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



Mohammad Kaif: 111 from No. 7 © Getty Images

What is the lowest position in the batting order from which someone has scored a century in a one-day international? asked Tim Whelan

There have been two ODI centuries from No. 7 in the batting order. The first one was by Hashan Tillakaratne, with 100 against West Indies at Sharjah in 1995-96. Sri Lanka were struggling at 103 for 5 when he came in, facing a West Indian total of 333 - but they ended up just four runs short of victory. The second man to do it was Mohammad Kaif, with 111 for India against Zimbabwe in the Champions Trophy in Colombo in September 2002. Further down the order the highest scores to date in ODIs are: No. 8 - 83 by Lance Klusener for South Africa v Australia at Johannesburg in 2001-02; No. 9 - 64 by Michael Holding for West Indies v Australia at Perth in 1983-84, and also by Andy Bichel for Australia v New Zealand in the Super Six match at Port Elizabeth in the 2002-03 World Cup; No. 10 - 56 by Douglas Marillier for Zimbabwe v India at Faridabad in 2001-02; and No. 11 - 43 by Shoaib Akhtar for Pakistan v England at Cape Town, also in the 2002-03 World Cup.

Who has taken the most wickets in the World Cup? asked Jamal Ahmed from Bath

The leader here is Wasim Akram, who took 55 wickets in his 38 World Cup matches. He's the only man to pass 50, with Glenn McGrath second on 45. For a full list of the World Cup's leading wicket-takers, click here. And if you want to know the identity of the batsman with the most World Cup runs ... click here.

Was Ricky Ponting's 242 against India last winter the highest individual Test score where his side also lost the match? asked Michael Anderson

Indeed it was: Ponting's 242 against India at Adelaide in 2003-04 broke the previous record score in a losing cause - Nathan Astle's 222 for New Zealand against England at Christchurch in 2001-02. In all 11 men (including Brian Lara twice) have scored a double-century in a match their side ended up losing.

I noticed that Warwick Armstrong scored 33 in both innings of Victor Trumper's last Test, at Sydney in 1911-12. What's the highest score made a batsman in both innings? asked Ross Lennon from Australia

The former Sri Lankan captain Duleep Mendis followed his 105 in the first innings with 105 more in the second against India at Madras in 1982-83. That was the only case of identical tons: there have been ten cases of two similar scores over 50 in Tests, the highest being Alvin Kallicharran's pair of 80s for West Indies against England at The Oval in 1973.

Bangladesh made 488 in a recent Test against Zimbabwe, but no-one scored a century - is that the highest total without one? asked Raj Motwani

That innings of Bangladesh's at Chittagong, in which the highest score was Habibul Bashar's 94, was actually the fourth-highest in Test history not to include an individual century. The highest is India's 524 for 9 dec against New Zealand at Kanpur in 1976-77 (the highest score was Mohinder Amarnath's 70). The other higher totals are South Africa's 517 against Australia at Adelaide in 1997-98 (highest 87 not out by Brian McMillan), and Pakistan's 500 for 8 dec against Australia at Melbourne in 1981-82 (highest 95 by Mudassar Nazar).

In the first Test between West Indies and England in 1947-48 there were 12 debutants - is that the most in a match that wasn't the first one for either of the countries concerned? asked Vikram Ravi Menezes from India

The record is actually 15, by England and Australia at The Oval in 1880 - that was the first Test ever played in England, who had eight debutants including the three Grace brothers. There were also 15 new caps in the match between South Africa and England at Port Elizabeth in 1895-96. The total of 12 in the match you're referring to at Bridgetown has only been surpassed twice (except in a country's first Test) since the Second World War - in the first match after the hostilities, when New Zealand played Australia at Wellington in 1945-46 when there were 13 new caps, and at Bridgetown in 1991-92, when South Africa fielded ten debutants in their first Test for 22 years (the exception was Kepler Wessels, who had already played for Australia) against West Indies, who had three new caps themselves.

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.