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How many bowlers have taken a wicket with the first ball of their careers?

Warren Bardsley was the first Australian batsman to score three successive Test hundreds PA Photos/Getty Images

Marnus Labuschagne has just scored three centuries in successive innings. Has anyone else done this for Australia? asked Michael Brossetti from Australia
Marnus Labuschagne's 143 in the first Test against New Zealand in Perth was the 38th instance of a batsman scoring three centuries in successive Test innings. That includes the three men who scored four in a row - Jack Fingleton for Australia in 1936, South Africa's Alan Melville in 1938-39 and 1947, and Rahul Dravid of India in 2002 - and the one man who went on to make it five, Everton Weekes of West Indies in 1948.

Apart from Labuschagne and Fingleton, the other Australians to score three successive Test centuries are Warren Bardsley, in 1909 and 1910-11, Charlie Macartney in 1926, Arthur Morris in 1946-47, Don Bradman in 1947-48, Adam Gilchrist in 2004-05, Adam Voges in 2015-16, and David Warner, who achieved the feat twice - in 2014 and again in 2015.

Somerset's Lewis Gregory took a wicket with his first ball for England recently. How many others have done this? asked Harry Tregoning from Somerset
Lewis Gregory bowled New Zealand's Colin de Grandhomme with his opening delivery in the recent T20I in Wellington. He was the 17th man to take a wicket with his first ball in T20Is, as this list shows, but only the second for England, after Joe Denly, who dismissed South Africa's captain Graeme Smith in Centurion in 2009-10.

The others to take a wicket with their very first ball in international cricket for England were Bill Bradley (1899), Ted Arnold (1903-04), Jack Crawford (1905-06), George Macaulay (1922-23), Maurice Tate (1924) and Dick Howorth (1947) in Tests, and Rikki Clarke (2003) in a one-day international. Although Richard Illingworth took a wicket with his first ball in a Test, in 1991, he had already bowled in ODIs; Geoff Arnold struck with his first ball in ODIs, in 1972, but had already bowled in Tests.

Regarding last week's question about people who captained in their first Test, Lee Germon played 12, all as captain. Has anyone had more than this? asked Murugan Balasubramanian from the United States
In all there have been 25 men who played all their Tests as captain, including Ireland's William Porterfield, who recently stood down, so may yet leave this list. The only one to have played more Tests all as captain than Lee Germon's 12 was the South African wicketkeeper Percy Sherwell, who skippered in each of his 13 Tests between 1905-06 and 1910-11. Jackie Grant of West Indies also played 12 Tests all as captain, during the 1930s - the same decade in which Herby Wade led South Africa in each of his ten Tests.

Although Abdul Hafeez Kardar captained Pakistan in all his 23 Tests for them in the 1950s, he had previously played three for India, not as captain. Similarly, Kepler Wessels skippered in all his 16 Tests for South Africa, but had previously appeared in 24 for Australia as a player alone.

Five men captained in what turned out to be their only Test, most notably the future Hollywood movie star Aubrey Smith.

Who's the only teenager to score a double-century in a Test? asked David Dudgeon from Hong Kong
The answer here is Pakistan's Javed Miandad, who was around 19 years five months old when he hit 206 against New Zealand in Karachi in 1976-77. He broke the record established by George Headley, who was 20 when he scored 223 for West Indies against England in Kingston in 1929-30. He's still the second-youngest, with 21-year-olds Vinod Kambli third and Garry Sobers fourth. For the full list, click here.

Further to last week's question about the late great Bob Willis taking 325 Test wickets without a ten-for, what's the most taken by a bowler who never managed five in an innings? asked James Lewcock from England
The answer here is another man who played alongside Bob Willis for England: Mike Hendrick took 87 wickets in 30 Tests, with a best return of 4 for 28 - one of five four-fors - against India at Edgbaston in 1974. Mashrafe Mortaza of Bangladesh came close to beating Hendrick's tally: he took 78 wickets in 36 Tests, with a best of 4 for 60 against England in Chittagong in 2003-04. Although Mortaza captained Bangladesh in the 2019 World Cup, he last played a Test in July 2009.

For a full list of the most Test wickets without a five-for, click here.

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