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Ask Steven

How many times have there been four captains in two successive Tests?

And what's the highest score made by an opener in a Test innings in which his partner made a duck?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
14-Dec-2021
On India's 2014-15 tour of Australia, Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni captained  •  Ryan Pierse/Cricket Australia/Getty Images

On India's 2014-15 tour of Australia, Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni captained  •  Ryan Pierse/Cricket Australia/Getty Images

The two Tests of the India-New Zealand series featured four different captains. Has this ever happened before? asked Sree Dev from India
Ajinkya Rahane and Kane Williamson captained in the first Test of the recent series, in Kanpur, then Virat Kohli and Tom Latham took over for the second, in Mumbai. This was only the second two-Test series to feature four captains - the other was South Africa vs England in 1888-89, when Owen Dunell and Aubrey Smith (later a famous Hollywood actor) skippered in the first Test in Port Elizabeth, and William Milton and Monty Bowden in the second, in Cape Town.
There have been seven longer series in which successive Tests were presided over by four different captains. These were England (Arthur Carr, then Percy Chapman) against Australia (Warren Bardsley and Herbie Collins) in 1926. West Indies (George Headley and Gerry Gomez) against England (Ken Cranston and Gubby Allen) in 1947-48. England (Colin Cowdrey and Peter May) against Australia (Neil Harvey and Richie Benaud) in 1961. England (Cowdrey and Tom Graveney) against Australia (Bill Lawry and Barry Jarman) in 1968, where Cowdrey and Lawry, recovered from injury, took over again for the next match. West Indies (Desmond Haynes and Viv Richards) against England (Graham Gooch and Allan Lamb) in 1989-90. England (Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain) against Australia (Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist) in 2001. and Australia (Michael Clarke and Steve Smith) against India (Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni) in 2014-15.
I heard that Alex Carey equalled the record for catches by a wicketkeeper on Test debut at the Gabba. Who does he share this record with? asked Steve McArthur from Australia
Alex Carey's five catches behind the stumps in England's second innings in the first Test in Brisbane did equal the record for most catches in an innings by a debutant keeper there, set by Queenslander John Maclean against England in 1978-79. Only two keepers have made six dismissals in a Test innings on debut anywhere - Wally Grout for Australia against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1957-58 (all catches), and Chris Read for England vs New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999 (one stumping).
Carey took eight catches in the match, beating the old ground record of seven dismissals by a debutant - four of them stumpings - by Gil Langley against West Indies in Brisbane in 1951-52. And Carey's eight dismissals equalled the record for any debutant wicketkeeper, set by Australia's Brian Taber against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1966-67, and equalled by Read in 1999. Both their hauls included a stumping, though, so Carey's eight is a new record for catches on debut.
Were Ajaz Patel's figures in Mumbai the best in an innings and a match for someone who finished on the losing side in a Test? asked Derek Horsfield from England
The short answer is yes - slow left-armer Ajaz Patel established new records for both with his 10 for 119 in the first innings in Mumbai, and overall match figures of 14 for 225.
The previous-best innings figures in a losing cause were Kapil Dev's 9 for 83 for India against West Indies in Ahmedabad in 1983-84. Three others have taken nine in an innings in a defeat: Jack Noreiga (9 for 95 for West Indies vs India in Port-of-Spain in 1970-71); Subhash Gupte (9 for 102 vs West Indies in Kanpur in 1958-59); and Keshav Maharaj (9 for 129 for South Africa against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2018).
Javagal Srinath's 13 for 132 for India against Pakistan in Kolkata in 1998-99 were the previous-best match figures in a lost cause. Three other 13-wicket hauls weren't enough to prevent defeat: Sydney Barnes took 13 for 163 for England against Australia in Melbourne in 1901-02; Merv Hughes 13 for 217 for Australia vs West Indies in Perth in 1988-89); and Tom Richardson 13 for 244 for England against Australia at Old Trafford in 1896.
What's the highest score by an opener in a Test innings in which his partner made a duck? asked Rajiv Radhakrishnan from England
Top of the list here is the "Universe Boss", Chris Gayle, who made 317 for West Indies against South Africa in St John's in Antigua in 2005. His opening partner Wavell Hinds was out first ball. It was a batting paradise - West Indies answered South Africa's 588 with 747, and a record eight centuries were scored - so Hinds no doubt felt he'd missed out! Next comes Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya, who made 253 after Marvan Atapattu fell in the first over to complete a pair against Pakistan in Faisalabad in 2004-05.
Who has scored the most runs in the Australian Big Bash? And who is the leading overseas player? asked Josh McAllister from Australia
The big-hitting Queenslander Chris Lynn is well clear at the top of this list at the moment. As I write he has 2826 Big Bash runs for Brisbane Heat, around 400 ahead of Aaron Finch. Six others - Glenn Maxwell, D'Arcy Short, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Jonathan Wells and Moises Henriques - have more than 2000 runs, and Matthew Wade (1944) should join them soon. The leading overseas runscorer is England's Alex Hales, who currently has 1484.
In the Women's Big Bash, the leader is Beth Mooney, with 3674 runs, comfortably ahead of Ellyse Perry (3360), and Sophie Devine of New Zealand (3076).
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