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Captains' tons, and Gilchrist's show

Also, most fifties without a hundred, Pakistan's narrowest losses, most overs bowled in a series, and most half-centuries in a calendar year

Steven Lynch

September 24, 2013

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Shane Warne bowls in his first Ashes Test, England v Australia, 1st Test, Manchester, June 1993
Shane Warne bowled 2639 balls in the 1993 Ashes © Getty Images
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How often have both captains scored centuries in the same Test match? asked Kazi Mohammad Firoze Hassan from Bangladesh
This has now happened on no fewer than 43 occasions, most recently in Chennai in February, when MS Dhoni made 224 for India and Michael Clarke 130 for Australia. The first instance was in Durban in 1913-14, when Herby Taylor scored 109 for South Africa and John Douglas 119 for England. Brian Lara scored hundreds in five Tests in which his opposite number did so too, including the match at St John's in 2003-04 in which Lara amassed 400 not out: Michael Vaughan made 140 for England in that one. It happened in the first and second Tests of the three-match series between England and India in 1990, when Graham Gooch and Mohammad Azharuddin doubled up at Lord's and Old Trafford (Gooch made 333 and 123 at Lord's), and also in successive games in the four-match series between West Indies and Australia in 1998-99, when Brian Lara and Steve Waugh were the captains concerned at Kingston and Bridgetown.

Which wicketkeeper has made the most dismissals in a single one-day tournament? asked Pat Sandlands from England
Adam Gilchrist leads the way here - he took 26 catches and a stumping in 12 matches in the triangular series also involving England and Sri Lanka in Australia in 1998-99. Gilchrist holds the World Cup record, with 21 (all caught), in South Africa in 2002-03. The record for a bilateral series is 19 (18 catches and a stumping) by Brendon McCullum in New Zealand's seven-match home rubber against India, also in 2002-03.

Misbah-ul-Haq now has 31 half-centuries in one-day internationals without making a hundred. Is this a record? asked Prabbu Raj Menon via Facebook
Pakistan's captain Misbah-ul-Haq, whose highest score in one-day internationals is 96 not out, has indeed reached 50 more often than anyone else who never scored a century - although of course he might still get one, although at 39 he will probably be the oldest man ever to score one if he does (Sanath Jayasuriya and Geoff Boycott both scored ODI hundreds after turning 39). Misbah took the record in July this year from Andrew Jones of New Zealand, who made 25 ODI half-centuries without ever quite managing a hundred - his highest score was 93. Next come Graham Thorpe (21), Kim Hughes (17), and Mudassar Nazar and Michael Vaughan (both 16), before a couple of current players with 15: Elton Chigumbura of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka's captain Angelo Mathews.

Was Pakistan's 24-run loss to Zimbabwe at Harare their narrowest defeat in a Test? asked Richard Webb from New Zealand
Pakistan's defeat in that exciting match in Harare a couple of weeks ago was indeed their narrowest by a runs margin in a Test - they lost to England by 25 runs at Headingley in 1971, and by 32 to New Zealand in Dunedin in 2009-10. But they have lost a Test by one wicket - to West Indies at St John's in May 2000 - and three more by two wickets, including another close-run thing in Dunedin (in 1984-85). The other two-wicket reverses were to West Indies in Bridgetown in 1987-88, and Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi in 1999-2000.

Who has bowled the most overs in a single Test series? asked Trevor Morton from England
The leader here is Shane Warne, who sent down 439.5 overs (2639 balls) during the 1993 Ashes series in England. That was a six-Test series: in second place overall is the man who bowled the most in a five-Test rubber, the West Indian slow left-armer Alf Valentine, with 430 overs at home against India in 1952-53. Remarkably, Valentine is also third on this list - and this time for a four-Test series. In England in 1950, in his debut series, Valentine delivered 422.3 overs. In fourth place for balls bowled in a series is Maurice Tate, who sent down 316 eight-ball overs in the 1924-25 Ashes series in Australia.

What is the most half-centuries in a calendar year, in Tests and ODIs? asked Arsalan Imran via Facebook
If you're counting all scores of 50 and over, the Test record is 13 by Virender Sehwag in 2010 - that included eight scores between 50 and 99, and five centuries too. If you just mean half-centuries, then Keith Fletcher made nine for England in 1973 (plus two hundreds as well), and Hansie Cronje nine for South Africa in 1998 (and one century). In one-day internationals, Sachin Tendulkar reached 50 on 16 occasions in 1998, going on to three figures in nine of them. Tendulkar also made 13 half-centuries in 2007 (plus one century), equalling Gary Kirsten's 13 scores between 50 and 99 in 2000. In 2002, Younis Khan made 12 fifties and never made it to three figures, a record equalled by Sourav Ganguly and Graeme Smith in 2007.

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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