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Ask Steven

Was Kane Williamson's 251 the highest by a Test captain against West Indies?

Also: which batting position has the highest average in Tests?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Kane Williamson's 251 is the second-highest score by a captain against West Indies in Tests  •  Getty Images

Kane Williamson's 251 is the second-highest score by a captain against West Indies in Tests  •  Getty Images

Is it right that Kane Williamson's 251 was the highest score by a captain against the West Indies? asked Justin Barratt from New Zealand
It's not quite right: Kane Williamson's 251 in the first Test in Hamilton was actually the second-highest by a captain against West Indies - it remains behind Peter May's 285 not out for England at Edgbaston in 1957. There have been only six other double-centuries by captains against West Indies in Tests, as the list shows.
Williamson's innings did set some other records, though. It was New Zealand's highest Test score at home to West Indies, beating Ross Taylor's 217 not out in Dunedin in 2013-14; their only higher score against West Indies was Glenn Turner's 259 in Georgetown in 1971-72. And it was not only the highest Test score at Hamilton's Seddon Park - previously Joe Root's 226 for England last December - but the highest score in all first-class cricket there, beating Peter Ingram's 247 for Central Districts against Northern Districts in 2008-09.
I was watching the Kane Williamson masterclass against the Windies, and wondered which batsmen in Test cricket have scored the highest percentage of their team's runs in Tests during their careers? asked Nick Perry from Australia
It shouldn't come as a great surprise - especially to an Australian - that the top name on this list is Don Bradman, who scored 24.28% of Australia's runs in his 52 Tests (and that includes two matches in which he did not bat because of injury). Next on this list, according to Wisden (whose table has a qualification of 20 Tests), come West Indians George Headley (21.38% of their runs in 22 Tests) and Brian Lara (18.87% in 131). The leading current player, in seventh, is Steve Smith (17.49% in 73). Kane Williamson currently sits outside the top ten, with 15.93% after his 251 in Hamilton. He may yet pass the leading New Zealander, Bert Sutcliffe, who lies 12th: he scored 16.87% of their runs in his 42 Tests.
Which batting position has the highest average in Tests? I thought the openers had the most opportunities, but actually not many of the leading run scorers are openers… asked Hemant Kher from the United States
The average score for the openers across all 2393 Tests (and half the 2394th, between New Zealand and West Indies in Hamilton) is 35.80 - that's 36.91 for No. 1, and 34.67 for No. 2. My bet was that No. 3 would be the highest, but even that man, Don Bradman, doing most of his scoring from there only raises the average to 39.78. The winner, if that's the right word, is No. 4, with an overall Test batting average of 40.92.
From there, as you'd probably expect, the averages go down. No. 5 is 38.09, No. 6 32.58, No. 7 27.68, No. 8 21.33, No. 9 15.61, No. 10 11.57, and No. 11 (despite 2957 not-outs) just 8.60. For completeness, we should probably mention No. 12, as three men have gone in there recently after concussion substitutions. The bad news is that none of those three managed a run, so No. 12's average is 0.00.
Who has bowled the most in ODI cricket without bowling a single maiden? asked Geetha Krishnan from India
That's an interesting one, and the answer is a bit of a surprise as it's a specialist bowler rather than a part-timer: the Sri Lankan left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan has so far played 24 one-day internationals, taking 20 wickets at 58.05 apiece. He's sent down 1076 deliveries - the equivalent of 179.2 overs - but hasn't yet managed a maiden. The second-placed man is probably less of a shock: South Africa's long-time captain Graeme Smith was never a regular bowler, although he did end up with 18 wickets in his 197 ODIs. He served up 1026 deliveries of fairly straightforward offspin - 171 overs - with not a maiden in sight.
For the list, click here.
After last week's question about the fastest hundreds in men's ODIs, I was wondering what the equivalent women's record was? asked Lesley Clarke from England
The fastest hundred in women's one-day internationals was scored by Australia's Meg Lanning, who got there in just 45 balls against New Zealand in North Sydney in 2012-13. That's actually quicker than any Australian man, a fact I managed to miss last week. Lanning beat the record held by one of her predecessors as captain, Karen Rolton, who reached three figures in 57 balls against South Africa in Lincoln (New Zealand) during the 2000 World Cup.
Next come two centuries by New Zealand in a run-soaked series in Ireland in 2018: Maddy Green got there in 62 balls in the first match, at Claremont Road, while two days later in the second game Sophie Devine needed only 59 at The Vineyard, also in Dublin. Next - and England's fastest - is Charlotte Edwards' in 70 balls against New Zealand in Lincoln in 2011-12.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes