Ask the Spider #93

What’s the longest sequence of nervous nineties in Tests?

The great Golden Age Australian, Clem Hill once had three scores in a row in the nineties – he first scored 99 against England at the MCG in 1901-02 (link), then followed this with 98 and 97 in the following Test at Adelaide (link). Two other batsmen “enjoyed” two scores in the nineties in the same Test – Gordon Greenidge is the most unfortunate, as he has achieved this twice, first against Pakistan (91 & 96) at Georgetown in 1976-77 (link) and again in New Zealand in 1979-80 (91 & 97) (link), and earlier by Frank Woolley against Australia at Lord’s in 1921 (95 & 93) (link).

So does Hill hold the record for most scores in the nineties?

In all Hill scored in the nineties in Tests six times, but that’s not even close to being the record – Steve Waugh has no fewer than ten scores in the nineties, and he has now been joined by India’s Rahul Dravid.

Has anyone been stuck on 99 in their first Test?

Three players have suffered this frustration – in 1934 at Trent Bridge, Australia’s Arthur Chipperfield was dismissed one run from a debut century. West Indies RJ Christiani was next to suffer this misfortune, being out for 99 against England at Bridgetown in 1947-48. Finally, Pakistan’s Asim Kamal joined this group when he made 99 against South Africa at Lahore in 2003-04.

How about in their last Test?

The great South African all-rounder Bruce Mitchell just missed going out on the highest of highs, being dismissed for 99 against England at Port Elizabeth in 1948-49.

And how about players who scored in the nineties in their one and only test?

West Indies’ Vic Stollmeyer, brother of Jeff, scored 96 against England at the Oval in 1939, the final Test before the war, and never played another Test.

Who has the most scores of 99 to their credit?

There are nine players who have been stranded on 99 twice – MJK Smith (Eng), Geoff Boycott (Eng), Richie Richardson (WI), John Wright (NZ), Michael Atherton (Eng), Saleem Malik (Pak), Greg Blewett (Aus), Sourav Ganguly (Ind) and most recently Simon Katich (Aus) – only Boycott of this group was left on 99*.

Who else has been left on 99 not out?

Four players other than Boycott were left this way – Steve Waugh, Alex Tudor (Eng), Shaun Pollock (SA) and Andrew Hall (SA). Tudor’s innings was remarkable in that 84 runs came from boundaries, as he came in as nightwatchman with England on three for one.

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