Ask Steven

Has any visiting bowler bettered Nathan Lyon's two eight-fors in India?

And what is the highest innings score in a Test without extras?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Michael Kasprowicz celebrates the wicket of Devon Malcolm, day three, sixth Test, England v Australia, The Oval, August 23, 1997

At The Oval in 1997, three different bowlers - Michael Kasprowicz (in photo), Glenn McGrath and Phil Tufnell - took a seven-for each in different innings  •  Getty Images

A different bowler took a five-wicket haul in each innings of the first Test between South Africa and West Indies - how unusual is this? asked James Morrison from Spain
In last week's first Test in Centurion, Alzarri Joesph took 5 for 81 in South Africa's first innings and Kemar Roach 5 for 47 in the second, while when West Indies batted Anrich Nortje took 5 for 36 in the first innings and Kagiso Rabida 6 for 50 in the second. This was only the 11th time that four different bowlers had taken a five-for in each innings of a Test; the previous instance was in Bengaluru in 2016-17, when Ravindra Jadeja took 6 for 63 and R Ashwin 6 for 41 for India, and Nathan Lyon 8 for 50 and Josh Hazlewood 6 for 67 for Australia.
A notable instance came at The Oval in 1997, when three different bowlers collected seven-fors: Glenn McGrath took 7 for 76 and Michael Kasprowicz 7 for 36 for Australia, either side of Phil Tufnell's 7 for 66. Andy Caddick took 5 for 42 in the second innings as England completed a narrow victory.
Harry Brook reached 184 not out by the end of the first day of the second Test against New Zealand. What's the highest score by a No. 5 on the opening day of a Test? asked Alastair84 from England
That's a good spot: there are only two higher scores from No. 5 or lower on the first day of a Test than Harry Brook's 184 not out in Wellington last week. Brook entered in the seventh over, at 21 for 3, and had reached 184 by the end of a day shortened to 65 overs by bad weather.
Top of the list is Australia's Michael Clarke, who made 224 not out from No. 5 on the first day against South Africa in Adelaide in 2012-13 (he was out early next day for 230). Then comes Brook's England coach, Brendon McCullum, with 195 for New Zealand against Sri Lanka in Christchurch in 2014-15. McCullum came in at 88 for 3 in the 24th over, and was out in the 66th.
After Brook's innings come two cases of 169, by the New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith against India in Auckland in 1989-90 (he was out early next day for 173), and India's Yuvraj Singh against Pakistan in Bengaluru in 2007-08 (he was out just before the first-day close). Smith actually came it at No. 9, and Yuvraj at 6.
There were no extras India's first innings of 109 in the third Test against Australia - was this a record? asked Elamaran Perumal from the United States
India's 109 in the recent match in Indore last week was quite a long way short of this record: there have been 32 higher innings totals in Tests without any extras. Highest of all is India's 329 against England in Chennai in 2020-21, which just shaded Pakistan's 328 against India in Lahore in 1954-55.
Nathan Lyon now has two eight-fors in Tests in India. Has any other visiting bowler done this? asked McKenzie Regan from Australia
The Australian offspinner Nathan Lyon took 8 for 64 in Indore last week, to go with his 8 for 50 in Bengaluru in 2016-17.
Lyon is the first visiting bowler to take two eight-fors in Tests in India. Only two Indians have managed it: legspinner Narendra Hirwani in the same game on his Test debut against West Indies in Madras in 1987-88, and slow left-armer Vinoo Mankad, who took 8 for 55 against England in Madras in 1951-52, and 8 for 52 against Pakistan in Delhi in 1952-53.
Which player has finished on the winning side most often in Test matches against Australia? And how about captains? asked Shah Jimish from the UK
Only one man has been on the winning side in 18 Test matches against Australia: it's Desmond Haynes, the long-serving West Indian opener. One behind with 17 wins are Haynes' frequent team-mate Viv Richards, and the 19th-century England allrounder Johnny Briggs.
Next, with 16 victories over Australia, come the distinguished trio of Ian Botham of England, India's Sachin Tendulkar, and another member of that all-conquering West Indian side of the 1980s, Gordon Greenidge.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, Clive Lloyd leads the way for captains, with 12 Test wins over Australia; Mike Brearley masterminded 11. Next, with eight, come MS Dhoni and - around 120 years earlier - WG Grace.
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