Double Hundred Record for Read and Foster


The irony will not be lost on fans of county cricket that two specialist wicket keepers, each ignored by England selectors in favour of players they believed to be better batters, share a batting record that has never been equalled.

James Foster of Essex and Chris Read of Nottinghamshire each scored a double hundred in the same match – at Chelmsford in July 2007.

In a game where 400 runs a day was the norm, Foster scored 204 in Essex’s 700-9 declared (there were two other centurions in that innings) and Read responded with 240 as Notts reached 791 all out (again, two other century makers featured in the total).

A trawl of the record books and a check with the authority that is the Association of Cricket Statisticians (ACS) confirmed that this is the only match on record in which each wicket keeper has made a double century!

This was not a match in which to be a bowler – seven bowlers, including such luminaries as Graeme Swann, Danish Kaneria, Ryan Sidebottom and Andy Bichel, all went for more than 100 runs in their spell.  The game, unsurprisingly, finished as a high scoring draw.


For Nottinghamshire’s Read, 240 was his career best and his only double hundred but his opposite number already had set his career high three years earlier on the same ground. Foster made 212 against Leicestershire in 2004; in that game too, the opposition had a double centurion, Aussie Brad Hodge, and the result was another draw.




Chris Read played 15 Tests for England with a top score of 55 and an average of 18.94, roughly half his career First-Class average of 37.26 and made 26 centuries.  James Foster played seven Tests with a top score of 48 and an average of 25.11; his First-Class average was 36.69 with 23 centuries, remarkably similar to his Notts rival.

Foster and Read were acknowledged as the best keepers on the County circuit and in any other era either, or both, could have expected longer international careers but their Test batting averages were not sufficient to keep them in the England side.

They would each, surely, enjoy the fact that, for all their perceived deficiencies with the bat, they jointly hold a remarkable record and one that may never be matched.

Essex play Nottinghamshire in the first fixture of the 2024 County season at Trent Bridge this week, 5-8 April with the return fixture – back at high-scoring Chelmsford – on 9-12 September.


April 2024