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Ask Steven

Who has the best batting average in the IPL?

Also: was Sri Lanka's 531 the highest Test total to not feature an individual century?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Kusal Mendis kept building for Sri Lanka, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Chattogram, Day 1, March 30, 2024

Kusal Mendis' 93 was the highest individual score in Sri Lanka's first innings-total of 531  •  AFP/Getty Images

There were six half-centuries but no hundreds in Sri Lanka's first innings at Chattogram. Was this a record? asked Sudarsan from India
As has been widely reported, Sri Lanka's 531 in the second Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram last week was the highest Test total not to include an individual century. The previous-highest was India's 524 for 9 declared against New Zealand in Kanpur in 1976-77, when the highest score was Mohinder Amarnath's 70.
That Kanpur innings was the first to contain six half-centuries but no hundreds; Sri Lanka's effort in Chattogram was the sixth. The previous time it happened was in 2017, when six England batters reached 50 against West Indies at Headingley, but no one made it to three figures - the highest individual contribution then was Moeen Ali's 84.
There were only 21 dot balls in Sunrisers' recent record IPL total. Was this the fewest dots for any T20 innings? asked Nikhil from India
Sunrisers' 277 for 3 against Mumbai Indians in Hyderabad last month was indeed the highest total in IPL history, beating Royal Challengers' 263 for 5 against Pune Warriors in Bengaluru in April 2013. And the 21 dot balls was also a record in a full (20-over) innings in the IPL; there were 23 (11 by Andre Russell) in Delhi Capitals' 228 for 4 against Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah in October 2020, and 24 in Sunrisers' 207 for 3 against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali in April 2017.
We don't have ball-by-ball details for many T20 matches, so it's impossible to identify the overall record. But 22 is definitely not the fewest: there were only 19 dot balls in Melbourne Stars' 273 for 2 in their Big Bash League match against Hobart Hurricanes at the MCG in January 2022. Note that the ESPNcricinfo database counts dot balls from the bowlers' perspective - so a no-ball that doesn't produce any runs off the bat doesn't count, as the penalty runs go against the bowler (unlike byes or leg-byes). In the recent Sunrisers' innings there was one no-ball (by Gerald Coetzee) that wasn't scored from, so by some interpretations the innings included 22 dot balls.
Sam Northeast's innings the other day means he has scored quadruple- and triple-centuries in first-class cricket, but no doubles. Is there anyone else with such a record? asked Robert Jenkins from England
That innings of 335 not out by Glamorgan's captain Sam Northeast against Middlesex at Lord's last week was the highest individual first-class innings at Lord's, beating the 333 of Graham Gooch for England against India in a Test in 1990. There have been only four other first-class triple-centuries at Lord's.
Northeast also scored 410 not out for Glamorgan against Leicestershire at Grace Road in 2022, but you're right that he hasn't yet made a score of between 200 and 299. He did come close, with 191 for Kent against Derbyshire in Canterbury in June 2016, and 190 a few weeks later against Sussex at Tunbridge Wells.
None of first-class cricket's other quadruple-centurions (there are only eight of them) failed to record a double-century, although Aftab Baloch came close: apart from his 428 in 1973-74, his next-highest score was exactly 200 not out the following season, also against Baluchistan. Apart from him, Archie MacLaren and Bhausaheb Nimbalkar also never made a triple-century to go with their 400s, but they did reach 200.
Who has the best batting average in the IPL? asked Conrad Stephens from South Africa
Given a minimum of 25 innings, there are only two batters who average over 40 in the IPL. Both are current players, so this may change, but as I write KL Rahul averages 46.26, and David Warner 41.57. Heinrich Klaasen currently averages 42.56 from 20 innings, and Sai Sudharsan 45.28 from 16.
Devon Conway, who has not featured in this year's IPL, averages 48.63 from 22 innings. And if you don't have any qualification at all, Vivrant Sharma had one innings for Sunrisers last April, and scored 69 against Mumbai Indians. For the full list, which is regularly updated, click here.
I noticed that Paul Stirling recently became the first Irishman to appear in 300 international matches. Who's the next closest to 300 from outside the top Test-playing nations? asked Peter Blundell from Australia
Paul Stirling played his 300th official international for Ireland against Afghanistan in Sharjah last month, and has now reached 304. Mohammad Nabi, who was on the opposing side that day, has now played 285 international matches.
The leader among the non-Test nations is Scotland's Richie Berrington, with 202; Collins Obuya, who retired recently after a long career for Kenya, played 179. For the list, which includes players from recent Test nations Afghanistan and Ireland but not the longer-established ones, click here.
Shiva Jayaraman of ESPNcricinfo's stats team helped with some of the above answers.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes