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Everyone in double figures, and a Test player's query

Steven Lynch answers more of your questions

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket. Today there's a few about the final Test at The Oval:

Stephen Harmison on his way to becoming one of the 11 England batsmen who reached double figures at The Oval © Getty Images
Everyone reached double figures in England's first innings - how often has this happened?asked several people, including Raj Tiwari from India
It was the tenth time this had happened in all Tests, but only the third occasion that England had managed it. Their other two, which included the first instance of it in Tests, were at Melbourne in 1894-95 (when the lowest score was 11) and at Sydney in 1928-29 (lowest score 11). The most-recent occurrence for the other countries was in 1992-93, when all 11 Australians reached double figures (the lowest score was 10 not out, but extras made 58) against Sri Lanka in Colombo. The one before that came in 1976-77, when India made 524 for 9 against New Zealand at Kanpur. The lowest score there was 10 not out, while the highest was 70, making it also the highest team total not to include a century.
In England's first innings at The Oval ten different batsmen shared in a fifty partnership - has this happened before? asked David Birkett
That's a good spot, because it is indeed a record. Only Robert Key was not involved in a half-century partnership during England's first innings. The previous record was nine, which has happened seven times, most recently for England against Pakistan at Hyderabad in 1972-73. Both sides managed it in the high-scoring Australia-West Indies Test at Adelaide in 1968-69. The record in a match also came at Adelaide, in 1976-77, when all 11 members of Pakistan's side shared in a half-century partnership during the first Test against Australia.
Andrew Flintoff passed 50 for the eighth Test running at The Oval - is this a record? asked Eric Wainwright from Twyford
Andy Flintoff joins a list of seven other players who scored half-centuries in eight consecutive Tests - Ken Barrington, Graham Gooch, Wally Hammond, Peter May, Robin Smith, Garry Sobers and Clyde Walcott. Three players - Matthew Hayden, Alec Stewart and Everton Weekes - passed 50 in nine successive Tests, and John Edrich did it in ten between 1969 and 1970-71. But the winner, with half-centuries in 11 successive Tests, is Viv Richards. His run, which started in the fifth Test in Australia in 1975-76, went like this: 30 and 101 at Adelaide, 50 and 98 at Melbourne; (v India) 142 at Bridgetown, 130 and 20 at Port-of-Spain, 177 and 23 at Port-of-Spain, 64 at Kingston; (v England 1976) 232 and 63 at Trent Bridge, 4 and 135 at Old Trafford, 66 and 38 at Headingley, 291 at The Oval; (v Pakistan 1976-77) 32 and 92 at Bridgetown. The run ended when he was dismissed for 4 and 30 in the next Test, at Port-of-Spain.
I think that when Shaun Pollock took his 200th Test wicket his bowling average was under 20. Is there any other bowler who has done this? asked Lungisa Madinga from South Africa
It's a little difficult to nail the precise average when a bowler took his 200th wicket, as it's usually mid-innings, but Shaun Pollock's average at the end of the Test in which he took his 200th was 20.26 - and that's the lowest of anyone who has taken so many wickets. Next to him is Waqar Younis (20.61), a whisker ahead of Joel Garner (20.73). Next come Ian Botham and Curtly Ambrose (both 21.21), Malcolm Marshall (21.63) and Fred Trueman (21.82). At the other end of the scale Garry Sobers's average was 34.48 at the end of the match in which he claimed his 200th scalp.
I spotted that Ashley Giles's best bowling figures in Tests and ODIs are the same - 5 for 57. Is there anyone else like this, and are there any batsmen whose highest scores in both forms are the same? asked Toby Sebastian
There's only one other bowler at the moment that this applies to - Sandeep Patil of India, whose best bowling in both Tests and ODIs was 2 for 28. Among batsmen, the only notable one is Kris Srikkanth of India, whose best in both forms was 123. Zimbabwe's Mluleki Nkala has a highest score in both of 47, and Justin Ontong of South Africa boasts a 32 in both. There are a few others who played very little, down to Joey Benjamin, who played one Test for England and made 0, and batted once in his two ODIs ... and made another duck.
I played Test cricket for Pakistan from 1952 to 1956. During this period Pakistan played 18 Tests, winning five, losing three and drawing ten. It so happens that I played in all the wins, but missed all the defeats. I wondered if there was anyone else who could match this? asked Zulfiqar Ahmed
It's a remarkable record, but actually there are a few players who had longer unbeaten careers. In terms of matches, Rajesh Chauhan of India leads the way: he played 21 Tests between January 1993 and March 1998, winning 12 and drawing nine. Colin McCool, one of Bradman's 1948 Invincibles, also never finished on the losing side in 14 Tests in his four-year Test career. Two other Invincibles - Sam Loxton and Ernie Toshack - played 12 Tests without losing, although both their careers lasted less than three years. There's also Eldine Baptiste, who played ten Tests for West Indies between 1983 and 1990 ... and ended up on the winning side in all of them.
Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden 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, e-mail him at The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.