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Five Tests, five opponents - and 600 without a century

The column where we answer your questions

The regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:

Robin Peterson: has played one Test against five different teams © Getty Images
An article in the Melbourne Age newspaper recently said that Ricky Ponting's uncle Greg Campbell played in four Tests, all of them against different nations. Has anyone else done this? asked Adam Broder from Australia
Rather surprisingly, it's not a record. Greg Campbell, who made his Test debut in the 1989 Ashes series in England, is one of four players whose four Tests all came against different countries. The others are Phil Horne of New Zealand, India's Aashish Kapoor, and Athula Samarasekera of Sri Lanka. But there are two five-cap wonders whose career includes one Test against five different teams: Hasibul Hossain of Bangladesh, and the South African spinner Robin Peterson (who may yet improve his record, or lose it altogether).
Was Surrey's 603 last week the highest total not to include an individual century? asked several people, not all of them from Surrey
I wasn't sure about this one until I found a table in the 2000 Wisden unmasking the record-holder. In the Ranji Trophy in India in 1998-99 Madhya Pradesh made 605 against Haryana at Rajnandgaon, and the highest score was Jai Prakash Yadav's 90. Surrey's 603 against Gloucestershire at Bristol comes in next - it's also the best tonless total in the County Championship, beating Nottinghamshire's 581 against Derbyshire at Derby in 1899.
Chris Gayle's Test batting average is below 40, even though he now has a triple-century to his name. Surely this is the lowest average for a triple-centurion? And what is the lowest Test average for someone with a Test double-century? asked Ankit Jajoo from France
Chris Gayle is one of only two men with a Test triple-century to his name whose batting average is less than 40. Gayle's is currently 39.39, but Andy Sandham - whose 325 for England against West Indies in 1929-30 was actually the first Test triple - averaged only 38.22 from his 14 Tests. The lowest average for someone who scored a Test double-century is 22.64, by Pakistan's Wasim Akram, just ahead of the Australian Syd Gregory (24.54) and Faoud Bacchus of West Indies (26.07)
In the first Test between England and Bangladesh, England's lowest scorer was Graham Thorpe (42 not out). Until late in the match, no Bangladesh batsman passed that, until Khaled Mashud made 44. Has there ever been a Test in which the highest score for one side was less than the lowest score for the other? asked David Craig from Australia
There has only been one Test where one side's lowest score was higher than the other side's highest. It happened at Christchurch in 1998-99, when South Africa's lowest score was Gary Kirsten's 65, and New Zealand's highest was 56 from Matthew Horne.
What is the longest gap between two Test hundreds by a batsman? asked Sundaram Padmanabhan from the United Arab Emirates
The longest time gap between Test centuries is a little short of 14 years, by the Australian Warren Bardsley. He scored 164 at Lord's in July 1912, and next reached three figures at Lord's again, with 193 not out in June 1926. Mushtaq Ali, the stylish Indian batsman who died recently, lies next on this list - there were 12 years and five months between his 112 at Old Trafford in July 1936 (India's first Test century overseas) and 106 against West Indies at Calcutta in January 1949. In terms of matches there were 57 Tests between Adam Parore`s first Test hundred, against West Indies at Christchurch in 1994-95, and his second, against Australia at Perth in 2001-02.
Matthew Hayden scored a century in his first Test against three different opponents. Is that a record? asked Peter Barrett
Hayden is one of 12 players with centuries on Test debut against three different teams - but there are three players who have managed four. Mark Taylor made hundreds in his first Tests against England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa; Kumar Sangakkara did it against India, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Pakistan; and Graeme Smith managed it against Bangladesh, England, West Indies and Zimbabwe. Turning to the bowlers, Saqlain Mushtaq uniquely took five wickets in an innings in his first Test against four different countries - India, South Africa, West Indies and England.

Steven Lynch is the deputy editor of The Wisden Group. 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