Eight for eight, and how to rate allrounders

Brian Taber was the first keeper to make eight dismissals on Test debut Getty Images

England lost their last eight wickets for eight runs in the T20 match in Bangalore. Was this a record for an international game? asked Nitin Agha from India
England's rapid decline in Bangalore last week - from 119 for 2 to 127 all out - was easily the worst such collapse (from two down to all out) in Twenty20 internationals: in Karachi in April 2008, Bangladesh subsided from 85 for 2 to 101 all out, so lost their last eight for 16. There has been one worse collapse in a Test match: in Wellington in 1945-46 New Zealand were 37 for 2 in the first innings against Australia, but then lost eight wickets for five runs to be all out for 42. The record for one-day internationals is ten runs, by Sri Lanka (45 for 2 to 55 all out) against West Indies in Sharjah in 1986-87, with Courtney Walsh taking 5 for 1.

Which Test ground is nearest to the equator? asked Ian Kelly from England
I was surprised by the answer to this unusual question. My first thought was that it was probably a ground in the West Indies, and I suspected that Georgetown in Guyana was the nearest to the equator. And that's right for the Caribbean region - the distance is about 470 miles (755 kilometres). But actually there is a nearer one: Galle, on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, is only 418 miles (672km) from the centre line. I think the nearest international ground is the Ruaraka club - one of the six venues that have staged official ODIs in Nairobi, which lies only 89 miles (143km) from the equator.

One simple way of rating allrounders is to subtract the bowling average from the batting one. Who comes out on top this way in Tests? asked James Clarke from England
Don Bradman leads the way overall - if you deduct his bowling average of 36 (two wickets) from the famed batting one of 99.94 you get 63.64, which puts him just in front of England's Ledger Hill (62.75 - 2.00 = 60.75) and Barry Richards of South Africa (72.57 - 26.00 = 46.57). Jayant Yadav of India is currently fourth on this list at 44.11, just ahead of Alastair Cook (39.46). But really, you have to impose some sort of qualification, to ensure you're talking about proper allrounders, not just batsmen who bowled a bit. I restricted it to players who had taken at least 30 wickets, and was satisfied when Garry Sobers came out on top: he scored 8032 runs at 57.78, and took 235 wickets at 34.04, so his overall difference is 23.74. Second is Jacques Kallis - 13,289 runs at 55.37, and 292 wickets at 32.65, a difference of 22.72. The only other player over 20 is Wally Hammond - 7249 runs at 58.46, and 83 wickets at 37.81, a difference of 20.65. The worst of the 552 players who meet this qualification is Rubel Hossain of Bangladesh: he has a batting average of 9.57, and a bowling one of 77.94 (32 wickets), so a difference of -68.37!

I noticed that Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow added 399 together at Newlands early last year. Are there any other big near-misses like that? asked Keith Catford from England
That stand by Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow - the record for the sixth wicket in Tests - came in Cape Town in 2015-16. It was actually the second stand of 399 in Tests: against England in Bridgetown in 1959-60, Garry Sobers and Frank Worrell put on 399 for West Indies' fourth wicket, in a stand that started on January 8 and finished on the 12th. Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh put on a world-record 449 for Australia's fourth wicket against West Indies in Hobart in 2015-16. There was a first-class near-miss earlier this season in the Ranji Trophy: against Delhi in Mumbai in October, Swapnil Gugale and Ankit Bawne had put on 594 for Maharashtra's third wicket when Gugale declared, soon after reaching 350. Apart from being six shy of 600, they were also only 30 short of the largest stand in all first-class cricket, the 624 of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara for Sri Lanka's third wicket against South Africa in Colombo in July 2006.

Which wicketkeeper made the most dismissals in his first Test? asked Kieran Jamieson from Scotland
Two wicketkeepers share the record, both making eight dismissals on their Test debut. Brian Taber set the mark with seven catches and a stumping for Australia against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1966-67, and that was equalled by England's Chris Read (also seven caught and one stumped) against New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999. Six further wicketkeepers made seven dismissals on debut: Gil Langley (Australia, 1951-52), Artie Dick (New Zealand, 1961-62), Alan Knott (England, 1967), Saleem Yousuf (Pakistan, 1981-82), Chamara Dunusinghe (Sri Lanka, 1994-95), and Peter Nevill (Australia, 2015). Only one outfielder has taken seven catches in his first Test - Yajurvindra Singh, for India against England in Bangalore in 1976-77.

Who has played the most Tests at a single venue? asked Harpreet Laxman from India
The long-lasting Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene is top of this particular list - and third too. Jayawardene played 27 Tests at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo - his home ground, as it happens - and 23 in Galle. Muttiah Muralitharan played 24 at the SSC, while Kumar Sangakkara also played 23 in Galle. Alastair Cook has played 22 so far at Lord's, while Jacques Kallis had 22 Tests in Cape Town. Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya both played 22 at the SSC. Alistair Campbell and Grant Flower both contested 21 in Harare, and Daniel Vettori 21 in Wellington. Graham Gooch played 21 Tests at Lord's, and Chaminda Vaas 21 at the SSC.

The one-day international record changed hands recently, when Mushfiqur Rahim of Bangladesh played his 78th match in Mirpur, beating Wasim Akram's previous mark of 77 in Sharjah. Shakib Al Hasan has played 73 ODIs at Mirpur and Tamim Iqbal 71; Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene both played 71 at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Mushfiqur has also played 19 T20Is in Mirpur, but he's pipped on that particular list by Pakistan's Umar Akmal, with 20 in Dubai.

Mushfiqur and Shakib, with 111 and 103 in Mirpur, are the only players to have played more than 100 international matches on a single ground in all three formats; Tamim has played 99 there so far. Next comes Hamilton Masakadza, with 93 internationals in Harare.

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