Ask The Spider #114

Last week you mentioned the fact that 2046 of the 2047 catches so far taken in Tests by Australian wicketkeepers came from the designated gloveman – is there any chance you could tell us who took the one catch as a stand-in and when?

Remarkably, that only instance so far came in Australia’s (and cricket’s) second-ever Test – a match, of course, only ruled a Test retrospectively. This was the Second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1876/77, and after the legendary Jack Blackham (regarded by many as still the greatest gloveman the game has seen) was injured and unable to keep in the second-innings, the gloves were given to Billy Murdoch (who is indisputably the first great wicketkeeper-batsman of the Test era). Murdoch took a catch which removed Andrew Greenwood of Lillywhite’s XI off the bowling of John Hodges during England’s relatively straightforward run-chase. If you had told Murdoch at the time that 133 years later he would still be the only man to have taken a Test match catch as a stand-in wicketkeeper for Australia he would doubtless have been completely and totally mystified on several counts.

Apart from Asim Kamal, has anyone ever been out for 99 on Test debut?

There are two others who have suffered this fate besides Kamal in the First Test against South Africa in 2003/04. The first was Arthur Chipperfield, who made his bow in the First Test of the 1934 Ashes and was dismissed for 99 (fortunately, he did go on to make a century in a later series against South Africa). The other was West Indian wicketkeeper (though he debuted as a specialist batsman) Bob Christiani, who after a single in the first-innings of his maiden Test at Kensington Oval in 1948 scored 99 in the second dig. Christiani too went on to make a single century in his 21 further Tests. Kamal’s best remained that 99 (though he can at least claim to be the only man to have ended his debut with an average of 99 as he was not required to bat in Pakistan’s second-innings).

Lawrence Rowe and Yasir Hameed are the only batsmen to make twin centuries on Test debut, but has anyone else come close?

There are three who could be said to have done this – England’s Paul Gibb made his debut in the First Test of the 1938/39 South Africa vs. England series (much best known for the infamous drawn timeless Test) and, after being out for 93 in the first-innings, atoned with 106 in the second; Gordon Greenidge made his bow in the First Test of the India vs. West Indies series in 1974/75 and scored 93 and 107; and Andrew Strauss is possibly the unluckiest, having followed his 112 in the first-innings of his debut with an equally faultless 83 in the second-innings, he was run-out through little fault of his own by Nasser Hussain.

How many batsmen have made 150+ scores on Test debut?

So far there have been 19 – the first being made by the batsman who faced the first-ever Test match delivery, Charles Bannerman, in the first-ever Test. Most of the 19 are household names, and only Khalid Ibadulla could truthfully be called someone very few are likely to have heard of.

And how many of these came in the batsman in question’s maiden innings?

All bar 3 – the only batsmen to have achieved the feat in the second-innings of their debut are KS Ranjitsinhji in 1896, George Headley in 1930 and the most recent, Fawad Alam last year.

Who was the first outfielder to take 100 catches in ODIs?

Allan Border managed this – just. His 100th ODI catch came in the First ODI of the bilateral West Indies vs. Australia series in 1991 – Viv Richards, in the opposing team, had 98 to his name at that point and would take his 100th (and last) a few months later in the bilateral series in England).

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Richard Dickinson