Amla's record, and Bradman's near-miss
Is it correct that Hashim Amla reached 3000 runs in one-day internationals faster than anyone else? asked Michael Visser from Johannesburg
Hashim Amla passed 3000 runs in one-day internationals during his superb century against England in Southampton last week. That was his 57th innings (in his 59th match), which is indeed a remarkable 12 innings quicker than the next man, Viv Richards, who reached 3000 in 69 innings. Gordon Greenidge, Gary Kirsten and Virat Kohli come next, with 72. Amla's 150 was the highest score for South Africa against England in ODIs (previously Graeme Smith's 141 in Centurion in the Champions Trophy in September 2009), and rather surprisingly only their second hundred against England in one-day internationals in this country, following Jacques Kallis' 107 at The Oval in 2003.
I noticed from an account of Australia's 1930 tour of England that Don Bradman reached 2000 runs for the season on July 11! Was this a record? asked Chris Power from Melbourne
Surprisingly, perhaps, it isn't - the Surrey opener Tom Hayward reached 2000 first-class runs for the season on July 5 in 1906, and Bradman's English counterpart Wally Hammond got there on July 6 in 1927. Hayward also set the record for the earliest date for reaching 3000 runs in 1906 - he got there on August 20 - but that was equalled by Hammond in a different season, 1937, and threatened by MJK Smith, who reached 3000 on August 21, 1959.
Has anyone ever scored two separate hundreds and taken two five-fors in the same Test match? asked Asif Mohammad from Karachi
This has never been approached in a Test match: in fact, only three people have managed the "match double" of 100 runs and ten wickets in a Test. The first was Alan Davidson of Australia, in the tied Test against West Indies in Brisbane in 1960-61 - he scored 44 and 80 to go with bowling figures of 5 for 135 and 6 for 87. In the Golden Jubilee Test against India in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1979-80, England's Ian Botham made 114 and took 6 for 58 and 7 for 48, while in Faisalabad in 1982-83, Imran Khan scored 117 and took 6 for 98 and 5 for 82 for Pakistan against India. In fact, the particular double you mention has only been achieved once in all first-class cricket. Playing for Yorkshire against Somerset in Bath in 1906, George Hirst scored 111 and 117 not out, and took 6 for 70 and 5 for 45.
You wrote last week about the famous Gentlemen v Players matches at Lord's. What was the highest score in these games? asked Conrad Martin from England
The highest total in the match between the amateurs (Gentleman) and professionals (Players) at Lord's was 579 by the Players in 1926, while the highest individual score there was CB Fry's 232 not out for the Gentlemen in 1903. There were also regular Gents v Players matches at Scarborough and The Oval, as well as occasional ones at other venues. The highest total in any such match was 651 for 7 declared by the Players at The Oval in 1934, while the highest individual score was Jack Hobbs' 266 not out for the Players in Scarborough in 1925. The match was a feature of the Lord's calendar until 1962, when the last such game was drawn (the captains were Ted Dexter and Fred Trueman). The distinction between amateur and professional players was abolished that winter, so the fixture was discontinued.
I happened to notice that in 1955, Middlesex's Jack Robertson scored more than 2000 first-class runs, but only scored one century. Is this unique? asked Martin Hayes from Ealing
Jack Robertson scored 2070 runs in 1955, with just one century - a feat unthinkable these days. There were many more first-class matches then (Robertson had 64 innings) and no one-day cricket to worry about. Two other batsmen reached 2000 runs in a season with only one hundred: James Langridge of Sussex made 2082 in 1937, and Dickie Dodds of Essex 2147 in 1947. But they all have to tip their hats to David Green, who made 2037 runs in 1965 without ever reaching three figures - his highest score was 85, but he had 19 other scores of 40 or more. Green was an opener who was accomplished against pace bowling but struggled a bit when the spinners came on.
What is the highest number of runs added during one batsman's innings in a Test? asked Andy Pierce from London
The record for this is 770, added during Len Hutton's 364 for England against Australia at The Oval in 1938. Hutton opened, and batted for 797 minutes (England's longest Test innings) before being the sixth man out. Captain Wally Hammond batted on to reach 903 for 7 before declaring - it's said that even then he only closed the innings once he'd been assured that Don Bradman, who had injured his foot while bowling, would not be able to bat. In second place is Mahela Jayawardene, who went in against South Africa in Colombo in 2006 with Sri Lanka in some trouble at 14 for 2. When he was out, they were in slightly less trouble, at 756 for 5. Jayawardene made 374, and shared a world-record partnership of 624 with Kumar Sangakkara, who scored 287.