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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #16
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Q: Which bowler has taken 10 wickets in a Test match most often?

A :Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan has achieved this feat on 20 occasions, twice as many as the next man, Australia's Shane Warne.
Q: What team has Ian Nicolson (Zimbabwe A player) been playing for for the past year?

A: Organised cricket in Zimbabwe - like almost everything in the country - is currently not surprisingly not in the best of states. The Logan Cup, the country's domestic First-Class competition, failed to take place in the 2005/06 season, and in the 2006/07 season (as last) it returned in an unfamiliar form. Nicolson did play a single game for one of these new teams, though not in the Logan Cup, but in the Twenty20 Cup. The scorecard for this match can be found on CricketArchive.com. This is the only Zimbabwean team Nicolson appears to have represented in the 2007/08 season.
Q: What is the longest game in cricket?

A: No definitive records are kept for cricket below the First-Class level - so it is possible that somewhere, out of the wider public eye, a game has been played for weeks, months even. The longest game on record is actually a Test, South Africa vs. England at Kingsmead, Durban in 1938/39. This lasted a full nine days, but was drawn as England had to catch the boat home. Had they had just one more day, they might very well have set a record which would surely never have been broken - their chances of successfully chasing 696 appeared excellent, and had they done so it would have dwarfed all other fourth-innings run-chases in Test history.
Q: How old is cricket?

A: The exact roots of cricket are rather unknown. However, the first definite reference of a cricket match comes from the 16th century. In 1597, during a court case regarding dispute of land owned by a school, it was mentioned that fifty years prior (around 1550) there used to be cricket matches between school boys on the disputed site. The sport was however referred to as "kreckett", but it is believed that this was referring to cricket. The first international cricket match took place in 1844 between USA and Canada in New Jersey. The match which has now become recognised as the inaugural Test match (no such thought was given to the game at the time) was played between England and Australia in 1876/77.
Q: What is the best ever Test bowling analysis, both for an innings and for a match?

A: Both of these records are held by England's Jim Laker, in a game against Australia at Old Trafford in 1956. Laker's first innings figures were nine for 37, and in the second innings he went one better with ten for 53, for a match analysis of nineteen for 90. The other wicket was taken by Tony Lock (a left-arm fingerspinner, who often bowled in partnership with the right-arm Laker). According to Brian Johnston in "It's Been A Piece Of Cake", Laker drove home that evening and stopped in a pub for a bite to eat. His exploits were shown on the pub TV while he was there, and not a single person recognised him!
Q: Who holds the record for the fastest Test double century?

A: In 2001/02 at the Jade Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand's Nathan Astle was 70* (from 79 balls) at the fall of the sixth wicket, having looked in ominous touch throughout his innings, barely playing a false stroke even as his partners struggled to cope with the swing and bounce of England's Andy Caddick. And after that sixth wicket fell (New Zealand were also thought to be a man down, as Chris Cairns had been injured and was not originally planning to bat), Astle truly cut loose - from his next 89 balls he scored 152, to reach by far the fastest double century in Test cricket, that taking just 153 balls. From 101 to 200 took him only 39 balls. Cairns had elected to risk his injured knee in order to help his team-mate possibly do something special. The previous record of 212 deliveries had been set only three weeks earlier, by Adam Gilchrist for Australia against South Africa at The Wanderers, Johannesburg.

In terms of minutes at the crease, the record is held by Sir Donald Bradman, reaching 200 after 214 minutes on his way to a total of 334 against England at Headingley in 1930 - the number of balls faced by Bradman is not recorded, but over-rates were considerably faster in the 1930s than the 2000s.
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