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  Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Stump The Bearded Wonder No 25
Pose your cricket questions to Bearders
Bill Frindall, aka the Bearded Wonder, is poised to solve your cricket queries and teasers.

The Test Match Special statistician will be busy answering your questions throughout the English summer.


Lee Ward, England

How many runs did England's 13 dropped catches in the first two Tests of the 2001 Ashes series cost them?

My scoresheets record 11 dropped catches and two stumpings. Edgbaston: Hayden (on 0, scored 35, by Ward); Slater (44-77, Afzaal); ME Waugh (29-49, Trescothick); Martyn (65-105, Stewart); Gilchrist 125-152, Butcher). Stumping chances: Martyn on 90 and ME Waugh on 28 - one run before he was dropped.

Lord's: ME Waugh (59-108, Trescothick); SR Waugh (14-45; Gough); Gilchrist (13-90; Butcher) [and on 33 by Ward, on 49 by Butcher, and on 73 by Atherton]; Total cost (ignoring second chances, obviously): 156 + 157 = 313 runs.

Tony Loader, Australia

A recent radio quiz question here in Sydney was: "What record that can never be broken is held by Indian wicketkeeper Probir Sen"? The answer given was that Sen was the only person to have stumped Don Bradman. When and where did this occur?

A famous cricketing name, Tony. Are you related to Peter Loader? The given answer to your question was wrong because 'The Don' was stumped on no fewer than 11 occasions in his 338 first-class innings, once by Sen when the Indians played South Australia in 1947-48.

Incidentally, Bradman was never stumped in Test cricket, his 70 dismissals being 39 caught, 23 bowled, 6 lbw and once each run out and hit wicket.

Sen's only claim to fame is that he once removed his wicket-keeping pads and took a first-class hat-trick (Bengal v Orissa at Cuttack in 1954-55). But even that feat is not unique as A.C. (Alan) Smith replicated it for Warwickshire v Essex at Clacton in 1965!

Chris Trantham, New Zealand

Can you explain to me the reason for ND Howard's appointment as England captain in 1951 for the series in India? He batted at number 7, did not bowl and only averaged 17.2, and after the four Test series he never played for England again.

Nigel Howard was chosen to lead England's second-string side to the sub-continent in 1951-52 largely because he was an amateur (Len Hutton became the first professional England captain of the 20th century a few months later) and a successful leader of Lancashire (1949-53).

He led the MCC most capably on and, equally importantly in view of the considerable diplomatic demands of those times, off the field. He soldiered on despite developing pleurisy during the second half of the tour. At county level (1946-54) he was a stylish batsman and excellent fielder.

Bruce, Dublin

You mentioned in issue no. 21 the matter of wicket-keepers bowling. I have a vague recollection of Syed Kirmani taking off his pads to bowl to the West Indies in the early 80's with only one needed and him bowling a no-ball with his first 'delivery'. Is this correct or am I getting mixed up?

Kirmani bowled three spells in Test cricket. The one you refer to was his first, at Bridgetown in April 1983 when his second delivery was a no-ball which completed a ten-wicket victory for West Indies.

Steve Shackleton, NZ

Does Charles Bannerman still hold the Test record of scoring the biggest percentage of runs in an innings? (from the first ever Test) Yes, he does, with 67.34% (165 out of 245). Michael Slater came closest to Bannerman's record with 66.84% (123/184 for Australia v England at Sydney in 1998-99).

Alex Willmott, UK

Am I correct in thinking that Philip DeFreitas was the only player playing last season who was a member of a victorious England Ashes series?

Absolutely correct, Alex. The other 12 players who represented England in the 1986-87 rubber have all retired: CWJ Athey, IT Botham, BC Broad, GR Dilley, PH Edmonds, JE Emburey, MW Gatting, DI Gower, AJ Lamb, CJ Richards, GC Small and JJ Whitaker.

Gary Smith, New Zealand

Stephen Fleming has taken 101 catches in 68 Tests. Has any fielder in Test cricket done this in less Tests, or at a faster rate?

Yes, RB. (Bob) Simpson reached the100 catches mark in 54 Tests (95 innings) compared with Fleming's 68 (116). Simpson (1.77 catches per Test) and MA (Mark) Taylor (1.51) both had rates superior to Fleming's 1.49.

David Corcoran, Ireland

Has anybody ever taken more than one Test match hat-trick in a career?

Yes, three bowlers have achieved that feat: Hugh Trumble (medium-paced off-spin) for Australia in 1901-02 and 1903-04; TJ (Jimmy) Matthews (leg-breaks) for Australia, one in each innings v South Africa at Old Trafford in the 1912 Triangular Tournament; and Wasim Akram (left-arm fast-medium) for Pakistan in successive Tests v Sri Lanka in 1998-99.

Rupert Wilder, UK

I am doing a research project for the final year of my degree and am trying to find out how many minor county players have gone on to become professional cricketers in the last five years.

I can narrow down your field of research, Rupert. My Playfair Cricket Annual includes an 18-section county register of each season's registered county cricketers. Each player's entry notes any Minor County appearances. Headline Books at 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH should be able to supply any back issues.

Marc, England

In the final Test match (NZ v Eng) there was a situation where the wind was blowing off the bails, and the commentators informed us that you could actually play without bails. How is this the case?

Law 8 (5) (Dispensing with Bails.) states: The umpires may agree to dispense with the use of bails, if necessary. If they so agree then no bails shall be used at either end. The use of bails shall be resumed as soon as conditions permit.

It is very unusual for conditions to be so windy that bails have to be dispensed with. More common is the use of heavy bails made of lignum vitae.

Steve Vernon, UK

What is the highest score in a Test match innings without any batsmen reaching 100?

The record is 524 for 9 declared by India v New Zealand at Kanpur in November 1976. There were six fifties, the highest score being 70 by Mohinder Amarnath. The innings provided the eighth instance in Test cricket of all 11 batsmen reaching double figures.

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