Q: And I once read that he started "modestly", and have as a result often imagined this meant with a pair and 0-for! How true is this?
A :To describe his start as "modest" would very much be in the context of the season - he took 4-99 and scored 61 and 34 in his season's opener. Certainly a start which he improved on spectacularly, but the sort of match any all-rounder would be more than satisfied with. It took a little while for Hirst's batting to get going, but he took 9-159 in his sophomore game of the season.
Q: Last week's question about the bowlers with economy-rates of 0 in ODIs made me think - who has bowled the most in Tests without conceding a run?
A: AN Hornby, of Lancashire and (briefly) England, holds this record and it is very conceivable that no-one will ever take it from him - he has held it since 1878/79 (the second-ever Test series). He bowled 28 deliveries on Test debut (this came in 7 four-ball overs) without conceding a run, and was not called upon again in his remaining couple of games. It should be noted, though, that at the time the term "Test cricket" had never even been conceived, and the match (like plenty around that time) was only given Test status in retrospect - the tour was a private one with no thought of the side representing their country. Hornby took a wicket in his spell, giving him a Test average of 0. His nearest rival, Roger Prideaux, bowled a couple of maidens in the 2nd of his 3 Tests (by now under the six-ball over rule), which came on the tour of Pakistan in 1968/69 (Prideaux was part of a decidedly second-string team). Currently, Xavier Marshall shares Prideaux's second place, but he appears more likely than not to add to his 7 Test caps, and if he does it must be regarded as fairly likely that he will bowl again. 9 others have bowled in Tests without conceding a run (perhaps rather surprisingly, one-third of whom were full- or part-time wicketkeepers).
A few weeks ago you answered a question about the highest all-out score in the first-innings of a ODI; well, what's the lowest non-all-out score in the second-innings of matches which were not curtailed by weather (or if applicable other factors)?
Sri Lanka made this, in a series which we also mentioned last week, in New Zealand in 1982/83. Set 184 in 50 overs in the First ODI
, they could manage only 118-9. Richard Hadlee bowled 8 overs for 9; Bernard Lance Cairns got through 10 at a cost of just a-run-an-over; and Ewan Chatfield trumped even that, with 10 for 8.
Q: I once saw a clip of the England vs. India one-off Test in 1932, of an England batsman having his off-stump knocked flying by an Indian seam bowler. Is there any chance you could tell me who it is?
A: Based on my own knowledge of a clip that fits that description, the batsman is almost certainly Yorkshire's Percy Holmes, who was opening for England in that match with his county partner Herbert Sutcliffe. Who the bowler was can be less certain, as Holmes was castled in both innings' - by the great Mohammad Nissar in the first-innings, and by M. Jahingir Khan (grandfather of Imran and Majid) in the second-. If any readers know of the particulars, it'd be fascinating to hear.
What is the most economical spell of 10 overs in a ODI since 2000/01?
Ray Price of Zimbabwe bowled 10 overs for 7 against Ireland in 2008/09, but the best in a match involving two serious sides is 9, which has been done four times, three of which have come from Sri Lankans and two from the same bowler, whose identity will not surprise many: Muttiah Muralitharan - the former instance in 2000/01 itself, against West Indies at Gymkhana in the ICC Knockout Trophy
, the latter in 2001/02 against New Zealand in one of the later Sharjah Cups
; Farveez Maharoof against West Indies' second-string side in the IOC Cup in 2005; and one South African (again a renowned parsimonious type), Shaun Pollock, against Pakistan in 2003/04