100 Cricketers – The Seventh XI Opening Batters

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, looking at the opening pair from my seventh XI. Also contains some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest addition to my “100 cricketers” series. In this post the focus is on the opening batters from our seventh XI. The introductory post to the series can be found here, and the most recent post in it, in which I introduce the seventh XI, can be found here.

THE MOST SUCCESSFUL OPENING PAIR OF MODERN TIMES

My openers in this XI played as an opening pair for many years. In total they opened the batting together in 148 test match innings, putting on 6.482 runs for an average partnership of 47.31. The partnership who in terms of weight of run scoring stand alone at the top of the all-time openers list are England’s Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe who opened 38 test match innings, with their partnerships tallying 3,249 runs for an average opening stand of 87.81. For another point of comparison, where Greenidge and Haynes shared 16 century opening stands in 148 partnerships, Hobbs and Sutcliffe managed 15 in 38 innings. Hobbs also had an earlier England opening partnership with Wilfred Rhodes which averaged more than 60 runs a time. Cricinfo has an interesting article about successful opening pairs here.

GORDON GREENIDGE

Many years as an overseas player with Hampshire helped Greenidge to become the West Indies all-time leading first-class run scorer, although he did not quite make it 100 first-class hundreds (he finished with 92). In test cricket he scored 7,558 runs at 44.72. In the 1984 series in England which the West Indies won 5-0 he scored two double centuries, 223 at Manchester and 214 not out at Lord’s to take his team to a nine wicket win on the fifth day. He was noted for being particularly dangerous when limping, as then he would only be interested in boundaries. 

DESMOND HAYNES

He also had a long county career, with Middlesex in his case. His test career yielded 7,487 runs at 42.29. He was also very successful in ODIs, tallying 8,648 runs at 41.37 in that form of the game. In test matches he often adopted the anchor role, allowing the flamboyant strokemakers elsewhere in the order to play around him. This opening ppair would, as they often did in their day, set the innings up well for the middle order, and we will be seeing nos 3,4 and 5 in the next post in this series.

PHOTOGRAPHS

P1220230
First some more pictures from the 1826 Ashes book.

P1220231P1220232P1220233P1220234P1220235P1220236P1220237P1220238P1220239P1220240P1220241P1220242P1220243P1220244P1220245P1220246P1220247P1220248P1220249P1220250P1220251P1220252P1220253

P1220254
This sundial clock overlooks the Saturday Market Place
P1220255
The remaining pictures are from the Lynn restaurant where I had lunch today – my father visited and took me into town by car.

P1220256P1220257P1220258P1220259P1220260P1220261P1220262P1220263P1220264

A New Venue With Old Connections

The start of my personal coverage of the second Test Match between India and England at Visakhapatnam, with a mention of some old connections of this new venue, also a mention of Sri Lanka Women v England Women in Colombo, and a little mathematical teaser.

INTRODUCTION

Just like the first match of the India v England series at Rajkot, this match is happening at a new Test Match venue, Visakhapatnam. This is the 111th test match venue overall and the 24th such in India (more than any other country).

OLD CONNECTIONS AT A NEW VENUE

One of the two ends at this ground is called the “Dr Vizzy End”. The Dr Vizzy of that designation was the Maharajkumar of Vizianagram, captain, administrator and briefly late in his life a Test Match Special summariser. He also ran a private team for which he got both Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe to play, which led to a bit of controversy over statistics.

WISDEN VERSUS THE
ASSOCIATION OF CRICKET STATISTICIANS

When Jack Hobbs retired at the end of the 1934 season his record stood at 61,237 first class runs with 197 centuries, although in some sources you will see him credited with 61,760 runs and 199 centuries. The Vizianagram XI matches and a desire to get Hobbs to 200 centuries are the reason for this. Hobbs himself was deeply opposed to any retrospective alteration of players records, and rightly so in my opinion. In 1925 Hobbs had had a nervous period when he had 125 centuries to his credit, with W G Grace according to his official record having 126 which at that time was the record. It was against Somerset at Taunton (a frequent combination for the setting of new batting records over the years) that Hobbs equalled the old record in the first innings and then beat it in the second. However, the revisionists in the ACS camp who have revised Hobbs’ record upwards, have revised W G Grace’s downwards, from 54,896 runs and 126 centuries to 54,211 runs and 124 centuries. This makes a mockery of the events of 1925 described above and the celebrations that accompanied the Taunton match.

My own view is this: Players records should be given as they were recognised at the time, but if you are so inclined certain records of those who played long ago can be footnoted to the effect that “if current definitions of first class status had prevailed when X played their record would have read Y”. This acknowledges the problems with some of the old records without changing them.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

India having won the toss and chosen to bat are 134-2 in the current game, with Jimmy Anderson in the England side after injury. For India Gambhir and Mishra have been dropped, replaced by Rahul and Jayant Yadav (there was already one Yadav, Umesh, in their squad). Meanwhile, in Colombo the England Women have staged a remarkable recovery in the final match of their ODI series against Sri Lanka from a low water mark of 58-6 to a current position of 218-8, Natalie Sciver making 77 off 74 balls and Danielle Hazell a career best 45 off 64 balls. Laura Marsh is on 29 and Beth Langston on 6.

A TEASER TO FINISH

I have recently acquired a mathematically minded follower of this blog, and being mathematically minded myself this seems a good moment to set a problem which consist of two parts:

I am going to set out two pairs of simultaneous equations, and your task is first to select one and then to solve it (nb, both parts of this teaser have clear cut right and wrong answers):

73X + 43y = 211                                                                 685,463X + 314,537Y = 2,685,463
31x + 83y = 199                                                                  314,537X + 685,463Y = 2,314,537

I will provide the answer in my next post.

The England Women have just finished their 50 overs in Colombo at 240-9, Laura Marsh ending on 36 not out, Beth Langston being run out for 21, and number 11 Alex Hartley being at the on-striker’s end for the last ball of the innings.

Special Post: Oval and Vauxhall

A piece principally about Ashes moments at the Oval cricket ground, with an introductory mention of the history of the two stations that serve it.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series “London Station by Station”. I hope you will enjoy this post and that some of you will be encouraged to share it.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE GAS HOLDERS

I am treating these two stations together because they are at opposite ends of the Oval cricket ground. Oval was one of the original six stations of the City and South London Railway, the world’s first deep-level tube railway, which opened in 1890. Vauxhall only opened as an underground station in 1971, part of the newest section of the Victoria line, but is also a main-line railway station and would have opened in that capacity long before Oval.

Today is the Saturday of the Oval test, by tradition the last of the summer. At the moment things are not looking rosy for England, but more spectacular turnarounds have been achieved (bowled at for 15 in 1st dig and won by 155 runs a day and a half later – Hampshire v Warwickshire 1922, 523-4D in 1st dig and beaten by ten wickets two days later – Warwickshire v Lancashire 1982 to give but two examples). The Oval in it’s long and illustrious history has seen some of test cricket’s greatest moments:

1880: 1st test match on English soil – England won by five wickets, Billy Murdoch of Australia won a sovereign from ‘W G’ by topping his 152 in the first innings by a single run.

1882: the original ‘Ashes’ match – the term came from a joke obituary penned after this game by Reginald Shirley Brooks. Australia won by 7 runs, England needing a mere 85 to secure the victory were mown down by Fred Spofforth for 77.

1886: A triumph for England, with W G Grace running up 170, at the time the highest test score by an England batsman. Immediately before the fall of the first England wicket the scoreboard nicely indicated the difference in approach between Grace and his opening partner William Scotton (Notts): Batsman no 1: 134           Batsman no 2: 34

1902: Jessop’s Match – England needing 263 in the final innings were 48-5 and in the last-chance saloon with the tables being mopped when Jessop arrived at the crease. He scored 104 in 77 minutes, and so inspired the remainder of the English batsmen, that with those two cool Yorkshiremen, Hirst and Rhodes together at the death England sneaked home by one wicket.

1926: England’s first post World ward I Ashes win, secured by the batting of Sutcliffe (161) and Hobbs (100) and the bowling of young firebrand Larwood and old sage Rhodes – yes the very same Rhodes who was there at the death 24 years earlier.

1938: The biggest margin of victory in test history – England win by an innings and 579. Australia batted without opener Jack Fingleton and even more crucially no 3 Don Bradman in either innings (it was only confirmation that the latter would not be batting that induced England skipper Hammond to declare at 903-7)

1948: Donald Bradman’s farewell to test cricket – a single boundary would have guaranteed him a three figure batting average, but he failed to pick Eric Hollies’ googly, collecting a second-ball duck and finishing wit a final average of 99.94 – still almost 40 runs an innings better than the next best.

1953: England reclaim the Ashes they lost in 1934 with Denis Compton making the winning hit.

1968: A South-African born batsman scores a crucial 158, and then when it looks like England might be baulked by the weather secures a crucial breakthrough with the ball, exposing the Australian tail to the combination of Derek Underwood and a rain affected pitch. This as not sufficient to earn Basil D’Oliveira an immediate place on that winter’s tour of his native land, and the subsequent behaviour of the South African government when he is named as a replacement for Tom Cartwright (offically injured, unoffically unwilling to tour South Africa) sets off a chain of events that will leave South Africa in the sporting wilderness for almost quarter of a century.

1975: Australia 532-9D, England 191 – England in the mire … but a fighting effort all the way down the line in the second innings, Bob Woolmer leading the way with 149 sees England make 538 in the second innings and Australia have to settle for the draw (enough for them to win the series 1-0).

1985: England need only a draw to retain the Ashes, and a second-wicket stand of 351 between Graham Gooch (196) and David Gower (157) gives them a position of dominance they never relinquish, although a collapse, so typical of England in the 1980s and 90s sees that high-water mark of 371-1 turn into 464 all out. Australia’s final surrender is tame indeed, all out for 241 and 129 to lose by an innings and 94, with only Greg Ritchie’s 1st innings 64 worthy of any credit.

2005: For the second time in Oval history an innings of 158 by a South-African born batsman will be crucial to the outcome of the match, and unlike in 1968, the series. This innings would see Kevin Peter Pietersen, considered by many at the start of this match as there for a good time rather than a long time, finish the series as its leading run scorer.

2009: A brilliant combined bowling effort from Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann sees Australia all out for 160 after being 72-0 in their first innings, a debut century from Jonathan Trott knocks a few more nails into the coffin, and four more wickets for Swann in the second innings, backed by the other bowlers and by Andrew Flintoff’s last great moment in test cricket – the unassisted run out of Ricky Ponting (not accompanied by the verbal fireworks of Trent Bridge 2005 on this occasion!).

The above was all written without consulting books, but for those who wish to know more about test cricket at this iconic venue, there is a book dedicated to that subject by David Mortimer.

As usual I conclude this post with some map pics…

DSCN4600 DSCN4602