A. The fourth Test of 1956 was played at Old Trafford on a disgraceful dustbowl which was ideal for spin bowling. England, batting first and enjoying the best conditions, scored 459. The Australian spinners had little joy - captain Ian Johnson took 4 for 151 with his off-spinners and Richie Benaud's leg-spin realised 2 for 123. In the reply of 84 all out, Jim Laker, a great off-spin bowler in any conditions, had the extraordinary figures of 9 for 37. Jim Burke, the opener, was the only batsman dismissed by the left-arm spinner Tony Lock (1 for 37). The pace bowler Ray Lindwall remained 6 not out. When the tourists followed on, Johnson was 1 not out as Laker took 10 for 53 and England won by an innings and 170 runs. Earlier in the tour Laker, playing for Surrey, had also taken all 10 Australian wickets in an innings at the Oval.
The Journal of the Cricket Society, Maidstone
l Many thanks to all the many readers who also supplied the answer to this question.
Q. Is Poole the largest town in England which has never had a team in the Football League?
A. The latest available population figures, from 1991, indicate that Poole (pop: 138,479) ranks behind Milton Keynes (156,148), Dudley (192,171) and Chelmsford (197,451). Coincidentally, both Chelmsford City and Dudley Town have been forced to vacate their stadiums, just like Poole Town. Milton Keynes has seen two senior non-League clubs (Borough and City) fold through lack of support but now has two clubs (Milton Keynes City and Milton Keynes FC) operating in the Minerva Spartan South Midlands League.
A. The last time I saw this question posed, the answer given was: Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Brooklyn, New York (via E-mail)
Q. Why do football linesmen change ends at half-time, thus ensuring that the same defending team receive their attentions all game? Surely it would be more sensible for them to remain at the same end all game so that, like other external phenomena, any variation in their performance will be balanced out between the teams.
Q. How many times have Rangers and Celtic reached the last four in the Scottish Cup in the same season and how many times have they avoided each other in the subsequent semi-final draw?