What exactly does the three-digit number on an England cricketer's shirt indicate?
Mark Watson, via Sun Online
JUDGE: The numbers were introduced by the ECB in 2001. They signify the
order in which Test cricketers have been capped, For instance, W.G.
Grace would have had No 24 on his shirt had the system been going in
his playing days. They are now above the 600 mark. Number one (based on
the alphabet) would be Yorkshire bowler Tom Armitage, who specialised
in lobbed underarm deliveries and who played in the first Test against
Australia in Melbourne in 1877. The registering is in the capable hands
of ECB scorer Malcolm Ashton, formerly of the BBCtv statistics team and
now with Channel Four.
Which county has won the County championship most times?
Terry Young, Bristol
JUDGE: Yorkshire have had 30 outright wins since the championship was
officially constituted in 1890. Surrey won the title five out of its
first six years, and set a record seven consecutive victories under the
captaincy of Stuart Surridge (1952-6) and then the majestic Peter May
What was the full all-round England Test record of lan Botham?
Jean Lawrence, Hammersmith, London
JUDGE: Botham played 102 Tests between 1977 and 1992. With the bat, he
scored 5,200 runs at an average 33 54, including 14 centuries. With the
ball, he took 383 wickets at an average 28 40, and held 120 catches. He
was also a all-round force for Somerset (1974-86) and Worcestershire
(1987-1991) before winding down his career with Durham, where
perisistent back problems forced his retirement in 1993. He also found
time and energy to play League football for Scunthorpe United and to
walk thousands of miles for his leukemia children's charity. A special
man who has put his feet where his mouth is.
Is it correct that England once played a Test match that lasted ten days?
Bill Butler, Coventry
JUDGE: Correct. This was the famous Timeless Test in South Africa in
1938-9. An aggregate of 1,981 runs were scored over a period of ten
days and they could still not get a result. The match ended in a draw,
with England hav ing to dash to get the steam ship back home. Set 696
to win, England were 42 runs short of victory and with five wickets
standing when the match was abandoned because of rain. There were 43
hours 16 minutes of actual playing time. Bill Edrich was top scorer
with 219 in a Test in which there were five other centurions.
What is the highest ever partnership between England batsmen in Test cricket?
L.A. Driscoll, Maidstone, Kent
JUDGE: A fourth wicket stand of 411 between Peter May (285 not out) and
Colin Cowdrey (154) against West Indies at Edgbaston in 1957. England
looked on the brink of defeat when Cowdrey joined captain May at the
wicket but they steered them to 583 for four declared. It was the West
Indies who were clinging on at the end of a drawn match at 72 for
seven. May's score was a record for an England captain, and West Indies
spinner Sonny Ramadhin sent down 127 overs and a record 774 balls
during the match.
Did Mike Denness score more Test centuries for England than Mike Brearley?
Victor East, Cheltenham
JUDGE: Mike Denness scored four centuries in his 28 Tests, with a
highest score of 188. Mike Brearley scored nine 50s in 39 Tests. His
top score was 91.
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