Record Book – Australia’s hat-trick heroes in ODIs

  James Faulkner became the sixth Australian bowler and the 40th overall to take an ODI hat-trick when he achieved the feat against Sri Lanka in Colombo last week. The hat-trick was completed across two overs and was the first in ODIs not to include a victim out for a duck.

  In this post, we look back at the six times that an Australian bowler has taken a hat-trick in ODI cricket. The link to the videos have been given in each title. Three have come at home, two away and one at a neutral venue. Australia have recorded the third-most ODI hat-tricks, behind Pakistan (8) and Sri Lanka (7).

Bruce Reid, vs New Zealand, Sydney, 1985-86

  The gangling Reid – whose bowling action was described as ”all arms and legs, like a porn movie without the sex” – was the second bowler to take an ODI hat-trick after Pakistan’s Jalal-ud-Din. This was the 13th match of the Benson and Hedges World Series, which also involved India.

  Australia started off solidly and were placed at 123/1 in 30 overs before New Zealand pulled things back, limiting the final total to 239/7. In reply, New Zealand’s batsmen struggled from the outset, never recovering from a poor start of 39/3. As many as 108 runs were still needed when the final ten overs began, with four wickets remaining.

  Reid first struck off the final ball of his eighth over – the innings’ 40th – with the wicket of Bruce Blair, who was caught by Geoff Marsh at square leg. His next victim was Ervin McSweeney, dismissed in a similar fashion off the first ball of his next over thanks to a catch from captain Allan Border.

  Reid (3/29) completed the hat-trick by castling new man Stuart Gillespie as New Zealand slumped to 137/9. The innings duly terminated at 140 in the 43rd over, the last five wickets falling for 18 runs. Australia went on to win triangular series by beating India 2-0 in the best-of-three finals.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 16:  Anthony Stuart of Australia celebrates after taking a hat trick during the One Day International match between Australia and Pakistan held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground January 16, 1997 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

      Anthony Stuart enjoyed the best moment of his brief interantional career when he took a hat-trick against Pakistan at the MCG (source – cricketnsw.com.au)

Anthony Stuart, vs Pakistan, Melbourne, 1996-97

  With the finals between Pakistan and the West Indies confirmed, Australia were only playing for pride in this inconsequential Carlton and United Series game at the MCG. However, it provided a moment to cherish for unheralded fast-medium pacer Anthony Stuart, who took a hat-trick in only his third ODI.

  Stuart had already dismissed Aamer Sohail and Zahoor Elahi to reduce Pakistan to 20/2, and his figures read a tidy 2/12 when he was into his sixth over. Off the third ball of his sixth over, he induced an edge from Ijaz Ahmed and wicketkeeper Ian Healy did the rest with a simple catch.

  Mohammad Wasim came in at number five and met the same fate, as both Stuart and Healy made it two out of two. The Australians had their tails up and the spectators were filled in anticipation when Moin Khan strode out to face the hat-trick ball. Stuart produced the perfect leg-cutter, which was edged straight to Mark Taylor in the slips.

  The crowd erupted in delight as Stuart (5/26) celebrated the hat-trick as well as his five-wicket haul. Pakistan, who were reeling at 29/5 at this stage, recovered to 181/9. Australia slipped to 54/3 under the lights and it required an unbeaten 79 from Michael Bevan to steer the hosts to a three-wicket win in the last over.

Brett Lee, vs Kenya, Durban, 2002-03

  Kenya had stunningly sealed a spot in the semifinals of the 2003 World Cup after subduing Zimbabwe with ease, and they now faced defending champions Australia – the only unbeaten team in the tournament – in the last game of the Super Six round.

  The Kenyan top order ran into a rampaging Brett Lee, who became the fourth bowler to grab a World Cup hat-trick after Chetan Sharma (1987), Saqlain Mushtaq (1999) and Chaminda Vaas (2003). Lee warmed up with a testing first over, a maiden, before unleashing himself three balls into his next, the innings’ fourth.

  Kennedy Otieno received a snorter that crashed into his left elbow before disturbing his woodwork. The batsman left the field in pain, making way for Brijal Patel, who was rendered helpless against another excellent delivery that was deflected into the safe hands of skipper Ricky Ponting at second slip.

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       Brett Lee is the only Australian bowler to record a World Cup hat-trick. He achieved the feat against Kenya i the 2003 edition (source – gettyimages)

  Lee’s hat-trick ball was even better; David Obuya having no clue to a peach that left him castled. After four overs, Kenya were tottering at 3/3. However, they not only posted 174/8, but also worried the Australians during the chase as a spell of 3/7 from Asif Karim reduced the score to 117/5. Normalcy was soon restored, with Australia securing a five-wicket win in the 32nd over.

Daniel Christian, vs Sri Lanka, Melbourne, 2011-12

  The MCG witnessed another hat-trick in this Commonwealth Bank Series match, 15 years after Stuart’s feat. Sri Lanka fought back after being 17/2, with Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal adding 123 for the third wicket. At 204/5 in 43 overs, a final flourish seemed to be on the cards. But the Lankan lower order had reckoned without Christian, who delivered a career-best return of 5/31.

  Christian had figures of 1/23 when he began the innings’ 44th over. His third ball was clouted by Thisara Perera towards deep midwicket, where Michael Hussey held an acrobatic catch. Sachithra Senanayake was the second victim, out LBW to a ball that would have hit leg stump.

  The hat-trick ball to Nuwan Kulasekara  however seemed to be missing leg stump according to replays. Nevertheless, the umpire thought otherwise, giving Christian his third consecutive strike. Christian’s late burst ensured that Sri Lanka were bowled out for 238.

  Australia faltered in pursuit of the moderate target, slumping to 26/3 in just five overs. Fifties from David Hussey and Shane Watson kept them in the hunt, but clever bowling and tight fielding helped Sri Lanka sneak into the finals against the hosts with an exciting nine-run victory.

Clint McKay, vs England, Cardiff, 2013

  This was the fourth match of the ODI series that followed England’s retention of the Ashes. England, down 1-0 in the five-match series, needed to win to stay in contention for a series victory. Australia slid to 57/4 after batting first, before George Bailey scored 87. A lower order collapse of 5 for 18 meant that the final total was a below-par 227.

  England were 8/0 after two overs in reply, when McKay (4/39) decided to write his name in the history books with the first three balls of his second over. The Victorian fast bowler first collected the prized wicket of Kevin Pietersen, trapping him plumb in front.

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    Clint McKay is the only bowler to have taken an ODI hat-trick against England in England (source – gettyimages) 

  Jonathan Trott then played a poor shot off the next ball, driving a wide ball straight to Aaron Finch at second slip. Joe Root was next in the firing line, and he too perished first ball after nicking one to Shane Watson at first slip. McKay’s hat-trick was the first by a visiting bowler against England in England.

  England however recovered from the perils of 8/3 through a fourth-wicket stand of 104 between Michael Carberry and Eoin Morgan, and then again from 144/6 thanks to an unbeaten, match-winning 65 by Joss Buttler. They won by three wickets to square the series before going on to lose the decider.

James Faulkner, vs Sri Lanka, Colombo, 2016

  Faulkner’s hat-trick was the fourth to be achieved at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and the first by a visiting bowler. The other hat-trickers at the venue are Lasith Malinga (twice, in 2010/11 and 2011) and Thisara Perera (in 2012).

  Australia reduced Sri Lanka to 12/2, before the middle order revived the innings. Fifties from Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera put the hosts in a strong position – the score read 252/5 when Faulkner (3/45)  began the 46th over of the innings.

  Faulkner, who was wicketless until then, had Kusal Perera LBW off the last ball of the over. The runs kept on flowing though, and it was left to Faulkner to put the speed breakers. His second wicket came off the first ball of the 48th over, when Mathews holed out to Moises Henriques at long-off.

  Thisara Perera, who was the non-striker on the previous delivery, faced the hat-trick ball as the batsmen had crossed. The batsman attempted a late cut, but could not save himself from being castled. Faulkner’s efforts ultimately went in vain as Australia caved in for 206 to lose by 82 runs.

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Specials – When the World Cup champions touched down in Papua New Guinea

  The West Indies were scheduled to tour Australia for a much-awaited Test series just four months after winning the inaugural World Cup in England in 1975. Australia, led by Ian Chappell, had been their opponents in the World Cup final at Lord’s, a memorable match that ended in a 17-run win for Clive Lloyd’s men.

  As was to transpire, Australia more than made up for the disappointment with a thumping 5-1 win in the six-Test series to retain the Frank Worrell Trophy. However, before that, the West Indian contingent created history by becoming the first international team to tour and play against Papua New Guinea, who were awarded ICC Associate status in 1973.

