Ask The Spider #63

Who has appeared most in First-Class cricket including no Tests? I read someone played as many as 600 games!

Indeed – Don Shepherd played, mostly for Glamorgan, 668 First-Class games between 1950 and 1972. His brisk fingerspin was hugely successful, but the strength of spin in the English game over his career meant he never got a Test?

And has anyone else played over 600?

Six others did – Allan Jones (also of Glamorgan), George Cox, Emrys Davies (Glamorgan yet again), Peter Sainsbury, Ken Suttle and Les Berry. The proliferation of Glamorgan players in this club possibly, to some extent, reflects the fact that they were at one point of the “less fashionable” counties.

Excluding Bangladeshis and any current players, who has the longest career comprising only of lost Tests?

South Africa’s Bonnor Middleton played 6 between 1895/96 and 1902/03 and they lost the lot – but that team was essentially the Bangladesh of its day. The most for a serious side is 5, held by Joe Dewes and Greg Thomas of England and Middleton’s countryman Gerald Hartigan, who played between 1912 and 1913/14.

What is the lowest Test innings to include all four main types of extra?

Sri Lanka’s 32-2 against Pakistan at Colombo Cricket Club in 1985/86 contained 2 byes, 2 leg-byes, 1 wide and 2 no-balls). This is the lowest.

And, presuming the lowest was a side not bowled-out, what’s the lowest for one that was?

Funnily enough, again for Sri Lanka against Pakistan at home, this time at Asgiriya Stadium, Kandy – 71, including 1 bye, 4 leg-byes, 5 wides and 1 no-ball.

What’s the highest score made without a single boundary?

It was made by Geoff Boycott – perhaps surprisingly, for though the Yorkshireman was a notorious slow scorer he often tended to make what runs he did with a decent helping of boundaries. In 1978/79 England were facing what was essentially Australia A (the best 15 or 16 or so players in the country were playing for Kerry Packer rather than their country) and Boycott scored 77 at The WACA, Perth (this is again a little surprising, as the ground is the smallest in Australia) without one four. Match reports suggest a very slow outfield, and Boycott tended to caress rather than blast the ball. His second-innings 23 also included no fours, giving him 100 for the match without a single boundary, the only such player to do this.

Have any batsmen been run-out more than twice in a row in Test cricket?

Yes, just one – England’s John Jameson. These, in fact, were his second, third and fourth Test dismissals, in 1971 against India.

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