Which player scored two hundreds in his final Test? asked Richard Daniels from South Africa
This remarkable finale was managed by the Essex and England batsman Charles Russell
- who, like the later England wicketkeeper, was generally known as Jack. Russell toured Australia in 1920-21, and after two failures made a century in Adelaide
. Back home, with Australia the opposition again, he added hundreds in the last two Tests of the summer, at Old Trafford
and The Oval
With England's regular openers, Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe, taking the winter off, Russell toured South Africa with an under-strength England side in 1922-23. He took some time to get going, but followed 96 in the fourth Test, in Johannesburg
with 140 and 111 in the fifth, in Durban
, battling illness as well as the home bowlers to become the first Englishman to score twin centuries in a Test.
That gave Russell five hundreds in his ten Test matches, and an average of 56.87 - but surprisingly he was never chosen again. England's next Tests were more than 18 months away, against South Africa at home in 1924: Hobbs and Sutcliffe returned, and there was no place for Russell, who was 36 by then. He played on for Essex until 1930, passing 2000 runs in both 1925 and 1928.
Which cricketer got married on the rest day of his Test debut? asked Jamie Collins from England
My first thought was that this was the Sussex seamer Tony Pigott
, who received a surprise call-up for what turned out to be his only Test, against New Zealand, in Christchurch
in 1983-84. But he actually postponed his wedding, as he'd been due to tie the knot on the fourth day of the match: ironically, he needn't have bothered, as England collapsed for under 100 in both innings, and lost on the third day.
The charismatic South African fast bowler Andre Nel
actually got married during
a Test match he was playing in, against West Indies in Centurion
in January 2004. The ceremony took place after play ended early because of bad light on the second day; Nel was whisked there by helicopter, but was back next day, and celebrated by dismissing Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
But that wasn't Nel's debut - and so, finally, the answer to your question: the man who got married on the rest day of his first Test was the Guyanese offspinner Clyde Butts
, during West Indies' second Test against New Zealand in Georgetown in April 1985
. Butts didn't take a wicket, and played only six more Tests. He later became a West Indian selector.
Who just missed making centuries on his Test and ODI debuts, scoring nineties in both? asked James Morton from England
This near-miss specialist was New Zealand's Stephen Fleming
, who made his Test debut in March 1994 against India in Hamilton
, and made 92 in the second innings. A few days later, in his first ODI, in Napier
, Fleming was run out for 90.
I remember a strange story a few years back about someone who invented some batting statistics and was given a county contract, only to be soon found out - who was this? asked Nick Hamilton from England
This strange episode concerned Adrian Shankar
, who had played at Bedford School with Alastair Cook, and had a few matches for Bedfordshire and Cambridge University. He scored a genuine first-class century, in the Varsity Match at Oxford
- although his coach, Chris Scott, later described the opposition bowling as "terrible".
Shankar's career went off the rails when he became a rather surprising signing by Worcestershire in 2011, six years after his last first-class match. After a duck in a List A game and 10 (retired hurt) in the Championship against Durham, Shankar's story unravelled
. It transpired that he was three years older than he had told Worcestershire - he's supposed to have said later that he was on life support until he was three, so those years didn't count - while claims he had been a prolific scorer in senior tournaments in Sri Lanka turned out to be wide of the mark. Shankar was sacked, and several documents handed over to the police.