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Ask Malcolm Ashton

Have you managed to come up with a cricketing question to stump Test Match Special statistician Malcolm Ashton?

The former England scorer has taken over one of BBC Sport's most popular columns following the untimely death of his predecessor Bill 'Bearders' Frindall in 2009.

Here are his answers to the latest batch of questions.


I recall that in the Botham Ashes series of 1981 the last five wickets on average scored more than the first five - was that the same with the recent Pakistan series?
Rob Andrew, UK

No it wasn't. The only time in the present series that the last five wickets averaged more than the first five was in the second innings of the first Test, the first innings of the third Test and the only innings of the last Test.

The latter had the highest discrepancy, with an average of only nine for the first five wickets and 79 for the second five.

Michael Atherton (front) trudges off after being dimissed by Glenn McGrath (left) again
Atherton (front) trudges off after being dimissed by McGrath (left) again

Shane Warne likened Daryll Cullinan as his "bunny" due to the number and ease of his dismissals against him. I'd like to know which bowler has dismissed the same batsmen the greatest number of times in Test matches and one-day internationals.
Ryan Harper, UK

In Tests, Glenn McGrath has dismissed Michael Atherton 19 times, then Alec Bedser dismissed Arthur Morris 18 times and Atherton reappears having been dismissed 17 times by both Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.

In one-day internationals, Waqar Younis has dismissed Sanath Jayasuriya 13 times.

Have any batsmen managed to score a Test century without hitting a boundary? If not, who has scored the Test century with the least number of boundaries?
Dave Jones, England

The fewest boundaries in a Test century I have found is three for:

G Wood (Aus) 100no v Pakistan, Melbourne, 11 Dec 1981
A Border (Aus) 100no v West Indies, Port of Spain, 16 Mar 1984
W Woodfull (Aus) 102 v England, Melbourne, 8 Mar 1929
Mohsin Khan (Pak) 104 v England, Lahore, 19 Mar 1984
H Tillakaratne (SL) 105no v West Indies, Galle, 13 Nov 2001

There are several instances where the number of boundaries have not been recorded.

What is the highest last-wicket stand for a county game, who were the two teams and where was the game played?
Oliver Dodd, England

235 F Woolley and A Fielder, Kent v Worcestershire, Stourbridge 1909

Going on the best Test averages for batting, bowling and wicket-keeping what is the definitive all time England test 11 with a 5-1-5 line-up?
Stuart Gordon, Wales

Given a minimum on 10 Test appearances, the top 5 batsmen are:

H Sutcliffe 60.73
E Paynter 59.23
K Barrington 58.67
W Hammond 58.56
J Hobbs 56.95

The wicketkeeper is:

L Ames 42.44

The bowlers with the lowest average and a minimum of 20 Test wickets are:

G Lohmann 10.76
W Barnes 15.55
W Bates 16.42
S Barnes 16.43
R Peel 16.43

What is the lowest temperature Test cricket has ever been played in?
Andy Newton, UK

Sorry, can't help with this. I would imagine that South Island New Zealand in Dunedin or Queenstown could be a bit nippy!

A member of my cricket club recently took a hat-trick off only two legitimate deliveries. Two were caught and the third was a stumping off a wide. Has this ever been done in the first-class game? If it has, by who? Are there many examples of this in first-class cricket or otherwise?
Stuart Amos, UK

I am sure that it will have happened in first-class cricket but it would not have been recorded as such. It would just go down as a hat trick irrespective of the number of balls involved. if you take it to its extremes a bowler could take a hat trick where three wickets were all stumped off a wide!

There has been a lot of talk about the tallest cricketer in Test cricket - who was the shortest of them all? His Test averages as well please?
Adnan, UK

Mushfiqur Rahim made his Test debut for Bangladesh in May 2005. According to a Bangladesh cricket site, 'The Guardian' wrote after a practice match against Northants, 'Mushfiqur Rahim is not quite 5ft tall and will not be 17 until 1 September. I can find no other Test cricketers listed as under 5ft.

Rahim's Test average after 23 matches is 27.14, with a highest score of 101 v India at Chittagong 2009/10.

Which Test batsman who has the most ducks has the highest average?
Gareth, UK

The most ducks in Tests goes to CA Walsh with 43 in 185 Innings. He averaged just 7.55.

Steve Waugh had 22 ducks in 260 innings yet averaged 51.06 and Brian Lara had 17 ducks from 232 innings and averaged 52.89.

Which is the oldest Test match where all players on each team are still alive and which is the most recent where all players have passed away?
Simon de Sousa, UK

All 22 players who took part in the Brisbane Test between Australia and West Indies in December 1968 are still alive.

West Indies gained their first victory in Brisbane in that match and Garfield Sobers' return of 6-73 in the second innings was the best analysis of his 93-Test career. Among his victims was Ian Chappell, who suffered a freak dismissal, caught via slip's right knee by a diving-on-the-run short third man 20 yards away.

The most recent Test where all players have passed away is England v India at The Oval in 1946.




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see also
TMS: A glorious history
30 May 07 |  Test Match Special


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