Apparently Ollie Pope was averaging 100 at The Oval before he was out cheaply in the Test against India. What is his average there now? asked Richard Walker from England
Surrey and England's Ollie Pope
was averaging 100.71 on his home ground at The Oval before the recent Test against India
, when he made 81 and 2, which reduced his average to 93.31. A subsequent Championship match there against Essex
produced scores of 5 and 27 not out (the average was now 89.70), which meant Pope went into the last innings of the season - against Glamorgan
last week - needing to make 275 (or 175 not out) to get his Oval average back into three figures. And he very nearly managed it: when he became part-timer Hamish Rutherford's maiden first-class victim on the final day, he had scored 274 - one short of the magic number. It left him with the Bradmanesque average of 99.94 at The Oval.
Only five men have managed a three-figure average on a single ground, given as many as Pope's 18 completed innings. New Zealand's Devon Conway
currently averages 103.07 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, while that man Don Bradman
averaged 103.17 in Melbourne. Vijay Merchant
scored 5060 runs at 105.41 at the Brabourne Stadium in Bombay, while George Headley
averaged 105.42 at Melbourne Park in Kingston, Jamaica. But the overall leader is something of a surprise: India's Ashok Mankad
averaged 106.30 at the Wankhede Stadium in Bombay, with 12 centuries (including two doubles) from 37 innings, 14 of them not out.
The only other debut century was by Michael Hussey
, with 116 not out for Chennai Super Kings against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali
in April 2008. That was also in the inaugural season of the IPL, when obviously many players made their debuts: other notable scores came from Shaun Marsh (84), James Hopes and Graeme Smith (71), Swapnil Asnodkar (60) and Gautam Gambhir (58).
The best bowling figures on debut are also the best in IPL history: the West Indian fast bowler Alzarri Joseph
's 6 for 12 for Mumbai Indians against Sunrisers in Hyderabad
in April 2019. Oddly, Joseph has so far played only two more IPL games - and failed to take a wicket in either of them. In the last, a week after his stunning debut, his three overs against Rajasthan Royals disappeared for 53.
Where does Chris Cooke's unbeaten 205 come in the list of highest scores by a wicketkeeper-captain? asked Rajiv Radhakrishnan from England
Glamorgan's captain - and wicketkeeper - Chris Cooke
made a career-best undefeated 205 in a run fest against Surrey at The Oval last week, in the final round of 2021 County Championship matches. Meritorious as it was, Cooke's innings is a little way down the list of the highest scores by keeper-captains, which is headed by the Australian Billy Murdoch
, who made 321 for New South Wales against Victoria in Sydney
in 1881-82. The only higher score than Cooke's in the Championship is 266, by Dane Vilas
for Lancashire against Glamorgan
- captained, as it happened, by Cooke - in Colwyn Bay in 2019.
How many men have been run out for 99 in a Test? asked Raju Suresh from India
have now suffered this fate in a Test. The first was the Australian opener Bill Brown
, against India in Melbourne
in 1947-48 (this was not one of the occasions he was famously run out at the bowler's end). And the most recent instance involved another Australian, Shaun Marsh
, also against India in Melbourne
, in 2014-15. It's also happened five times
in one-day internationals.
Rikki Clarke, who has just retired, played his last Test match as long ago as 2003. Has anyone played on longer in first-class cricket after their final Test? asked Mick O'Brien from England
The long-serving Surrey allrounder Rikki Clarke
, who has retired just short of his 40th birthday, played two Tests for England, against Bangladesh in 2003-04. He signed off with 55 in the second match, in Chittagong
Clarke played on for almost 18 years after his final Test, which is especially notable as he was a county regular for all the remaining time. There are around 40 men with longer apres-Test careers, but few of them were regular players by the end. One such was Warwickshire's Willie Quaife
, who played his last Test in 1901-02, but carried on at county level until 1928, when he was 56 (he scored a century in his only match, after a full season in 1927). Two others have longer spans: Lord Harris
captained England in his fourth and final Test, against Australia at The Oval
in 1884, and turned out for Kent against the Indian tourists at Catford
27 years later in 1911, aged 60 - but he had not played regular county cricket since the mid-1880s.
The overall leader is the legendary Indian CK Nayudu
, whose last Test was at The Oval
in August 1936: he played a first-class match well over 27 years later, in Nagpur
in November 1963, not long after his 68th birthday; he had been a Ranji Trophy regular until 1956-57, when he was 61.
Clarke's last match was the run-soaked encounter mentioned above, against Glamorgan at The Oval. Showing a wry sense of humour, Clarke tweeted after the second day, having fielded through Glamorgan's total of 672: "Didn't have 177 overs in the dirt planned for my last game."