Ask Steven

Does Jason Gillespie have the lowest average of any Test double-centurion?

Also: Has anyone reached 200 dismissals in Tests faster than Quinton de Kock?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Prince Masvaure and Kevin Kasuza saw off multiple bursts from Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Harare, 1st day, January 19, 2020

Kevin Kasuza, left, made his Test debut opening Zimbabwe's first innings, only to have to sit out the second with a delayed concussion, allowing sub Brian Mudzinganyana to make his debut  •  AFP

Prince Masvaure opened the batting in Zimbabwe's first Test against Sri Lanka with two different debutants. How rare is this? asked Richard O'Kelly from Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's Prince Masvaure - who was playing only his third Test himself - opened with the debutant Kevin Kasuza in the first innings against Sri Lanka in Harare, then, after Kasuza suffered a delayed concussion, with Brian Mudzinganyana in the second innings. Mudzinganyama was the first to make his Test debut as a substitute: it was only his fourth first-class match of a career that started a month earlier with an exciting Logan Cup match for Rangers in Harare.
There have been only four other instances of an opener having two debutants as partners in the same Test. The first was in Melbourne in 1882-83, when England's Dick Barlow opened with the Honourable Ivo Bligh in the first innings, and Edmund Tylecote in the second. It happened again in Melbourne in 1884-85, when Australia's Sammy Jones opened with Sam Morris in the first innings and William Bruce in the second against England (Bruce had gone in at No. 10 in the first innings, and he and Morris swapped places in the second).
The other occasions were in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1933-34, when Naoomal Jeoomal opened with debutants Dilawar Hussain (first innings) and Mushtaq Ali (second) for India against England; and in Bridgetown in 1947-48, when Jack Robertson opened England's first innings against West Indies with Winston Place and the second with Dennis Brookes.
Has Quinton de Kock reached 200 dismissals in Tests faster than anyone else? asked Allan Alexander from the United States
South Africa's Quinton de Kock made his 200th dismissal in Tests when he caught Ollie Pope in the fourth Test in Johannesburg over the weekend. It was the 45th Test - and 84th innings - in which he had kept wicket (he has played two additional matches as a specialist batsman, but took no catches). None of the 17 other keepers who amassed 200 Test dismissals got there quicker: de Kock broke the record set by Adam Gilchrist, who needed 47 Tests and 92 innings. England's Godfrey Evans took longest to get there - 80 Tests and 153 innings.
Does Jason Gillespie have the lowest average of anyone who has scored a Test double-century? asked Jamie Stewart from Canada
Jason Gillespie's famous innings of 201 not out as a nightwatchman against Bangladesh in Chittagong (now Chattogram) in 2005-06, in what turned out to be his final Test, raised his batting average from 15.64 to 18.73. Despite that hike it's still the lowest for anyone with a Test double-century: next come Wasim Akram of Pakistan (22.64) and the long-ago Australian Syd Gregory (24.53).
The lowest average for a man with a Test century to his name is 12.96, by the West Indian fast bowler Jerome Taylor; next comes Pakistan's Yasir Shah, whose 113 against Australia in Adelaide in December has helped him boost his average to 13.76.
These days big ODI totals are often chased down with ease. But which was the first team to score over 300 to win? asked Stuart from South Africa
The first successful chase of over 300 in a one-day international came during the 1992 World Cup, in New Plymouth, when Sri Lanka overhauled Zimbabwe's 312 for 4 with four balls to spare. Andy Flower was making his ODI debut in that game, and scored 115 not out for Zimbabwe, who were not a Test-playing nation at the time (their inaugural Test was around eight months later, against India in Harare in October 1992).
It didn't happen again for almost six years: in the decisive third final of a triangular one-day series in Dhaka in January 1998, India passed Pakistan's imposing 314 for 5 from the fifth ball of the final over. There have now been 85 instances of a team successfully chasing 300 or more to win a one-day international, 33 of them in the last five years.
Three New Zealanders made fifties in the first T20I against India - but they still lost. Was this a first? asked Russell King from England
Colin Munro, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor all reached 50 in the first T20I against India in Auckland last week. This was the eighth instance of three scores of 50-plus in the same innings, but only the second in a match lost by the team concerned. The other one was in the World T20 in Mumbai in March 2016, when three South Africans passed 50, but England got home with two balls to spare.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes