June 10, 2008

Brought back by Border, and battering Border

The highest score by a wicketkeeper-batsman in Tests, and the best-known cricketer-golfer

Caught Marsh bowled Lillee, one of the 95 instances in Tests © Getty Images

I was just reading last week's question about obstructing the field dismissals, and remembered a West Indian being given out this way against Australia and asked to return by Allan Border. If my memory serves me right, it was Tony Gray. I challenge you to find out who that player was! asked Rob Morley from Australia

Well, we like a challenge! Actually, you're right, the player concerned was the West Indian fast bowler Tony Gray. The match was a one-day international in Sydney in 1986-87. According to Wisden, "Gray was recalled by Border after rightly being given out by umpire McConnell for obstructing the field - deliberately blocking the ball with his bat at the non-striker's end to baulk a run-out chance - but ironically he was run out soon afterwards."

I remember a match in South Africa many years ago when a team was dismissed twice for about 20. Can you refresh my memory as to when it was? asked Harry Johnson from Johannesburg

I think the match you're referring to must be the Currie Cup game between Natal and Border in East London in 1959-60. Natal were bowled out for 90, but then shot Border out for just 16 - the South African Test allrounder Trevor Goddard took 6 for 3, including a hat-trick. Natal then made 294 for 8 declared, and demolished Border again - for 18 this time, fast bowler Geoff Griffin taking 7 for 11. Griffin was to be the hero and villain of the subsequent South African tour of England: during the 1960 Lord's Test he took a hat-trick but was also called for throwing, and never played again.

What is the highest Test score by a wicketkeeper? asked Samanth from Chennai

This record is held by the Zimbabwean Andy Flower - now England's batting coach - who made 232 not out against India in Nagpur in 2000-01. Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara ran him close in 2001-02, with 230 against Pakistan in Lahore. For a full list of the highest Test scores by wicketkeepers, click here.

Is "c Marsh b Lillee" still the most frequent scorecard entry in Tests? asked Mitchell Brooks from Brisbane

That particular dismissal occurred 95 times in Test matches, which remains the record for a bowler-fielder combination. Next come "c Gilchrist b McGrath" [90] and "c Gilchrist b Lee" [81], just ahead of the first non-Australian pairing, "c Boucher b Pollock" [79]. The leading double act that doesn't involve a wicketkeeper is "c Mahela Jayawardene b Muralitharan", of which there have been 66 instances in Tests to date. For a full list, click here. The most-common Test dismissal is actually "bowled Muralitharan" (158), closely followed by "lbw b Kumble" (152).

I see that Sachin Tendulkar has to his credit in one-day internationals more than 10,000 runs, 100 wickets and 100 catches. Is there anyone else in this exclusive club? asked Nitin Sharma from Bangalore

Two others besides Sachin Tendulkar have completed this impressive all-round feat in ODIs. Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka currently has 308 wickets and 116 catches to go alongside 12,310 runs, while India's Sourav Ganguly has, apart from 11,363 runs, rather neat round figures of exactly 100 wickets and 100 catches. All three of them have also hit well over 100 sixes in ODIs too - Jayasuriya has 249! South Africa's Jacques Kallis is 459 runs away from joining them.

A lot of cricketers play golf. But who is the best well-known cricketer-golfer? asked Andy Shand from Liverpool

There's a case for giving the title to Ted Dexter, who apart from winning 62 Test caps for England was also a formidable amateur golfer, who won the prestigious President's Putter [contested by golfers who had been to Oxford or Cambridge universities] twice. In his early cricketing days Dexter, who wrote books about cricket and golf, was occasionally told off by his captain for practising his golf swing in the outfield. If I had to nominate one person, though, it would probably be Leonard Crawley, a batsman good enough to score eight first-class hundreds - the highest 222 for Essex v Glamorgan in 1928 - and a golfer who finished 23rd in the 1939 British Open. According to his obituary in Wisden Cricket Monthly Crawley also won "a Northern lawn tennis doubles title, a gold medal for ice skating, and a reputation as a shot". For 25 years he was the Daily Telegraph's golf correspondent.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Cricinfo Guide to International Cricket. If you want to ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here each week