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Heartless bowlers, longest careers, and the most ODI ducks

"Another century thwarted. This is fun!" AFP

Who is Test cricket's biggest heartbreaker - by which I mean the bowler who dismissed most batsmen in the nineties? asked Alpesh Krishnan from India
The answer to this unusual question is India's Anil Kumble, who despatched ten batsmen in sight of their hundreds - Jonty Rhodes (in 1992-93), Aravinda de Silva (1993), Craig McMillan (1998-99), Jacques Kallis (1999-2000), Marcus Trescothick (for 99, in 2001-02), Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq (in the same innings in 2005-06), Ashwell Prince (2006-07), Graeme Smith (2006-07) and Andrew Strauss (2007). Kapil Dev dismissed nine batsmen in the nineties, and Graeme Swann seven. In one-day internationals, the leader is Wasim Akram, who inflicted six dismissals in the nineties; Sanath Jayasuriya, Jacques Kallis, Kapil Dev, Manoj Prabhakar, Saqlain Mushtaq and Waqar Younis each managed four.

Steven Smith scored 499 runs in the Tests in India. Is this the best for Australia there? asked Mahesh Guha from India
Steven Smith's 499 runs in the series was the fourth-highest for Australia (and the sixth-best for either country) in a Test series between the two sides in India. Kim Hughes tops the list, with 594 runs in 1979-80, but that was in six Tests. Next comes Matthew Hayden, with 549 in just three matches in 2000-01. Allan Border collected 521 runs in 1979-80. For India, Gundappa Viswanath made 518 in that same six-Test series in 1979-80, and VVS Laxman 503 in the three Tests of 2000-01. Overall (including Test series in Australia), Smith leads the way: he amassed 769 runs in the four-Test series against India in Australia in 2014-15, which eclipsed Don Bradman's record of 715 from 1947-48. Ricky Ponting made 706 runs in the 2003-04 series, while Virat Kohli is top for India with 692 in 2014-15.

Who scored the most runs without ever playing Test cricket? asked Adrian Cooper from England
The list of leading first-class run-getters is dominated by English players, as so much more first-class county cricket was played there in the past. And most of the leading names won at least a few international caps: the first man who didn't play an official Test match is the Glamorgan opener Alan Jones, in 35th place with 36,049 runs in first-class cricket. Jones' only England appearance came in what was eventually designated an unofficial Test, against the Rest of the World at Lord's in 1970. Seven places further down the list, with 34,378 runs, is the Sussex batsman John Langridge, who never won a cap at all - unofficial or otherwise - although he did appear in seven Tests as an umpire.

What's the highest first-class score by someone who never played a Test? asked Pari Vandra from England
This one follows the previous question neatly. And there's a different answer: the highest individual score by a non-Test player is 443 not out, by BB Nimbalkar, for Maharashtra against Kathiawar in Pune in 1948-49. The unfortunate Nimbalkar was denied a shot at the record for the highest individual innings at the time - Don Bradman's unbeaten 452 for New South Wales v Queensland in Sydney in 1929-30 - as the Kathiawar captain forfeited the match to spare his bowlers any more punishment. Nimbalkar's innings remains the fourth highest in all first-class cricket.

You wrote recently about Brian Close's long Test career, which lasted from 1949 to 1976. Was it the longest of all? asked Nick Henderson from England
Brian Close's Test career, which lasted about a week short of 27 years, was actually the second longest overall. Another Yorkshireman, slow left-armer Wilfred Rhodes, won his first cap in 1899, and his last - aged 52, the oldest Test player ever - in 1929-30: his international career lasted 30 years 315 days in all. Fifteen other players have had Test careers spanning more than 20 years, the most recent being Sachin Tendulkar (24 years plus one day) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (just over 21 years). Tendulkar had the longest one-day international career - 22 years 91 days from his debut in 1989-90. Sanath Jayasuriya played ODIs for more than 21 years, and Javed Miandad for 20.

Which batsman has the most ducks in one-day internationals? asked Nilanjan Banerjee from India
The batsman most often out for 0 in one-day internationals is Sanath Jayasuriya, with 34 ducks. Next come Shahid Afridi, with 30, and Mahela Jayawardene and Wasim Akram, with 28 apiece. The Sri Lankan pair of Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas each bagged 25. Top of the list in Tests is Courtney Walsh, with 43, ahead of Chris Martin (36), Glenn McGrath (35), Shane Warne (34) and Murali (33). The most innings batted without ever making a duck in Tests is 37, by the Australians Jimmy Burke and Reggie Duff. In ODIs it's a remarkable 98 innings, by Kepler Wessels (Samiullah Shenwari is currently second, with 51).

And there's an update to last week's question about fathers and sons in the same first-class match, from Sreeram via Facebook
"It seems there is a more recent instance than 1931 of a father and son scoring half-centuries in the same first-class innings. CK Nayudu and one of his sons, CN, did it in 1956-57." This does seem to be true: it possibly escaped general attention as the son is listed as "CN Bobjee" in ESPNcricinfo's scorecard of the match, in Benares in February 1957. Probably the most remarkable aspect of this particular feat is that CK Nayudu was 61 at the time!

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