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Ask Steven

Is Heather Knight's 168 the highest score by an England women's captain in a Test?

And is South Africa the first team to win a three-Test series without making a total of 250?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Heather Knight's 168 is the fourth-highest score by an England women's player, and second-highest by an England women's captain  •  Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Heather Knight's 168 is the fourth-highest score by an England women's player, and second-highest by an England women's captain  •  Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Was Heather Knight's 168 the other day the highest score by an England women's captain in a Test? asked Jacqueline Durrant from England
That superb unbeaten 168 by Heather Knight in the Ashes in Canberra last weekend was actually the fourth-highest by any England player in a women's Test. Only one of the higher scores was by the captain: Rachael Heyhoe Flint made 179 against Australia at The Oval in 1976, which is also the highest by any captain in a women's Test.
The other higher scores for England were 189 by Betty Snowball against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1934-35, and Claire Taylor's 177 against South Africa in Shenley in 2003. Jan Brittin made 167 against Australia in Harrogate in 1998. For the list of the highest scores in women's Tests (not just by captains), click here.
In a recent South African domestic match, the top seven batters for the Northern Heat all reached 50 (two went on to hundreds). Has this ever happened before? asked Stuart from South Africa
That match in East London last week saw Northern Cape's top seven all make at least 50 in their 525 for 5 declared against Border, who were bowled out for 86 and 168 to lose by an innings. This was the 25th instance in all first-class cricket of an innings containing seven scores of 50 or more, but only the seventh time it involved the top seven in the order. One of those was in a Test match, by Pakistan (599 for 7 declared) against India in Karachi in 2005-06. Pakistan won that Test despite having been 0 for 3 at the end of the very first over of the match, after a hat-trick from Irfan Pathan.
Northern Cape's innings in East London was only the second time all seven men who batted reached 50 in a first-class innings. The other occasion was also in South Africa, in Potchefstroom in 2008-09, when Sri Lanka A ran up 749 for 5 declared in an A team Test. There have been two very near-misses: in the Karachi Test mentioned above, all Pakistan's top seven reached 50, and No. 8 Kamran Akmal faced just one ball before Younis Khan declared when Abdul Razzaq was out. And when MCC amassed 641 for 6 against Berbice in Guyana in 1959-60, David Allen made 0 not out at No. 8 before the match ended. There was another close thing in Oxford in 1938, when the top seven Australians all passed 50, but the No. 8, wicketkeeper Charlie Walker, was left 31 not out when Don Bradman declared.
There has been just one case of eight half-centuries in the same first-class innings, by the Australians in their total of 843 against Oxford University Past and Present in Portsmouth in 1893.
Is South Africa the first team to win a three-Test series without making a total of 250? asked Babalola Adefarati from South Africa
The answer is that South Africa's recent 2-1 win over India was unique, in that it was the only series containing three or more Tests in which the winning side failed to reach at least one total in excess of 250: South Africa's highest was 243 for 3, to win the second Test in Johannesburg.
When Zimbabwe went to Pakistan in 1998-99, they were supposed to play three Tests, but the third was abandoned without a ball bowled because of fog in Faisalabad. Zimbabwe won that series 1-0 after coming out on top in the first Test in Peshawar, where they made 238 in the first innings.
Andy Lloyd was injured in his only Test innings, and is the only opener to have never been dismissed in his Test career; Stuart Law was not out in his only Test innings, batting at No. 6. How many others who batted in the top six have never been dismissed? asked Mal Hilton from Australia
You've identified two of the only four to have had their only Test innings in the top six and never been dismissed: England's Andy Lloyd retired hurt with 10 against West Indies at Edgbaston in 1984, after being hit on the side of the helmet by Malcolm Marshall, while Stuart Law had 54 not out when Australia declared against Sri Lanka in Perth in 1995-96. Neither of them played another Test.
Gloucestershire slow left-armer Charlie Parker took over 3000 first-class wickets, but played only one Test, against Australia at Old Trafford in 1921: right at the end of a drawn game, he appeared at No. 3 in England's second innings, and finished with 3 not out.
The Australian wicketkeeper Phil Emery came in at No. 4 as nightwatchman in his only Test innings, against Pakistan in Lahore in 1994-95. He retired hurt with an injured thumb after scoring 2; he resumed later, and finished with 8 not out.
Courtney Browne, the West Indian wicketkeeper, had 30 innings in his 20 Tests. Only twice did he go in higher than No. 7 - but he was not out both times. No one else has managed more than one innings in the top six and never been dismissed during them.
In all, 69 men have batted during their Test career but never been out, most of them, unsurprisingly, tailenders. The recent Pakistan seamer Aizaz Cheema leads the way with five innings, all not out, in seven Tests; Afaq Hussain (Pakistan), John Childs (England) and Tinu Yohannan (India) all had four.
What's the highest run-aggregate in an ODI in which both sides were bowled out? Does the third South Africa-India match come close? asked Rhys Roscoe from Australia
There are two higher aggregates in one-day internationals in which all 20 wickets fell. Well clear at the top is 642 runs by Afghanistan (338) and Ireland (304) in Greater Noida, India, in 2016-17. Next comes a group game from the last World Cup: in Taunton in 2019, Australia (307) and Pakistan (266) shared 573 runs.
The 570 runs in the match you mention, between South Africa (287) and India (283) in Cape Town last month, equalled the total in the match between India (315) and Australia (255) in Bengaluru in 2000-01. There have been 15 further matches which featured 20 wickets and an aggregate of 500 or more runs.
And there's an update to last week's question about the highest proportion of runs scored while at the crease, given a minimum of 100, from Sreeram in India
"Graham Gooch comes between Dwayne Smith and Brian Lara on this list. He scored 127 of an opening partnership of 155 with Chris Tavaré - that's 81.93% - against India in Madras (now Chennai) in 1981-82."
And Charles Davis points out that, at the other end of the scale (the lowest percentage of runs added during an individual century), Rahul Dravid occupies the last two positions: 111 out of 360 (30.83%) against South Africa in Chennai in 2007-08, and 128 of 410 (31.21%) against Pakistan in Lahore in 2005-06, being involved in huge partnerships both times with Virender Sehwag, who scored 319 and 254.
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