Specials – Moments from Australia v Bangladesh Test history

  Australia and Bangladesh will be facing each other in whites after more than 11 years when they begin their two-Test series in Dhaka on August 27. The history between them in the longest format is brief – only four matches across two series have been played since 2003. Nevertheless, these Tests have had their share of conspicuous moments, not to mention a few stirring performances.

Darwin and Cairns join the Test club

  As part of Cricket Australia’s plan to host off-season matches at unexplored locations, two new venues were welcomed into the Test fold for Australia’s inaugural series against Bangladesh in 2003. The Marrara Oval in Darwin and the Bundaberg Rum Stadium in Cairns became the 89th and 90th Test venues respectively.

  To nobody’s surprise, Australia notched a comfortable 2-0 victory courtesy of resounding innings wins in both games. The gap in both, experience and skill, was evident on the first day of the first Test itself as Bangladesh, led by Khaled Mahmud, were shot out for 97. The win at Darwin was Steve Waugh’s 37th as captain, overhauling Clive Lloyd’s record.

Boof’s beefy blade, Love’s final fling

  Darren ‘Boof’ Lehmann had scored his maiden Test ton, at the age of 33, against the West Indies at Port-of-Spain in April 2003. Three months later, he took a liking to the raw Bangladeshi attack and amassed two more centuries, ending as the series’ highest run-getter. At Darwin, he walked in at 43/2 and scored 110, while at Cairns, he top-scored with a career-best 177 from just 207 balls.

    Opener Shahriar Nafees scored 138 on the first day at Fatullah in 2005-06, as Bangladesh gave a massive scare to Australia (source – AFP/farjana godhuly)

  Also playing in the series for Australia was three-Test-old Martin Love, who, like Lehmann, was an ace batsman in the first-class arena. His outing at Darwin was forgettable as he was castled by Mashrafe Mortaza for a golden duck. However, he made amends with an unbeaten 100 at Cairns, sharing in a fifth-wicket stand of 174 with Lehmann. This would be Love’s final Test innings.

Shahriar Nafees leaves the world champions stunned

  A weary Australian side began their first Test in Bangladesh, in 2005-06, just five days after their series-sweeping win in the third Test in South Africa. It was also the first Test to be played at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah. The opening day belonged to 20-year-old southpaw Shahriar Nafees, who launched into the unsuspecting bowlers with aplomb.

  At lunch, Bangladesh’s score was a scarcely believable 144/1. Nafees, uninhibited and unleashed, added 187 for the second wicket with his captain Habibul Bashar and galloped to a maiden first-class hundred in 131 balls. He was eventually dismissed for 138, lit with 19 fours, a knock that powered Bangladesh to 355/5 at stumps. The great Shane Warne was taken for 112 off 20 wicketless overs.

Gilchrist and Ponting save Australia the blushes

  Replying to Bangladesh’s 427 in the first Test at Fatullah in 2005-06, Australia were gasping for breath at 93/6. Less than a year ago, the Tigers had beaten Australia in an ODI, and now, they had reason to feel upbeat about a potentially bigger upset. Adam Gilchrist, batting at six, provided relief to his confounded teammates with a timely 144 that restricted Bangladesh’s lead to 158.

  A poor show from the Bangladeshi batsmen in the second innings brought Australia back into the game, but a target of 307 was a challenge on a deteriorating wicket. Captain Ricky Ponting calmly responded to the pressure, keeping left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique (4/98, 9/160 in the match) at bay and constructing a restrained, unbeaten 118 to steer Australia to a tense three-wicket win.

    Jason Gillespie smiles after his record-breaking double century at Chittagong in 2005-06 (source – gettyimages/cricket.com.au)

Magical MacGill – Bangladesh’s bogeyman

  Even though he plied his trade under the shadow of Shane Warne, leg-spinner Stuart MacGill almost always delivered when given the opportunity. Bangladesh’s batsmen would know this well, for MacGill has scalped 33 wickets in four matches against them, 14 more than anyone else in Australia v Bangladesh fixtures. Moreover, he boasts of an average of 15.75 and four five-wicket hauls.

  His first assignment against Bangladesh, at Darwin in 2003, saw him pick 7/86, including 5/65 in the second innings. He bettered these in the second Test at Cairns, taking 10/133 (5/77 and 5/56) to be named player of the match and series. In 2005-06, he recorded a career-best return of 8/108 in the first innings at Fatullah, and gathered eight more from the next three innings in the series.

Dizzy’s sensational vigil enters the record books

  Having broken out of jail in the Fatullah Test, Australia restored normality at Chittagong, winning by an innings and 80 runs to seal the series. The match was notable for one of the most remarkable innings of all time – the only Test double century by a nightwatchman. This honour went to the sprightly paceman Jason Gillespie, in what was to be his last international appearance.

  ‘Dizzy’ came in at number three late on the first day, after his 3/11 had kept Bangladesh to 197. Three days later, on his 31st birthday, he was still in the middle, having doggedly batted nine hours and 34 minutes for 201*, when Australia declared at the fall of Michael Hussey, with whom he put on 320 for the fourth wicket. Before this, Gillespie had never passed 58 in first-class cricket.    

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Specials – Recalling the best of the 2007 World Cup

  It has been ten years since the ninth edition of the Cricket World Cup, which began in the Caribbean on 13th March, 2007 and featured a record 16 teams.

  The tournament drew considerable flak from many quarters for its long-drawn format and overpriced tickets, not to mention the embarrassing gaffe by the umpires in the rain-reduced final between Australia and Sri Lanka.

  According to the critics, the shocking death of Pakistan’s coach Bob Woolmer and the early ousters of marquee teams such as India and Pakistan further dampened the tournament that was trumpeted to be the world’s biggest cricket carnival.

  However, the showpiece event saw plenty of eye-catching performances and fairytale moments that are still fresh in the memory even after a decade. For instance, Ireland’s remarkable giant-killing journey is now part of cricketing folklore, while Australia blitzed to their third successive title with a ruthless domination over every team they faced.

  Let us look back at the best from the saga that was the 2007 World Cup:

A rush of records

  A clutch of new World Cup records were created in the 2007 edition. India became the first team to surpass the 400-run barrier, scoring 413/5 against Bermuda; their 257-run win becoming the biggest victory margin.

  A record aggregate of 671 was gathered as well, in the group match between Australia and South Africa at Basseterre; in the same match, Matthew Hayden scored the fastest World Cup hundred, off 66 balls. All these records have since been broken.

Australia conquer one and all

  Never before had any team imposed their supremacy in a World Cup tournament in the manner Australia did in 2007. Gunning for a hat trick of titles, Ricky Ponting’s men won all eleven matches in thumping fashion to reaffirm their status as the undisputed kings of ODI cricket. 

  They reserved their most clinical display for New Zealand – the team that had whitewashed them 3-0 in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in the lead-up to the tournament. The Black Caps were thrashed by a whopping 215 runs at St. George’s in the Super Eight stage as Australia provided a rude reminder that no one could hold a candle to them on the biggest stage of them all.

     Australia, who were undefeated throughout the tournament, won their third successive World Cup trophy (source – icc-cricket.com)

  Their inevitable march towards glory culminated with handsome wins over South Africa – who crashed to 27/5 after batting first – and Sri Lanka in the semi-final and final respectively.

Pluck of the Irish

  First-time participants Ireland, clubbed in a tough Group D, were the toast of the tournament as they won the hearts of all and sundry with their spunky campaign that produced two memorable wins and a tie against full member teams.

  Led by the spirited Trent Johnston, the Irish first held Zimbabwe to a nerve-shredding tie at Kingston to show that they were not going to be pushovers as the tournament progressed.

  Four days later – on St. Patrick’s Day, no less – at the same venue, Ireland astonished the cricket world by bowling 1992 champions Pakistan out for 132 and then winning by three wickets, thanks to Niall O’Brien’s superb 72. They went on to collect another scalp in the Super Eight round, in the form of Bangladesh, who were resoundingly beaten by 74 runs at Bridgetown.

Tigers come of age

  On the same day that Ireland knocked Pakistan out, Bangladesh put India on the brink of elimination with a famous five-wicket win at Port-of-Spain. Disciplined bowling from the Tigers ensured that the fancied Indian batsmen could manage no more than 191.

  This win was the ticket they needed to make it to the Super Eight, wherein they upset South Africa by 67 runs. After enduring a winless campaign in 2003, this was a much-needed boost for Bangladeshi cricket.

Pigeon flies off in style

  A couple of months before the World Cup, the great Glenn McGrath had a triumphant end to his Test career as Australia regained the Ashes with a 5-0 win at home.

  His ODI farewell was even sweeter, as he topped the bowling charts at the World Cup with a record tally of 26 wickets at a stunning average of 13.73, for which he was named Player of the Tournament. His penetrative bowling at the top proved that this Pigeon could fly high even at the age of 37.

      Playing in their first World Cup, unfancied Ireland conjured memorable wins over Pakistan and Bangladesh (source – icc-cricket.com)

Gilchrist squashes the Lankans

  Australian legend Adam Gilchrist pounded the Sri Lankan attack with a whirlwind 149 from 104 balls in the rain-hit final at Bridgetown. This title-clinching innings – the highest ever in a World Cup final – was studded with 13 fours and eight sixes, and knocked the wind out of the opposition, which was hoping for an encore of the 1996 summit clash when Australia were at the receiving end.

  Gilchrist’s assault carried Australia to a winning total of 281/4 in the allotted 38 overs. The secret to his powerful hitting turned out to be a squash ball, which he had placed in the glove of his bottom hand and credited it for giving him a better grip.

  It was an unusual tactic to employ, but certainly not illegal. With this win by 53 runs on the D/L method, Australia stretched their unbeaten streak in the World Cup to 30 matches, dating back to 1999.

That catch by Dwayne Leverock

  Bermudan policeman Dwayne Leverock, weighing in at over 280 pounds, provided one of the most iconic World Cup moments when he took a catch at first slip off the bowling of 17-year-old Malachi Jones to dismiss India’s Robin Uthappa in a Group B match at Port-of-Spain.

  Leverock dived to the right to take a stunning one-handed catch, after which he took off on a celebratory run across the field even as Jones wept with joy. “He has flown like a gazelle…the earth shook! Oh what a catch!”, exclaimed commentator David Lloyd on air.

  Though India had the last laugh, smashing 413/5, then the highest World Cup total , en route a 257-run victory, Leverock made sure that he attained cult status with his gravity-defying exhibition of athleticism.

Gibbs goes hammer and tongs

  Exciting South African stroke-maker Herschelle Gibbs became the first man to hit six sixes in an over in international cricket, when he achieved the rare feat against the Netherlands in a Group A match at Basseterre. The unfortunate bowler to suffer this onslaught was leg-spinner Daan van Bunge, who returned forgettable figures of 4-0-56-0 as South Africa romped home by 221 runs.

       South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs became the first man to hit six sixes in an over in international cricket, achieving the feat against the Netherlands (source – rediff.com)

  In what was a rain-reduced 40-over affair, the Proteas were warming up nicely at 178/2 when the historic 30th over began. The first one went over long-on, the next two were smote over long-off, the fourth slogged over deep mid-wicket, the fifth swatted over wide long-off and finally another over deep mid-wicket. Gibbs scored 72 from just 40 balls as South Africa piled up 353/3.

‘Slinga’ Malinga creates history

  Sri Lanka’s curly-haired speedster Lasith Malinga, renowned for his slingshot action, became the first man to capture four wickets in four balls in any form of international cricket during his side’s Super Eight clash with South Africa at Providence.

  Needing 210 for victory, South Africa seemed home and dry at 206/5 when Malinga dismissed Shaun Pollock (bowled) Andrew Hall (caught at cover) off the last two balls of the 45th over. He returned in the 47th over and duly removed the well-settled Jacques Kallis (caught behind) for 86 and Makhaya Ntini (bowled) off the first two balls to reduce the score to 207/9.

  Nevertheless, South Africa eventually scampered home by one wicket, Malinga’s 4/54 going in vain. His was the fifth instance of World Cup hat-trick, and in 2011, he became the first bowler to take two World Cup hat-tricks.

Swansongs galore

  As aforementioned, Glenn McGrath had the perfect send-off from international cricket, but other illustrious names were not as lucky. Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq bid a tearful farewell to ODI cricket, bowing out from what was a nightmarish tourney for his team in the last group game against Zimbabwe.

  West Indian captain Brian Lara too quit international cricket, after his team failed to meet the expectations of the home crowd. Yet another captain to retire from ODI cricket following the World Cup was England’s Michael Vaughan, while New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming gave up the captaincy after ten years at the helm.

  Furthermore, Greg Chappell and Duncan Fletcher, respective coaches of India and England, resigned from their posts. Victorious Australian coach John Buchanan also called time on a highly successful eight-year tenure.

Famous Test Matches – India v Australia, Bombay, 1964-65

  India’s first two home series against Australia, in 1956-57 and 1959-60 respectively, had ended in disappointment as they managed to win just once in eight Tests. Their tormentor-in-chief was the legendary leg-spinner Richie Benaud, who snapped up a total of 52 wickets at 18.38 across both the rubbers.

  Thus, Bob Simpson’s Australians embarked on the 1964-65 tour with a view to achieve a hat-trick of series wins in India. Benaud, who had retired after the South African tour in the previous season, was no longer part of the team, but the visitors were fresh from their Ashes-retaining triumph in England. Moreover, Australia had not lost a Test series in the last eight years.

  India were led by the stylish Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, who at the age of 21 years and 77 days had become the youngest ever Test captain during the West Indian tour in 1961-62. The first Test at the Corporation Stadium in Madras saw him score a fine captain’s innings of 128*, but India went down by 139 runs despite holding a first-innings lead of 65.

  There was only a two-day gap for the hosts to formulate their bid to level the series. The second Test began on October 10, 1964 at the iconic Brabourne Stadium in Bombay, a venue where India were yet to lose in 11 Tests. While Australia had form on their side, history favoured India. The stage seemed set for an enthralling contest, and so it proved over the next five days.

  Just after Simpson elected to bat first, India got a slice of fortune as Australia’s assigned number three Norman O’Neill was ruled out of the match due to an upset stomach. The bowlers built on the good news by reducing Australia to 53/3; Salim Durani – the only Test player born in Afghanistan – removed Bill Lawry while Bhagwath Chandrasekhar castled Brian Booth and Simpson.

  Bob Cowper joined Peter Burge in the middle and the two resurrected the innings with a fourth-wicket stand worth 89, before the former was out LBW to the stingy left-arm spinner Rameshchandra ‘Bapu’ Nadkarni, who had taken 11/122 at Madras. Burge, one of Australia’s Ashes heroes, went on to make a boundary-filled 80, an innings that was cut short by Chandu Borde’s leg-spin.

  The loss of the two set batsmen for just four runs meant that Australia were 146/5 at this point and in need of another substantial partnership. Tom Veivers and wicketkeeper Barry Jarman provided just that. It was not until the fag end of the first day that they were separated, when Rusi Surti dismissed Jarman for a spunky, career-best 78, ending a sixth-wicket alliance of 151.

  Having ended the opening day at 301/6, ten-man Australia lost the last three wickets quickly to finish with a total of 320. Veivers became the fourth batsman to fall to Chandrasekhar’s legbreaks and was eighth out for a patient 67. ‘Chandra’ returned neat figures of 4/50. In reply, Alan Connolly gave Australia a perfect start by seeing the back of Dilip Sardesai with the score at seven.

