Duck (cricket)

Cricket term

In cricket, a duck is a batsman’s dismissal with a score of zero. A batsman being dismissed off their first delivery faced is known as a golden duck.[1]


The term is a shortening of the term “duck’s egg”, the latter being used long before Test cricket began. When referring to the Prince of Wales’ (the future Edward VII) score of nought on 17 July 1866, a contemporary newspaper wrote that the Prince “retired to the royal pavilion on a ‘duck’s egg’ “.[2] The name is believed to come from the shape of the number “0” being similar to that of a duck‘s egg, as in the case of the American slang term “goose-egg” popular in baseball and the tennis term “love”, derived – according to one theory – from French l’œuf (“the egg”). The Concise Oxford Dictionary still cites “duck’s egg” as an alternative version of the term.[3]

Significant ducks[edit]

The first duck in a Test match was made in the first Test, between Australia and England at Melbourne in March 1877, when Ned Gregory was caught by Andrew Greenwood off the bowling of James Lillywhite.[4]
As of 2017, the record for the most ducks in Test cricket is held by West Indies player Courtney Walsh, who was out for nought on 43 occasions,[5]
while the overall first-class record is 156, set by Worcestershire and England player Reg Perks.[6]

One particularly high-profile example of a duck came in 1948, when Don Bradman was playing his final Test match for Australia, against England at The Oval. In Australia’s first innings, Bradman was bowled for a duck by Eric Hollies, causing his Test average to fall from 101.39 to 99.94; had he scored just four runs, his average would have been 100. As things turned out, Australia won the match by an innings, and so Bradman did not get to bat a second time (had he batted, he would have needed at least 104 runs if dismissed or at least four runs if not out to get his average back to 100).[7]

In the first Test of Australia’s tour of India in 1986, with the cumulative scores tied, Indian tailender Maninder Singh was trapped LBW by Greg Matthews for a four ball duck, ensuring just the second tied Test in Test Cricket history.

Indian all-rounder Ajit Agarkar earned the unfortunate nickname “Bombay Duck” after being dismissed for ducks five consecutive times in test matches against Australia.[8]

In a 1913 match against Glastonbury, Huish and Langport’s batsmen all scored ducks for a total of zero runs.[9] A similar occurrence in indoor cricket happened in 2016, when Bapchild Cricket Club were dismissed for zero against Christ Church University.[10]

Most ducks by a batsman in their career[11]
Rank Player (Country) Career Mat Inns 0
1 Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) 1992–2011 495 328 59
2 Courtney Walsh (West Indies) 1984–2001 337 264 54
3 Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) 1989–2011 586 651 53
4 Glenn McGrath (Australia) 1993–2007 376 207 49
5 Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) 1997–2015 652 725 47
6 Daniel Vettori (New Zealand) 1997–2015 442 383 46
7 Wasim Akram (Pakistan) 1984–2003 460 427 45
8 Zaheer Khan (India) 2000–2014 309 232 44
Shane Warne (Australia) 1992–2007 339 306 44
Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) 1996–2018 524 508 44


There are several variations used to describe specific types of duck. The usage or prevalence of many of these terms vary regionally, with one term having different meanings in different parts of the world. Even within commentary from ESPN Cricinfo or individual cricket board websites, there is no uniform application of some of these terms.

  • A batsman who is dismissed by the first ball they face is said to have been dismissed for a golden duck. This term is applied uniformly throughout the cricket world.[12]
  • A batsman who is dismissed by the first ball of an innings is said to have been dismissed for a royal or platinum duck.[13]
  • A batsman who is dismissed without facing a ball (most usually run out from the non-striker’s end, but alternatively stumped or run out off a wide delivery) is said to be out for a diamond duck,[14][15][16] but in some regions that term has an alternative definition. If the batsman is one of the openers, that is said to be a titanium duck. If the batsman is timed out without making it to the crease, that is known as a diamond duck or a platinum duck.


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To be dismissed for nought in both innings of the same two-innings match is to be dismissed for a pair,[17]
because the two noughts together are thought to resemble a pair of spectacles; the longer form is occasionally used.[18] To be dismissed first ball in both innings (i.e., two golden ducks) is to suffer the indignity of making a king pair.[12]

Related expressions[edit]

Two consecutive pairs, or, more generally, four consecutive ducks, are referred to as an Audi. The expression alludes to the German car manufacturer, the logo of which is four linked rings. A player who has been dismissed for three consecutive ducks and not yet scored in a further consecutive innings is said to be “on an Audi”.[19][20][21]

In 1992, Australian batter Mark Waugh scored successive Test pairs against Sri Lanka, and was given the temporary nickname “Audi”.[20] In 2023, Australian wicket-keeper-batter Alyssa Healy almost completed a Test Audi when she feathered a ball from Kate Cross towards Amy Jones during a Women’s Ashes match at Trent Bridge, but Jones did not take the proffered catch, and Healy went on to score an even 50.[22]

A player who has completed an Audi and is yet to score in yet another consecutive innings is said to be “on an Olympic”, an expression alluding to the five interlocking “Olympic rings”.[19][20][21] In Test cricket, three players have completed an Olympic: Bob Holland (1985), Ajit Agarkar (1999–2000) and Mohammad Asif (2006).[23]

See also[edit]


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  1. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a,.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F} .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){ .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}“The origins of cricket jargon”. BBC. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  2. ^ LONDON from THE DAILY TIMES CORRESPONDENT, 25 July 1866 can be viewed at Paper’s past
  3. ^ “duck”. Archived from the original on 23 September 2004. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  4. ^ “Australia v England in 1876/77”. CricketArchive. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  5. ^ “Records | Test matches | Batting records | Most ducks in career |”. Cricinfo. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  6. ^ “Most Ducks in First-Class Cricket”. CricketArchive. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  7. ^
    “Don Bradman”. CricketArchive. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  8. ^ Frindall, Bill (2009). Ask Bearders. BBC Books. pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-1-84607-880-4.
  9. ^ Morris, Steven (7 September 2011). “Ducks all round: the cricket team that was all out for nought”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  10. ^ “Cricket team bowled out for zero in Kent indoor game”. BBC Sport. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  11. ^ “Records | Combined Test, ODI and T20I records | Batting records | Most ducks in career |”. Cricinfo. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
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    “The origins of cricket jargon”. BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  14. ^ Victorian Cricket Association Umpires and Scorers Association Association Newsletter, Vol. 15 No. 5, 2008–2009 season, p11
  15. ^ “ Twenty20 Match Commentary”. Archived from the original on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  16. ^ “Diamond duck places Katich in select Ashes club”. The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 December 2010.
  17. ^
    “Middlesex facing innings defeat at Lord’s”. Middlesex County Cricket Club. 22 June 2006. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  18. ^
    Blofeld, Henry (18 August 2003). “CRICKET: Smith has the class and character to revive England”. The Independent. Archived from the original on 8 September 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2013 – via Find Articles. Conversely, Graham Gooch made a pair of spectacles in his first Test, against Australia.
  19. ^ a b Fleming, Stephen (30 May 2001). “The sort of Audi that nobody wants”. ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  20. ^ a b c Lynch, Steven (28 May 2012). “Which end of the bat do I hold? Batsmen who went through spells of wretched form”. ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  21. ^ a b Martin, Ali (16 January 2021). “Joe Root’s inspired 228 keeps England in command before rally from Sri Lanka”. The Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  22. ^ Lemon, Geoff (26 June 2023). “Alyssa Healy plays pivotal role to steer Australia back on path to victory”. The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  23. ^ “5 Batsmen with most consecutive ducks in Test cricket”. Retrieved 20 November 2021.


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