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Ask Steven

The real Unbowlable, and birthday hundreds

Also, Australia's Australia Day record, century and five-for on debut, fourth-innings best, and captaincy waits

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Bruce Taylor drives on the on side, New Zealanders v Surrey, 3rd day, June 11, 1965

Bruce Taylor: The only player to make a century and take a five-for on debut  •  Getty Images

Australia's captain in the Bodyline series, Bill Woodfull, was sometimes nicknamed "The Unbowlable" - but he was actually bowled no fewer than 16 times in his 54 Test innings. Who really is "The Unbowlable" - who had the most Test innings without being bowled? asked Colin Nixon from Australia
The rather unlikely name at the top of this list is Courtney Browne, the recent West Indies wicketkeeper who has just been named as a selector. He had 30 innings in Tests, six of them not out, and was never bowled. Another West Indian, Ryan Hinds, has also been dismissed 24 times in Tests without ever being bowled. Pakistan's Rashid Latif, a wicketkeeper like Browne, had 57 innings and was only bowled once. And of those who had more than 100 innings, the lowest percentage of bowled dismissals was by the Australian opener Graeme Wood, whose stumps were disturbed only five times in his 112 innings (4.46%).
What's the highest score by someone in a one-day international on his birthday? asked Alex Johnson from Bristol
Three players have made a hundred in a one-day international on their birthday. The first was Vinod Kambli, with exactly 100 not out for India against England in Jaipur on his 21st birthday in January 1993. Five years later, Kambli's old schoolmate Sachin Tendulkar hit 134 on his 25th birthday, against Australia in Sharjah in April 1998. More recently Sanath Jayasuriya celebrated his 39th birthday by hitting 130 - his hundred came up in just 55 balls - for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in Karachi in June 2008.
Australia just lost to England on Australia Day (January 26). They also lost to South Africa the previous year on this date. Am I right to say that Australia has a particularly bad record in one-day internationals on Australia Day? asked Aaron Kelly from Queensland
It's not really true, no. Australia have now played 16 one-day internationals on Australia Day - three in Sydney, the rest in Adelaide - and have won 12 of them. The only teams to upset the national-day applecart were England in 1983, New Zealand in 2002, South Africa in 2009 (two years ago actually: in 2010 Australia beat Pakistan on Australia Day), and England this year.
Has anyone ever scored a century and taken five wickets in an innings on debut? asked Roger Cahill via Facebook
This is quite a rare double in Tests, which has only been achieved 26 times in total, five of those by Ian Botham (for the full list, click here). The only man to do it in his first Test was the New Zealander Bruce Taylor, who scored 105 (from No. 8) and then took 5 for 86 against India in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in March 1965. John Reid, Taylor's captain in that match, remembered: "He was a cricketer who rode his luck. He was selected for the touring team when Gary Bartlett was ruled out through injury, and played at Calcutta when Barry Sinclair was ruled out by illness. Then 'Tails' went out and scored a century and took five wickets! Talk about taking your chances." Only two people (Paul Collingwood and Viv Richards) have ever scored a century and taken five wickets in the same one-day international, and neither was making his debut.
How many Tests have there been in which the highest total was made in the fourth innings? asked Vijay Kumar from Mumbai
There have been 39 Tests matches now when the highest total came in the fourth innings of the match. The highest of all came in the famous drawn "Timeless Test" in Durban in 1938-39, when England (who were chasing 696 to beat South Africa) had made 654 for 5 on the tenth day of the match by the time they had to leave to catch the boat home. Next comes New Zealand's 440 (chasing 479) against England at Trent Bridge in 1973. The highest score to win a match by making the highest score of the game in the fourth innings is West Indies' 418 for 7 against Australia at St John's in May 2003.
Who played the most Tests before captaining his side? asked Martin Doyle via Facebook
Two men have played more than 100 Tests before captaining their country for the first time. The leader is Anil Kumble, who had played 118 times before he led India for the first time, in November 2007. The other name is a slight surprise: Steve Waugh had played 111 Tests before he skippered Australia for the first time, in the West Indies in March 1999. He then led them for the remaining 57 matches of his 168-Test career.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket. If you want to ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here each week. Ask Steven is also now on Facebook