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Botham's record, and Somerset's near-miss

Also, a ton of IPL matches, youngest Australians in World Cups, longest wait for a first-class hundreds, and the Don's lack of fifties

Steven Lynch

April 29, 2014

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Suresh Raina made his 20th 50-plus score in the IPL, Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2014, Abu Dhabi, April 21, 2014
Suresh Raina: the first man to play 100 IPL matches © BCCI
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What is the most Test wickets in a calendar year by someone who also scored 1000 runs? asked James Lyall from London
The answer here is 47 wickets, by Ian Botham in 1982 - a year in which he also scored 1095 Test runs at an average of 49.77. The most runs by anyone who took 50 Test wickets in a calendar year is 709 by another Englishman, Andrew Flintoff, who took 68 wickets in 2005. The best performance in one-day internationals was by Jacques Kallis, who scored 1300 runs and took 46 wickets in 2000. Of those with 50 wickets - a feat achieved only 11 times in a calendar year in ODIs - the most runs were scored by Pakistan's Abdul Razzaq, with 661 (and 61 wickets) in 2000.

Somerset made 553 against Yorkshire recently, without anyone scoring a century. Was that any sort of record? asked Will Simpson from England
Somerset's 553 against Yorkshire in Taunton a couple of weeks ago included six half-centuries, but no one went on to three figures - the highest was Johann Myburgh's 91. There have been 11 higher first-class totals without an individual hundred, the highest being Namibia's 609 against Uganda in the ICC Intercontinental Shield in Windhoek in September 2010. That innings also included six fifties, but the highest score was Ewald Steenkamp's 87. The previous record of 605 (highest score 90) was set by Madhya Pradesh against Haryana in Rajnandgaon in the Ranji Trophy in March 1999. Next comes the English record - and the only other total over 600 - Surrey's 603 (highest Azhar Mahmood's 89) against Gloucestershire in Bristol in 2005. Somerset's previous-best was 545 for 9 declared against Hampshire in Taunton in 1930 - the highest score was Jack White's 88, although No. 11 George Hunt made 80 not out. The Test record is India's 524 for 9 declared against New Zealand in Kanpur in 1976-77, when the highest of six half-centuries was Mohinder Amarnath's 70.

Was Suresh Raina the first man to play 100 IPL matches? asked Ian Hugo from Nigeria
Suresh Raina was indeed the first man to complete a century of appearances in the Indian Premier League: Chennai Super Kings' first match of this year's tournament, against Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi on April 18, was his 100th match in the competition. At that point Rohit Sharma had made 98 appearances, and MS Dhoni 97; both have since passed the 100 mark as well.

Was James Muirhead the youngest Australian to play in a World Cup match? asked Chris Bloore from Belgium
The Victorian legspinner James Muirhead was only 20 years nine months old when he played in the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh earlier this year. That's a couple of months younger than Steve Smith was in 2010 - but both of them have to give best to the New South Wales seamer Pat Cummins, who was only 19 years four months old when he played in the 2012 World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. The youngest Aussie to appear in the 50-overs World Cup was Andrew Zesers, a 20-year-old medium-pacer of Latvian extraction who played two games in 1987. The only Australian to play an international at a younger age than Cummins was Ian Craig, only 17 years 239 days old when he made his Test debut against South Africa in Melbourne in 1952-53. Tom Garrett was also 18 (but older than Cummins) when he played in the first Test of all, against England in Melbourne in March 1877.

I noticed that Bob Taylor made his maiden first-class century in 1981, when he was almost 40. Did he play more matches than anyone else before reaching three figures? asked Gerry Fletcher from England
Bob Taylor's one and only first-class century - exactly 100, for Derbyshire against Yorkshire in Sheffield in June 1981 - arrived in his 539th first-class match, a month before his 40th birthday. However, rather surprisingly this was not a record: Taylor's sometime England team-mate Derek Underwood scored his maiden first-class hundred in his 591st match, in his 22nd season, with 111 after going in as nightwatchman for Kent against Susex in Hastings in 1984. He was also 39 at the time. Before that, the record was held by Fred Trueman, whose maiden hundred arrived in his 418th first-class match, for Yorkshire in Northampton in 1963.

Is Don Bradman the only man to score more than 100 first-class hundreds, but fewer than 100 first-class fifties? asked Seena John from Sri Lanka
Don Bradman's amazing career brought him 117 first-class hundreds, and a record overall average of 95.14. One reason for that was that he was rarely out when set: after reaching 50 he failed to reach 100 on only 69 occasions, and nine of those were not-outs. None of the other 24 batsmen to have scored a century of centuries had fewer fifties than hundreds: the least overall is Mark Ramprakash's 147 (to go with 114 centuries). Wally Hammond had the next-best conversion ratio to the Don - 167 hundreds and 185 fifties. For the full list, click here.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2014. 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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