The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket. This week there's a lot about that run-soaked Test match in Antigua:



Chris Gayle on his way to a triple-hundred in the Antigua Test against South Africa © Getty Images

Eight people scored centuries in the Antigua Test - is that a record? asked Dominic from Sri Lanka, and many others

Yes, eight individual centuries in a match is indeed a Test record. The previous-best of seven had happened three times: in the first Ashes Test of 1938, at Trent Bridge; in the West Indies-Australia match at Kingston in 1954-55; and in the South Africa-West Indies Test at Cape Town in January last year. Four centuries in one innings isn't a record, though - in that 1954-55 match at Kingston five Australians passed hundreds in their innings of 758 for 8. Clyde Walcott scored two separate hundreds for West Indies, yet his side still lost by an innings. That happened again at Multan in 2001-02. when five Pakistanis scored centuries in a total of 546 for 3 dec against Bangladesh.

All 11 South Africans bowled in West Indies' innings - has that happened before? asked Ian Ashton

This was the fourth time that all 11 players had bowled in the same innings. The first occasion was way back in 1884, when all 11 Englishmen bowled against Australia at The Oval - the most successful of them was the wicketkeeper, the Hon. Alfred Lyttelton, who took off his pads and took 4 for 19 with his underarm lobs. It didn't happen again until 1979-80, when all 11 Australians bowled as their Test against Pakistan at Faisalabad Pakistan fizzled out into a draw. And the third time was in 2001-02 - also at St John's - when all 11 Indians bowled, again as the match petered out. Another questioner asked whether the 19 bowlers used in this match was a record: it wasn't, quite, as the record is 20, in the match between South Africa and England at Cape Town in 1964-65, when everybody except the two wicketkeepers had a trundle. This was the fourth instance of 19 bowlers in the same Test.

West Indies passed 700 for the second match in a row in Antigua - that must be unique? asked David Applegate from York

This was only the 13th innings total of more than 700 in Tests (click here for a full list), so you'd have thought that it must have been the first time that such a total had been reached in successive matches on the same ground - but actually consecutive Tests at Sabina Park in Kingston witnessed totals of 758 for 8, by Australia in 1954-55, and 790 for 3 by West Indies against Pakistan in 1957-58. That was by different teams, though - this time both totals were by West Indies, who followed their 751 for 5 against England last year with 747 this time.

Chris Gayle was the fourth man to score a triple-century for West Indies - were they all left-handers? asked Derek Narmohamed from Trinidad

Gayle's score was the fourth-highest in Tests for West Indies, and the three higher ones were all by left-handers - Brian Lara's 400 not out and 375, and Garry Sobers's 365 not out. But the other West Indian triple-century was by Lawrence Rowe - a right-hander - with 302 against England at Bridgetown in 1973-74. That was the first first-class hundred Rowe had made outside his native Jamaica. Oddly the four highest individual scores in Tests have all been made by left-handers (two of them by Lara) - the highest Test score by a right-hand batsman is Len Hutton's 364 for England against Australia at The Oval in 1938. Click here for a list of all Test cricket's triple-centuries.

Mark Boucher took his pads off and took a wicket, in his 84th Test - has anyone waited so long for a wicket before? asked Peter Blundell from Australia

Mark Boucher actually set two esoteric bowling records in Antigua. No-one had previously waited so long before bowling a ball in their Test career - the previous record was 68, by another wicketkeeper, India's Syed Kirmani (Herschelle Gibbs came on in Antigua after Boucher, for his first bowl in his 70th Test). And Kirmani took his one and only Test wicket in his 72nd Test. Four others have played a half-century of Tests before taking their first wicket: Zaheer Abbas and Gundappa Viswanath (60 matches), Rahul Dravid (59) and Mark Taylor (56). And Boucher and his team-mate AB de Villiers became only the 14th and 15th players - and the first South Africans - to possess both a Test wicket and a Test stumping. For the record, the others are Dick Lilley and Jim Parks (England), Kirmani and Vijay Manjrekar (India), Robert Christiani, Clifford McWatt, Derek Sealy and Clyde Walcott (West Indies), John R. Reid (New Zealand), Aamer Malik, Javed Miandad and Taslim Arif (Pakistan), and Tatenda Taibu of Zimbabwe.

Was Chris Gayle the first triple-centurion who had to bowl so much in the same game? asked Jon Murphy from Australia

This turns out to be yet another record: Chris Gayle bowled 31 overs in South Africa's first innings, before going out and scoring 317. The previous record was 20 overs, by Garry Sobers during the match in which he scored 365 not out against Pakistan at Kingston in 1957-58. His overs were spread over the two innings, though. Of the other Test triple-centurions, only Bobby Simpson (19 overs) and Sanath Jayasuriya (18) have bowled a significant amount (more than six overs) in the match in which they passed 300. Gayle was a long way short of the record for a player scoring more than 200, though - at Bridgetown in the high-scoring 1954-55 series the West Indian captain Denis Atkinson scored 219 after bowling 48 overs in the first innings - and added 36.2 more in Australia's second.

Steven Lynch is the editor of Cricinfo. For some of these answers he was helped by Travis Basevi, the man who built Stats Guru and the Wisden Wizard. If you want to Ask Steven a question, contact him through our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries