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Ask Steven

Most dismissals in a two-Test series, and T20's longest hitters

Also: catching milestones from the Hamilton Test, and batsmen dismissed twice in quick succession in the same Test

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Willie Watson, 1956

Willie Watson's dismissals in Adelaide in 1958-59 were only the second instance of the same batsman accounting for consecutive wickets in the same Test  •  Getty Images

Darren Bravo was out twice in about 40 minutes in the first Test against Australia in Hobart. Was this a record? asked Michael Collins from England, and several others
Darren Bravo was last out in West Indies' first innings in Hobart, then was dismissed again by the last ball of the sixth over of the follow-on, just 37 deliveries later. Something very similar happened in the first Test of West Indies' 2009-10 tour of Australia: in Brisbane, Travis Dowlin was last out in the first innings, and fell to the first ball of the seventh over of the follow-on, 38 deliveries later. However, it's difficult to say for sure whether Bravo's brief gap was a record, as we don't have complete fall-of-wicket details of many early Tests. One that probably beat it was in Sydney in 1910-11, when South Africa's captain, Percy Sherwell, was last out in the first innings, then went in first in the follow-on and was out for 14, having faced 16 balls in 11 minutes; it's improbable that Australia could have bowled six overs in that time.
Sherwell provides one of only two instances of a batsman being consecutive wickets in the same Test, the other one being England's Willie Watson, in Adelaide, against Australia in 1958-59 - last out in the first innings, first out in the follow-on, with the score 89.
A statistic we can be more sure of, as the data is just about complete, is the number of runs scored between a batsman's two dismissals in the same Test. There were 20 scored between Bravo's two dismissals in Hobart, which puts him equal ninth on that particular list; Dowlin (18) is equal fourth, and Sherwell (19) joint seventh. Two remarkable instances top the list: there were only seven runs between Jack Blackham's two dismissals for Australia against England at Old Trafford in 1888 - but five other wickets fell in that period. He was ninth out for 81 in the first innings, which ended without addition, and when he was out in the follow-on the score was 7 for 5. More recently, in Napier in January 2012, Zimbabwe's Malcolm Waller was eighth out in Zimbabwe's first innings, with the score 50 of the eventual 51; in the follow-on his dismissal made the score 12 for 5, so only 13 runs were scored in between, for the loss of six other wickets.
There were 31 batsmen out caught in the Test that's just finished in Hamilton. What's the record? asked Divy from India
If Sri Lanka had managed to force a win against New Zealand in Hamilton, then the record might just have gone - in the end only 35 wickets fell, 31 of them to catches. That's still high on the list: there have been five previous Tests in which 32 wickets fell to catches, and one instance of 33 - out of only 36 wickets in the match - in the Test between Australia and India in Perth in 1991-92. For the full list, click here.
Eight different players took a catch during New Zealand's first innings in Hamilton. Has this ever been beaten? asked Farokh Diwalkar from India
The only fielders who didn't take a catch in New Zealand's first innings in Hamilton were Dushmantha Chameera (who was busy taking five wickets in a Test innings for the first time), Nuwan Pradeep and Milinda Siriwardene - Kithuruwan Vithanage and wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal took two each. Pradeep did manage one in the second innings, as did the substitute Jeffrey Vandersay. But there have been three instances of nine different fielders taking a catch in the same innings: by West Indies against England in Bridgetown in 1997-98, New Zealand against West Indies in Bridgetown in 2002, and Australia against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011-12.
BJ Watling took 15 catches against Sri Lanka. Was this a record for a two-Test series? asked Tushar Mukherjee from the United States
The New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling's 15 catches in the two Tests against Sri Lanka equalled his haul against India at home in 2013-14; Quinton de Kock also made 15 dismissals (one a stumping) in South Africa's two Tests in Sri Lanka in 2014. But the record for a two-Test series is 16 dismissals - 15 catches and a stumping - by Kamran Akmal for Pakistan in the West Indies in 2005.
Is it true that Chris Gayle has now hit 600 sixes in T20 games? asked Mark Churchill from Australia
Chris Gayle's second six for Melbourne Renegades against Brisbane Heat at the Gabba at the weekend - an innings played with a special gold-coloured bat - was indeed his 600th in official T20 matches. He's played 227 such games, so averages well over 2.5 maximums per match. And Gayle is an awfully long way in front of the man in second place, his fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard, who has so far hit 388 T20 sixes; Brendon McCullum is third with 290. For the full list click here.
Is Alastair Cook the only Test captain to be born on Christmas Day? asked Pierre Cimma from France
Alastair Cook celebrates his 31st birthday on Christmas Day, and should lead England out in Durban the next morning. It will be his 12th Test against South Africa but first as captain. There is one other Test captain who was born on Christmas Day - by chance, a team-mate of Cook's early in his career. Marcus Trescothick, born on December 25, 1975, captained in two of his 76 Tests - against New Zealand at Lord's in 2004, when he made 86, and against Pakistan in Multan in 2005-06, when he scored 193.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes