REVIEW – A historic triumph for Sri Lanka

  A classic Test match at Headingley culminated in a historic series victory for Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Shaminda Eranga bowled one of the most significant deliveries in the history of Sri Lankan cricket when he dismissed the obdurate James Anderson with a short one off the penultimate ball of the match. It was a delightfully sweet victory for the Lions, who proved many people wrong with their maiden series win in England.

  Even I had predicted a 1-0 win for England in my series preview two weeks ago, and I am glad that I had to eat my words. The two-Test series churned out some riveting cricket – both matches being thrillers, more so the second Test – and Sri Lanka were deserving winners. Michael Vaughan, among others, had questioned the Sri Lankan bowling attack’s ability to compete at the Test level, and said that the visiting pace bowlers were at best of county standard. But at Headingley – regarded as a haven for English bowlers – it was the understated Sri Lankan attack that outshone its much-touted counterparts. The leadership and excellent performances of Angelo Mathews was a major factor, and his 160 in the second innings at Headingley was worth its weight in gold, not to mention his haul of 4/44 in the first innings which ensured that England’s lead was limited.

zsri-lanka-team-celebrate    It was a proud moment for the Sri Lankan team as they clinched a historic series win in England at Headingley (source – channelnewsasia.com)

  After the narrow escape at Lord’s , where Nuwan Pradeep – probably the world’s weakest number eleven batsman – defended the last five deliveries, Sri Lanka seemed desperate to add Test glory to their 3-2 ODI victory. The last match of that ODI series saw a fair bit of controversy with the Mankading of Joss Buttler by Sachitra Senanayake, and Mathews was wrongly accused in some quarters for not playing in the spirit of the game . This was the typical hypocrisy of the English team on display – where was the spirit when Stuart Broad did not walk in spite of nicking one at Trent Bridge in last summer’s Ashes?  Later, the English team cast doubts on Senanayake’s bowling action as well. All this definitely galvanised the Sri Lankans into the splendid effort at Headingley – their never-say-die spirit showed in the way they overturned a 108-run first-innings deficit.

  As if being doubted of their abilities was not enough, Sri Lanka also had to let go of their coach Paul Farbrace, who defected to the English camp to become assistant coach under Peter Moores. Sri Lanka were having a good run, especially in the ODI format, in the lead-up to the tour of England. Farbrace’s transfer led to talk of Sri Lanka’s secrets being spilled out to their rivals. I have always felt that this obsession with foreign coaches is a bit over-hyped, and Marvan Atapattu and Chaminda Vaas strongly justified that. Atapattu deserves the permanent coaching job after this stellar success while Vaas’ rich experience was a vital cog in the fast bowlers’ performances. Dhammika Prasad, who ripped through England’s top order on the fourth evening at Headingley, made a gesture of respect to Vaas in the dressing room when he completed his five-wicket haul the following day.

  Prasad was one of the unexpected success stories of the Headingley Test. Not selected for the Lord’s Test, he rattled the English batsmen with his amazing spell on the fourth day – the best display of bowling by a Sri Lankan fast bowler in quite some time. He, along with Pradeep, Eranga and Mathews, not to mention the discipline of veteran spinner Rangana Herath, showed England how it is done – while England bowled poorly in the second innings, their visitors were up to the mark in both the innings – first denying England an opportunity of a much bigger lead, and then bowling determinedly in the run chase, their efforts finally paying off. Herath contributed with the bat as well, sharing a game-changing partnership of 149 for the eighth wicket with Mathews in the second innings.         angelo-mathews-dhammika-prasad    Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews (L) and paceman Dhammika Prasad – the second innings stars of Headingley. Mathews made 160 while Prasad took 5/50 (source – sports.ndtv.com)

  Then of course there was Kumar Sangakkara, who seems to be getting better by the day. He made at least fifty whenever he went to the crease, and his contribution toward the team as a senior statesman has been immense. There were those who said that he is usually found wanting in Tests outside the sub-continent. With this performance, all those voices should shut up forever. Sangakkara came early to England, played county cricket for Durham and meticulously prepared himself for the series. His favourite batting partner Mahela Jaywardene also made a couple of crucial half-centuries, and by a quirk of fate, both of them have exactly the same number of Test runs (11493) as of now. Opener Kaushal Silva has taken to Test cricket well, and this should be a positive sign for Sri Lanka’s Test future.

  England fought back with guts on the final day through a solid century from Moeen Ali and his last-wicket stand with Anderson, who consumed 55 balls without scoring, but Sri Lanka thoroughly deserved the win – it would have been bit of a travesty had England escaped with a draw. England’s new batting hopes – Sam Robson, Gary Ballance and Ali – all made hundreds in the series, but the team as a whole lost the key moments. In hindsight, Alastair Cook should have declared a bit earlier at Lord’s, and at Headingley, their listless bowling, coupled with Prasad’s spell, ensured that the good work of the first innings was completely undone. The pressure on Cook is building fast, with both his batting and leadership under the scanner ever since the Ashes debacle in Australia. The series against India begins soon, and he will be itching to turn things around.

  For now, Sri Lanka must realise that this win can be the catalyst for rebuilding their Test fortunes. The Sri Lankan cricket administrators have time and again displayed ineptness in their responsibilities and given step-motherly treatment to Tests of late. Historically Sri Lanka have always been a better limited-overs side, and the World T20 win may have made the nation proud, but this maiden win (in a series of more than one Test) in England should rank way above any limited-overs successes. Hopefully, we will get to see a proper three-Test series the next time Sri Lanka travel to England, as this time unfortunately an extra Test was snatched from them and handed over to India for mostly commercial interests.

  The joyous scenes when Eranga dismissed Anderson showed how much this victory meant to the Sri Lankans. Next up for them is the home season against South Africa and Pakistan, followed by the New Zealand tour and then the World Cup (where, according to me, they will start as one of the favourites). Given the way they performed in England, they are the team to beat in world cricket at the moment.

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IN FOCUS – Winner-takes-all in Barbados, but will the crowds turn up?

  New Zealand and the West Indies have traded punches and now the stage is set for the third and final Test, starting later today at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown. Thankfully this is not a two-Test series like New Zealand’s last tour to the Caribbean in 2012, and the real benefit of having a three-Test series – that of looking forward to a rubber-deciding match – is evident.

  It would be fair to say that the West Indies have the momentum with them after their thumping ten-wicket win at Port-of-Spain. The hosts will be aware that a series victory is the only way by which they can give any indication of improvement after a forgettable 2013-14 season. The changes made after the first Test showed that the talent is there in the Caribbean, but the key is proper selection. Kraigg Brathwaite – who I thought could be in for the long run after watching his gritty batting on the 2011-12 India tour – finally scored a much-deserved century to lay the platform for a good first-innings lead. His 129 must have calmed the tension of those who thought that the West Indian top order is becoming a hopeless case. Similarly, young debutant Jermaine Blackwood scored a vital half-century on debut, which augurs well for the team, who almost always bank on the great Shivnarine Chanderpaul to bail them out.

zx4-TAYLOR-1   West Indian fast bowler Jerome Taylor celebrates a wicket with his captain Denesh Ramdin during the second Test against New Zealand at Kingston (source – antiguaobserver.com)

  Also, the hosts’ bowling resources have been bolstered by the comebacks of Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor, both of whom played major roles in the Port-of-Spain win. Shannon Gabriel too looked much more comfortable than he was in India and New Zealand last season, while the hard-working Suleiman Benn bowled nearly a fifth of the total overs in the match. It was a total team performance – each batsman looked willing to put a price on their wicket, and the bowlers kept up the pressure throughout.

  Indeed, what settled the result eventually was the splendid bowling performance on the first day, especially by Taylor, as the Kiwi batsmen, so assured of themselves in the first Test at Kingston, collapsed quickly in the last session. Besides the selectors and the Windies fans, Chanderpaul – who often fails to get support from his team-mates – too must have been glad to note the performance. And to finish it off, Chris Gayle gave enough optimism during his 46-ball 80 in the chase that he is getting close to his marauding best.

  However this is not to say that the New Zealand challenge has faded. Earlier this year we saw how South Africa convincingly won the second Test of their home series against Australia only to lose the final Test and surrender the series. Which means that in Test cricket, fortunes can swing from one match to another and New Zealand are entirely capable of turning the tables just like the West Indies did after their 186-run defeat in the opening Test at Kingston.

  They will look to rectify their poor batting which let them down on the first day and gain inspiration from the doughty ninth-wicket stand between Bradley-John Watling and Mark Craig which prevented a near-certain innings defeat. Now that Neil Wagner has come in for Ish Sodhi, one can expect a battle of the pace trios in Barbados. In fact, Windies coach Ottis Gibson has called for the Kensington Oval pitch to be a bit more helpful to the fast bowlers. The opening spot remains a concern for the visitors, and one should not be surprised if skipper Brendon McCullum comes out to open with Tom Latham. New Zealand will be no doubt looking to continue from their impressive home summer and aim for their first away series win against a top-eight nation since 2002, which has been the only time they have won in the West Indies.

  In the first two Tests we saw some very good individual performances from Williamson, Latham, Tim Southee and Craig for New Zealand and from Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Taylor and Roach for the West Indies. The series itself has been hard-fought, with both sides getting a chance to come out on top. One would have expected at least a decent bit of support for the West Indies during their Port-of-Spain victory – a match they dominated throughout – but sadly Trinidad folk stayed away from the Queens Park Oval in droves.

zno_show-450x350     Empty stands during the 2010 West Indies-South Africa Test at Bridgetown, venue for the upcoming Test against New Zealand (source – nationnews.com)

  After a long time the West Indies displayed a true team performance. Moreover, Trinidadian Denesh Ramdin was leading the team for the first time at his home ground and another Trinidadian, Darren Bravo, scored his first hundred in the Caribbean. But all this was apparently not enough to convince the locals to come and watch the Test match. There were perhaps a few hundred spectators on each day of the Test, most of them being long-time Test cricket watchers.

  The younger generation were gravely missing in attendance, which is probably not surprising, as most of them are attracted to T20 cricket – for sure the CPL will see near-full houses – and the IPL, which features most of the West Indian limited-overs stars in action. Others have taken to American sports like basketball. And while the football World Cup may have been a distraction, it was still no reason for the near-empty stands at a ground which even until a decade back, would have been filled with eager spectators, calypso instruments in hand. Even in the first Test at Kingston, the better-than-usual turnout was only due to the fact that it was local boy Gayle’s hundredth Test.

  There used to be a real buzz in the stadiums when the West Indies were involved in a gripping Test. Unfortunately, not anymore. West Indies director of cricket Richard Pybus may have stressed on the overhaul of the first-class structure and the importance of Test cricket for the West Indies, and the younger players themselves – the likes of Bravo and Brathwaite in particular – know that Test cricket is where a career is made and a reputation is built. But how does one convince the public to come back to watching Tests? It is something which the West Indies Cricket Board seriously needs to figure out soon. Maybe they can start with some effective marketing of the matches and better pricing of tickets.

  There is every possibility of a result at Bridgetown, as the pitch there seems to be more sporting than most of the other grounds in the Caribbean. I am really looking forward to an interesting do-or-die battle between two evenly-matched teams, and I feel we have got a good five days in store. Hopefully, the Barbadian public share the same sentiment.

Who Would Have Thought It – Charles Eady’s heady innings

  Charles John Eady (1870-1945), an all-rounder, was one of Tasmania’s earliest cricketing stars. He became the second player from the island state to play Test cricket for Australia after Kenny Burn.

  While Burn played two Tests on the 1890 England tour, Eady debuted at Lord’s on the 1896 tour and then in the 1901-02 Ashes, played his second and last Test at Melbourne. In these two Tests, he scored only 20 runs but did take seven wickets with his right-arm fast bowling.

  He had made 116 and 112 not out for Tasmania against Victoria in 1895 and thus was picked for the 1896 tour. However his greatest achievement came in 1901-02 in a South Tasmanian championship (non first-class) club game for Break O’Day, of which he was the captain, against Wellington.

  Tasmania were not inducted into the Sheffield Shield until 1977-78, so these sort of club tournaments were what the budding Tasmanian cricketers relied upon to prove a point and gain regular fixtures with the other established states.

  This game in 1901-02 was to be played as a single-innings match, strangely over four Saturdays in March and April, to decide the championship winner. Incidentally, Burn, aged 49, was the Wellington captain and as it happened, he was the only one to score well for his side after he elected to bat.

  Opening the innings, Burn made an individual score of 161 but hardly found any support from his team-mates and the team total was a below-par 277 in 106 overs early on the second Saturday. Only two other batsmen crossed twenty.

  Eady, opening the bowling, warmed up for what was to follow with a haul of 7/87 in 46 overs, which included the prized wicket of Burn. With plenty of time to bat Wellington out of the match, the result of the game was probably a foregone conclusion already.

  But Eady, now opening the batting as well, launched into the Wellington bowling attack to put even the slightest hopes of a fightback by Burn’s team out of question. Just like Wellington’s innings, wickets were constantly tumbling at the other end, but Eady was immovable at the crease and the target was easily passed.

  With the score at 312/6 early on the third Saturday, William Abbott came in to join his captain. Abbott was apparently caught without opening his account, but since the umpire had failed to see his shot, he was given the benefit of the doubt. With Abbott for company, Eady marched on relentlessly. At the end of the third Saturday, the score had swollen to 652/6. Eady and Abbott were still batting, the partnership an unbeaten 340.

z45cd552d340ca75d4350442c367d30fa_m        Charles Eady, scorer of 566 for Break O’Day against Wellington in a Tasmanian championship club match at Hobart in 1901-02 (source – in.com)

  Eady himself was unbeaten on 419, while Abbott completed a century of his own. It would have been easy for the Wellington players, having already lost the Championship, to refuse to take the field on the final Saturday. But to their credit, they came back to complete the formalities.

  Actually, they had no other option – it was decided before the game that a result would only be determined if both teams completed their full innings, the number of runs notwithstanding.

  So out came the Wellington fielders on the final day, 5th April 1902, and so did Eady, ready for a fresh session of clean stroke-making. He did not disappoint, carrying on from where he left, and was finally out – stumped off one Loudoun MacLeod – for an unbelievable score of 566.

  Eady hit 67 fours in all and while he did not hit a single six, he managed 13 fives. One can only sympathise with the Wellington fielders and at the same time, applaud Eady’s determination to stay at the wicket despite his team already having sealed the title. He batted for nearly eight hours – 477 minutes to be precise.

  Break O’Day’s final total was 911 all out in 165 overs. Abbott was the second-highest scorer with 143, while MacLeod, though he took four wickets, hemorrhaged 217 runs in his 28 overs. This match had begun on 8th March 1902, just four days after the final match of the 1901-02 Ashes – also Eady’s second and final Test as mentioned above – at Melbourne, which Australia won by 32 runs to complete a 4-1 series win.

  Just a few months later, Australia were in England to defend the Ashes. It was believed by many that Eady was overlooked for the touring party to England only because of the selectors’ continued bias against Tasmania and its cricketers. Australia were successful in their defence, managing to win the series by a 2-1 margin.

  The next Australian Test cricketer from Tasmania after Eady was the fearsome fast bowler Ted McDonald, who made his name during the 1921 Ashes. In the modern era, the likes of Max Walker, David Boon and most significantly, Ricky Ponting are among the few Tasmanians who have made it big on the international scene.

  Eady’s 566 was – and still is – the second highest individual score in any form of competitive cricket, after the 628 made by 13-year-old schoolboy Arthur Collins – who later became a soldier and died during World War I – for Clark’s House against North Town in a junior school cricket match at Clifton College in England in 1899 (Collins also took 11/63 in that game).

  Eady’s record of second-best came quite close to be surpassed by Prithvi Shaw, a 14-year-old Mumbai schoolboy, when he scored 546 in just 330 balls for Rizvi Springfield against St. Francis D’Assisi in a Harris Shield school game in 2013-14.

  As for Eady, he retired from first-class cricket in 1908 and later served as the president of the then-named Australia Board of Control (now Cricket Australia). His talents were not just limited to cricket, for he was also a renowned Australian Rules football player and served as the president of the Tasmanian Football League as well.

  Outside the sporting arena, he was a lawyer and later, the president of the Tasmanian Legislative Council for a year just before his death in 1945. The C. J. Eady Memorial Cup has been competed for annually since 1947 by the country cricket associations of Tasmania.

Match Scorecard – http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/318/318340.html

SPECIALS – Top performances by Parsis for India

  As mentioned in a previous post, a total of thirteen Parsis (eleven men and two women) played international cricket for India. A total of sixteen centuries and four five-wicket hauls in Tests and one ODI half-century (the golden age of Parsi cricket had passed when one-dayers were introduced) have been recorded. Let us look at some of the best performances by Parsis in international cricket:-

1) 112 by Rusi Modi, vs West Indies in 1948-49

  This was the West Indies’ first visit to India and they were no doubt a very strong side. In the second Test at the Brabourne Stadium in Bombay, the visitors piled up a huge score of 629/6 with the great Everton Weekes smashing 194. In reply, India were all out for 273 and made to follow on. With his team staring at defeat, Rusi Modi stood up and made a resistant 112, sharing a century stand with Vijay Hazare and taking India safely to a draw. This was the first century by a Parsi cricketer in international cricket.

2) 130* by Polly Umrigar, vs England in 1951-52

  Polly Umrigar was one of the best all-rounders of his time and the greatest Parsi cricketer to play for India – a total of twelve Test hundreds justifies that. In 1951-52, he starred in India’s very first Test victory after a wait of two decades – against England at Madras. Needing a win to draw the series, India made a solid 457/9 in reply to England’s 266 in the first innings. Umrigar came in to bat when the score was 216/5, and he guided India to a strong position with his century – his first in Test cricket. India won by an innings and 8 runs, sparking delight amongst the crowd.

3) 223 by Polly Umrigar, vs New Zealand in 1955-56

  This was the first ever double century scored by an Indian in Test cricket. The venue was Hyderabad. Umrigar batted for nearly eight and a half hours to score his record-breaking 223. He shared a double-century partnership with Vijay Manjrekar for the third wicket as India piled up 498/4. However New Zealand resisted the Indian bowlers on the final day and the match ended in a draw. Umrigar’s effort set the tone for a slew of big scores in the series by Indian batsmen. 

