The Test player with 113 different team-mates
The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:
Which Test player has played alongside the most different players during his career? asked Chris Bennett
I originally thought that it should be Steve Waugh, who played more Tests than anyone else - but I reckoned without the legendary fickleness of the England selectors. The winner, if that's the right word, is Graham Gooch, who played with 113 different players in his 118 Tests for England. Second, rather surprisingly, is Frank Woolley, with 111. Woolley played "only" 64 Tests in the first third of the 20th century, but he did go on several tours at a time when many of England's top players tended only to be available for trips to Australia, which meant that Woolley played alongside several somewhat exotic fringe selections. Wally Hammond (106) is the only other man to have played with more than 100 different players, although Len Hutton managed 98. The England selectors' capacity for chopping and changing is demonstrated by the fact that the first 15 names on this list are all English: in joint-16th spot, with 85 co-workers, are Allan Border of Australia and Pakistan's Wasim Akram. Steve Waugh is top of one list: including opposition players he has been on the field with 462 different Test cricketers (70 of them Australians), well clear of Sachin Tendulkar (397), Wasim Akram again (392) and Arjuna Ranatunga (383). Next come the England pair of Gooch (374) and Alec Stewart (373).
New Zealand batsmen have twice scored four centuries in a single Test innings. How many times in the history of Test cricket has this happened? asked Dayle Hadlee, the former New Zealand fast bowler
There have been eight instances of four batsmen making individual centuries in a Test innings, and New Zealand have indeed contributed the last two of these - against Australia at Perth in 2001-02 and against India at Mohali last October. But the overall Test record is five centuries in an innings, which has happened twice - the record was set by Australia (Colin McDonald 127, Neil Harvey 204, Keith Miller 109, Ron Archer 128, Richie Benaud 121 after reaching his hundred in 78 minutes) against West Indies at Kingston in 1954-55, and equalled by Pakistan (Saeed Anwar 101, Taufeeq Umar 104, Inzamam-ul-Haq 105 retired hurt, Yousuf Youhana 102 not out, Abdul Razzaq 110 not out) against Bangladesh at Multan in 2001-02.
What is the highest score by a batsman in his last Test innings? asked Murali Narayanan from Singapore
The highest score by a man playing his last Test innings is 258, by Seymour Nurse for West Indies against New Zealand at Christchurch in 1968-69. Nurse, who was 35, smashed 34 fours and a six in his innings. After announcing his retirement at the start of the tour he had also biffed 95 and 168 in the first of the three Tests. The only other man to sign off with a double-century in his last Test innings is Aravinda de Silva, with 206 for Sri Lanka v Bangladesh in Colombo in July 2002. Andy Sandham (325 in 1929-30) and Bill Ponsford (266 in 1934) both exceeded 200 in the first innings of their final Test, but batted again in the second innings. Among current players who, barring accidents, will play again soon, Brian Lara's last Test innings to date was 400 not out, while Rahul Dravid's was 270.
Was the recent match in which Zimbabwe were bowled out for 35 the shortest completed one-day international? asked Felix Anton from New Delhi
That game, the third of the recent series at Harare, lasted only 27.2 overs, or 164 balls - but rather surprisingly it only comes in third on this particular list, which is dominated by Sri Lanka. Their victory over Zimbabwe in Colombo in 2001-02 took only 120 balls in total - Zimbabwe were skittled for 38, then Sri Lanka knocked off the runs in 4.2 overs - while Sri Lanka's World Cup victory over Canada (36 all out) at Paarl in 2003 occupied only 140 deliveries.
What is the highest score in a women's Test match? asked Marjorie Pollard from Basingstoke
This record was recently broken, by Kiran Baluch of Pakistan, who spoke to Wisden Cricinfo about, among other things, her 242 against West Indies at Karachi in March. Click here for the full interview. There have now been six double-centuries in women's Tests, since the first one by New Zealand's Kirsty Flavell in 1996. Click here for a full list.
In their recent Test series in Sri Lanka Australia were behind on first innings in all three matches, yet won all three - has this ever happened before? asked a lot of people, mainly Aussies ...
Australia's feat in Sri Lanka does turn out to be a first for a complete series of more than two Tests (England were behind on first innings but won both Tests in South Africa in 1898-99). There have been two other series in which a team has won three of the matches after conceding a first-innings lead: in Australia in 1894-95 England were actually behind on first innings in all five Tests, but ended up winning the series 3-2; and in the 1901-02 Ashes series Australia won the last three Tests (and the series 4-1) after being behind in each of them.
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 email@example.com. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.