Ask The Spider #71

Has any Test wicketkeeper ever failed to make a single dismissal?

Yes – Humayun Farhat, of Pakistan, played his only Test in New Zealand in 2000/01, at WestPac Trust Park, Hamilton the final match of the series after Moin Khan had been injured. New Zealand lost just four wickets in the entire game in an innings-and-185-run victory, and Farhat was soon relegated below several others. Though still just 29 years old as of this column, his chances of further appearances look fairly remote, so he might just keep hold of this record.

Against West Indies in 2001/02, Chaminda Vaas took twin seven-fors, something I’m pretty sure I’ve not seen since. How many times had this happened previously?

It has indeed not happened since that game at Sinhalese Sports Club in 2001/02, and the last time before Vaas was quite a while ago: Alec Bedser at Trent Bridge against Australia in 1953. To find the next one you have to go back another 21 years: Clarrie Grimmett against South Africa at Adelaide Oval in 1931/32. There is one remaining instance in the 20th-century: the phenomenal SF Barnes routed South Africa at Durban’s old ground, Lord’s, in 1913/14. And there was one further instance in the 19th: Fred Spofforth in the famous 1882 Oval Test, which gave birth to The Ashes. Spofforth’s 80 runs is the cheapest of these fourteen-wicket match hauls. There have so far been a further 229 seven-fors in a single innings. There are two instances of twin eight-fors: famous ones by Bob Massie at Lord’s in 1972 and Narendra Hirwani in 1987/88.

Which decade has contained the most hit-wicket dismissals?

The 1950s had 22, just ahead of the 1960s with 21.

Which country has seen the most batsmen dismissed hit-wicket?

England tops this list by far, with 37 dismissals out of 13625 wickets that have so far fallen in the country.

And which team has lost most batsmen this way?

England again come out on “top”, having had 36 batsmen dismissed this way so far.

And has there ever been an instance of more than one hit-wicket dismissal in the same match?

Astonishingly, there have been 11 – and two of them had three, West Indies vs. England at Bourda in 1930 and Pakistan vs. Australia at Karachi in 1964/65. The most recent came in 1997.

And… last of all… what’s the most hit-wickets in a Test series?

Remarkably, there were four in each of the 1930 West Indies vs. England series (the one containing the above Bourda Test) and the 1938/39 South Africa vs. England one. In a further four series’ there were three, and 25 where a couple fell that way.

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