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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

milestone deliveries in Test Cricket !!

In year 2015, Test no. 2175 – the clapping started, .. .. it was but an ordinary delivery – Ben Stokes  over-pitched and Warner responded with a regulation on-driven boundary without any drama or fuss. .. .. .. a very big step in Cricket history imagine why ?   - in that test at Trentbridge, England regained the Ashes 10.2 overs into the third day as they completed a thumping win by an innings and 78 runs in the fourth Investec Test.  This post is not about ashes but about that delivery of Ben Stoke’s place in history

Cricket is all about statistics.  Lot was remembered earlier but now  with 2421 tests, it has become  increasingly difficult to remember statistics and World records !

Elsewhere at Harare, recently  Zimbabwe beat Pakistan for the first time in a T20I match in their 16th attempt, ending a nine-match losing streak in the process.  The hero was Luke Jongwe   who made his comeback to the Zimbabwean team in this series after a five-year absence because of eye and head injuries.  His haul read : 3.5-0-18-4, quite impressive indeed.  In May 2016 - Jongwe suffered the injury during a practice match at the Sharjah Cricket Ground in UAE. While attempting a return catch, Jongwe missed the ball and it hit him above the right eye. .. .. the same Jongwe made his debut in the last played Test 2421 at Harare where Pakistan won by an   innings and 147 runs

Andhra wicketkeeper-batter KS Bharat has been included as a standby for Wriddhiman Saha for India's tour of England comprising the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and the five-Test series against the hosts. Saha had recently recovered from Covid-19. Bharat reached Mumbai on May 19 where most of the Indian contingent will be serving a two-week quarantine in their hotel rooms before boarding a flight to London on June 2. Bharat, who has been a regular wicketkeeper for India A, was also one of the standbys for India's home Tests against England in February-March.  Bharat's inclusion - a last-minute development - is a precautionary move taken by the selectors. While announcing the 20-man squad for the England trip, they had announced Rishabh Pant and Saha as the two wicketkeepers. Saha had tested positive for Covid-19 a day before the BCCI suspended the IPL.

When James Anderson bowled the last delivery of his 17th over in the New Zealand second innings in Christchurch on Tuesday 3 April, 2018, he became the owner of a record that spoke volumes of his longevity. Anderson, who had made his Test debut in 2003, had just bowled 30,020th legal delivery, which was more than any other fast bowler in history – the record had belonged to Courtney Walsh, who had sent in 30,019 balls over his 132-Test career spanning 17 years. Anderson got past the Windies great in his 136th Test.

In Test Cricket now – 6 balls constitute an over.  Far earlier it was 4 and for many years in Australia, New Zealand it was 8 ball overs.  Now MCC rule 17.1 states : The ball shall be bowled from each end alternately in overs of 6 balls. 17.2 : An over has started when the bowler starts his/her run-up or, if there is no run-up, starts his/her action for the first delivery of that over.  17.3 .1 :A ball shall not count as one of the 6 balls of the over unless it is delivered, even though, as in Law 41.16 (Non-striker leaving his/her ground early) a batsman may be dismissed or some other incident occurs without the ball having been delivered.

Now some statistics on deliveries :

Test no. 1907  which was 2nd Test of the Series, played at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua, played on 13th Feb 2009 lasted just 10 balls. Strauss and Cook opened.  Jerome Taylor bowled one, Fidel Edwards bowled 4 balls.  After a lengthy discussion between the captains, Chris Gayle and Andrew Strauss, and the onfield umpires, Daryl Harper and Tony Hill, the ICC match referee, Alan Hurst was left to make the difficult decision. The run-ups were hastily dug up straight after the close, but it was a futile gesture. The only option available to the authorities was an outright abandonment, a situation eerily reminiscent of the Sabina Park farce in 1997-98, when batsman safety was the issue on a dangerously uneven pitch.

August 7, 2015. A day after Stuart Broad‘s historic 8 for 15, England became the first nation to witness a million balls being bowled in Test cricket.  The Trent Bridge Test was the 498th on English soil. Barring Australia (398) no other country had hosted 250 Tests till then (though 4 others had crossed the 190-mark), the reason, of course, being the enormous head start the two nations had.

In the 2nd Test of this Series at Lords, Australia made 566/8 and 254/2 – and won by a huge margin of 405 runs. As they struggled  at Trent Bridge, Geoff Boycott was to say - "lack of batting technique leading to collapses".  On day 1, within 35 minutes, they were 29 for 6  and eventually all out for 60.

The first innings of Aussies here lasted a mere 18.3 overs -  The  shortest Test, in terms of balls bowled, that had a definite result came in the final Test of the 1931-32 series at Melbourne, when Australia (153) beat South Africa (36 and 45) by an innings and 72 runs. That match lasted only 656 balls, just edging out West Indies v England at Bridgetown in 1934-35, which lasted 16 balls longer.

At the end of 15th over at Trent Bridge on 4th Test  – with Australia at 71/0 – there was a record – the 2nd ball of that over was 10,00,000th legal delivery in Test Cricket in England.  Ben Stokes became part of history delivering it, which however, was despatched to boundary by David Warner. 

Web searches revealed  that in Mar 2009,  the first delivery of the 32nd over of England's first innings - bowled by Brendan Nash - was the four millionth legal delivery bowled in Test history going back to the first Test ever played back in 1877. The  1,000,000th  came in 1959, 20 lakh-th delivery came in 1981 !!     

As of now, the top 5 bowlers in terms of number of deliveries : Muthiah Muralitharan 133 matches – 44039 balls; Anil Kumble 132 matches 40850 balls; Shane Warne 145 tests 40705 balls; James Anderson 160 tests 34326 deliveries; Courtney Walsh 132 tests 30019 deliveries !

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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