Winning without taking a wicket, and Ponting's record
South Africa won a Twenty20 match against India recently without taking a wicket. Is this a first for international cricket? asked Swapnil Shah from the United States
The rain that spoiled the one-off Twenty20 international in Johannesburg last month - India were 71 for 0 in the eighth over when it rained - left South Africa victorious on the Duckworth-Lewis method. And they did become the first team to win an official international match without taking a wicket. There had been two previous cases of a team winning despite taking only one wicket, again in matches affected by the weather: in the 1992 World Cup, in Hamilton, India (203 for 7 in 32 overs) beat Zimbabwe (104 for 1 in 19.1), while in the World Twenty20 in Providence in 2010, Sri Lanka (173 for 7 in 20 overs) beat Zimbabwe (29 for 1 in five overs; they needed 44). There are five further instances of a team winning despite taking only two wickets, two of them in uninterrupted 50-overs matches: West Indies (221 for 0) beat Pakistan (220 for 2) by ten wickets in the 1992 World Cup in Melbourne, and South Africa (310 for 6) surpassed West Indies (304 for 2) in Johannesburg in 2003-04; while in a Twenty20 international in Hamilton in February 2012, New Zealand (202 for 5) overhauled Zimbabwe's 200 for 2 with two balls to spare.
What is the most international runs (in all formats) by an individual in a calendar year? asked Jeremy Bennett via Facebook
Ricky Ponting leads the way here, with 2833 runs in 46 international matches in 2005. That comprised 1544 runs in 15 Tests, 1191 in 29 one-day internationals, and 98 in two Twenty20 internationals. Ponting also lies second on this list, with 2657 runs in 2003. Only five other men have scored more than 2500 international runs in a calendar year: Rahul Dravid (2626 in 1999), Kumar Sangakkara (2609 in 2006), Sourav Ganguly (2580 in 1999), Tillakaratne Dilshan (2568 in 2009), and Sachin Tendulkar (2541 in 1998). In all, there have been 55 instances of a batsman reaching 2000 runs: rather neatly, Mohammad Yousuf scored exactly 2000 in the year 2000. For the full list, click here.
Someone told me that once, all six Pakistanis who batted in a Test against Bangladesh got hundreds - is this true? asked Khalil Waleed from Saudi Arabia
It's not far off being true, although actually only five hundreds were scored, not six. The match in question was the first one of the 2001-02 Asian Test Championship, in Multan. After Bangladesh were shot out for 134, Pakistan romped to 546 for 3 before declaring: Saeed Anwar (101), Taufeeq Umar (104), Inzamam-ul-Haq (105 retired hurt), Mohammad Yousuf (102 not out) and Abdul Razzaq (110 not out) all made centuries. Someone did miss out on the run-feast, though - the unlucky Faisal Iqbal was bowled for 9. Five centuries in an innings equalled the Test record, set by Australia in the course of making 758 for 8 against West Indies in Kingston in 1955. There are a further 17 instances of four centuries in the same Test innings (for a list, click here).
How many times has India's captain scored a century in the fourth innings of a Test? I can only think of one - Mohammad Azharuddin... asked Rajesh from the United States
You're spot on: Mohammad Azharuddin's 106 against Australia in Adelaide in 1991-92 is indeed the only fourth-innings century by an Indian captain in a Test. Only 31 different captains have managed to score hundreds in the fourth innings: Graeme Smith has made four, the record, and Ricky Ponting three. The first and last of them were both called Taylor: Herbie of South Africa against England in 1922-23 (he added another one the following week, in the next Test, for good measure) and Brendan of Zimbabwe against New Zealand in November 2011.
Has anyone ever taken all ten wickets in an innings, all bowled? asked Charles Metcalfe from Southampton
The only man to do this in first-class cricket was none other than John Wisden, the founder of the famous Almanack - the 149th edition of which was published last week. Playing for the North (which was rather odd, as he was born in Brighton and usually played for Sussex) at Lord's in July 1850, Wisden bowled all ten batsmen as the South were dismissed for 76. Sadly, no record survives of how many runs he conceded, but it can't have been very many! The only other man to have taken all ten wickets in an innings in first-class cricket without requiring the help of a fielder is the Warwickshire and England legspinner Eric Hollies, whose 10 for 49 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1946 included seven bowled victims and three lbws.
Has anyone ever bowled 100 overs in an innings in a Test match? asked Peter Sam from Australia
No one has yet managed to toil through 100 overs in a Test innings. But the record-holder, the West Indian spinner Sonny Ramadhin, came very close: at Edgbaston in 1957 he sent down 98 overs, finishing with 2 for 179 as England - largely in the shape of Peter May and Colin Cowdrey, who put on 411 - saved the match by scoring 583 for 4. The Australian offspinner Tom Veivers threatened Ramadhin's record at Old Trafford in 1964, bowling 95.1 overs and ending up with 3 for 155 as England amassed 611. Alf Valentine - Ramadhin's old spinning partner - is the only other man to deliver more than 90 overs in a Test innings, with 92 against England at Trent Bridge in 1950, when he finished with 3 for 140. For the full list, click here.