Test centuries against all nations, and plain sailing
The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:
Steve Waugh was the second person to achieve this feat, after Gary Kirsten of South Africa. Then Sachin Tendulkar joined this very exclusive club last December, completing his set with his undefeated 248 against Bangladesh at Dhaka, and Rahul Dravid joined them in the very next Test, with 160 against Bangladesh at Chittagong. And Sri Lanka's Marvan Atapattu became the fifth member, with 127 against New Zealand at Napier earlier this month. Seven current players are just one short of a full house: Brian Lara, who needs one against Pakistan (who West Indies play soon), Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis (both missing Sri Lanka), Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting (all lacking Bangladesh), and Inzamam-ul-Haq (South Africa). Click here for a list showing how the leading batsmen's Test centuries have been distributed.
When was the 1000th one-day international? And the 2000th? asked Ramesh Kumar from Dubai
The 1000th official one-day international took place in May 1995, when West Indies beat England by five wickets at Trent Bridge. The first 1000 had taken more than 24 years - the first one was between Australia and England at Melbourne in 1970-71 - but it took less than eight years to clock up the next thousand. The 2000th ODI was the final of the Sharjah Cup, between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, at Sharjah on April 10, 2003.
Is it true that Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 1966 soccer World Cup final, also played first-class cricket? asked Jim Lloyd from Ealing
It is true - Sir Geoff played one match for Essex in 1962, against Lancashire at Liverpool. Hurst didn't make a run - he made 0 not out and a duck - but, a noted fielder, he did take two catches as Essex won a close-fought game by 28 runs. He was rather more successful as a footballer - he scored 24 goals in 49 full internationals for England, including that famous 1966 hat-trick. He was knighted in 1998. Bobby Moore, Hurst's West Ham colleague and his captain in the World Cup triumph, was also a very useful cricketer who played for Essex's youth teams. Hurst once recalled: "The first time Bobby Moore and I played in the same side was for the Essex schools cricket team."
Peter English's interesting Australian View last week talked about the days when the Australian cricket team travelled to England by boat. Which was the last side to do this? asked Gautam Singh from Delhi
The last Australian team to arrive in England by ship for an Ashes tour was the 1961 team, which was captained by Richie Benaud. They sailed to England on the P&O liner Himalaya via Colombo, where they played a one-day match against Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was then called. For the next Ashes tour, in 1964, Bob Simpson's team flew straight to London.
What do the little numbers on the England players' shirts signify? asked Gemma Woodbridge from Worcester
This is a tradition, started a few years ago, to show where the player stands on the chronological list of England Test players. So Ian Bell, the most recent addition to the list of England Test players as I write, wears the number 625, to show that he is the 625th man to represent them in a Test match. The number appears on the shirt, below the England crest. Australia (and some other countries) do it too. For the full list of England's numbers, click here.
Regarding last week's question about the best scores on debut as captain, didn't Sunil Gavaskar also score a double-century in his first match in charge? asked Rahul Bhasin from Bangalore
Sunil Gavaskar did indeed score 205 in his first match as India's regular captain, against West Indies at Bombay in 1978-79. But he had stood in as captain once before that, against New Zealand at Auckland three years previously, when Bishan Bedi had to pull out with a leg injury. Gavaskar did score 116 in that game, too, so it's clear the captaincy agreed with him! Indeed he made five hundreds in his first six matches as skipper, a rate that even Don Bradman couldn't match - he made four in his first six games in charge (mind you he did finish up with 14 centuries in 24 Tests, and a batting average of 101.51, as captain).
Steven Lynch is the editor of Cricinfo. 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.