  It had barely been a month since Papua New Guinea derived independence after 70 years of Australian rule, and the arrival of the star-studded team from the Caribbean – World Cup champions, no less – was undoubtedly a massive event for its cricketing fraternity as also for the public at large. An enthusiastic crowd gathered for the two one-day matches played.

  The West Indies first took on a Papua New Guinea Combined XI in a 25-overs-a-side match, played in the city of Lae on October 22, 1975. After Lloyd called correctly, S. Amos gave the hosts a good start by removing the dangerous Gordon Greenidge for a duck. Roy Fredericks (31) and Alvin Kallicharan (38) ensured that the run rate was not hampered in spite of regular wickets.

  The final impetus was given by Vivian Richards, then a 23-year-old who had made his international debut the previous year. Richards came in at 70/4 and top-scored with a brisk 45. Sam Malum, a 19-year-old medium pacer, impressed with a return of 3/36, including the wickets of Fredericks and Lawrence Rowe. The West Indians finished at 177/8.

    A video showing glimpses of the West Indians’ first match in Papua New Guinea, against a PNG Combined XI at Lae 

  Antiguan pace ace Andy Roberts tested the batsmen with a quality spell – he conceded only four runs in his three overs and also took the wicket of opener M. Day. With the scoring rate of more than seven looking a tall order, Day’s fellow opener Nigel Agonia decided to shut shop and batted throughout the innings for 36*. The hosts were limited to a respectable 107/3.

  The West Indians then travelled to the capital city of Port Moresby next day to face the Papua New Guinea national team in a 35-over match at Amini Park. The tourists fielded first this time, and their experienced bowling attack was too much to handle for the hosts’ top order. Bernard Julien began the damage by taking the wicket of Taunao Vai with only eight on the board.

  A run later, Roberts sent back S. Woodger before the legendary 41-year-old veteran Lance Gibbs – holder of the record for the most Test wickets – produced a double strike with the wickets of Agonia and G. Wolstenholme. The run out of K. Byrne did not help Papua New Guinea’s cause, and they were now tottering at 33/5.

  Richards too got among the wickets as he had Ilinome Tarua LBW to make it 49/6. The West Indian bowling was penetrative and their fieldwork efficient, and Papua New Guinea ran the risk of being bowled out under 100. It was turning out to be the perfect warm-up for Lloyd’s team before they entered the cauldron of Australia.

  A mini revival came in the form of a seventh-wicket partnership between wicketkeeper Lou Ao and the India-born Charles Harrison. The duo put on 46 before part-timer Kallicharan’s off-spin got rid of Harrison for 34, the top score of the innings. Ao remained unbeaten on 30 as Papua New Guinea managed 115/8.

  Greenidge was out cheaply again, courtesy a catch by Kila Alewa off M. Willard. But Fredericks was in an attacking mood at the other end, and at 46/1, the West Indians were seemingly waltzing towards the modest target. However, the next three wickets fell for seven runs, leaving the locals excited.

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    Captain Clive Lloyd scored 88 for the West Indians in their match against Papua New Guinea at Amini Park, ahead of the Test series in Australia 

  Harrison built on his batting display by castling Rowe and then having Kallicharan caught by Wolstenholme, while K. Kalo saw the back of wicketkeeper David Murray, who batted at number four in a rejigged batting order. The West Indians were suddenly 53/4 and not exactly out of the woods.

  Lloyd walked in at the fall of the fourth wicket and immediately imposed his authority on the proceedings. Harrison, who finished with a neat 3/36, soon took his third wicket in the form of Fredericks (35), and when Willard nailed the big scalp of Richards, the West Indians were 97/6 and still 19 short of victory.

  Lloyd and Julien (35) ensured that there was no embarrassment in store as they calmly knocked off the remaining runs to seal a four-wicket win for their team. The West Indians sportingly decided to bat on until they were bowled out – they ultimately scored 201 in 31 overs. Lloyd led from the front, entertaining the crowd with a knock of 88.

  The significant aspect of this match was that Papua New Guinea’s eleven consisted of six indigenous players, and from hereon, indigenous players began to dominate the national team. Having their skills tested against the World Cup holders was an invaluable experience as they strove to become a competitive unit.

  The visit of a champion cricket team indeed meant a great deal for the newly-independent nation. Four years later, the Barramundis played in the ICC Trophy for the first time, where they failed to progress beyond the first round. In the next edition in 1982, they gave a highly commendable performance by finishing third. 

  Papua New Guinea played their first List A match in 2005, against the Netherlands at Belfast in the ICC Trophy. They had to wait for nearly a decade before gaining ODI status, and created history by becoming the first nation to win its first two ODIs. They also won their maiden first-class match, in the Netherlands in 2015.

Match Scorecards:

Papua New Guinea Combined XI v West Indians

Papua New Guinea v West Indians

Famous Test Matches – South Africa v New Zealand, Cape Town, 1961-62

  Coming into this five-match series, New Zealand had not played Test cricket for nearly three years. They had lost ten consecutive series dating back to 1950-51 and had won just one Test in 32 years and 52 attempts – against the West Indies at Auckland in 1955-56.

  New Zealand’s first tour of South Africa in 1953-54 was a hard lesson learnt as they went down 4-0, salvaging only a draw to avoid being whitewashed. That tour is best remembered for New Zealand’s valiance, spurred by a determined Bert Sutcliffe, in the emotionally-charged Johannesburg Test.

  The first Test of the 1961-62 series at Durban was a close affair, with the hosts prevailing by 30 runs. South African captain Jackie McGlew carried his bat for 127* to guide his side to a first-innings lead of 47. New Zealand were eventually set 197 to win, but they succumbed to Peter Pollock, who took 6/38.

  New Zealand’s performance in the Durban Test underlined that they were not going to go down without a fight, and so it proved as the series wore on. The second Test at Johannesburg was drawn, which meant that South Africa held a 1-0 lead when the teams arrived at Newlands for the crucial New Year’s Test on the first day of 1962.

  Graham Dowling, who had debuted at Johannesburg, fell without scoring to the tall paceman Godfrey ‘Goofy’ Lawrence soon after John Reid had elected to bat. However, his fellow opener Noel McGregor (68) laid a solid platform for the middle order to capitalise on. When he was bowled for 68 by debutant Sydney Burke, the score read 116/3.

  Reid was joined by Zin Harris and the two turned the tide towards New Zealand with a fourth-wicket partnership of 93. Reid scored an attacking 92 before slow left-armer Atholl McKinnon scalped him short of a well-deserved century. Harris was unperturbed by his captain’s loss and found an equally ambitious partner in Murray Chapple.

  Harris and Murray calmly went about their task on a harmless pitch as the South Africans failed to find a way through their alliance. Harris was unbeaten on 91 when stumps were drawn with New Zealand in the ascendancy at 337/4. He circumspectly inched to his first and only Test hundred the following day.

  Burke used his medium pace to great effect on the second morning and was instrumental in sparking a New Zealand collapse. He had Chapple caught behind by John Waite for 69, which ended the fifth-wicket stand of 148. Waite had a good time behind the wicket as he also stumped Harris for 101 (ten fours and two sixes) off Harry Bromfield soon after.

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         New Zealand’s leg-spinner Jack Alabaster starred in Cape Town with a match return of 8/180 (source – stuff.co.nz/fairfaxnz)

  The lower order and tail were quickly dismantled thanks to Burke, who bowled his heart out to finish with 6/128 in 53.5 overs. New Zealand’s innings terminated at 385, a total they would have taken at the start, even though they lost their last six wickets for 28. This being a four-day Test, the follow-on mark for the hosts was 236.

  Openers McGlew and Eddie Barlow began soundly before Dick Motz took the important wicket of the home captain. Barlow seemed to be in his element, but leg-spinner Jack Alabaster had him caught by Harris for 51, the South African score now a potentially thorny 85/3.

  Clever bowling supported by quality fielding ensured that South Africa kept losing wickets before any substantial partnership could find its feet. Waite attempted to solidify the innings, but his dismissal at 157/4 triggered a slide of 6 for 33. The wreckers-in-chief were medium pacer Francis Cameron and Alabaster.

  Cameron delivered a fine performance as he returned a haul of 5/48. Alabaster, who has to be credited with denting the top order early, was equally effective with figures of 4/61. South Africa could muster only 190 in the face of their combination, and Reid had to decide whether to enforce the follow-on – then a rarity for a New Zealand captain.

  The New Zealand think-tank eventually opted to bat again, ostensibly because it would have been a risk batting last on a wicket expected to turn on the final day. The visitors ended the second day at 8/0 in their second innings and with a lead of 193 – by all means a highly secure position.

