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McGrath's new record, and the best batsmen against him

The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:

I heard that Glenn McGrath was close to the record for Test runs scored from No. 11. Has he got there yet? asked David Sims from Australia

Glenn McGrath passed the record, which not surprisingly went unnoticed, towards the end of the pulsating drawn third Test at Old Trafford. McGrath, who was playing in his 111th Test, took his total of runs at No. 11 to 556, with innings of 1 and 5, both not out. He has also scored 36 runs from higher in the order. The previous record-holder was Courtney Walsh, with 553 runs from No. 11 for West Indies. Muttiah Muralitharan is coming up on the rails with 526. Bob Willis is fourth with 452, with another former England fast bowler, Brian Statham, is next with 348.

I was wondering who the most successful batsman against Glenn McGrath in Tests is? Could it be Brian Lara? asked MD Masood from America

Brian Lara is indeed quite high on that particular list. In the 20 Tests he's played against Glenn McGrath, Lara averages 45.97 - he scored 1655 runs in those games, but McGrath has got him out 13 times. Lara is a fraction ahead of Graham Thorpe, who averaged 45.82 when in opposition to Australia and McGrath. Only two batsmen who played more than twice in Tests against "Pigeon" have exceeded Lara's average, and both are from Pakistan: Saeed Anwar made 796 runs in seven matches in which McGrath played, at an average of 61.23, and Ijaz Ahmed made 733 runs in eight Tests at 56.38.

How many times has a batsman been stumped for a pair in a Test, as happened in a Test in Zimbabwe recently? asked Mike McKenzie from England

The unfortunate batsman at Harare earlier this month was Zimbabwe's Christopher Mpofu, who was stumped by New Zealand's Brendon McCullum off Daniel Vettori for a duck in both innings. I couldn't remember another instance at first, but it's always dangerous to say "never" in Test cricket . and sure enough it had happened once before, way back in 1894-95, when Bobby Peel of England was stumped by Australia's wicketkeeper Affie Jarvis for 0 in both innings of the fourth Test at Sydney. Peel had bagged another pair in the previous Test at Adelaide. Sixteen other players have been stumped in both innings of the same Test, five of them in the 1950s and only three since. The most recent instance before Mpofu's came at Cairns in 2004, when Sri Lanka's Upul Chandana was stumped by Adam Gilchrist off Shane Warne for 19 and 14.

After the amazing Edgbaston Test, I was wondering which Test match produced the most runs without an individual century by any batsman? asked Andrew Schilk from Australia

Some 1176 runs were scored in the second Test at Edgbaston without an individual century, but that turns out to be only ninth on the alltime list. The biggest aggregate without a hundred by a batsman is 1272, in the match between South Africa (246 and 464 for 8 dec) and England (430 and 132 for 2) at Durban in 1927-28, when the highest individual score was Wally Hammond's 90 - there were 13 half-centuries scored in the game. The 1997 Ashes Test at Trent Bridge almost broke the record - there were 1262 runs in all in that game, but no hundreds, and the highest score was Alec Stewart's 87.

Shane Warne took 10 wickets at Edgbaston, but Australia still lost - and I gather he had done the same somewhere else. Has anyone taken ten in a match more often for a losing side?? asked Ravi Jhansari from Hyderabad

Shane Warne's other ten-for in a losing cause came at Sydney in 1993-94, when his match figures of 12 for 128 weren't quite enough to prevent South Africa winning by five runs. At Edgbaston he took 10 for 162, and England won by two runs. Two bowlers from the turn of the last century also took ten in a losing cause twice - England's tireless fast bowler Tom Richardson and the tall Australian spinner Hugh Trumble. But another modern great took ten wickets in a match three times yet ended up losing - Wasim Akram of Pakistan. He took 10 for 128 in only his second Test, at Dunedin in 1984-85, yet New Zealand won by two wickets; the next time he did it, with 11 for 162 at Melbourne in 1989-90, Australia won by 92 runs; and at St John's in 1999-2000 his 11 for 110 couldn't stop West Indies winning by one wicket. Wasim's two other ten-wicket hauls did bring Pakistan victory, though. Several other bowlers have taken ten wickets in a Test once but finished on the losing side.

You talked last week about close Test matches . and we've just had another one. Have there been any Tests where the scores were level at the end of the fourth innings but the match was drawn rather than tied? asked James Watson from Birmingham

There has only been one - the first Test ever played between Zimbabwe and England, at Bulawayo in 1996-97, when England needed 205 to win in 37 overs but finished up at 204 for 6. It counts as a draw, not a tie, as England weren't bowled out. At Old Trafford in 1998, England (183 and 369 for 9) exactly matched South Africa's total in their only innings (552) in another drawn match.