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England's Ashes 3-0, and triples in all four innings

Also: Best bowling strike rates, five-fors on one-day debut, Welshmen who played for England, and most wickets in a bilateral ODI series

Steven Lynch

August 6, 2013

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Amit Mishra and Dinesh Karthik appeal for the wicket of Vusi Sibanda, Zimbabwe v India, 1st ODI, Harare, July 24, 2013
Amit Mishra took a record 18 wickets in five ODIs against Zimbabwe © AFP
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When was the last time England had wrapped up the Ashes after the third Test of a series against Australia? asked Jeremy Balmforth from England
This seemed to be something Australia kept doing in the not-so-distant past, but it turns out that the only previous time England knew they had possession of the Ashes after the third Test of a series was in 1928-29, when Percy Chapman's side actually won the first four matches of the series Down Under, before losing the last game. (This excludes series of fewer than five Tests.)

Have there been any Tests in which all four innings were of 300 or more? asked Stuart Gower from England
There have been 14 Tests so far in which all four innings were in excess of 300, the first five of them in timeless (played to a finish) matches. The most recent instance was in Colombo in August 2006, when South Africa (361 and 311) just lost out to Sri Lanka (321 and 352 for 9). And arguably the most famous occasion it happened was at Headingley in 1948, when Don Bradman's "Invincible" Australians lived up to their nickname by scoring 458 and 404 for 3 to defeat England (496 and 356 for 8 dec).

Which bowler has the best strike rate, having played in at least 20 Tests? asked Illty on Ask Steven Live during the Manchester Test
I had to impose a further qualification here - a minimum of 2000 balls bowled - to eliminate people who played 20 Tests but bowled very little. After doing that, the leader is a current player - Dale Steyn of South Africa, who has taken a wicket every 41.4 balls. Next comes the legendary England bowler Sydney Barnes (41.9), with Waqar Younis (43.4) third. Vernon Philander might threaten Steyn's top spot soon: he currently takes a wicket every 36.8 balls, but has so far played only 16 Tests, so doesn't meet your stipulation. The only man with a better strike rate than Philander overall (minimum 2000 balls bowled, no limit on matches) is the 19th-century England bowler George Lohmann, who took 112 wickets in 18 Tests at a strike rate of 34.1. For the full list, click here.

How many bowlers have taken five or more wickets in their first one-day international? asked Aniket Chiniwalla from India
Only seven bowlers have taken a five-for on their one-day international debut, the most recent being the Zimbabwe left-arm seamer Brian Vitori, who took 5 for 30 in his first match, against Bangladesh in Harare in August 2011. Uniquely, Vitori followed that up with five more in his next match, taking 5 for 20 against Bangladesh in Harare two days later. The West Indian Fidel Edwards is the only bowler to take six wickets in his first ODI - he took 6 for 22 against Zimbabwe in Harare in November 2003. For the full list of best figures on ODI debut, click here.

How many Welsh cricketers have played for England? asked Brad from Australia
So far 14 Welsh-born cricketers have played for England in Tests, including Jeff Jones and his son Simon, who is the most recent of the 14. The first was Welsh-born Test player was Maurice Turnbull, in 1929-30, and he has been followed by Cyril Walters, Johnnie Clay, Austin Matthews, Allan Watkins, Gilbert Parkhouse, Pat Pocock, Tony Lewis, Greg Thomas, Steve Watkin, Hugh Morris and Robert Croft, as well as the Joneses. I should also mention Alan Jones, who played what he thought at the time was a Test match - against the Rest of the World in 1970 - only to find it later categorised as an unofficial one.

Amit Mishra took 18 wickets in the recent one-day series in Zimbabwe. What's the record? asked Arvind Pandya from Chandigarh
Amit Mishra's 18 wickets in the recent one-day series in Zimbabwe actually equalled the record for any bilateral series. That was set by another Indian, the fast bowler Javagal Srinath, who took 18 in New Zealand in 2002-03 - but there were seven matches in that series. The previous record for a five-match series was 15, set by Ajantha Mendis for Sri Lanka in Zimbabwe in 2008-09, and equalled by Graeme Cremer for Zimbabwe in Kenya later in 2008-09, and Abdur Razzak for Bangladesh at home to Zimbabwe in 2009-10. The West Indian paceman Patrick Patterson took 17 wickets in six matches in India in 1987-88, while South Africa's fast bowler Craig Matthews took 17 in seven games in a home series against Australia in 1993-94.

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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