Fast scoring, and Warner's odd double
Was New Zealand's run rate in Queenstown the highest for a completed innings in an ODI? asked Rob Orchard from New Zealand
New Zealand scored 283 for 4 in just 21 overs in the rain-reduced one-day international in Queenstown on New Year's Day. That's 13.47 runs per over, which is easily a record for any ODI innings in which at least 200 runs were scored - the previous-best was 10.04 by West Indies, in their 206 for 3 in 20.3 overs to overhaul Canada's total in Centurion during the 2003 World Cup. When New Zealand played Bangladesh - also in Queenstown - on New Year's Eve 2007, they reached 95 for 0 to win the match from the last ball of the sixth over, an overall rate of 15.83 runs per over.
In the Sydney Test, David Warner scored 16 from 20 balls, with three fours, in both innings - is this a unique double? asked John Westover from Australia
David Warner's double in the final Ashes Test in Sydney was certainly unusual. Unfortunately we don't have balls-faced information for the majority of Tests, so it's impossible to be definitive - but I would be rather surprised if anyone could have had a much higher identical double, though. The highest score by anyone in both innings of a Test - ignoring balls faced and boundaries hit - is 105, by Duleep Mendis for Sri Lanka against India in Madras in 1982-83. There have been 18 further instances of a batsman making two identical scores of 50 or more in the same Test - and Umar Akmal narrowly failed to add his name to that list with 49 and 49 for Pakistan v Australia in Sydney in 2009-10.
Does Cheteshwar Pujara hold the current record for the most Test runs without a duck? asked Seena John from Bangladesh
As I write, Cheteshwar Pujara has scored 1590 runs in 17 Tests without being out for a duck (although he was out for 1 against Australia in Mohali last March). No other current player has made more runs without a duck: next is Chris Rogers, the Australian, with 849. The most runs in a complete Test career without ever being dismissed without scoring is 1464, by Zimbabwe's Dave Houghton, between 1992-93 and 1997-98. Five others - the Australians Reggie Duff, Herbie Collins and Jim Burke, Brendan Nash of West Indies, and Pakistan's Waqar Hasan - completed their Test careers with more than 1000 runs and no ducks.
Australia were unchanged during the Ashes series. What is the record for successive Tests with exactly the same team? asked Anthony Rogers from England
Australia provided the tenth instance of a team fielding the same side in five successive Tests, although it was only the fourth time that had happened in one five-match series. The record, though, stands at six successive Tests with the same XI - by England during 2008. Starting with the second Test against New Zealand in Wellington in March, England finished that three-match series with the same side, then fielded the same one throughout the return series against New Zealand at home in May-June, and in the first Test against South Africa at Lord's in July. After winning four and drawing two of those six games, England then made two changes for the second Test, at Headingley - including the shock selection of the Australian-raised Darren Pattinson - and lost by ten wickets.
Which umpire has given the most lbws in Tests? asked Shahid Chowdhury from India
That one is impossible to work out, as in the vast majority of cases we don't know which umpire gave the decisions. As a rough guide, though, the umpire whose matches included the highest percentage of lbw decisions (given a minimum of ten Tests) is none other than the famous Pakistani Shakoor Rana, with 6.83 per Test (there were 123 lbws all told in the 18 matches in which he officiated). Javed Akhtar, another Pakistani of similar vintage, also stood in 18 Tests, in which there were 122 lbws (6.77 per match). There are six other umpires with over six lbws per Test, including the current elite-panel official Bruce Oxenford (100 lbws in 16 matches so far, or 6.25 per Test). In all, 116 umpires have currently stood in ten or more Tests, and the one with the lowest percentage of lbws is Jim Phillips, the old Australian, whose 29 matches produced only 49 in all (1.68 per match). The much-travelled Phillips stood in his first Test in Australia, in 1884-85, when he was only 24, umpired 11 Tests in England in four different Ashes series between 1893 and 1905, and rounded off his career by standing in all five matches of England's tour of South Africa in 1905-06.
Who has bowled the most balls in Test cricket without taking a wicket? asked Marius Roodt from South Africa
The answer here is the old Lancashire allrounder Len Hopwood, who played two Tests in the 1934 Ashes series. A left-arm medium-pacer, he bowled 77 overs - 462 balls - without taking a wicket, finishing his Test career with 0 for 155. He was very economical in his first Test, at Old Trafford, sending down 47 overs for 62 runs - but at Headingley he ran into Don Bradman, who made 304, and finished with 0 for 93 from 30 overs. Five others have conceded more runs in their Test careers without ever taking a wicket: top of that list is the Bangladesh fast-medium bowler Anwar Hossain Monir, whose three Tests brought him 0 for 307 from 58 overs (348 balls).
Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013. Ask Steven is now on Facebook