Ask Steven

Has any player had a bigger gap between Test centuries than Temba Bavuma?

Also: what's the quickest an ODI target has been chased down in terms of scoring rate?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Brendon McCullum and Jamie How celebrate their 10-wicket win against Bangladesh, New Zealand v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Queenstown, December 31, 2007

In 2007, Brendon McCullum (right) and Jamie How chased down Bangladesh's total of 93 in six overs, at a scoring rate of 15.8 an over  •  Getty Images

Australia knocked off their target in the second ODI at 11 an over - was this the fastest such rate in a win? asked Murray Greenfield from Australia
Australia passed their target of 118 in Visakhapatnam at the weekend in just 11 overs, at a scoring rate of exactly 11.
Only three targets have been overhauled at a faster rate in all ODIs. Top of the list is New Zealand's demolition of Bangladesh in Queenstown on New Year's Eve in 2007: a modest target 93 of was knocked off in just six overs - that's a rate of 15.83 an over - with Brendon McCullum hitting 80 not out while Jamie How contributed seven.
New Zealand lie second on the list as well, scoring 118 for 0 at 14.16 an over to beat Sri Lanka in Christchurch in 2015-16. And six days before Australia's recent onslaught, Nepal went at 13.04 an over in defeating Papua New Guinea in Kirtipur. The World Cup record was set in Wellington in February 2015, when New Zealand hurtled to their target against England at 10.13 an over.
India lost in Visakhapatnam with 234 balls to spare, their heaviest defeat by that yardstick, beating a defeat with 212 balls to spare by New Zealand in Hamilton in 2018-19. For that list, click here.
Temba Bavuma recently made his second Test century, in his 97th innings, 88 innings after his first. Has any other player had a bigger gap between Test centuries? asked Jeremy Bourke from Australia
You're right that Temba Bavuma's second Test century for South Africa - his 172 against West Indies in Johannesburg earlier this month - came 88 innings after his first, an unbeaten 102 against England in Cape Town in January 2016.
Only one man has had a longer gap between Test hundreds: there were 92 innings between the New Zealand wicketkeeper Adam Parore's first ton (100 not out against West Indies in Christchurch in 1994-95) and his second (110 vs Australia in Perth in 2001-02).
Another South African, Mark Boucher, had 73 innings between Test centuries; Pakistan's Moin Khan had a gap of 69 innings, and Mahmudullah of Bangladesh 68.
The longest time gap between Test centuries is almost 14 years by Australia's Warren Bardsley, between 1912 (164 against South Africa at Lord's) and 1926 (when he carried his bat for 193 against England, also at Lord's, when he was 43).
India's first six partnerships on the fourth Test were all of 50 or more - has this ever happened in a Test before? asked Jeevan Malhotra from India
India's innings in Ahmedabad earlier this month was actually the third time a Test innings had started with six successive partnerships of 50 or more. The first occasion was in Australia's first innings in the famous tied Test in Brisbane in 1960-61, and it happened again in Pakistan's first innings against Bangladesh in Khulna in 2015.
There are 17 instances of the first five wickets all producing partnership of 50 or more.
Has any allrounder scored a fifty, a 150 and taken a five-wicket haul in the same Test, apart from Vinoo Mankad at Lord's in 1952? asked Raghav Manickam from India
That remarkable performance by India's Vinoo Mankad - 72 and 184, either side of taking 5 for 196 in 73 overs at Lord's in 1952 - has been matched only once - by another Indian, Polly Umrigar, who scored 56 and 172 not out after taking 5 for 107 against West Indies in Port-of-Spain in 1961-62. Ian Botham just missed out, with 50, 149 not out and 6 for 95 for England against Australia at Headingley in 1981. There have been five other instances of a player scoring a hundred, a half-century and taking a five-for in the same Test. And there are two cases of this in women's Tests, both by England's Enid Bakewell - 114, 5 for 56 and 66 not out ­against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1968-69, and 68, 112 not out and 7 for 61 against West Indies at Edgbaston in 1979.
Regarding last week's question about people who made their first-class debuts in a Test, I thought Parthiv Patel did this? Should he be on that list? asked Mahendra Bhasin from India, among others
The Indian wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel played the first of his eventual 25 Tests at Trent Bridge in 2002, when he was only 17. That was actually his tenth first-class match - but what was unusual was that none of the previous nine had come in India, which makes him unique among Indian Test players.
Parthiv made his first-class debut for India A in South Africa in 2001-02, and had also played in Sri Lanka and England before his Test debut. On returning home he had one first-class match before playing his first Test in India, against West Indies in Mumbai: at that point he had still not appeared in the Ranji Trophy (he did not play in it until 2004-05, his 45th match).
The Indian statistician Pushkar Pushp tells me that Parthiv is one of only four men to make their Test debut for India before appearing in the Ranji Trophy, since the tournament started in 1934-35, following Ramesh "Buck" Divecha (1951-52), Budhi Kunderan (1959-60) and Vivek Razdan, who made his first-class debut for the Rest of India in the Irani Cup match against Ranji champions Delhi in Bombay (now Mumbai) in November 1989, and was selected for the upcoming tour of Pakistan, and had one further match there before playing in the second Test in Faisalabad, just 20 days after his first-class debut.
Shiva Jayaraman of ESPNcricinfo's stats team helped with some of the above answers.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes