when 8 balls made an over

From the Daily News (Perth) 11 January 1937, this photograph of a counter to keep track of the number of balls bowled in an over of cricket.  The umpire J D Scott had been appointed to the test arena in November of the previous year. (The Advertiser 26 November 1936).  This counter is made for 8 ball overs.

Over counterJ D Scott - test umpire

Via Wikipedia, here’s a chronology on which countries played what number of balls bowled per over until it was standardised for test cricket.

Since 1979/80, all Test cricket has been played with six balls per over. However, overs in Test cricket originally had four balls per over, and there has had varying number of balls per over around the world up to 1979/80, generally the same as the number of balls per over in force in other first-class cricketin that country.

Balls per over

In England

  • 1880 to 1888: 4
  • 1889 to 1899: 5
  • 1900 to 1938: 6
  • 1939 to 1945: 8 (though not in the “Victory” Tests)
  • 1946 to date: 6

In Australia

  • 1876/77 to 1887/88: 4
  • 1891/92 to 1920/21: 6
  • 1924/25: 8
  • 1928/29 to 1932/33: 6
  • 1936/37 to 1978/79: 8
  • 1979/80 to date: 6

In South Africa

  • 1888/89: 4
  • 1891/92 to 1898/99: 5
  • 1902/03 to 1935/36: 6
  • 1938/39 to 1957/58: 8
  • 1961/62 to date: 6

In New Zealand

  • 1929/30 to 1967/68: 6
  • 1968/69 to 1978/79: 8
  • 1979/80 to date: 6

In Pakistan

  • 1954/55 to 1972/73: 6
  • 1974/75 to 1977/78: 8
  • 1978/79 to date: 6

In IndiaWest IndiesSri LankaZimbabweBangladesh and the United Arab Emirates (venue, not host) all Test matches have been played with six ball overs.

For those unfamiliar with the game of cricket (assuming you’ve read this far), here’s a ‘helpful’ explanation.  (Benalla Ensign 10 June 1954)

explain cricket

on hobby horses and bicycles

Canberra Times – 13 December 1934

from Hobby Horse to modern bicycle

.Bet they didn’t have this hobby horse in mind when they wrote that article.

Leader – 13 March 1915

Combined velocipede and hobby horse

it just won’t be cricket without Mr Cricket – farewell Michael Hussey

From the Barrier Miner (Broken Hill) – 8 March 1924, a cartoonist’s view of catching skills applied in the game of cricket.

How we catch at cricket

This is how you catch a cricket ball! Yes – a shameless fan’s homage to Mr Cricket, Michael Hussey in honour of his retirement from the game this season.  Photo acknowledgement – Live Cricket Magazine.

Michael Hussey catching ball - Live Cricket Magazine

first Indian cricket tour of Australia

At the half way point of India’s current cricket tour, I was interested to know when an Indian team first toured Australia.

The Mercury – Saturday 11 October 1947

On 30 January 1948, two days after the 4th Test ended in Adelaide, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, barely six months after Indian independence was declared.  The multi-faith team attended a combined prayer service reported by The Argus – Monday 9 February 1948.

Rose Hill Race Course – as pretty as a picture

Illustrated Sydney News – 9 May 1885

In the days before photography, illustrators told the story for those who could not be there.  This is a scene from the first day of racing at the new Rose Hill Racecourse near Parramatta.

The first Australian champion of Wimbledon

The first Australian to win the All-England Tennis Championship (aka Wimbledon) was this fellow – Norman Brookes.

Brisbane Courier – 6 July 1907


The photograph of Norman Brookes, the Victorian representative, published elsewhere was taken on the RMS Moldavia in May last, as Brookes was proceeding to England. Brookes first came into prominence as a lawn tennis player soon after leaving school, and in 1904 was recognised as a coming champion. He has frequently played for Victoria since then and has held the singles and doubles championships of Victoria on some six occasions. In 1905 he played brilliant tennis in England winning the Renshaw Cup at Wimbledon, and only being beaten for the All England Singles Championship by H L Doherty. He represented Australasia in the “Davis” Cup  competition that year, and subsequently when playing for Australasia v England beat H L Doherty. Since his arrival in England this season Brookes won the Northern Singles Championship at Manchester, only losing three games during the event. Brookes has been described as a “sturdy left-hander, and a nimble punishing volleyer, who doesn’t worry about the cut of the court or the equilibrium of his opponent”.

remembering Yabba – a Sydney Cricket Ground character

Yabba doing his day job, 1932

A rabbit seller and cricket barracker named Stephen Harold Gascoigne (image courtesy of espncricinfo) has an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. He got there on the strength of his vocal ability, his wit and his love of the game.

Sydney Morning Herald – 25 Nov 1932 (see image of text below)

Stephen Gascoigne [is] a “Rabbitoh,” and formerly a bottle oh. “I am the original one and only Yabba, famous in every part of the world”, he said. The Englishmen will make contact with “Yabba” tomorrow. Here is his philosophy: – I’ve been barracking for 45 years, and there’s no harm in it. The men who can’t stand up to it oughtn’t be in the game. It’s a free country, free comment. If we do chiak them a bit, we are always ready to applaud them, and as for the man who is going to show he doesn’t like it – well, it is going to be just too bad for him.

Chiak / chyak – to jeer at, tease, barrack.  (Australian slang) – Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary.

Bottleohs – collectors of used bottles

Rabbitohs – rabbiter, rabbit seller. Also South Sydney Rugby League Club

Photo – Sydney Morning Herald.

Yabba’s sculpture – Cathy Weiszmann.

Some of Yabba’s more famous deliveries (per Wikipedia) include

“I wish you were a statue and I were a pigeon.

“Send ‘im down a piano, see if ‘e can play that!”

“Your length’s lousy but you bowl a good width!” (To an opposition bowler)

Sydney Morning Herald – 9 January 1942

YABBA DEAD – Famous Cricket Barracker

“Yabba,” a famous cricket barracker at the Sydney Cricket Ground, died yesterday at the age of 64 years.  From ‘the hill’ at the Cricket Ground, “Yabba,” who had an excellent knowledge of the game, frequently brightened the proceedings by his sallies and shrewd comments on the play. His stentorian remarks were never hurtful, and even his victims smiled at his witticisms.  “Yabba” was christened Stephen Harold Gascoigne. He was a Boer War veteran.


HT to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable again :  Stentor – The voice of a Stentor – a very loud voice.  Stentor was a Greek herald in the Trojan war.  According to HOME (Iliad, V, 783), his voice was as loud as that of 50 men combined; hence stentorian, loud-voiced.