Johnson's rare double, and Martin's looming milestone
In the second Test against New Zealand, Mitchell Johnson picked up 10 wickets but also a pair of ducks. Has this ever happened before? asked Ben Kehoe via Facebook
As it turns out Mitchell Johnson (in Hamilton last week) was the 10th person to ally 10 or more wickets with the ball in a Test to a pair with the bat. One of them - Muttiah Muralitharan - did it twice, against Australia in Galle in 2003-04 and against New Zealand in Wellington in 2006-07. The first to achieve this unusual double was England's George Lohmann, who rather ruined the match against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in 1895-96 by taking 7 for 38 and 8 for 7 to atone for failing to contribute with the bat. The West Indian slow left-armer Alf Valentine did it on his debut, with 11 wickets and a pair against England at Old Trafford in 1950. The others to achieve the feat were Clarrie Grimmett (Australia v England at Trent Bridge in 1930), Jack Cowie (New Zealand v England at Old Trafford in 1937), Derek Underwood (England v Australia in Adelaide in 1974-75), Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (India v Australia in Melbourne in 1977-78), Waqar Younis (Pakistan v New Zealand in Faisalabad in 1990-91) and Shane Warne (Australia v Pakistan in Colombo in 2002-03).
After Chris Martin's swashbuckling 5 not out against Australia in Hamilton took him to 89 career Test runs in 56 matches, I was wondering if he is in line to break the record for most Tests taken to reach 100 runs? asked Simon Greaves from Australia
He certainly is: if Chris Martin manages to accrue those elusive 11 runs he will smash the record currently held by Australia's Glenn McGrath, who reached 100 runs in his 32nd Test, three more than Alf Valentine of West Indies. Bhagwat Chandrasekhar of India took 28 matches to reach three figures, Phil Tufnell of England and Pakistan's Danish Kaneria 27.
I'm doing the statistical research for my club (Grafton United of Auckland) as it approaches its 150th birthday. Although the total of 359 is no world record, our best second-wicket partnership may be special in that both batsmen finished with 184. Do you know of any higher partnership where both batsmen scored the same number of runs? asked Chris McQuaid from New Zealand
Well, the Test record is the fifth-wicket partnership of 405 between Sid Barnes and Don Bradman for Australia against England in Sydney in 1946-47. Both batsmen made 234 - and both were out with the score at 564. Bradman was dismissed first, and then Barnes got out deliberately: "I preferred to have my name associated with Don's in holding the joint record [for Australia v England at Sydney]," he wrote in his autobiography. "I worshipped him. He could do nothing wrong as far as I was concerned, and we both had a lot in common."
Is it true that Ricky Ponting has been run out in Tests more often than anyone else? Who holds the record in ODIs? asked Anurag Pant from Mumbai
Ricky Ponting's run-out against New Zealand in Hamilton last week was the 13th time he had been dismissed this way in Tests, which is indeed a new record. He previously shared it with two other Australians, Allan Border and Matthew Hayden. India's Rahul Dravid has so far been run out 11 times in Tests, while two West Indians - Carl Hooper and Garry Sobers - are also in double figures, with 10 each. The record for one-day internationals is held by Sri Lanka's Marvan Atapattu, who was run out 41 times - one more than the man most people might have expected to head this list... Inzamam-ul-Haq of Pakistan. Dravid is near the top here too, with 39 run-outs: he is the only man to have been run out 50 times in all forms of international cricket (Atapattu is second with 48).
I noticed that Mark Taylor was twice run out in both innings of a Test match (both times at Adelaide!) - is this unique? asked Jeremy Wynn-Jones from Australia
Mark Taylor has indeed been run out in both innings of a Test twice - against West Indies in Adelaide in 1988-89 (only his second Test), and against England, also in Adelaide, in 1990-91. But Taylor is not quite unique: the only other man to suffer two double run-outs was a long-time team-mate of his, Ian Healy - both times against West Indies, in Georgetown in 1990-91 and in Kingston in 1998-99. A further 20 batsmen have been run out in each innings of a Test on one occasion: the first was another Australian, Peter McAlister, against England in Melbourne in 1907-08, and the most recent Stephen Fleming for New Zealand against Zimbabwe in Wellington in 2000-01. Arguably the unluckiest was the West Indian fast bowler John Trim, who was run out in both innings for 0 against Australia in Melbourne in 1951-52 in what turned out to be his final Test.
Is it true that the great Don Bradman's record Test batting average was immortalised in the old Australian Board of Control's PO Box number of 9994? asked Jay Mujumdar from the United States
Well, it's half-true - Don Bradman's phenomenal Test batting average of 99.94 is indeed commemorated in a famous GPO Box number for addresses Down Under... but it's the one for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the national state broadcaster (ABC), rather than the Australian cricket board's one.