Packed tours, and Shiv's late stumping
I read somewhere that the forthcoming Indian series was the most time-intensive ever, with five Tests in six weeks. Is that true? asked Tom Merrick from England
It's not quite true, no. This year's England-India series is scheduled to last 42 days (if the final Test at The Oval goes all the way). The shortest time span for any series involving five Tests is actually 35 days, for the one between West Indies and England in 2009-10 - but that's cheating a bit, as that involved the match in Antigua, which was abandoned early on the first day, because the ground was unfit, and replaced by another game played elsewhere on the island shortly afterwards. A more genuine case is the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy series between South Africa and England in 2004-05, which spanned only 40 days. Rather surprisingly for what we think of as more leisurely times, the 1963-64 India-England series lasted only 42 days, while the five Tests between West Indies and India in the Caribbean early in 2002 were also shoehorned into 42 days. The Ashes record is 44 days, for the 2006-07 and 2010-11 series in Australia.
Since the Second World War which country has the best win/loss record? I would guess Australia … asked Charles Silverstone from Israel
That's a pretty safe guess! Australia have played 595 Tests since 1945, winning 281 and losing 146, with two ties and 166 draws. That's a win/loss ratio of 1.92. Next come South Africa (1.52), England (1.16) and Pakistan (1.10), with West Indies on a level 1.00 (157 wins v 156 defeats plus a tie). Bangladesh, with just four wins to set against 68 defeats, languish bottom with a ratio of 0.05, assuming you ignore the World XI's one unsuccessful outing in 2005-06. For the full table, click here.
After 266 innings, Shivnarine Chanderpaul was stumped for the very first time! Has anyone gone longer before finally being out stumped? asked Ashley Barnes from New Zealand
Shivnarine Chanderpaul's dismissal on the final day of the third Test against New Zealand in Bridgetown last week was indeed the first time he had been stumped in a Test, in his 266th innings. That is a record: Graeme Smith was not stumped until his 194th innings, in his 111th Test, against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi last October. Daniel Vettori (166th innings), Alec Stewart and Sanath Jayasuriya (both 156th) all went a long time before being stumped as well. Mahela Jayawardene may yet beat Chanderpaul's mark: he's had 244 Test innings so far, and hasn't been stumped yet.
Is Ricky Ponting the only player to score more than 2500 international runs in two separate calendar years? asked Keith D'Souza from Saudi Arabia
Ricky Ponting occupies the top two positions in this particular table, having scored 2833 runs in all internationals in 2005, and 2657 in 2003. The only other batsmen to exceed 2500 in all forms of the game are Rahul Dravid (2626 in 1999), Kumar Sangakkara (2609 in 2006), Sourav Ganguly (2580 in 1999), Tillakaratne Dilshan (2568 in 2009) and Sachin Tendulkar (2541 in 1998). Of those, Tendulkar had the best average (68.67 to Ponting's 66.42 in 2003). Sangakkara and Tendulkar both passed 2000 runs in five separate calendar years; most neatly, Mohammad Yousuf scored exactly 2000 international runs in 2000.
There were 11 ducks in the Headingley Test. Is this a record? asked David Harrier from Germany
The 11 ducks in the nail-biting Headingley Test - which included pairs for Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhammika Prasad and a long-drawn-out one for Jimmy Anderson - equalled the record for any Test, set in a low-scoring Ashes Test at Old Trafford in 1888, and equalled nine more times since, most recently (before Headingley) in the match between Sri Lanka and West Indies in Kandy in November 2001. For the full list, click here.
Wasim and Ramiz Raja both played 57 Tests for Pakistan. Is this the only instance of brothers figuring in the same number of Tests? asked Joel Pojas from the Philippines
Not only did Ramiz and Wasim Raja win the same number of Test caps, their overall records were strikingly similar: Ramiz scored 2833 runs at 31.83, while Wasim made 2821 (36.16). There are two other sets of brothers who played the same amount of Tests - but they are all one-cap wonders. EM and GF Grace both played once for England in 1880 (their rather more celebrated brother WG won 22 caps), while Alec and George Hearne also played one Test apiece for England, in 1891-92. The biggest discrepancy between fraternal caps is 89, between South Africa's Gary Kirsten (101) and his half-brother Peter (12). Greg Chappell won 87 caps to his brother Trevor's three. Turning to fathers and sons, Hemant and Hrishikesh Kanitkar both played two Tests for India.
Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2014. Ask Steven is now on Facebook