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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
Stump The Bearded Wonder No 10
Pose your cricket questions to Bearders
The Bearded Wonder returns for another round of cricket queries and teasers.

Test Match Special's resident cricket guru will be on call throughout the winter, so keep those e-mails rolling in.

Try to stump The Bearded Wonder.

Here's a selection of the latest answers


Can you explain the new 'free hit' rule which has been introduced in the one-day league? If a batsman cannot be out, what's to stop them running continuously between the wickets? What is the specific rule?

This a ridiculous piece of nonsense which was introduced into the (sometimes) Sunday League last season. According to the playing conditions 'the delivery following a no-ball called for a foot fault shall be a free hit for whichever batsman is facing it.'

'For any free hit, the striker can be dismissed only under the circumstances that apply for a no-ball, even if the delivery for the free hit is called wide ball.' (ie he cannot be stumped off a wide free-hit ball). This means that the batsman can be run out off a free-hit ball.

Note that this rule applies only to the 45-over competition known this season as the Norwich Union League.

Harkarn Sumal, England

When was the last time that England scored over 300 in both innings of a Test Match? And when was the last time we did it against the Aussies?

An excellent question. You will have to ferret back well into the second volume of my Wisden Book of Test Cricket to January 1995 when England scored 353 and 328 in their defeat of Australia at the Adelaide Oval by 106 runs - which answers your second question too.

Tim Smith, UK

Usman Afzaal is the first Notts player I can recall to be at the crease when England won a Test match. Who, if any, was the last?

You win the award for the most esoteric question I have received this summer, Tim, and the one which involved most research!

The answer is that the last Nottinghamshire player before Afzaal was RT (Tim) Robinson (in partnership with Robin Smith, who made the winning hit) against Sri Lanka at Lord's on 30 August 1988. The victory ended a record sequence of 18 Tests without a win.

Incidentally, Afzaal is only the second player with a Z in his name to represent England. The first was SS (Sandford) Schultz who played his only Test in 1878-79 and changed his name to Storey when German popularity began to wane.

Govindaraja, USA

Which was the last Test match to have a rest day and why were the rest days taken away?

West Indies v India at Bridgetown, Barbados, on 28 March 1997 (Good Friday). Commercial reasons - to facilitate marketing, to ease pressure from Television schedulers and to save accommodation and subsistence expenses for players and officials.

TJ, Australia

Have any pair of brothers both made hundreds in each innings of a Test match?

Ian (145 and 121) and Greg Chappell (247* and 133) for Australia v New Zealand at Wellington in March 1974.

RE and WL Foster (Worcestershire v Hampshire at Worcester in 1899) are the only other pair of brothers to achieve this feat in first-class cricket.

Damian Brewitt, Dorset, UK

Is there any cricketing significance in David Shepherd's ritual relating to scores of intervals of 111 runs?

None - research has proved that no more wickets fall at team or individual totals of 111 and its multiples than at any other number. The total at which most batsmen are out is 0! It is a totally irrational superstition and cricketers are prey to a great many such terrors. The Australians observe 87 (13 off 100) as their devil's number.

David Shepherd's antics evolved from players trying to keep their feet off the ground when 111 appears on the scoreboard. Much easier when one is seated unless levitation has been mastered.

Daryl Davey, Australia

Apart from Trevor Chappell's underarm ball, who bowled the most recent underarm delivery in Test, First Class or One Day International cricket? I figure would have to go back to around 100 years ago.

It has certainly happened in English county cricket since the Hitler War. I recall reading reports of Wilf Wooller (Glamorgan) and Charles Palmer (Leicestershire) both resorting to lobs when captaining their counties in the Fifties.

The last specialist lob bowler to appear regularly in first-class cricket was GHT (George) Simpson-Hayward who played for Cambridge University (1895-97) and Worcestershire (1899-1914). He played throughout the five-Test series on matting pitches in South Africa in 1909-10 taking the first of his 23 wickets with his fifth ball. He bowled brisk off-breaks along a low trajectory with a leg-break action.

Earl W. Robinson, St.Vincent & the Grenadines, W.I.

In the current Ashes series, Steve Bucknor and John Holder officiated in the Lord's Test. Could you confirm if that was the first time two West-Indian born umpires stood simultaneously in a Test in England?

Good to hear from you Earl (an enthusiastic correspondent and supplier of exotic stamps for many years).

I assume you mean outside the Caribbean! Holder's previous 10 Tests (6 in England and 4 in Pakistan with John Hampshire) had all been in partnership with English-born umpires. Bucknor and Holder are certainly the first pair of black umpires to officiate in a Test in England. I don't know the birthplaces of all the early umpires who officiated in Tests in England so it is possible that one might have been born in the West Indies - after all, two England captains, Lord Harris and Sir Pelham Warner, were born in Trinidad.

Tom Williamson, England

Has anyone claimed a diamond duck (first ball of the match) on debut in a Test match?

SJ (Jimmy) Cook - having waited two decades for an official Test cap and uniquely having played in all of South Africa's 19 matches against rebel sides. He edged a late outswinger to third slip off Kapil Dev's opening ball of the First Test between South Africa and India at Durban in November 1992 to become the first (and to date only) debutant to be dismissed by the first ball of a Test.

William, Yorkshire

Which English county holds the record for having the largest number of players in the England team at one time, and when did this happen

Nottinghamshire with 6 (W Barnes, W Flowers, W Gunn, WH Scotton, M Sherwin and A Shrewsbury) v Australia at Sydney in January 1887.

Ian, South Africa

What is the stumping rule related to a wicket keeper who has accidentally knocked the bails off with his pad while attempting to run out a batsman. How does he redeem the wicket if there is enough time?

He has to break the wicket with ball - he can deflect it with his pad or any part of his person or protective equipment other than his helmet. If he breaks the wicket(ie removes both bails) without the ball then he has to pull up a stump with the ball in his glove(s) - not easy.

Michael Lovelady, England

Last season I took five wickets in five balls. We called Wisden to see if any body else had done this at any level of cricket, apparently somebody in Yorkshire has. My question is, has this ever been achieved in the First Class echelons?

The Demon Lovelady! Well bowled!

No bowler has taken more than four wickets with successive balls in first-class cricket. The nearest is the feat of CWL (Charlie) Parker who hit the stumps five times in consecutive balls in his benefit match for Gloucestershire v Yorkshire at Bristol in 1922 but the second was a no-ball.

There are two instances in school/college cricket of bowlers taking nine wickets with successive balls: Paul Hugo for Smithfield School v Aliwal North in South Africa in February 1931 and Stephen Fleming (not the NZ captain) for Marlborough College 'A' XI v Bohally Intermediate at Blenheim, New Zealand in December 1967.

Jon Martin, Kent, England

How do you enter a no-ball correctly in a scorebook? I was under the impression that it's a circle, then when the ball is bowled legally the result is then entered inside. Hope you can help me out.

Enter a circle to record the penalty run for a no-ball. If the batsman hits the no-ball for additional runs these are recorded within the circle. If the batsmen run 'byes' or 'leg-byes' off a no-ball each of those runs is recorded as a dot within the circle and count as additional no-balls (not as byes or leg-byes).

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