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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #105
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Q: How about Bedser's 15 five-wicket innings in 51 Tests, how does that fare?

A :With players who appeared in at least 50 Tests, the same three players manage to best Bedser - Murali (an astonishing 66 in 132 Tests, or a ratio of 50%), Hadlee, with almost 42% (36 in 86 appearances) and Lillee, 23 in 70 Tests for almost 33%. With a reduced threshold of 20 Tests, then once again Barnes is top with a scarcely believable 24 5-fers in only 27 matches (almost 89%). Barnes is also top with a threshold of ten Tests, with Richardson a close second with eleven 5-fers in 14 Tests. England's Bob Willis has most 5-fers without a ten wicket match, with 16.
Q: How about in Ashes Tests?

A: For those with at least 20 Tests (Bedser had two 10-wicket hauls in 21 Ashes Tests), only four bowlers have a better ratio of 10-wicket matches than Bedser - Hughie Trumble, Johnny Briggs (both three in 31), Shane Warne (four in 36) and Dennis Lillee (four in 29). As for 5-fers in Ashes Tests, only Lillee (11 in 29), Grimmett (11 in 22) and Barnes (12 in 20) head Bedser's seven in 21.
Q: Bedser has excellent best Ashes match figures of 14 for 99 - who can beat that?

A: Actually only three players can beat that - the famous Jim Laker figures of 19 for 90, Wilfred Rhodes 15-124 and Fred Spofforth with 14-90. England all-rounder Billy Bates also took 14 wickets, at a cost of 102 runs.
Q: Bedser took eleven wickets in his first Test - how many others have managed eleven or better on debut?

A: Bedser's eleven on debut has been bested by only four players in the history of Test cricket - Narendra Hirwani and Bob Massie each took 16, and Fred Martin and Jason Krezja both took 12 on debut.
Q: How about in First-Class cricket - where does Beder stand in regards to career wickets?

A: Bedser took 1924 wickets in his career, just behind Jim Laker in 39th place overall. Pride of place goes to Wilfred Rhodes with 4204 wickets.
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