A format that demands persistence of the highest order, Test cricket has proved to be a bondage for bowlers at times when respective batsmen were on song. Beating the bat at times, witnessing the lemon cut and relentlessly bending the back with marathon spells only to head towards the pavilion wicket-less.
At times, the strip doesn’t offer variable bounce while on occasions, the batter puts a heavy price on his wicket. Test cricket has celebrated some phenomenal scenes where the ball did all the talking; wrecking the timber and putting the opposition off the comfort zone but it hasn’t always been so hunky-dory.
Today, we chart out five instances that proved to be a nightmare for bowlers. Instances that doesn’t come along very often but begs to vanish, leaving a memory that will go down to the grey pages of the history
Here we look at five bowlers who have conceded the most number of runs in a Test innings without picking up a wicket:
5. Raymond Price (Zimbabwe) 0/187 v Australia
A fine left-arm spinner, Raymond William Price had his days in a comparatively short Test career that spanned over 14 years but reads just 22 Test matches. A shrewd customer, who could easily tangle the batsman with his flight and guile, Price faced a daunting task against the Australians and Matthew Hayden in particular during the year 2003 at Perth.
Australia piled up 735/6 in the first innings with Hayden scoring a record best 380. In his quota of 36 overs, Price conceded 187 runs at an economy of 5.19 without picking a single wicket. The hosts hovered around the spineless turn with all force, finding the gaps at will and switching gears as per requirement.
Price didn’t get to bowl in the second innings, as Australia clinched up a massive innings victory and went on to win the series without much of a hiccup.
4. Erapalli Prasanna (India) 0/187 v England
189 wickets from 49 Test matches, EAS Prasanna was one of India’s top notch spinner during the 60s and 70s. A kind of bowler who made the batsman think, Prasanna could read the mind of the batsman and commit him to his plan.
But talking about the horrific outings, one of Prasanna’s forgettable game came against DB Close’s England side in the year 1967. England put up a strong performance in the first innings of the first Test at Leeds, with Geoffrey Boycott scoring a double ton. India were left wanting with Prasanna bowling 59 overs without causing a single breakthrough.
The off-break bowler gave away 187 runs as England posted 550 on the board.
He did pick a wicket in the second innings but that turned out to be too little too late, with England cruising past the visitors by 6 wickets. India went on to face a whitewash as England wrapped up all three Test matches convincingly.
3. Raymond Price (Zimbabwe) 0/192 v South Africa
The year was 2001, Shaun Pollock-led South African side visited Zimbabwe for a 3-Test series. The Proteas were right on the money, piling up 600 runs in the first innings. Relatively new to the scenario, the onus was on Raymond Price to bail the hosts out of trouble, but a double century from Gary Kristen and centuries from Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs blocked Price’s road-ins.
The spinner bowled 42 overs only to return with figures of 0/192. His pitched up deliveries found the middle of the willow while his flight failed to deceive the opposition batsman. He gave away 18 boundaries and 9 sixes. Zimbabwe were floored by 9 wickets and Price went wicket-less throughout the course of play.
Price failed to break the jinx in the second innings; he bowled just 3 overs giving away 19 runs. South Africa won the series 1-0, with the second Test match resulting in a draw.
2. Nicky Boje (South Africa) 0/221 v Sri Lanka
Bloemfontein-born left-arm orthodox bowler Nicky Boje was a regular member of the South African unit in early 2000. Boje was found at the receiving end during South Africa’s 1st Test against Sri Lanka in the year 2006.
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara forged a record partnership with the former scoring a career-best 374 and Sangakkara notching up a double ton. Nine bowlers were introduced from South Africa’s end, and all of them were taken to the cleaners by the duo.
Boje was off-color in particular, having bowled 65 overs without picking a single wicket. The spinner who has 100 Test wickets to his name, gave away 221 runs as Sri Lanka made a merry of the visitors. Sri Lanka won the match by an innings and 153 runs and this turned out to be one of the most forgettable games for the African brigade on the sub-continental soil.
1. Khan Mohammad (Pakistan) 0/259 v West Indies
This particular Test match will be remembered for Garry Sobers’ historic 365 but Pakistan’s Khan Mohammad holds a dubious distinction too, courtesy a marathon spell that saw Mohammad toiling for 54 overs resulting in figures of 0/259.
His partner Fazal Mahmood ( 2/247) also struggled to beat the bat but Mohammad’s name tops the list out of all. Pakistan failed to overhaul West Indies’ total of 790 and ended up handing an innings defeat that saw coming after a fairytale display of batting by the West Indian batsmen.
West Indian opener CC Hunte also scored 260 but Sober’s heroics overshadowed the latter’s innings. Mohammad, who made his debut against India in the year 1952, represented Pakistan in 13 Test matches, picking up 54 wickets at an average of 23.92.