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Best birthdays, and Finch's flail

Also, highest T20 score in a losing cause, most overs by a quickie in a Test, fastest first-class fifty, and double on debut by a woman

Steven Lynch

September 3, 2013

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Joe Root got the ball stuck in his grill after top-edging a pull, England v Australia, 1st T20, Ageas Bowl, August 29, 2013
Joe Root has the highest Twenty20 score in a losing cause © Getty Images
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I see that Don Bradman and Mohammad Yousuf were both born on August 27. Is that the day that has "given birth" to the most Test runs? asked Thim Ponnappa from the United States
August 27 (15,939 runs) actually lies well down this list, which is headed by May 27, with 26,050: that was the day on which Michael Hussey, Mahela Jayawardene, Ravi Shastri and Frank Woolley were all born. Next comes November 24, with 25,070 (Ken Barrington, Ian Botham, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Neil McKenzie and Herbert Sutcliffe the chief contributors). In third place at the moment - with power to add from Kumar Sangakkara and David Warner - comes October 27 with 23,118. Sachin Tendulkar was born on April 24, but receives little support from others who share his birthday - chiefly Kumar Dharmasena and Damien Fleming - so that one trails in ninth. The day that has produced most Test wickets is July 3, with 1100, mainly from Richard Hadlee, Harbhajan Singh and Ewen Chatfield. A long way behind in second place is April 17, with 857 - mainly from Muttiah Muralitharan, with a little help from Norman Cowans.

How many higher Twenty20 scores have there been than Aaron Finch's 156 against England? asked Chris Matheson from Australia
Aaron Finch's remarkable onslaught on England's bowlers in Southampton last week was a new record for Twenty20 internationals, comfortably beating Brendon McCullum's 123 not out for New Zealand against Bangladesh in Pallekele during the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September 2012. There have only been two higher scores in all senior Twenty20 games: Chris Gayle hammered 175 for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors in Bangalore in the IPL earlier this year, while McCullum hit 158 not out in the very first IPL match, also in Bangalore back in April 2008, for Kolkata Knight Riders against the Royal Challengers. For the full list of highest Twenty20 scores, click here. Finch's 14 sixes was another new international record, beating Richard Levi's 13 for South Africa v New Zealand in Hamilton in February 2012: Gayle smashed 17 sixes during the innings mentioned above, while Graham Napier hit 16 in his 152 not out for Essex v Sussex in Chelmsford in June 2008.

Was Joe Root's 90 not out the highest score in an unsuccessful Twenty20 international run chase? asked Jamie Stewart from New Zealand
That's a good spot, because Joe Root's 90 not out in Southampton last week - which followed Aaron Finch's barrage referred to above - was indeed the highest score in a losing cause in the second innings of a Twenty20 international. The previous record was 88 not out, by Tamim Iqbal for Bangladesh against West Indies in Mirpur in December 2012: another Bangladeshi, Nazimuddin, made 81 against Pakistan in Nairobi in September 2007.

Which fast bowler holds the record for the most overs in a Test match? asked Shriram Moharil from the United States
The top two in this list come from the longest match of all - the "Timeless" Test in Durban in 1938-39, which was abandoned as a draw when England had to leave to catch their boat home. South Africa's Norman Gordon sent down 92.2 overs in that game, and his Transvaal team-mate Chud Langton 91. These were eight-ball overs, so Gordon bowled 738 deliveries in all and Langton (who opened the bowling in each innings, with Gordon at first change) sent down 728. Gordon has another more famous record to his name: he was the first Test player known to have reached the age of 100, and recently celebrated his 102nd birthday. Others have actually delivered more overs in a Test: George Giffen got through 118 for Australia against England in Sydney in 1894-95, but those were six-ball overs so he "only" bowled 708 deliveries. In any case, Giffen was on the slow side of medium pace. John Sharpe, who was rather faster, sent down 105 overs (630 balls) for England v Australia in Melbourne in 1891-92.

Does Clive Inman of Leicestershire and Ceylon still hold the record for the fastest fifty in first-class cricket? asked Nirgunan Tiruchelvam from Singapore
Clive Inman, who was born in Colombo in 1936, reached his half-century for Leicestershire against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1965 in just eight minutes, the fastest-known in any first-class match. But because the bowling was friendly as Nottinghamshire were trying to encourage a declaration - Norman Hill, not a regular bowler, had figures of 2-0-50-0 - Inman's feat is relegated to a footnote in Wisden, along with similar fast-scoring achievements against "joke" bowling. The fastest authentic half-century in a first-class match came up in 11 minutes, by "Big Jim" Smith - a fast bowler and legendary slogger - for Middlesex against Gloucestershire in Bristol in 1938. Said Wisden: "When everything else in this game is forgotten, Smith's drastic punishment of the tired Gloucestershire bowling on the second afternoon will be remembered. He scored 66 in 18 minutes - the first 50 coming in the record time of 11 minutes - with eight sixes and two fours the most powerful of his strokes. Smith hit [Reg] Sinfield for three sixes in succession, and obtained the other five off [George] Emmett."

Has any woman scored a double-century on Test debut? asked Keith D'Souza from Saudi Arabia
There's a select list of 11 women who have scored a hundred on Test debut (for that list, click here). Only one of them went on to make a double-century: Michelle Goszko scored 204 as Australia set up a winning position against England in Shenley in 2001. Goszko, who played for the Bankstown club in Sydney that also produced the Waugh twins, made just 13 runs in three further Test appearances. Hers was only the third double-century in women's Tests: there have been three more since.

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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