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Ask Steven

Have England ever had an Ashes series without a century?

And how many men have scored 2000 runs and taken 200 wickets in one-day internationals?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
25-Jan-2022
Jonny Bairstow celebrates reaching his century, Australia vs England, Men's Ashes, 4th Test, 3rd day, Sydney, January 7, 2022

Jonny Bairstow was the only England batter to score a hundred in the 2021-22 Ashes  •  Getty Images

England scored only one century in the recent Ashes series. Have they ever gone through a five-Test series without one at all? asked Jeremy Walker from England
That fighting 113 by Jonny Bairstow in Sydney earlier this month made this the third five-match Ashes series in which England had managed just one three-figure score, following 1909 (Jack Sharp 105 at The Oval) and 2013-14 (Ben Stokes 120 in Perth). There was also only one century by the visitors in four matches in 1881-82.
But there is one full Ashes series in which no England batter reached three figures at all: at home in 1972, their highest individual score was Brian Luckhurst's 96 at Trent Bridge. Despite this, England retained the Ashes after a 2-2 draw.
No one made a century for Australia in the 1956 series in England, mainly thanks to Jim Laker; their highest that summer was Richie Benaud's 97 at Lord's. Australia managed just one three-figure score in 1901-02, 1905, 1911-12, 1921 (a series they won 3-0) and 1968.
I noticed that Dwayne Smith scored 105 out of 130 on his Test debut for West Indies. Has any centurion made a bigger percentage of the runs scored while he was in? asked Michael Bradford from Barbados
You're right that the Barbadian Dwayne Smith made an unbeaten 105 out of 130 added while he was at the crease for West Indies against South Africa in Cape Town in 2003-04. It was Smith's debut too - and the only century of his eventual ten Tests. By the look of it, the only higher percentage was achieved by Smith's captain from that match, Brian Lara, whose 100 against Australia in Antigua in 1998-99 came while 116 runs were added in total.
There was a near-miss last July, when Brendan Taylor hit 92 of out of 95 for Zimbabwe against Bangladesh in Harare, in what he says will be his final Test innings.
The above refers to complete individual innings. But when Sanath Jayasuriya hit 253 for Sri Lanka against Pakistan in Faisalabad in 2004-05, he shared a ninth-wicket stand of 101 with Dilhara Fernando, who managed just a single (there were also 12 extras, so Jayasuriya's share of the partnership was 88).
How many men have scored 2000 runs and taken 200 wickets in one-day internationals? asked Mohit Khanna from India
There are currently 13 men who have achieved this particular double; the first to get there was Kapil Dev, who finished with 3783 runs and 253 wickets. Arguably the finest set of figures belong to Sanath Jayasuriya, who allied 323 wickets to 13,430 runs; Wasim Akram scored 3717 runs to go with his 502 wickets.
In all, 65 men have completed 1000 runs and 100 wickets in ODIs. Ten women have also completed this double in ODIs.
How many people have carried their bat for England in a Test in Australia? asked George Keating from England
As I suspect you thought, this is a rare feat: only four men have carried their bat for England in a Test down under. The first to do it was the diminutive Surrey batter Bobby Abel, with 132 out of 307 in Sydney in 1891-92. He was followed by Len Hutton in Adelaide in 1950-51, Geoff Boycott in Perth in 1979-80 (when he was marooned on 99 not out), and Alastair Cook in Melbourne in 2017-18.
It's actually an even rarer feat for Australia, having happened only three times in home Ashes Tests. Bill Woodfull did it twice, in Brisbane in 1928-29 and in Adelaide four years later, during the Bodyline tour. A later captain, Bill Lawry, also did it, in Sydney in 1970-71.
There's also one instance by a woman: in Perth in 1957-58, England's Cecilia Robinson finished with 96 out of 188. Robinson, who died last year aged 97, was captaining in this match in place of Mary Duggan.
In terms of Tests played, has there ever been a more experienced unbroken batting partnership than the one between Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson at Sydney? asked Malcolm Brine from England
That brief tenth-wicket stand to save the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney earlier this month had a combined total of 320 Tests between them - 151 for Stuart Broad and 169 for Jimmy Anderson. That's the highest combined total for an unbroken partnership in a Test, beating 315 by Sachin Tendulkar (in his 171st Test) and Rahul Dravid (144th), who were together at the end as India beat Australia in Bengaluru in 2010-11.
Considering all partnerships, whether finished or not, Anderson and Broad are 21st on the list. Tendulkar features in all 20 above them, 19 of the cases involving Dravid. Their biggest combined total was 352 caps, against Australia in Adelaide in 2011-12; this was Tendulkar's 188th Test and Dravid's 164th and last. In the same match, Tendulkar also batted with VVS Laxman, who was winning his 134th and final cap, making a total of 322 between them.
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