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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 16:23 GMT
Stump the Bearded Wonder No 134
Bill Frindall is waiting for your questions
Bill Frindall, aka the Bearded Wonder, answers your latest batch of queries.

Remember, the Test Match Special statistician is always on hand to help you out with your questions. And if you think you can catch him out, have a go!

Fill in the form on the right-hand side of the page to stump the Bearded Wonder.

Phil, England

I know that the legendary Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe averaged something like 88 as openers for England, but how did that record compare with other great opening partnerships in Test history?

Hobbs and Sutcliffe amassed 3249 runs in 38 opening partnerships, including one unbroken, to average 87.81 together. They shared 15 century stands, plus another ten between 50 and 99 inclusive. Their best was 283 against Australia at Melbourne in 1924-25. In Ashes Tests alone they shared 2362 runs at 84.35 per finished partnership.

Given a qualification of 20 partnerships, only one other opening pair, the West Indians Allan Rae and Jeff Stollmeyer, have averaged over 70 in Tests, their 1349 runs at 71.00 coming from 21 pairings.

The record aggregate by an opening pair is 6482 runs by Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes in 89 Tests (148 innings) for West Indies. Australia's Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer are 1186 runs behind them in second place.

Sam, England

What is the lowest batting position to have scored a limited-overs international 100 and who was it?

Number seven is the lowest position from which a century has been scored in an international. Two batsmen have achieved this feat, both instances occurring in Champions Trophy games. Mohammad Kaif scored 111 not out off 112 balls for India against Zimbabwe at Colombo on 14 September 2002 and Hashan Tillekeratne scored 100 off 106 balls for Sri Lanka against West Indies at Sharjah on 16 October 1995.

Highest scores for the last three batting positions are: #8 - 84 by T.M.Odoyo (Kenya); #9 - 69 by J.P.Yadav (India); #10 - 56 not out by D.A.Marillier (Zimbabwe); #11 - 43 by Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan).

Michael Parry, UK

What is the greatest percentage of an innings a batsman has ever contributed in Test and first-class and cricket?

The Test match record was established by Charles Bannerman in the very first innings at that level when he retired hurt after scoring 165, 67.3% of Australia's 245 all out, against England at Melbourne in March 1877. As there were eight extras, Bannerman scored 69.6% of the runs off the bat. Glenn Turner (83.4%) holds the first-class record with his 141 not out in Worcestershire's total of 169 against Glamorgan at Swansea in 1977.

Jonathon McNeill, England

What is the highest number of balls ever bowled by a player in a single Test match?

Sonny Ramadhin established this record when he bowled 774 balls for West Indies against England at Edgbaston in 1957 during the match which launched Test Match Special's ball-by-ball service and which will be the subject of jubilee celebrations next summer. His analyses read 31-16-49-7 and 98 overs (the record for a Test innings) -35-179-2.

Ramadhin's marathon exceeded by just eight balls the tally delivered by Yorkshire's left-arm spinner, Hedley Verity, against South Africa in the Timeless Test at Durban in March 1939.

Ralph Connor, Spain (ex Banstead C.C.)

Do I remember correctly that there were eight-ball overs in Test matches in Australia? Were they used in any other country?

Australia introduced eight-ball overs to Test cricket in 1924-25, experimenting with them for that solitary five-match Ashes rubber before reverting to six-ball overs. They subsequently employed the eight-ball over from 1936-37 until 1978-79 inclusive.

England's two-year experiment with eight-ball overs began in 1939 but was left in limbo by the Second World War. South Africa used them from 1938-39 to 1957-58, New Zealand from 1968-69 to 1978-79 and Pakistan from 1974-75 to 1977-78. Good to hear from a former member of my first club - I enjoyed the privilege of playing there again a few weeks ago.

Andrew Dennett, England

A relative of mine, George Dennett, played for Gloucestershire with W.G. Grace. Do you have any information about him? Did he play for England?

Edward George Dennett, born at Upway, Dorset 27 April 1879, died at Leckhampton, Gloucestershire 15 September 1937. A lower order left-handed batsman and slow left-arm bowler, he played in 387 matches for Gloucestershire (1903-26) and represented the Bengal Governor's XI (1917-18). In 401 first-class matches your ancestor took 2151 wickets, average 19.82, with 211 five-wicket hauls and 57 ten-wicket ones.

He took 100 wickets in a season on 12 occasions , exceeding 200 once with 201 in 1907. Against Essex at Bristol in 1906 he took all ten for 40. He averaged 10.33 with the bat, highest score 71, and held 297 catches. An all-round sportsman, he also excelled at soccer, fives, billiards and shooting.

Rufus Fraser, India

Can you let me know who are the players to score centuries in their last Test match or last limited-overs international?

Excluding five current players, a total of 30 players scored hundreds in their final Test. The first was Surrey's wicket-keeper Harry Wood with an undefeated 134 against South Africa at Cape Town in 1891-92. That list includes Andy Ganteaume (West Indies) and Rodney Redmond (New Zealand) who scored centuries in their only Tests.

Again excluding current players, only three batsmen from Test-playing countries have score hundreds in their final internationals: Dennis Amiss and Clive Radley for England and Desmond Haynes for West Indies.

JP, Essex

Is it legal to bowl an underarm delivery if the umpire is informed of a change of action? Is it also possible to change your action in the middle of an over?

Law 24 deals with both your questions. 'Underarm bowling shall not be permitted except by special agreement before the match.' A bowler can change his mode of delivery as often as he wishes but, on each occasion that he changes it, he must inform the umpire who will pass the information on to the batsman.

Pete Fenech, Perth, Australia

Where did the word 'slips' derive from?

Writing in his 'The Cricketers of My Time' (1833), John Nyren of Hambledon hints at the origin of 'slips' when he describes the function of a long stop as a fielder who 'is required to cover many slips from the bat, both to the leg and the off-side.'

Andy P, UK

Bill, in a recent question about hat-tricks you explained that a hat-trick could be achieved even it encompassed three overs. I do not see how. Could you please explain?

The bowler takes a wicket with the final ball of an over and then another with the first ball of his next over to end the opposition's first innings. He then takes a wicket with his first ball in the second innings. QED!

Alex Bailey, England

How many Test wickets did the great English bowler S.F.Barnes take in his career?

Sydney Barnes, regarded by many, notably by his contemporary players and observers, as the greatest of all bowlers, took 189 wickets, average 16.43, in 27 Test matches between 1901-02 and 1913-14.

His tally included 24 instances of five wickets in an innings and seven of ten in a match. His final match analysis of 14 for 144 against South Africa at Durban took his tally for the rubber to the surviving world record of 49 wickets (average 10.93). He declined to play in the fifth and final Test after a row with the team manager about his wife's accommodation.

Henry Money, UK

Which Test fast bowler has taken the most Test wickets of players batting in positions one to six?

If fast-medium bowlers qualify, Australia's Glenn McGrath holds that record with 362 of his 539 wickets taken in 118 international Tests involving the first six in the batting order. The breakdown is: openers - 151; #3 - 66; #4 - 53; #5 - 41; #6 - 51.

If only genuinely fast bowlers qualify, the accolade goes to Courtney Walsh whose 519 wickets for West Indies included 309 of the top six.

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Bill Frindall Q&A
25 May 06 |  Cricket


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