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Short-lived records, and the fewest wickets taken in a Test series

Charlotte Edwards and Jane Smit walk back after unbeaten 131-run stand Getty Images

Martin Guptill held the record for the fastest T20 fifty for about 20 minutes - has anyone ever held a record for shorter? asked Mike Shaw from Canada
What happened in the recent T20 in Auckland was that Martin Guptill scored New Zealand's fastest T20 half-century, in 19 balls, but Colin Munro then hurtled to one in just 14 deliveries shortly afterwards. Guptill reached 50 from the fifth ball of the fifth over, and Munro got there from the last of the 10th, winning the match with another six. Yuvraj Singh's 12-ball half-century for India against England in the World T20 in Durban in 2007 remains the fastest in all T20 internationals.

Leaving aside short-lived marks set in a team's early matches, there are some notable examples of cricket records not lasting very long. Arguably the most famous was Australia's 434 for 4 in Johannesburg in March 2006, which was comfortably a record one-day international total at the time - the previous highest was 398 - but it didn't survive the night, as South Africa made 438 for 9 to win by one wicket.

Charlotte Edwards held the record for the highest score in women's one-day internationals for a few hours on December 16, 1997, after making an undefeated 173 for England in a World Cup match against Ireland in Pune; later that day Belinda Clark hit 229 not out for Australia against Denmark in Mumbai.

Something similar may have happened on the first day of the men's World Cup, in England in 1975. The highest individual ODI score going into the tournament was David Lloyd's 116 not out for England against Pakistan in Nottingham in 1974 - but on the opening day of the inaugural global competition Dennis Amiss made 137 for England against India at Lord's, while in a match that started at the same time, Glenn Turner was piling up 171 not out for New Zealand against East Africa at Edgbaston. Amiss was out in the 51st over, while Turner batted throughout New Zealand's 60; we don't have exact timings but it's possible the record changed hands more than once during the day. (Thanks to the brains trust on the Ask Steven Facebook page for some of these.)

West Indies bowlers took only 12 wickets in the recent series against Australia. Is this the fewest for a three-Test series? asked Tushar Mukherjee from the United States
That's a good spot, as it turns out that the 12 wickets taken by West Indies' bowlers in the recent series in Australia was easily the fewest in any three-Test rubber. The previous worst was 16, by New Zealand at home to South Africa in 1998-99, and by Bangladesh in Sri Lanka in 2007 (when Sri Lanka won all three Tests by an innings). The fewest wickets taken by bowlers in a four- or five-Test series is 31, by South Africa in five matches in England in 1924. England took all 120 Australian wickets in the six-match Ashes series of 1978-79.

Jomel Warrican was not out in all his five innings in Australia. Was this a record for a three-Test series? asked Allan Alexander from the United States
The Barbados slow left-armer Jomel Warrican scored 44 runs without being dismissed in his five innings in the recent series in Australia. He currently boasts a heady Test batting average of 65, when those runs are added to the 1 (out) and 20 not out he made in his only previous Test, against Sri Lanka in Colombo in October. In fact, Warrican wasn't dismissed in Australia at all - in his only other innings, in a two-day warm-up against Victoria in Geelong, he made an unbeaten 22. Warrican is the first player to have five innings in a three-Test series and be not out in all of them; there are some others with five undefeated innings out of five, but they were in longer series in which the players concerned missed one or more matches. Australia's Bill Johnston, for example, had six innings in the 1953 Ashes, and was unbeaten in all of them - but he missed two of the five Tests. An earlier West Indian slow left-armer, Alf Valentine, had eight innings in the 1960-61 series in Australia, and was not out in all of them, a record matched the following season by the New Zealand swing bowler Frank Cameron in five Tests in South Africa. For the full list, click here.

England didn't bowl a single no-ball in South Africa's innings of 627 in Cape Town. Was this the highest Test innings not to include any? asked Savo Ceprnich from South Africa
The highest Test total which features a zero in the no-ball column is West Indies' 790 for 3 declared against Pakistan at Kingston in 1957-58 - the innings in which Garry Sobers set the then record individual score of 365 not out. South Africa's 627 for 7 declared against England in Cape Town earlier this month comes in joint seventh on this particular table. But it's possible that some of the entries on that list did contain some no-balls: until around 1980, when the scoring convention was changed, no-balls that were scored from would not have shown up. So the only higher total we can be sure did not contain a single no-ball is Pakistan's 708 against England at The Oval in 1987.

What's the biggest difference in scores by opening batsmen? Is it 325, when Graham Gooch made 333 and Mike Atherton 8 in the 1990 Lord's Test? asked Sujana Datta from India
There are actually three instances bigger than the 325 you mention. In Peshawar in 1998-99, Australia's captain Mark Taylor made 334 not out against Pakistan, but his opening partner Michael Slater was out for 2. When Len Hutton amassed 364 for England against Australia at The Oval in 1938, Bill Edrich was out early on for 12. But the winner is Matthew Hayden: during his 380 for Australia against Zimbabwe in Perth in 2003-04, his opening partner Justin Langer departed for 26, a difference of 354.

How many bowlers have conceded 100 runs in an innings at Lord's? If there were such an honours board, would Ian Botham and Stuart Broad be on it, giving them a complete set, as they are on the centuries, five-wickets-in-an-innings and ten-in-a-match boards too? asked Gareth Sutcliffe from South Africa
If there were such a board, it would have to be a pretty big one, as there have now been 212 instances of an individual bowler conceding 100 or more runs in an innings during a Test at Lord's. Ian Botham would certainly be up there, as he conceded a ton there on a record eight occasions; Stuart Broad has done it just once so far. Andrew Flintoff collected four bowling centuries; the Australian legspinner Clarrie Grimmett is unique among visiting bowlers in conceding three. The only man to give away more than 200 runs in a Test innings at Lord's is India's Bishan Bedi, with 6 for 226 in 1974.

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