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



Kevin Pietersen: fast 500 © Getty Images

Has anyone reached 500 runs in one-day internationals quicker than Kevin Pietersen, who did it in 11 matches? asked Harish Shetty

Another England player, Dennis Amiss, reached 500 in only nine ODI matches, while Allan Lamb of England and Sri Lanka's Roy Dias both did it in ten games. But Kevin Pietersen achieved it in only nine innings - the same as Amiss. The only other batsmen to reach 500 runs in ODIs in 11 matches are South Africa's Peter Kirsten and Imran Farhat of Pakistan: another Pakistani, Majid Khan, and England's Bill Athey both did it in 12.

How many times has a player captained the side on his Test debut? asked Wayne Wright

If you exclude a country's inaugural Test match, this has happened 23 times now, most of them in the early days of Test cricket when it was not unusual for England (especially) to venture overseas with an untried amateur captain. But it has been a rarity since the Second World War. There are only four instances since then, three of them by England: George Mann against South Africa at Durban in 1948-49, Nigel Howard against India at Delhi in 1951-52, and Tony Lewis against India, also at Delhi, in 1972-73. The most recent instance was when Lee Germon captained New Zealand on his Test debut, against India at Bangalore in 1995-96.

I noticed that Damien Martyn has scored his 11 Test hundreds so far at 11 different venues. Has anyone done more than this? asked Stephen Samuelson from Australia

Damien Martyn leads the way for someone scoring all his centuries on different grounds. The former England captain Ted Dexter and Navjot Sidhu of India both scored nine Test centuries, all at different places. The man who has made hundreds at the most different venues is Sachin Tendulkar - his 34 Test centuries have come at 25 different grounds. Steve Waugh is next with 20.

When Pakistan made 281 (and lost) to West Indies recently no-one passed 50 - what is the highest ODI total without a half-century? asked Osman Samiuddin from Pakistan

It seems that this was a record that most people missed - Pakistan's 281 against West Indies at Adelaide turns out to be the highest ODI total without an individual half-century (the highest score was Yousuf Youhana's 45). The previous-highest was 265 for 6 to beat Zimbabwe at Harare in 2000-01 - the highest score then was Mark Ramprakash's 47. There have been five other ODI totals of more than 250 which didn't include an individual score of 50 or more.

Test players now have numbers allocated in the order in which they made their international debuts. Who is the surviving English Test cricketer with the lowest number? asked John Price

England are now up to No. 625 in their all-time list of Test players - the 625th was Ian Bell (for a full list click here). The surviving player with the lowest number is Mandy Mitchell-Innes, who was the 283rd man to represent England. He played his one and only Test for England against South Africa at Trent Bridge in 1935. The senior Test player, in terms of his debut, is New Zealand's Jack Kerr, who played against England at Lord's in 1931. India's Mushtaq Ali (1933-34) and Bill Brown of Australia (1934) also made their Test debuts before Mitchell-Innes. Fifth on the list is another New Zealander, Eric Tindill, who made his Test debut in 1937 - but he is ten days older than Kerr and is the oldest surviving Test cricketer as I write.

At which of Australia's major home grounds do Australia have the worst Test record? asked D Jackson

The Adelaide Oval, where Australia have won 31 of the 63 Tests played (losing 16 and drawing 16), is the only one of their major home grounds where Australia have not won more than half their matches. Their best record is at Perth, where Australia have won 19 of the 32 matches (59.37%) since the first one there in 1970-71. They have lost seven and drawn six at the WACA. Australia have won 54 of the 97 Tests played at the MCG (lost 28, drawn 15), 48 out of 92 at Sydney (lost 27, drawn 17), and 27 out of 47 at Brisbane (lost 8, drawn 11). Of the other Australian Test grounds, they have a 100% record at Darwin (played two, won two), won one and lost one at the Exhibition Ground in Brisbane, won one and drew one at Cazaly's Oval in Cairns, and won four out of six - with two drawn - at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.

Further to the answer about the highest percentage of runs scored by a batsman in an innings, and the query two weeks ago about Asanka Gurusinha's innings in 1990-91, I remember an old magazine article suggesting that if you ignored extras and only counted runs off the bat, then Gurusinha came out top of the list. Is that right? asked Debashish Biswas

Yes it is: in that innings for Sri Lanka against India at Chandigarh Gurusinha made 52 out of the all-out total of 82, but eight of those were extras, which gives him a percentage of 70.27% of the batsmen's runs. That puts him ahead of Charles Bannerman. who heads the overall (extras-included) list - he scored 165 out of 245 for Australia against England in the first Test of them all, at Melbourne in 1876-77, but that innings also included eight extras - so he scored 69.62% of runs off the bat. VVS Laxman, with 167 out of 261, with 21 extras (69.58%), for India v Australia at Sydney in 1999-2000, lies third on this particular list.

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.