Ask The Spider #66

What is the most number of consecutive matches a Test team has gone without the wicketkeeper taking a catch or making a stumping?

This is, unfortunately, not a question I can answer completely – though I can give some sort of compensation, for which I give thanks to Keith Walmsley and his book Mosts Without In Test Cricket. Les Ames had three full matches (the Fifth Test of the 1932/33 Bodyline Ashes, and one of the next two in New Zealand, and the First Test at home to West Indies in 1933) without effecting a dismissal (he also went without a catch in the one game he played in New Zealand as an outfielder). This was equalled by Alan Knott in the Second, Third and Fourth Tests in West Indies in 1974. It was also achieved by South Africa’s Tommy Ward in the Second, Third and Fourth Tests in England in 1924, but this is difficult to count as South Africa did not take the field in that game, so badly was it hit by rain. These three, ironically, were all among the best glovemen to have played the game.

Who was the only victim that David Gower took during his Test career?

Nice easy one that – it was Kapil Dev in the Sixth Test in India in 1981/82. That match was the last in one of the most dreary series in Test history.

What is the longest over bowled in a ODI match in terms of most balls bowled?

Funnily enough we answered this just a few weeks back – it was 17 balls. Full details can be found in Edition #61.

Which Test captain has lost the toss for the most games in a row?

England’s Nasser Hussain lost a really quite remarkable ten in a row – after his correct call at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore in 2000/01 he had to wait until Mohali 2000/01 for his next correct call (a sequence during which he missed two games, in which his stand-in Michael Atherton won one). It was an abrupt change of fortune for Hussain, who had won seven of his first nine Test tosses (and his stand-in Mark Butcher won the one that he missed in between these nine as well).

And what about the most wins in a row?

Colin Cowdrey won nine in a row between the games at Bourda in 1960 and Lord’s 1961. His predecessor Peter May had won the previous three as well.

Is Mark Butcher’s 71 Tests without playing a ODI a record?

Well, if only players who have played since the introduction of the ODI are counted, yes. By a long distance, in fact – the next highest is Australia’s Jim Higgs, who played 22 Tests for Australia (most during the Packer schism) and not a single ODI.

How many Smiths have played some form of international cricket (Test, ODI or Twenty20 International)?

There have, as of the 7th of June 2009, been 34. And also 4 for whom the name “Smith” is added to another part of surname.

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