The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:
In last week's Women's World Cup match, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 70 by England, but the innings included 38 wides! Is this a record in terms of percentage of runs scored? asked Nick Austin from England
It's an impressive effort, no question, and in the men's game, it would have been a record in terms of tally and percentage. But not so in the women's game. That dubious honour was secured by a kamikaze performance from Pakistan who, in July 2003, contributed 17 wides to Japan's total of 28. That represents 60.71% of the score, and means that last week's effort (54.29%) has to settle for second place. Generous souls that they are, the Japanese returned the complement two days later, by dishing up 67 wides against Holland, with whom they share the outright record.
Can you give some more details of the innings when Don Bradman made 300 in a day in a Test? How many sixes did he hit? asked R Sivasubramaniam from Singapore
The match in question was the third Test of the 1930 Ashes series, at Headingley. At the end of the first day Bradman had scored 309 not out - the Test record for runs in a day - and went on next morning to make 334. BJ Wakley's marvellous statistical tome Bradman The Great has all the details of that amazing innings. On that first day he came in an 11.38, after Archie Jackson was out in the second over. By lunch The Don had 105 (out of 136 for 1), only the third instance of a batsman scoring a century before lunch in the first day of a Test (it's only happened once since: click here for details). By tea, he had advanced to 220, and had reached 309 by the close. When he was out next day his 334 runs had come from 436 balls. He batted for 383 minutes, and hit 46 fours ... but no sixes. In fact Bradman was not a great six-hitter - he preferred to keep the ball on the ground - and only hit six sixes in all in Tests, to go alongside 618 fours (and two fives).
What's the highest individual score in a major one-day game? asked Chris Arthurs from Geelong, Australia
The highest individual score in a one-day international is 194, by Pakistan's Saeed Anwar against India at Chennai in 1996-97. For a full list of the top scores in ODIs, click here. There has been a higher innings in the women's World Cup - in 1997-98 Australia's Belinda Clark hammered 229 not out against Denmark in Mumbai. The highest score in what statisticians usually call "List A" matches - domestic one-day games, usually played between first-class sides - is Alistair Brown's 268 for Surrey in an amazing Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy match at The Oval in 2002, when Glamorgan (429) fell an agonising nine runs short of Surrey's huge 50-over total of 438 for 5. For a full list of high one-day scores, click here.
I was stuck on this quiz question recently - which Test player's autobiography was called I'll Spin You a Tale? asked Ramesh Bhaskar from Bangalore
The man in question was Eric Hollies, the Warwickshire and England legspinner whose book of that name was published by the Museum Press in 1955. Hollies had an unusual career: he played his first three Tests on tour in the West Indies in 1934-35, then didn't win another cap for more than 12 years, when he was recalled to play South Africa in 1947 and took 5 for 123 in his first innings back, at Trent Bridge. But Hollies made his indelible mark on Test history the following year, at The Oval in 1948, when he bowled Don Bradman for a duck in his final Test innings, when he needed just four runs to finish with a Test average of 100. Hollies took 44 wickets in 13 Tests in all, at an average of 30.27. A famously inept batsman, he ended up with many more first-class wickets (2323) than runs (1673) in his long career, which stretched from 1932 to 1957. He died in 1981.
Last week you talked about the Test players "born in Peru, Papua New Guinea and Portugal" - I think I know who one of them is, but who are the other two? Please put us out of our misery. And what is the most unlikely place that a Test cricketer has been born? asked Carole Cooke from Petersfield
Ah, sorry to have left you on tenterhooks. The three I mentioned were Freddie Brown, the former England captain, who was born in Lima in Peru; Geraint Jones, the current England wicketkeeper, who was born in Kundiawa in Papua New Guinea; and Dick Westcott, the South African batsman of the 1950s, who was born in Lisbon in Portugal. As for the most unlikely birthplace for a Test cricketer, I was tempted to say New Zealand for an Australian one (Clarrie Grimmett, Tom Groube and Brendon Julian), or maybe London for a West Indian one (Courtney Browne) ... but I think you mean more unlikely even than that. I suppose one of the strangest is Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the birthplace of the Indian batsman Ashok Gandotra, who played two Tests in 1969-70. John Traicos runs him close - he was born in Egypt. He's the only man to play Test cricket for two countries (South Africa and Zimbabwe) yet be born in neither.
I had a peculiar quiz teaser the other day asking the strange reason why a wife missed her husband's entire Test career during the 1920s - do you know what the question-master was driving at? asked Chris Church from Gravesend
I suspect this is the possibly apocryphal story of Dr Roy Park, who played one Test for Australia against England at Melbourne in 1920-21. Park was called up because Charlie Macartney had gastritis. When he went in, on the first morning, Park was unfortunately bowled by his first ball, from the Warwickshire fast bowler Harry Howell. The story goes that his wife, who was sitting in the stands at the MCG, dropped her knitting at the vital moment and missed his brief innings. Australia went on to win by an innings and 91 runs - in fact they won all five matches of the series - so Park didn't have to bat again. Macartney was fit for the next Test, so Park was dropped ... and never won another cap. He (and his wife) did have some slight consolation - their daughter married Ian Johnson, who went on to captain Australia on the 1950s.
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.