An Irish riddle, and the percentage game
Last week Boyd Rankin, playing for England, dismissed Ed Joyce of Ireland. In the 2007 World Cup Rankin - then playing for Ireland - dismissed Joyce who was then playing for England. Is this unique? asked Kumaran Kumaru via Facebook
This particular double is indeed unique, although Eoin Morgan was also playing for Ireland in the World Cup match in Providence in Guyana, and captained England in the game in Dublin last week. Joyce was actually out for 1 in both matches: he was bowled by Rankin in the first one, and trod on his stumps while facing him in the second. Only four other players have played for and against a pair of teams in other international cricket, all in Tests: Billy Midwinter (England v Australia and vice versa), Frank Hearne and Frank Mitchell (both England v South Africa) and Sam Guillen (West Indies v New Zealand).
Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha put on 160 against South Africa A recently, yet India A were all out for 185. Is this the biggest percentage of a total by one partnership? asked Rajesh Chatterjee from India
That partnership last month, in the second unofficial Test against South Africa A in Pretoria, represented 86.48% of India A's total: Rahane made 86 and Saha 77 not out after coming together at 18 for 5 - but no other batsman managed more than 5, although there were nine extras. Rather surprisingly perhaps, it comes in only fourth on the list of completed (all out) totals in first-class cricket dominated by one partnership. The other three were all in English county cricket, and were all for the first wicket. Leading the way is a stand of 196 by Maurice Hallam and Willie Watson for Leicestershire against Middlesex at Lord's in 1960: after they were parted Leicestershire were skittled for 214, so the first-wicket partnership constituted 91.58% of the total. Hallam made 121 and Watson 61, but the next-highest score was 7 by No. 11 Brian Boshier, a noted rabbit with the bat. Against Essex in Brentwood in 1946, Northamptonshire's openers Percy Davis and Peter Murray-Willis put on 96, but the rest collapsed to 106 all out (90.56%); and in Cheltenham in 1926, Alf Dipper and Charles Barnett (CS Barnett, not the one who opened for England in the 1930s) made 116 of Gloucestershire's eventual total of 133 (87.21%).
Has any bowler taken ten wickets in a Test match and not taken the wicket of the same batsman twice? asked Mudassar Ahmed via Facebook
My initial thought was that the Australian left-arm seamer Geoff Dymock might have done it, in Kanpur in 1979-80 when he became only the third bowler (three more have done it since) to dismiss all 11 batsmen in the same Test. But actually Dymock got Shivlal Yadav out twice in that Test, and finished with 12 wickets. Srinivas Venkataraghavan and Waqar Younis both also managed Test 12-wicket hauls including 11 different batsmen. No one has taken 11 wickets in a Test, all different batsmen, but four people have managed ten: Joey Palmer, 10 for 126 for Australia v England in Melbourne in 1882-83 (George Studd escaped his clutches, but Palmer did catch him in the second innings, off George Giffen); Neil Hawke, 10 for 115 for Australia v West Indies in Georgetown in 1964-65 (Charlie Griffith eluded him); Bob Holland, for Australia v West Indies in Sydney in 1984-85 (Richie Richardson missing); and Ray Price, for Zimbabwe v West Indies in Harare in 2003-04 (Wavell Hinds escaped).
England won the Ashes despite a highest total of 377 during the series. Is this a record low in winning a five-Test series? asked Michael Johnstone from Australia
Rather surprisingly it's well down this particular list, in 11th place for a series of five (or six) Tests. In 2000 England won the Wisden Trophy for the first time in 31 years, overcoming West Indies 3-1 although their highest total in the series was only 303 (in the drawn third Test at Old Trafford). The Ashes record was set in the soggy summer of 1902, when Australia won 2-1 with a highest score of 324 in the final Test (which they lost). In 1978-79 Mike Brearley's England side won the six-Test Ashes series 5-1, despite a highest total of 360, in Adelaide.
In the Lord's Test against Australia, both openers were lbw in both first innings. Someone told me this had only happened once before - when? asked George Westmacott from London
The only previous occasion, before this year's Ashes Test at Lord's, that all four openers were given out leg-before in both sides' first innings was back in 1930-31, in the fourth Test in Johannesburg, when England's openers Bob Wyatt and Harry Lee were both lbw to Buster Nupen, then when South Africa batted Syd Curnow was leg-before to Wally Hammond and Jack Siedle trapped in front by Ian Peebles. The record number of openers out lbw in a whole Test (all four innings) is six in that same match in Johannesburg.
Was Rahul Dravid the oldest player to make his Twenty20 international debut? asked Kan Alosh from India
Rahul Dravid was 38 years and 232 days old when he played his one and only Twenty20 international, for injury-hit India against England at Old Trafford in August 2011. He scored 31. In an odd twist, he had announced his retirement from Twenty20 internationals shortly before the match! Dravid is the oldest Twenty20 debutant from a Test-playing country, but two Canadians were older when they first played, both against Netherlands in Belfast in 2008: Sunil Dhaniram was aged 39 years 290 days, and Sanjayan Thuraisingam 38 years 326 days. For a full list, click here. Dhaniram, Brad Hogg and Sanath Jayasuriya all played their last Twenty20 internationals when they were 41: Jayasuriya was the oldest, just six days short of his 42nd birthday when he played his last one, in England in June 2011.
Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013. Ask Steven is now on Facebook