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Ask Steven

Which player made his international debut in a T20 World Cup final?

Also: has there been an instance of both openers getting out in the nineties in a Test?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Tim Southee made 77 in his debut Test in 2008, a high score he hasn't bettered in 72 Tests since  •  Getty Images

Tim Southee made 77 in his debut Test in 2008, a high score he hasn't bettered in 72 Tests since  •  Getty Images

Tim Southee scored 77 in his first Test, but hasn't exceeded that in 104 more innings in 72 matches. Has anyone played more Tests without surpassing their highest score? asked Chris Barraclough from New Zealand
The New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee made quite a splash with the bat in his debut Test, against England in Napier in 2007-08, slamming 77 not out in the second innings with nine sixes. Thanks to some nimble number-crunching from Shiva Jayaraman of ESPNcricinfo's stats team, I can confirm that no one else has played as many as 72 matches without improving the score they made in their first game. The previous record belonged to England's Darren Gough, who hit 65 on Test debut against New Zealand at Old Trafford in 1994, and never exceeded that in 57 further Test matches.
Zaheer Abbas scored 274 in his second Test, for Pakistan against England at Edgbaston in 1971, and never improved on that in 77 further appearances. But the record for most Tests played after recording a top score is held by the South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who hit 125 against Zimbabwe in Harare in 1999-2000 in his 21st Test, and played 126 more matches without bettering that. Stuart Broad has so far played 106 Tests since making 169 - his only century - against Pakistan at Lord's in 2010 in his 32nd match.
South Africa's Jacques Kallis made his highest score in his 150th Test, with 224 against Sri Lanka in Cape Town in 2011-12. Kumar Sangakkara (122nd match), Sachin Tendulkar (119th), Anil Kumble (118th, a maiden century), Gordon Greenidge (107th), Brian Lara (106th, his 400 not out), and Glenn McGrath (102nd) also made their highest score after playing more than 100 Tests. Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly both recorded their highest scores in their 99th.
Has there ever been an instance of both openers getting out in the nervous nineties in a Test? asked Zohaib Asif from Pakistan
It turns out there have been four Test innings in which both openers were dismissed in the nineties. The first two were by India: against Pakistan in Lahore in 1978-79, Sunil Gavaskar made 97 and Chetan Chauhan 93; then in Kolkata in 1997-98, VVS Laxman scored 95 and Navjot Singh Sidhu 97 against Australia.
For Pakistan at The Oval in 2006 - the match eventually won by England after Pakistan forfeited on being accused of ball-tampering - Mohammad Hafeez made 95 and Imran Farhat 91. And in Melbourne in 2009-10, Shane Watson made 93 and Simon Katich 98 for Australia against Pakistan.
In all there have been 56 Test innings that included two scores of 90-99, from anywhere in the batting order.
Which player made his international debut in a T20 World Cup final? asked Joel Pojas from the Philippines
I think the only man who fits the bill here is India's Yusuf Pathan, whose first international appearance came in the final of the inaugural World T20 competition, in Johannesburg in September 2007. Pathan opened the innings and hit his second ball (from Mohammad Asif) for six. He went on to play a further 78 white-ball internationals for India.
Syed Kirmani won 88 Test caps for India. But which other Test player also had the first name Syed and the last name Kirmani? asked Simon Bechley from England
The answer to this tricky one is not, as you might expect, another Indian: it's one of Pakistan's finest batsmen, Zaheer Abbas, who generally used only the middle part of his full name - Syed Zaheer Abbas Kirmani. Wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani caught his almost-namesake seven times in Tests, and once in a one-day international.
Which is the most experienced Test side of them all, in terms of matches played by the team? asked S Mehra from the United States
I vaguely remembered answering this question some time ago when the answer was the ICC World XI that took on Australia in the Super Series Test in Sydney in 2005-06. That team had a combined total of 818 caps (including the game in question). But that answer has been out of date for some time: India have now fielded eight teams with more caps between them. The current record stands at a combined total of 861, by the Indian XI that played Australia in Bangalore in 2008-09. The team comprised Sachin Tendulkar, who was winning his 151st cap, Anil Kumble (131), Rahul Dravid (126), Sourav Ganguly (110), VVS Laxman (97), Harbhajan Singh (70), Virender Sehwag (61), Zaheer Khan (57), MS Dhoni (30), Gautam Gambhir (18) and Ishant Sharma (10).
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes