Ask The Spider #58

Can you tell me what the three small numbers underneath the three lions means on the England cricket shirt?

Yes – they indicate which order players have received a cap in. For example, Michael Vaughan’s number is 600 – he was the 600th player to receive an England cap. The first was Thomas Armitage (given first as his initial, A, came earlier than the other 10 players on his team in the inaugural Test in 1876/77). These numbers are a relatively recent addition, added by the ECB to attempt to incorporate a little history into the England kit. Other countries have since copied.

Do we know the highest amount of extras ever given away in a Test innings?

Yes – this was conceded by India at Chinaswamy Stadium, Bangalore in 2007/08 against Pakistan. They could afford to – they had already posted 626 in the first-innings. Wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik was most culpable, letting through 35 byes, though 15 no-balls was excessive, mostly courtesy of Ishant Sharma. To the Indian bowlers’ credit, not a single wide was featured.

Who has scored the least runs in his entire career?

There are 65 players whose Test careers are definitively finished who did not score a single run. Only one (Arthur Mold, most famous for a suspect bowling-action) played more than a couple of games, and even he managed only three. As of this column, there are a further 8 who have yet to score a run but appear likely to play Test cricket again.

Has anyone been out hit wicket in consecutive Tests?

This has happened three times:- Joe Solomon (on 9 Dec 1960 and 30 Dec 1960) and Romesh Kaluwitharana (on 13 Jun 1997 and 20 Jun 1997) achieved this feat in consecutive Tests, while Bill Ponsford achieved it in consecutive innings (20 Jul 1934 and 18 Aug 1934).

I heard that Glenn McGrath opened the bowling in the 21st century – who enjoyed the same distinction to open the 20th century?

Australia’s Ernie Jones, against England at Sydney in December, 1901.

Who has the most Test centuries while never being on the losing side in those games?

Walter Hammond and Geoff Boycott lead this list with 22, followed by Gordon Greenidge on 19. Graeme Smith leads active players on 18.

Who has held the highest Test average at any point in their career?

Lawrence Rowe had an average of 314 after his first Test (214, 100*), followed by Ian Bell, with 297 after his first three innings (70, 65*, 162*).

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Dave Wilson