Ask Steven

Who are the youngest and oldest men to score a triple-century in Tests?

And how many teams have won a T20 despite four or more of their batters bagging ducks?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Kolkata Knight Riders' win against Delhi Capitals despite four ducks was the second instance of a team winning from such a position in the IPL  •  BCCI

Kolkata Knight Riders' win against Delhi Capitals despite four ducks was the second instance of a team winning from such a position in the IPL  •  BCCI

If you multiply the number of runs Ian Botham scored in the Golden Jubilee Test in Bombay in 1979-80 (114) by the number of wickets he took (13) you get 1482. He almost beat it at Headingley in 1981 with 1393 (199x7). Does anyone surpass this in a Test? asked Vin de Silva from the United States
That's a nice, simple way of looking at the all-round contribution to a Test. By this calculation Ian Botham's performance in that special Test in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1979-80 comes in fifth, level with Garry Sobers (247 runs and six wickets) for West Indies vs England in Georgetown in 1967-68.
Above them come South Africa's Aubrey Faulkner with 1608 (201x8) against England in Johannesburg in 1909-10, George Giffen of Australia with 1616 (202x8) against England in Sydney in 1894-95, and West Indies' Denis Atkinson with 1673 (239x7) against Australia in Bridgetown in 1954-55. But out on top is England's Bill Edrich with 1704 (213x8) against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1947. Edrich scored 191 plus 22 not out and, after opening the bowling, took 4 for 95 and 4 for 77.
There have been seven further instances of more than 1300 in a Test, including Mushtaq Mohammad twice and Botham and Sobers once more each. The others are Shakib Al Hasan, Jacques Kallis and Alan Davidson.
So they didn't feel left out, we did a similar calculation for wicketkeepers. Two South Africans lead the way here. Denis Lindsay is way out in front with 2008 (251 runs and eight dismissals) against Australia in Johannesburg in 1966-67, when he scored 69 and 182 and took eight catches in the match. In second place is AB de Villiers, with 1474 (134x11) against Pakistan in Jo'burg in 2012-13. Next come Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara (1464 against Pakistan in Lahore in 2001-02), Budhi Kunderan of India (1380 against England in Madras in 1963-64) and England's Jonny Bairstow (1260 against Sri Lanka at Headingley in 2016). There have been eight other instances of a keeper registering more than 1000, with Quinton de Kock responsible for three of those and BJ Watling two.
The IPL elimination final was won by Kolkata Knight Riders despite four of their batters bagging ducks. Has any other team done this in the IPL? asked Michael McKenzie from Ireland
Kolkata Knight Riders won that eliminator against Delhi Capitals in Sharjah - and qualified for the IPL final - despite a stunning collapse from 123 for 1 to 130 for 7, with Nos. 5-8 in the order (Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine) all being out for ducks. It was only the second such occurrence in the IPL. In Mumbai in 2012, MI defeated Chennai Super Kings even though Ambati Rayudu, Robin Peterson, Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga were all out for 0 as they almost made a mess of chasing 174 after being 147 for 2 in the 17th over.
In men's T20Is, Zimbabwe (105) beat West Indies (79 for 7) in Port-of-Spain in 2009-10, despite no fewer than six of their batters being out for 0. Two West Indians also bagged ducks: the total of eight was a record for any T20I until August 2019, when there were nine in the match between the Czech Republic (one duck) and Turkey (eight) in Ilfov County in Romania.
There have also been two women's T20Is which contained nine ducks. Mali suffered all nine in their first such match, when they were bowled out for six by Rwanda in Kigali in June 2019, and Maldives did likewise when flattened for eight (nine ducks, a single run off the bat and seven extras) by Nepal in Pokhara six months later.
Who are the youngest and oldest men to score a triple-century in a Test? asked Mark Modrington from Australia
The youngest Test triple-centurion remains Garry Sobers, who was seven months past his 21st birthday when he made 365 not out for West Indies against Pakistan in Kingston in 1957-58. He was about three months younger than the only other 21-year-old Test triple-centurion, Don Bradman, in his 334 for Australia against England at Headingley in 1930. England's Len Hutton was 22 when he amassed 364 against Australia at The Oval in 1938, and Hanif Mohammad 23 for his 337 for Pakistan vs West Indies in Bridgetown in 1957-58.
The oldest man to get there was England's Andy Sandham, who was 39 when he made 325 - the first Test triple-century - against West Indies in Kingston in 1929-30 (he added 50 in the second innings of what turned out to be his final Test). Graham Gooch had just turned 37 when he hit 333 for England against India at Lord's in 1990, while Kumar Sangakkara was a year younger when he made 319 against Bangladesh in Chattogram in 2013-14. Both Gooch and Sangakkara added another century in the second innings for good measure.
Who or what is the "Sardar of Spin"? asked Mehmet Ali from the United States
This is a nickname often bestowed on the former Indian captain Bishan Bedi, who took 266 wickets with his mesmerising left-arm spin between 1966-67 and 1979. Originally used for important Sikh leaders, "sardar" is still widely used by Sikhs to denote a respected man, in India or elsewhere. A book of tributes to Bedi was published recently to mark his 75th birthday, entitled The Sardar of Spin.
Which post-war county seamer took ten wickets in an innings when he was 35, and made his Test debut for England shortly afterwards? asked Andrew Sponder from England
This late developer was the Sussex opening bowler Ian Thomson. He turned 35 early in 1964, then in May took 10 for 49 against Warwickshire in Worthing. It was a sporting pitch, and although Thomson took five more in the second innings (finishing with match figures of 15 for 75), Sussex nonetheless lost after being skittled for 23 in their second innings.
England were touring South Africa that winter, and Thomson was a late addition to the touring party after Yorkshire's Tony Nicholson (another uncapped seamer) withdrew with an injury. Thomson played all five Tests on that trip, during which he celebrated his 36th birthday. He died in 2021, aged 92: he was England's oldest player at the time, a distinction that passed to his county colleague Jim Parks.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes