June 26, 2012

The Don deprived, and England's streak

Also: the Travolta of cricket, No. 10 centurions, Bresnan's run, and run out on 199 twice

Is it true that Don Bradman might have scored 1000 runs in the 1930 Ashes series, but was erroneously given out in his final innings? asked Keith from the United Arab Emirates
I don't think I'd heard this before, but looking at the tour accounts it does seem that there was some doubt about Don Bradman's dismissal in the final Test at The Oval in 1930. He had scored 232, which took him to 974 runs in the series - still a record - when he was caught behind by George Duckworth. "At 570, Bradman was caught at the wicket off Larwood, under circumstances which caused a certain number to think that the decision had been a mistaken one," wrote Percy Fender in his superb tour account The Tests of 1930. "The batsman himself indicated very clearly at the time that he did not think he had touched the ball, but one or two of the fielders thought that the square-cut stroke which he had made at it had got a contact - and the umpire agreed with them." The Don himself wrote shortly afterwards that "I was given out", a form of words often used to convey doubt about a decision! This, coincidentally, was the innings during which - after the pitch was spiced up by rain - Bradman apparently exhibited signs of nervousness against the short ball, which sowed the first seeds of what became Bodyline.

Tim Bresnan finally drew a Test match after winning his first 13. Is this a record? asked Michael Lane from London
Tim Bresnan's feat of finishing on the winning side in each of his first 13 Tests - a run ended only by that soggy game at Edgbaston - was a new England record, beating Andrew Strauss' eight in 2004. The only man with more consecutive wins from the start of his career is Australia's Adam Gilchrist, with 15 - his run was spectacularly ended by India's win after following on at Kolkata early in 2001, a match in which Gilchrist himself bagged a king pair. The Australian fast bowler Stuart Clark also won his first 13 Tests, matching Bresnan. This territory was covered in more detail by my colleagues on The List column a couple of weeks ago.

One of England's openers scored a century in each of their first six one-day internationals in 2012 - is this a record? asked Vinay Mahant from India
Yes it is. An England opener - Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen two apiece against Pakistan in the UAE, and Ian Bell and Cook at home against West Indies - reached three figures in six successive one-day internationals in 2012, all of which were won, not entirely uncoincidentally. The previous record was four, by Pakistan in 1992.

Which cricketer's middle name is "Travolta"? asked Chris Leigh from Wales
The man with what one assumes were Saturday Night Fever-loving parents is the Zimbabwean fast bowler David Mutendera, who played one Test (against New Zealand in Bulawayo in September 2000) and nine one-day internationals. Mutendera - one of the earliest first-class cricketers to emerge from Harare's black townships - stands well over six feet tall, and bowled with a rather jerky action that was under suspicion for a while. He took 3 for 23 against Bangladesh in Harare in April 2001. His first-class career ended in 2004, and he recently had a spell as a national selector. Mutendera's main claim to fame in international cricket is arguably as the batsman to whom Steve Waugh set nine slips and gullies in a one-day international in Harare late in 1999, producing a famous photograph.

I know that Tino Best just missed becoming the first No. 11 to score a Test century. But has a No. 10 ever scored one? asked Akash Vaidya via Facebook
There have been three Test centuries scored from No. 10 in the batting order. The first - and highest - was Walter Read's 117 for England against Australia at The Oval in 1884. Read was basically a batsman: in only one of his other 26 Test innings did he go in later than No. 6. In 1901-02, Reggie Duff marked his Test debut by scoring 104 against England in Melbourne: he was usually an opener, but went in late in the second innings after Australia's captain, Joe Darling, rejigged the order to hold back some genuine batsmen while a wet pitch dried out. It was almost 100 years before another No. 10 made a century, and this time he really was a tailender: in February 1998, Pat Symcox hit 108 - and dominated a partnership of 195 with Mark Boucher - for South Africa against Pakistan in Johannesburg. So No. 11 remains (just) the only position in the batting order that hasn't produced a Test century.

Who was the batsman who ran himself out for 199 twice in the same season a few years ago? asked Reg Mason from London
The man you're thinking of is Jason Gallian, the Sydney-born batsman who won three England caps in the 1990s. In April 2005, playing for Nottinghamshire against Sussex at Trent Bridge, he was run out for 199, then in September the same year he did it again, this time against Kent in Canterbury. Wisden does suggest that Gallian was at fault in both run-outs. Only seven players had previously been run out for 199 in first-class cricket - and none of them managed it twice. Earlier in his career Gallian had made it past 199... and carried on to score 312 for Lancashire against Derbyshire at Old Trafford.

And there's an update to last week's question about batsmen carrying their bat apart from the first ball of the innings, from Graeme Fuller in South Africa
"This also happened in the Test between New Zealand and South Africa at Auckland in 2003-04 - Graeme Smith was out first ball in South Africa's second innings, and Jacques Rudolph then made 154 not out in a total of 349 all out." Sorry to have missed that one - it's a difficult one to spot, and a "record" that isn't generally kept.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012. Ask Steven is now on Facebook