January 16, 2012

Thank you for not troubling the scorers

When batsmen made getting out for zero memorable
44

Don Bradman
Surely the most famous duck of them all happened at The Oval in 1948, when Bradman, in what turned out to be his last Test innings, was deceived second ball by a googly from the Warwickshire and England spinner Eric Hollies. Suggestions that the great man had a tear in his eye were always denied by Bradman, who pointed out that he didn't know that it was definitely his last innings and, in those less statty days, didn't know he needed only four runs for an average of 100 either.

Ajit Agarkar
The Indian fast bowler Agarkar was a good enough tail-end thumper to score a Test century at Lord's, something that eluded his rather more illustrious Mumbai team-mates Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. But Agarkar's most famous batting achievement remains his five successive ducks against Australia during the 1999-2000 Test series, when he was dismissed by four successive balls, before, in Sydney, surviving his first delivery to raucous applause from the crowd. They were even happier when he nicked the next one and was caught behind, his fifth successive duck. The only others to achieve the "Olympic rings" in Tests are the Australian Bob Holland and Mohammad Asif of Pakistan.

Geoff Allott
It doesn't look much in the scorecard: Allott c Pollock b Kallis 0. But that was a record-breaking duck - it lasted for 101 minutes and 77 balls, both Test records, for New Zealand against South Africa in Auckland in 1998-99. New Zealand added another 32 runs while Allott was entrenched, and the time he used up proved to be very important in the end as they hung on for a draw in their second innings.

Greg Chappell
Normally one of the most stylish of batsmen, Chappell suffered a nightmare trot in 1981-82, collecting seven ducks in the home international season, including four in a row at one stage. This led to a temporary new nickname: for years he had been shown as CHAPPELL G on Australia's big scoreboards, to distinguish him from his brother. Ian Chappell was known for most of his career as CHAPPELLI because of this - but now Greg was being called CHAPPELLO.

Romesh Kaluwitharana
The diminutive wicketkeeper Kaluwitharana was usually an explosive batsman, famed for his rate of scoring: on his Test debut, against Australia in August 1992, he smacked a rapid 132 not out. But in the one-day Singer Cup final against Pakistan in Singapore in April 1996, he was little more than a spectator in an opening partnership with Sanath Jayasuriya: "Kalu" was out for a duck, having faced only 11 balls, with the scoreboard already showing 70.

Ian Botham
Botham had already recorded a few high-profile ducks, including two in what turned out to be his final Test as captain, at Lord's during the 1981 Ashes (before the heroics of Headingley). But arguably his most famous batting failure came in the 1992 World Cup final, when, promoted as a pinch-hitting opener, he was given out caught behind before he'd scored, off the bowling of Wasim Akram. Botham swore (probably literally) that he hadn't hit it, and his mood wasn't improved when the combative Aamer Sohail - one of many Pakistanis unimpressed by an earlier Botham jibe that Pakistan was a good place to send your mother-in-law - suggested that he'd better get his mother-in-law out to bat as she might do better.

Maninder Singh
Left-arm spinner Maninder wasn't much of a batsman, and proved it by getting out when India, needing just one to win, instead tied their Test match against Australia in Madras in 1986-87. It was only the second tie in Test history, not that that was much consolation to Maninder, who remains convinced that he wasn't out.

Don Bradman (again)
As the storm clouds gathered over the 1932-33 Bodyline series, Australia held its collective breath as Bradman - who missed the first Test because of illness - strode out to bat in the second, in Melbourne. His first ball was - surprise, surprise - a bouncer, and he tried to hook: but somehow he got a bottom edge and pulled the ball down behind him, into his stumps. England's captain, Douglas Jardine, danced a jig of delight as the Don trudged back towards the shocked crowd, and the pattern of the series was well and truly set. Oddly, the bowler, Yorkshire's Bill Bowes, didn't take another wicket in the Bodyline series - but his one victim was a notable one.

Jim Higgs
The Victoria legspinner Higgs created a slice of unwanted history in 1975 by facing just one ball on an Ashes tour - against Leicestershire at Grace Road - and being dismissed by it (bowled by Chris Balderstone). Another spinner, Kenya's Shem Ngoche, surpassed Higgs' feat during the 2011 World Cup, when he faced three balls in the tournament and failed to lay bat on any of them, being bowled by two and lbw to the other one.

Keith Stackpole
The attacking Australian opener Stackpole already knew he was playing his last Test when he opened the innings on the first morning in Auckland in March 1974. His first innings lasted just one ball: he deflected a high full toss from Richard Hadlee - still rather wild and woolly in those days - straight to John Parker at slip. Stackpole was philosophical enough to wonder whether anyone had ever previously been out in a Test without the ball ever having touched the ground, and his sense of humour was further tested in the second innings when he completed a farewell pair, out seventh ball this time: "What a way to go!"

Garry Sobers
In a taste of things to come, West Indies steamrollered England in 1966. Going into the fifth and final Test, they were 3-0 up. England made several team changes for The Oval, and also called up their third captain of the summer, Brian Close. His opposite number, Sobers, had dominated the series, scoring 641 runs and taking 17 wickets in the first four Tests. In the last one he made another 81 but, after a spirited England fightback, came out in the second innings with his team still some way behind. His first ball was a short one from John Snow. Wisden relates: "Sobers tried to hook this gift, only to give his rival captain a simple catch." What that doesn't tell you is that Close was perilously close in at short leg, and most other fielders there would have dived for cover when they saw Sobers - previously in such magisterial form - shaping up for his stroke. But Close just stayed still and took the catch, and England went on to win by an innings.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • magicumesh on January 19, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    My Most recent memorable duck was virender Sehwag's 2nd ball dismissal in the world cup final vs sri lanka. The whole India was looking for a Viru Special in the final but he disappointed one and all. The worst part of that dismissal was, it looked very very plumb, but he still went for a review and India lost a review. Thankfully Gambhir and MSD took India to the World cup Glory after 28 long years....

  • stornjo on January 17, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    The phrase "didn't trouble the scorers" used to annoy the hell out of Bill Frindall . He used to point out that a duck ( particularly a golden one) DID trouble the scorers more than anything else. Having recently just dealt with ( or not quite completed) everything to do with a dismissal , they would have to repeat all the tasks all over again.

  • on January 17, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    DADA's final innings!!!!! Such a great Cricketer not making this list.....the aussies and the crowd gave him a standing ovation and the FIERCE BENGAL TIGER was out in the gentlest fashion.........leading edge back to the bowler and still walked back with his head held high.....after all he has had a wonderful career DADA rocks!!!

  • on January 17, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    Mohinder Amarnath series of Ducks against WI in 1983 ?

  • aarifboy on January 17, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    Don Bradman scored 299 not out once,I couldn't figure out why didn't he complete 300 when he was not out?

  • on January 17, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    Any story about ducks with CS Martin is incomplete!

  • labaria on January 17, 2012, 1:31 GMT

    I am still laughing at the jibe between Aamer Sohail and Ian Botham.

  • Andre2 on January 16, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    Dear Steven, the title of your article is misleading ! I remember a very nice discussion during a Test match in England, on TMS, between Jonathan AGNEW and the late Bill FRINDAL. The "bearded wonder" explained that indeed a batsman scoring was REALLY troubling the scorers because when a batsman is out (even for a duck) several operations had to be done / things written on the score-sheet. So Bill Frindal was never happy when he heard the expression that abatsman had not troubled the scorer !

  • on January 16, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    As a scorer i feel i should point out that Wickets falling quickly troubles us a heck of a lot more than anything else. The phrase "Troubled the scorers" is in general used backwards. When a wicket falls we need to do a double check on every stat for the batsman (runs, ball, minutes, boundaries etc) and again for the partnership. All in the 2 minutes it takes for the new batsman to make it to the crease. There is no difference to a scorer in the effort required to record a single or a six.

  • BahadurShahZafar on January 16, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    what abt INZIMAM DUCK in his last test match where he needs just 3 or 4 runs to become PAK top runs getter passing the GREAT JAVED

  • magicumesh on January 19, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    My Most recent memorable duck was virender Sehwag's 2nd ball dismissal in the world cup final vs sri lanka. The whole India was looking for a Viru Special in the final but he disappointed one and all. The worst part of that dismissal was, it looked very very plumb, but he still went for a review and India lost a review. Thankfully Gambhir and MSD took India to the World cup Glory after 28 long years....

  • stornjo on January 17, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    The phrase "didn't trouble the scorers" used to annoy the hell out of Bill Frindall . He used to point out that a duck ( particularly a golden one) DID trouble the scorers more than anything else. Having recently just dealt with ( or not quite completed) everything to do with a dismissal , they would have to repeat all the tasks all over again.

  • on January 17, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    DADA's final innings!!!!! Such a great Cricketer not making this list.....the aussies and the crowd gave him a standing ovation and the FIERCE BENGAL TIGER was out in the gentlest fashion.........leading edge back to the bowler and still walked back with his head held high.....after all he has had a wonderful career DADA rocks!!!

  • on January 17, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    Mohinder Amarnath series of Ducks against WI in 1983 ?

  • aarifboy on January 17, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    Don Bradman scored 299 not out once,I couldn't figure out why didn't he complete 300 when he was not out?

  • on January 17, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    Any story about ducks with CS Martin is incomplete!

  • labaria on January 17, 2012, 1:31 GMT

    I am still laughing at the jibe between Aamer Sohail and Ian Botham.

  • Andre2 on January 16, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    Dear Steven, the title of your article is misleading ! I remember a very nice discussion during a Test match in England, on TMS, between Jonathan AGNEW and the late Bill FRINDAL. The "bearded wonder" explained that indeed a batsman scoring was REALLY troubling the scorers because when a batsman is out (even for a duck) several operations had to be done / things written on the score-sheet. So Bill Frindal was never happy when he heard the expression that abatsman had not troubled the scorer !

  • on January 16, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    As a scorer i feel i should point out that Wickets falling quickly troubles us a heck of a lot more than anything else. The phrase "Troubled the scorers" is in general used backwards. When a wicket falls we need to do a double check on every stat for the batsman (runs, ball, minutes, boundaries etc) and again for the partnership. All in the 2 minutes it takes for the new batsman to make it to the crease. There is no difference to a scorer in the effort required to record a single or a six.

  • BahadurShahZafar on January 16, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    what abt INZIMAM DUCK in his last test match where he needs just 3 or 4 runs to become PAK top runs getter passing the GREAT JAVED

  • on January 16, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    What about golden duck of Sachin Tendulkar in Kolkatta against Shoaib Akhtar?

  • niraj13 on January 16, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    What about the phantom....Chris Martin. Everytime he goes for a duck, it makes him even more endeared to his fans. Undoubtedly, the most famous number 11 in the world.Even when NZ is 9 down, the match is still engrossing as this man is about to take the crease.

  • on January 16, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    Sehwag's pair in Third test match of the recent English tour..

  • on January 16, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    I would've definitely wanted to say Sourav's duck in his farewell innings.

  • amclean on January 16, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Ken Rutherford must have come periously close to making this 'memorable' list for his initial Test series in the West Indies, though it wasn't especially memorable for him. A pair on debut including being runout without facing a ball in the second innings, a solitary boundary in the 2nd Test, a first-ball duck and two in the 3rd Test, before ending with 1 and a series best 5 (in 53 minutes) in the final Test. Dismissed five times by Malcolm Marshall and once by Joel Garner - has there ever been a more brutal welcome to Test cricket?

  • on January 16, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    why leave out dada......nagpur 2008 last time for INDIA....why

  • Hareendra on January 16, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    Hey, what about Marvelous Magical Marvan's Magnificent Moment(s) as he scored FIVE ducks out of his first six innings in Test Cricket?

  • AlanHarrison on January 16, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    On the subject of Sobers, I believe his only ODI innings was a duck (he retired shortly after the start of ODIs): it's somewhat incongruous that such a brilliant player should end his career with an ODI record that could hardly be less distinguished. Another famous duck that leaps to mind was Flintoff's in the first innings of the 2006-7 Ashes series, a failure which helped (along with Harmy's wide) to set the tone for that disastrous series. I hope they weren't too depressed about it ...

  • on January 16, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    Tendulker first ball 0 to shoiab akhtar should make this list shoiab announcing his arrival with that reverse swinging yorker middle stump gone and the whole 100,000 crowd silent starts the great rivalry between sachin and shoiab :)

  • on January 16, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    Missed out Sourav Ganguly...zero in final test

  • SirWilliam on January 16, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    It might be worth remembering here the scores made by M. Amarnath for India against the West Indies in India in 1983/84. Despite, arguably, being one of their best players of fast bowling, his consecutive innings in that series were 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0.

  • Balumekka on January 16, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    The important thing about Kalu's duck was, at the other end Jayasuriya was setting the world record for fastest 50 in ODIs, which is still unbroken!!!!

  • Chrissammy7 on January 16, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    fun column :D Geoff Allott's story was the best...shoould've seen Southafrican bowlers faces all the time he batted :P

  • world.cricketer on January 16, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    cricket not made into olympics but he made olympics into his game.....funny

  • ramas_cal on January 16, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    If I am not mistaken, Gary Sobers scored a duck in the only one-day international he played. If so, then it must be surely one of the most famous ducks. Because his style of batting resembled limited overs cricket.

  • world.cricketer on January 16, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    oh i rember the ducks of agarkar greatest all ducks listed..........hehe

  • mumbaiguy79 on January 16, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    How about Ganguly getting out in his last test for a duck against Aussies?

  • on January 16, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    There is some problem with the list. Munaf Patel is shown there, playing 28 balls in 9 minutes! How's that possible? Here is the scorecard of the match- http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/239920.html

    He was at the crease for 2 overs at the first day of play, and got out in the fifth over the next day! Please correct this.

  • rizzz86 on January 16, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Tendulkar's first ball duck against shoaib akhter is also in my famous duck list

  • on January 16, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    Even saurav made a duck on his last innings if i am not wrong

  • FaheemAhmed on January 16, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    Nice selection but how can any one you forget the one of the most importent duck, infact golden duck, Sachin's golden duck at Eden Garden by Shoaib akhtar?

  • nzcricket174 on January 16, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    How could you miss Peter Such who made the longest duck in test history?

  • on January 16, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    How could you miss Boycott bowled by Holding on March 14, 1981 in Bridgetown, Barbadoes. To quote Mile Selvey "The perfect set-up, then the perfect kill. It was the most ferocious, exacting opening over by a bowler in a Test match" Boycott was dismantled in the 6th ball of the 2nd over. Many experts even consider this one of the greatest opening overs in cricket history. Think I'm lying, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loYyJllsj68

  • chandau on January 16, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    @ Steven Lynch

    If memory serves me right mark Waugh on his only tour of Sri lanka had 4 noughts and was promptly called AUDI :) this may be worth more than Kalu's duck, becoz MW rarely had a bad patch in international cricket.

  • johnathonjosephs on January 16, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    Only good ones are the Ajit Ajarkar one when they clapped when he survived first ball and got out 2nd, the Allott one, and the Kaluwitharana one in which 70/0 when the opener got out for a duck. Think that was the game Jayasuriya got his 50 off 16 ballz

  • on January 16, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Why criticise our Very Very Special Laxman.....till yesterday we were full of praise for this man and today we are after his head ! This is life....

  • donda on January 16, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Badman is done by cruel cricket. I still believe that cricket is so cruel. What a tragedy in cricket history that there is only one batsman with average of 100 but not even 100. His close rivals at sitting at 61 and 60. A bowler gets 100s of bowls to bowl but a batsman get only one chance. So cruel. I hope Sachin gets his 100 100 so that he can enjoy his cricket otherwise this cruel cricket will become nightmare for him. Stuck at 99 is not a good thing in cricket at all.

  • on January 16, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    their should be last inning duck from sourav ganguly indiaS best captain.

  • FaheemAhmed on January 16, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    Good Article, nice selection but where is the most famous of them Sachin Tendulker' golden duck by Shoaib Akhtar?

  • RedThing on January 16, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    The Queen Street Cricket club used to raise lots of money by fining the members $5 and the player $10 each time a New Zealand batsman registered a duck in a Test Match. I recall the Duck of the Year award going to Martin Snedden for a 'magnificent' 3 day duck. Can't recall exactly when though. It was a fun club. Danny Morrison used to cost us plenty and I left the country and the Club when Chris Martin came along:)

  • Aubm on January 16, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    Was going to suggest Bruce Reid's glorious effort when he played out a maiden to lose by 1 run to NZ in hobart 1990, but turns out that he actually scored 1, getting a single the over before :(

  • IPLisdull on January 16, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    ganguly made a golden duck in his final test vs australia also!

  • IndianInnerEdge on January 16, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    nice article! what was not mentioned was in that 2003 series ind Vs Aus, when Agarkar finally got off the mark(i think it was @ Adelaide) after those 5 ducks, the spectators applauded him and he raised the bat whilst cheerily smiling, probably a rare instance of a batsman raising his bat after opening his account..all in good humour though!!1

  • imetpkd on January 16, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    Why to forget the great form of Mohinder Amarnath against West Indies in 1983 with scores of 0.0.1.0.0.0

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  • imetpkd on January 16, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    Why to forget the great form of Mohinder Amarnath against West Indies in 1983 with scores of 0.0.1.0.0.0

  • IndianInnerEdge on January 16, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    nice article! what was not mentioned was in that 2003 series ind Vs Aus, when Agarkar finally got off the mark(i think it was @ Adelaide) after those 5 ducks, the spectators applauded him and he raised the bat whilst cheerily smiling, probably a rare instance of a batsman raising his bat after opening his account..all in good humour though!!1

  • IPLisdull on January 16, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    ganguly made a golden duck in his final test vs australia also!

  • Aubm on January 16, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    Was going to suggest Bruce Reid's glorious effort when he played out a maiden to lose by 1 run to NZ in hobart 1990, but turns out that he actually scored 1, getting a single the over before :(

  • RedThing on January 16, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    The Queen Street Cricket club used to raise lots of money by fining the members $5 and the player $10 each time a New Zealand batsman registered a duck in a Test Match. I recall the Duck of the Year award going to Martin Snedden for a 'magnificent' 3 day duck. Can't recall exactly when though. It was a fun club. Danny Morrison used to cost us plenty and I left the country and the Club when Chris Martin came along:)

  • FaheemAhmed on January 16, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    Good Article, nice selection but where is the most famous of them Sachin Tendulker' golden duck by Shoaib Akhtar?

  • on January 16, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    their should be last inning duck from sourav ganguly indiaS best captain.

  • donda on January 16, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Badman is done by cruel cricket. I still believe that cricket is so cruel. What a tragedy in cricket history that there is only one batsman with average of 100 but not even 100. His close rivals at sitting at 61 and 60. A bowler gets 100s of bowls to bowl but a batsman get only one chance. So cruel. I hope Sachin gets his 100 100 so that he can enjoy his cricket otherwise this cruel cricket will become nightmare for him. Stuck at 99 is not a good thing in cricket at all.

  • on January 16, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Why criticise our Very Very Special Laxman.....till yesterday we were full of praise for this man and today we are after his head ! This is life....

  • johnathonjosephs on January 16, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    Only good ones are the Ajit Ajarkar one when they clapped when he survived first ball and got out 2nd, the Allott one, and the Kaluwitharana one in which 70/0 when the opener got out for a duck. Think that was the game Jayasuriya got his 50 off 16 ballz