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Consistent bowlers, and invisible keepers

Also: most Tests at a ground, nervous nineties at Lord's, 0 for 1 twice, and a cricketer nicknamed Badger

Steven Lynch

August 21, 2012

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Michael Atherton is left floundering as he is run out for 99, England v Australia, 2nd Test, Lord's, June 20, 1993
Michael Atherton run out for 99 at Lord's in the 1993 Ashes Test © PA Photos
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What is the highest number of wickets a bowler has taken in a Test series without taking five in an innings?asked Jaideep Malhotra from Delhi
This unusual record is held by the Australian fast bowler Wayne Clark, who took 28 wickets against India at home in 1977-78, with a best return of 4 for 46 in the first innings of his Test debut in Brisbane. He just pips the great West Indian pair of Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall, who both took 27 wickets in the home series against England in 1985-86 without the aid of a five-for. Garner also took 26 wickets in England in 1980, with a best return of 4 for 30, while Stuart Clark claimed 26 (best figures 4 for 72) for Australia in the 2006-07 Ashes. All these were five-Test series.

I noticed that AB de Villiers made no catches or stumpings in England's first innings at Lord's, and I wondered how often a team had won a Test match without their keeper making any dismissals at all? asked Hemant Kher from the United States
The exciting Lord's Test which finished yesterday turns out to have been the 44th Test in which the winning side's wicketkeeper failed to take a catch or make a stumping. The last one before it came a few months ago, in January, when Pakistan's victory over England in Abu Dhabi did not feature any dismissals by Adnan Akmal. Les Ames kept wicket in three England victories in which he didn't make a dismissal, during the 1930s, including the final Test of the Bodyline series, while Syed Kirmani of India had three similarly barren matches in the 1970s.

Who has played the most Tests on a single ground? asked Richard Bartlett from Canada
Three Sri Lankans lead the way here. Mahela Jayawardene has so far taken part in 25 Tests at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo, while Muttiah Muralitharan played 24 there and Sanath Jayasuriya 22. This isn't entirely surprising, as Sri Lanka rarely have a home series without a match at the SSC. Chaminda Vaas played 21 Tests there, a number matched by Alistair Campbell and Grant Flower in Harare, Graham Gooch at Lord's, and Daniel Vettori at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The Australian record is Allan Border's 20 Tests in Melbourne: the others to have made 20 appearances on one Test ground are Andy Flower (Harare), Mahela Jayawardene (Galle), Jacques Kallis (Cape Town), Kumar Sangakkara (SSC) and Alec Stewart (Lord's). The record for India, where the Tests are shared around more than elsewhere, is Sunil Gavaskar's 12 appearances in Chennai.

After Jonny Bairstow's near-miss, how many people have been out in the nineties in a Test at Lord's? asked James Milton from Hampshire
Jonny Bairstow's 95 in the match at Lord's that has just finished was the 51st instance of a batsman being marooned in the nineties in a Test at Lord's; three of them were not out. Ken Barrington, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Alastair Cook, Tony Greig, Brendon McCullum, Robin Smith and Frank Woolley all made two (Woolley's were in the same game - 95 and 93 against Australia in 1921). Six men have been out for 99 in a Lord's Test, including two (Mike Atherton and Mark Waugh) in the Ashes Test of 1993. The others were Charles Macartney (1912) and Ross Edwards (1975) of Australia, and England's Eddie Paynter (1938) and Mike Smith. Of those six, only two ever scored a Test century at Lord's: Macartney in 1926 and Waugh in 2001.


Paul Nixon relaxes as Sri Lanka toil hard at beach volleyball, Antigua, April 5, 2007
Paul Nixon: "mad as a badger" © Getty Images
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How often has the first wicket fallen at 0 in both innings of the same Test? asked George Groves from Auckland
The first time the first wicket fell at 0 in both a side's innings was during the final Test of the 1932-33 Bodyline series, in Sydney, when Vic Richardson was twice dismissed in Harold Larwood's first over, before a run had been scored or his partner Bill Woodfull had faced a ball. It has happened 17 times since, most recently in November 2009, when Martin Guptill and Tim McIntosh had two fruitless opening stands against Pakistan in Dunedin. New Zealand still managed to win that match, though - the third instance of a side winning despite their openers having two opening stands of 0. The others were by Australia against England in Brisbane in 1950-51, and Sri Lanka v Pakistan in Faisalabad in 2004-05. (Note that only occasions when the same pair opened in both innings are considered here.)

Which international cricketer was nicknamed "The Badger"? asked Alex Houston from Cambridge
There's an English saying "mad as a badger", because they are ferocious when cornered... and this nickname was bestowed upon someone who, during a long career in county cricket, was pretty fierce himself at times: "Sometimes they call me the Badger, because I'm mad for it," said Paul Nixon, for it was he. Nixon kept wicket for Leicestershire and Kent, starting in 1989 and ending after Leicestershire's T20 triumph last year. Late in his career he played 20 limited-overs matches for England, including the 2007 World Cup. He has just produced a candid - and very readable - autobiography, called (after the publishers thought better of the original badger-related title) Keeping Quiet, something Nixon could rarely be accused of while standing behind the stumps.

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

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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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