## 48

A special post to celebrate my 48th birthday.

This post looks at the number 48 for reasons which will become apparent.

THE NUMBER 48

48 has the most factors of any number under 50, nine other than itself (24, 16, 12, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1). It is therefore an ‘abundant number’ – abundant numbers are those whose factors add up to more than the number itself, while deficient numbers have factors that add up to less than the number itself, and perfect numbers have factors that add up to exactly that number. In the case of 48 its factors add up to 76, giving it an abundance of 1.583.

48 squared is 2,304, and 2*3!*4+0 = 48, while 48 cubed is 110,592, and ((11+0)*5)-(9-2) = 48.

48 IN CRICKET

As a cricket fan I look at occurrences of the number 48 in the game. In 1907 Colin Blythe, Kent’s left arm spinner of the era, conceded just 48 runs while claiming 17 Northamptonshire wickets in one single day’s play. This is the cheapest ever match haul of 17 wickets, and the joint most ever taken in a day in first class cricket.

In the 1925 first class season Nottinghamshire skipper Arthur Carr hit 48 sixes. The following season he would captain England in the first four matches of the Ashes series, before Percy Chapman was brought in as skipper for the last match of the series.

In 1896, WG Grace scored 301 against Sussex at the age of 48, still the oldest ever first class triple centurion.

In the ‘Jubilee Match’ early in 1980 Ian Botham claimed 7-48 in India’s second innings, noteworthy as he had already taken 6-58 and scored 114*, the first man to combine a century and a ten wicket match haul at test level, although a few months earlier Enid Bakewell had achieved the same feat for England Women against West Indies Women.

At Edgbaston in 1981 against Australia England captain Mike Brearley managed the highest individual score of the match with 48 in England’s first innings. This was the first completed test match since 1935 to not feature an individual half century. Australia had the better of most of it, but then collapsed from 87-3 to 121 all out in the final innings to lose by 29 runs.

Why I have I produced a post the text part of which focuses on the number 48? Because today is my 48th birthday.

PHOTOGRAPH

I have decided to select a single image with which to end this post…

## England XI 1963-83

A look at the best England players of 1963-83, including a mention of the rebel tour of Apartheid SA in 1982, since I refused to pick any of the players involved in that for my XI. A large photo gallery.

I continue my mini-series looking at England men’s players through the ages with a post covering 1963-83. This will end this series as I from that point on we are dealing with cricketers from my time following the game, and I covered that era here. Also, this post will be regarded as very controversial in some quarters – the first rebel tour to Apartheid South Africa happened in 1982, and I refuse to select any of the participants in that disgraceful venture.

THE XI IN BATTING ORDER

1. John Edrich (left handed opening batter). Had a fine test record, with a best of 310* vs New Zealand and scores of 175 and 164 against the old enemy among his other successes.
2. *Mike Brearley (right handed opening batter, captain). Has the least impressive playing record of anyone selected in one of these XIs, but he was a splendid captain, and three of the best England openers to play in this period were involved in the rebel tour mentioned in the introduction (Amiss, Boycott and Gooch) which means that this slot was going to go someone not quite in the top bracket as a batter, so I might as well secure an excellent captain.
3. Ted Dexter (right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler). A fine attacking batter and one at home in a slot that has often caused England problems over the years.
4. Ken Barrington (right handed batter, occasional leg spinner). Statistically one of England’s best ever, with an average of almost 59 for 6,800 test runs. His highest test score was 256 at Old Trafford in 1964.
5. David Gower – left handed batter. When he first started, before a long term shoulder problem made itself felt, he was one of England’s finest fielders as well. He scored 58 on test debut, racked up hist test century later that same summer, scored his maiden Ashes century at Perth on that winter’s tour, hit 200* v India at Edgbaston in 1979 and confirmed his arrival among the great with a match saving 154* at Jamaica in 1981 against the most powerful bowling unit in the world at that time, that of Clive Lloyd’s West Indies. He played on for another nine years after the end of the period under discussion and might well have gone on a good while longer had the England selectors of the early 1990s treated him decently.
6. Tony Greig (right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler and right arm off spinner). He averaged 40 with the bat and 32 with the ball in test cricket, and the fact that he could bowl spin as well as seam got him this slot over the alternative candidate.
7. Ian Botham (right handed batter, right arm fast medium bowler). The period under discussion includes the earliest and best years of his international career, either side of an ill-starred spell as captain. The Ian Botham of 1977-83 was unequivocally one of the greatest cricketers ever to play the game. Thereafter he had occasional great moments but was largely a fading force.
8. +Bob Taylor (wicket keeper, right handed batter). Made more dismissals than any other wicket keeper though his test appearances were limited by the presence of Alan Knott (who went on that rebel tour and who I therefore regarded as unavailable). He was also a much better batter than he was often credited with being, with his 97 at Adelaide in the 1978-9 Ashes a clearly defined match winning knock.
9. Philippe-Henri Edmonds (left arm orthodox spinner, left handed lower order batter). With Greig able to bowl off spin (and England’s best specialist off spinner of the period ineligible as a rebel tourist) I wanted my specialist spinner to turn the ball the other way, and England had no class leg spinners in the period under discussion and the best left armer, Underwood, was another rebel tourist. Therefore Edmonds, whose test record places him next in line gets the slot.
10. John Snow (right arm fast bowler, right handed lower order batter). A fine overall test record, highlighted by his stellar performance on the 1970-1 tour of Australia, when he joined Larwood (1932-3) and Tyson (1954-5) in the select club of England quicks to have blitzed Australia on their own pitches.
11. Bob Willis (right arm fast bowler). A man whose career nearly ended in 1981 but who became England captain in 1982 such was the extent to which he revived his cricketing fortunes. The key moment came at Headingley in 1981, when with Australia seemingly cruising to a victory target of 130 Brearley brought him on at the Kirkstall Lane end, with an early breakthrough required to save his career. By lunch, courtesy of a sharp bouncer that accounted for Trevor Chappell (a misguided selection – he resembled a proper test match number three in name only), a slip catch by Botham that got skipper Hughes and a catch at short leg by Gatting to account for Yallop had turned 56-1 into 58-4 and suddenly the match was revitalized. Australia continued to implode after the interval, and one stage they were 75-8, before Lillee and Bright added 35 in four overs, but then Lillee miscued a drive and was well caught by Gatting and Willis found a yorker to polish off Bright. England had won by 18 runs and Willis had taken eight of the last nine wickets to fall giving him innings figures of 8-43.

This side features one great opener, one ordinary one who compensates by being an extraordinary captain, a powerful 3-5, a batting all rounder at six, a bowling all rounder at seven, a great keeper who was better with the bat than he was given credit for being, a left arm spinner who could bat a bit and two fine fast bowlers to round out the order. A bowling unit of Snow, Willis, Edmonds, Botham, Greig (either as fourth seamer or second spinner depending on conditions) plus Dexter and Barrington as back up options if needed should not struggle to take 20 wickets either.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Firstly there is a person who merits a paragraph to himself:

BASIL D’OLIVEIRA

Had he been able to play international cricket for his native land when in his mid 20s instead of finally getting the opportunity in his mid-thirties after moving halfway round the world to find cricketing fulfillment I have little doubt that he would have been one of the game’s all time greats. As it was he averaged 40 with the bat and had moments as a medium pacer without doing enough in that department to be classed as a test all rounder (which is why Greig got the number six slot).

OTHER HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Colin Cowdrey played a lot of his cricket in the period under discussion, but having included him in the XI for the earlier period I felt able to leave him out, and as you will have noted, even with the rebel tour creating problems there was no shortage of batting options available to me. Tom Cartwright and Geoff Arnold, two very fine seamers who played in this period would have their advocates. Had I need an off spinner the only option of sufficient class not rendered ineligible by rebel touring was Ray Illingworth (Geoff Miller’s record looks respectable at first glance, but he only took an average of two wickets per match, which counts against him). Derek Randall had his moments for England, especially against folks in baggy greens, but his overall test record falls short of the required standard. Allan Lamb who became eligible for England near the end of the period under discussion made a fine start to his test career, but he was never comfortable against spin, and for all his southern hemisphere birthplace he never delivered away from home. Mike Hendrick and Chris Old were stalwarts for England in the late 1970s and early 1980s but while acknowledging their qualities I preferred the extra pace of Snow and Willis for my specialists.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

## All Time XIs – Great Test Matches I Did Not Get To Witness

11 of the greatest test matches that I know about only at second hand – I may have watched highlights of them, read about them or both of the foregoing, but I did not witness them live.

This is a follow up to my earlier post about great test matches I did get to witness. These are matches I have read about and/or witnessed highlights of but did not get to follow live at the time. The matches are listed ibn chronological rather than ranking order, and to set the tone there is match not of test status as an hors d’oeuvre.

MCC V AUSTRALIA, LORD’S 1878 – A WARNING SHOT

The Australians had had a rough start to their tour of England in what was a very wet summer. When they arrived at Lord’s to take on the MCC few gave them much of a chance. MCC were fielding a very respectable side, with the mighty WG Grace to the fore. MCC batted first, and Frank Allan, a graceful left armer dubbed ‘bowler of the century’ in the run up to the tour shared the new ball with Harry Boyle, a medium pacer of exceptional accuracy. WG Grace hit the first ball of the match for four, but was out to the second. Another wicket fell one run later, but then Albert ‘Monkey’ Hornby and Arthur Ridley shared what turn out to be the largest partnership of the match. The moment that tilted this game towards being a historic one was when Frederick Robert Spofforth was called upon to bowl in place of Allan. Spofforth destroyed the MCC middle and lower order with sheer pace, a high water mark of 27-2 becoming 33 all out. Spofforth had taken 6-4 for the innings. The Nottinghamshire pair of Alfred Shaw (right arm slow/ medium) and Fred Morley (left arm fast) took the new ball for MCC. Australia fared little better than the home side, limping to 41 all out, with Shaw following the general pattern of his career by bowling considerably more overs than he conceded runs. For the second MCC innings Spofforth was given the new ball alongside Boyle, and MCC were rolled for a paltry 19, Boyle taking 6-3 and Spofforth 4-16. Charles Bannerman fell early in the fourth innings, but Billy Midwinter and Tom Horan saw Australia to a nine wicket win. The match was over on the same day it started, the thick end of a century before games with that intention would become a regular thing in top level cricket, and the aggregate of 105 runs remains the smallest ever for an FC match with a definite result. This tour did not feature any test matches, but the next visit by Australia in 1880 did, England winning a hastily organized match in September of that year by five wickets.

ENGLAND V AUSTRALIA, THE OVAL 1882: ASHES BORN

Unlike its predecessor in 1880 this match was planned when the tour itinerary was created. Albert ‘Monkey’ Hornby captained England, a mistake, espeically given that Spofforth, the leading Australian bowler, had a hex on him (if they weren’t yet prepared to appoint WG Grace who would have been the best choice then Lord Harris would have done). Rather than Hornby, EM Grace should have been the other opener for England (as he was in 1880, when he and WG put on 91 together in the first innings). However, all seemed rosy when Australia were dispatched for 63 in their first innings, and England responded with 101, Yorkshireman George Ulyett top scoring with 26. Hugh Massie now played a crucial innings for Australia, scoring 55 of the first 66 runs in their second innings and propelling them into credit with only one wicket down. Once he was out there was little more to the Australian innings, though Murdoch batted through such of it as there was to finish on 29* in a score of 122. The single most significant moment of the innings was the dismissal of Sammy Jones, who left his crease to pat down the pitch with the ball not officially dead. Grace, fielding at point, ran him out, a move which provoked Spofforth to absolute fury. While England were preparing to chase 85 to win Spofforth was telling his team mates “this thing can be done”. Grace and Hornby put on 15 for the first wicket, but then Hornby and Richard Barlow, also of Lancashire, were both out at that score. Grace and Ulyett shared a fine partnership, but Ulyett was dislodged with the score at 51, and two runs later, Grace, only the second player in the game to record a score of above 30, was dislodged for 32, making it 53-4. It was at this juncture that things turned against England. Lyttelton and Lucas, paralysed by nerves, could barely score, and skipper Hornby started panicking and messed with his batting order. When Lyttelton was dismissed to make it 66-5 the panic really set in, Hornby holding CT Studd, scorer of two centuries against the Aussies that season, back in the order until the eighth wicket fell. Billy Barnes was dismissed shortly after Studd’s arrival to make it 75-9, and Peate had three balls to survive from Harry Boyle before the end of the over. He scored two off the first of these, but a wild swing at the second met fresh air, while the ball clattered against his stumps. England 77 all out, and beaten by seven runs. Studd, with his two centuries against the Aussies earlier that season, was 0* (0), not the least ridiculous feature of this ridiculous match.

AUSTRALIA V ENGLAND, SCG 1894: 586 BATTING FIRST…

England were captained by Andrew Stoddart, Australia had entrusted veteran wicket keeper Blackham (who had played the first test match of all in 1877) with the captaincy. Blackham won the toss and batted. Tom Richardson the great Surrey fast bowler claimed three early wickets, but the then George Giffen and Frank Iredale joined forces. Their stand, apparently helped by some clumsy keeping on the part of Leslie Gay, yielded 171 runs, and then after Iredale’s dismissal Syd Gregory joined the fray, adding a further 139 with Giffen before the latter fell for 161 just before the end of day one. Australia closed on 346-5. On day two Syd Gregory completed a double century, only the second ever achieved in test cricket, and with Blackham scoring a test best 74 Australia reached 586.

England were all out for 325 in their first innings, Albert Ward top scoring with 75. They were made to follow on, and when the sixth wicket went down at 296, with the lead still only 35 Australia still looked well place. However, Francis Ford and Johnny Briggs put on 89 together for the seventh wicket, and even the tail made contributions. England mustered 437 in this second innings, setting Australia 177 to win. Jack Lyons began breezily, hitting 25 in 15 minutes at the crease, but after he and Harry Trott were both out, Giffen opted to play safe, making sure he was still there for the following morning (tests in Australia were played to a finish in those days). Australia close on 113-2, needing just 64 the following morning, Darling 44*, Giffen 30*. Overnight it rained (pitches were uncovered in those days, and overnight rain, followed by strong Australian sun the following morning created what was known as a ‘sticky dog’), though England’s trump card in such circumstances, left arm spinner Bobby Peel, did not hear the rain following, as he had given the match up for lost and drowned his sorrows in emphatic fashion. The Australians certainly did realize that it had rained. Peel and fellow left arm spinner Johnny Briggs gradually tightened the screw on Australia, and the ninth wicket went down with Australia still 15 short. Blackham was last man in, nursing a cracked thumb, and the other remaining batter, Charlie McLeod did his best to protect the injured keeper, ultimately Blackham prodded a catch back to Peel and England had won by 10 runs, with Peel having innings figures of 6-67.

OLD TRAFFORD 1902 – ENGLAND V AUSTRALIA

A spat between chairman of selectors (Lord Hawke, Yorkshire) and captain (Archie MacLaren, Lancashire) led to an odd looking England side. MacLaren wanted Schofield Haigh, but Hawke would not release him. MacLaren in a fit of pique at this left another Yorkshireman, George Hirst, out on the morning of the match, handing a debut to 35 year old Fred Tate of Sussex.

Australia batted first, and by lunch they were 173-1 with Victor Trumper having reached three figures, the first ever to do so on the first morning of a test match. Post lunch England did better, but a rapid partnership between middle order left handers Clem Hill and Joe Darling (73 in 45 minutes) helped Australia to reach 299. England began poorly, but a big stand between FS Jackson and Len Braund, plus some further lower order support for Jackson (128) got England to 262. Australia in their second innings were 10-3 and should have been 16-4, but MacLaren had high-handedly refused to move Lionel Palairet, a fellow amateur, from square leg to the right hander to square leg to the left hander, sending Fred Tate (who fielded close to the bat for Sussex) out there instead. Tate dropped a chance offered by Darling, and the partnership added 46 further runs. Thereafter it was a procession and Australia mustered just 86 second time round, setting England 124 to win. At 92-3 England appeared to be cruising home, but then a collapse set in. When keeper Dick Lilley was brilliantly caught by Clem Hill, who ran 30 yards round the boundary and threw himself full length to make the catch, it was 116-9 and Fred Tate joined Wilfred Rhodes. Tate snicked a boundary off Jack Saunders to open his account, but then Saunders’ next ball kept fiendishly low and bowled the unfortunate Tate to give Australia victory by three runs.

THE OVAL 1902ENGLAND V AUSTRALIA: A REVERSAL

George Hirst and Gilbert Jessop returned for England after missing the match described above. Australia batted first and tallied 324, Hugh Trumble top scoring with64* and Monty Noble making 52. Trumble then turned to his more publicized ability, bowling unchanged through the England first innings, taking 8-65. England avoided the follow on only thanks to Hirst who scored 43 out of the last 54 runs of the innings. Australia at the second time of asking were all out for 121, setting England 263, which looked a massive total in those circumstances. It was looking even further distant by the time Saunders (four wickets) and Trumble (one) had reduced England to 48-5. At this point Gilbert Jessop joined FS Jackson and the match began to turn. Jackson fell for 49 with the score at 157, and George Hirst joined Jessop. This pair added 30 together in just eight minutes, Jessop completing three figures in 75 minutes and off his 76th ball, both still England records, though the latter has seemed under constant threat lately. Jessop fell for 104, making it 187-7, and still 76 needed from the last three wickets. However, Bill Lockwood stayed with Hirst while 27 of those were scored, and keeper Dick Lilley helped add a further 34, meaning that when fellow Yorkshireman Rhodes joined Hirst in the middle 15 were needed with one wicket standing. England inched their way towards the target, and finally Rhodes hit the winning single off Trumble. Trumble had scored 71 undefeated runs with the bat and captured 12 wickets, Hirst had 101 runs for once out and a first innings five-for but this is always called “Jessop’s Match”. Lionel Palairet gained two England caps – the Old Trafford and Oval tests of 1902.

MCG 1907 – AUSTRALIA V ENGLAND – NEARLY A TIE

This was a match which swing back and forth but seemed settled in Australia’s favour when England were 209-8 in the final innings, needing 73 more to win. Joe Humphries was ninth out, with 39 still needed for the win, to an LBW which added fuel to the flames of a controversy – England had had several rough LBWs in that match, George Gunn being furious about the two given against him. Arthur Fielder, a fast bowler, but as he was to show both here and a little later for Kent when sharing a last wicket stand of 235 with Woolley no mug with the bat, joined Barnes in the middle. The last wicket pair chipped away at the target and eventually levelled the scores. Barnes then went for a winning run that Fielder was unsure about. Had the fielder, Gerry Hazlitt, kept his head and lobbed to the keeper test cricket would have seen its first ever tied match. As it was, Hazlitt panicked and shied wildly at the stumps, missing and allowing the completion of the winning run.

