Clarke's closure, and Amarnath's strange double
Australia declared their first innings in Hyderabad - and lost by an innings. Is this unique? asked Anshuman Bharati from India (and many others!)
Michael Clarke's closure in the second Test in Hyderabad last week was indeed the first time a captain has declared in a Test and gone on to lose by an innings. It was only the 19th occasion that a team had lost at all after declaring in their first innings - the most famous predecessor probably being Australia's declaration (at 401 for 9) at Headingley in 1981, which eventually resulted in an 18-run win for England. Almost as noteworthy was the fact that Clarke's declaration was only the third on the first day of any Test, following Pakistan's on a rain-affected pitch at Lord's in 1974, and England's in a three-day Test against New Zealand at Lord's in 1949 (actually that particular one was illegal under the regulations in force at the time).
Has anyone ever been out for obstructing the field and for handling the ball in their career? asked Danish Syed from the United States
The only man to have managed both these unusual dismissals in international cricket is India's Mohinder Amarnath, who was given out handled the ball in a one-day international against Australia in Melbourne in February 1986 "after pushing away a turning ball from Matthews that spun back towards his wicket", according to Wisden. Nearly three years later, in an ODI in Ahmedabad in October 1989, Amarnath kicked the ball away as two Sri Lankan fielders converged on it, and was given out obstructing the field. The only others out in that way in ODIs are the Pakistan pair of Rameez Raja and Inzamam-ul-Haq, while Daryll Cullinan of South Africa has also been out handled the ball. In Tests seven men have been given out handled the ball, and one (Len Hutton) for obstructing the field. For the Test list, click here.
Following his return to form R Ashwin has 81 wickets from 14 Tests. Has anyone ever had more at that stage of their career? asked Srinivasan from India
R Ashwin had taken 81 wickets in 14 matches after the second Test against Australia in Hyderabad, in which he claimed six more scalps to add to the 12 he nabbed in the first Test in Chennai. Only two bowlers have ever had more wickets after 14 Tests, both of them from the 19th century: the England paceman Tom Richardson had 88, and Charles "The Terror" Turner of Australia 83. Arthur Mailey, the 1920s Australian legspinner, also had 81 wickets. The previous-best for India after 14 Tests was 77 by Anil Kumble. Just to mark your card for the remainder of this series, the record after 15 Tests is 89 by England's George Lohmann, and he took 12 wickets in his 16th match to take his tally to 101 (Turner and England's SF Barnes come next with 94).
Cheteshwar Pujara reached 1000 runs in his 18th Test innings. How many people have got there quicker? asked Michael Robinson from England (and, again, several others)
Only 11 batsmen have reached 1000 runs in Tests in fewer innings than Cheteshwar Pujara's 18 (he got there when his score reached 187 in Hyderabad). Australia's Sid Barnes, George Headley of West Indies, and South Africa's Graeme Smith did it in 17 innings, and England's Len Hutton and the West Indian pair of Lawrence Rowe and Frank Worrell in 16. Neil Harvey (Australia) and Vinod Kambli (India) reached 1000 runs in 14 innings, and the man I expected to top this list, Don Bradman, in 13. But two men beat the Don to a thousand: Herbert Sutcliffe of England and West Indies' Everton Weekes both needed only 12 innings to reach four figures.
What is the biggest first-innings lead by a team in a Test which it went on to lose? asked Shri from India
Strictly speaking the answer is 331, by Pakistan (504 to England's 173) at The Oval in 2006. But that was the game Pakistan forfeited, refusing to play on after being penalised for ball-tampering. Leaving that rather unusual match aside, the biggest first-innings lead overturned in a Test was Sri Lanka's 291 against Australia in Colombo in August 1992. Sri Lanka made 547 for 8 declared after bowling Australia out for 256, but the Aussies made 471 in their second innings to set a target of 181. Sri Lanka seemed to be sailing home at 127 for 2, but then lost their last eight wickets for 37, with the young Shane Warne polishing the match off with a spell of 3 for 0.
Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann took 19 of the wickets when England beat India in Mumbai last year. Is that the best by a pair of England spinners since Laker and Lock in the 1956 Ashes? asked Jeremy Coleman from England
The performance of Panesar and Swann at the Wankhede Stadium last November - when they took the last 19 wickets after Jimmy Anderson's early removal of Gautam Gambhir - was the best for a pair of England spinners since Laker and Lock... but not quite in the match you're thinking of. When Jim Laker took his 19 Australian wickets at Old Trafford in 1956, Tony Lock did indeed take the other one - but two years later, at Headingley, the same pair teamed up to take 19 New Zealand wickets. That time left-armer Lock got the lion's share, with 4 for 14 and 7 for 51; Laker backed him up with the remarkable figures of 22-11-17-5 and 36-23-27-3 as a weak New Zealand team subsided to totals of 67 and 129.
Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013