4) 5/107 and 172* by Polly Umrigar, vs West Indies in 1961-62

  Umrigar reserved his best all-round performance on the 1961-62 tour of the West Indies, a country where he always played well and delighted the crowds. The series was yet another forgettable one for India – they lost all five Tests – but Umrigar was the positive aspect for India. In the fourth Test at Port-of-Spain, he first took 5/107 in West Indies’ first innings, and then with India following-on, smashed an unbeaten 172, one of the greatest innings to be played by a visiting batsman in the Caribbean. Umrigar’s superb efforts were not enough as India went down by 7 wickets.        zpollyuu    India’s legendary all-rounder Polly Umrigar – the greatest Parsi cricketer to play Tests – bats during the 1959 tour of England (source – mid-day.com)

5) 59 and 28* by Farokh Engineer, vs England in 1971

  The scores may not look substantial, but mere numbers cannot gauge the importance of these innings. India recorded their first ever Test win (and eventually, the series win) in England at the Oval in 1971, and India’s wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer had a crucial role to play. Replying to England’s 355, India were in trouble at 125/5 when Engineer walked in. He Went on to make a valuable 59 under pressure, and helped India to 284. Then in the second innings, with India in a tricky chase of 173, Engineer ensured there were no further hiccups; he was at the crease on an uneaten 28 when the historic four-wicket victory was sealed.

6) Farokh Engineer – India’s first man of the match in an ODI in 1975

  Engineer was not only the only Parsi man to appear in an ODI for India, but also the first Indian to win a man of the match award in an ODI. In the inaugural cricket World Cup in 1975, India recorded their first ever ODI success – a ten-wicket win against East Africa at Leeds – and Engineer was named man of the match for his unbeaten 54, which helped India easily chase down the target of 121 with more than thirty overs left. This was to be India’s only win in the tournament.

7) 4/12 by Diana Edulji, vs England in 1993

  In the 1993 Women’s World Cup, India came very close to achieving a win against hosts England at Finchampstead. Eventually, they lost by just three runs, but India’s captain Diana Edulji bowled brilliantly after putting England in to bat. She picked up four wickets for just 12 runs in 11.5 overs to help restrict England to 179 all out. But her team’s batting let her down as India were bowled out for 176 with one ball left.

  Other notable performances worth mentioning by Parsis in Test cricket are Umrigar’s 118 against England at Manchester in 1959, Nari Contractor’s 108 against Australia at Bombay in 1959-60 and Rusi Surti’s 5/74 against Australia at Adelaide in 1967-68.

Record Book – The fastest pair in Test history

  Pakistan’s first tour of England in 1954 was a momentous one. The visitors, led by Abdul Hafeez Kardar, became the first and only nation to win a Test on their first tour of England.

  This series-levelling win by 24 runs came in the final Test of the four-match series at the Oval, and was engineered by the legendary fast bowler Fazal Mahmood (6/53 and 6/46).

  However before that historic victory, the Test series was not exactly smooth sailing for the Pakistanis. The weather undoubtedly rescued them in the first and third Tests at Lord’s and Old Trafford respectively, while in the second Test at Trent Bridge, they were walloped by an innings and 129 runs.

  In that second Test, an off-spinning all-rounder named Mohammed Ebrahim Zainuddin ‘Ebbu’ Ghazali made his debut for Pakistan. Born in 1924 in erstwhile Bombay of pre-independence India, he was a decent performer for Maharashtra before partition and later for the Combined Services (Pakistan) in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

  He also played for the Muslims in the Quadrangular tournament. He did precious little on his Test debut – batting at number eight (making 18 and 14) and did not bowl a single ball. Nevertheless, he was retained for the next Test at Old Trafford.

  In the rain-hit Test, England batted their way to a position of strength by scoring 359/8 (Ghazali wicket-less in his eight overs) in their first innings, built around a stylish 93 from the great Dennis Compton. The entire second day was washed out, and to Pakistan’s misfortune, they got the worst of conditions to bat in on the third day.

  Not surprisingly, they were skittled out for 90 in their first innings in spite of Hanif Mohammed’s assured start at the top. The last nine wickets fell for just 32 runs. The fifth wicket, at the score of 66, was that of Ghazali, who came in at number six.

  Ghazali was dismissed for a one-minute duck, caught by England’s captain David Sheppard off the slow left-arm bowling of Johnny Wardle (4/19). Leading by 269 and with the conditions still quite treacherous for batting, Sheppard had no hesitation in sending the Pakistanis in again.  

muhammad ghazali copy new      Pakistan’s Mohammed Ghazali, owner of the record for the fastest pair in Test history (source – expiredcricketer.blogspot.com)

  The second innings started off dreadfully. Fast bowler Alec Bedser, sharing the new-ball with Wardle, severely dented the top-order and the score slipped to 10/4. The fourth wicket to fall was that of the unfortunate Ghazali (batting at number five), this time caught by Wardle off Bedser, again for a one-minute duck.

  While there had been previous instances of batsmen being dismissed for a pair on the same day of a Test, none of them had been this quick. Till date, Ghazali holds the undesirable record of the fastest pair in Test history.

  The time between his arrival at the crease in the first innings and his dismissal in the second innings being a mere 120 minutes, i.e two hours. Pakistan were 25/4 when rain intervened again and the last two days were completely washed out. This was to be Ghazali’s last Test appearance, thus consigning his Test career to just two matches and a piece of trivia.

  Since then, Australia’s celebrated left-handed batsman Neil Harvey came perilously close to ‘surpassing’ the record, when he clocked 124 minutes between his innings against England on the second day at the same venue in 1956, a match forever associated with Jim Laker’s perfect ten.

  In these cases, it needs to be noted that the time during a lunch or a tea interval is taken into account while calculating the number of minutes. In as recently as 2011-12, Zimbabwe’s opener Hamilton Masakadza recorded a pair on the third day against New Zealand at Napier, and had it not been for the lunch break between his two innings, the record might have had changed hands – though one cannot be too sure.

  For the record, the fastest pair in all first-class cricket was achieved by Peter Judge of Glamorgan, who was astonishingly dismissed twice within two minutes – both times getting bowled by Chandu Sarwate – against the Indians at the Cardiff Arms Park in 1946.

  Judge was last man out in Glamorgan’s first innings and then, after Glamorgan captain Johnny Clay decided not only to reshuffle his batting order but also to do away with the between-innings break, was dismissed off the first ball of the second innings. The game ended in a draw.

  Ghazali played first-class cricket till 1955, following which he involved himself in cricket administration. He was the manager of the Pakistan team that toured Australia in 1972-73. He also made his name as a wing commander in the Pakistan Air Force.

  In 47 first-class appearances from 1942 to 1955, he scored 1701 runs at 27.43 and took 61 wickets at 34.27. Some of his best performances came towards the end of his career – his highest score of 160 was attained against Karachi in 1953-54, while his best bowling innings figures of 5/28 were recorded against Punjab at Lahore in 1954-55. He passed away in 2003.

  As mentioned above, Pakistan, after the lucky escape at Old Trafford, went on to create history with a win in the final Test at the Oval which helped them draw the series.

  The omission of Ghazali was one of the two changes made for that Test and due to his two-hour pair at Old Trafford, he was destined not to be part of one of Pakistan’s finest Test victories.

Match Scorecard

SPECIALS – Test hat-trick peculiarities

1) Jimmy Matthews’ unique record

  Thomas James Matthews created a unique record when he became the first and till date, only player to take two hat-tricks in the same Test, and he took both on the second day. The Australian leg-break bowler achieved the feat against South Africa at Old Trafford during the 1912 triangular series. In the first innings, Matthews mopped up the last three batsmen – Roland Beaumont (bowled), Sid Pegler (LBW) and Tommy Ward (LBW). In the second innings, with South Africa following on 183 runs behind, Matthews took his second hat-trick, removing Herbie Taylor (bowled), Reginald Schwarz (caught and bowled) and, for the second time, Ward (caught and bowled). Australia coasted home by an innings and 88 runs and curiously, these were Matthews’ only wickets in the match (3/38 and 3/16). This was his third Test in a short eight-match career.

2) Trumble and Akram, the only other ones with two hat-tricks

  Besides Matthews, the only other bowlers to have taken two Test hat-tricks are Australian off-break bowler Hugh Trumble and Pakistani left-arm seamer Wasim Akram. Trumble took both his hat-tricks against England at Melbourne. In 1901-02, he dismissed John Gunn (caught), Arthur Jones (caught) and Sydney Barnes (caught and bowled) in the second innings to wrap up Australia’s 229-run win, his figures being 4/49. Then in 1903-04, he accounted for Bernard Bosanquet (caught), Pelham Warner (caught and bowled) and Dick Lilley (LBW) in the second innings en-route to 7/28, bowling Australia to a 218-run victory. Incidentally, Trumble did not bowl in the first innings.

  Akram meanwhile achieved his two hat-tricks within just nine days each other in 1998-99, both coming against Sri Lanka. At Lahore in an Asian Test Championship match which was eventually drawn, Akram took the wickets of Romesh Kaluwitharana (caught behind), Niroshan Bandaratilleke (bowled) and Pramodya Wickremasinghe (bowled) in the first innings, his 4/30 sparking a lower order collapse. A few days later in the final of the Championship at Dhaka, he indulged in a top-order collapse – removing Avishka Gunawardene (caught), nightwatchman Chaminda Vaas (bowled) and Mahela Jayawardene (caught) as he took 3/33; Pakistan winning easily by an innings and 175 runs.

z3440983573_cb701e19cf     Wasim Akram is congratulated by his team-mates after he took the first of his two hat-tricks against Sri Lanka in the Asian Test Championship in 1998-99 (source – flickr.com)

3) Hat-tricks on Test debut

  Back in 1929-30, English right-arm medium-fast bowler Maurice Allom became the first bowler to take a hat-trick on Test debut. In New Zealand’s first innings at Christchurch, Allom (5/38) scythed through the middle order and achieved his hat-trick by scalping Tom Lowry (LBW), Ken James (caught behind) and Ted Badcock (bowled). England won a low-scoring match by eight wickets. Allom only played five Tests in all. A New Zealander, off-break bowler Peter Petherick, repeated this feat when he took the wickets of Javed Miandad (caught), Wasim Raja (caught and bowled) and Inthikhab Alam (caught) in Pakistan’s first innings at Lahore in 1976-77. He was however costly during his 3/103, and Pakistan scored a comfortable six-wicket win.

  The third bowler to take a debut hat-trick was the Australian fast bowler Damien Fleming. In a high-scoring Test against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 1994-95, Fleming (3/86) enlivened the proceedings in the second innings, where the hosts were following on 261 runs behind. His victims were Aamer Malik (caught), Inzamam-ul-Haq (LBW) and Salim Malik (caught behind). But thanks to Salim Malik’s 237, Pakistan were already safe and the match ended in a draw.

4) Hat-trick in the first over

  In 1999-00, Sri Lankan left-arm fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa took a hat-trick off the first three balls he bowled in the Test against Zimbabwe at Harare. It was the second over of Zimbabwe’s first innings, and from its first three deliveries, Zoysa (3/22) dismissed Trevor Gripper (LBW), Murray Goodwin (caught behind) and Neil Johnson (LBW) – all for golden ducks. Sri Lanka won by six wickets. Then against Pakistan at Karachi in 2005-06, Indian left-arm pace bowler Irfan Pathan (5/61) took a hat-trick off the fourth, fifth and sixth balls of his first over, which was also the very first over of the match. The victims were Salman Butt (caught), Younis Khan (LBW) and Mohammed Yousuf (bowled). This dream start was not enough though as India were routed by 341 runs.

5) The three-over hat-trick

Merv_Hughes_1442614c     Merv Hughes achieved his hat-trick against the West Indies at Perth in 1988-89 from three different overs (source – telegraph.co.uk)

  Australia’s moustachioed right-arm quick bowler Mervyn Hughes somehow managed to take a hat-trick off three deliveries in three different overs against the West Indies at Perth in 1988-89. To begin with, in the visitors’ first innings, Hughes (5/130) removed Curtly Ambrose (caught behind) off the last ball of his 36th over. Off the first ball of his next over, he dismissed Patrick Patterson (caught) which also happened to be the final wicket of the West Indies’ first innings. Then at the fag end of the third day, the West Indies started their second innings with a lead of 54. Off the very first ball of the innings, Hughes (this time a career best 8/87) completed his hat-trick by taking the wicket of Gordon Greenidge (LBW). He did not even realise that he had taken a hat-trick and had to be informed later. Hughes’ bag of thirteen was not enough as the West Indies won by 169 runs.

6) The birthday hat-trick

  The only bowler to take a hat-trick on his birthday is the Australian fast bowler Peter Siddle. To top it, he achieved the feat on the first day of the first Test of the 2010-11 Ashes at Brisbane. The three English batsmen who fell victim to Siddle (6/54) were opener Alastair Cook (caught), Matt Prior (bowled) and Stuart Broad (LBW). However England fought back admirably from this poor first-innings tart and drew the match before going on to win a historic series 3-1. Incidentally, the last victim Broad became the very next bowler after Siddle to take a Test hat-trick when he achieved the feat against India at Nottingham in 2011.

7) Hat-trick and century in the same Test

  In 2013-14, Bangladeshi off-spinner created history when he became the first man to take a hat-trick (the 40th and most recent) as well as score a century in the same Test. He achieved this rare accomplishment against New Zealand at Chittagong. In Bangladesh’s first innings, Gazi scored an unbeaten 101 batting at number eight to help his team gain a narrow 32-run lead. In New Zealand’s second innings, Gazi (6/77) removed Corey Anderson (LBW), Bradley-John Watling (caught behind) and Doug Bracewell (caught) off successive balls. Though the match was drawn, Gazi found his name in the record-books. Gazi also became the second man after Mike Procter to attain this ‘double’ of a hat-trick and a century in the same match twice – he had done so in a first-class game previously as well.

Record Book – Ireland’s very first win against a Test nation

  As Ireland continues with its struggle to break the ICC glass ceiling in order to attain Test status, it is pertinent to note that the Irish team’s very first win over a Test nation came way back in 1904.

  When one talks of great Irish wins, Sion Mills, 1969; Kingston, 2007 and Bangalore, 2011 are sure to crop up. But much before these landmarks, the College Park in Dublin – the home ground of Dublin University – played host to a historic  win.

  Unfortunately this match was not accorded first-class status, as Ireland were an absolutely amateur side then. Which makes the feat all the more remarkable. South Africa toured England in 1907 for their first Test series there, but three years prior to that, a tour consisting of first-class matches was arranged.

  Truth be told, South Africa were an extremely raw Test side at that time – without a single win – but in 1905-06, they would go on to record a famous 4-1 drubbing of England at home.

z1500px-Cricket_Ireland_flag.svg   The South Africans came into the game against Ireland riding on a streak of six undefeated games since their loss to Worcestershire, and in their latest game, they had thrashed W.G Grace’s London County by ten wickets. The tourists’ main stars were the opening pair of Louis Tancred and James Sinclair, all-rounder Sibley Snooke and the versatile bowler Reginald Schwarz.

  The match was a three-day affair, played between 30th June and 2nd July. Due to damp conditions, play did not start until 4 p.m on the first day. Batting first, Ireland found out why Schwarz was touted as one of the best players in the touring party as he picked up 5/65 to consign the hosts to 160 all out in 55.4 overs.

  Leg-break bowler Gordon White chipped in with 3/14. Ireland’s wicketkeeper Frank Browning top-scored with a crucial 40 from number seven to give the innings some much-needed meat while opener Andrew Comyn laid the platform with a sedate 32.

  On a sticky track, this total was a very good effort and Ireland’s bowlers showed the visitors during the latter’s reply on how to make the most of it. The right-arm off-break bowler Thomas ‘Tom’ Ross proceeded to rip through the South Africans with a stunning display of bowling.

  Ross picked up all but one wicket, finishing with outstanding figures of 17.5-6-28-9. The entire team collapsed for a paltry 64 in 35.5 overs, with only Frank Mitchell (25) managing double figures. Ross’ fellow spinner William Harrington took the remaining wicket. The lead was a invaluable 96 runs.

  Indeed, the pitch had become a slow bowler’s delight and the ball was now in the South Africans’ court to restrict the hosts in the second innings and ensure a manageable target. However, the Irish batsmen proved yet again that they were better accustomed than their counterparts on that pitch, ending their second innings on 135 in 39.1 overs.

  Just as in the first innings, Schwarz (3/23) and White (4/27) were the performers for the South Africans, but they were thwarted well by Browning again. The gutsy wicket-keeper top-scored for the second time in the match, scoring 31.

  He was aided by Septimus Lambert (27) and Harry Corley (28) as the trio rescued the innings after another worrying start. The target for the South Africans was a big challenge and Ireland were firm favourites as the fourth innings commenced.

  If the visitors wanted to make a match out of it, their dependable openers Tancred and Sinclair had to no doubt provide a promising start. However, both of them got out for ducks to Harrington, giving the innings a woeful start. From that point on, the South Africans lost their appetite for a fight and the wickets tumbled one by one.

  Mitchell (21), White (30) and Snooke (25) were the ones who tried their best to get the score anywhere close to the target, but the bowlers, Harrington (5/66) in particular, were too good for them. Ross took 2/36 to give himself 11/64 in the match, while EJ Donovan and Gus Kelly – who was the opener Comyn’s brother-in-law – shared the remaining three wickets.

  The South Africans were bowled out for 138 in 44.2 overs, a much better showing than their first innings but not enough to deny the jubilant Irishmen, who won by a comfortable 93 runs.

  As it happened, this turned out to be one of only three defeats for the South Africans on the tour, sandwiched between the aforementioned defeat to Worcestershire and another one against Kent in late August. Worcestershire and Kent were full-fledged counties and the matches against them had proper first-class status.

  Whereas Ireland were nothing more than a bunch of greenhorn amateurs, who were only too glad to face a national team filled with Test cricketers. Imagine then, what must have been the satisfaction when the historic win was completed.

  Thus the Irish tendency to create giant-killing upsets had begun way back in 1904. In 1928, Ireland beat the touring West Indians and repeated the trick in 1969 and 2004 (the latter being a 50-overs game). In 2003, it was Zimbabwe who bore the brunt in a 50-overs game.

  Each of these few victories in the days before Ireland attained full international status were path-breaking in their own way, of which College Park, 1904 remains the original watershed moment.

 Match Scorecard