Welcome to the Bat and Ball Brimborion.
This is a blog about numbers (mostly).
Cricket statistics (mostly).
But they could be any numbers.
Or anything else that I may feel like rambling on about.
Whatever may interest me at the time.
And, in case you are wondering:
Brimborion – n. Something useless or nonsensical. From ‘The Superior Person’s Second Book of Words’ by Peter Bowler (not the first-class cricketer).


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Super Mario

Mario Olivier achieved the rare feat of taking all 10 wickets in a first-class innings (10-65) for Warriors v Eagles at Bloemfontein last weekend. As has been noted this was only the 3rd time this had occurred in a South African first-class match. It was the 81st occasion of all 10 wickets in an innings in all first-class cricket.

This number excludes cases of 10 wickets in first-class matches of more than 11-a-side. The concept of playing more than 11-a-side is a 19th century one. It disappeared in the 20th century although for some reason it seems to be creeping back into the game in this century (see tour matches, super-subs, etc).

So, there is a ten-for roughly once every 600 first-class matches. But, it has become much more rare in recent history, with only 11 since 1969/70 making it closer to a once-in-2000-match occurrence in that period. Ten wickets in an innings may be regarded as being the closest cricketing equivalent of baseball’s perfect game (no runners allowed on base in the whole game). The pitcher’s perfect game in baseball is extremely rare (about 1 every 11 000 games), but the no-hitter, a lesser, but still phenomenal feat happens once every 800 games. So, perhaps the ten-for is more the equivalent of a no-hitter. Statistically anyway.

13 of the 81 ten-fors have happened at London’s 2 main grounds, with The Oval leading Lord’s by 7 to 6.

Olivier managed to be on the losing side in the match. Somewhat surprisingly, as many as 20 of the 10 wickets in an innings brigade have ended up losing the match (At least, after some initial confusion, Olivier was actually given the Man of the Match award). 52 of the ten-wicket takers have been for winning teams while 9 have been in draws. Two players actually ended up losing by an innings while taking a ten-for: James Lillywhite, 10-129 for South v North at Canterbury, 1872 (http://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Scorecards/1/1775.html) and Vallance Jupp 10-127 for Northamptonshire v Kent at Tunbridge Wells, 1932 (http://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Scorecards/14/14345.html). Olivier joined Trevor Bailey as a loser by 10 wickets in match in which he took a ten-for. Bailey took 10-90 for Essex v Lancashire at Clacton-on-Sea in 1949 (http://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Scorecards/14/14345.html ).

Some interesting ten-fors:
Hedley Verity 10-10 for Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire at Leeds in 1932 is the cheapest, while Eddie Hemmings 10-175 for an International XI v West Indies XI at Kingston in 1982/83 is the most expensive. John Wisden, founder of the famous Almanack, took ten wickets in an innings all bowled for North v South at Lord’s in 1850. Albert Moss took 10-28 for Canterbury v Wellington at Christchurch on his first-class debut in 1889/90. And, Tich Freeman did it three times.

Olivier also took the first 2 wickets to fall in the Cape Cobras innings in the Warriors’ next match. Thus he took 12 consecutive wickets for his team. This kind of stat is a bit difficult to research for first-class cricket, but in Test cricket I can only find one case of a player taking 12 or more consecutive wickets for a team. No prizes for guessing Jim Laker here. During his 19-90 for England v Australia at Manchester in 1956 he actually took 17 consecutive wickets. The only other cases of 10 or more consecutive wickets that I could find in Tests were: 11 by Sydney Barnes across 2 matches for England v South Africa and Australia in 1912, 11 by Anil Kumble in his 10-for match v Pakistan at Delhi in 1998/99 and 10 by Clarrie Grimmett, another reasonable leg-spinner, for Australia in 2 matches v South Africa in 1935/36.


zscore said...

It looks like Hirwani got 10 in a row too, Ind v WI at Madras 1988.

A curious "anecdotal" 10-for: Jack Gregory once took 9 wickets in a match in South Africa, and ran out the other batsman with a direct hit. Don't know if it is true.

Andrew Samson said...

Thanks ZScore. Correct, Hirwani did get 10 in a row on his 16 wicket debut on the match you mention.

Gregory got 9-32 for Australian Imperial Forces v Natal at Durban in 1919/20. The other man was run out. So it is quite possible it is true. The scorecard is here:

Can anyone confirm that Gregory got the direct hit?

The closest I have seen to 10 wickets in an innings was a club game in Pretoria in the 1980s when Willie Morris got 9 and the other batsman out had an easy catch dropped off Morris.