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Ask Steven

Eight lefties and eight tons

Also: the fastest outfielder to 100 catches, and most consecutive Test fifties by a keeper

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Bob Simpson took 100 outfield catches in only 54 Tests, but it took him nearly 20 years to get there  •  PA Photos

Bob Simpson took 100 outfield catches in only 54 Tests, but it took him nearly 20 years to get there  •  PA Photos

England's side for the second Test in India included seven left-handers - was that a record? asked Andy Parlett from England
The seven left-hand batsmen in England's side in Visakhapatnam - Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Zafar Ansari, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Ben Duckett and Ben Stokes - equalled the number used in the first four Tests of the 2015 English summer, against New Zealand and Australia (Ali, Anderson, Broad, Cook, Stokes, Gary Ballance and Adam Lyth). But England's record is eight, in the final Test of the 2013-14 Ashes disaster in Sydney: Anderson, Ballance, Broad, Cook, Stokes, Scott Borthwick, Michael Carberry and Boyd Rankin. That matched the overall Test record of eight left-handers in one team, by West Indies in two Tests during 2000: in Georgetown in May they included Jimmy Adams, Curtly Ambrose, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, Adrian Griffith, Wavell Hinds, Ridley Jacobs and Nixon McLean; in August, at The Oval, Brian Lara and Mahendra Nagamootoo replaced Chanderpaul and Gayle.
Who holds the record for the most runs and centuries in Tests at Eden Gardens? asked Vishal Patel from India
Sachin Tendulkar has played the most Tests in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) with 13, but his aggregate of 872 runs there put him only third on that list. On top is VVS Laxman, who made 1217 runs at Eden Gardens, at an average of 110.63. Laxman's tally included five centuries, equalling the mark set by Mohammad Azharuddin in only seven games there. Laxman played ten Tests on the ground, Rahul Dravid and Vijay Manjrekar nine, while Sourav Ganguly, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Gundappa Viswanath all made eight appearances there. Dravid (962) also eclipsed Tendulkar for runs on the ground; Azharuddin made 860. Among visitors, the West Indian Rohan Kanhai scored the most runs with 346. Younis Khan is next with 297, and is one of four visiting batsmen to make two centuries at Eden Gardens, along with Hashim Amla, Gary Kirsten and Everton Weekes.
Which outfielder was the fastest to 100 catches in Tests? asked Jason Clarke from England
It's no great surprise to find one of the greatest of all slip fielders leading the way here. Australia's Bob Simpson clocked up a century of catches in only 54 Tests - although it took him almost 20 years to do it, as he originally retired in 1967-68 with 99 in 52 matches, and catch No. 100 came against India in Perth ten years later, in the second match of his dramatic recall to captain Australia after the mass defections to World Series Cricket. Ross Taylor of New Zealand took his 100th catch in his 60th Test, while Stephen Fleming took 68 matches; both Chappell brothers - Ian and Greg - got there in 69. Altogether 26 outfielders have reached 100 catches in fewer than 100 matches.
What's the most centuries that have been scored in one Test match? asked AK Srivastava from India
There have been two Test matches that featured a total of eight individual centuries - and you probably won't be too surprised to discover that both matches were drawn! The first one was in Antigua in April 2005, when AB de Villiers (114), Graeme Smith (126), Jacques Kallis (147) and Ashwell Prince (131) reached three figures for South Africa, then Chris Gayle (317), Ramnaresh Sarwan (127), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (127) and Dwayne Bravo (107) followed suit as West Indies amassed 747. There were also eight centuries in the match in Galle in March 2013 - Kumar Sangakkara (142 and 105), Lahiru Thirimanne (155 not out), Dinesh Chandimal (116 not out) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (126) for Sri Lanka, Mohammad Ashraful (190), Mushfiqur Rahim (200) and Nasir Hossain (100) for Bangladesh. There have been six further Tests that included seven individual centuries. Only one of them ended in a positive result: Australia (five tons) beat West Indies (two, both by Clyde Walcott) in Kingston in June 1955.
At Hobart, Quinton de Kock made his fifth successive Test score of 50 or more. What's the record, for any batsman and a wicketkeeper? asked Craig Manuel from South Africa
Quinton de Kock needs to add two more half-centuries in the third Test in Adelaide, which starts on Thursday, to equal the record set by the great West Indian Everton Weekes between 1947-48 and 1948-49, and subsequently equalled by Andy Flower (2000-01), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2006-07 to 2007-08), Kumar Sangakkara (2013-14 and 2014) and Chris Rogers (2014-15 and 2015). Flower kept wicket throughout his run, but Sangakkara had handed over the big gloves by the time of his sequence.
Who has made the highest score in women's internationals, and who has the best bowling figures? asked Allan Alexander from the United States
The first double-century in women's Tests was scored by New Zealand's Kirsty Flavell, with 204 against England in Scarborough in 1996, and there have been five more since. The highest now is 242, by Kiran Baluch for Pakistan against West Indies in Karachi in 2003-04. The best bowling figures are 8 for 53, by the Indian slow left-armer Neetu David against England in Jamshedpur in 1995-96. There have been ten other cases of seven wickets in an innings, including 7 for 6 by England's Mary Duggan and 7 for 7 by Betty Wilson of Australia in the same game, in Melbourne in 1957-58. There has also been one double-century in a women's one-day international, Belinda Clark's undefeated 229 for Australia v Denmark*in Mumbai in 1997-98. The best bowling figures in women's ODIs are 7 for 4, by the Pakistan offspinner Sajjida Shah against Japan in Amsterdam in July 2003. Japan were all out for 28, of which 20 were wides.
And there's an update to last week's question about players being stranded on 99 not out at the end of a day in a Test, by John Lynch from Vanuatu
"You said of the batsmen left on 99 overnight that in all 15 cases they reached three figures next morning. But actually Greg Chappell in Melbourne in 1979-80 had to wait out not just the night but also the whole of the rest day (and another potentially sleepless night) to complete his ton."
Post your questions in the comments below
*The team against whom Belinda Clark made her ODI double-century was incorrectly mentioned as India. Thanks to readers for pointing out the error.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes