Pairs in Test and first-class cricket

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A pair in cricket refers to when a batsman is dismissed for a duck (without scoring) in both innings. It is called a 'king pair' if the batsman gets out for a golden duck [getting out on the first ball he faced] in both innings.

The name originates from the two noughts together being thought to resemble a pair of spectacles; the longer form is occasionally used.[1]

Most pairs in a Test career[edit]

New Zealand fast bowler Chris Martin has been dismissed without scoring in both innings during seven Test matches, three more than any other player. Five players have been dismissed for four pairs of ducks in Tests. Four are bowlers with no great pretensions towards batsmanship – Bhagwat Chandrasekhar of India, Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka and West Indians Mervyn Dillon and Courtney Walsh – but the fifth is top order batsman Marvan Atapattu of Sri Lanka. He started his Test career with just one run in six innings – including two pairs – and has bagged two more since. The 14 men who have collected three pairs include Glenn McGrath, Curtly Ambrose and Andrew Flintoff.[2]

Pairs on Test debut[edit]

As of 14 May 2018, 44 batsmen have been dismissed for a pair on their debut in Test cricket:[3]

Consecutive pairs[edit]

These unfortunate batsmen all bagged pairs in two Tests in a row.[4]

In recognition of his consecutive Test pairs, Mark Waugh, who had scored a century on his Test debut, was temporarily nicknamed "Audi", after the car-maker with the four-circle logo. His team mates pointed out that if he had scored five Test ducks in a row, he could have been nicknamed "Olympic".[5]

Ajit Agarkar and Bob Holland actually were each dismissed for five consecutive Test ducks, a record they share with Mohammad Asif for Pakistan in 2005/2006.

Pairs by Test captains[edit]

19 captains have been dismissed for a pair.[6]

Ian Botham's pair came in his last Test as captain while Mark Taylor, Rashid Latif and Habibul Bashar recorded a pair in their first games as captain.

King pairs in Test cricket[edit]

If a batsman is out first ball he has made a golden duck and if a batsman is dismissed first ball in both innings he has achieved a king pair. This worst of all batting fates has befallen 19 players in the history of Test cricket so far.[7]

Notable pairs in first-class cricket[edit]

King Pairs have been 'bagged' by many players in first-class cricket. Mick Norman of Northamptonshire bagged a king pair in a single day against Glamorgan at St. Helen's in Swansea in June 1964.

When Glamorgan followed on against the Indians at Cardiff Arms Park in June 1946, last man Peter Judge was bowled for a duck by Chandra Sarwate to end the county's first innings. Invited to follow-on, Glamorgan's captain Johnny Clay, who was the non-striker, decided to waive the 10-minute interval between innings, remained in the middle with Judge, and reversed the entire batting order. Sarwate then bowled Judge again, second ball, incidentally with the same ball, and Judge thus achieved the fastest pair in the history of first-class cricket.[8][9] Zimbabwe opening bat Hamilton Masakadza completed an unusual pair when he was dismissed for a Test duck twice on the same day, 28 January 2012, when his team's two innings were completed within a day.[10] Another notable pair was made by Neil Harvey on 27 July 1956. Playing in the test where Jim Laker took 19 for 90, Harvey completed a pair within about 2 hours on the second day.

Unofficial pairs in Twenty20 cricket[edit]

In limited overs games decided by a Super Over, it is possible for a batsman to be dismissed for a duck in both the regular innings and the super over. Since runs made in super overs are not counted towards a player's statistical record, this is sometimes referred to an "unofficial pair".[11] On 25 July 2013, Shoaib Malik scored an unofficial golden pair for Pakistan International Airlines against Habib Bank Limited,[12] while on 10 January 2014, Moisés Henriques scored an unofficial pair playing for the Sydney Sixers against the Perth Scorchers.[11]


  1. ^ Blofeld, Henry (18 August 2003). "CRICKET: Smith has the class and character to revive England". The Independent. FindArticles. Archived from the original on 8 September 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2013. Conversely, Graham Gooch made a pair of spectacles in his first Test, against Australia. 
  2. ^ Records – Test matches – Most pairs in career, Cricinfo, Retrieved on 8 December 2016
  3. ^ Records – Test matches – Pair on debut, Cricinfo, Retrieved on 8 December 2016
  4. ^ Players Scoring Ducks in 3 or More Consecutive Innings, Howstat, Retrieved on 20 February 2009
  5. ^ Lynch, Steven (28 May 2012). "Which end of the bat do I hold?: Batsmen who went through spells of wretched form". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 21 December 2017. 
  6. ^ Records – Test matches – Pairs by captain, Cricinfo, Retrieved on 20 February 2009
  7. ^ "HowSTAT! Test Cricket - King Pairs". Retrieved 2017-03-28. 
  8. ^ The coach who caught Sachin, and a much-travelled man, Cricinfo, Retrieved on 20 February 2009
  9. ^ John Arlott: Basingstoke Boy 1992 Fontana
  10. ^ "Only Test: New Zealand v Zimbabwe at Napier, Jan 26–28, 2012 | Cricket Scorecard". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  11. ^ a b Malcolm, Alex. "Arafat holds his nerve in One-Over Eliminator". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Super Over gives HBL PCB Ramazan T20 Cup