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Ask Steven

Has anyone taken 100 ODI wickets against a single country?

And which bowler's action was described as "all arms and legs… like a porn movie without the sex"?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
No bowler has taken 100 ODI wickets against one country yet, but Muttiah Muralitharan has come the closest, with 96 wickets against Pakistan  •  Getty Images

No bowler has taken 100 ODI wickets against one country yet, but Muttiah Muralitharan has come the closest, with 96 wickets against Pakistan  •  Getty Images

Has any bowler taken 100 wickets in ODIs against a single country? asked Mahesh Malhotra from India
No one has yet reached a century of wickets against a particular country in one-day internationals. Top of the list is Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 96 against Pakistan. Wasim Akram comes next, with 92 against Sri Lanka and 89 against West Indies, while his old sparring partner Waqar Younis collected 84 against Sri Lanka and 79 against New Zealand. The leading current bowler is Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, who has so far taken 74 wickets against Zimbabwe.
It's a different story in Tests, in which there are 39 instances of a bowler taking 100 or more wickets against a particular country. Shane Warne leads the way with 195 against England. He also took 130 against South Africa and 103 against New Zealand; Muralitharan dismissed 112 Englishmen, 105 Indians and 104 South Africans.
The record in T20Is is held by the Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan, who has taken 34 wickets against Ireland. Next comes New Zealand's Tim Southee, with 23 against Pakistan.
What is the most runs scored by a batsman in a calendar month in Tests? asked Mike Harrison from England
The record currently stands at 665 runs, by Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan. In three Tests against West Indies in November 2006, he scored 192 in Lahore, 56 and 191 in Multan, and 102 and 124 in Karachi. This was the culmination of a remarkable sequence in which he scored seven centuries (four of them higher than 190) in seven Test matches. The record Yousuf broke was established by England's Graham Gooch in July 1990, when he made 640 runs in just two Tests - 154 and 30 against New Zealand at Edgbaston, and 333 and 123 against India at Lord's.
Whose bowling action was described as "all arms and legs… like a porn movie without the sex"? asked Ian McKenzie from Australia
It seems that the man who came up with this colourful description was the distinguished Australian sports and feature writer Greg Baum, and he was describing the beanpole left-arm fast bowler Bruce Reid, who was over two metres tall and almost painfully thin. Reid picked up 113 wickets in 27 Tests for Australia, including 13 for 148 against England in Melbourne in 1990-91; in the following year's Boxing Day Test at the MCG, he took 12 for 126 against India.
Reid has one distinction, which I think is unique in Tests: in Wellington in 1985-86, he dismissed his cousin, John F Reid, who was playing for New Zealand. Sadly, John Reid passed away last week, aged 64. The only other pair of cousins who opposed each other in Tests, as far as I am aware, were the Hearnes - Jack played for England and Frank for South Africa in Cape Town in 1891-92, but neither dismissed the other. Frank's brothers Alec and George also played for England in this match, the only Test for both of them.
I noticed that Hedley Verity took 14 wickets on one day of the 1934 Lord's Test. Was this a record? asked John Kirkpatrick from Scotland
The Yorkshire slow left-armer Hedley Verity spun England to victory over Australia at Lord's in 1934 with match figures of 15 for 104. Fourteen of those wickets came on a rain-affected pitch on the third day, when Australia lost 18 wickets for 200 runs in all. Verity had already removed Don Bradman on the second evening, and accounted for him again during next day's carnage. The story goes that Verity had almost missed the start of play that day - on the way to the ground his car ran over a black cat, and a distressed Verity spent some time trying to locate its owner.
The only man to take more in a day's play in a Test is another England left-arm spinner, Lancashire's Johnny Briggs, admittedly against less formidable opposition. On the second day of what was only their second official Test match, in Cape Town in 1888-89, South Africa collapsed for 47 and 43, with Briggs taking 7 for 17 and 8 for 11. Three seasons later, in Adelaide in 1891-92, Briggs took 12 Australian wickets on the third day as England set up an innings victory.
There have been only seven other instances of a bowler taking ten Test wickets in a day, the most recent by Yasir Shah, for Pakistan against New Zealand in Dubai in 2018-19.
Who scored three centuries in Kerry Packer's "Super Tests" but none in official Test matches? asked Gordon Hamilton from Australia
The player with this peculiar record is the Australian opener Bruce Laird, whose three centuries in World Series Cricket "Super Tests" was exceeded only by Greg Chappell, who hit five hundreds, and Viv Richards, who made four. Laird had not played an official Test when he was signed up by Kerry Packer for WSC, but made his debut once peace was restored. He scored 92 and 75 in his first match, against West Indies in Brisbane in 1979-80, but never made it to three figures in 20 further Tests, although he did end up with 11 half-centuries.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes