For comments, or to contact Z-score (Charles Davis) email
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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.
On reports that Richie Benaud is struggling with skin cancer:
I do recall about 10 years ago going to a function where there were quite a number of old-time Australian Test cricketers from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Seeing them in the flesh, I was struck by the observation that they all had one thing in common: weather-beaten skin. All of them had spent much too much time in the summer sun without the skin protection that is essential for us pale people.
There was an obsession with a 'healthy tan' back then. Australians from those times now have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
No bowler has taken wickets with both the first ball and the last ball of a completed Test match, but Imran Khan (the original) came close. At Kandy in 1986, Imran dismissed Sidath Wettimuny with the second ball of the match, and later finished the match off by dismissing Jayananda Warnaweera, Pakistan winning the match by an innings.
There are 50 cases of a bowler taking both the first and last wickets of a completed Test. Brett Lee, Imran Khan and Waqar Younis all did so three times.
At this point in time, there have now been 115 Test matches (including draws) since a player from a losing side won a Player of the Match (PoM) award.
There have been seven Tests in that time where a player from the losing side either scored more runs than the PoM (if the award went to a batsman), or took more wickets (if the award went to a bowler); awards for all-round performances were excluded from this part of the analysis.
I figure that Wasim Akram bowled 20 hat-trick balls in Tests. 18 of them were unsuccessful. On other occasions Wasim took wickets with consecutive balls, but they were his last balls in the match, so there was no hat-trick ball. It's hard to check everyone, but there are no other contenders apart from Murali with 17 unsuccessful hat-trick balls.
In India, bowlers seem to be in for nothing but toil and trouble in ODIs, especially at the hands of the Indian batsmen. Some stats: since 2011, teams batting first in India average 282, in other Test-playing countries it is 243. India averages 246 away and 299.7 (!) at home. Other teams that have played in India average 270 in India and 241 elsewhere.
Hitting the Winning Run in ODIs: since 1999, although data is not quite complete, there is no doubt about the leader. I found 24 cases for MS Dhoni, with no one else more than 12. Does not include matches that ended with extras.
Dhoni has been not out at the end of an ODI 38 times. (Of course, sometimes his batting partner hits the winning runs.) India lost only one of those games; on that occasion, against Pakistan, India was all out, so Dhoni has never been left not out at the end of 50 overs in a losing cause, at least when batting second.
1 December 2014
The Least Desired Record
Shortest interval between last international appearance and date of death.
The Hot 100 for 2014
I have updated the lists for fastest and slowest scoring Test batsmen. As in past years, these lists change only slowly, but there is one new important entry, with David Warner qualifying for the first time, and making a spectacular entrance at #6 with a rate of 73.4 runs per 100 balls. We now have what appears a final rate for Virender Sehwag, who has held #2 spot just ahead of Adam Gilchrist.
Moving up the charts is Stuart Broad, who has scored at a Jessopian 113 r/100b in 2014, and gains 5 places, after losing some ground in 2013 thanks partly to an innings of 6 off 77 balls in an attempted match-save. Broad, however, has scored only one half-century in his last 48 Test innings. In better form was Brad Haddin, whose high and fast scoring since the last instalment sees him move from #53 to #42.
Lists for slowest scorers and most tenacious batsmen (longest average innings) don’t change much, but Faf du Plessis now qualifies for the latter list and is the highest-ranked present-day batsmen, for now at least. The evergreen Chanderpaul has moved up the list, averaging 148 balls per dismissal since the last assessment in 2013 and is now ranked #29.
A regular feature of cricket commentary is the knell of articles proclaiming the decline and end of Test cricket. Maybe one day they will be right, but I am more than old enough to remember how in the 1980s One-Day cricket was swamping and destroying Test cricket in Australia. Some destruction: last December saw the all-time record cricket crowd, at the MCG, and it was in a Test. Earlier than that, Ashes Test in England in the 1970s were often played before half-empty stands.
In any case, the present situation in India, which has a monkey grip on the game’s finances, remains troubling. Test crowds there are poor to indifferent. Yet there is other evidence that Test cricket retains its fascination. You would think that Cricinfo, for example, would go wherever the interest goes, but Test cricket is not losing its place at Cricinfo, in my estimation.
Anyway, some stats. On Cricinfo, a recent Test in Dubai, before mostly empty stands, received 30 articles that attracted over 1150 comments from readers. (This is even though it involves Pakistan, a nation with intractable problems that cannot even host international cricket anymore.) I compared that to the final of the Champions League Trophy, a major match in the Indian T20 sledgehammer that is supposedly destroying Test cricket. The match got nine articles in Cricinfo that attracted a total of 179 comments.
There are still a lot of genuine Test cricket fans out there. It would certainly be interesting to see which matches get the most page visits at Cricinfo.
Some more notes on tea intervals in early Tests.
Prior to 1914, 15-20 minute tea breaks in Australia were normal, but very variable in timing. There was usually no formal tea break if a change of innings occurred after lunch, and sessions as a result could last 2.5 hours or more, in a five-hour day. When Victor Trumper scored a 133 in a 'session' after tea in 1910/11, he batted 154 minutes and 47 overs.
Some reports of early Tests in Australia mention tea breaks taken on the field. Tea breaks occurred in Australia from the very early in the piece. I have noted a tea break on the first day of the 1878/79 Test when Australia was 40/3 after England was out for 113. The 1877 Tests prior to that had rather truncated hours and late lunch breaks.
Brodribb and others describe tea breaks being employed in England in the 1890s. However, I have never noted any references to mid-innings tea breaks in Test match reports from England prior to 1902. Tea breaks of a sort seem to have been taken if there was a change of innings during the afternoon. 15-minute tea breaks are evident in the scorebook of the 1905 series and thereafter.
Hours in the 1905 series appear to be : 11:30 (day 1) or 11:00 (other days) to 1:30; 2:15 to 4:30; 4:45 to 6:30.
Between the wars in England, more often than not, morning sessions were 2.5 hours, 45 minutes lunch, then 2 hour sessions with 15 minutes for tea. The first day was half an hour shorter than this. There were variations on this theme.
Fewest runs in an
uninterrupted drawn Test (5 days): It can be hard to tell whether a Test has had
no interruptions at all. The Karachi Test of 1977/78 (769 runs) was
uninterrupted, except for a visit by President Zia on Day 3. The scheduled
hours were 5.5 per day, and the 5th day was called off an hour early (for
'lack of interest') .
31 October 2014
The Slowest Days: A Surprising Analysis
There are record lists for the fewest runs in a “full” day’s play: Cricinfo has one here. It is distorted by the changing norms for over rates and length of daily play, varying over history and between countries. I was surprised to find that the record-holder, 95 runs in about 290 minutes play at Karachi in 1956, was a day with only 67.5 overs, vastly atypical for its time, and way below the standards for a ‘complete’ day even now. The next on the list, 104 runs in the equivalent Test in 1959/60, contained a mere 65 overs (that one was not strictly a complete day, as proceedings were interrupted by a visit and presentation to US President Eisenhower).
[The over counts are from my database: they are not available anywhere else.]
I thought it might be more useful to present the slowest days in term of runs per 100 balls. I simply set the bar at 67 overs or more, and didn’t worry too much about whether the days were absolutely complete or interrupted. Remarkably, the record-setting day in 1956 only scrapes into the list at about number 40, and the 1959 Test, even if it had qualified (too few overs), would not be in the top 100. Anyway, here is list of slowest day’s play. Some days were decidedly incomplete, but all had more than 67 overs. I have appended notes that help show whether a day was ‘complete’ or not.
Slowest Test Days, Minimum 67 Overs
This is certainly a record that is largely frozen in time, but it is interesting to see South Africa making an addition to the list earlier this year, on a day when Sri Lanka proved it was still possible to bowl at reasonable over rates if a team was motivated enough.
The leader here, when Gibbs took his spell of 8/6, was a day that actually ended before tea, but still contained 91 overs.
Some of the days on the “fewest runs” list are absent here, and would struggle to make the Top 100 in a “fewest runs per over” list.
Most consecutive balls without a boundary by Australian teams.
279 SCG 1886/87
275 The Oval 1882
273 Dubai 2014
One more over by Smith and Johnson would have taken this one. Mind you, Mitchell Johnson would have to be one of the least likely batsmen to be involved in such a record.
Most by any team
379 balls (255 minutes) New Zealand at the WACA 1985/86.
Bear in mind this is a “where known” record. There might be others in the missing Tests. However, the missing Tests tend to be in the subcontinent and West Indies, where boundary hitting has historically been easier and such records are unlikely to be set.
There are 220 cases of two
bowlers sharing a combined 10 wickets in a Test innings. Murali and Vaas
shared the wickets five times (Murali eight times in all). Oddly, McGrath and
Warne never did. (Warne twice with Brett Lee). Jack Saunders did it six times
in his career of only 14 Tests, with different bowlers.
Six runs with helmet penalties…
Australia got 6 byes including
helmet penalty at Karachi in 1994/95
Australia scored only 9 runs in a batting powerplay in the recent series against Pakistan. It is close to the record, for a powerplay starting after over 20, for a side batting first. I found one case of 7 runs by Bangladesh against New Zealand in 2007. Overs 30 to 34.
This appears to be one of the first games to include a 'batting' powerplay. In earlier games, selected powerplays were selected by the fielding side and were almost always used in the first 25 overs.
For a side batting second there were just 6 runs by South Africa against Sri Lanka last year
One difficulty in comparison is that powerplay rules have changed arbitrarily, from year to year. The current requirement for powerplay before over 40 reduces the scoring compared to the days when one was almost always taken in the last few overs. Overall, powerplays are less important than most commentators assume.
At Kandy in 1994,
Wasim Akram opened the bowling in the second innings and started with eight
maidens in a row. Four wickets fell, three of them to Waqar Younis. Wasim
conceded his first runs off the last ball of his ninth over.
Trevor Goddard also once bowled his first eight overs as maidens, at Johannesburg in 1970, but he did not open the bowling, and it was not an unbroken spell.
Most runs in a maiden over: I don't know for
sure, but the first over of this Test
was a maiden that cost 10 runs
Highest score by a batsman not winning Man of the Match. Sangakkara once made 287 and missed the MoM award (Jayawardene 374). Jayawardene (240) and Samaraweera (231) both missed the MoM award at Karachi in 2009, won by Younis Khan.
Michael Clarke (230) is one of the only 220+ batsman to miss out to another batsman who made less then 200 runs in the match (du Plessis 78 and 110*), at Adelaide in 2012.
There was no MoM award at The Oval in 1976. It would have been an interesting decision between Richards (a brilliant 291) and Holding (14 wickets on a perfect batting track). I wonder if others can think of Tests like where the decision would have been difficult.
Alonzo Drake took 15 wickets for 51 in 15.5 overs
in what was to be his second last
first-class match in 1914. War had been declared a few weeks
earlier and this was one of the last fc matches in England until 1919. A few
days later all remaining matches of the season were cancelled.
3 October 2014
The Extreme Overs
I have been collating all examples of 20 or more runs in an over (Tests) that I can find. The cases found in my database are augmented by some others listed in Test Cricket Lists (Dawson and Wat). This source has a few from Tests not covered by my database. There are probably other unidentified cases (TCL itself misses about 30 cases that I found within the database) but I suspect that well over 90% of actual cases are by now listed.
There are now more than 150 known cases (if sundries are included), 26 of them from eight-ball overs. About half the cases are from this century; not surprisingly, it has become more common in the modern era of smaller grounds and superbats. assisted also by the change in law that added extras runs for hits off no balls. Of the 152, 104 involve one batsman scoring 20 runs or more; in the others, runs were more evenly shared between the batting partners. There are no cases of two different batsmen both scoring ten or more runs in an over.
There is opportunity for a few
stats. The leading batsman in the list is Adam Gilchrist with eight cases. In
six of those, Gilchrist personally contributed 20 or more. This places him
well above others. Botham and Lara each have five cases; Lara personally
contributed 20 three times, Botham two. Shahid Afridi has
For bowlers, Matthew Hoggard suffered four times. Jeff Thomson also conceded 20 or more in an over four times, but note that two of these were eight-ball overs.
I have posted an article I wrote for the new Australian cricket journal Between Wickets here. It is entitled “The Statistician as Collector” and describes some of the efforts I have undertaken to amass my database, and some of the more interesting oddities I found. The article has been added to my “Longer Articles” register.
Let’s hope this journal gets going. There are far too few published outlets for good cricket writing any more.
I mentioned a while back that my father (more than 40 years ago) was an umpire for the M.C.C.C., that is the Mexico City Cricket Club, formed mostly of expat Brits. Here is a photo from 1969 of the scene during a match, from Dad’s collection. Rather idyllic I would say, rather as cricket is supposed to be. My mother and younger sister are in the photo, showing their customary level of interest in the game. The location would be hard to guess, to put it mildly. There are Australian gum trees in the background, which are common in that part of Mexico.
A question was asked about most consecutive fours in ODIs and T20i.
Sehwag hit seven 4s in a row, spread across 4 overs (overs 8-11), against New Zealand in 2001, in Colombo.
Afridi once hit 4,4,6,4,4,4,wide,4,4 against Bangladesh in 2010.
In T20i I can only find one, and it would be impossible to guess. SO Tikolo hit six 4s off consecutive (legal) balls against Canada in a WT20 qualifier in 2013. However, there were two wides in the sequence.
In the last 1000 ODIs, for teams batting first and batting the full 50 overs, the average halfway point has been early in the 31st over. The median v. similar (Ov 30).
However, this doesn't quite mean that teams will likely double their score after 30 overs, because some will be bowled out before 50 overs are up.
In ODIs since
1999, I count 61 stumpings off wides (although some data is missing, mostly
for minor countries). Most bowlers have no more than one, but Harbhajan and
Shoaib Malik have five each.
scores topped by an individual batsman: in Tests, Pakistan's 328 all out at
Kingston in 1958 was topped by Sobers' 365*. In fc,
Ponsford's 437 beat Queensland's 2nd innings 407.
Michael Jones adds that Phil Hughes recently set the List A record, 202 for Australia A v South Africa A 201.
If you combine the international formats, Ponting leads with 79 run out credits (12 Test, 65 ODI, 2 T20i). Figures for Rhodes are incomplete (70+) but he would not match Ponting's overall total, although he would surpass Ponting in run outs per match. Hobbs' known total for Tests is 19.
4 September 2014
The Elusive First Wicket Record
Some interesting correspondence from Shahzad has identified some subtle errors in an ‘official’ score that has some bearing on a record recently in the news.
The record is ‘most runs conceded before first Test wicket’. Pankaj Singh of India recently made a strong if undesired run at this record, a run that ended when he dismissed Joe Root at Old Trafford. Singh had conceded 274 up to that point, a total exceeded only by RGCE Wijesuriya.
The exact number conceded by Wijesuriya in 1985 has been hard to pin down. I had made an estimate of 283 or 284 before Shahzad eventually came up with an exact number of 285, one that didn’t quite fit in with my estimate or the official score. However, Shahzad informed me that Wijesuriya’s dismissal of Abdul Qadir was the ninth wicket of the innings, not the eighth, and occurred on a score of 290 not 288. The official version needs to be modified. My estimate had been based on that official version and newspaper reports that showed that the last five runs of the innings were all scored off Ratnayake by Wasim Akram.
Shahzad also tells me that Wijesuriya also bowled 3.1 not 3.4 overs in the second innings, which was completed in 16.1 not 16.4 overs.
So an improved list can now be produced….
Most Runs before First wicket in Tests
Anwar Hossain Monir conceded 307 runs in Tests without taking a wicket (348 balls).
Unknown: Rusi Surti conceded perhaps 250-260 runs before his first wicket. Conceivably, up to 275 runs (very unlikely). Probably >400 balls.
A New Head-to-Head scoring record: Namitha and others have alerted me to a new leader in the Player v Player scoring stakes. Kumar Sangakkara has now scored 531 runs (by my count) off the bowling of Saeed Ajmal, taking over from Gooch v Kapil (517) and Sutcliffe v Grimmett (515±). The revised list is here. Ajmal has dismissed Sanga only four times, for an average of 132.8. It is a characteristic of the very best modern batsmen that they score freely off spin bowlers. Sanga averages 70 off spin bowling and 52 off pace. Even so, his scoring off Ajmal is extraordinary given that Ajmal is the best spinner going around today. Sangakkara’s record appears to be worse off part-time spinners than major spinners, although Shane Warne also kept him in check (av 31.8).
MOST Fives in Tests: Strictly speaking, in Tests it is ten by 19th-century Australian George Bonnor, but they were all "six-hits" that only counted five in those days. Otherwise, the highest is nine by Geoff Boycott and Steve Waugh. While there are gaps in the data, it is complete for these two, and there are no other likely candidates to exceed them.
The only known case of three 5s in a match is by Bruce Laird at Adelaide in 1980. All were 1+4 overthrows.
Virender Sehwag (8586 runs) never hit a five in a Test match.
Progressive career wickets records
Recently we saw
Mark Craig become the first batsman to hit his first ball in Test cricket for
six. So I had the idea of searching for batsmen who hit their last ball for six. Only one was found: Wayne Daniel at Port of Spain
in 1984. Daniel’s six came off Tom Hogan and was followed immediately by a
declaration. Daniel scored only 46 runs in Tests, but, if I recall, he did
hit another notable six, off the last possible ball to win a One-Dayer in
World Series Cricket, one of the first day/night matches.
Other batsmen have hit a six as their last scoring shot, but not off their last ball. Some hit a six and were out next ball.
Which Test batsman has seen the most batsmen dismissed at the other end? Chanderpaul on 493 and Dravid on 453 are the only ones over 400. Angelo Mathews has 101 off 44 Tests, but Glenn Turner had 128 in his career of 41 Tests, and a few others with fewer than 50 Tests are also ahead of Mathews. (Bruce Mitchell 128 in 42 Tests, Herbie Taylor 121 in 42, Khaled Mashud 119 in 44) . Notable is George Headley: 85 in only 22 Tests.
18 August 2014
No Need to Run
As part of that new world record 10th-wicket partnership at Trent Bridge, Jimmy Anderson hit 81 with 17 fours. Keith Walmsley recently asked me if anyone had hit as many fours in such a score before. The short answer is no: there is no precedent for hitting 17 fours in a complete innings as low as 81. However, Tim Southee did hit more runs in boundaries – 70, comprising four 4s and nine 6s – in his volcanic 77 on debut in 2008. I have put together a list of the most boundary-rich complete innings at each level of boundary-scoring, from 48 runs to 100.
Complete innings only. Innings in bold form a ‘critical path’: in that no other innings contains as many boundary runs in a lower score.
*Laxman scored 60 out his last 64 runs in boundaries.
It is curious that only two players, Chris Gayle and Daniel Vettori, appear more than once.
…And now for something almost completely different, here are batsmen who went from 50 to 100 without a boundary hit.
Rangana Herath recently ended a 553-Test ‘drought’ by taking nine wickets in an innings (9 for 127) against Pakistan at Colombo SSC, only the ninth bowler to do this in the first innings of a Test. I wonder whether the drought is coincidence, or the result of captains trying to avoid over-extending bowlers in the modern game. There were eight cases in the first 500 Tests, before 1960. As it happens, just last week I was making a list of bowlers who took nine in an innings, in a single bowling spell without being taken off. Herath did not do so, but about half of the bowlers who have taken nine or ten in an innings did so.
Nine or more wickets in an unbroken bowling spell
The Kapil case is curious. Kapil himself was captain, and in spite of taking 9 for 83 was criticised for over-bowling himself. He did not win the Man of the Match award, and India lost the Test.
The following West Indies team
won six (out of 11) Test matches
In the recent Colombo Test, JP Duminy scored 6 runs off 123 balls (3 off 58 + 3 off 65). No one has finished with so few runs while facing so many balls in a Test match before. RO Jenkins scored 8 runs (4 and 4) off 141 balls at Lord’s in 1950. JT Murray scored 3 runs (0 and 3*) off 101 balls in the Sydney Test of 1962/63.
Most dismissals by a wicketkeeper a single bowler in first-class cricket: for all bowlers there was 356 by Ames off Freeman, 320 by FC Huish of C Blythe, and 307 by D Hunter off W Rhodes. For fast bowlers, GO Dawkes made 252 dismissals off the bowling of HL Jackson. The better-known combinations of Binks and Trueman had 238.
India bowled 76 overs after tea on the second day at Lord's in 1932, after an early tea for a change of innings. The session took about 3 hours.
Sticking to one
end: the batsmen did not change ends in the first 38.5 overs of Australia's 2nd
innings at Old Trafford in 1948. Arthur Morris batted throughout, but there
was a wicket at the other end in the 12th over. There were numerous bowling
changes and 56 runs.
31 July 2014
A Bookend for Most Balls in a Day
Like the earlier table of most balls faced in a day, the individual record for most balls bowled is rather ‘fossilised’, dating from the era of reasonable over rates. In particular, there was a period after the War where some captains just put off-spinners on in a ‘set and forget’ mode, and occasionally one would trundle through 50 or more overs in a single day. Remarkably, the top two totals were established by two different bowlers on the same day in the same match.
Most balls bowled in a day (individual bowlers)
Not including no balls or wides
*2 innings (follow-on)
Tom Richardson almost certainly bowled 300 or more (up to 320) balls on the first day at Old Trafford in 1896.
Most by a modern bowler: 282 by
Murali v Zimbabwe at Galle 2001/02 (day 3).
Tayfield’s 328 was in an unbroken spell, as was Veivers’ 307.
A Very Peculiar Pattern
I noticed that there had recently been very few new
entries to a table of the “Most Boundaries
in a Test Half-Century” table in Unusual Records. Grouping the
list historically produced a curious pattern. There was a sudden surge in
extreme boundary hitting after 2000. Fair enough, that was the advent of the
super bats, but strangely, the surge has not persisted, with only
Batsmen scoring 46 or more runs their first half-century: historical cases
Other cases: 1905,1965, 1971.
Slowest Test innings for each score
4 off 95 balls RO Jenkins Eng v WI, Lord’s 1950
14 July 2014
Apologies for being ‘off-air’ for a while. My father passed away in Sydney and so it has been a busy time for our family. Anyway, here are a few comments about Dad that touch on cricket statistics…
My father Alan, who was a first-grade umpire in Sydney from 1961 to 1977, took me to a Test match on a visit to Melbourne when I was four year old. It was the day that there were over 90,800 people there (West Indies, 1961). So I contributed to a Test match world record. Sadly, I cannot actually remember the event, but it must have had a lasting impact on me. Unfortunately I was not there when the record was broken last Boxing Day, although I did go the next day. I wonder how many people went to both. I still consider these to be the records for crowds at cricket match, and I do not regard the rough ‘estimates’ for certain matches in Calcutta, which supposedly exceed these, to be reliable.
Dad worked for Qantas, and later took part (as umpire) in tours of club teams to India and elsewhere. Many years ago he told us he was umpiring a match in Malaysia, of all places, when Garry Sobers was out first ball, but later took five wickets in five balls (it was a minor game). I recall Dad producing a press clipping, from Malaysia, of the match.
This last recollection has puzzled me, but to my amazement Cricket Archive actually has the match online here. It confirms everything Dad told me. There is also a match report here. The puzzle is the date: 1964 was before I thought Dad was touring as an umpire, so that is a surprise.
Perhaps his strangest umpiring experience was in Sydney when both teams refused to play during a significant partial solar eclipse in 1976, hiding in the dressing room and refusing to come out for fear of the 'radiation'. Dad and the other umpire just waited at the wicket for them to come out again. Simpson was involved again. The teams were fined and the match deleted from career records, including a century from Simpson himself. It was the only match where the teams behaved like this: I myself was playing nearby, in a very minor league, and it never occurred to us to stop playing during the eclipse. I have an odd memory of my shadow splitting into two.
UPDATE: many thanks to those who sent messages of condolence. It is actually very touching to receive such messages from people I have never met.
Speaking of busy days, I have made a list of the most balls faced by an individual batsman in a day of Test cricket. It is one of those records that is pretty much ‘frozen’, because the decline in over rates makes the facing of more than 375 balls in a day near impossible now.
Most Balls Faced in a Day’s Play, where known.
Woodfull’s is the only innings to be completely contained in the day’s play. Nazar Mohammad batted through a day of 750 balls in 1952, scoring just 66 runs, but his share of the strike is unknown. Although the list above may not be complete, there are not many other candidates from the missing matches.
A few more notes on the position of 12th man: There is
no official position of 12th man; there are many hundreds of cases of teams
not having a recognised 12th man. Touring teams in particular often never
name one, simply using squad members as substitutes when required. There are
also many cases of a 12th man being identified but not being present at the
match; he is released to play elsewhere and substitute duties given to local
Nathan Hauritz and Ken Archer
both made six appearances as 12th man before their respective Test
Exact numbers would depend on the definition of 12th man. Simply acting as substitute fieldsman should not count. If a team names a squad of 12 before a match, I regard the one missing out as 12th man even if he plays no part in proceedings.
Adding 100 runs after retiring hurt
I have upgraded the Unusual Records section to allow fast linking to a record directly from the Table of Contents. Try it.
Saving the hat-trick: Some batsmen seem to find themselves facing a hat-trick ball more than others. I get 10 for Brian Lara, just ahead of 9 for Alan Border and Steve Waugh. None succumbed to the pressure, although Lara was once second man in a hat-trick. That batting powerhouse Courtney Walsh gets an honourable mention with 8 hat-tricks saved. Walsh once took a Test hat-trick, but he was never part of one as a batsman, in spite of making ten golden ducks.
Wasim Akram took
wickets in six consecutive overs against West Indies at Antigua in 2000.
Highest rate of catches by a fieldsman off a specific bowler: M Jayawardene off Murali, 77 catches in 96 Tests together (=0.80 per match), ahead of Taylor /Warne 51 in 66 Tests (0.77). In combination, Sobers and Gibbs made 47 catches off the other’s bowling in 60 Tests together, a combined rate of 0.78. Sobers took 39 catches off Gibbs’ bowling, and Gibbs 8 off Sobers.
Minimum 25 catches.
29 May 2014
Dropped Catches: 2014 Report
In August last year I described how there had been a quantum jump (or should I say quantum fall) in the rate of dropped catches in 2012 compared to earlier years. Over the previous decade, the rate of dropped chances had hovered in the range 25-27%, but dropped suddenly to 23.5% for calendar year 2012.
I have now updated the survey for 2013 and up to the present, and the rate, while still remaining low, has bounced back a little to 25.0%. The increase is partly down to Bangladesh returning to larger numbers of Tests – they played very few in 2012 – and more Tests played by Bangladesh drives up the overall rate. Though Bangladesh has improved, recording a drop rate of 36% in the past 15 months, as against a disastrous 45% back in 2011, they are still dead last.
Even so, there is still an underlying improvement going on. Australia recorded a drop rate of 18.7%, the lowest annual figure by one team seen since the surveys started in 2001. New Zealand also came in under 20%, a rare achievement. Both teams could have been beaten by South Africa: however, South Africa have had a poor 2014, as reflected in their results in the series against Australia, where South Africa dropped 13 catches and took only 26, whereas Australia dropped 6 and took 35. This drove South Africa’s 2013/14 rate up to 21%.
About two-thirds of Australia’s missed chances were described as difficult or tough in the available texts, as opposed to one-third of Bangladesh’s chances.
The team with the biggest improvement is West Indies. From 2001 to 2009, West Indies’ drop rate was consistently above 30%. This fell to 27% in 2010-2011, and now is at a world-class 22%. Sri Lanka has gone in the other direction: percentage drop rates in the mid 20s about 10 years ago have ballooned out to 35% in the past couple of years. India, too, has had its worst year since the surveys began: 32.8%.
I noticed in the stats that Chris Rogers has yet to drop a catch in Test cricket, while his partner David Warner has taken the last 20 chances that have come to him, and has dropped only two chances (one of them debatable) out of 26 in his career so far.
There is a new leader in the ‘all-time’ individual list – all-time meaning since 2001. MS Dhoni has now missed 61 chances (dropped or missed stumpings), passing Adam Gilchrist and Rahul Dravid, who recorded 55 each since I have been doing surveys. In Dhoni’s defence, he does have to do a lot of keeping to spinners; keeping to spinners is the true Test of a wicket-keeper. There is nevertheless a gap between Dhoni (19% missed chances) and Gilchrist (14%). Most keepers are between these two figures, although Mark Boucher, at 10%, represents a gold standard.
Here are the rates for 2013+2014 for each country.
% Missed Chances by Country 2013 and 2014 – Test Matches
The usual caveats regarding dropped chance statistics should be recognised. Some chances will always be a matter of opinion as to whether they should be included, and text searches for cases are bound to miss some (probably not many now). I tend to take a harsh view of chances for inclusion; incidents described as half-chances or ‘technical’ chances are included, as are incident where chance pass between keeper and slips or between fielders who react poorly. Even so, I am of the opinion that most chances are clear-cut, and the statistics provide useful comparisons.
As an addendum to the recent list of bowlers ‘head-to’head’ hat-tricks, here is a list of bowlers who have dismissed a batsman twice in a Test, with the only balls he bowled to that batsman.
Bowlers Dismissing a Batsman Twice in a Match with only Two Balls
These are the only balls the bowler bowled to that batsman in the matches in question.
Matthews bowled Atapattu with the only two balls he bowled to him in Test cricket.
Run Out for 99 going for a second or third run.
Mike Atherton was run out for 99 going for a third run at Lord's in 1993. However, he had turned back. Batsmen run out for 99 going for a second run:
JEF Beck NZ v SAf, Cape Town 1953/54
JH Kallis SAf v Aus, Melbourne (MCG) 2001/02
AD Mathews SL v Ind, Mumbai (Brabourne) 2009/10
At Adelaide 1932, Don Bradman's last partner Thurlow was run out in attempting a second run, leaving Bradman on 299*. Matthew Sinclair's partner Astle was run out going for a second run when Sinclair was on 199. Sinclair batted on to make 214 on debut.
In 2012, Marlon Samuels bowled 102 overs in a row in Tests without bowling a maiden, spread across 5 Tests. Shahid Afridi once bowled 97 in a row, and Mohammad Ashraful 88.
Here's a strange one. The most balls between wickets for any Test bowler is 822 balls by Maurice Tate in 1929. The most balls bowled by a bowler who was never hit for six in his career is also Maurice Tate with 12,523. (Keith Miller bowled 10,461 balls.)
Most sixes off one bowler in a single Test innings. I didn't think anyone could exceed the 9 off Paul Strang, all hit by Wasim Akram in 1997, but Rangana Herath conceded 10 in one innings at Mumbai in 2009: four by Sehwag, one by Dravid, and five by Dhoni. 10 is also the maximum for a match. India made 726.
22 May 2014
A New Cricket Stat: The Head-to-Head Hat-trick
Here’s one that can only be divined from ball-by-ball records: cases of a bowler dismissing the same batsman with three consecutive balls that he bowled to him, a head-to-head hat-trick. Of necessity, this has to span multiple matches, and in some cases, multiple years. Both batsman and bowler could have been (and probably were) involved in other dismissals, involving different opponents, in the meantime. It is also possible for other matches involving both players to interpose, if the bowler did not bowl to that batsman in those matches. For example, Chris Old and Bishen Bedi both played at Edgbaston in 1974, after the Lord’s Test; both batted and bowled, but Old did not bowl to Bedi in that match.
There are likely to be other cases, not covered by the bbb database. Such cases would be near-impossible to ferret out and confirm. I was surprised to find no pre-War cases.
Bowlers Dismissing the same batsman with three consecutive balls in Tests
Note: this means that the bowler did not bowl a single ball to that batsman in between the dismissals.
*last three balls bowled by the bowler to that batsman in Tests
Srinath/Adams came from the 3rd, 4th and 5th balls Srinath bowled to Adams in Test matches; Pollock/Warne came from the 5th, 6th and 7th balls Pollock bowled to Warne. Caddick dismissed Ambrose four times in five balls that he bowled to him.
Defreitas’ hat-trick represented his only dismissals of Rutherford, in 209 balls that he bowled to him, conceding 83 runs.
From the Ridiculous to the Sublime
I happened upon a case where Dale Steyn bowled a delivery that went for five wides, and followed it with a wicket (Harbhajan lbw) next ball. From one extreme to the other. It happened very recently also, with Mohammed Shami and Trent Boult. I wondered how often it happens and came up with the following (before 1998 the search included four wides)
Five (or Four) Wides Followed by a Wicket
The absence of cases before 1980 is rather surprising. I have 577 Tests before 1980 in ball-by-ball form, but not a single example was found.
No one has batted on 5 separate days of a Test in a single innings. Perhaps the closest was Herschelle Gibbs who scored 211* (rain-affected) at Christchurch in 1999 and was not out at the end of the day on the first four days. He would have batted on day 5 had not Cronje declared overnight.
Here is a list of individual innings that spanned four playing days of a Test match: 13 cases. I think that only 3 - Hanif, Jayasuriya, and Younis - were not rain affected.
ID Craig (38) Aus v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1956
CC McDonald (89) Aus v Eng, Manchester (Old Trafford) 1956
Hanif Mohammad (337) Pak v WI, Bridgetown, Barbados 1958
GStA Sobers (226) WI v Eng, Bridgetown, Barbados 1960
FMM Worrell (197*) WI v Eng, Bridgetown, Barbados 1960
RJ Shastri (111) Ind v Eng, Kolkata 1984/85
DM Jones (157) Aus v Eng, Birmingham (Edgbaston) 1989
ST Jayasuriya (340) SL v Ind, Colombo4 (RPS) 1997
HH Gibbs (211*) SAf v NZ, Christchurch 1998/99
V Sehwag (254) Ind v Pak, Lahore (Gaddafi) 2005/06
RS Dravid (128*) Ind v Pak, Lahore (Gaddafi) 2005/06
JN Gillespie (201*) Aus v Ban, Chittagong 2005/06
Younis Khan (313) Pak v SL, Karachi (National) 2008/09
The longest innings in elapsed time is 4 days 21 hours by Bruce Mitchell (58) at Brisbane in 1931. He did not bat on all the days, though.
In Tests, 20 bowlers dismissed
Tendulkar on their Test debuts, beginning with Waqar Younis and ending with
AJ McKay, who was playing his only Test. NC Johnson is the only bowler to
dismiss Tendulkar twice on debut. He did so with consecutive balls to
A numerical omen? Martin Crowe was out for 299 after tea on the final day at Wellington in 1991; New Zealand had gone to tea on a score of 599 off 199 overs.
Most wickets in
the first over of an ODI innings… I get 39 times by Chaminda Vaas (29
definite and 10 probable), 33 for Shaun Pollock (26 definite and 7 probable)
and 30 for Wasim Akram (14 definite and 16 probable). No one else has more
At Rawalpindi in 2004, Asim Kamal batted for 18 overs without changing ends. There were 107 runs scored during that time (second innings, overs 33 to 51). At the other end, the batting was shared by Mohammad Yousuf (as Yousuf Youhana), who was out and replaced by Shoaib Akhtar. There were three no balls and 104 off the bat. I don't know for sure if that is a record, but it is far more than any other case I can find, and more than I would have expected for such a record. At Lord’s in 1982, Kapil Dev and Madan Lal added 62 without changing ends.
The highest complete team score in first-class cricket that did not include a century is 609 by Namibia in 2010. However, there is a case of a team reaching an even higher score before anyone scored a century. At The Oval in 2007, India was 632 for 9 with no centuries, just before Anil Kumble reached 100. Kumble finished with 110* in a total of 664. I don't know if the 632 is a first-class record; that would be a hard one to work out.
8 May 2014
New Light on the Slowest Hundreds
In 2012 (17 October) I posted a
list of the longest Test innings based on the number of overs batted. This, I
think, is an excellent way to compare innings in the absence of complete
balls faced figures, since it is easier to reliably calculate or estimate
elapsed overs than balls faced by individuals. In that spirit, I have put
together a list of the slowest centuries, in overs elapsed for the first 100
Slowest to reach 100, in overs batted
Eight-ball overs converted
This establishes Nazar’s innings as the slowest Test century, in terms of the amount of cricket that had to be played for him to reach 100. Cowdrey probably faced more balls, but he faced an unusually high amount of the strike, and so comes in at a lower over count than Nazar. The innings by Nazar’s son, Mudassar, only ranks ninth in this list, but is still given as the slowest Test century in some other lists (which can only be described as seriously incomplete).
Most runs in the first over of a
Test innings. These figures are from the database, which covers only about
80% of Tests, so there could be others. The innings number is at the end of
each line. The Gough and Sohag overs contained extras. The Hall over had no
extras but was 8 balls. Bob Simpson hit the 18 runs, still the only one to do
so in a Test (surprisingly).
Ever been out early on and thought if you had just one more chance, you could make a hundred? Well here are a few batsmen in Tests who did score a century after being out earlier that same day. Naturally, all cases were follow-ons.
Aamer Sohail was out for 32 and 99 on the same day at the Gabba in 1995.
Most runs in one day by a batsman who batted twice: 161 (158* and 3) by Mohammad Ashraful, v India Chittagong 2004/05. When Aubrey Faulkner made 122* against Australia at Old Trafford in 1912, he was told to keep the pads on to open when South Africa followed on, only to make a second-innings duck. That was on the same day that TJ Matthews took his two famous hat-tricks.
A note on the covering of wickets in Australia.
RS Whitington wrote that Tests in Australia used fully covered wickets from 1947/48 (v India) onwards. I don’t think this is correct. Photos and articles in newspapers from that season suggest that only the ends of the pitches were covered, to protect bowlers’ run ups once play had commenced. The outcomes of Tests in that season, and for a few years thereafter, also suggest that ‘sticky’ wickets remained a problem up to 1951/52, and the playing surface would have to be uncovered for this to happen regularly. Pitches were fully covered in 1952/53 (v South Africa), and I believe that this was the first such season.* In England, where wet wickets did not often turn ‘sticky’, full covering of wickets was not introduced until 1979.
Whitington also said that new balls were available after 40 (eight-ball) overs in 1947/48. However, the earliest new balls recorded in the scores from that season were after the 41st over (several times). 41 overs is closer to the English standard of the time of 55 six-ball overs. The option of 200 runs may also have applied. In the previous season of the Ashes series of 1946/47, the old new ball rule of 200 runs seems to have still applied.
*UPDATE: Alastair Lynch pointed me to references that show covered pitches being used throughout the 1951/52 series v West Indies. I think I had heard that before, and the references confirm it to be true, but I had trouble understanding the Adelaide Test of that season, where 22 wickets fell on the first day on a wet, sometimes unplayable pitch, with one end worse than the other. How could that happen with a covered pitch? There was also the fall of 19 wickets on the first day of the final Sydney Test. Perhaps the techniques of covering pitches in these early days were poorly developed, and mistakes occurred. In the Adelaide case, the pitch covering was said to have exacerbated the problems by preventing drying before play started.
Peter Lyons subsequently emailed to say that Ray Robinson, in the Cricketer Spring Annual of 1952, wrote that the wicket covering in 1951/52 was “inadequate” and that the agreement to cover wickets was regretted by the West Indians. Evidently, the standards of the covers improved in 1952/53.
The Adelaide Test, incidentally, was the Test where Australian captain Lindsay Hassett pulled out through injury, only to be made 12th man, Sid Barnes was selected and then unselected for “reasons other than cricket”, leading to a law suit, and Phil Ridings was selected but then somehow ended up not playing. Ridings never did play Test cricket, although he was elevated to (long-serving) Australian selector only 12 months later.
Undertaking the funeral of a team mate. The funeral of Victor
Trumper in 1915 was undertaken by the W. Carter company. Ray Webster tells me
that Hanson 'Sammy' Carter (Australian wicketkeeper at the time) indeed did
work as an undertaker in the family business, founded by his father Walter.
Walter had been a carpenter who was injured at work and was unable to
continue his career, and started another business.
At Multan in 1980/81, West Indies lost 3 wickets for one run in a single ‘session’ of play. Only 10 minutes play was possible after tea on the third day, the West Indies going from 84/2 to 85/5. Rain intervened, and limited play to 10 more overs on the final two days.
Here is an odd coincidence for the numerologists out there...not only did Murali take exactly 800 wickets in Tests, but he dismissed exactly 300 different batsmen. Kumble is next with 263 different batsmen in Tests, Warne 236. No one has dismissed exactly 100 or 200 different batsmen in Tests.
Shakib al Hasan scored 52 consecutive runs entirely in boundaries, during an innings of 87 at Hamilton in 2010. He went from 4 to 56 with 10 fours and two sixes. Strangely, this was the same match that saw Martin Guptill scoring 56 without hitting a four (he did hit 3 sixes, though). Apart from Shakib, I don't know of anyone else with a sequence of 50 runs or more entirely in boundaries. Botham once scored 50 out of 51 in his famous 149 at Leeds 1981.
Yasir Hameed faced 24 consecutive deliveries in an ODI at Rawalpindi in 2003. That appears to be the most since 1999 ( I don't have earlier data)
There was a time
when the follow-on margin was only 80 runs and it was compulsory. An extreme case
in 1880 (Yorkshire 109 v Derbyshire 26 all out)
15 April 2014
A Scoring Pioneer
Sreeram and others have been piecing together information on early forms of advanced scoring techniques. This was brought on by the puzzle mentioned last year (14 May) of occasional reports of balls faced in Australian cricket prior to 1907, including Alec Bannerman’s epic 91 off 612 balls in 1892 (reported in The Argus and some other papers). All the instances before 1907 were at the SCG. It now appears that the scorer responsible in all cases was one J.G. Jackscohn.
Jackscohn (note spelling) was a scorer at the SCG from 1887 to 1895, and then again from 1905 (he lived in northern NSW in between). Ray Webster (in Story of a Cricket Country) notes that he even received a medal from Lord Sheffield for his scoring in 1891/92(!) His name is spelled Jackson in some early references.
My interpretation of the reports is that Jackscohn kept a separate tabular sheet when scoring, recording balls faced and runs scored by each batsman off each bowler in separate boxes. These appear to be “tables” (mentioned in a 1906 article) rather than linear sheets. This would explain how Wisden got that isolated reference to the balls faced by Bannerman specifically off Attewell in his 91, but did not mention balls faced for the whole innings. While it is possible to determine how many balls were faced off each bowler from linear sheets, it is not especially easy; counting them up would have to be done carefully. A tabular format would make it simple.
Sreeram has uncovered a number of references to Jackscohn’s work in the Trove database, including one that says he was sole scorer for that Sydney Test in 1891/92. Another is that 1906 note on Jackscohn’s methods. It would be a wonderful thing if some of these old Tables could be found.
Bill ‘Fergie’ Ferguson, the instigator of systematic linear scoring, would almost certainly have encountered Jackscohn and his methods at some stage. I don’t think their methods were the same, but Fergie may well have been inspired to develop his system by Jackscohn’s work.
The mystery remains of the source for a few balls faced figures (and pioneering wagon wheels) in a Melbourne Test of 1907/08. See 27 Dec 2012.
Most runs off the “same ball”:
At Hamilton in 1998/99, Saurav
Ganguly made five attempts to bowl the third ball of his fifth over, the
first four being no balls. Craig McMillan hit the first two for four, and
also hit a single off the fifth delivery. In all, 13 runs accrued off this
ball, McMillan scoring nine. The over went 0,4n,4n,n,n,1,1,0,4.
This took place shortly after the one-run penalty for a no ball was extended
to include no balls that were scored from.
In the run torrent that was the ODI at Joburg in 2005 (872 runs in 100 overs), Roger Telemachus conceded 20 runs while trying to bowl the ‘first ball’ of the 48th over. The sequence of five deliveries was 4n, 1n, 4n, 6n, 2 (faced by Ponting and Symonds). The whole over cost 28.
The most on record for T20 internationals is 15 runs (6n, 1n, 6) bowled by Izatullah Dawlatzai of Afghanistan against England in the World T20 in 2012. The over cost 32 runs even though it included a wicket.
I wonder if anyone with an
identical twin played Test cricket before Lisle Nagel, who played one Test in
the 1930s. His brother Vernon played for Victoria. They supposedly once
swapped places undetected during a club match.
Speaking of twins, Andrew Symonds once ran out Hamish and James Marshall in the same ODI, at Auckland in 2005. It turns out there was a precedent: Saqlain Mushtaq and the Waugh twins, SCG in 2000.
I can find only one case of brothers being run out in the same Test match, GB Studd and CT Studd in 1883 (SCG). Different fielders were involved.
Ian and Greg Chappell were both run out by Viv Richards in the first World Cup Final in 1975.
Mark was run out when running for injured #11 Craig McDermott, with Steve left on 99 not out at Perth 1994/95.
Evan Gulbis recently scored 229 for Tasmania, the highest score by a #8 batsman in Australian first-class cricket. He also more than doubled his previous first-class career run total of 217 runs in 17 innings. This was not the highest, however.
Alan Richardson of Warwickshire scored 91 in his 32nd first-class innings, having previously totalled 82 runs in 31 innings.
CC Passailaigue had scored 229 runs before he made 261 in his fourth innings. IS Lee had also made 229 career runs before he scored 258 in his ninth innings.
RL Pratt scored 80 in his 27th fc innings, having failed to reach double figures at his first 26 attempts.
Among the many records set in the New Zealand/ India Test at Wellington – New Zealand scoring 680 in the second innings – was this oddity. Ishant Sharma took 6/51 and 0/164 – his best and worst innings returns in Tests, the latter being the worst bowling return for any bowler who took five or more in the other innings. Notable previously is Botham 8/103 and 0/117 at Lord's 1984. The latter was his worst innings return in Tests, the former was his second best.
Phil Tufnell 6/25
and 1/150 at the Oval 1991 is also an interesting one.
The longest (as opposed to highest) single innings with no extras whatsoever is 191.5 overs by Australia (236) at MCG 1891/92. This applies to all fc cricket. The highest is 647 by Victoria v Tasmania in 1952. I have mentioned this elsewhere, but it is a curiosity that both Maddocks (271) and Hallebone (202 on first-class debut) were fill-in players who were dropped for the next match. This gives an indication of Tasmania’s cricket status at the time.
21 March 2014
What’s a Duckworth Lewis?
Here’s a short analysis of historical Duckworth/Lewis results in ODIs. I haven’t said much on this subject in the past, but Arnold D’Souza reminded me that there is a brief entry in my blog from 23 Jan 2005, and again in 2006. I think that the conclusion from my early reading was that the system made a lot of sense, but it needed accuracy in the detail if it was to be fair. A lot of that detail is not publicly available, although I did once get hold of an early list of ODI tables as they stood about 10 years ago. The system has been modified multiple times since then. If readers know of accessible sources for specifics of modern ODI D/L tables, I would be interested.
Anyway, here is an historical summary of D/L results, according to whether the winner batted first or second. The system came in to full use in ODIs only in 2000. For whatever reason, it was applied to only a few matches in that year.
As I noted in my posts years ago, there was quite a severe imbalance in favour of teams batting first for the first few years after the widespread adoption of D/L. Between 2000 and 2004, D/L awarded the match to the team batting first 25 times to 9 times for the team batting second. Based on binomial theorem and a theoretical even probability, the chance of such a skewed distribution in 34 trials is well under 1 per cent.
[Going on memory here, I did find some oddities with the tables. For example, the tables seemed to imply an average last wicket partnership of 14, when the real average is 9.]
When six was the new five
Going through some old reports I noticed something about
the awarding of sixers. I had thought that the awarding of six runs for all
hits over the boundary was finally instituted in 1910; prior to that it could
be four, five or six runs, rather depending on umpire's whim.
Following a question on Ask Steven, I looked for cases of
two bowlers taking wickets in the same over (one bowler retiring hurt). [I
wrote something about replacement bowlers taking wickets on my blog last
year. Scroll down to 20 June 2013, or search for "Wickets by Substitute
Bowlers". There is a case of a replacement bowler Craig McMillan, taking
two wickets in what was left of the over, at Harare in 2000/01.]
Using replacement bowlers to complete an over only dates from the 1980s.
The longest Test career of a player whose debut innings
remained his highest score was Darren Gough (58 Tests, highest score 65).
Gough never exceeded his previous highest score: the player who surpassed his
previous best score most times was Dilip Vengsarkar, on eleven occasions.
Ultimate Strike: Most Consecutive balls faced by one batsman in a Test innings (where known)
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
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.
For Australia, it hardly matters. Basically, when they lead by 200, they win, follow-on or no follow-on. Australia has won 27 out if the last 29 when it had a follow-on option; the only exceptions were a drawn match with almost 3 days of rain, and the freak turnaround of Kolkata 2001.
The last team to trail Australia by more than 200 and genuinely force a draw was Pakistan in 1994/95 when everyone's favourite player Salim Malik made 237. Since the 200-run follow-on margin was introduced in the 60s, Australia has won every time it has not enforced the follow-on (17 matches).
The main worry for captains contemplating the follow-on is the prospect of over-extending the bowlers; burnout can affect both the match at hand and matches to come.
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.
For Tendulkar, 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 a single ‘official’ (usually sponsored) award spread 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% success.
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 number of runs on these days was 305; 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