Both Pakistan and South Africa captains bagged pairs in the Centurion Test. How often has this happened? asked Shripad Kher from India, among others
Faf du Plessis and Sarfraz Ahmed both failed to score in either innings in the Boxing Day Test in Centurion. There had been 21 previous pairs by Test captains, but there had never been two in the same match before.
The first international captain to bag a pair was the Australian Joe Darling, in the only Test ever played at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, in 1902. Mark Taylor (in Karachi in 1994-95), Rashid Latif (in Port Elizabeth in 1997-98) and Habibul Bashar (against Zimbabwe in Harare in 2003-04) all bagged pairs in their first Test in charge.
Please could you recheck the batting duration of Len Hutton's 364? I doubt it lasted only 797 minutes, as he faced around 847 deliveries asked Nishant Raut from India
It might seem remarkable these days, but the figures for Len Hutton's monumental 364 in the final Ashes Test at The Oval in 1938 really are correct. His 364 came from 847 balls, in 797 minutes at the crease.
The main reason lay in Australia's over rate, which averaged a sprightly 22 an hour throughout (England scored at around 59 per hour). On the first day the Aussies bowled 131 overs in just under six hours; on the second, which had a late start and another short rain delay, they managed 112.2 overs in five hours seven minutes. Then on the third day they sent down 92.4 overs before England declared at tea with 903 for 7, and bowled 29 more overs themselves before the close.
What shouldn't be forgotten is that this was actually a timeless Test, so England had no need to declare at all: "Bosser" Martin, the Oval's famous groundsman, was rather disappointed they didn't carry on until they had reached a thousand. Legend has it that England's captain, Wally Hammond, only called off the leather hunt when he was assured that Don Bradman - who had injured his ankle while having a rare bowl - would be unable to bat. Without Bradman (and opener Jack Fingleton, who was also injured), Australia managed only 201 and 123, to lose by an innings and 579 runs inside four days.
I noticed that Ross Taylor averages 319 in Tests against Zimbabwe. Is this a record against a particular country? asked Jarred Woods from New Zealand
Ross Taylor's sky-high average for New Zealand against Zimbabwe - he's scored 638 runs in Tests against them, and has only been dismissed twice - actually puts him second on this particular list. Australia's Adam Voges amassed 542 runs in five Tests against West Indies, and was only out once - giving him an average of 542 against them.
South Africa's Jacques Rudolph averaged 293 against Bangladesh, while David "Bumble" Lloyd averaged 260 for England against India (both of them were out once in two Tests). And we should give a special mention to Steve Waugh, who piled up 256 runs in two Tests against Bangladesh, and was never out at all.
If we impose a qualification of 15 innings, the list changes drastically. The great West Indian Everton Weekes averaged 106.78 in ten Tests against India, while Kumar Sangakkara managed 95.57 in 15 matches for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh. Then comes another Sri Lankan, Marvan Atapattu, with 95.41 against Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe's own Andy Flower, with 94.83 against India. Then, dwarfing all of them really, comes the one and only Don Bradman, who played no fewer than 37 Tests against England and finished with 5028 runs against them, at an average of 89.78.
I read in an old record book that 228 was the lowest individual score never made in a Test. Is this still the case? And what's the first-class record? asked Kenn Gibson from Australia
The Test record has moved on a little, as Herschelle Gibbs made 228 for South Africa against Pakistan in Cape Town in 2002-03. This means the lowest score never made in a Test is… 229, followed by 238, 252, 265, 272 and 273. The lowest individual scores not yet recorded in first-class cricket are 326 and 330, then everything from 346 to 349, which presumably shows you don't get too nervous about yet another milestone after you reach 300.
What are the worst match figures that have made it on to the Lord's honours board? asked James Hampshire from England
The most expensive of the 29 ten-fors on the Lord's honours boards belongs to Makhaya Ntini, who took 10 for 220 (5 for 75 and 5 for 145) in 2003. Ntini came in for a bit of tap from Andrew Flintoff later on, which spoiled his figures a little - but he was not too bothered, as South Africa won by an innings anyway, and he was their first bowler to take ten in a match at Lord's. "There was a lot of pride," he said. "All I could think about was the fact that the name Ntini would forever sit in the place they call the home of cricket."
Next comes the England legspinner Doug Wright, with 10 for 175 against South Africa in 1947. Another legspinner, Roly Jenkins, just missed out on the honours board (and Ntini's record) with 9 for 290 - the most runs any bowler has conceded in a Lord's Test - for England against West Indies in 1950.
The cheapest ten-for at Lord's was achieved by Charles "the Terror" Turner, with 10 for 63 for Australia in 1888.