Sanga's near-miss, and Test cricket's priests
Kumar Sangakkara was stranded on 199 not out in the first Test against Pakistan last week. Has this ever happened to anyone else? asked George Stevens from Scotland
The only other man to suffer this exact fate was Andy Flower, now England's coach, who was stuck on 199 when Zimbabwe were bowled out by South Africa in Harare in September 2001. That was in the second innings: he'd been last out for 143 in the first. There have been seven instances of a batsman out for 199 in Tests, and one (Martin Crowe for New Zealand v Sri Lanka in Wellington in 1990-91) for 299. Don Bradman was stranded on 299 not out against South Africa in Adelaide in 1931-32, when Australia's last man, the debutant "Pud" Thurlow, was run out. And there have been five instances of batsmen scoring 99 not out in a Test: by Geoff Boycott for England v Australia in Perth in 1979-80; Steve Waugh for Australia v England in Perth in 1994-95 (he was left high and dry when his twin brother Mark, acting as runner for last man Craig McDermott, was run out); Alex Tudor for England v New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999 (left stranded when victory was completed); Shaun Pollock for South Africa v Sri Lanka in Centurion in 2002-03; and Andrew Hall for South Africa v England at Headingley in 2003 (that followed ducks in his previous two innings, and was followed by 1 and 0 at The Oval).
Was the Reverend David Sheppard the only priest to play Test cricket? asked Mark Macaulay from Sydney
David Sheppard, later the Bishop of Liverpool, played 22 Test matches for England, the last 14 of them after being ordained as a priest in 1955. He had captained England twice against Pakistan the previous year. No other priest has played Test cricket, although Sussex's Tom Killick was ordained in 1930, the year after he won two caps against South Africa (when he opened with Herbert Sutcliffe). And there was a near-miss for Australia in 1907-08, when the Rev EF "Mick" Waddy was 12th man in the final Ashes Test in Sydney, after scoring 107 not out and 57 for New South Wales against the tourists in the preceding match: he was ordained in 1905, and died in Worcestershire - where he was vicar of The Littletons - in 1958.
Have there been any international innings in which no one reached double figures? asked Zeeshan Mahmud from the United States
The only instance of all 11 batsmen in a Test innings failing to reach double figures came at Edgbaston in 1924, when South Africa were bundled out for 30 by England. The highest score was 7, by their captain (and opener) Herbie Taylor. The innings lasted only about three-quarters of an hour: England's captain Arthur Gilligan took 6 for 7, and his new-ball partner Maurice Tate 4 for 12. South Africa fared rather better in their second innings, amassing 390, although they still lost heavily. There have also been two one-day international innings in which no one reached double figures, with Sri Lanka being the bowling side each time. In Paarl during the 2003 World Cup the highest score in Canada's paltry total of 36 was 9, made by both the opener Desmond Chumney and skipper Joe Harris (there were five ducks), while in Harare in April 2004, Zimbabwe were shot out for 35, the highest scorer being Deon Ebrahim (and extras) with 7.
Who are the leading run scorers and wicket-takers in the Ranji Trophy? asked Rahul Bhasin from Mumbai
The current leading scorer in Ranji Trophy matches is Wasim Jaffer, with 8320 runs at an average of 62.08. He's just ahead of Amol Muzumdar (8237 at 51.16). They both recently passed Amarjit Kaypee, who scored 7623 runs in a career that stretched from 1980 to 2000. The leading Ranji bowler remains Rajinder Goel, the slow left-armer who took 637 wickets at 17.28 between 1958 and 1985. Like Muzumdar and Kaypee, Goel never appeared in a Test (in his case usually because of the continued excellence of Bishan Bedi), which is why he got the chance to play so many domestic matches. "It was not written in my fate to play Test matches," he told ESPNcricinfo in a 2001 interview. Next on the Ranji wicket-taking lists are Srinivas Venkataraghavan (539) and Sunil Joshi (479).
What is the longest continuous bowling spell in Test history? asked Mark Davidson from England
We don't have full details for some innings, but the longest known unbroken bowling spell (punctuated only by breaks in play for lunch, tea etc) was one of 59 overs by the Indian legspinner Narendra Hirwani from the Vauxhall End at The Oval in 1990. That spell of 354 balls just pipped the previous record of 352 - 44 eight-ball overs by the South African offspinner Athol Rowan, also against England, in Durban in 1948-49. Garry Sobers sent down 41 consecutive eight-ball overs (328 balls) for West Indies v Australia in Melbourne in 1960-61. The record by a pair, as far as is known, is 86 (six-ball) overs, by the West Indian spinners Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine at Lord's in 1950.
Which batsmen have scored the most international double-centuries? asked Ronald Seecharan from Trinidad
Don Bradman still sits proudly on top of this Test list, with 12 scores of 200 or more to go with 17 "single" centuries, from just 52 Tests. Next comes Brian Lara with nine, and Kumar Sangakkara currently has eight, having failed by one run to join Lara last week. Wally Hammond of England made seven scores above 200, while Marvan Atapattu, Javed Miandad, Mahela Jayawardene, Ricky Ponting, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar all have six in Tests. Sehwag and Tendulkar have also made a double-century in one-day internationals. For the full list of most double-centuries in Tests, click here.
And there's another addition to the short list of No. 3 batsmen who have batted through a first-class innings, save for one ball, recalled by Paul Neazor in New Zealand and Tony Mitchener in the United States
Playing for Hampshire against Sussex in Hove in 1981, John Rice went in when the non-striker Tim Tremlett was run out off the first ball of the innings, and finished with 101 not out in a total of 241. He then opened in the follow-on and scored 23, batting for about seven hours in all.