MCG 1928 – AUSTRALIA A ENGLAND – ASHES HELD

England had comfortably won the first two matches of the series, but although Hammond had already entered the record books by becoming the first to score two consecutive test double hundreds, with 200 in the first England innings, it looked long odds against a third win in a row when England set off in pursuit of a victory target of 332 on a pitch that had become so spiteful that opening batter Jack Hobbs reckoned it would be all over by the tea interval. As it turned out Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe, the other opener, were still both in residence by said interval, and midway through the evening, with the great pair still together Hobbs made a vital intervention, sending a message to the dressing room that if either opener fell that evening Jardine should be promoted to number three as his defence was more reliable than Hammond’s. Hobbs was the one to go, for 49 out of an opening stand of 105, and Jardine duly survived the remainder of the evening and England returned the following morning still only one down. Jardine contributed a crucial 33, Herbert Sutcliffe went on to 135, and although England had a bit of a stutter late on, George Geary, who had claimed the final wicket of the 1926 Ashes, smashed a four through mid-on to seal a three wicket win and with it retention of The Ashes.

OLD TRAFFORD 1956 – ENGLAND V AUSTRALIA

Good pitch which one side handled badly or spinners paradise made to order? England batting first ran up 459 in rapid time. Although Australia’s two recognized spinners, leg spinner Benaud and off spinner Ian Johnson claimed six scalps between them, they also leaked 274 runs while doing so.

Jim Laker, England’s off spinner, took the first two Aussie wickets, before Lock claimed the third, which opened the floodgates for Laker, who polished off the Aussie first innings with a spell of 7-8, giving him 9-37 in total. Regular rain interruptions and a fine defensive effort by Aussie opener Colin McDonald took the game into the final day. Eventually, with the second ball of his 52nd over, Laker trapped Maddocks LBW and Australia were all out for 205, beaten by an innings and 170 runs. Laker had all ten Aussie second innings wickets for 53, still the cheapest all ten in test cricket, and 19-90 in the match. The three other front line spinners had combined match figures of 7-380, an average of 54.29 per wicket, and earlier in the season, in the first innings of the match on a good Oval pitch Laker had recorded figures 10-88 from 46 overs against the Australians for Surrey. In all 58 of Laker’s first 100 Fc wickets of 1956 were Aussies, 46 in the Ashes series and 12 for Surrey in that tour match.

BRISBANE 1960 – AUSTRALIA V WEST INDIES

52 years after Gerry Hazlitt had failed to make the most of an opportunity to secure test cricket’s first tie Joe Solomon showed how to keep his head under pressure, executing two direct hit run outs in less than 15 minutes, first to dismiss Davidson (80), thereby giving his side a chance to save themselves, and then to seal the tie. Alan Davidson bestrode this match like a colossus, taking 5-135 in West Indies first innings 453, then scoring 44 of Australia’s reply of 505, then taking 6-87 as West Indies managed 284 second time round and finally scoring that 80 which so nearly won the match for Australia.

HEADINGLEY 1981 – ENGLAND V AUSTRALIA

CHENNAI 1986: INDIA V AUSTRALIA – A TIE

Australia in the early to mid 1980s were a struggling outfit, but in this particular match they did a lot right, though not quite enough to win it. Dean Jones, in part due a vicious taunt from skipper Border, batted himself into a hospital bed, scoring 210 in eight hours at the crease on the first two days of the match, after which he had to put on a saline drip. Towards the end of the fifth day it looked like India were odds to complete their chase of 348, but Greg Matthews refused to give up, and eventually, with the scores level he trapped Maninder Singh LBW to secure test cricket’s second ever tie.

KOLKATA 2001: INDIA V AUSTRALIA – A VERY VERY SPECIAL TEST MATCH

Australia in the late 1990s and early 2000s were well nigh invincible, and the first two innings of this match did not suggest anything other than business as usual for Steve Waugh and his men, as they forced India to follow on. VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid then produced a historic partnership, with Laxman going to a then Indian individual record test score of 281 and Dravid making 180. India declared their second innings at 657-7, setting Australia 384 to win. Australia, unsurprisingly dispirited, collapsed to 212 all out and defeat by 171 runs, the third (and to date) last test defeat suffered by a side enforcing the follow on. Australia have rarely chosen to enforce the follow on since then, preferring to build stupendous leads and then look to dismiss their opponents a second time. Myself I would still need a good reason to suggest not enforcing.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Time for my usual sign off (the gallery is smaller than usual – there is not as much to see in foul weather)…

## All Time XIs – Match Ups (8)

Continuing my extended analysis of how my all time XIs for each letter fare against each other. Also some of my own photographs.

We continue our extended look at how the all time XIs I picked for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. The Bs are still in the hot seat, and go into today with 35 points out of a possible 55.

THE Bs V THE Ms

The top batting is the usual story of dominance by the Bs, although Macartney’s skill as a bowler should be born in mind when looking at his position. Miandad outdoes Border in the number five slot, Miller is clear of Botham with the bat and miles clear of him with the ball. Marsh is better in both departments than Bari. Marshall and McGrath at least match Barnes and Bumrah as a new ball pairing. Fazal is ahead of Benaud, his nearest bowling match in opposition ranks, although the Aussie was a much better batter. Muralidaran just beats Bates – in the modern era, with pitches being less treacherous than they were in Bates’ day he would probably have paid about 24 per wicket to Murali’s 22, in addition to which Murali’s performance would probably be better as part of this attack than it was IRL, when he was largely carrying an indifferent bowling unit. Also, as touched on earlier, the Ms have a sixth bowling option (and Macartney did win Australia a test match as a bowler). I think the Ms stellar bowling resources are enough for them to overcome the advantage that the Bs have in the batting department, but this would be a heck of a contest – I score it Bs 2, Ms 3.

THE Bs V THE Ns

The Bs totally dominate in batting, and while Bari would rate the better of the two keepers Nixon has his batting to compensate. The Bs, with due respect to Ntini and Nortje have the better new ball pairing, and Botham rates ahead of Nawaz as third seamer. Bates was a finer bowler than Noble, though the latter was better with the bat. Benaud is streets ahead of Nadeem in both departments. I find it very hard to see any situation in which the Ns can make a contest of this: Bs 5, Ns 0.

THE Bs V THE Os

Oldfield wins the clash of the keepers, and O’Reilly outpoints Benaud as a leg spinner, though the latter was a much better bat. O’Riordan outpoints Botham with the ball, though Botham wins with the bat, the Irishman’s left arm is an extra point of variation for the Os. The Os have an extra bowling resource – while Ojha is outdone by Bates as second spinner, the Os also have a third spinner in Odumbe. However on a raging bunsen Border could bowl his left arm spin, so even on that surface I do not see the Bs being unduly challenged: Bs 5, Os 0.

THE Bs V THE Ps

The Bs have the advantage in batting, also less so than usual – G Pollock at no 4 outpoints Barrington, Pant has a clear advantage over Botham in that department, Procter is even more dominant over Bari. S Pollock is on figures ahead of Bates with the bat, but Bates’ average is worth about 40 in 21st century conditions. The Ps are slightly behind on new ball pairings, but that is compensated for by the extent to which Procter outclasses Botham as third seamer. Bates has to be rated ahead of Prasanna with the ball, but Parker is at least a match for Benaud in that department. This is a very close contest, but I think the Bs just about have enough: Bs 3 Ps 2.

THE Bs V THE Qs

The Bs dominate this one in all areas, and there is simply no way for the Qs to make a contest out of this: Bs 5, Qs 0.

Bs PROGRESS UPDATE

The Bs have scored 20 out of 25 in this set of match ups, which puts them on 55 points out of 80, 68.75%. The As for comparison were on 43.5 out of 80 points.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

## All Time XIs – The Letter B

The deciding ODI between England and India is intriguingly poised as I start this post picking the greatest XI of cricketers with surnames beginning with B (see the As). Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy is within sight of The Open Championship and five of the most unpleasant human beings anyone could conjure up are engaged in a battle to make Sauron look like one of the good guys as a way of securing the Conservative party leadership and with it the post of Prime Minister.

THE XI IN BATTING ORDER

1. Charles Bannerman – Australia. The Kent born opener scored 165 in the first ever test match innings, and even with him scoring that many his team could only tally 245 all out. He also impressed in his native land during the heavily rain affected summer of 1878, though that tour did not feature a test match.
2. Sidney George Barnes – Australia. A combination of WWII and continual skirmishes with the authorities limited his test career to 13 matches, but a batting average of 63 speaks for itself.
3. *Donald Bradman – Australia. The most prolific batter the game has ever seen, his test average of 99.94 leaves a respectable career average (around 40) between him and the best of the rest at that level.
4. Ken Barrington – Surrey and England. The Berkshire born right hander averaged 58 at test level, with a best of 256 at Old Trafford in 1964.
5. Allan Border – Essex and Australia. The nuggety left hander pretty much was Australia’s resistance batting wise for about the first 10 years of his illustrious career. In the last few years of that great career, with Australia a good side, he played some excellent attacking innings. He would be the vice-captain of this side, as an acknowledgement of his status as the best skipper Australia have had in my lifetime.
6. Ian Botham – Somerset, Worcesstershire, Durham and England. For a few years he was a genuinely great all rounder, for a few more after that he was a producer of occasionally devastating performances. England selectors of the period during and after his final decline spoiled many a promising career by trying to get decent young cricketers to fit into the Botham shaped hole opening in England’s ranks.
7. +Wasim Bari – Pakistan. Pakistan’s best ever wicket keeper, and unlike some of his successors in that post there were never any questions asked about where his real loyalties were.
8. Billy Bates – Yorkshire and England. His brief test career was ended by a freak eye injury sustained during net practice, but 656 runs at 27 and 50 wickets at 16 at that level are some testament to the off spinning all rounders capabilities. He took England’s first ever test hat trick, part of a match performance that yielded 55 in the only innings he had to play and seven wickets in each Australian innings.
9. Richie Benaud – Australia. Before becoming ‘the Bradman of TV commentators’ (yes I believe he was that far clear of the best of the rest in that role) the Aussie leg spinning all rounder became the first to achieve the test career double of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets.
10. Sydney Francis Barnes – England. Probably the most skilled bowler of any type ever to have played the game. Like his near namesake who is opening the batting for this XI he had a less than harmonious relationship with the authorities. He played little county cricket because he was paid better for being a professional for various clubs in the northern leagues. This meant that he played less than half of the test matches that England played between the start and end of his test career. Nonetheless, 189 wickets in 27 matches at 16.43 a piece is sufficient evidence of the trouble he caused even the best opponents.
11. Jasprit Bumrah – India. He burst on the scene at the end of 2018, taking a cheap six-for in that year’s Boxing Day test in Melbourne. He is now established as one the finest contemporary pace bowlers, and is still young enough that he should still be improving. He would form a seriously potent new ball combination with Barnes (sorry Beefy, in this line up you don’t get the new ball).

This team has a heavy scoring top five, a colossus of an all rounder at six, a top drawer keeper, two bowlers who can bat and two of the greatest specialist bowlers. The bowling, with Barnes and Bumrah sharing the new ball, Botham as back up pacer and two contrasting spinners in Benaud and Bates is both strong and well balanced.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

The team has no left arm orthodox spinner, and two who came very close were the Indians Bishan Singh Bedi and Palwankar Baloo. However, the only people I could have dropped to make way for one of them were Bates or Benaud, and that would have weakened the batting. Warren Bardsley (Australia), Bill Brown (Australia) and Jack Brown (Yorkshire, England) were three fine opening batters, any of whom might have been selected instead of Bannerman. Davud Boon suffered due being a regular number three – a position which for this particular letter is not open to debate! Jonny Bairstow missed out due to the extreme strength of batting available here and the fact that he has blown hot and cold (currently blazing hot) through his career. Two South Africans, Eddie Barlow and Colin Bland were very close to selection – the former missing out to Ian Botham and the latter to the general batting strength available, though he is of course designated fielding sub in the event of anyone having to leave the field. Bill Bowes was the best pace bowler to miss out and would certainly be in the tour party for this letter. West Indian speedsters Winston and Kenny Benjamin were also fine players, but no one is persuading me that they get in ahead of Barnes and Bumrah (or indeed Bowes). I also regretted not being able to accommodate Somerset and England’s Len Braund, resourceful batter, good leg spinner and brilliant slip fielder. West Indies batter Carlisle Best was ruled out for the same reason I had to rule out Keith Arthurton in the previous post – not enough substance to go with the style.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

## All Time XIs – The BS Clash

Today in ‘all time XI’ territory cricket and politics overlap as a team of players whose surnames begin with B take on a team of players whose surnames begin with S for the Johnson-Cummings trophy. Also a few extras.

# INTRODUCTION

Welcome the latest in my series of variations on an ‘all-time XI‘ cricket theme. Today’s takes its inspiration from recent developments in British politics.

# THE BRIEF

The Johnson-Cummings scandal now has more legs than a millipede, as both leading figures in it provided media appearances which managed to conflict with both the truth and each other. One government minister has already resigned in protest, and others may well follow. Today’s variation on an all-time XI theme therefore sees a team og players whose surnames begin with B pitted against a team of players whose surnames begin with S, combining to form BS, competing for the Johnson-Cummings Trophy.

# THE B XI

1. Sidney Barnes – right handed opening batter. A combination of World War II and conflicts with various authority figures limited his test career, but the few matches he did get to play yielded an average of 63.05 at that level. His most famous match was at Sydney in the second match of the 1946-7 Ashes when he and Don Bradman each scored 234, sharing a 5th wicket stand of 405.
2. Bill Brown – right handed opening batter. Had a fine record at the highest level, with a test best of 206. He was briefly before his death the oldest living test cricketer.
3. *Don Bradman – right handed batter, captain. The greatest batter the game ever saw.
4. Ken Barrington – right handed batter, occasional leg spinner. Averaged 58.67 in test cricket. His first nine test centuries were all scored away from home, his first three figure test innings in England being the 256 he made at Old Trafford in 1964 to save that match for England after Bob Simpson, given a plumb pitch on which to take on the task of ensuring at least a draw to guarantee his side retention of the Ashes managed to do so quite literally off his own bat, making 311 in just over two full days at the crease.
5. Basil Butcher – right handed batter. He averaged 43 in test cricket with a highest score at that level of 209. However, his greatest and most important test knock came at Lords in 1963, when his 133 with the West Indies otherwise doing very little with the bat in their second innings helped save the match for the visitors. A great spell of fast bowling by Wes Hall almost won it for the West Indies, but Colin Cowdrey came out to bat one handed when the ninth England wicket fell, and David Allen survived the last two balls with England needing six for victory.
6. Ian Botham – right handed batter, right arm fast medium bowler, ace slipper. The designated all rounder in this side, although in truth the 6.7 and 8 slots could be moved around without difficulty.
7. +Ben Brown – wicket keeper, right handed batter. The Sussex stumper has a first class batting average of 40 (he has never had the opportunity to play at the top level, and by now is too old for such to be a realistic prospect) and is a highly regarded keeper.
8. Billy Bates – off spinner, right handed batter. He played 15 tests in the 1880s, averaging 27 with the bat and 16 with the ball. His greatest highlight came at Melbourne in 1882-3 (as part of Ivo Bligh’s mission to regain ‘The Ashes of English Cricket’, following the defeat at The Oval in 1882 and Regunald Shirley Brooks’ mock obituary in The Sporting Times) when he took 7-28 including the firt hat trick by an English bowler at test level, scored 55 and then took 7-74 to give England an innings win.
9. Sydney Barnes – right arm fast medium bowler. The greatest there has ever been in this department, 189 wickets in just 27 test matches at 16.43 each.
10. Bishan Bedi – left arm orthodox spinner. The former Indian skipper had a splendid test record and also did well for Northamptonshire as an overseas player.
11. Jasprit Bumrah – right arm fast bowler. The best genuine quick bowler his country has ever produced (they have not been overstocked in that department down the years), a rare visiting fast bowler who managed to rattle the Aussies in their own backyard.

This team features a very strong top five, two bowling and one wicket keeping all rounder and three of the finest specialist bowlers you could wish to meet. With Bumrah and Barnes to share the new ball, Bedi and Bates to bowl spin and the ‘golden arm’ of Botham as fifth bowling option a good number of bowling bases are covered. It is true that with Barrington the best available the leg spin department is under stocked, but this side should be able to cope with that.

# THE S XI

1. Bert Sutcliffe – left handed opening batter. One of the greatest batting talents ever produced by New Zealand.
2. Herbert Sutcliffe – right handed opening batter. Statistically England’s greatest ever opener, averaging 60.73 in test cricket, including 2,741 Ashes runs at 66.8S. The two great Sutcliffes complement each other nicely, Bert the New Zealander being left handed and attack minded, Herbert the Englishmen being more inclined to dig in for the long haul (although never neglectful of scoring opportunities).
3. *Graeme Smith – left handed batter, captain. A third recognized opener just to make sure that the middle order are not exposed too early. He was a fine captain of his country, and his many batting feats included scores of 259 and 277 in successive matches against England.
4. Steve Smith – right handed batter, occasional leg spinner. His current test batting average places him second to Bradman among those who have played at least 20 games on the all-time list.
5. Garry Sobers – left handed batter, left arm bowler of every type known to cricket, ace fielder. The most complete cricketer there has ever been.
6. Ben Stokes – left handed batter, right arm fast bowler. A clash of the all round titans as he goes head to head with Botham. In this team it is his batting that will count for more, his bowling being used in short sharp bursts.
7. Greville Stevens – right handed batter, leg spinner. Averaged 29.56 with the bat and 26.84 with the ball in first class cricket.
8. Amar Singh – right arm fast medium bowler. One of the greatest pace bowlers his country ever produced, capturing his wickets at 18.56 each in first class cricket, at a time when Indian cricket was chiefly known for tall scoring. He is at no 8 here because his batting record included first class centuries.
9. Harbhajan Singh – Off spinner, occasionally useful lower order batter. His performance against the 2001 Australians when he took 32 wickets in a three match series was the highlight of his career.
10. +Herbert Strudwick – wicket keeper. Born in Mitcham in 1880 (even today, though to a large extent swallowed by the sprawl of London, Mitcham is classed as Surrey – I grew up a few miles away from there in Tooting, which is very definitely southwest London), he made his Surrey debut in 1902, beginning an association with the county that would last in various guises for over six decades. His first class career, which lasted until 1927 (and he was keeper in the 1926 Ashes) saw him take 1,237 catches and execute 258 stumpings. His 28 test matches yielded 61 catches and 12 stumpings. The batting available to this team, and Strudwick’s brilliance as a keeper between them are enough to pick a specialist with the gloves in this XI.
11. Brian Statham – right arm fast bowler. 252 test wickets at 24, his overall first class bowling average was a mere 18. He has an end named in his honour at the Old Trafford ground that he graced for so many seasons.

This team has a strong if not entirely aesthetically pleasing top four (remember, there are no style marks in cricket), the most complete player there has ever been at no 5, an x-factor all rounder at six, another genuine all rounder at seven, three bowlers and one of the greatest keepers ever to play the game. The bowling has all bases covered – there is outright pace from Statham and Stokes, fast-medium from Amar Singh, anything left handed that conditions call for courtesy of Sobers, Harbhajan Singh’s off spin and Stevens’ leg spin.

# HONOURABLE MENTIONS

For the B XI Alec Bedser missed out as IMO SF Barnes would do the same job better, I considered Palwankar Baloo for the role I gave to Bishan Bedi, and Bernard Bosanquet would have dealt with the leg spin shortage. For the S XI the biggest miss is John Snow, but I rated Statham higher. If I wished to include an extra pace option and sacrifice the leg spinner then Franklyn Stephenson could come in for Greville Stevens. Finally, there would be some who would have given a batting slot to Guyanese stayer Ramnaresh Sarwan.

# THE CONTEST FOR THE JOHNSON-CUMMINGS TROPHY

Even though the ‘B’ XI has both Bradman and SF Barnes in its ranks, and they are well backed by quite a few other greats, I do not consider this to be a one-sided contest – the S XI have a quite awesome top five, a keeper in Strudwick who will miss nothing and some awesome bowling options. I cannot predict a winner.

# A COUPLE MORE CUMMINGS STORIES

Having introduced the two teams who fill the BS brief and will compete for the ‘Cummings-Johnson Trophy’. I have a couple more bits for you. Fintan O’Toole has a piece in The Guardian comparing the arrogance of Cummings and Johnson with that of the Catholic Church in O’Toole’s native land and notes that the behaviour of the church cost it most of its influence in that country. The Tory Fibs twitter account has brought my attention the letter signed by leaders of six opposition parties (Labour being cunningly, forensically absent from the list). The letter is below:

# A MATHEMATICAL TEASER

Can you solve this little tester from brilliant.org:

Solution will appear in a later blog post.

Just before we come to the pictures I have a few more links to share:

Now it is time for my usual sign off:

## 100 Cricketers: The Second XI – The Allrounders

Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with a post tailored to International Women’s Day.

# INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers series“. I decided to change the order in which I presented what is left of my second XI (see the introductory post for how I have subdivided my selected 100) because today is International Women’s Day and following a change to my second XI focussing on the allrounders mean that two of the three cricketers to feature today are female. My most recent post in the series introduced the opening pair from this XI, and I will talk about the remaining specialist batters from it in my next post and then the bowlers, also introducing my third XI in that post. I will start with the one male cricketer to be featured today before handing over the women for the remainder of the post…

# IAN BOTHAM

He started his test career with five-fors in each of his first two matches against Australia in 1977. Against New Zealand that winter he hit his maiden test hundred, also claiming eight wickets in that match. Against Pakistan in the 1978 home series came two more hundreds, the second backed by a Lord’s ground record bowling analysis for an innings of 8-34. In the Jubilee Match against India he scored 114 not out and had match figures of 13-106 (The only others to have scored a century and had a ten-wicket haul in the same test match are Enid Bakewell for England Women, Betty Wilson for Australia Women and Imran Khan for Pakistan, although Alan Davidsons contribution in the 1960 tied test at Brisbane – 5-135, 44, 6-87 and 80 also deserves an honourable mention in this context). A disastrous spell as captain, not helped by the fact that his opposition for nine of his twelve matches in charge were the West Indies at their absolute zenith, was immediately followed a remarkable trio of matches back under the leadership of Mike Brearley. First at Headingley his 149 not out, backed up by Graham Dilley (56), Chris Old (29) and Bob Willis (who lasted over half an hour while Botham was blazing away) gave England 130 to bowl at, when they had been 92 behind with only three second wickets standing. A combination of the Bob Willis bowling for his international future and panic setting into the Australian team gave England victory by 18 runs to square the series. Then at Edgbaston, when Botham was called up as a last throw of the dice in another game that Australia looked to be winning his presence caused the self-destruct button to be pressed once again (of the five wickets he gained in that final spell at a cost of just one run only one, Ray Bright, got a really difficult delivery, while Kent, Marsh and Lillee all surrendered their wickets to ordinary deliveries, and Alderman at that stage of his career needed nothing more than a straight one to finish him). The third successive Botham special came at Old Trafford, when England were 104-5 in their second innings, 205 to the good. This innings came in three parts – the first 30 balls saw Botham accrue just three singles, then he changed gear to reach 28 of 53 balls (25 off the previous 23) before the arrival of the new ball sent him into overdrive and he plundered 90 off his last 49 balls to finish with 118 from 102 balls – the century off 86. Alan Knott and John Emburey followed up with half centuries, and Australia made a gallant effort facing a victory target of 506 but England won by 103 runs to retain the ashes.

Thereafter big performances from Botham became fewer and further between, but he remained a great wicket taker through sheer force of character, and scored the last of his 14 test hundreds at Brisbane in 1986 – setting England on their way to what would be their last Ashes win down under until the 2010-11 series. At Melbourne, when England completed their series victory a half-fit Botham took five first innings wicktes, sharing the spoils with Gladstone Small who went on to be Man of the Match.Â

He finally retired in 1993, when it became clear that the England selectors would not pick him again. Sadly for us followers of the game they had not got over him, and a succession of promising young cricketers would have their careers ruined by being dubbed “the next Botham”.Â

In the late 1990s he wrote The Botham Report, a hard hitting book which spelt out what was wrong with English cricket at the time, and what he thought needed doing to put it right. Many of his ideas have been put into practice with considerable success, as albeit with a few black spots along the way English cricket has fared rather better since the year 2000 than it did in the 1980s and 1990s.

# SARAH TAYLOR

I have said before when commenting about her in this blog that I regard her as the best wicketkeeper of either sex currently playing the game. She is also a very fine batter. Mental health issues have interfered with her career of late, but at least the way in which these are being handled by the authorities show that they are learning (far too late and after far too many tragedies) how to handle such things – everything possible is being done to help her.Â

Although she seems to have been around for a very long time she is still only 29, and so could yet have plenty of time ahead of her at the top.Â

Whatever happens she has already done enough to ensure that she will never be forgotten by those who have witnessed her in action.

# AMELIA KERR

I was astonished in the middle of the last English cricket season to see that a 17 year old, then known (if she was known at all) as a leg-spin bowler had scored a double-century in an ODI. I checked out the scorecard, managed to see and was amazed that someone that young could play that amazingly well. Her 232 not out is a record for a women’s ODI.

She currently averages 39.91 in ODIs (strike rate 108 runs per 100 balls) and takes herÂ  wickets in that form of the game at 22.17 a piece. Because the women play so little test cricket she has yet to sample that form of the game.Â

Maybe, as I have suggested about Tammy Beaumont and the current problems with the England men’s team’s top order, she could be given a call-up to the New Zealand men’s team to see what she can do in that environment.

I expect Kerr’s career, whether she stays in the women’s game or gets called up to play alongside the men to be a long and illustrious one – there will be people with questions to answer if it is not so.

# PHOTOGRAPHS

If possible I always like to include some of my photographs in my blog posts, so here we are:

## A Tale of Two Cricket Matches

An account of two recent cricket matches involving England and South Africa, first the England men’s humiliation at Trent Bridge, and then the nailbiter of a Women’s World Cup semi-final at Bristol.

# INTRODUCTION

Both of the matches of my title were cricket matches between England and South Africa. The first was the test match between the men’s teams, and the second was the women’s world cup semi-final. A couple of notes about links in this piece:

1. All cricket related links are to cricinfo, and…
2. Some links are in red – these are to video footage.

# IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES

England had won the first test match of the series handily, with Joe Root scoring 190 in his first innings as England captain and Moeen Ali being player of the match for his first inning 87 and match haul of 10-112. Among England’s male players only Ian Botham with 114 not out and 13-106 v India in 1979 has topped Ali’s all-round haul in a single game (Enid Bakewell was the first player of either sex to combine a match aggregate of 100 runs with a haul of 10 or more wickets, hence the earlier caveat).Â

Thus at Trent Bridge England should have been strong favourites. South Africa won the toss, batted first and made 335 in their first innings and England by bad batting handed South Africa a lead of 130, South Africa extended this to 473 with two days to play before sending England back in, messrs Elgar and Amla having demonstrated how to make runs on this pitch, each batting a long time. England’s second innings was quite simply shambolic, with batter after batter handing their wickets away. Four wickets down by lunch on the penultimate day it worse afterwards, with England being all out for 133 at approsimately 3PM. South Africa, having given themselves two days to dismiss England a second time had required less than two full sessions and were victors be 340 runs.Â

## ENGLAND’S MISTAKES

The first mistake England made was with the selection of the side. According to the powers that be Moeen Ali is happier as a second spinner than as either a sole spinner or as first spinner. However I find it hard to believe that even he could really consider himself no2 to Liam Dawson. Dawson is an ill thought out selection reminiscent of the dark days of the 1990s. For his county he averages in the low thirties with the bat and the high thirties with the ball, so even at that level he comes out as clearly not good enough in either department to warrant selection – the reverse of the true all-rounder. If a pitch warrants two spinners (and no Trent Bridge pitch in my lifetime ever has) the other spinner should be a genuine front-line option such as Dominic Bess (first class bowling average 19.83 per wicket – what are you waiting for selectors?). The other logical alternative would have been to bring in an extra batter (there are any number of possibilities) to strengthen this department. England’s batting in both innings smacked of panic. Other than Root whose 78 in the first innings was a gem and Cook who played well for a time in the second no England batter is entitled to be other than embarrassed by the way they played in this match. The scorecard, in all it’s gory detail, can be viewed here.

# IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES

On what should have been the final day of the men’s test match but for England’s spinelessness the women’s teams convened at Bristol for a world-cup semi-final. The final will be played at Lord’s and is already sold out. South Africa batted first and were restricted to 218-6 from their overs, Mignon Du Preez top scoring with 76 not out, and Laura Wolvaardt making 66. South Africa bowled better than they had batted, and the outcome remained in doubt right to the end. Anya Shrubsole who had earlier finished with 1-33 from her 10 overs settled things by hitting her first ball, the third-last possible ball of the match through the covers for four. Sarah Taylor’s 54 and a brilliant wicket-keeping performance highlighted by the spectacular stumping of Trisha ChettyÂ off the bowling of Natalie Sciver earned her the player of the match award. Sciver incidentally is the pioneer of a shot that in honour of her first name and the f**tballing term ‘nutmeg’ commentator Charles Dagnall has dubbed the ‘Natmeg’, one example of which she played in this match. Video highlights of this amazing match can be seen here (runs for just under five minutes), while the scorecard can be viewed here.

## THE ROLE OF EXTRAS

To set the scene for the rest of this section here are the extras (a cricket term for runs scored not off the bat) from both innings:

When South Africa batted:Â

 Extras (w 4) 4

When England batted

 Extras (b 5, w 17, nb 3) 25

A note on the designations within extras: Byes (b) stands for runs scored when there is no contact made with the ball but either the batters are able to take runs, or the ball goes to the boundary unimpeded, legbyes (lb), of which there were none in this match, are runs scored when the ball hits the pad but not the bat. Wides are deliveries that are too wide for the batter to be able to play, and no-balls are deliveries that are ruled illegal for some other infraction (bowler overstepping the crease, high full-toss etc). The 21 run difference between the two tallies shown above is of major significance given that England reached the target with just two balls to spare, and there is yet a further point.

### WIDES AND NO-BALLS – WHAT APPEARS IN PRINT DOES NOT TELL THE FULL STORY OF HOW EXPENSIVE THEY ARE

England bowled four wides in the match, South Africa 17 and three no-balls. That is a 16-run difference, but the actual costs are likely be even more different because:

• When a delivery is called wide, as well as incurring a one-run penalty an extra delivery must be bowled to replace it. Thus a wide costs the original penalty, plus possible extras (if it goes unimpeded to the boundary it costs 5, the original 1, plus four foir the boundary)Â plus any runs scored off the seventh delivery of the over, which the bowler had they been disciplined would not have had to bowl
• When a delivery is called a no-ball, the batter can still score off it, the delivery immediately following it is designated a ‘free-hit’, meaning that the batter cannot be dismissed off it, and as with a wide an extra delivery must be bowled to replace it. Thus a no-ball actually costs the original penalty, any runs hit of that delivery, the lack of a wicket-taking opportunity on the next deliveryÂ andÂ any runs of the seventh delivery of the over (which would otherwise not have needed to be bowled).Â

Therefore the discrepancy between the sides in terms of wides and no-balls is probably much greater than shown on the score-card, and this in a very close match. Sarah Taylor certainly deserved her player of the match award, but the much tighter discipline shown by England’s bowlers than their South African counterparts was also crucial to the result.

# PHOTOGRAPHS

After over 1,100 words those of you are still with me deserve some pictures, so here we are: