# Ben Stokes and the three dimensions

Not long ago, the BCCI was trying to justify the selection of at least one relatively undistinguished player for the World Cup on the grounds that he was a “3-dimensional player”.

It is true that being a good fielder is an asset to any player (whether they are batsmen or bowlers or both). Fielding, unlike batting and bowling, does not lend itself ready to numerical measures. One can count the catches taken by a fielder, but it is not so easy to evaluate the runs saved in the field or even the pressure put on the opposing batsmen by a good outfielder.

The case of a three-dimensional performance in a Test win comes up with Ben Stokes at the second SA v Eng Test at Cape Town, which was won by England by a large margin.

Stokes contributed 47, 0-34, 5c, 72, 3-35 and 1c in England’s 189-run victory:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19430/scorecard/1185305/south-africa-vs-england-2nd-test-icc-world-test-championship-2019-2021

That is 119 runs, 3 wickets and 6 catches.

We first look at the catching records for non-keepers

5 or more catches in an innings:

The record of 5 catches in an innings is shared by 13 players, Stokes being the latest. Many of these performances have come in recent years.

6 or more catches in a match:

The record is 8 by AM Rahane. de Villiers took 8 catches as a keeper when the regular keeper de Kock was injured at the beginning of the match. A total of 43 players (or 42 if you remove de Villiers) have made 6 or more catches as a non-keeper in a match.

AM Rahane and KL Rahul are the only current players with 7 or more catches in a match.

Some other current players (notably SPD Smith) have taken 6 catches in a match.

Coming back to Ben Stokes, we can round off and say that he scored 100, took 3 wickets and made 6 catches.

Who else has done this in Tests?

100 runs, 3 wickets and 6 catches in Tests:

Only two other players. Stokes is in good company here.

Suppose we consider only two “dimensions”. Who else has Stokes emulated?

100 runs and 3 wickets:

This has happened on 338 occasions, with several players doing this on multiple occasions. Stokes himself has done so on 6 occasions.

Sobers did this on 16 occasions, followed by Kallis with 13, Botham (10) and Shakib Al Hasan (9). Ashwin and Stokes (6 apiece) are the only current players.

So that is not a particularly rare achievement.

Now we try

3 wickets and 6 catches:

Only 5 times. Apart from Woolley, Kallis and Stokes there are Vogler and Jack Gregory from long ago.

Another permutation is

100 runs and 6 catches:

This has been done only on 10 occasions, including twice by SPD Smith. Also note that Hayden is the only one to make a century AND take 7 catches. Kallis is the only one with a double century AND 6 catches.

So Stokes has achieved a rare all-round feat of 100/3/6 which had been done only twice before, by Woolley and Kallis.

Parting shots:

Who is the only non-keeper to take 5 catches in an innings on debut?

And who is the only non-keeper to take 7 catches in a match on debut?

Finally:

Which current keeper took 5 catches in an innings and 7 in the match on debut?

# England and the curse of Cape Town

England recorded its 62nd win (out of  151) against South Africa, the 32nd out of 83 in that country and its 10th win (out of 21) at Cape Town.

Have a look at how they have fared in Cape Town (which has only one Test ground):

Of these 10 wins, 8 were before 1930. The 9th was in 1957 almost exactly 63 years ago, and the 10th was in 2020.

The 1957 win was mainly due to JH Wardle’s 12 wickets.  In 2020, it was Ben Stokes’ 3-dimensional performance with 119 runs, 3 wickets and 6 catches:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19430/scorecard/1185305/south-africa-vs-england-2nd-test-icc-world-test-championship-2019-2021

England also gained 30 points in the WTC championship and moved into third place. Meanwhile Australia bagged all the 120 points in their series against New Zealand and continued to creep up towards India’s tally.

# Another landmark for Moeen Ali

Perhaps Moeen Ali shaving his head made some difference (apart from being mistaken for Hashim Amla at a distance). In the first Test of the current series against South Africa he became one of the relatively few (25) to score a fifty and 10 wickets in the same match (Sir Richard Hadlee did so 3 times, while a false knight of the present also appears here):

He also became part of a select group of 40 to have scored both a century and a ten-for in Tests. Only IT Botham, Imran Khan and Shakib Al Hasan achieved this in the same Test.

In the third Test, he finished the match with a hat-trick. This was the 43rd hat-trick in Tests and he became the 39th player to achieve this. H Trumble, TJ Matthews, Wasim Akram and SCB Broad took two hat-tricks apiece. The updated list of hat-tricks:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/136977.html

Finally, he joined a rather short list of 7 players who have scored a century and taken a hat-trick in Tests. Of these, Sohag Gazi is the only one to do so in the same Test-though he vanished from the international scene quite rapidly.

1. J Briggs
2. Wasim Akram
3. Harbhajan Singh
4. IK Pathan