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An even innings, and a rapid 25

Also: the top left-arm spinners, the youngest to play his last Test, poorest five-fors, and centurion umpires

Steven Lynch

June 18, 2013

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Khalid Hassan played one Test for Pakistan at the age of 16, May 5, 1954
Khalid Hassan: the youngest to finish a Test career © Getty Images
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Pakistan's innings against West Indies in the Champions Trophy was composed entirely of even-numbered scores - even extras. How unusual is this? asked Darren Styles from England
The answer is it's very unusual indeed - that match at The Oval was the 3364th one-day international, and Pakistan's innings was the first in which all 12 scores were even numbers (assuming you count 0 as an even number, that is). The nearest approach was, coincidentally, also by Pakistan in a match against West Indies: in Karachi in November 1980 all 11 batsmen made even-number scores, but extras spoiled it all by amounting to 11. There have been no instances of 11 or 12 odd-numbered scores in any ODI innings.

Mitchell McClenaghan had taken 25 wickets after nine one-day internationals - is he the fastest to the mark? asked Sadashiv Bikas via Facebook
That's a good spot, because the New Zealand left-arm fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan is indeed the first bowler to reach 25 one-day international wickets in just nine matches. Ryan Harris and Ajantha Mendis both got there in ten, and Ajit Agarkar and Wayne Parnell in 11. Agarkar, Harris and Mendis all reached 30 in their 13th match. The fewest matches needed to reach 50 ODI wickets is 19, by Mendis, so that's one for McClenaghan to aim at.

Rangana Herath recently took his 200th Test wicket. Is he the first left-arm spinner to take that many? asked Ajantha de Silva from Colombo
Rangana Herath completed 200 wickets in his most recent Test, reaching the target when he had Bangladesh's captain Mushfiqur Rahim caught at slip in Colombo in March. Herath is actually the fourth left-arm spinner to reach 200 wickets in Tests, following Bishan Bedi (who finished with 266 wickets), Derek Underwood (297) and Daniel Vettori (currently 360). Only Muttiah Muralitharan (795) and Chaminda Vaas (355) have taken more wickets in Tests for Sri Lanka.

Who is the youngest man to play his last Test? asked Shakil Akhtar via Facebook
The youngest age at which anyone has finished their Test career is 16 years and 356 days, by the Pakistan legspinner Khalid Hassan. He was just short of his 17th birthday when he played in the second Test against England at Trent Bridge in 1954. Khalid did dismiss Denis Compton... but not before he had made 278. Khalid finished with 2 for 116 from 21 overs (his other victim was Reg Simpson for 101), and never played another Test. Two other players' Test careers were over before their 18th birthdays: Sanjeewa Weerasinghe, another legspinner, won his only cap for Sri Lanka against India in Colombo in September 1985, and 17-year-old fast-medium bowler Yasir Ali played his only one for Pakistan against Bangladesh in Multan in September 2003. That was also Yasir's first-class debut. He's done quite well in a long career since, but hasn't been selected for Pakistan again (yet). In one-day internationals both Ramveer Rai (UAE) and McLaren Smith (Bermuda) played what looks likely to be their only match while they were only 16, while six others' ODI careers were over before they turned 18. One of them, Hasan Raza of Pakistan, played 16 matches.

Tharindu Kaushal recently took 5 for 238 in a first-class match. Is this the most runs conceded during a five-for? asked Bipin Mendis from Sri Lanka
The Sri Lanka A offspinner Tharindu Kaushal had innings figures of 5 for 238 in a representative match against West Indies A in St Kitts earlier this month. There have actually been eight more expensive five-fors in first-class history, and the same man owns the top two: the tireless Australian allrounder George Giffen took 5 for 309 for South Australia against AE Stoddart's England tourists in Adelaide in 1894-95, and five seasons later claimed 8 for 287 against New South Wales, again at the Adelaide Oval. The Test record is by the West Indies legspinner OC "Tommy" Scott, with 5 for 266 against England in Kingston in 1929-30.

How many umpires have a century of Test appearances - I mean umpired 100 matches, or a combination of played and umpired? asked Hemant Kher from the United States
There are only two umpires who have officiated in more than 100 Tests: Steve Bucknor from Jamaica stood in 128, and South Africa's Rudi Koertzen 108. But using your combined idea, another name leaps to the top of the list: Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan played 57 Tests for India, then umpired in 73, making 130 (he also refereed five Tests, for a grand total of 135). Sri Lanka's Ranjan Madugalle played in 21 Tests, and has currently refereed 141, while Clive Lloyd refereed 53 after playing in 110.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013. Ask Steven is now on Facebook

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Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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