  Burke was at it again in the second innings, this time rattling the top order to renew South African hopes. His in-swinger was particularly fruitful as New Zealand wobbled to 44/3 and later to 127/6. Four batsmen from the top seven crossed 20, but none went further than 33. Burke had by now collected his second five-wicket haul.

  Wicketkeeper Artie Dick, who came in at number eight, ended up as the top scorer of the innings with an unbeaten 50 – his only Test fifty – that enabled his team to swell the lead. He dominated in an unbroken tenth-wicket stand of 49 with Cameron, much to the frustration of the hosts, before Reid declared at 212/9.

  South Africa were hampered by an injury to Lawrence, which meant that Burke had to bowl more than he would have expected. Yet, he recorded figures of 5/68, giving him a remarkable 11/196 from 81 overs in the match. This is the second-best return by a South African on Test debut, after Alf Hall’s 11/112 against England at the same venue in 1922-23.

  South Africa’s target was a daunting 407 with about eight hours of play left in the Test. There was more bad news in store for the hosts as McGlew was admitted to hospital after sustaining a finger injury, the score being 11/0 at this stage. Alabaster soon took the wickets of Barlow and Buster Farrer to reduce the score to 54/2 at stumps.

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         Captain John Reid contributed to New Zealand’s first away win with 92 runs in the first innings and two vital wickets in the second (source – wikia.com)

  Roy McLean, batting at number four, began signalling his intent to keep sniffing at the target early on the final day. Alabaster added a third wicket to his tally when he removed Waite to make the score 100/3, but McLean mixed caution with aggression and gave Reid plenty to ponder about.

  McGlew returned at the fall of the third wicket to fight for his team, and a partnership worth 101 ensued between him and McLean. The duo steadily progressed in the middle, and at 201/3, the match was heading towards a climax. It was fast bowler Gary Bartlett who broke through, having McGlew caught behind for a gritty 63.

  The pitch was still easy to bat on and until New Zealand saw the back of McLean, they could not have afforded to rest. McLean kept the chase alive in the company of Colin Bland; their partnership realised a further 72 runs for the fifth wicket. 134 runs to win, six wickets in hand was the delicate equation at this stage.

  Bartlett did the star turn again, inducing McLean – who hit his fifth Test ton – into a hook that landed into the hands of Harris. In less than three hours, McLean produced a knock of 113 (18 fours and a six) that had given South Africa a real chance of a historic win – no team had chased down these many runs to win a Test.

  However, McLean’s dismissal signified another momentum shift. Bland battled on, his partnership with Kim Elgie mopping another 42 runs off target, before Cameron dismissed Elgie, and just two runs later, Reid had Bland LBW for 42. South Africa’s batting ammunition had been extinguished, the score now 317/7.

  The end was quick, with the last three wickets falling for only four runs. Though Alabaster was the pick of the bowlers with 4/119 (8/180 in the match), Bartlett and Reid, with two wickets apiece, had provided the vital scalps. Reid fittingly took the final wicket, that of Lawrence, as South Africa were bowled out for 335 to give New Zealand a 72-run win.

  New Zealand thus recorded their first ever overseas Test match triumph. It had taken a long time coming – a run of 30 winless overseas Tests in as many years was finally broken with a convincing all-round display. South Africa’s brave final-day attempt was not enough as the target proved to be a bit too much for their liking.

  South Africa bounced back in the fourth Test at Johannesburg, winning by an innings and 51 runs, before New Zealand levelled for the second time in the series with a 40-run win in the fifth Test at Port Elizabeth. The final result of 2-2 was a fair reflection of a well-fought Test series. 

Match Scorecard

In Focus – Former South African cricketer now an Olympic medallist

  Sunette Viljoen joined a rare group of international cricketers to have won an Olympic medal when she took the silver medal in the women’s javelin event at the Rio Olympics yesterday. The 32-year-old South African had played one Test and 17 ODIs for her country between 2000 and 2002.

  Competing in her fourth Olympics, Viljoen finished second with her best throw measuring 64.92 metres, behind Croatia’s Sara Kolak who had a throw of 66.18 metres. After finishing 35th and 33rd in the 2004 and 2008 Games respectively, she had missed out on a medal by just one place at London in 2012.

  It was back in 2000 when Viljoen made her international cricket debut for South Africa Women, in an ODI against England at Chelmsford. At 17 years and 10 days, she was then the youngest woman to play ODI cricket for South Africa. The Rustenburg-born all-rounder also played in the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand later that year.

  Viljoen’s ODI returns were modest, scoring 198 runs at 16.50 and taking five wickets at 33.20 with her medium pace. Her only half century was an unbeaten 54 against England at Lincoln in the 2000 World Cup, an innings that guided South Africa to a five-wicket win. Her best figures of 3/27 came in the same tournament, against Ireland at Christchurch.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Sunette Viljoen of South Africa in the qualification round of the women's javelin during the evening session on Day 11 Athletics of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Olympic Stadium on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

        Former South African all-rounder Sunnette Viljoen won the silver medal in the women’s javelin event at the ongoing Rio Olympics (source – gettyimages)

  Viljoen’s solitary Test, against India at Paarl in 2001-02, was the last international match she featured in. Though South Africa were beaten by ten wickets, she impressed with a gritty 71 in the second innings. Her javelin career began soon after and she bagged her first gold medal at the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad, India in 2003. 

  In her maiden Commonwealth Games appearance at Melbourne in 2006, Viljoen took the gold by a whisker – only 0.18 metres separated her from the runner-up. She repeated the feat four years later at the Delhi Games, this time in a much more convincing fashion. At the Glasgow Games of 2014, she finished second to Australia’s Kim Mickle.

  After the disappointing performances in 2004 and 2008, Viljoen almost took the bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, falling short of Germany’s Linda Stahl by only 0.38 metres and thus finishing fourth. Her dream of finishing on the podium has finally been realised in Rio de Janeiro, and it will no doubt be a moment to cherish for the dual sportswoman.

  This is the first medal to be won by a South African woman at the Rio Games and the country’s ninth in all. South Africa currently sit 34th on the table with a haul of one gold, six silvers and two bronzes. Besides Viljoen, Wayde van Niekerk (gold in 400m) and Luvo Manyonga (silver in long jump) have won medals in athletics for South Africa.

  With this achievement, Viljoen has become only the fourth international cricketer to win an Olympic medal, and the first in 96 years. The other three were Englishmen, all of whom played Test cricket after their Olympic successes – Claude Buckenham (gold in football, 1900), Johnny Douglas (gold in boxing, 1908) and Jack MacBryan (gold in hockey, 1920).

In Focus – Ireland Women create history in style

  A week after levelling the two-match T20 series with a maiden win over South Africa, Ireland’s sprightly women have created history again by winning the final match of the ODI leg. This is the first time that Ireland – whether men or women – have defeated South Africa in an ODI.

  Though South Africa had already wrapped the four-match series with easy wins in the first three ODIs, Ireland, led by Laura Delany, had everything to play for in the concluding battle at the Hills Cricket Club ground in Dublin. They went on to produce an utterly convincing display to prove that they are no pushovers.

  South Africa never really got going after deciding to bat amid windy conditions. 20-year-old vice-captain Kim Garth bowled a tight spell and was duly rewarded with the wickets of openers Laura Wolvaardt and Trisha Chetty, who had scored 105 and 95 respectively in the third ODI.

  From thereon, the Proteas were stifled by an increasingly disciplined Irish bowling attack. Medium pacer Louise McCarthy got rid of the dangerous Mignon du Preez – who had scored an unbeaten century in the second ODI – before Garth (3/27) came back to grab her third scalp in the form of Lara Goodall.

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     Former captain and star all-rounder Isobel Joyce scored an unbeaten 62* to guide Ireland to victory (source – cricketireland.ie)

  With South Africa reeling at 57/4, the hosts now had a firm grip on the proceedings. Andrie Steyn scored a plucky 43, but wickets at regular intervals nullified her efforts. Captain Dinesha Devnarain was brilliantly run out by Lucy O’Reilly while rookie Gaby Lewis – all of 15 years of age – accounted for Sune Luus with her leg spin.

  Just when Steyn and Chloe Tyron were attempting a recovery, veteran Ciara Metcalfe had the former caught behind by Mary Waldron, who took four catches. O’Reilly joined the party as well, nailing Yolandi Fourie thanks to a catch from Isobel Joyce, before Metcalfe (3/23) collected the last two wickets, including Tyron’s, to restrict the opposition to a measly 143.

  Having conceded totals of 283, 272 and 260 in the first three games, this was a significant improvement from the bowlers and the onus now lay upon the batting line-up to finish the task. The start was a bit wobbly – Clare Shillington, Una Raymond-Hoey and Cath Dalton were all back in the hut within 16 overs.

  Shillington had raced to a breezy 28 to give the chase a bright start, but her innings was cut short by a direct hit from Ayabonga Khaka. The evergreen Joyce came in at 68/3 to join Lewis in the middle. Lewis’ maturity belied her years as she admirably dropped anchor while Joyce went on the attack at the other end.

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            Vice-captain Kim Garth took 3/27 to dent South Africa’s top order (source – alloutcricket.com)

  This mixture of caution from the talented youngster and aggression from the senior pro soon blossomed into a commanding partnership, evaporating any faint hopes that the South Africans might have entertained. Joyce reached her fourth ODI fifty from 67 balls with a boundary off Fourie in the 36th over.

  Another boundary from Joyce – her 12th – from the first ball of the next over off Marcia Letsoalo sealed Ireland’s comprehensive seven-wicket victory. The unbroken alliance raised 78 runs in 20.3 overs – Joyce scoring 62* in just 71 balls, Lewis an equally valuable 27* in 70 balls.

  This heart-warming win is yet another addition to the successes of the Irish women’s team over the past couple of years. The T20 win last week was not as much of a surprise as was made out to be, considering Ireland’s consistent growth in the format.

  Last December, Ireland, under the inspirational leadership of Joyce, won the World T20 Qualifier in Thailand by defeating Bangladesh in the final. In the World T20 proper earlier this year, they came within 14 runs of defeating Sri Lanka at Mohali. In 2013-14, they beat Pakistan by six wickets at Doha.

  The women’s game has been infused with new vigour following the rise of the T20 format, and the performances of emerging teams are a welcome development. Ireland Women have been steadily improving and the twin wins against South Africa are a further indication of their unquestionable talent.

Match Scorecard 

Record Book – Pakistan’s favourite venue in England

  If history is any indication, Pakistan have reason to feel optimistic as they gear up for the fourth and final Test against England today. Having suffered back-to-back defeats at Old Trafford and Edgbaston, the concluding tussle at the Oval becomes a must-win for the visitors to level the series.

  While there is no denying that England will have the momentum when the captains walk out for the toss at the oldest Test centre in the country, Misbah-ul-Haq’s men would do well to gain inspiration from the fact that Pakistan have not suffered an outright defeat at The Oval for a good 49 years.

  Pakistan have over the years grown to develop a liking for The Oval, ever since they recorded a historic 24-run win there to level their very first series in England in 1954. In what was a low-scoring thriller (the highest total was 164), pace ace Fazal Mahmood etched his name in history with a remarkable haul of 12/99.

  The feat of 1954 could not be repeated in Pakistan’s next two tours of England. In 1962, the Oval Test saw Pakistan tumble to a heavy ten-wicket defeat in what was the final match of a series thoroughly dominated by the hosts. The result in 1967 was little different, with a tame surrender by eight wickets.

  The 1974 series ended in 0-0 stalemate after the third and final Test at The Oval petered to a high-scoring draw. The highlight was Zaheer Abbas’ stroke-filled 240 – his second double century in England after his 274 at Edgbaston in 1971. Pakistan’s next date with the venue was only in 1987, when they fielded one of their strongest sides.

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      Pakistan have four wins in nine Tests at the Oval, and have not lost outright at the ground since 1967 (source – bt.com) 

  Needing only a draw to secure their first series win in England, Pakistan shut the hosts out of the contest by piling up their then highest total of 708 with Javed Miandad’s 260 leading the run glut. Following on 474 in arrears, England salvaged a draw thanks to a century from Mike Gatting, but it was enough for Pakistan to seal the rubber.

  The 1992 series was locked at 1-1 when the two teams met in the decider at The Oval, Miandad now captain of Pakistan. What followed was a stellar performance from the deadly duo of Wasim Akram (6/67 in the first innings) and Waqar Younis (5/52 in the second) as Pakistan cruised to a ten-wicket win before lunch on the fourth day.

  A third consecutive series win was completed in 1996 and The Oval was again the scene of the denouement as Pakistan took the three-Test series by 2-0 with a nine-wicket victory. Saeed Anwar’s free-flowing 176 gave the visitors a healthy lead, before figures of 6/78 from Mushtaq Ahmed put the writing on the wall for England.

  A decade passed before Pakistan returned to the venue, for what was one of the most acrimonious Test matches ever played. Pakistan had already lost the series after defeats in the second and third Tests, but looked good for a consolation win when controversy struck after tea on the fourth day.

 

  Impressive bowling by the Pakistani pacemen and a stylish 128 from Mohammad Yousuf had given Pakistan a massive lead of 331 runs. England were 298/4 in their second dig when Australian umpire Darrell Hair awarded five penalty runs to the total as he charged Pakistan with ball tampering. 

  When play was about to resume after a break due to bad light, there was no sign of the Pakistani players. It soon dawned upon the full house that captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and his team had decided not to take the field in protest of Hair’s actions. A few hours later, it was confirmed that the umpires had awarded the game to England – the first ever instance of a forfeit in Test history.

  Four years later in 2010, a graver scandal – the spot-fixing incident at Lord’s – was to dog Pakistan’s tour. However, before that, the visitors rekindled their affection for The Oval. Down 2-0 in the four-Test series, they achieved a tense four-wicket win in the third Test to stay alive. 

  Match-winning spells of 5/63 from Wahab Riaz and 5/52 from Mohammad Amir in the first and second innings respectively were complemented by an unbeaten 92 from Azhar Ali, which ensured that Pakistan’s target was limited to 148. Pakistan’s record at The Oval now read four wins and three defeats (including the forfeit) in nine Tests.

  In what promises to be an exciting finish to the 2016 series, Pakistan will be up against an uplifted English side while the hosts will look to avoid a fifth outright defeat to Pakistan at The Oval. It remains to be seen what transpires on the hallowed turf of the iconic ground that hosted the inaugural Test in England back in 1880.

Specials – English double centurions at Edgbaston

  As England and Pakistan continue their battle in the third Test at Edgbaston, let us take a look back at the double hundreds scored by English batsmen at this historic venue.

Alastair Cook – 294 v India, 3rd Test, 2011

 

  • Cook batted for 773 minutesthe longest Test innings by an Englishman until he himself surpassed it with an 836minute effort at Abu Dhabi in 201516.
  • This was Englands sixthhighest individual score and the highest since Graham Goochs 333 against India in 1990.
  • Cooks innings created a new Edgbaston record for the highest score, going past Peter Mays 285* against the West Indies in 1957.
  • Prior to this innings, Cook had averaged 5.00 across four innings in the series.

Peter May – 285* v West Indies, 1st Test, 1957

zzzmay       Peter May (front) scored a monumental 285* against the West Indies in 1957, and was part of a record stand of 411 with Colin Cowdrey (behind) (source – gettyimages)

  • May’s score is the highest by an English captain in Test cricket.
  • The partnership of 411 between May and Colin Cowdrey remains England’s highest for any wicket and was a fourth-wicket world record until 2008-09.
  • May’s innings lasted for 600 minutes, rescuing his team from a dire position.
  • This Test was the first at Edgbaston since 1929.

David Gower – 215 v Australia, 5th Test, 1985

  • This innings took Gower’s final series tally to 732 at 81.33 – a record for an English batsman in a home Ashes series.
  • Gower and Tim Robinson shared in a partnership of 331 for the second wicket.
  • This captain’s innings was Gower’s career-best, eclipsing the 200* made at the same ground against India in 1979.
  • In the second innings, Gower caught Wayne Phillips on the rebound, a dismissal that was controversial in nature.

David Lloyd – 214* v India, 3rd Test, 1974

 

  • This was only Lloyd’s second Test; he scored a solid 46 on debut in the previous Test at Lord’s.
  • This was his only Test hundred – in fact, he never crossed 50 again in seven Tests.
  • Lloyd was on the field throughout this match.
  • This was the highest score by an English left-hander against India, until 2011.

Nasser Hussain – 207 v Australia, 1st Test, 1997

 

  • Hussain shared in a partnership of 288 with Graham Thorpe, which created a new fourth-wicket record for England against Australia.
  • This was Hussain’s maiden double hundred in all first-class cricket.
  • England’s last Ashes double centurion before this was David Gower’s 215 in 1985, also at Edgbaston.
  • This was England’s 600th Test century.

David Gower – 200* v India, 1st Test, 1979

 

  • This was then Gower’s highest first-class score.
  • Gower’s double century came off just 279 balls – a strike rate of 71.68.
  • This was the first of two Edgbaston double hundreds for Gower; he bettered it with 215 in the 1985 Ashes.
  • Gower is the leading run-getter at Edgbaston, with a tally of 767 in nine Tests at an average of 59.