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The column where we answer your questions
February 9, 2004
The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:
VVS Laxman: a trio of triple-century partnerships
© Getty Images
VVS Laxman has figured in three stands of 300 in his Test career - is this a record? asked Vik Kapadia from India
As usual with questions about huge scores, Don Bradman leads the way here. He shared in five partnerships worth 300 or more. Clear in second place, courtesy of his big opening stand against West Indies at Centurion, is Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa with four - three of them, uniquely, with his opening partner Graeme Smith. Laxman and Javed Miandad have also shared in three. One statistic that went relatively unnoticed during the recent Australia-India series was that Steve Waugh took part in his 64th century partnership in Tests, sneaking past Allan Border's old record of 63. Sunil Gavaskar (58), Sachin Tendulkar (52) and Javed Miandad (50) have reached their half-centuries. As far as stands worth 200 or more are concerned, Tendulkar (13) is closing on the inevitable leader - Bradman, with 14. Miandad also shared in 13, Steve Waugh 11, and Ricky Ponting 10.
Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting both scored more than 900 Test runs in Australia in the 2003-04 season - has anyone else ever done this? asked Michael Neame from Australia
Ah, here's one that even Bradman didn't do! Ricky Ponting scored 965 runs and Matthew Hayden 952 in the six Tests against Zimbabwe and India. The only other person to pass 900 in a season in Australia was Wally Hammond, way back in 1928-29, when he scored 905 runs in an Ashes series of five Tests. Bradman's seasonal best was 810, against England in 1936-37 (he also scored 806 against South Africa in 1931-32), while Neil Harvey made 834 in five Tests against South Africa in 1952-53.
Who scored a century on Test debut from lowest in the batting order? asked Viswanathan Singhikulam
At Melbourne in 1901-02 Reggie Duff scored 104 for Australia v England after going in at No. 10 in the second innings, the only instance of this on debut and one of only three centuries from that low in the order by anyone. However, Duff was usually much higher in the order - he opened in the second innings of the next Test - so this is a slightly artificial record. Other than Duff, six people have made a century on Test debut after going in at No. 8: Roger Hartigan (116, Australia v England, Adelaide, 1907-08); Deepak Shodhan (110, India v Pakistan, Calcutta, 1952-53); Bruce Taylor (105, New Zealand v India, Calcutta, 1964-65); Azhar Mahmood (128 not out, Pakistan v South Africa, Rawalpindi, 1997-98); Thilan Samaraweera (103 not out, Sri Lanka v India, Colombo, 2001-02); and Scott Styris (107, New Zealand v West Indies, St George's, 2001-02).
Have there been any instances of a bowler playing every Test of a series but not taking any wickets? asked Narain Iyengar
There have been quite a few, but the man who bowled the most in a series without getting a wicket, having bowled in all the matches, is a rather surprising name: Ray Illingworth, the then England captain, who sent down 408 balls without reward in the three Tests against New Zealand in 1973. On New Zealand's next visit to England, in 1978, Bev Congdon - who coincidentally had been Illy's opposite number in that 1973 series - bowled 402 balls in the three Tests without taking a wicket. And another distinguished name, Garry Sobers, is next on this list - 396 balls but no wickets in three Tests against Pakistan in 1958-59.
Who has passed 50 most often in one-day internationals? asked Michael Spencer from Barrow-in-Furness
The clear leader here is Sachin Tendulkar, whose 102 for India against New Zealand at Hyderabad on Nov 15 last year was his 100th score of 50 or over (it became his 36th hundred, to go with 64 fifties). He has since added two more half-centuries, and is a long way ahead of Inzamam-ul-Haq, Sourav Ganguly and Aravinda de Silva, who all have 75.
Now Steve Waugh has retired, is there anyone still playing who made his Test debut in the 1980s? asked Simon Hull from Peterborough
There are still four active players who made their Test debuts late in 1989: Sachin Tendulkar and Waqar Younis (who strenuously denies that he's retired) started on opposite sides at Karachi on November 15; Chris Cairns made his debut for New Zealand against Australia at Perth on November 24; and Hashan Tillakaratne just squeaks in too, as his first Test for Sri Lanka - against Australia at Hobart - started on December 16. The following current players made their one-day international debuts in 1989, but didn't appear in Tests until the '90s: Nasser Hussain, Sanath Jayasuriya and Mushtaq Ahmed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.
Ask Steven: Also, Vijay Manjrekar's nickname, Abid Ali's no-ball, oldest double-centurions, and this decade's leading players
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Brendon McCullum's runs and leadership have rescued New Zealand cricket from its lowest ebb. By Andrew Alderson
Jon Hotten: We, as players and spectators, are finite, but cricket, utterly brilliant in its design, is not
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala