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Ask the Spider: Ask The Spider #52
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Q: How many wicketkeepers have opened the batting on Test debut?

A :22, though just a couple in the last 34 years. The first was John Selby in the very first Test of all, and Alfred Lyttleton did the same in the first Test in England. 14 of these came between 1932 and 1964/65. Exactly half opened in both innings of their Test debut.
Q: In 2004, Andrew Strauss made a century on Test debut in the first-innings and Nasser Hussain made one in the second-innings and promptly retired. Has there ever been another instance of a debut centurion and a last-game centurion in Test history?

A: Only one, and remarkably it came just 3 years prior to Strauss and Hussain's. Though Saeed Anwar and Taufeeq Umar (who opened Pakistan's batting in their only innings of the match and put-on 168) had the dubious distinction of making their stand against the palpably substandard Bangladeshis.
Q: What is the most number of catches taken on Test debut, as a fielder?

A: Seven. India's Yajurvindra Singh, brought into the side against England in the 1976/77 as a middle-order batsman and part-time seamer, took five catches in the first-innings of the match and two in the second. This, remarkably, broke Australia's Victor Richardson's record for the most catches in any innings, and equalled the record for most in a match. Remarkably, he now shares this with one of Richardson's grandsons, Greg Chappell.
Q: What's the best figures on ODI debut for a serious side against serious opposition, both before 1990 and after it?

A: Before 1 January 1990, the best figures are Australian Tony Dodemaide's 7.2-21-5; after it, the best are Allan Donald's 8.4-29-5. Both were taken in the second-innings, though Donald's were, remarkably, not sufficient to avert defeat for his side.
Q: Is it true that the first Test wicket of the 20th-century and the last of the 19th were both run-outs?

A: Remarkably, yes, and even more remarkably, they involved the England and Australian captains. England's Archie MacLaren was the first of the 20th in the First Test in Australia in 1901/02, and the last of the 19th was Australia's Joe Darling in the Fifth Test in England in 1899.
Q: When was Waqar Younis at his best?

A: Waqar's best performances were between the 1990/91 season and 1994/95. In this time, he took a quite astonishing 177 wickets at 17.31 in effectively 26 Tests (he played 27 but Pakistan did not get to bowl as the game was ruined by rain). He took five or more wickets in 21 of these 26 games. What isn't always acknowledged is that Waqar had a later spell of 30 Tests, between 1996 and 2000/01, where he took a further 113 wickets at 25.86. This was clearly below his earlier standards, but still above most people's.
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