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



Ricky Ponting: rare double © Getty Images

Who was the first person to score a double-century and a duck in the same Test? asked Sukhinder Singh from Rajkot

This has happened five times now, but the first instance was in 1935-36, when Dudley Nourse made 0 and 231 for South Africa v Australia at Johannesburg. The most recent instance - and the highest score to be accompanied by a duck in the same Test - was Ricky Ponting's 242 for Australia against India at Adelaide in 2003-04. For the full list of batsmen who have made a century and a duck in the same Test, click here.

I saw Peter Kirsten score his first Test century at Leeds in 1994. Is he the oldest man to make a maiden Test ton? asked Alex Fitt from Ilkley

Kirsten actually lies sixth on that list for his 104 at Headingley in 1994, when he was 39 years and 84 days old. Top of the pile is another South African, Dave Nourse, the father of Dudley, who is mentioned in the previous question. "Old Dave" was 42 years 294 days old when he scored his one and only Test century, 111 for South Africa against Australia at Johannesburg in 1921-22. The others older than Kirsten when they made their first Test centuries were another South African in Eric Rowan, and three Englishmen - Ted Bowley, Andy Sandham and Harry Makepeace.

Has anyone ever opened the batting, kept wicket and captained in the same Test? I don't think Alec Stewart ever did it ... asked Dave Sanders from Middlesex

You're right, Alec Stewart never did do that for England. But three other people have done it in Tests: Gerry Alexander of West Indies, in a Test against Pakistan at Lahore in 1958-59; Imtiaz Ahmed of Pakistan, in one Test against Australia in 1959-60 and two against England in 1961-62; and Percy Sherwell of South Africa, in six Tests between 1907 and 1910-11. In the first of those, against England at Lord's, Sherwell hit 115 - the only Test century by a captain-keeper-opener. In his previous two Tests Sherwell had batted at No. 10 and 11.

Who is the youngest person to captain his side in a Test? asked James Rawlings from Sittingbourne

For as long as I can remember this record was held by the Nawab of Pataudi junior (later Mansur Ali Khan), who was only 21 years and 77 days old when he captained India against West Indies at Bridgetown in 1961-62, after Nari Contractor was injured. Unusually, Pataudi was the youngest member of that side. But the record changed hands earlier this year, when Tatenda Taibu took charge of the weakened Zimbabwe side against Sri Lanka at Harare in May. Taibu was still eight days short of his 21st birthday when the match started.

I read that Graham Gooch scored more than 2000 Test runs at Lord's. Has any other batsman managed that on a single ground? asked Keith d'Souza

No, Gooch - who scored 2015 runs in 21 Tests at Lord's - is the only man to achieve that. Don Bradman comes next, with 1671 runs at Melbourne. In third place, and liable to move further up, is Brian Lara, who has scored 1628 runs so far at St John's, including those two Test-record scores of 375 and 400 not out. The next two current batsmen on the list are Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene, who have so far scored 1501 and 1239 runs respectively at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo. The only man to make more than 1000 Test runs at an away venue is Jack Hobbs, with 1178 at Melbourne. For a full list, click here.

During the Champions Trophy, between the innings the groundsmen were placing a device on the pitch which had black rods and white balls at end of each rod. What was this? asked Praveen from Bristol

We weren't sure, so asked the ICC. Dave Richardson, the former South African wicketkeeper who is now in charge of their cricket operations, explained: "The device is actually placed by the biomechanic experts, Quintec, who we are using to conduct the research on the actions of the bowlers. The device is used to calibrate the high-speed cameras which are used to determine changes in the angles of the arm during the bowling action. The calibrations are checked before the game and at the intervals."

And an afterthought to one of last week's questions, from James Sidney of Auckland

I was interested in the question about New Zealand's "Dibbly-Dobbly-Wobbly" bowling attack, which did indeed come to the fore at the 1992 World Cup. For the record, I think Chris Harris was Dibbly, Gavin Larsen was Dobbly, and Rod Latham - perhaps because of his generous girth - was Wobbly. But there was someone else in on the start of the whole thing - Willie Watson, who was known to the fans as "Wibbly". So to start with it was Dibbly and Dobbly, Wibbly and Wobbly.

Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden Cricinfo. If you want to Ask Steven a question, e-mail him at asksteven@cricinfo.com. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.