We were talking during the Oval Test about home advantage, and wondered which Surrey player had scored the most Test runs there. Was it Stewie or Hobbs? asked David Humphries from Surrey
You've chosen the right two, and it's very close: Alec Stewart scored 624 Test runs at The Oval, and Jack Hobbs 619. "The Master" had the edge on "The Guv'nor" in one important respect, though: Hobbs averaged 56.27 and Stewart 31.90. Two other legendary Surrey names are close at hand as well: Ken Barrington scored 596 Test runs at The Oval, and Graham Thorpe 586. Kevin Pietersen scored 897 Test runs at The Oval, but only 374 of them after joining Surrey in 2010. For the list of the leading run-scorers in Oval Tests, click here. The leading Surrey wicket-taker there is Jim Laker, who claimed 40, while his partner-in-spin Tony Lock lies second, with 34.
What is the highest total in Tests that didn't include a hundred partnership? asked Kieron McArthur from Barbados
There have been three totals of 500-plus (and one of 499) in Tests without a partnership of 100 or more. England made 515 against Pakistan at Headingley in 2006 despite the highest stand of their innings being 86, while India made 520 against Australia in Adelaide in 1985-86 (the first wicket put on 95, and the last 94). But top of the list remains Australia's 533 against West Indies, also in Adelaide, in 1968-69: the highest partnership was 93, between Doug Walters and Paul Sheahan. That was a high-scoring match, with a total of 1764 runs - a record for a time-limited Test ¬- and 17 individual scores of 50 or more, still the overall Test record.
I wondered during the Oval Test whether Toby Roland-Jones would complete the fastest five-for on debut - but he got stuck on four wickets for quite a while. Who does hold this record? asked Giles Taylor from England
I think this record belongs to the Jamaican fast bowler Lester King, who took five wickets in the first five overs of his Test debut, for West Indies in Kingston in 1961-62 as India nosedived to 26 for 5. King was unfortunate that his heyday coincided with that of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith (plus a useful third seamer in Garry Sobers). In fact King played only one further Test, against England in Georgetown in 1967-68, when Griffith was injured.
The fastest five-fors in any innings, after first coming on to bowl, were achieved in 19 balls - by the Australian left-armer Ernie Toshack, against India in Brisbane in 1947-48 (he took 11 for 31 in the match), and by Stuart Broad, at the start of his 8 for 15 against Australia at Trent Bridge in 2015.
Who scored the most runs in Tests before being dismissed? asked Michael Fox from England
My first thought that it would be hard to beat Reginald "Tip" Foster, who scored 287 on his debut for England against Australia in Sydney in 1903-04, which remains the highest score by anyone in their first Test. But someone did manage more runs before being dismissed: Jacques Rudolph, the South African left-hander, kicked off his Test career with 222 not out against Bangladesh in Chittagong in April 2003, and added 71 in his next innings, in Dhaka, to make it 293 runs before he was out for the first time. Brendon Kuruppu of Sri Lanka scored 220 Test runs (201 not out and 19) before getting out, while Lawrence Rowe of West Indies and New Zealand's Mathew Sinclair both started with an innings of 214.
Of living people, who has gone the longest since playing in a Test match? asked Karthik Subramaniam from India
There are two men, still alive as I write, whose Test careers finished over 67 years ago in 1950. The hard-hitting Eastern Province batsman Ronald Draper played two Tests for South Africa against Australia in 1949-50, the second of which finished on March 6. Later that year the Cambridge University and Sussex batsman Hubert Doggart played twice for England, his Test career coming to a close on June 29 after West Indies' famous victory at Lord's. Doggart, who was later president of MCC, is now 92, while Draper is 90.
Women's cricket, however, boasts an even longer time gap: the remarkable Eileen Ash, who rang the bell before the start of the recent women's World Cup final at Lord's, played the last of her seven Test matches in March 1949. As Eileen Whelan she had made her debut against Australia in Northampton in 1937, and is the last surviving pre-war Test cricketer of either sex. She is now 105 years old.
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