Former Australia spinner Leslie O'Brien "Chuck" Fleetwood-Smith holds the unwanted record for most runs conceded by a bowler in one Test innings. Playing against England in the fifth Test of Australia tour of England in 1938, the left-arm wrist-spinner conceded 298 runs in 87 overs and could only pick a solitary wicket.

Interestingly enough, it was the same match when England registered the then highest team total in Test cricket. Riding on Leonard Hutton’s triple century followed by tons from Maurice Leyland and Joe Hardstaff, the Three Lions posted 903/7d. Of those 903 runs, Fleetwood-Smith was responsible for 33 per cent of the total.

Chuck Fleetwood-Smith never played for Australia after that match.

Former India off-spinner Rajesh Chauhan follows the Australian at second place in the list for most runs conceded by a bowler in one Test innings. It was during the first Test of India tour of Sri Lanka in 1997 that the spinner conceded 276 runs in 78 overs while picking a single wicket.

History repeated itself almost 60 years after England had set the benchmark, as the second most expensive bowling spell in Test cricket came when Sri Lanka recorded 952/6d - which is now the highest team total in the longest format.

Before Fleetwood-Smith and Rajesh Chauhan, the record for runs conceded in one Test innings belonged to West Indies’ Oscar Scott. The leg-spinner from Jamaica had conceded 266 runs in 80.2 overs in the fourth Test of England’s tour of West Indies in 1930.

There are only four bowlers in the history of Test cricket who have conceded more than 250 runs in one Test innings, with the fourth being Pakistan’s Khan Mohammad. Playing against West Indies in 1958, the former leg-spinner bowled 54 overs, conceding 259 runs. In the very same match, his bowling partner Fazal Mahmood gave away 247 runs in 85.2 overs which completes the top five list for most runs conceded by a bowler in one Test innings.

Most runs conceded by a bowler in one Test innings

Player Team Opposition Year Runs Overs Wickets
Leslie O'Brien Fleetwood-Smith Australia England 1938 298 87.0 1
Rajesh Chauhan India Sri Lanka 1997 276 78.0 1
Oscar Scott West Indies England 1930 266 80.2 5
Khan Mohammad Pakistan West Indies 1958 259 54.0 2
Fazal Mahmood Pakistan West Indies 1958 247 85.2 2

Featured photo: AFP / Sena Vidanagama