Ask Steven

The Malaysian-born Test record-holder

Also: who is the best demolisher of tails, and who "scored" the longest duck?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
"Fluke? Wait for the second innings!"  •  AFP

"Fluke? Wait for the second innings!"  •  AFP

Steve O'Keefe took 6 for 35 in both innings at Pune - was this the best such double in a Test? asked Darren Styles, Faraz Ahmed… and many others on Facebook
Slow left-armer Steve O'Keefe's twin 6 for 35s in the first Test against India in Pune last week was indeed the best such repeat performance - it pipped Bhagwath Chandrasekhar's pair of 6 for 52s in Melbourne in 1977-78, which set up India's first Test win in Australia. The only other double five-for was by another legspinner, Pakistan's Intikhab Alam, with 5 for 91 in both innings against New Zealand in Dacca (now Dhaka) in 1969-70. New Zealand's Richard Hadlee took 5 for 65 in the first innings of successive Tests against Australia in 1985-86, and repeated the trick in England in 1986 with 6 for 50 in the first innings of the first and second Tests (in both cases, though, there was another innings in between).
I noticed that Steve O'Keefe was born in Malaysia. Is he the only Test cricketer from there? asked WHO
O'Keefe, Australia's bowling hero in the recent first Test against India, was indeed born in Malaysia, in 1984: his father - another Stephen - worked in the Royal Australian Air Force and was stationed there at the time. Unlikely as it may seem, there is one other Test cricketer who first saw the light of day in Malaysia (although it wasn't called that at the time): Lall Singh, a batsman and outstanding fielder who played in India's first Test match, at Lord's in 1932, was born in Kuala Lumpur, which was then the capital of the Federated Malay States.
Which Test bowler is the best demolisher of the tail? And who has got the No. 11 out most often? asked Paul Humphries from England
Taking the tail to be Nos. 8 to 11 in the batting order, Shane Warne leads the way with 263 victims, just ahead of Muttiah Muralitharan's 260. Anil Kumble comes next with 201, then Courtney Walsh (163), Harbhajan Singh (151), Wasim Akram (145) and Glenn McGrath (142). The leading current bowler is Dale Steyn, with 132. That represents 37.15% of Warne's 708 career wickets, compared to 32.50% of Murali's 800. The highest proportion of tailender wickets to career wickets among the 177 bowlers with 100 or more Test wickets is 40.16%, by the old England slow left-armer Wilfred Rhodes - 51 of his 127 victims came from Nos. 8-11.
Warne dismissed the last man on 43 occasions, one more than Muralitharan; Kumble is next with 33, then Imran Khan with 29. That is just over 6% of Warne's career wickets (and 5.25% of Murali's): of the bowlers with 100 or more Test wickets, the highest such figure is the West Indian fast bowler Merv Dillon's 9.92% - he had 13 No. 11s among his 131 victims.
In Wellington in 1990-91, New Zealand's two innings were 174 and 671 - is this the biggest difference in any Test? asked Vikas Vadgama from India
New Zealand followed 174 with 671 for 4 against Sri Lanka in Wellington in 1990-91 - Martin Crowe famously scored 299 in that second innings at the Basin Reserve. But there is one bigger difference between a side's two completed innings: in Bridgetown in 1957-58, Pakistan made only 106 in their first innings against West Indies, but piled up 657 for 8 in the follow-on, Hanif Mohammad making 337. There are 16 further instances of a team's two completed innings having a difference of 400 or more runs.
Ihsanullah Janat made a 20-ball duck in a recent ODI against Zimbabwe. Who holds the record for the longest such duck? asked Abdul Haq Samoon from Afghanistan
Ihsanullah's 20-ball blob for Afghanistan in the fourth match of their recent ODI series in Zimbabwe, in Harare, puts him joint-sixth on this particular list (where balls-faced are known). Top of the pile, with a 31-ball duck spread over 56 minutes, is the late West Indian batsman Runako Morton, against Australia in the final of a triangular series in Kuala Lumpur in September 2006. Next, with 0 from 27 balls, comes the usually aggressive Zimbabwean Elton Chigumbura, against Bangladesh in Mirpur in 2008-09. The Test record is held by the New Zealand fast bowler Geoff Allott, with a magnificent 77-ball, 101-minute duck, against South Africa at Auckland in 1998-99. It should be borne in mind that balls-faced information is not known for some early ODIs, and many early Tests.
Who was the last bowler before Jason Behrendorff to take nine wickets in an innings in the Sheffield Shield? asked Jon Danby via Facebook
Western Australia's left-arm seamer Jason Behrendorff took 9 for 37 against Victoria in Perth last week, in his first match for three months after a leg injury. They were the fifth-best figures in the history of the Sheffield Shield, and the best since Ian Brayshaw - another Western Australia seamer - took all ten for 44 against Victoria at the WACA in 1967-68. Behrendorff added 5 for 52 in the second innings, giving him match figures of 14 for 89, the ninth-best Sheffield Shield match figures, and the best since Terry Alderman - yet another Western Australia paceman - took 14 for 87 (7 for 59 and 7 for 28) against New South Wales in Perth in 1981-82.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes