Euro 2020 Special

Most Runs Conceded by a Bowler in a Test Match Innings

Whilst the bowlers who have taken the most wickets in test cricket are rightly celebrated, at the other end of the spectrum are those matches when they have been on the wrong end of sustained punishment from the opposition batters.

To be included on the list of the most runs conceded by a bowler in test cricket is to be part of a company that nobody wants to be part of willingly. Almost, inevitably, spinners occupy all the top spots, because they are able to bowl long spells, even in the most unforgiving of circumstances.

Unfortunately for them, these players currently find themselves in the hall of infamy.


Leslie O’Brien “Chuck” Fleetwood Smith Australia 298 runs

Left armed Australian wrist spinner holds the dubious distinction of having conceded the most runs in a single test innings. In the fifth Test of the Ashes tour of 1938 at the Oval, he bowled 87 overs and conceded 298 runs, taking one solitary wicket for his troubles, the England captain Wally Hammond for 59. He had the misfortune to be bowling as Len Hutton scored, what was then, the highest individual test score of all time, 364, whilst the home team racked up 903/7 again another record.

With Australia losing by the small matter of an innings and 279 runs, he never had the chance to see if he could make his figures even worse by bowling to England a second time round.

Perhaps not surprisingly, he never played for his country again.


Rajesh Chauhan India 276 runs

Ironically it was the innings that saw England’s record for the highest team total in an innings go, that Indian spinner Rajesh Chuahan earned his unwelcome place in the history books.

In 1997 in the First Test between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, the tourists had made 537/8 declared in their first innings. In reply, the home team responded by making 952/6 declared, with Sanath Jayasuriya making 340, Roshan Mahanama 225, and Aravinda de Silva.

Chauhan bowled for 78 overs, of which 8 were maidens, and conceded 276 runs, taking just the one wicket, Jayasuriya at the end of his marathon innings.

The figures of fellow spinner Anil Kumble were almost as bad. He bowled for 72 overs, and his one wicket came at a cost of 223 runs.

Sri Lanka eventually declared on 952/6, a record that stands to this day.

Proving that anybody can have a bad day at the office (or two) Kumble is still the 4th highest wicket taker in test cricket of all time, and the most successful Indian bowler in that format.


Tommy Scott the West Indies 266 runs

Before Fleetwood Smith came along, West Indian leg spinner Oscar Scott held the record.

Playing against England in 1930 during the Fourth Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica, he conceded 266 runs in just over 80 overs, as the tourists accumulated 849 all out, Andy Sandham leading the way with 325.

Scott did get some reward, though. He took five wickets and also bowled 13 maidens.

He was not finished there, though. The second time round he bowled 25 more overs, taking 4 for 108 in the process. That gave him total match figures of 9 – 374. That remains the record for the most runs conceded by a bowler in a test match.


Khan Mohammad Pakistan 259 runs

Although the preceding three can point to the fact that their economy rate was still not excessive, the same cannot be said of Pakistan leg sinner Khan Mohammad against the West Indies also in Kingston during the Third Test between the countries.

As Gary Sobers hit a then record 365 not out, and shared a stand of 446 with Conrad Hunte for the second wicket, Mohammad’s 54 overs cost his side 259 runs. That was almost five over, and he went wicketless into the bargain.

His spin partner Fazal Mahmood conceded 247 runs, earning him fifth place on this list. However, at least in mitigation he could point to the fact that he bowled 31 overs more than Mohammad, and emerged with two wickets to his name.

That was the last time Mohammad played test cricket for his country, not a way he would have wanted to end his international career,




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