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Ask Steven

New Zealand's Sharjah records, and aged debutants

Also, most twin fifties in Tests, and a correction about most first-class wickets in a calendar year

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Eleven of New Zealand's 22 sixes in Sharjah came off Brendon McCullum's bat  •  AFP

Eleven of New Zealand's 22 sixes in Sharjah came off Brendon McCullum's bat  •  AFP

Who has scored the most twin fifties in Test cricket? And who has the record for twin centuries? asked Dhanushka Edussuriya from Sri Lanka
Ricky Ponting reached 50 twice in the same Test on the most occasions - he did it 15 times in all. Three of those involved twin hundreds, a record he shares with Sunil Gavaskar. Jacques Kallis scored two fifties in a Test on 14 occasions and Allan Border 13, while so far Kumar Sangakkara has done it 12 times and Shivnarine Chanderpaul 11. Inzamam-ul-Haq also managed it 11 times, while those on ten are Greg Chappell, Alastair Cook and Rahul Dravid.
How many Tests have New Zealand won by an innings, as they did at Sharjah? asked Andrew Talbot from England
New Zealand's thumping win over Pakistan in Sharjah last week was their 21st innings victory in Tests, of which nine have come against Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. Their first such win was against India in Wellington in 1975-76, and 12 of them have come in the current century. New Zealand have beaten Pakistan by an innings twice before: in Hamilton in 2000-01, and in Auckland in 1984-85. For the full list, click here. New Zealand's total of 690 in Sharjah was their highest in Tests, beating 680 for 8 dec against India in Wellington earlier this year. It was also the highest total against Pakistan in Tests, apart from West Indies' 790 for 3 declared in Kingston in 1957-58, in the innings in which Garry Sobers made 365 not out.
Is Mark Craig the first New Zealand player to take ten wickets and score a fifty in the same Test? asked Richard Webb from Finland
Mark Craig took 10 for 203, and also scored 65 in the first innings, in the victory in Sharjah last week. He's actually the fifth New Zealander to achieve this particular double. Richard Hadlee managed it three times - against West Indies in Dunedin in 1979-80, v Australia in Brisbane in 1985-86 (when he took 15 wickets in the match), and v England at Trent Bridge in 1986 - while Chris Cairns (against West Indies in Hamilton in 1999-2000), Dion Nash (v England at Lord's in 1994) and Daniel Vettori (v Sri Lanka in Wellington in 2006-07) each managed it once.
There were 22 sixes in New Zealand's innings at Sharjah. Was this a record? asked Asim Ahmed from Pakistan
New Zealand's 22 sixes in their 690 in Sharjah was indeed a Test record, easily surpassing the 17 hit by Australia against Zimbabwe in Perth in 2003-04 - Matthew Hayden smacked 11 of those on his way to 380, the highest individual Test score at the time. For the full list, click here.
I was surprised when I read, about Don Bradman's first Test, that his fellow debutant Bert Ironmonger was 46. Who is the oldest on this list? asked Khalil Waleed from Saudi Arabia
The unorthodox left-arm spinner Bert Ironmonger was aged 46 years 237 days when he made his Test debut against England in Brisbane in 1928-29. He was Australia's oldest debutant, a record he held for… a fortnight, before offspinner Don Blackie - who played with Ironmonger at the St Kilda club in Melbourne - made his debut in the second Test in Sydney, aged 46 years 253 days! Blackie and Ironmonger were born two days apart in 1882. Only two men have been older in their first Tests: James Southerton was 49 when he played for England in the first Test of all, in Melbourne in 1876-77, while Miran Bakhsh was 47 on debut for Pakistan against India in Lahore in 1954-55. For the full list, click here.
There's an update to last week's question about the most wickets in a calendar year, from James Thompson from Australia
"Actually there is someone who took more than Tich Freeman's 356 wickets in 1928 - the Australian Charles "Terror" Turner claimed 365 in 1888, with 283 of them coming on that year's tour of England." This is quite right: I'd looked at the probable English suspects, but hadn't checked any overseas players. I'm glad I put "I think" - but apologies for the misleading information. Turner's feats in England in 1888 were quite amazing: his wickets came in 36 matches, at an average of 11.68. His opening partner, Jack Ferris, finished with 199 wickets, so they took 482 between them - no one else took more than 43.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2014. Ask Steven is now on Facebook