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Four six-fors in a Test, and the highest last-wicket stand in ODIs

Ashwin: on track to be the fastest to 300 AFP

Four bowlers took six-fors in the Bengaluru Test. Is it true that this was a record? asked Christopher Jackson from Australia
Each innings of the recent match in Bengaluru featured a six-for by a different bowler, which had never happened before in a Test match. Nathan Lyon started with 8 for 50 for Australia, Ravindra Jadeja replied with 6 for 63 for India, Josh Hazlewood added 6 for 67, and R Ashwin wrapped things up with 6 for 41. There had been two previous instances of four six-fors in the same Test, but not by four different bowlers: at The Oval in 1896, Hugh Trumble took 6 for 59 and 6 for 30 for Australia, while Jack Hearne took 6 for 41 and Bobby Peel 6 for 23 for England; then in Melbourne in 1901-02, Sydney Barnes took 6 for 42 and 7 for 121 for England, and Monty Noble took 7 for 17 and 6 for 60 for Australia. There are 32 other Tests which featured four separate five-fors - and one that had five: in the solitary Test played at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, in 1902, Noble took 6 for 51 and 5 for 52 and Jack Saunders 5 for 50 for Australia, while Barnes collected 6 for 49 and Wilfred Rhodes 5 for 63 for England. At The Oval in 1997, three different bowlers - Glenn McGrath, Phil Tufnell and Michael Kasprowicz - uniquely took seven wickets in an innings.

R Ashwin has 269 wickets after 47 Tests. What's the record for a player's first 50 matches? asked L Balakrishnan from India
Ashwin could take no wickets at all in his next three matches and still be top of this list: the most wickets by anyone after their first 50 Tests is Dennis Lillee's 262, just ahead of Dale Steyn with 260. Allan Donald took 251, and Muttiah Muralitharan 245. The next milestone for Ashwin to aim for is being the fastest to 300 wickets in terms of Tests: Lillee did it in 56 matches, Muralitharan in 58, and Steyn, Richard Hadlee and Malcolm Marshall in 61. Donald and Shane Warne each needed 63 Tests to reach 300. The most wickets after 60 Tests is Lillee's 321, and then Muralitharan takes over: he had 382 after 70 matches (ahead of Steyn 356, Hadlee and Lillee 355), 450 after 80 (Hadlee 403, Steyn 402), 527 after 90 (Anil Kumble 434, Hadlee 431 in 86 matches), and 593 after 100 Tests (Kumble 485, Glenn McGrath 451, Shane Warne 444).

Dean Elgar just missed twin centuries at Dunedin. Has anyone done this for South Africa in a Test? asked Keith Harrison from South Africa
Dean Elgar followed 140 in the first innings in Dunedin with 89 in the second. Had he managed 11 more runs second time round he would have become the sixth man to score two centuries in the same Test for South Africa, following Alan Melville and Bruce Mitchell (both in England in 1947), Gary Kirsten (against India in Kolkata in 1996-97), Jacques Kallis (who did it twice - against Pakistan in Karachi in 2007-08, and v India in Cape Town in 2010-11), and Hashim Amla (v India in Kolkata in 2009-10).

England played 170 Tests between Gareth Batty's debut and his (presumably) final match last winter. Was this a record? asked Kevin Burns from England
Gareth Batty played in only nine of England's 170 Tests between his debut, against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2003-04, and his latest cap, against India in Mohali in November 2016. It's a difficult one to check, but I think the only player to miss more Tests during his career than Batty's 161 is Brian Close: England played 244 Tests between Close's debut in 1949 and his swansong in 1976, and he played in only 22 of them - he therefore missed 222 matches that he might have played in. Pat Pocock, another Surrey offspinner, missed 145 of the 170 Tests during his Test career, which stretched from 1967-68 to 1984-85, while Fred Titmus missed 132 of England's 185 Tests between 1955 and 1974-75. The first non-Englishman is Brad Hogg: Australia played 136 Tests between his debut in 1996-97 and his last appearance in 2007-08, and he played in only seven of them. Next is someone who may yet climb the list: Parthiv Patel has played only 23 of India's 150 Test matches since his debut in 2002 and his recall at the end of last year.

What is the highest last-wicket partnership in ODIs? asked Nilanjan Banerjee from India
The highest tenth-wicket stand in one-day internationals involved a famous innings quite a while ago: at Old Trafford in 1984, West Indies were in trouble at 166 for 9 against England when Michael Holding walked out to join Viv Richards. But Viv seemed unconcerned, and blasted his way to 189 not out - the highest ODI score at the time - and put on 106 with Holding, who managed 12 not out. Said Wisden: "In 14 overs they added 106, Richards's share being 93. He batted with daring and immense power, giving only one technical chance, a leg-side stumping off Miller when he was 44." It proved more than enough: England were shot out for 168. The only other century stand for the last wicket in ODIs was 103, by Mohammad Amir and Saeed Ajmal against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi in 2009-10, a partnership which nearly stole victory after Pakistan had been 101 for 9, chasing 212.

Is it true that the same man was involved in Test cricket's first obstructing the field and handled the ball dismissals? asked Jeremy Attenborough from Scotland
Remarkably, it is true: the one and only obstructing the field dismissal in Tests happened at The Oval in 1951, when the England opener Len Hutton tried to flick away a ball which had run up his arm after he gloved a lifter from Athol Rowan. Although Hutton didn't make any further contact, the South Africans appealed, as they believed he had prevented their wicketkeeper from taking a catch - and Hutton was given out. The wicketkeeper concerned was Russell Endean, who was making his Test debut. A few years later, in 1956-57, Endean was batting in Cape Town when a ball from Jim Laker hit his pad and ballooned up in the air. As Wisden reported: "The ball rose high and might well have fallen on to the stumps had not Endean thrown up a hand and diverted it. On appeal the umpire had no option but to give him out." Some wondered whether Endean's background in hockey - he had also represented South Africa in that - might have led to this temporary brain-fade. There have been six further handled-ball dismissals in Tests, but it seems unlikely there will be any more, as this method of dismissal is being removed from the Laws shortly (handling the ball twice will still be illegal, but anyone doing it will be given out obstructing the field instead).

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