Flintoff's record, and the first professional captain
The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:
If Andrew Flintoff plays in both series against South Africa and Bangladesh, he will have played 47 Tests for England without once playing against Australia. Is this a record? asked Andrew Carr
As of now Andrew Flintoff has played 40 Tests without ever playing against Australia, which is already a record for England - the next-best (if that's the right word) is Nick Knight with 17. The overall record for the most Tests without ever playing against Australia is 58, by John R. Reid of New Zealand. Another New Zealander, Bert Sutcliffe, is second with 42 - but both of those are misleading as Australia didn't actually play New Zealand in an official Test during their careers (after the first match between the two countries in 1945-46, there wasn't another one until 1973-74). The man with the most Test appearances without ever playing against England is the West Indian Merv Dillon, with 38 caps, ahead of Nicky Boje and Craig Wishart (25). The leader for Australia is Steve Rixon, who played 13 Tests without ever taking England on.
Can you tell me who was the first England captain, and who was the first professional one? asked Gavin Pryar
Actually, they're one and the same: England's first captain in what is now recognised as the first official Test match - against Australia at Melbourne in 1876-77 - was James Lillywhite, the Sussex slow-medium bowler. Like all the other players on that privately raised tour, Lillywhite was a professional. The captain at home was always an amateur, though - it seems strange these days but at the time there was a feeling that the captain should be a "Gentleman" who wasn't paid for playing - and later tours tended to have one or two amateurs in the side, one of whom was usually the captain. And after MCC took over responsibility for England's overseas tours at the start of the 20th century the captain was invariably an amateur ... until 1953, when there wasn't really a viable alternative to the Yorkshire opener Len Hutton (who captained his country but was never his county's official skipper as they still preferred an amateur). The distinction between amateur and professional players was abolished in 1962.
Has any side won a Test after scoring fewer in the first innings of the match than the 104 India managed in winning the final Test against Australia recently? asked Amit Sharda from Bangalore
Rather surprisingly, there have been six lower totals in the very first innings of a Test that still led to victory: less surprisingly four of those were in the 19th century, when pitch preparations and batting techniques were not as advanced as they are now. Lowest of all was England's 45 against Australia at Sydney in 1886-87: they bowled the Aussies out for 119, scored 194 themselves, and then shot Australia out for 97 to scrape home by 13 runs. There were a couple of oddities about this match: the start was delayed until the afternoon while a state match on the ground between New South Wales and Victoria was finished, and then a fresh pitch was used for each innings. Next on the list is Australia's 63 at The Oval in 1882 - they went on to win by seven runs in the match that gave us the Ashes legend. Then come three England comebacks: 75 at Melbourne in 1894-95 (won by 94 runs), 76 against South Africa at Headingley in 1907 (won by 53 runs), and 92 against SA at Cape Town in 1898-99 (won by 210 runs). The only other lower total than India's 104 at Mumbai is Pakistan's 102 against New Zealand at Faisalabad in 1990-91 (won by 65 runs).
Who has made the most fifties in Tests and ODIs without making a hundred, and which bowlers took four wickets most often without ever getting a five-for? asked John Smith
Top of the nearly men in Tests, with 16 half-centuries but no hundreds, is Sunil Gavaskar's old opening partner for India, Chetan Chauhan. He's comfortably ahead of Ken Mackay, the 1950s Australian allrounder, with 13. Deryck Murray, the West Indian wicketkeeper, and the Australian opener Bruce Laird managed 11 fifties apiece without reaching three figures. In ODIs the runaway leader is Andrew Jones of New Zealand, who made 25 fifties without managing a hundred. Graham Thorpe made 21, and Kim Hughes 17. The current South African pair of Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher both have 15. For the bowlers Wayne Clark, the Australian who later coached Yorkshire, had seven four-wicket hauls in Tests without ever managing five: Dayle Hadlee and Mike Hendrick both did it five times. In ODIs Malcolm Marshall never took five wickets but took four six times - a number recently equalled by the Indian left-armer Zaheer Khan.
Has anyone ever scored a century in both innings of his debut Test match? asked Om Prasad
This remarkable feat has actually been achieved twice in Tests. The first man to do it was Lawrence Rowe, with 214 and 100 not out for West Indies v New Zealand at Kingston in 1971-72. He was followed by Pakistan's Yasir Hameed, with 170 and 105 against Bangladesh at Karachi in 2003. For a full list of batsmen who scored a century on Test debut, click here.
Who was the first Pakistani to score a century in a one-day international? asked Saad Hanif from Pakistan
The first one was by Majid Khan, who made 109 against England at Trent Bridge in 1974, taking Pakistan to victory after England had scored 244 for 4, of which David Lloyd made 116. Pakistan had played only one previous ODI, in New Zealand in 1972-73. It was nearly eight years before Pakistan's next individual one-day century, Zaheer Abbas's 108 against Australia at Sydney in 1981-82.
Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden Cricinfo. For some of these answers he was helped by Travis Basevi, the man who built Stats Guru and the Wisden Wizard. If you want to Ask Steven a question, contact him through our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.
The Wisden Cricket Quiz Book, compiled by Steven Lynch, was published on November 1 by John Wisden & Co., priced £7.99. To save £2 by ordering a copy through Cricshop, click here.