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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #75
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Q: Hi there, I wonder how the rain rules are used in Test cricket. For example, on the last day of the First Ashes Test 2009, England had to bat for 108 overs. It must be 90 overs + 18. Why 18 overs? How are the overs calculated when there was an interruption for rain?

A :England actually had to bat for 98 overs on the final day of that First Test earlier in this ongoing series. The rules for making-up lost time in Tests are quite complicated - despite the attempts to make-up for the rain, just 393 overs (out of a theoretically possible 450, though more likely 444 if no changes of innings' occur at scheduled breaks, i.e. lunch and tea) were bowled in that game and it would be legitimate to suggest Australia were denied victory by loss of playing time. In theory, up to 15 overs (an hour's play) can be added to each day after 15+ overs have been lost from any previous day(s). However, there are times when this is limited instead to 8 overs (half-an-hour's play). There is also an extra half-hour set aside at the end of every day for overs which would otherwise be lost due to slow over-rates.
Q: How much runs is the highest score in a one-day match at Dambulla?

A: The still-relatively-new Rangiri Stadium in Dambulla has remained throughout its short existence a bowler-friendly venue. The most recent match played there, the Third ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan last week, produced the two highest scores as Pakistan made 288 for 8 and Sri Lanka easily chased it down with 289 for 4. Only 4 further scores of 250+ have been made at the ground against serious opposition (India also totalled 260-6 against UAE in the 2004 Asia Cup).
Q: Which Test captain holds the record for most consecutive winning tosses? And the worst record?

A: We actually answered this a few months ago funnily enough, but it's easily done again - the best record so far is by Colin Cowdrey of England, who won 9 in a row; the worst is again by an England leader, Nasser Hussain, who lost 10 in a row.
Q: The First Test in Cardiff, 2009 Ashes series is drawn. If the allocated amount of time for the Test was all used up (as it was) and England scored 13 more runs than Australia in the time allowed, how come they have not won the match?

A: In First-Class and Test cricket, you cannot win a match if your opponent's second-innings is not concluded - either because you have bowled them out or because they have declared \ forfeited it. Australia did not even have a second-innings in that First Test, so England were never in with a shot of victory. Australia needed just the single wicket to finish England's second-innings, but could not take it. If they had, Australia would then have had ten second-innings wickets in hand to make however many runs England's two innings' had exceeded their first-innings by. Should they have managed that, they would have won. Should they not have, the game would have been drawn. And should England have made enough in their two innings' that they had the chance to bowl Australia out in their second-innings, and done so, only then would they have won.
Q: M. S. Dhoni hasn't showed his aggressive batting after getting the captaincy. Do you think the captaincy gave a "lot" of burden to him?

A: It's difficult to say whether the captaincy has been a burden on Dhoni - really, the only way to find that out would be to get some insight into his mind. You're absolutely right that he's appeared to take a less aggressive approach to batting after becoming captain: in his 84 ODIs up to the start of his captaincy reign, his strike-rate was 96.26; since getting the captaincy it has been "only" 85.23 in 55 matches to date. However, his average as non-captain was 44.23, and in the said 55 matches as captain it has so far been a phenomenal 59.71. So generally, the drop in strike-rate from astonishing to merely excellent has been worth it.
Q: Is it true that Alan Knott once captained England?

A: It is - Knott took the leadership on a one-off basis for the end-of-season ODI against West Indies in 1976 at, of all places, Scarborough's North Marine Road ground, with Tony Greig sitting-out the match. Incidentally, that match saw the ODI debuts of Graham Gooch and Ian Botham.
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