21 Consecutive Maiden Overs by a Bowler in Test Cricket


Bapu Nadkarni once bowled 21.5 overs without conceding a run!

Bapu Nadkarni © Getty Images
Bapu Nadkarni © Getty Images

On January 12, 1964, Ken Barrington and Brian Bolus forced spectators to sleep as Nadkarni bowled 131 consecutive balls without conceding a single run. 

Nadkarni will stand shoulder to shoulder with the greatest cricketers because of this achievement. Bapu Nadkarni’s career economy rate of 1.67 is 2nd only to Trevor Goddard among bowlers who have captured 30+ wickets in Test cricket.


England tour of India, 1st Test: India v England at Chennai, Jan 10-15, 1964

The start of the Test was entertaining enough. India piled up 457 in the first innings, with the help of wicketkeeper Budhi Kunderan, who finished with a career-best 192 after opening the innings. Vijay Manjrekar scored a hundred as well.

The English side was already suffering from the problems associated with an Indian tour. Stewart was indisposed with upset stomach and high fever. Before English team started their innings, Jim Parks joined him on the sick list. By the end of the 2nd day, the visitors score was 63/2, Ranjane and Borde picking up the wickets.

By the time england left for the ground on the morning of the 3rd day, January 12, 1965, Titmus and Barry Knight were also feeling unwell. Parks and Stewart had stayed in their beds at the hotel, with a car stationed to get the latter to the ground in desperate situation.

So, when the pitch started to take turn, the Englishmen decided that they would stonewall their way to guard the sick and ailing. Only night-watchman Don Wilson showed some entertainment, perhaps because he did not fancy his chances of batting through out the day. It was mainly due to his 42 off 71 balls that the 1st session produced 86 runs. But, when at 116 Wilson was dismissed, Ken Barrington joined Brian Bolus, a partnership which would stop the time, freeze the scoreboard and cast a pall of eternal ennui around the stadium.

The session after lunch saw the introduction of Nadkarni, rolling his arm over again and again. The first run after lunch came in the 12th over. By the end of the first hour, most of the fans were sleeping, fielders were too trying to sleep. Just 2 Bowlers were coming in again and again.

Nadkarni bowled to a slip a short leg, with 4 men saving single on the off-side and 3 on the lef-side. He went into Tea with figures of 19-18-1-0. 27 runs had been scored in the 2nd session. 4 of them had been extras.

In the final one and half hours of the day, the scoring rate accelerated drastically. As many as 59 runs came at a rate that was rollicking in contrast. However, Nadkarni was brought back, and cricketing world went back into lull, undisturbed slumber. Barrington finally scored a single off him, after 131 balls had been bowled by the left-arm spinner without a run being scored.

England was bowled out after 190.4 overs on 317 in 1st Innings, India declared the 2nd innings on 152/9. Setting a target of 293 runs for England. England scored 241/5 in reply after the match was called off.

It was a world record, breaking Hazell’s record of 17 consecutive maiden overs. The other champion cricketing miser, Tayfield, had more consecutive dot balls to his credit; but his 137 scoreless deliveries against English Team in 1956-57 had been bowled in 8-ball overs.


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