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Ask Steven

When was a Test series last drawn 0-0 before West Indies vs Sri Lanka?

Also: what is the lowest run-aggregate for a completed first-class match?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
West Indies and Sri Lanka drew their two-match Test series last week, the first 0-0 draw since 2015  •  Getty Images

West Indies and Sri Lanka drew their two-match Test series last week, the first 0-0 draw since 2015  •  Getty Images

There were 651 runs in the final ODI at Pune. Was this a record for a match without an individual hundred? asked Ray Penson from South Africa
The highest score in that exciting one-day international in Pune last week was Sam Curran's unbeaten 95. There has been only one ODI that produced more runs but no individual centuries: in Port Elizabeth in 2001-02, Australia (330 for 7) beat South Africa (326 for 3) in a match that produced 656 runs but a highest individual score of 92, by Ricky Ponting. There have been 23 other ODIs with a total of 600 or more runs, but no centuries.
Curran's score equalled the highest by a No. 8 in one-day internationals, set by Chris Woakes for England against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge in 2015.
Both Tests in the recent West Indies vs Sri Lanka series were drawn - when was the last 0-0 draw in a Test series? asked Rishi Ramaswamy from the United States
It has been nearly six years since all the Tests in a series have been drawn - in the rather soggy two-match encounter between Bangladesh and South Africa in Bangladesh in 2015. The last three-Test series to comprise three draws involved New Zealand and England, in 2012-13.
In all there have now been 40 Test series which ended up 0-0. That includes 17 of two Tests, 17 of three, and two of four matches. There have even been four five-Test series in which all five games ended in draws: India vs Pakistan in 1954-55, Pakistan vs India in 1960-61, India vs England in 1963-64, and West Indies vs New Zealand in 1971-72.
Seven different England bowlers took wickets in India's innings in the last of the recent one-day internationals - was this a record? asked Alan White from England
You're right that seven England bowlers claimed wickets in the third ODI in Pune last week: Mark Wood took three and Adil Rashid two, while Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Ben Stokes and Reece Topley had one each.
This actually equals the record for an ODI innings: there have been four previous instances of seven wicket-takers, by New Zealand against India in Auckland in 1975-76, New Zealand vs Sri Lanka in Dunedin in 1990-91, Netherlands vs Bermuda in Rotterdam in 2007, and Australia vs Scotland in Edinburgh in 2009.
What is the lowest run-aggregate for a completed first-class match? asked SM Nazmus Shakib from Bangladesh
The fewest runs in a first-class game is 85, in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match between Quetta (41 all out) and Rawalpindi (44 for 1) in Islamabad in 2008-09: it was all over in 20.1 overs. There were unusual circumstances: bad weather had prevented any play on the first two days, and both sides forfeited their first innings.
The lowest for a game in which all four innings were played is 105 runs, in the match between MCC (33 and 19) and the touring Australians (41 in 66.2 four-ball overs, and 12 for 1) at Lord's in 1878. It was all over in one day - Fred "The Demon" Spofforth took 6 for 4 in MCC's first innings, and Harry Boyle 6 for 3 in the second. WG Grace was out second ball in the first innings, for four, and made a duck in the second.
"One of the most remarkable matches ever played at Lord's was commenced at three minutes past 12, and concluded at 20 minutes past six the same day," said Wisden, which went on to report that at the end, "a stream of at least one thousand men rushed frantically up to the pavilion, where they clustered, and lustily shouted 'Well done Australia', 'Bravo Spofforth', 'Boyle, Boyle' &c, &c; the members of the MCC keenly joining in the applause of that 'maddened crowd', who shouted themselves hoarse before they left to scatter far and wide that evening the news, how in one day the Australians had so easily defeated one of the strongest MCC elevens that had ever played for the famous old club."
How often has a first-class hat-trick involved three catches, all by the same fieldsman - not a wicketkeeper - which just happened in a match in Dunedin? asked Russell Smith from New Zealand
The instance you're talking about was achieved by Otago's Dale Phillips, off the bowling of seamer Michael Rae, in the Plunket Shield match against Central Districts at Dunedin's University Oval last week. Phillips, the brother of the New Zealand Test player Glenn, was fielding at short leg.
There had been four previous hat-tricks in first-class cricket involving the same fielder. The first was by George Thompson off the bowling of Sydney Smith for Northamptonshire against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 1914, and they were followed by Cyril White (off Raymond Beesly) for Border vs Griqualand West in Queenstown in South Africa in 1946-47. More recently, Ali Waqas caught three in a row off Samiullah Khan for Sui Northern Gas in Peshawar in 2014-15, and Marcus Trescothick took three in a row off Craig Overton for Somerset against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 2018.
There have also been five wicketkeeping hat-tricks, all of them caught, apart from Sam Brain's three successive stumpings off Charles Townsend for Gloucestershire against Somerset at Cheltenham in 1893.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes