Haddin's haul, and unchanged teams
Brad Haddin scored at least a half-century in each Test of the Ashes series. Has anyone else ever done this? asked Steve Austin from Australia
Rather surprisingly, this turned out to be the 23rd time that a batsman had scored a fifty in every match of a five-Test series, the last occasion being by Shivnarine Chanderpaul for West Indies at home to India in 2002. John Edrich (1970-71 Ashes) and Mark Taylor (1989 Ashes) went one better, scoring at least one half-century in every Test of a six-match series. Where Brad Haddin is unique, though, is in the fact that all his half-centuries came from No. 7 in the batting order. Another wicketkeeper, the West Indian Gerry Alexander, achieved the feat in the famous 1960-61 series in Australia, but one of his fifties came after he was promoted to No. 6. Garry Sobers (West Indies v England in 1966) and Chanderpaul in 2002 also made all their half-centuries from No. 6 or lower in the order. No one has ever achieved the feat twice - and one of the closest to doing so is Haddin, who passed 50 in the first four Tests of the 2010-11 Ashes Down Under, before being out for 6 and 30 in the final game.
Australia fielded the same team throughout the just-finished Ashes series. How often has this happened? asked Matt from the UK
This was only the fourth time that a team had survived unchanged throughout an entire five-match Test series. The last time it happened was in 1990-91, when West Indies fielded the same XI throughout their home series against Australia, which they won 2-1. The last time it happened before that was in 1905-06, when South Africa were unchanged throughout their home series against England, while in 1884-85 England fielded the same XI in all five Tests of that winter's Australian tour. India (at home to Pakistan in 1979-80) and Australia (in England in 1989) both used only 12 players in six-Test series.
Services made 135 in a recent Ranji Trophy match without any extras. Is this a record in first-class cricket? And what is the highest total without extras in a Test? asked Vikas Vadgama from India
The answer is that it isn't even close - remarkably, when Victoria made 647 against Tasmania in Melbourne in 1951-52, there wasn't a single extra. Next on this list is MCC's 484 against North Eastern Transvaal in Benoni in 1948-49, in the innings in which Denis Compton made a triple-century in three hours. There have been 26 other totals of 300 or more which did not include a single extra, the most recent being Gujarat's 301 for 6 declared against Orissa in Ahmedabad in 2009-10. The Test record is 328, by Pakistan against India in Lahore in 1954-55.
Mitchell Johnson won three Man-of-the-Match awards in the Ashes series - has anyone done this before? asked Bruce Sivewright from Australia
This has really only been done twice before - by Ian Botham in the 1981 Ashes series, and by Michael Hussey for Australia in Sri Lanka in 2011. Hussey's performance was particularly remarkable, as there were only three Tests in that series! Shaun Pollock also collected three match awards at home against West Indies in 1998-99, but the third one came when the award in the final Test was given to the whole South African side, who had just completed a 5-0 whitewash. Pollock's own contribution in that match was three wickets, and innings of 13 and 3 not out. It should be pointed out that Man-of-the-Match awards only became a regular feature of Test matches during the 1980s.
Is Jacques Kallis the first South African to score a hundred in his final Test? asked James Laird from Austria
He's actually the fourth, but the first one who retired immediately after doing it. The first South African to score a century in what turned out to be his final Test was Pieter van der Bijl, who made 125 and 97 in the final Test of the 1938-39 home series against England - the famous Timeless Test in Durban. Because of the Second World War, South Africa did not play another Test until 1947, and van der Bijl was nearly 40 by then: the five matches of that 1938-39 series were his only taste of Test cricket. Then, early in 1970, Barry Richards and Lee Irvine both scored hundreds as South Africa completed a 4-0 whitewash of Australia in Port Elizabeth. Shortly afterwards, South Africa were excommunicated from Test cricket because of their government's apartheid policies, and did not play another one for 22 years. Richards, one of the greatest batsmen of all, played only those four matches, and said later of his 140 at St George's Park: "If I'd known that was my last Test they'd never have got me out!"
Besides Hutton and Washbrook against Australia at Leeds in 1948, and Logie and Dujon against England at Lord's in 1988, has any other batting pair been involved in century partnerships in both innings of a Test? asked AK Srivastava from India
There have actually been 37 instances of this, including the two you mention - the most recent one being by Peter Fulton and Kane Williamson for New Zealand against Bangladesh in Chittagong in October 2013. The first occasion was in Sydney back in 1924-25, when Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe shared opening stands of 157 and 110 for England. Len Hutton and Cyril Washbrook actually did it twice, as did AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis (Kallis also did it with Hashim Amla; he and Younis Khan are the only person to feature three times on this list). For the full list, click here. There is only one instance of a pair sharing two stands of more than 150 in a Test: in the first match of England's 1938-39 series in South Africa, in Johannesburg, Paul Gibb (who was making his debut) put on 184 with Eddie Paynter in the first innings, and 168 in the second.
Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013. Ask Steven is now on Facebook