Ask Steven

How often have brothers played against brothers in international cricket?

And who has scored the most fifties before bringing up their maiden Test hundred?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Krunal Pandya and Hardik Pandya before the start of the game, Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Abu Dhabi, IPL 2020, October 28, 2020

Hardik and Krunal Pandya went up against Sam and Tom Curran in the latest of 136 instances of a pair of brothers facing off in internationals  •  BCCI

In the recent ODIs, India's Pandya brothers opposed the Currans of England. How often has this happened in international cricket? asked Aravind Vissamsetty from Denmark, among others
The appearance of Hardik and Krunal Pandya in opposition to Sam and Tom Curran in the first ODI between India and England in Pune was the first time two brothers had faced two others in a one-day international since November 2014, when Nadeem and Irfan Ahmed of Hong Kong played against Charles and Chris Amini of Papua New Guinea in Townsville. In March 2016, however, Kevin and Niall O'Brien of Ireland opposed Ben and Tom Cooper of Netherlands in Dharamsala. The last such occurrence in a Test was in October 1999, when Andy and Grant Flower of Zimbabwe faced Mark and Steve Waugh of Australia in Harare.
In all, Shiva Jayaraman of ESPNcricinfo's stats team unearthed 136 instances of two brothers on opposite sides in all internationals, many obviously involving the Flowers and the Waughs, and more recently various members of Pakistan's Akmal family. The first such instance came in a Test match in January 1958, when Denis and Eric Atkinson of West Indies opposed Hanif and Wazir Mohammad of Pakistan in Bridgetown (the match in which Hanif made 337 in 970 minutes in the follow-on). The second instance, nearly 13 years later in December 1972, involved the other two Test-playing Mohammad brothers - Mushtaq and Sadiq faced Greg and Ian Chappell of Australia in Adelaide.
Was Krunal Pandya's fifty in Pune the fastest by anyone in their one-day international debut? asked Mishal Ahmed from India
Krunal Pandya hurtled to his half-century in just 26 balls on his debut in the first one-day international in Pune last week. The previous-fastest debut half-centuries both took nine balls longer, so Krunal beat them with some ease. Roland Butcher sparkled to 50 in 35 balls for England against Australia at Edgbaston in 1980, while John Morris matched his 35-ball effort for England against New Zealand in Adelaide in 1990-91. Neither Butcher nor Morris played many more ODIs, but first impressions suggest Krunal Pandya should have a rather longer international career.
Pakistan's Shahid Afridi reached 50 in just 18 balls - on the way to 102 from 40 - in his first one-day international innings, against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996-97. But he had already played one ODI, without batting, so it wasn't actually his debut match.
In a recent Sheffield Shield game, Western Australia had three individual centuries in a total of 391. Have there been any lower first-class totals with three centurions? asked Dechlan Brennan from Australia
In that peculiar-looking scorecard at the WACA last week, Western Australia's total of 391 for 9 declared against Victoria included 113 from opener Cameron Bancroft, then 115 from wicketkeeper Josh Inglis at No. 7, and an unbeaten 102 from No. 8 Joel Paris.
It turns out that the lowest first-class total to include three individual centuries is just 349, by Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Uttar Pradesh in Bengaluru in 2013-14. That's an even stranger scorecard: opener Robin Uthappa, and Nos. 5 and 6, Karun Nair and Chidambaram Gautam, made exactly 100, while the three batsmen in between all made ducks (there were five in the innings).
Niroshan Dickwella has now reached 50 on 17 occasions in Tests without converting any of them to a century, which I believe is a record. But did anyone score more fifties before managing to bring up their maiden century? asked Matt Tyter from England
You're right that Niroshan Dickwella's near-miss 96 for Sri Lanka against West Indies in Antigua last week was his 17th half-century in Tests without a hundred, putting him clear of Chetan Chauhan on that list.
The most fifties in Tests before scoring a hundred remains 15, by two former captains: Trevor Goddard had 15 half-centuries before making 112 for South Africa against England in Johannesburg in 1964-65, while Bob Simpson had 15 scores between 50 and 99 before really making sure with 311 for Australia against England at Old Trafford in 1964, the first of his eventual ten Test tons (Goddard made just the one).
Why is the women's domestic one-day competition in Australia called the Ruth Preedy Cup? asked Ahmed Essof from Australia
I couldn't find this at first, and briefly wondered if someone couldn't spell the surname of the former England player Ruth Prideaux, married to fellow England player, Roger Prideaux, one of the few husband-and-wife Test cricketers. But although I was being mischievous, I was in the right area, as it was indeed down to a mis-spelling - the competition is actually named after the former New South Wales player Ruth Preddey, who took part in the first interstate women's match in Australia, against Victoria in 1910. According to Cricket NSW, Preddey "was the manager of the first Australian women's team, and held numerous positions in state and national programmes". The women's National Cricket League trophy was renamed in her honour in 1972-73. She died in 1985, aged 94.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes