What's the highest score anyone has made in their final Test innings?

Steven LynchEditor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes4 Minute Read
Keshav Maharaj took 11 for 102 in Lancashire's tie with Somerset in TauntonGetty Images

As Alastair Cook says farewell, I wondered what the highest score in a batsman's final Test innings was? asked Savo Ceprnich from South Africa
The highest score in a batsman's final Test innings remains 258, by West Indies' Seymour Nurse against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1968-69. Nurse had already announced his intention to retire, and this innings - and pleas from his captain, Garry Sobers - didn't change his mind. Two others have signed off with a double-century in their final innings: Aravinda de Silva scored 206 for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in Colombo in 2002, while Australia's Jason Gillespie made 201 not out, also against Bangladesh, in Chittagong in 2005-06. Andy Sandham (325 for England against West Indies in Kingston in 1929-20) and Bill Ponsford (266 for Australia v England at The Oval in 1934) both passed 200 in the first innings of their final Test.

Cook became the fifth batsman to score a century in his first and last Tests. Ponsford and his fellow Australians Reggie Duff and Greg Chappell, and India's Mohammad Azharuddin are the other four. Ponsford actually scored hundreds in his first two and last two Tests.

Rashid Khan took over 150 international wickets while a teenager. If this is the record, who's next? asked Suli from Saudi Arabia
This question is well-timed, as the Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan turns 20 next week. He has taken 174 wickets in international cricket so far: next comes Waqar Younis, with 125 wickets as a teenager (and there is some debate about his age). Three more precocious Pakistanis come next: Mohammad Amir took 99 international wickets while in his teens, Aqib Javed 98, and Saqlain Mushtaq 97. Daniel Vettori collected 79 for New Zealand.

Of Rashid's wickets, a record 108 came in one-day internationals; Aqib had 75 and Saqlain 73. And Rashid is even further ahead in T20 internationals: he took 64 wickets as a teenager, double the next best, 32 by Shadab Khan of Pakistan. Waqar leads the way in Tests, with 55 teenage wickets, one more than Vettori.

I remember an over in a Test that needed three bowlers to complete it. When was this? asked Matthew McCormack from England
This unusual event happened near the start of the second Test between Sri Lanka and West Indies in Kandy in November 2001. The Trinidadian fast bowler Merv Dillon started the fifth over, with Sanath Jayasuriya facing, but had to leave the field after two balls with stomach trouble. Guyana's Colin Stuart stepped in, but two of his first three deliveries were head-high full-tosses, and as Wisden reported, "umpire John Hampshire had no alternative but to direct the captain to remove him for the rest of the innings, the first instance of its kind in Test cricket". With West Indies running out of bowlers, Chris Gayle finished the over in uneventful fashion (except Jayasuriya did hit his first ball for four). Stuart did bowl eight wicketless overs in the second innings, but never played another Test.

Waqar Younis took 125 international wickets as a teenPA Photos/Getty Images

Somerset needed 78 to beat Lancashire the other day, but were all out for 77. Was this the lowest score to tie a first-class match? asked Mark Fenton from England
Somerset's 77 in that extraordinary game against Lancashire in Taunton last week - they were 77 for 8 and lost their last two wickets without addition - was actually the third -smallest final-innings total in a tied first-class match, and the lowest for more than 120 years. The lowest remains 70, by Nelson against Wellington in Nelson in New Zealand in 1874. The only other lower total - and still the record for the English County Championship - is 74, by Lancashire against Surrey at The Oval in 1894.

There was a lower total in a match in 1783, which is counted as first-class by some statisticians but not by Wisden: Hampshire made 61 in their final innings to tie with Kent at Hambledon.

Jos Buttler narrowly failed to score a Test century on his birthday at The Oval. How many people have done this? asked Matthew Roberts from England
Jos Buttler made 89 on his 28th birthday (September 8) in the final Test against India at The Oval last week. It's a slightly tricky one to work out, but it looks as if nine people have completed a Test century on their birthday. The first was England's Reg Simpson, on his 31st birthday, in the Ashes Test in Melbourne in 1950-51; the most recent one was earlier this year, when Kusal Mendis marked his 23rd birthday (February 2) with 196 for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in Chittagong.

In between, the feat was achieved by England's Peter Richardson (on his 26th birthday in 1957), Chris Lewis (25th in 1992-93) and Alec Stewart (31st in 1993-94), the South Africans Graeme Pollock (23rd in 1966-67), Lee Irvine (26th in 1969-70) and Andrew Hudson (29th in 1993-94), and Ramnaresh Sarwan of West Indies (26th in 2006).

Two players have completed double-centuries on their birthdays: England's Patsy Hendren, on the day he turned 41, reached 205 not out against West Indies in Port-of-Spain in 1929-30, while Jason Gillespie amassed an unbeaten 201 for Australia against Bangladesh in Chittagong in the match mentioned above. Gillespie, who had gone in much earlier as nightwatchman, reached 200 on his 31st birthday - and never played another Test.

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