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Ask Steven

Which batter has the biggest difference in runs between two innings of a Test?

And which pair has shared the most hundred partnerships in Tests?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
05-Apr-2022
Jack Leach and Saqib Mahmood bump gloves during their last-wicket stand of 90, West Indies vs England, 3rd Test, Grenada, 1st day, March 24, 2022

Jack Leach and Saqib Mahmood were only the second Nos. 10 and 11 to top-score in a Test innings  •  Getty Images

In England's first innings in the third Test, the two top scores came from Numbers 10 and 11. Has this ever happened before in a Test? asked Barry Nash from England
In that otherwise disastrous effort in Grenada recently, last man Saqib Mahmood scored 49 and No. 10 Jack Leach 41 not out. It was only the second time Nos. 10 and 11 had made the two top scores of a Test innings, after Tom Garrett (51 not out) and Edwin Evans (33) for Australia against England in Sydney in 1884-85.
Mahmood was just the 12th No. 11 to top-score in a Test innings. The only other man to do this for England was Steve Harmison, with 42 out of 304 against South Africa in Cape Town in 2004-05.
Who was Shane Warne's bunny in Tests? asked Jordan McDonald from Australia
The man dismissed most often by Shane Warne in Tests was England's Alec Stewart, who fell to him on no fewer than 14 occasions in the 23 Tests in which they opposed each other. That's three more than anyone else: the South African Ashwell Prince played nine Tests against Warne but fell to him 11 times, while Nasser Hussain was also dismissed 11 times (in 17 matches). Mike Atherton fell to Warne ten times, in 22 matches.
There are only nine instances of a batter falling to the same bowler more often in Tests: leading the way is Warne's old team-mate Glenn McGrath, who dismissed Atherton on 19 occasions.
Brendon McCullum scored 8 and 302 against India in 2013-14. Is this the biggest difference between a batter's two innings in the same Test? asked Michael Warwick from New Zealand
Brendon McCullum's difference of 294 for New Zealand against India in Wellington in 2013-14 actually comes in fourth place on this particular table. Azhar Ali made 302 not out and 2 for Pakistan against West Indies in Dubai in 2016-17, and Bob Simpson 311 and 4 not out for Australia vs England at Old Trafford in 1964. But leading the way, with a difference of 320, is Hanif Mohammad - he made 17 and 337 for Pakistan against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1957-58.
Which pair have shared the most hundred partnerships in Tests? asked David Tyrrell from England
Leading the way on this list are the great Indian pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, who shared 20 century stands together in Tests, one more than Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. Next, on 16, come the West Indians Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes (the most by a pair of openers) and Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting. The England openers Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe shared 15 century stands, while Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq also had 15 hundred partnerships for Pakistan.
Tendulkar also shares the record in ODIs: he and Sourav Ganguly compiled no fewer than 26 century stands in ODIs, six more than Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have shared 18 so far.
Who has bowled the most overs in Tests without taking a wicket? asked Gibran Adnan from the United States
The most overs in a Test career without ever taking a wicket is 77 (462 balls) by the Lancashire left-armer Len Hopwood in two matches of the 1934 Ashes series. Next comes the great West Indian batter George Headley, who sent down 398 balls (the equivalent of 66.2 six-ball overs). For the list, click here.
I'm not sure if you meant the most in a single Test innings: the answer there is the West Indian Denis Atkinson, who had figures of 72-29-137-0 against England at Edgbaston in 1957. Early the following year, the Pakistan opening bowler Khan Mohammad had 0 for 259 from 54 overs in Kingston (West Indies made 790 for 3, with Garry Sobers scoring 365 not out), while the South African slow left-armer Nicky Boje finished with 0 for 221 from 65 overs against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2006.
Shiva Jayaraman of ESPNcricinfo's stats team helped with some of the above answers.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes