The column where we answer your questions April 12, 2004

Out first ball of a Test, and reaching 300 with a six

The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket

The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:

Archie MacLaren: an unwelcome first © Getty Images

Who was the first man to be out to the first ball of a Test? asked John Roberts from Sevenoaks

This has happened on 22 occasions now in Tests, but the first unfortunate opener to suffer it was England's Archie MacLaren, against Australia at Melbourne in 1894-95. MacLaren was caught off the bowling of Arthur Coningham, who was making his Test debut - and Coningham thus became the first bowler to take a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket. Later on Sunil Gavaskar was out three times to the first ball of a Test, while in 1992-93 South Africa's Jimmy Cook was caught at slip off Kapil Dev against India at Durban, to become the first man to be dismissed by the first ball of the match on his Test debut. Later, the same thing happened to the West Indian Leon Garrick. Click here for a full list.

Virender Sehwag reached 300 against Pakistan at Multan with a six - has anyone else ever done this? asked Narendra Shetty from Delhi

I'm not quite sure, because the records of this sort of thing are incomplete, but I think the answer's no. The likeliest alternative is Wally Hammond, whose 336 not out for England against New Zealand at Auckland in 1932-33 included ten sixes, but none of the books I've seen which mention the innings give details of any of the milestones - although they do say that his third hundred took him only 47 minutes. In all Hammond's triple-century came up in 288 minutes, while Don Bradman reached 300 in 336 minutes for Australia v England at Headingley in 1930: he was 309 not out at the end of the first day. Sehwag took 527 minutes to reach 300 - but only 364 balls, second only among innings where we know the number of balls received, to Matthew Hayden, who reached 300 in 362 deliveries on his way to the Test-record 380 for Australia v Zimbabwe at Perth last October.

How many of the England side which bowled the Windies out for 47 in Jamaica also played at Lord's in 2000, when they were skittled for 54? asked David Hill from Newbury

Rather surprisingly, only two England players appeared in both the match in Jamaica last month and at Lord's nearly four years ago: Michael Vaughan, who scored 4 and 41 at Lord's, was one - and the other was Matthew Hoggard, who was making his debut in that 2000 game, which was the 100th Test to be staged at Lord's. Hoggard didn't actually take a wicket - they were shared by Dominic Cork (seven), Andy Caddick and Darren Gough (six apiece). Nasser Hussain should have played in both, too, but he was injured in the first Test of 2000, and Alec Stewart stood in for him as captain at Lord's.

When Graham Thorpe scored his matchwinning hundred in Barbados, the next-highest score off the bat was 17 - has their ever been a lower second-highest score behind a Test century? asked Robert Bourne from Rochester

Thorpe's effort actually comes in third on that particular list, just ahead of Charles Bannerman, in the first Test of all, at Melbourne in 1876-77: he made 165, and the next-best was 18. But top of the list is Daryll Cullinan of South Africa - against Sri Lanka at Centurion in 1997-98 he scored 103, and the next-highest score in a total of 200 was 13. In 1978-79 Graham Yallop made 121 for Australia v England at Sydney, and the next-best was 16.

Betty Archdale: England women's first captain © The Cricketer
How long have women been playing Test matches? asked Alexandra Bennett from Crawley

The first official women's Tests were played in Australasia in 1934-35 - an England team led by Betty Archdale won two of their three matches in Australia, including the first at Brisbane, then played one in New Zealand and won that by an innings and 337 runs. Betty Snowball hit 189 in that game at Christchurch, which remains the highest score for England, and was a record for any women's Test until Sandhya Agarwal made 190 for India v England at Worcester in 1986.

Has cricket ever been played in the Olympic Games? asked Mukund Chatterjee from Mumbai

It has, but it was a long time ago. In 1900 a team called the Devon and Somerset Wanderers, representing Great Britain, beat a French team in the one and only Olympic cricket final, in Paris. Most of the runners-up were from the British Embassy in Paris, and there was only one actual Frenchman in the team (a Monsieur Roques). In a 12-a-side game, the British team scored 117 and 145 for 5 declared, and bowled the expats (and M Roques) out for 78 and 26.

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, e-mail him at The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.