Watson's rare double, and twin nineties
Was Shane Watson's effort against England the first time someone has made a fifty and taken four wickets in the same Twenty20 international? asked Andy from Australia
Shane Watson's double of 59 and 4 for 15 for Australia against England in the recent first Twenty20 international in Adelaide was actually the second time someone had managed this particular all-round double. Against India in the World Twenty20 at Lord's, in 2009, Dwayne Bravo took 4 for 38, then scored 66 not out as West Indies romped to victory. Three other players - Sanath Jayasuriya, Ryan ten Doeschate and Yuvraj Singh - have scored a half-century and taken three wickets in a Twenty20 international.
Has anyone ever been dismissed for 99 twice in the same Test? asked Barry Lloyd from Aldershot
No one has yet suffered two such near-misses in the same Test. The closest call came in 1901-02, when the Australian left-hander Clem Hill was out for 98 and 97 in the second Ashes Test against England in Adelaide. In his previous innings in the series, in Melbourne, Hill was out for 99. There have been four other instances of a batsman being out twice in the nineties in the same Test, two of them by the great West Indian opener Gordon Greenidge (91 and 96 against Pakistan in Georgetown in 1976-77, and 91 and 97 v New Zealand in Christchurch in 1979-80). Before that England's Frank Woolley made 95 and 93 against Australia at Lord's in 1921, and more recently Mahela Jayawardene scored 92 and 96 for Sri Lanka against New Zealand in Colombo in August 2009.
I've just watched Pakistan's new captain Misbah-ul-Haq get out for 99 in a Test against New Zealand. How many other Test captains have been dismissed for 99? asked Hemant Kher from the United States
The unfortunate Misbah-ul-Haq was the tenth captain to be out for 99 in a Test - and the first since his opposing skipper in that match in Wellington, New Zealand's Daniel Vettori, who fell for 99 against Pakistan in Dunedin in 2009-10. The first Test captain to be dismissed for 99 was England's Norman Yardley - who never did make a Test hundred - against South Africa at Trent Bridge in 1947. He was followed by Ted Dexter (England v Australia in Brisbane in 1962-63), Majid Khan (Pakistan v England in Karachi in 1972-73, in a match where three people were out for 99), Mike Atherton (England v South Africa at Headingley in 1994), Saleem Malik (Pakistan v South Africa in Johannesburg in 1994-95), Stephen Fleming (New Zealand v South Africa in Bloemfontein in 2000-01), Sourav Ganguly (India v England at Trent Bridge in 2002) and Ricky Ponting (Australia v South Africa in Melbourne in 2008-09). Shaun Pollock, uniquely, was marooned on 99 not out while captain for South Africa against Sri Lanka in Centurion in 2002-03.
Is Chris Martin the slowest player ever to reach 100 Test runs? asked Simon Manning from Sudan
New Zealand's "walking wicket" Chris Martin shattered most of the previous records in this area. He finally reached 100 Test runs - to go with 199 Test wickets now - in his 87th innings in his 60th match, in the first Test against Pakistan in Hamilton earlier this month. The previous records were held by Australia's Glenn McGrath (32 matches) and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar of India (40 innings). Martin wasn't quite the longest in terms of time, though, zipping into three figures in just over ten years, which places him 14th on this particular list. Top is Younis Ahmed, who took almost 17½ years to get there - but then he had a peculiar Test career which consisted of two matches in 1969-70 (which brought him 89 runs) and two more in 1986-87 (which produced 88 more).
Has anyone scored a half-century on debut in all three forms of the international game? asked Chris Plume
No one has yet managed to reach 50 in his first Test, one-day and Twenty20 international. A few people have managed two out of three, but the nearest to a full set is by two batsmen who managed two fifties and an innings of 41: Marcus Trescothick made 66 on his Test debut (for England v West Indies at Old Trafford in 2000), 79 in his first one-day international (v Zimbabwe at The Oval in 2000), but 41 in his first Twenty20 international (v Australia at the Rose Bowl in 2005); Graeme Smith scored 68 on his Test debut (for South Africa v Australia in Cape Town in 2001-02), and 61 in his first Twenty20 international (v New Zealand in Johannesburg in 2005-06), but had just missed out in his first one-day international, with 41 against Australia in Bloemfontein in 2001-02.
Who is the youngest umpire to stand in an international match? asked Mazher Arshad via Facebook
The dates of birth of some early umpires are not recorded, but I find it hard to believe that any of them can have been younger than George Coulthard, who was only 22 when he stood in the Test between Australia and England in Melbourne in 1878-79. Coulthard was on the staff of the Melbourne Cricket Club at the time, and umpired in several of the tourists' matches on that tour. Two seasons later he made his first-class debut as a player, and, although he only appeared in six matches, the last of those was a Test - against England in Sydney in February 1882 (he batted at No. 11 and didn't bowl). He featured in the fourth Test of that series, too - this time as an umpire again. In recent years, the youngest international umpire has been Simon Taufel, who was a week short of his 28th birthday - and younger than several of the players - when he stood in his first international match, an Australia-Sri Lanka one-day international in Sydney