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Surrendering big leads, and ten-fors in vain

The Indian players look at the giant screen for the TV replay AFP

India had a first-innings lead of 192 in the Galle Test, but ended up losing. Was this a record? asked Prasanth Kalman from India
That stunning turnaround in Galle was a record for India, who had never surrendered such a big lead before - their previous largest that still resulted in defeat was a modest 80, in Adelaide in 1991-92, when Australia made 145 and 451 and India managed 225 and 333. Overall, this Galle Test comes in ninth on the list of first-innings leads that were overturned. The biggest one remains Pakistan's lead of 331 over England at The Oval in 2006, in the match they eventually forfeited after being penalised for ball-tampering. The largest lead overturned under normal circumstances also happened in Sri Lanka: at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo in 1992-93, Australia (256 and 471) beat Sri Lanka (547 for 8d and 164) despite a first-innings deficit of 291. Next comes the famous comeback in Kolkata in 2000-01, when India (171 and 657 for 7d) battled back to beat Australia (445 and 212) by 171 runs after following-on 273 behind.

Have Sri Lanka ever lost a Test in Galle before? asked Pascal Bounin from the Netherlands
The recent Test against India was the 26th played in Galle. And Sri Lanka hadn't lost there for… about two months! Pakistan beat them there by ten wickets in June. Apart from that, though, Sri Lanka have a pretty good record in the shadow of the fort: they have now won 14 of those 26 Tests, with six draws. Pakistan also won in Galle in June 2000, and the other visiting teams to win there have been Australia (2003-04 and 2011-12), India (2008), and South Africa (2014).

R Ashwin took ten wickets in Galle but ended up on the losing side. Who has taken the most wickets in a losing cause? asked Ayunk Ghosh from India
R Ashwin's 10 for 160 against Sri Lanka in Galle was the 70th occasion that a bowler had taken ten or more wickets in a Test but finished on the losing side. Another Indian bowler heads this list: in the Asian Test Championship in Kolkata in 1998-99, Javagal Srinath took 13 for 132 (5 for 46 and 8 for 86) against Pakistan, who nonetheless won by 46 runs. There have been three other instances of a bowler taking 13 wickets in a Test but losing: Sydney Barnes claimed 13 for 163 for England against Australia in Melbourne in 1901-02; Merv Hughes 13 for 217 for Australia against West Indies in Perth in 1988-89; and Tom Richardson 13 for 244 for England against Australia at Old Trafford in 1896. Wasim Akram took ten or more in a losing cause on a record three occasions.

I read that Michael Clarke scored 4654 Test runs in Australia. Who has scored the most there? asked Savo Ceprnich from South Africa
Michael Clarke lies fifth on this particular list, just ahead of David Boon (4541 Test runs in Australia) and Greg Chappell (4515). Ahead of him are Matthew Hayden (5210), Steve Waugh (5710), Allan Border (5743) and Ricky Ponting (7578). Ponting played a record 92 Tests in Australia, Waugh 89 and Border 86. However, Clarke averaged 62.05 in Australia, higher than any Australian with more than 500 runs except Steven Smith (currently 1255 at 66.05), Bob Cowper (1061 at 75.78), and the inevitable Don Bradman (4322 at 98.22 in 33 matches). Only Ponting (23), Hayden (21) and Bradman (18) scored more than Clarke's 17 Test hundreds at home; Greg Chappell made 16, Boon, Justin Langer and Steve Waugh 15. In all international cricket in Australia (Tests, ODIs and T20s) Ponting scored 13,232 runs, Border 9811, Waugh 8875 and Clarke 8147; Mark Waugh comes next with 7846.

In four consecutive innings at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, four different England bowlers took six or more wickets. Has this happened before? asked Steve Howe from New Zealand
That run by England bowlers is indeed unique: there have been no previous cases of four different bowlers taking six or more wickets in successive Test innings. The four men concerned were James Anderson (6 for 47) and Steven Finn (6 for 79) at Edgbaston, and Stuart Broad (8 for 15) and Ben Stokes (6 for 36) at Trent Bridge. There have, however, been two previous instances of different bowlers taking six-fors in four successive Tests, both by England. Against Australia in 1886, Dick Barlow took 7 for 44 in the first Test at Old Trafford, Johnny Briggs 6 for 45 at Lord's, and George Lohmann 7 for 36 at The Oval; then the following winter in Australia Billy Barnes took 6 for 28 in the first Test in Sydney. Lohmann continued the run with 8 for 35 in the second match, also at the SCG. It happened again in 1933: in the second and last Test in New Zealand in March, Bill Bowes took 6 for 34 in Auckland. Then, when West Indies toured England, Walter Robins claimed 6 for 32 at Lord's, James Langridge 7 for 56 at Old Trafford, and Charles "Father" Marriott 6 for 59 at The Oval. Both Langridge and 37-year-old Marriott were making their Test debuts (Marriott, in fact, never played another one, despite match figures of 11 for 96).

Has anyone before Stuart Broad taken eight wickets in a Test innings but not gone on to take ten in the match? asked Antony from New Zealand
Rather surprisingly, perhaps, that performance by Stuart Broad at Trent Bridge - 8 for 15 in the first innings, 1 for 36 in the second - was the 29th occasion that a bowler had taken an eight-for without going on to claim ten in the match. The most recent instance was by the Bangladesh slow left-armer Taijul Islam, against Zimbabwe in Mirpur last October. The only man to do it while conceding fewer runs than Broad (51) was Fred Trueman, with 8 for 31 and 1 for 9 for England against India at Old Trafford in 1952. Only one man has taken nine wickets in an innings but finished wicketless in the other one: against India in Port-of Spain in 1970-71 the West Indian offspinner Jack Noreiga had lopsided figures of 9 for 95 and 0 for 36.