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Bunnies, biggies and first-ball dismissals

Kagiso Rabada had Silva's number in the recent series in South Africa, but other bowler-bunny pairs have been even more emphatic Gallo Images

Kaushal Silva was dismissed five times running by Kagiso Rabada in the recent Test series in South Africa. Was this a record? asked Mahinda de Silva from Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan batsman Kaushal Silva's five successive dismissals by South Africa's Kagiso Rabada in 2016-17 equalled the record for a Sri Lankan in Tests, but it was one short of the overall mark. There have been seven instances of a batsman falling to the same bowler six times running, the most recent being by Australia's Matthew Hayden, at the hands of Makhaya Ntini in South Africa in 2005-06. The first such instance was by England's Walter Read, dismissed six times in a row by Charles "Terror" Turner of Australia in 1888. After that, it didn't happen for more than 93 years, until Dilip Vengsarkar of India fell six times running to Imran Khan in Pakistan in 1982-83. The others to suffer this Groundhog Day nightmare are Greg Matthews of Australia (to Richard Hadlee at home against New Zealand in 1985-86), Kris Srikkanth of India (to Wasim Akram in Pakistan in 1989-90), Graeme Hick of England (to Curtly Ambrose in his debut series, at home against West Indies in 1991) and Daren Ganga of West Indies (to Shaun Pollock in South Africa in 1998-99).

Has any team been dismissed for less than 100 but still ended up winning the Test? asked Sanath Kumar from India
There have been 13 instances of a team being bowled out for under 100 in a Test but going on to win it, most recently by Pakistan: they were dismissed for 99 on the first day in Dubai in 2011-12, but ended up winning by 71 runs. The lowest score that resulted in a win is just 45, by England against Australia at the SCG in 1886-87 - on a difficult pitch, the Aussies were bowled out for 97 in the last innings, to give England a 13-run win.

I noticed that the Indian allrounder Abid Ali made 33 in both innings of his first Test. Is this the highest such debut double? asked Gulu Ezekiel from India
Syed Abid Ali made 33 and 33 on debut for India against Australia in Adelaide in 1967-68 (he also took 6 for 55, which remained his best figures in 29 Tests). This was matched quite recently by Bangladesh's Soumya Sarkar, with twin 33s in his debut Test, against Pakistan in Khulna in 2015. But the overall record dates back to 1913-14, when Daniel Taylor - brother of the more famous Herby, South Africa's captain in the match - made 36 and 36 on debut, against England in Durban. The highest score repeated in both innings at any stage of a career, is 105, by Duleep Mendis for Sri Lanka against India in Madras in 1982-83.

Of people who scored only one Test century, how many made it a double? asked Dominic Lee from England
There are currently 11 men who fit the bill here, although I'd be surprised if the man who currently sits on top of the list doesn't disqualify himself by adding another ton soon - Karun Nair's only three-figure score in Tests so far is 303 not out, against England in Chennai last December. The others are, in diminishing order of score: Reginald "Tip" Foster (287 on debut for England v Australia in Sydney in 1903-04), Faoud Bacchus (250 for West Indies v India in Kanpur in 1979-80), Robert Key (221 for England v West Indies at Lord's in 2004), Denis Atkinson (219 for West Indies v Australia in Bridgetown in 1954-55), David "Bumble" Lloyd (214 not out for England v India at Edgbaston in 1974), Taslim Arif (210 not out for Pakistan v Australia in Faisalabad in 1979-80), Martin Donnelly (206 for New Zealand v England at Lord's in 1949), Brad Hodge (203 not out for Australia v South Africa in Perth in 2005-06), Brendon Kuruppu (201 not out on debut for Sri Lanka v New Zealand in Colombo in 1986-87), and Jason Gillespie (201 not out in his last Test, for Australia v Bangladesh in Chittagong in 2005-06).

Luke Ronchi was dismissed by the first ball of the T20I against Bangladesh at the Bay Oval. Has this happened often? asked Liam Whiteman from New Zealand
Luke Ronchi's first-ball dismissal at Mount Maunganui recently was the 15th instance of this in T20Is: Ireland's William Porterfield has suffered the fate three times. There have also been 15 occasions when a batsman has been dismissed by the first ball of the second innings of a T20I - poor old Porterfield is on here twice too.

Which Test cricketer was nicknamed the "Marlborough Meteor"? asked Gary Vincent from England
This was not, as you might first think, a product of the English public school Marlborough College. It is actually a fast bowler who hailed from the very north of New Zealand's South Island: Gary Bartlett was born at Blenheim, the largest town of the Marlborough region, in 1941. He was a very rapid bowler, who took 24 wickets in ten Tests in the 1960s, with a best of 6 for 38 against India in Christchurch in 1967-68. John Reid, Bartlett's captain in his early Tests, wrote: "Gary was really quick, faster than Neil Adcock and at least as fast as Fred Trueman, though nowhere near as complete a bowler. He wasn't far off Frank Tyson's pace, and that's as quick as it gets." But Bartlett's career was plagued with controversy about the fairness of his delivery: in that Christchurch match, the Indian seamer Abid Ali was called for throwing after deliberately chucking one ball in protest about his action. Bartlett was remembered in a 2014 book, Meteor Over Marlborough. I think the name was originally coined in about 1940, when a meteorite crashed somewhere nearby on South Island.

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