August 5, 2008

England's Scotsmen, and percentage players

Single players scoring the lion's share of team totals, the most hundreds without a double, and the earliest game of cricket

Mike Denness: the only Scotsman to captain England © Getty Images

As a Scotsman heading to Birmingham to cheer on England against South Africa, I wondered how many Scots had represented England at cricket over the years? asked Raymond Brown ... from Scotland
Eight players who were born in Scotland have represented England in Tests. The first was the Middlesex wicketkeeper Gregor MacGregor (who was born in Edinburgh) in the 1890s. He was followed by the Edinburgh-born Hampshire allrounder Alec Kennedy, the Middlesex legspinner Ian Peebles (born in Aberdeen), the tall Northamptonshire fast bowler David Larter (Inverness), the stylish Middlesex opener Eric Russell (Dumbarton), the Kent and England captain Mike Denness (Bellshill), offspinner Peter Such (Helensburgh), and the Yorkshire allrounder Gavin Hamilton (Broxburn). The Warwickshire allrounder Dougie Brown (born in Stirling) also played nine one-day internationals for England. Archie Jackson, the brilliant Australian batsman who died young, was born in Rutherglen in Scotland, while Bob Simpson's father played professional football for Stenhousemuir before the family emigrated to Australia, where Bob was born in 1936.

Virender Sehwag scored 61% of India's total during his bat-carrying 201 in the Test at Galle. Where does this rank overall in Tests? asked Jon Danby from Thailand
Virender Sehwag's 201 not out in the recent Test in Galle represented 61.08% of India's total of 329. This is the 11th-highest percentage of any completed Test innings, a list still headed by Charles Bannerman of Australia in the first Test of all, against England in Melbourne in 1876-77. Bannerman scored 165 (retired hurt) out of 245 - 67.34% of the total. For a full list, click here.

What is the lowest total in a Test to include a double-century? Is it India's 329 against Sri Lanka last week? asked Sandip from India
Yes, India's 329 in Galle turns out to be the lowest Test total to include a double-century (Sehwag's 201 not out). The previous record was 344, which had happened twice: Len Hutton also carried his bat for 202 out of 344 for England v West Indies at The Oval in 1950, while at Lord's in 1984, Gordon Greenidge pummelled 214 not out as West Indies made 344 for 1 on the final day to beat England by nine wickets.

Regarding the mention in last week's column of bowlers taking a wicket with their first ball in Tests: As a little boy in 1960-61 I was listening to commentary from the second Test against West Indies at Melbourne. Didn't Frank Misson take the wicket of Conrad Hunte with his first ball in Test cricket? asked Colvin Mascoll from Barbados
The New South Wales fast bowler Frank Misson did indeed make his Test debut in that match in Melbourne in 1960-61. But according to Ray Webster's remarkable reference book First-Class Cricket in Australia, Misson took the wicket of the West Indian opener Conrad Hunte with his second delivery rather than his first. I believe that this list of bowlers who took a wicket with their first ball in Tests is a complete one.

I was wondering who has scored the most centuries in Test cricket without getting a double-century. I'm guessing Mark Waugh? asked Peter Bourke from Australia
Mark Waugh scored 20 Test hundreds without ever making a double (his highest score was 153 not out), but three players have done better (or worse) than this. Colin Cowdrey made 22 Test centuries for England with a highest score of 182, while India's Mohammad Azharuddin also made 22, with a highest score of 199. But the clear leader is South Africa's Jacques Kallis, who has made 30 Test centuries to date with a highest score of 189 not out against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2001-02. He also made 186 against New Zealand in Johannesburg in 2007-08, after which he joked: "I blame Wynberg Boys' High School - they obviously didn't teach me to count to 200. I can't get past 180." For the full list of batsmen who have scored the most hundreds in Tests, click here.

Is it true that the world's first organised game of cricket took place at the Castle grounds in Guildford in Surrey in England? asked David Glowacki
What I think you may be referring to is the oldest known mention of what's thought to be cricket - there is a mention in the Guildford Court records from 1598 that a local man called John Derrick testified that he had played "kreckett and other plaies" on a plot of land belonging to the Royal Grammar School (which is still in Guildford's High Street today: the England captain Bob Willis went to school there) when he was a boy, which, as he was 59 at the time of the court case, would date the actual playing to around 1550.

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