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Ask Steven

How often have both openers been dismissed for ducks in an ODI?

Also: how many players have scored a Test hundred without previously having made a first-class fifty?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Colin Munro gets bowled by Sheldon Cottrell, New Zealand v West Indies, World Cup 2019, Manchester, June 22, 2019

Colin Munro (in photo) and Martin Guptill were the second pair of openers to be out for ducks in the 2019 World Cup; Afghanistan's openers bagged theirs in the fourth match of the tournament  •  Getty Images

Craig Ervine recently scored a century in his first Test as captain. Is he the first to do this for Zimbabwe, apart from Dave Houghton in their inaugural Test? asked Malcolm Price from Zimbabwe
Craig Ervine marked his first (and so far only) Test as captain with 107 and 43 against Bangladesh in Mirpur in February. You're right to say that Dave Houghton also achieved this feat - he made 121 and 41 not out against India in Harare in November 1992. But one other Zimbabwean has also done it: Ervine's current team-mate Brendan Taylor hit 71 and 105 not out in his first Test as captain, against Bangladesh in Harare in August 2011.
Is there anyone stuck on 99 Test wickets, or close to some similar milestone, during this break from international cricket? asked Prasant Naik from India
I think the closest to a significant Test milestone at the moment is the Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who is currently marooned on 297 wickets. Kagiso Rabada has 197, and Josh Hazlewood 195; his team-mate Nathan Lyon has 390. Niroshan Dickwella of Sri Lanka currently has 1921 runs in Tests, and Jason Holder 1898.
In one-day internationals, Fakhar Zaman is 42 runs short of 2000, while Upul Tharanga is stuck on 6951. The Zimbabwean bowlers Tendai Chatara and Chris Mpofu currently have 95 and 93 ODI wickets, while Matt Henry has 92 and Yuzvendra Chahal 91.
Mohammad Hafeez currently has 1992 runs in T20Is and Aaron Finch 1989; the Scotland seamer Safyaan Sharif has 49 wickets.
Both New Zealand's openers were out for ducks in a World Cup match last year - how rare is this? asked Michael Phillipson from New Zealand
You're talking about the match against West Indies at Old Trafford, when both Martin Guptill and Colin Munro fell for golden ducks. New Zealand still managed to win the match (just) despite the efforts of Carlos Brathwaite. Losing both openers for nought isn't that rare: it had happened earlier in the same World Cup, when Afghanistan lost Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai for 0 against Australia in Bristol. Those were the 43rd and 44th instances in all one-day internationals: the first was in Ahmedabad in 1981-82, when Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth both bagged ducks against England. Only 11 of the matches were won after such a poor start.
Jerome Taylor scored his maiden first-class fifty in a Test, and converted it into a century. Has anyone else scored a Test hundred without having previously made a first-class half-century? asked Craig McGregor from New Zealand
The Jamaican fast bowler Jerome Taylor's feat came during a rapid innings of 106 for West Indies against New Zealand in Dunedin in 2008-09. His previous-highest in first-class cricket was just 40, for Leicestershire against Derbyshire at Grace Road in 2007. A total of 42 men have now scored their maiden first-class hundred in a Test - but, remarkably, the only one of them who had never even reached 50 before shares Jerome's surname. The New Zealander Bruce Taylor went into his first Test, against India in Calcutta in 1964-65, with a highest score of 49 a few weeks before, but hit 105 from No. 8, and then took 5 for 86.
What unusual event held up Glamorgan's Championship match against Gloucestershire in 1948? asked Mark Andrews from England
I had to look this one up and luckily Wisden provided the answer. The match was played at Eugene Cross Park in Ebbw Vale in August 1948. The first day was a peculiar one, as the match report explains: "A mountain mist enshrouded the ground for most of the first day's play, but the strangest diversion of all was the appearance of a flock of sheep on the field, causing the game to be held up." The Cricketer called it a "small" flock, but also revealed that when the groundsman couldn't be found before the start of the second day, the umpires rolled the pitch for the prescribed period. The match finished in a rainy draw but it didn't affect Glamorgan too much. They went on to win the Championship that season for the first time.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes