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The most expensive drop, and some sporting allrounders

The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket

Steven Lynch

January 26, 2004

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The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:



483 runs later ... Brian Lara celebrates his 501 as Chris Scott looks on
© Getty Images


What was the most expensive dropped catch? asked Milind from Mumbai

That unhappy record belongs to Chris Scott, the former Durham wicketkeeper. Against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 1994 he dropped Brian Lara, who had 18 at the time, off the bowling of the England one-cap wonder Simon Brown. Lara, who had earlier been bowled by an Andy Cummins no-ball, was in a rich vein of form at the time, so Scott solemnly observed: "I suppose he'll get a hundred now." He did - it was his seventh in eight first-class innings, another record - and went on to rack up 501 not out, the highest innings in first-class history. Poor Scott's fumble cost 483 runs.

Which cricketer has the best record in other sports? asked Michael Downman from Islington

It's difficult to compare achievements in different sports, but CB Fry, the former England captain, is usually considered to be the greatest example of an allround sportsman, certainly when cricket is involved. Apart from his cricket exploits - he was the first man to score six successive first-class hundreds, and captained England in 1912 - he also played soccer for England and rugby to a high standard, and he equalled the world long-jump record in 1892. He was also reputedly offered the kingship of Albania later in life, although I'm not sure if that counts. There have been around a dozen men who have played international cricket and football, and a few more who played both cricket and rugby. And Johnny Douglas, who captained England in 18 Test matches, also won a boxing gold medal at the 1908 Olympics. It's unusual, in these days of greater specialisation, to find anyone playing more than one sport to such a high level. However, Ian Botham's son Liam has played cricket, rugby union and rugby league professionally, while Asif Karim, who captained Kenya in the 1996 World Cup and came out of retirement to play in the 2003 one, also played Davis Cup tennis for his country. Kepler Wessels, the former South African captain, was a handy boxer and tennis player in his youth, and has recently taken up archery with the aim of representing his country in the Olympics.

How many runs have been scored in Test cricket? And assuming it's well over a million, who scored the millionth one? asked Robert Bishop

The grand total, before the fourth Test between South Africa and West Indies at Centurion, was 1,612,767 runs. The millionth run came at Bombay on October 19, 1986, towards the end of the third Test between India and Australia. The vital run came 15 before the end of that game, in the course of a long unbeaten partnership between Dean Jones and Allan Border. I found one source claiming that Border hit the millionth run, but I'm not sure if that has been confirmed.

Simon Katich scored a century in his sixth test and took six wickets in his second. I see that Botham scored a century and took five or more wickets in an innings by his fourth Test, so I wondered how many other players have achieved this double any faster? asked Peter Young from Canberra, Australia

Only one man has done this in his very first Test - Bruce Taylor, the New Zealand allrounder, against India at Calcutta in 1964-65. Taylor, who had never scored a first-class century before, came in at No. 8 and slammed 105 in 158 minutes - he hit 14 fours and three sixes - and helped Bert Sutcliffe (151 not out) add 163 for the seventh wicket. Two men have completed this double in their second Test: Shahid Afridi of Pakistan, who took 5 for 52 in his first Test in 1998-99 (against Australia at Karachi) and added 141 against India at Chennai in his next match; and Jack Gregory, the old Australian allrounder, who scored 100 and took 7 for 69 in his second Test, against England at Melbourne in 1920-21. Len Braund and Gubby Allen, both of England, completed their set in their third Tests, while India's Lala Amarnath, Lance Klusener of South Africa, and the Australians Colin McCool and Charles McLeod did it in four like Botham.

After the recent Adelaide Test, in which Australia scored 556 but lost, I was wondering what is the lowest total that a team has been bowled out for, but went on to win the match? asked Luke from Whangarei, New Zealand

There have been 11 occasions when a team has won after being bowled out for less than 100 in one of their innings, but nine of those date from before the First World War, when pitches were less batsman-friendly and scores generally were lower. The lowest of all is 45, by England at Sydney in 1886-87 - England amassed 184 in their second innings, and won by 13 runs after bowling Australia out for 119 and 97. The two more recent occasions were in 1949-50, when Australia (75 and 336 for 5) beat South Africa (311 and 99) at Durban, and at Hamilton in 2002-03, when New Zealand (94 and 160 for 6) sneaked past India (99 and 154).

Who said this: "I want to play cricket. It doesn't seem to matter whether you win or lose"? asked Henry Broadhurst

Sounds like another quiz question ... and the answer is the American rock star Meat Loaf. I don't know if he ever got his wish! The quote reminded me of another famous American, the comedian Groucho Marx, who was once taken to a match at Lord's. After watching patiently for a couple of hours, he asked: "When does it start?"

Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden Cricinfo. For some of these answers he was helped by Travis Basevi, the man who built Stats Guru and the Wisden Wizard. If you want to Ask Steven a question, e-mail him at asksteven@cricinfo.com. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.

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Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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