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Monday, March 20, 2023

Ducks in Cricket !!

Unlikely you would have heard of  Cricketer -  Edward James Gregory but can you link him to Greame Watson and Mathew Sinclair !!   The first two were Australians while the third was a Kiwi !

Edward James Gregory (1839 – 1899)  played in the first recognised Test in 1877 between Australia and England at  Melbourne. Ned was the father of a famous Australian cricketer, Syd Gregory, and brother of Dave Gregory who captained the first Australian eleven in England in 1878. Ned was also father-in-law of Harry Donnan. In the latter part of his life he was custodian of the Association ground at Sydney ground.  Ned Gregory and Nat Thomson are indicated by Wisden to have been born on the same day, and thus jointly were the earliest-born Australian Test cricketers.  That is trivia and not the answer though !

Another disappointing day for Indian fans at Vizag.  Mitchell Starc produced a masterclass in new-ball swing bowling before openers Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head hammered rapid fifties to complete a knockout performance against India and level the series 1-1. India received a thrashing like no other in Visakhapatnam - their heaviest defeat in terms of balls remaining - when they were bowled out for 117 in just 26 overs.  Starc was the tormentor in chief with his 5 for 53, his ninth five-for in ODIs, and gave Marsh and Head freedom to bat with no scoreboard pressure; Marsh raced to 28-ball fifty before Head got to his in 29 balls and Australia chased the target down in just 11 overs.

Suryakumar Yadav walked in looking to make up for his first-ball duck from the first ODI, but he suffered the same fate when Starc swung the ball into him again, and had him lbw for another golden duck. In what was another repeat from the first ODI, KL Rahul came in trying to survive a hat-trick delivery. He did that successfully, but could not last too much longer.  

A simple Q – how many ways can a batsman get out without facing a ball [on record !] ….the first possibility is getting ‘run-out’ before facing a ball… then the way Lendl Simmons got out in an IPL match  – stumped off a wide ball – the delivery would not count and scored card would read : Lendl Simmons out stumped 0(0)…………. You will see the illumination – and batsman clearly out of frame …

In cricket, a duck is a batsman's dismissal without troubling the scorers ie., not making any run !!  Batsman out on  their first delivery faced is known as a golden duck.  The term is a shortening of the term "duck's egg", the latter being used long before Test cricket began. Wiki records that when referring to the Prince of Wales' (the future Edward VII) score of nought on 17 July 1866, a contemporary newspaper wrote that the Prince "retired to the royal pavilion on a 'duck's egg' ".   The name is believed to come from the shape of the number "0" being similar to that of a duck's egg, as in the case of the American slang term "goose-egg" popular in baseball and the tennis term "love", derived – according to one theory – from French l'œuf ("the egg").   

The first duck in a Test match was made in the first Test, between Australia and England at Melbourne in March 1877, when Ned Gregory was caught by Andrew Greenwood off the bowling of James Lillywhite.   A high-profile duck occurred on August 14, 1948, at Oval - Sir Donald Bradman strode to the crease for his final innings in Baggy Green; two  balls later,  had to return to the Oval dressing room, having recorded the most famous duck in Test cricket history.  Bradman was bowled second ball by Eric Hollies, a Warwickshire leg-spinner ending  a legendary career with 6,996 runs, and the famous average of 99.94.   Australia won the match by an innings, and so Bradman did not get to bat a second time.   Indian all-rounder Ajit Agarkar had the  nickname "Bombay Duck" after being dismissed for ducks five consecutive times in test matches against Australia.

To conclude with answer to the Q at the start Edward Gregory was the first batsman to be out for duck in Test;  Greame Watson the first to register a duck in ODI – in the 2nd ODI at Manchester on Aug 24, 1972; Mat Sinclair was the first to get a duck in T2oI  - coming in the very first T20I at Auckland on 17.2.2005 – between Australia and New Zealand.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

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