An economical bowler is every captain's dream. As a bowler, it's all about maintaining pressure at the highest level of cricket and one can do that by stringing in a high percentage of dot balls. These dot balls frustrate the batters no end and in an effort to put the bowler off his rhythm, he ends up making mistakes.
Test cricket is a game of time, wickets, and patience. When the going gets tough, the batters need to exhibit loads of patience to score big runs. But during this battle of attrition, the bowlers themselves stick to "boring" lines and play on the minds of the batters to prise out a wicket.
Below, we look at 5 bowlers who have bowled the most number of maidens in a test innings.
#5 Vinoo Mankad 47 maidens: India vs England, November 1951
The legendary Vinoo Mankad bowled 47 maidens in the 76 overs he sent down in a test match against England in Delhi. Mankad picked up 4 wickets in that innings.
Mankad, one of three left-arm spinners to feature in this list, is considered a legend in Indian cricket and one of the greatest all-rounders India has seen. Mankad made his test debut at Lord's in 1946 and went on to play 44 test matches for India. He picked 162 wickets and scored 2109 runs in his career spanning 13 years.
One of the memorable moments involving Mankad, came against the Kiwis at Madras when he and Pankaj Roy put on a world record opening partnership of 413 runs. Mankad went on to score his career-best 231 in that innings.
#4 William Attewell 47 maidens: England vs Australia, Feb 1885
William Attewell bowled 71 overs in a timeless test match against the Aussies and picked up 4 wickets. He had the tendency to bowl wide of the off stump with a packed off-side field. This was known as the "off theory" and was meant to frustrate the batters into submission. He was quite a stalwart in English cricket and was known for his disciplined bowling and obdurate batting.
In a test match against Australia in 1885, Attewell bowled an astonishing 47 maidens! William Attewell represented England for 10 test matches and played 429 first class games for his county Nottinghamshire. He picked up a whopping 1951 first class wickets and took to umpiring after he retired from the game.
#3 Alf Valentine 49 maidens & 47 maidens: WI vs England, July 1950 & WI vs England, June 1950
Alf Valentine, the left-arm spinner, appears twice in the list with 49 and 47 maidens against England in the same series in 1950. Alf Valentine also holds the record of the most number of maidens in a test match with 75 maiden overs (28 in the first innings and 47 in the second). His spin partner Sonny Ramadhin also bowled 70 maidens in that game. Valentine picked up 7 wickets to strangulate the English team and hand West Indies a fine victory.
Alf Valentine was part of the first great West Indies side which consisted of stalwarts like Everton Weekes, Frank Worrell, and Clyde Walcott. Valentine played 36 games for West Indies and 125 first class games for Jamaica. The Jamaican who passed away in 2004, has 475 first class wickets and 139 test scalps to his name.
#2 Tom Garrett 55 maidens: Australia vs England, August 1886
Tom Garrett bowled 55 maidens in an innings! After Bobby Peel's achievement the previous year, Tom Garrett came very close to breaking his record in 1886. The match was played at the historic Oval in London. Garrett was relentless with his line and length and frustrated the English batters no end with his tidy spell of fast bowling.
Garrett played all his first-class cricket for New South Wales turning up for 160 games and picking up 446 wickets at a fantastic first class average of 18.72. Tom Garrett was part of the first ever test match in March 1877 that Australia won by 45 runs. He picked up two wickets in that game and scored an unbeaten 19 followed by a duck in the second essay.
#1 Bobby Peel 56 maidens: England vs Australia, January 1885
Left-arm spinner Bobby Peel holds the record for the most number of maiden overs bowled in a test innings. In the 102 overs that he bowled against arch rivals Australia, more than 50% of his overs were maidens and picked up three wickets in the process. Peel bowled as many as 56 maidens; a number that is more than one innings of an ODI game! England went on to win the timeless test match by 10 wickets.
Peel was a fine all-rounder and played a whopping 436 first-class games for Yorkshire. He played 20 test matches for England as well. He had a mind-boggling tally of 1775 first class wickets to his name to go with 12,191 first class runs. A game changer for his county Yorkshire, this attacking left-hander scored runs in heaps and picked wickets in bunches whenever he donned his cricketing whites.