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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #18
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Q: With Mark Ramprakash sitting on 99 First-Class centuries, I would be interested to know who achieved 100 hundreds in the fewest number of innings.

A :The first to achieve this was WG Grace in 1895, when aged 46. By far the quickest ever was (who else?) Sir Donald Bradman, who needed only 295 First-Class innings to reach a ton of tons, far superior to the previous best held by Walter Hammond (679 innings). The next best is Denis Compton on 552. Ramprakash should eventually be the eighth quickest. Here is a list of the quickest ever:
295 - Don Bradman (Aus)
552 - Denis Compton (Eng)
574 - Graeme Hick (Eng)
619 - Len Hutton (Eng)
645 - Geoff Boycott (Eng)
658 - Zaheer Abbas (Pak) = Viv Richards (WI)
Q: Has anyone ever scored a century and taken six wickets in a ODI?

A: Yes - at Trent Bridge in 2005, England's Paul Collingwood scored 112* in 86 balls against Bangladesh, then went onto capture six for 31. Viv Richards (West Indies) is the only other player to score a century and take at least five wickets, with 119 and five for 41 against New Zealand at Carisbrook, Dunedin in 1986/87. In 1999/2000, Graeme Hick scored 80 and took five for 33 against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club.
Q: How many bowlers have claimed 500 Test victims?

A: This feat has been achieved by only five men in the history of Test cricket, led by Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan with 735 - and counting. Here is the full list as of this column:
735 Muttiah Muralitharan (SL)
708 Shane Warne (Aus)
608 Anil Kumble (Ind)
563 Glenn McGrath (Aus)
519 Courtney Walsh (WI)
Q: What is the third-innings batting average for New Zealand, when bowled-out, for the past 4 years?

A: Between the First Test of the series in England in 2004 and the just-concluded Second Test in the same country in 2008, 202. And this is after 336 in the first of these. Thereafter, the best is 272 and the average, unsurprisingly, below 200.
Q: When was the first day\night ODI in each major country?

A: In Australia it was 1979/80; in South Africa, 1991/92; in Sri Lanka, 1992; in India, 1984/85 (though they did not become regular until 1993/94); in Pakistan, 1995/96; in New Zealand, the same season; in England, 2000; and in West Indies, 2006.
Q: How many players represented South Africa in Tests pre-isolation?

A: There were 235, with the first being (in alphabetical order from the first eleven picked in 1888/89) Owen Dunnell and the last John Traicos.
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