Ask Steven

How many batters have survived two hat-trick balls in the same Test innings?

And which batter has the highest Test score away from home?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Joe Root thwarted two hat-trick attempts in England's first innings, by Mohammed Siraj and Ishant Sharma  •  Getty Images

Joe Root thwarted two hat-trick attempts in England's first innings, by Mohammed Siraj and Ishant Sharma  •  Getty Images

Joe Root twice survived hat-trick balls during his unbeaten 180 in the Lord's Test. Has anyone else managed this? asked James Hampshire from England
Joe Root entered on a hat-trick in the second Test against India at Lord's, after Mohammed Siraj dismissed Dom Sibley and Haseeb Hameed with successive balls in the 15th over of England's first innings, and later faced up to Ishant Sharma's next ball after he'd removed Moeen Ali and Sam Curran in his previous over (the 111th).
The only other man known to have to faced two hat-trick balls in the same Test innings is Mohammad Ashraful, during Bangladesh's match against India in Dhaka in 2004, when he thwarted Irfan Pathan on two separate occasions during a defiant 60 not out.
In Bridgetown earlier in 2004, Brian Lara did something very similar. In the 17th over of West Indies' second innings against England, he survived a hat-trick ball from Andrew Flintoff, although the wickets had actually fallen in the first innings. Not long afterwards Matthew Hoggard really did take a hat-trick, with the last three balls of the 21st over. Lara faced his next delivery - the first one of the 23rd - and prevented Hoggard taking four wickets in four balls, which some people call a double hat-trick. (Thanks to Charles Davis for his help with this one.)
Was India's tail in the Lord's Test, with the four fast bowlers at Nos. 8-11, the worst in Test history? asked Ivan Sowry from New Zealand
This is very difficult to work out, as there are some Test sides - notably in a country's early matches - where Nos. 8-11 have very few runs. India's late order at Lord's did look pretty flimsy on paper, with Mohammed Shami (Test average 11) at No. 8 in the first innings - although it must be said that Shami and the others made a nonsense of this in the second. But I also remember an England team, against New Zealand at The Oval in 1999, which had the worst tail anyone could remember - Andy Caddick (final Test average 10.37) at No. 8, followed by genuine No. 11s Alan Mullally (5.52), Phil Tufnell (5.09) and Ed Giddins (2.50).
Shiva Jayaraman, one of the hard-pressed ESPNcricinfo stats team, crunched a few numbers for recent first-class cricket, although he did warn that lack of detailed data for first-class matches meant he couldn't go back very far. But he did manage to come up with a statistically worse last four than India's at Lord's. Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj had 2476 first-class runs between them before the game, at an average of 9.30: Pakistan's last four in their Test against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi in December 2019 - Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah - had previously amassed 1043 first-class runs at an average of just 8.34.
Some earlier games might well beat this: for example, none of South Africa's team in their inaugural Test, against England in Port Elizabeth in 1888-89, had ever played a first-class match before.
Don Bradman scored 6996 runs in Tests and was run out only once. But which player scored the most Test runs without ever being run out? asked Jamie Stewart from Australia
The man who made the most runs in Tests without ever being caught short of his crease is the great Indian allrounder Kapil Dev, with 5248: he was never run out in 184 Test innings, another record. Next comes the former England captain Peter May, who was never run out while compiling 4537 runs in Tests. The current South African opener Dean Elgar is not far behind - he's so far made 4347 runs without being run out.
You're right that Don Bradman was run out only once in his 80 Test innings - against England in Adelaide in 1928-29, beaten by a return to the wicketkeeper from the covers. The fielder was 46-year-old Jack Hobbs. Two batters have scored more Test runs than Bradman while being run out only once: Alastair Cook made 12,472 in 291 innings, and Chris Gayle 7215 in 182.
Which batter has the highest score away from home - I know Sachin Tendulkar made his highest score in Bangladesh? asked Venkata Praveen Puvadi from the United States
The highest score of Sachin Tendulkar's illustrious Test career was 248 not out, against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2004-05. But there are a number of higher scores by batters in away Tests: biggest of all was Hanif Mohammad's epic 337, in more than 16 hours, for Pakistan against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1957-58.
Don Bradman made two triple-centuries away from home, both at Headingley - 334 in 1930, and 304 in 1934. Eight other batters have completed Test triple-centuries outside their own country.
This excludes performances in Tests at neutral venues, mainly Pakistan's matches in the UAE. Azhar Ali made 302 not out in a day-night match against West Indies in Dubai in 2016-17, while AB de Villiers hit an unbeaten 278 for South Africa vs Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2010-11.
Is it true that Lord's has hosted more Tests than any other ground in the world? And which grounds hold the corresponding records for one-day and Twenty20 internationals? asked Sunit Kumar from Sri Lanka
The just concluded match between England and India was the 141st Test to be played at Lord's since the first one there in 1884. That is indeed the record: three other grounds have staged more than 100. The Melbourne Cricket Ground has so far held 113 Tests, Sydney 109, and The Oval 102.
Lord's is, however, well down the list when it comes to one-day internationals: there have been 67, fewer than 13 other grounds worldwide, including The Oval (74). Right at the top of the list is the Sharjah CA Stadium, which has staged no fewer than 240 ODIs. Sydney comes next with 159, then Harare with 154 and Melbourne 149.
The UAE also leads the way when it comes to T20Is, although this time it's the Dubai International Stadium that is top, having staged 62. Next come Mirpur with 49 and Abu Dhabi with 48.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes