The return of the regular Monday column in which Steven Lynch answers your queries about (almost) any aspect of cricket. Steven has been away in Australia - and this week the amazing Pura Cup final in Brisbane has sparked several of the questions:
How many higher scores have there been than Queensland's 900? asked David Spellman from Brisbane
There have only been ten higher team totals in first-class cricket than Queensland's 900 for 6 in the Pura Cup final at Brisbane, as this table shows. Top of the pile is Victoria's 1107 against New South Wales at Melbourne in 1926-27. Four years before that Victoria also reached four figures, with 1059 against Tasmania, again at the MCG.
Queensland reached 878 before losing their fourth wicket - is this the highest score ever reached for the loss of fewer than four wickets? asked Jeremy Gilling from Australia
The short answer is yes, it was: in the final at Brisbane Queensland's fourth wicket went down at 878, which beat the previous record of 801, set during Maharashtra's 826 for 4 against Kathiawar at Poona in 1948-49. That innings also included the record score at the fall of the third wicket (778). That was the match in which BB Nimbalkar was within touching distance of Don Bradman's then-record first-class score of 452 - he had 443 not out - when Kathiawar's players gave up and conceded the match. Nimbalkar told Cricinfo in 2001: "My captain Raja Gokhale requested the opposition to come on to the field for two overs, so that I could get the record. But they refused to do so and conceded the match. They kept saying that you have already scored so many runs, why do you want to get more runs."
How many times have there been four scores of 150-plus in an innings, as there were in Queensland's 900? asked Andrew Baker from Melbourne
This was another record: never before in first-class cricket have four players exceeded 150 in the same innings, as happened at Brisbane (Jimmy Maher 223, Martin Love 169, Shane Watson 201 retired hurt and Clinton Perren 173). As far as I can discover there are only five previous instances of three players making more than 150: by England in the final Test against Australia at The Oval in 1938 (Len Hutton 364, Maurice Leyland 189, Joe Hardstaff 169 not out); by India in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Kanpur in 1986-87 (Sunil Gavaskar 176, Mohammad Azharuddin 199, Kapil Dev 163); by Delhi in the 1988-89 Ranji Trophy final against Bengal at Delhi (Bantoo Singh 179, Bhaskar Pillai 199, Kirti Azad 158); by Hyderabad against Andhra at Secunderabad in 1993-94 (MV Sridhar 366, Vivek Jaisimha 211, Noel David 207 not out); and by Habib Bank against PNSC in Pakistan's Patron's Trophy in Lahore in 1993-94. In that innings Shakeel Ahmed made 200, Idrees Baig 158 and Shaukat Mirza 160 not out ... while Akram Raza was undefeated with 145 when the match ended with Habib Bank 744 for 7.
Who holds the record for hitting twin centuries in a Test most often? Is it Ricky Ponting? asked Karthik Krishnamurthy from the United States
Ricky Ponting now shares the record of hitting a century in each innings of a Test three times, with the great Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar. All of Ponting's efforts have come this season, starting with 149 and 104 not out against West Indies at Brisbane last November. He added 120 and 143 not out against South Africa at Sydney in January, in what was his 100th Test, and last week caned the South Africans again, for 103 and 116 at Durban. Of other current players, Matthew Hayden and Rahul Dravid have both done it twice. For a full list of batsman who have scored a century in each innings of a Test, click here.
How many players have scored a first-class century without any boundaries? asked D'Arcy Waldegrave from New Zealand
Two batsmen have been out for a score of more than 100 without hitting a single boundary. Alan Hill, who also blocked for Derbyshire, made 103 for Orange Free State against Griqualand West at Bloemfontein in 1976-77 without reaching the fence, while Paul Hibbert made exactly 100 without a four for Victoria against the touring Indians at Melbourne in 1977-78, a feat that won him his one and only Test cap shortly afterwards. However, during Australia's tour of England in 1926 Bill Woodfull reached his century against Surrey at The Oval without hitting a four, but did hit one afterwards before he was out for 118. Wisden reported that Woodfull "observed special skill in placing the ball between short leg and mid-on, where most of his 72 singles were registered ... he hit only one four, and that, as it happened, was the last stroke he made". The highest Test score without a boundary is Geoff Boycott's 77 for England against Australia at Perth in 1978-79. His score did include one four - but it was all-run and didn't actually reach the ropes.
What is the biggest coincidence in cricket? asked Vinay from Hong Kong
I suppose you could write a book about coincidences in cricket (maybe someone already has!). My first thought was about two batsmen making the same tall score, like Sid Barnes and Don Bradman both making 234 against England at Sydney in 1946-47. I also wondered about Bob Simpson, who played for Australia in the first tied Test at Brisbane in 1960-61, and was their coach for the second, at Madras in 1986-87. Another amazing coincidence was that the Centenary Test at Melbourne in 1976-77 ended in exactly the same result (Australia won by 45 runs) as the inaugural Test from 100 years previously that it was commemorating. Then I started thinking about people who were born on the same day, such as the rival captains in the 1905 Ashes series, Stanley Jackson and Joe Darling, who were both born on November 21, 1870. Finally I asked Tim de Lisle, the former Wisden editor, what he thought. He said: "Two of the world's most-capped cricketers being born in the same room, a few minutes apart." Just in case you're wondering, he meant Steve and Mark Waugh, who played 296 Tests between them.
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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