Ask Steven August 14, 2006

Partnerships - at the crease, and in the church

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

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

Kevin Pietersen's 135 at Headingley included two separate fifty partnerships with Ian Bell © Getty Images

During the third Test, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell shared two fifty partnerships, one of them when Pietersen resumed his innings after retiring hurt. Is this unique in Tests? asked Richard Unwin

Rather surprisingly, it isn't unique, although our database throws up only 32 instances of two batsmen resuming a partnership in Tests after one of them retired hurt. Pietersen and Bell added 67 at Headingley before cramps forced Pietersen off, then 74 more when he returned. But the record, with 199 added in two partnerships, is by Larry Gomes and Jeff Dujon, for West Indies against Australia at Perth in 1984-85. They put on 50 before Dujon briefly retired hurt, complaining of blurred vision after earlier being hit by a ball from Terry Alderman: he returned at the fall of the next wicket and they added 149 more. The only other double instance was also against Australia: after putting on 69 with Jeremy Coney at Christchurch in 1985-86, Martin Crowe was hit in the jaw by Bruce Reid and retired hurt to have ten stitches inserted, but resumed later and helped him add a further 73 runs.

What is the highest partnership for England in Tests? asked Barry Brentnall from Worthing

England's highest Test partnership, which also remains the overall record for the fourth wicket, is the 411 added by Peter May and Colin Cowdrey against West Indies at Edgbaston in 1957. England had been skittled for 186 in their first innings, with "mystery spinner" Sonny Ramadhin taking 7 for 49, and after West Indies made 474 England were up against it. Ramadhin took two early wickets, but then May, England's captain, and his deputy Cowdrey decided to play "Ram" as an offspinner, often padding the ball away deliberately: Ramadhin shouted himself hoarse in appealing for lbws during his 98 overs, which is still a record for a single innings in first-class cricket. He couldn't interest the umpires, finished with 2 for 179, and is said never to have been quite the same bowler again. For a list of England's record partnerships in Tests, click here.

What is the highest Test partnership by a pair of debutants? asked Saif Mohammad from Peshawar

There have been a total of ten century partnerships in which both players were making their Test debut. The highest one - and the only one of over 200 - was an opening stand of 249 by Abdul Kadir and Billy Ibadulla for Pakistan against Australia at Karachi in 1964-65. Ibadulla made 166, but Kadir (a wicketkeeper, not the later legspinner) just missed out on his century with 95. Oddly, they both played only three more Tests. For a complete list of hundred partnerships between Test debutants, click here.

Has anyone ever shared a hundred partnership for the first and last wickets in a Test? asked Irfan Fazal from Lahore

Four men have done this - two Englishmen and two Australians. Wilfred Rhodes (who started at No. 11 and ended up as an opener) and Alec Stewart did it for England, while the first man to achieve this odd double was the New South Welshman Reggie Duff, in the early 1900s. The latest addition to the list is Mike Hussey, who shared an opening stand of 231 with Matthew Hayden in his second Test, against West Indies at Hobart in November 2005, and a tenth-wicket one of 107 with Glenn McGrath in only his fifth match, against South Africa at Melbourne a month later. McGrath became only the second man, after New Zealand's Nathan Astle, to feature in two hundred partnerships for the last wicket in Tests.

Has a male Test cricketer ever been married to someone who has played in a women's Test? asked Robert Everitt from Hampshire

I believe the only married couple to play Test cricket are Roger Prideaux, the Northamptonshire opener who won three England caps in the late 1960s, scoring 64 against Australia on his debut at Headingley in 1968, and his wife, who played 11 Tests as Ruth Westbrook between 1957 and 1963 before they were married. She later became a leading women's cricket administrator. Karen Hadlee, who was married at the time to the great New Zealand allrounder Richard Hadlee, played one one-day international for New Zealand, against England in 1977-78.

Has a player ever got married in the middle of a Test match? asked Shani Griffith from Preston

The only one I know of is Andre Nel, the South African fast bowler, who was married after close of play on the second day in the fourth Test against West Indies at Centurion in January 2004. He was lucky when bad light ended play early, allowing him to speed off and marry his fiancée Deanne. The next morning he took the wicket of Brian Lara. There was a near-miss in New Zealand in 1983-84: after a rash of injuries England called up Sussex seamer Tony Pigott, who was coaching nearby, for the second Test at Christchurch. It was Pigott's first (and as it turned out, only) Test, so he was understandably keen to play - the only snag was, he was due to be married on the scheduled fourth day of the game. He decided to play, and postponed the wedding - but needn't have bothered, as New Zealand won on the third day.

  • Those last two questions might give you a clue as to why this column won't be appearing for a while. Steven will return, after his wedding, on September 11.
  • Steven Lynch is the deputy editor of The Wisden Group. For some of these answers he was helped by Travis Basevi, the man who built Stats Guru. If you want to Ask Steven a question, contact him through our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries