Virat Kohli scored 558 runs in the one-dayers in South Africa. Was this a record for any series? asked Dinesh Mukherjee from India
Virat Kohli's 558 runs in the just-completed one-day series in South Africa - at the handy average of 186 - was a new record for a bilateral ODI series. He broke the mark set by his team-mate Rohit Sharma, who made 491 runs in the six-match home rubber against Australia in 2013-14. There are six other instances of a batsman passing 400 runs in a bilateral one-day series (five matches, unless stated): Chris Gayle made 455 in seven games for West Indies in India in 2002-03, Salman Butt 451 for Pakistan in Bangladesh in 2007-08, Rohit Sharma 442 in Australia in 2015-16, Hashim Amla 413 in four matches for South Africa at home to West Indies in 2014-15, Desmond Haynes 404 for West Indies at home to New Zealand in 1984-85, and Amla 402 for South Africa in West Indies in 2010.
There have been six higher aggregates than Kohli's in multi-team events. Greg Chappell leads the way with 686 runs in 14 matches in Australia's World Series Cup in 1980-81, when India and New Zealand were the other participants. Sachin Tendulkar amassed 673 runs in the 2002-03 World Cup, and Matthew Hayden 659 in the 2006-07 competition. Also in the World Series Cup in Australia, Viv Richards made 651 runs and Allan Border 590 in 1984-85, and David Gower 563 in 1982-83. For the full list, click here.
In a Test mentioned in last week's column, Clyde Walcott scored two centuries in the match but West Indies lost by an innings. Was this unique? asked Andrew Boyle via Facebook
That instance by Clyde Walcott, who made 155 and 110 for West Indies against Australia in Kingston in 1954-55, was actually the second of three occasions in which a batsman scored twin centuries but ended up on the wrong end of an innings defeat. The first was by India's Vijay Hazare, against Australia in Adelaide in 1947-48: he scored 116 and 145, but Australia had already amassed 674 (Don Bradman made 201 of those, before being bowled by Hazare). The other occasion was much more recent: in 2009-10 in Kolkata, South Africa lost by an innings despite Hashim Amla making 114 and 123 not out (he'd scored 253 not out in the previous Test, in Nagpur, which South Africa won by an innings).
There are seven further instances of a match being lost (but not by an innings) despite a player making twin centuries, the most recent being Virat Kohli, with 115 and 141 against Australia in Adelaide in 2014-15. The others are Herbert Sutcliffe (176 and 127 for England against Australia in Melbourne in 1924-25), George Headley (106 and 107 for West Indies v England at Lord's in 1939), Sunil Gavaskar (111 and 137 for India v Pakistan in Karachi in 1978-79), Andy Flower (142 and 199 not out for Zimbabwe v South Africa in Harare in 2001-02), Brian Lara (221 and 130 for West Indies v Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2001-02), and Andrew Strauss (123 and 108 for England v India in Chennai in 2008-09). For more details, click here.
Which opening batsman has scored the most centuries in that position? asked Allan Alexander from the United States
In Test cricket, the answer is still Sunil Gavaskar, who made 33 hundreds while opening. He made one other three-figure score, when he made 236 not out after being sent in at No. 4 against West Indies in Madras (now Chennai) in 1982-83; it turned out to be his highest Test score. Alastair Cook might yet surpass him: he currently has 30 Test centuries, the same as Matthew Hayden. Graeme Smith hit 27 centuries from the top of the order, Geoff Boycott and Virender Sehwag 22, David Warner 21 to date, and Andrew Strauss 20. Cook leads the way for runs scored as opener, with 11,378 in 145 matches as opener. Gavaskar comes next, with 9607, ahead of Smith (9030) and Hayden (8625).
If you meant in one-day internationals, Sachin Tendulkar made 45 of his 49* ODI hundreds after going in first. He's a long way clear of Sanath Jayasuriya, who made 28 centuries after opening. Hashim Amla currently has 26, while Chris Gayle hit 22 and Tillakaratne Dilshan 21. Predictably, Tendulkar also leads the way in runs scored from the opening spot in ODIs, with 15,310 in 344 matches. Jayasuriya comes next, with 12,740, ahead of Adam Gilchrist (9200), Sourav Ganguly (9146), Gayle (9119), and Desmond Haynes (8648).
Which Test cricketer was known as "The Postman"? asked David Anderson from England
This was the nickname given to the Wellington allrounder Gavin Larsen, who formed part of New Zealand's suffocating slow-medium attack at the 1992 World Cup. He was apparently known as the Postman because "he always delivered", a joke almost as excruciating as the title of his 1999 autobiography, Grand Larseny. During that World Cup, Larsen, Chris Harris and Rod Latham were also known as Dibbly, Dobbly and Wobbly. I've never been quite sure which was which.
In a career that lasted almost throughout the 1990s, Larsen played 121 ODIs for New Zealand, taking 113 wickets at 35, but more importantly, going for less than four an over. He also won eight Test caps.
I noticed that the Waugh twins both made 49 and 99 in Ashes Tests. Has anyone else done this? asked Rajiv Radhakrishnan from England
Only two others have achieved this double near-miss in Ashes Tests. Australia's Keith Miller was the first: out for 99 in Adelaide in 1950-51, he fell for 49 in Brisbane four years later. Geoff Boycott was out for 49 against Australia twice - at Lord's in 1968, and in Adelaide in 1978-79 - and was stranded on 99 not out in Perth in 1979-80. Steve Waugh made 49 in Melbourne in 1986-87, and was also left high and dry on 99 not out in Perth in 1994-95, when his twin (acting as a runner) was run out. Mark himself made 49 twice - at The Oval in 1993, and Edgbaston in 2001 - after being out for 99 at Lord's in 1993.
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*07:25:36 GMT, February 21, 2018: Corrected from 51