
Laker took 18 of his wickets at Old Trafford after Lock had bowled the previous over, (interesting in that Laker bowled quite a few overs in tandem with other bowlers as well). For Laker's other wicket, Lock came on to bowl in the next over.
At the end of the SCG Test in 1946, the Australian team had a combined batting average of 80.02 (career runs by the team members, divided by dismissals). Highest for modern teams is 50.75 for India at Colombo in 2010, fractionally ahead of Australia at the SCG in 2008/09, at 50.74.
Most Runs in First-Class Cricket by non-Test Players
16 January 2013
Five Wickets in Seven Balls in Test Cricket
Never been done? Depends how wide you cast the net. No bowler has taken five wickets in fewer than 13 balls in all Tests, as far as I know, but if you look at just Ashes Tests, there is one strange case. Jason Gillespie took five wickets in seven consecutive balls against England. How could such a thing have gone unnoticed? Here’s how…
At Perth in 1998/99, Gillespie took three wickets with the last four balls of his 15th over, and added another (Alan Mullally) with the second ball of his next over, finishing off England’s second innings. Four wickets in six balls is rare enough, and was noticed at the time (William Bates at the MCG way back in 1883 is the only other case I know of in Ashes Tests). However, in spite of his match figures of 7 for 111, Gillespie was bumped to twelfth man for the next Test in Adelaide, and was injured (or perhaps ignored) for the final two Tests of the series. He played eleven Tests against other countries before his next appearance in the Ashes at Edgbaston in 2001. With his first ball of that series, he dismissed Marcus Trescothick. Hence five in seven, albeit spanning more than two years. I wonder if there are other cases involving different pairs of countries. I would be surprised to find anything so extreme.
Earthquake Stops Play
There is a curious little note in the official scorebook for the Wellington Test of 1991/92 (NZ v Eng). In New Zealand’s first innings, listed among the interruptions, is “4 mins/ earthquake”. Unfortunately it does not say exactly when this happened, or even which day. The innings stretched over 3 playing days; the earthquake probably happened on the Saturday while Wright was batting. None of the usual sources mention the event; I checked the New Zealand Herald but no mention (although the Sunday edition was not on the microfilm). A contact in Wellington was also unaware; he went to the match but was not there every day. He did say he remembered the England fast bowler David Lawrence’s career-ending breakdown on the fifth day when his kneecap broke in two; the ‘snap’ was audible all round the ground.
The Basin Reserve is no stranger to earthquakes, and the ground actually owes its existence to one. When Wellington was first settled, the Basin area was a shallow lagoon. There were plans afoot to dredge it into a harbour in 1855 when a huge earthquake raised the land level almost 2 metres and turned the lagoon into a swamp. Once they had dusted themselves off, the resourceful locals changed their plans, drained the swamp, and made a cricket ground. The 1855 earthquake was probably much bigger than the 2011 quake that devastated Christchurch.
The Worst Bowling Average
The recent appearance at the Sydney Test of Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Pradeep (given the confusing name of ANPR Fernando at CricketArchive) raised a question about the worst bowling averages. Pradeep went into the match with a Test batting average of 0.5 and a bowling average of 345.0, surely an unprecedented combination. Pradeep scored 26 runs and took 2 for 114 in the Test, which represents something of a breakthrough, relatively speaking. By conceding 58 runs before his first wicket, Pradeep’s bowling average briefly topped 400, peaking at 403 before he dismissed Mitchell Johnson. Only a few bowlers have ever suffered such an average. Rawl Lewis of West Indies reached 414 in 2008. Indian bowler Rusi Surti had an average of 458 at one stage in 1962, but that was topped by Khaled Mahmud of Bangladesh whose average peaked at 480 in 2003. There is one other bowler whose exact worst average is not determined, the West Indian all-rounder and slow bowler Frank ‘Freddie’ Martin.
Martin went into the Adelaide Test of 1930/31 with a bowling average of 417 and took 3/91, finally breaking his drought with the wicket of Don Bradman, no less. Australia scored 42 runs after Bradman was out for 152, so at an absolute minimum, Martin’s average reached 466. However, of the 42 runs, press reports mention 13 runs specifically hit off other bowlers and eight off Martin (who bowled throughout); the other runs were not reported. This gives Martin a minimum of 479 and a likely range of 485 to 495 runs conceded before he got Bradman. Martin almost certainly is the record-holder.
Martin rather redeemed himself in the final Test of that series by scoring a century (123* off 364 balls) and dismissing Bradman for 43 at a crucial stage of the match. West Indies won the match in probably the biggest Test upset ever.
I came across an unusual and unsung achievement in a Test in 1992. In New Zealand’s first Test in Zimbabwe, Mark Greatbatch scored 88 and 87 in dashing style, facing only 187 balls. He reached 50 off 39 balls in the first innings and off 48 in the second. It is remarkably rare to reach two fifties in a Test at faster than a run per ball. The only other certain cases I know of are Nathan Astle at Bridgetown in 1996 (45 & 45 balls) and Tillekeratne Dilshan at Galle against New Zealand in 2009 (30 and 35). A number of players have come very close, the most notable being Sehwag, also at Galle, with fifties off 50 and 49 balls.
Jack Hobbs may have done it at Durban way back in 1910, but we can only estimate balls faced for that Test. There are no other likely candidates from the old days.
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