Carry the bat
The term is mainly used when the innings closes after all 10 wickets have fallen; that is, the other 10 players in the team have all been dismissed ("out"). It may also be used in situations where one or more of these players retire out or are unable to bat through injury or illness, and the remaining players are all dismissed normally. It is not used, however, in any other situation where the innings closes before all 10 wickets have fallen, such as when it is declared closed, or when the team successfully chases a set run target to win the match.
Origin of the phrase
The term "carrying one's bat" dates back to the very early days of cricket. Initially it referred to any not out batsman, but by the 20th century the term was used exclusively to refer to opening batsmen. The expression comes from a time when the team used to share bats so the outgoing batsman would leave the bat on the crease for the next batsman to use. Therefore, if an opening batsman were to survive the entire innings, he would literally be "carrying the bat" back to the pavilion.
Occurrences in international cricket
Carrying one's bat is a relatively rare occurrence in international cricket.
In more than 2,000 Test matches, a batsman has carried his bat only 49 times. The first to do so was South African Bernard Tancred in March 1889, against England at Newlands in Cape Town, hitting 26 not out (off 91 balls) as his team were bowled out for 47 in their first innings. The most recent player to achieve the feat is Indian Cheteshwar Pujara, against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo in August 2015, scoring 145 not out (off 289 balls) in his team's first innings of 312. New Zealander Glenn Turner holds the highest score with 223 not out in his team's first innings of 386 against the West Indies at Sabina Park, Kingston in February 1972, while West Indian Desmond Haynes is the only man to have carried his bat through three Test innings.
In more than 3,000 One Day Internationals, the feat has been achieved only nine times, all by different batsmen. Zimbabwean Grant Flower was the first, hitting 84 not out (off 143 balls) in his team's 205 against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 15 December 1994, while Pakistani Azhar Ali is the most recent, scoring 81 not out (off 126 balls) in his team's 199 against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on 16 June 2012. The highest score is held by England's Nick Knight, who hit 125 not out (off 145 balls) in his team's 246 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge on 1 September 1996.
In Twenty20, West Indian Chris Gayle carried his bat during his team's defeat against Sri Lanka in the ICC World Twenty20 semi-final at The Oval on 19 June 2009, hitting 63 not out (off 50 balls) in an innings of 101.
Occurrences in other first-class cricket
In first-class cricket, the record for the highest total where an opener has carried his bat is rather old, set in 1899. International opener Bobby Abel carried his bat through Surrey's innings of 811 against Somerset at The Oval. His contribution alone was 357.
Batsmen have also carried their bats twice in the same match (i.e. through both of his team's innings) but this has only occurred on 6 occasions. A further 4 batsman have carried the bat in one innings and been last out in the other. None of these instances was in a Test match, but West Indian Desmond Haynes was last out in both innings in a Test, the only such instance in first-class cricket.
- Lynch, Steven (2008-12-09). "One-day ducks, and carrying the bat". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
- Rundell, Michael (2006). Wisden Dictionary of Cricket. A & C Black Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-7136-7915-8.
- "Scorecard: South Africa vs England, 2nd Test, March 1889". CricketArchive. 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
- "Test match batting records: Carrying bat through a completed innings". Cricinfo. 2013-06-08. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
- "ODI match batting records: Carrying bat through a completed innings". Cricinfo. 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
- "Sri Lanka thrash Windies in semis". BBC Sport. 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
- Lynch, Steven (2008-09-09). "Carrying the bat, and the 11-ball over". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2009-07-19.