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       Indian captain Mansoor Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi scored twin fifties in the thrilling Bombay Test of 1964-65 (source – sportskeeda.com)

  Simpson put his leg-spin to good use as he had Durani caught behind to make it 30/2. Local lad Vijay Manjrekar, who was born in Bombay but was now playing for Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy, then gave able support to opener Motganhalli Jaisimha as the duo stitched together a stand of 112 for the third wicket. It was Veivers who produced the breakthrough, bowling Jaisimha for 66.

  Manjrekar followed soon after for 59, also to Veivers. The persistent off-spinning all-rounder was rewarded with two important wickets at a crucial juncture in the match, and India were now 149/4. Pataudi strode out at number six and managed to see off the rest of the day along with Hanumant Singh as India reached 178/4 at stumps.

  Veivers continued from where he left as he got rid of Hanumant early on day three. At the other end, Johnny Martin, a rare chinaman bowler, kept things boiling by accounting for Borde’s wicket. India had stuttered to 188/6 and it was up to Pataudi to take charge from hereon. He responded to the challenge by  dominating a seventh-wicket partnership of 67 with Surti.

  Surti’s loss did not deter the skipper, who looked good for another century when he was caught by Graham McKenzie off Veivers for 86, eighth out with the score at 293. Nadkarni and wicketkeeper Kumar Indrajitsinhji – grand-nephew of the great Ranji – hung around to score valuable runs and stretched India’s total to 341. Veivers collected a career-best 4/68 and bowled as many as 20 maidens.

  India had eked out a lead of 21, narrow but valuable nonetheless, given that they would bat last on a surface conducive to spin. Lawry and Simpson soon wiped off the deficit with an opening stand of 59. Lawry was in good nick and steered Australia to a secure position of 112/1 by the close, with Cowper giving him company. The visitors’ lead was 91 and they had eight wickets in the bank.

  A key moment came on the fourth morning when Chandra took two wickets in successive balls. The talented 19-year-old first had Lawry trapped in front for 68 and then hit the top of off stump with a peach of a delivery to snare the in-form Burge for a duck. However, this double strike at 121 did not hamper Cowper’s focus. He joined forces with Booth to put Australia in the driver’s seat.

  The left-right handed batting pair began to take the game away from the Indians with an ominous partnership of 125 for the fourth-wicket. At 246/3 during the second session, Australia were holding the aces with a lead of 225 and six wickets still in hand. The Test took another turn when Cowper was caught behind off Nadkarni for 81, the top score of the innings.

  Cowper’s wicket opened the floodgates for India as Nadkarni and Chandra tore through the rest of the batting line-up. First-innings saviours Veivers and Jarman were both out without scoring to Chandra. Nadkarni (4/33) grabbed the last three wickets, including that of Booth, who was seventh out, stumped for 74. Chandra (4/73) ended with impressive match figures of 8/123.

  Australia were all out for 274 and their collapse of six for 28 ensured that India’s target was limited to 254. The innings started poorly again, this time thanks to Connolly, who had Jaisimha caught behind for a duck with the score at four. Late in the day, Durani and nightwatchman Nadkarni fell in quick succession, neutralising the second-wicket stand of 66 between Sardesai and Durani.

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       19-year-old leg-spinner Bhagwath Chandrasekhar returned match figures of 8/123 against Australia at the Brabourne Stadium (source – gettyimages)

  The eventful fourth day concluded with India’s score at a wobbly 74/3. The batting order was rejigged with Surti ostensibly sent as another nightwatchman, ahead of the more accomplished batsmen. The final day coincided with the festival of Dussehra, a public holiday, which meant that an estimated crowd of 42,000 thronged to witness the proceedings, hopeful of a famous Indian victory.

  Surti did not last long and perished to Veivers, making the score 99/4. Australian pace spearhead McKenzie, who was the star performer at Madras with a match haul of 10/91, had gone wicketless in the first dig. To India’s worry, he sprung into action at the right time for the visitors. Sardesai, who was looking solid at 56, was struck on the pads by McKenzie; India were now 113/5.

  The spectators were further filled with dismay nine runs later, when Hanumant was bowled by McKenzie. The Test was Australia’s to lose as India limped to 122/6. The hosts were battling against the odds as well – no team had successfully chased down a target of more than 76 in a Test on Indian soil. India’s last four wickets had added 153 in the first innings. Was an encore possible?

  The assured presence of Pataudi and Manjrekar slowly revived Indian hopes, and lunch was taken with the scoreboard reading 146/6. The resilient pair dug deep in the second session, knowing that time was not an issue. Runs were reduced to a trickle. The Australians were not offering any freebies; Veivers in particular kept bowling tirelessly, but a third wicket in the innings eluded him.

  Pataudi and Manjrekar emerged from the post-lunch session unscathed, and managed to guide India to 215/6 at tea. They were now only 39 away from victory, whereas Australia still needed four wickets. As the final act commenced, Simpson’s decision to take the new ball paid off immediately as Connolly had Manjrekar caught at slip by the captain himself.

  At the other end, Pataudi reached his second fifty of the match, but soon after, much to the shock of the crowd, he too fell victim to Connolly, caught at backward point by Burge for 53. India were 224/8, and 30 runs still separated them from victory. Indrajitsinhji came out to join Borde at this stage, with only the teenaged Chandra – a quintessential number eleven – to follow.

  India were privileged to have the experienced Borde – scorer of two Test hundreds – batting for them at number nine. He determinedly set about achieving the target, and the best efforts of McKenzie, Connolly, Veivers and Simpson were not enough to dislodge him. The remaining runs were unwaveringly churned out amid great tension and rising excitement.

  The winning moment arrived when Borde hit a straight drive to the boundary off a full toss from Veivers, sending the packed house into delirium. India reached 256/8 with half an hour left in the game and Borde, unbeaten on 30, returned to the pavillion as a hero. The series was eventually drawn after a stalemate in the deciding third Test at Calcutta.

  This two-wicket win was indeed special for Indian cricket, especially considering that Pataudi’s men had to fight back twice from perilous situations in the second innings. The Indian captain himself played a major role in the stirring victory, and unsurprisingly, mentioned it as ‘the most satisfying I have known as captain’ in his 1969 autobiography Tiger’s Tale.

Match Scorecard

Specials – Best of the Tests at the Bellerive Oval

  Tasmania got its first taste of Test cricket in December 1989, when Hobart’s Bellerive Oval hosted the second Test between Australia and Sri Lanka. Since then, the ground has been an occasional fixture on the Australian Test calendar, having hosted a total of 12 Tests – four against New Zealand, three each against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and two against the West Indies.

  Australia’s record at the ground, which is also known as the Blundstone Arena, is impressive – they have won nine games and lost just once. With South Africa – who are making their maiden appearance in Hobart – taking on the hosts in the second Test of their ongoing series, let us look back at five memorable matches played at this venue, in chronological order.

Australia v Sri Lanka, Second Test, 1989-90

  This match marked the Test debut of the Bellerive Oval, which had hosted an ODI each in the previous two seasons. Sri Lanka came into this final Test of the series on the back of a confidence-boosting draw at the Gabba, where they took the first-innings lead thanks Aravinda de Silva’s 167.

  Fast-medium pace bowler Rumesh Ratnayake produced an excellent spell of 6/66 as Australia were bowled out for 224 on the first day after being inserted by Arjuna Ranatunga. No batsman could manage a fifty. Sri Lanka crashed to 18/3 in reply before de Silva (75) joined forces with Roshan Mahanama (85) to share in a stand of 128 for the fourth wicket.

  However, the visitors lost their last six wickets for just 28, thus conceding a narrow lead of eight runs. After an eventful second day, Australia were 25/2 in their second innings and the match seemed to be heading towards an exciting conclusion. But the Australian batsmen had other ideas as they went about piling the runs in right earnest.

  While Mark Taylor (108) and captain Allan Border (85) added 163 for the fourth wicket to put their team in the driver’s seat, Dean Jones (118*) and Steve Waugh (134*) ensured that the innings went into overdrive mode with an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 260 at 4.5 an over. The declaration came at 513/5, leaving Sri Lanka with a target of 522.

  Sri Lanka put up a brave fight, but it was never going to be enough. Resuming the final day at 166/3, they were bowled out for 348 in the final session after losing their last four wickets for 16. De Silva, who was rightly named man of the series, starred again with 72, while Ravi Ratnayake top-scored with 75. Merv Hughes led the way for the hosts with 5/88.

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    The Bellerive Oval in Hobart has hosted 12 Test matches since 1989-90, of which Australia have won nine and lost only one (source – abc.net.au)

Australia v New Zealand, Third Test, 1997-98

  Australia had sealed the series with convincing wins at Brisbane and Perth, and nearly made it three out of three at Hobart. In what was a rain-affected Test, Australia totalled 400 after batting first. The cornerstone of the innings was a second-wicket stand of 197 between Matthew Elliott (114) and Greg Blewett (99). Mark Waugh chipped in with 81.

  With the match petering out to a draw, Stephen Fleming dangled the carrot in front of the Australians late on the fourth day. The New Zealand captain declared his team’s first innings at 251/6, in which Matthew Horne (133) was the standout performer with a maiden Test ton. Host captain Mark Taylor himself declared at 138/2 at lunch on the final day.

  Two sessions now remained in the match, with New Zealand needing 288 runs to win and Australia ten wickets. The Kiwis got off to a flyer, with openers Horne and Nathan Astle blasting 72 off 52 balls. It was too good to last though, as the score quickly slid to 95/4. Shane Warne was coming into his own and the visitors thought it wise to give up their victory hopes.

  Adam Parore and Roger Twose had almost steered their team to safety with a seventh-wicket stand of 66, but a final twist was in store. Three wickets fell for six runs and New Zealand had only one wicket in the bank with 38 minutes to play. A whitewash was narrowly averted as the last pair of Simon Doull and Shane O’Connor defied the wiles of Warne (5/88), the innings ending at 223/9.

Australia v Pakistan, Second Test, 1999-00

  After clinching a ten-wicket win in the series opener, Australia looked certain to lose before an amazing last-day fightback from Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist gave them a famous win. Steve Waugh inserted Pakistan in and his bowlers did not disappoint, limiting the total to 222. Opener Mohammed Wasim made an attacking 91.

  In reply, Australia were in a commanding position at 191/1 with Michael Slater (97) and Langer (59) in ominous form. But Pakistan somehow conjured a comeback, guided by off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq (6/46). Australia were dismissed for 246, losing their last eight wickets for 40.Pakistan then took control of the game with a solid batting display in the second innings.

  Saeed Anwar (78) took charge at the top before Inzamam-ul-Haq (118) and Ijaz Ahmed (82) put on 136 for the fourth wicket. Shane Warne (5/110) bowled impressively, but Pakistan went on to score 392. Australia needed 369 to win the Test and the series, which looked a distant dream when they fell to 126/5 on the fourth evening.

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      Playing only his second Test, Adam Gilchrist smashed 149* off 163 balls to help Australia chase down 369 against Pakistan in 1999-00 (source – yahoocricket)

  They began the final day at 188/5 and Pakistan were well on top. But the overnight batsmen, Langer and Gilchrist, were not deterred and went on to add a record 238 runs for the sixth wicket. While Langer made a solid 127, it was Gilchrist’s assault that jolted Pakistan. The wicket-keeper cracked an unbeaten 149 off 163 balls – a marvellous knock given the situation.

  The Australians eventually reached 369/6 – then the third-highest fourth-innings victory chase – as Pakistan were left to rue their misfortune. There was controversy early on the final morning, when Langer appeared to have been wrongly reprieved following a caught-behind appeal off captain Wasim Akram. Australia went on to sweep the series 3-0.

Australia v Sri Lanka, Second Test, 2007-08

  Australia won the two-Test series 2-0, but not before Sri Lanka made a valiant attempt to chase down a massive target. The home batsmen put the Sri Lankan bowling attack to the sword after winning the toss, amassing 542/5 before Ricky Ponting decided that they had batted enough.

  Opener Phil Jaques struck a career-best 150, and was involved in a third-wicket partnership of 152 with Michael Hussey, who made 132. Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist hit brisk fifties to further put Sri Lanka under the pump. Captain Mahela Jayawardene stood up to the task by scoring 104, but his side faced a deficit of 296 after the first innings.

  Australia opted to bat again and galloped to 210/2, declaring before lunch on the fourth day. Marvan Atapattu (80) and Kumar Sangakkara showed resolve in pursuit of an unlikely 507, as they put on 143 for the second wicket. Sangakkara was looking in great touch and ended the day at 109*, Sri Lanka’s score reading 247/3.

  Australia, hungry for their 14th successive Test match win, wrested the initiative on the fifth day, sparking a collapse to send Sri Lanka from 265/3 to 290/8 even as Sangakkara batted on with assurance. The ninth wicket fetched 74 runs, as Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga engaged in an entertaining counterattack.

  Only a poor umpiring decision stopped Sangakkara from reaching his seventh double hundred, as he was adjudged out for a brilliant 192 after the ball deflected from his shoulder and hit the helmet before being snapped in the slips. Sri Lanka were eventually dismissed for 410. Brett Lee, who was named man of the match and series, finished with 4/87, taking his match figures to 8/169.

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     Doug Bracewell celebrates a wicket at Hobart in 2011-12 even as David Warner looks on. New Zealand won a thriller by just seven runs (source – pakistantoday.com.pk)

Australia v New Zealand, Second Test, 2011-12

  Coming into this match, Australia were favourites to take the rubber after an easy nine-wicket win in the first Test. Michael Clarke had no hesitation in putting New Zealand in to bat on a grassy wicket. The hosts’ pace trio of James Pattinson (5/51), Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc proceeded to destroy New Zealand’s top order – they crashed to 60/6 in the first session itself.

  Dean Brownlie stemmed the rot with a gutsy 56 from number six. He shepherded the tail and was the only one to cross 20. The innings wound up at 150 before the first day ended prematurely due to rain, Australia being 12/1. The second day was again dominated by the bowlers as the Australian batsmen failed to cope with the visiting bowlers’ pace and swing. 

  The batting order imploded as the score slid to 75/7. Chris Martin, Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell took three wickets each. It took a 56-run stand for the eighth wicket between Siddle and Pattinson to revive the final total to 136. With New Zealand leading by just 14, the Test was now akin to a second-dig shootout. They lost their top three with 73 on the board in the second innings.

  Captain Ross Taylor steadied the ship, scoring 56. From 171/4, New Zealand regressed to 226 all out, which left Australia with seven sessions to score 241. By stumps on the third day, openers Phil Hughes and David Warner cruised to 72/0, thus providing the perfect start to the chase. At 159/2 and with Warner and Ricky Ponting in the middle, the game was Australia’s to lose.

  However, 21-year-old Bracewell, playing only his third Test, went on to bowl a game-changing spell. He finished with 6/40, scalping Ponting, Clarke and Michael Hussey – the latter two in successive balls – even as Warner fought on. Three wickets had fallen for no run and the game was wide open. Except for Warner, no batsman crossed 23.

  Another catastrophic slide from 192/5 to 199/9 seemed to be the final blow for the hosts. But Warner, who carried his bat in vain for 123 off 170 balls, and Lyon added 34 to ignite hope among the spectators before Bracewell castled Lyon with tea approaching to script a seven-run win for New Zealand – their first against Australia in 19 years.

Famous Test Matches – India v Australia, Kanpur, 1959-60

  With India’s 500th Test match underway at Green Park in Kanpur, the time is apt to relive a significant result achieved by them at this venue, more than half a century ago. This was the second Test of Australia’s second visit to India; the visitors having won the first Test at Delhi by a massive innings and 127 runs.

  India had never got the better of Australia in nine attempts since 1947-48, and following the humbling at Delhi, the odds were clearly stacked against them coming into this Test, which was played from December 19-24, 1959. Gulabrai Ramchand had taken over the reins of the Indian captaincy for this series.

  Ramchand’s opposite number was Richie Benaud, who had starred at Delhi with a match haul of 8/76 and remained the biggest threat to the Indian camp. India had not won a Test in four years – their latest assignment being a catastrophic 5-0 whitewash in England. A new hero was needed, who eventually turned up in the form of a little-known off-spinner from Ahmedabad.

  Jasubhai Patel had a passable record of ten wickets in four Tests, at an average of 31, and had last played for India more than three years ago. The 35-year-old received a surprise call-up for the Kanpur Test from chairman of selectors Lala Amarnath, who believed that he could pose a considerable threat to the Australians on a newly-laid, spin-friendly surface.

  Openers Pankaj Roy and Nariman ‘Nari’ Contractor sedately added 38 runs after India won a crucial toss. It was not long before Benaud got into the act, however. The leg-spinner dismissed both the opening batsmen, thus initiating a wobble in the Indian batting. India slipped to 77/4 and never recovered from these early setbacks.

  Alan Davidson, the impactful left-arm paceman, dealt vital blows to the middle and lower order, finishing with a neat return of 5/31. Benaud continued his good tour by taking 4/63. India could muster only 152 on the board, and the fact that no batsman crossed 25 underlined the control that Australia’s bowlers maintained throughout the innings.

  Australia, resuming from 23/0, seemed to be moving ahead fast in the game on the second day as their openers Colin McDonald and Gavin Stevens produced a stand of 71. Though Patel removed the latter, the dependable Neil Harvey joined McDonald in the middle and the duo steered their team to a strong position of 128/1 at lunch.

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       Indian off-spinner Jasubhai Patel produced a stunning performance and created new bowling records in the Kanpur Test against Australia in 1959-60 (source – wikipedia.org)

  Patel was made to change ends after lunch, and this had a remarkable effect on his bowling and as a result, on the Australian batting. Exploiting the slow track and the footmarks on it to the fullest, he bamboozled the visitors with generous turn and drift. McDonald (53) and Harvey (51) were both clean bowled, and this was just the beginning.

  At the other end, Chandu Borde sent back Norman O’Neill – the only wicket in the innings that did not fall to Patel. Ken ‘Slasher’ Mackay was struck on the pads for a duck and Australia had now lost 4 for 31 to be 159/5.  Davidson bravely attempted to grind at one end, even as Patel, who had brought India right back in the contest, was running amok at the other.

  Such was Patel’s accuracy that none of the batsmen to ensue were allowed to settle in, and they sooner or later succumbed to his guile. Davidson’s resistance ended when he was the ninth man out, bowled for 41 with the score reading 219. Last man Gordon Rorke was caught by Abbas Ali Baig, restricting Australia to a lead of 67 and giving Patel a nine-wicket haul.

  Patel’s analysis read an astonishing 35.5-16-69-9. He single-handedly destroyed the Australian line-up – only one of his nine wickets was assisted by a fielder’s catch. These were the new best innings figures by an Indian, bettering Subash Gupte’s 9/102 against the West Indies at the same ground a year ago. The record stood until 1998-99, when Anil Kumble collected his famous 10/74.

  The onus to perform now lay on the batsmen if India hoped to nudge ahead in the Test. It was Contractor who rose to the challenge, compiling a fine 74 – his best Test innings according to him – to give India a positive start. With Davidson at his best, this knock provided belief to the rest of the batsmen to tackle his pace and swing.

  When Contractor was caught by Harvey off Davidson, India were 121/3; the lead being 54 and the match tantalisingly poised. Australia appeared to have the upper hand at 153/5, before the Mumbai pair of Borde (44) and Ramnath Kenny (51) put on 61 for the sixth wicket. The tide was slowly shifting towards the hosts.

  An even more crucial partnership followed for the seventh wicket, for which Kenny and Bapu Nadkarni (46) shared 72 runs. The displays of Patel and Contractor had undoubtedly rubbed on to the middle and lower order, leaving Benaud increasingly worried with every passing over.

  The last four wickets however fell for just five runs, as India were bowled out for 291, which was a great improvement from their first innings. Davidson bowled his heart out to return 7/93, giving himself 12/124 for the match – both career-best figures. This match haul is still the best by an Australian bowler against India.

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       Nari Contractor scored 74 in the second innings, a knock that enabled India to bounce back after conceding a 67-run lead (source – thehindu.com)

  Australia’s target of 225 was always going to be a difficult proposition on the wearing, final-day pitch. Patel expectedly struck early, dismissing Stevens with only 12 on the board. Late in the day, Polly Umrigar’s off-spin delivered the important wicket of Harvey, caught by Nadkarni in the slips. Australia ended the fourth day at 59/2.

  Umrigar (4/27) also accounted for O’Neill early on the fifth day, without any addition to the score, before consigning Mackay for his second duck in the match. Australia were now 61/4 and staring at a quick submission to spin. A double disaster occurred with the score at 78, as Patel added the scalps of Davidson and Benaud. This effectively sealed the game.

  McDonald top-scored for his team again, churning out a patient 34 before being the ninth man out at 105, stumped by Naren Tamhane off Patel. This was the final wicket, as Rorke was absent hurt. Patel fittingly had the last say as he finished with 5/55 in the second innings, his match figures being an outstanding 14/124.

  India had astoundingly turned the tables to record a historic win by 119 runs – their first ever against Australia. Patel’s startling recall from the wilderness proved to be a coup de maître. Though this match will always be remembered as ‘Patel’s Test’, one must not forget the invaluable contributions of Contractor, Kenny and Umrigar.

  Patel’s match return was a new Indian record as well, surpassing Vinoo Mankad’s 13/131 against Pakistan at Delhi in 1952-53. It was in turn improved by Narendra Hirwani, who took 16/136 on debut against the West Indies at Chennai in 1987-88. India’s best return against Australia currently is Harbhajan Singh’s 15/217, at Chennai in 2000-01.

  Australia bounced back to win the five-Test series 2-1, thanks to another big win – by an innings and 55 runs – in the fourth Test at Chennai. Benaud led from the front, taking 29 wickets at 19.58. Davidson performed even better, with 29 wickets at 14.86. As for Patel, Kanpur was his only moment in the sun as he never played for India again after this series. 

  Given India’s position in world cricket at that time, the ‘miracle at Kanpur’, as it was christened by the media back then, was a pivotal moment in their cricketing history. Two years later, India won their first series against England under the leadership of Contractor, while a maiden overseas series victory followed in New Zealand in 1967-68.

Match Scorecard

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.

Specials – Memories from the NatWest Tri-Series, Part 1

  It has been ten years since the English cricket summer did away with the tri-series format for ODIs and instead reverted to separate bilateral series. The primary reason for the discontinuation of the NatWest triangular series from 2006 onwards was that crowds were increasingly turning out to be poor for matches not involving England.

  It was in 1972 that England hosted its first ODI series, a three-match series against Australia. Since then, bilateral series consisting of two or three matches were played against the touring sides, sponsored by Prudential Insurance from 1972 to 1983 and by Texaco from 1984 to 1998. Besides, the first three World Cups were also played in England. All these matches featured white clothing.

  The first international tournament on English soil to feature coloured clothing was a short tri-nation series involving England, South Africa and Sri Lanka in 1998. There was a single round of matches, besides a final in which World Cup holders Sri Lanka defeated the hosts. The following year, England hosted the World Cup for the fourth time.

  The turn of the millenium saw the advent of the NatWest Series, a fresh tri-series concept featuring ten matches played in between the two Test series of the summer. Each team played the others thrice, with the top two making it to the final at Lord’s. The six years of the NatWest Series churned out a fair share of compelling ODI cricket. In this post, we look back at the first three editions.

2000

  The West Indies and Zimbabwe were the participants in the first edition of the NatWest Tri-Series. The tourists faced each other in the opening match at the County Ground in Bristol. This low-key clash was significant for being the first official day/night international in England.

  Brian Lara cracked an entertaining 60 but the West Indian total of 232/7 was inadequate as Neil Johnson’s unbeaten 95 saw Zimbabwe home by six wickets. Zimbabwe went on to make it two out of two as another disciplined bowling effort ensured a five-wicket win against England at the Oval.

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      England’s Craig White celebrates after getting the prized wicket of Zimbabwean captain Andy Flower in the 2000 NatWest Series final (source – cricinfo.com/gettyimages)

  Marcus Trescothick scored 79 on debut but his dismissal triggered a collapse of 8 for 57. The modest total of 207 was chased down in the 49th over thanks to Alistair Campbell’s 80. England’s game with the West Indies at Lord’s was rained off with the hosts struggling at 158/8.

  Zimbabwe extended their winning spree at Canterbury, where they subdued the Windies again. Facing a target of 257, the West Indies crashed to 57/6 and eventually limped to 186/8. Guy Whittall starred for the victors with a knock of 83. The law of averages caught up with Zimbabwe at Old Trafford, where they were bundled out for 114 en route to an eight-wicket defeat to England.

  England continued in the same vein against the West Indies at Chester-le-Street, where openers Trescothick (87*) and captain Alec Stewart (74*) gunned down the target of 170. At the same venue, the West Indies faced a must-win situation against Zimbabwe. Sherwin Campbell (105) and Lara (87) powered them to 287/5.

  However, a stunning unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 186 between Murray Goodwin (112*) and Grant Flower (96*) knocked Jimmy Adams’ men out. Stewart’s 101 guided England to a 52-run win over Zimbabwe at Edgbaston. In the last league match, the West Indies scored a thrilling three-run win after posting 195/9, Stewart’s century (100*) going in vain this time.

  The final was largely one-sided – Stewart missed out on a third successive hundred by three runs, but it was enough to help England win by six wickets after the bowlers, led by Darren Gough (3/20) had restricted the inserted Zimbabweans to 169/7. The England captain was deservedly named player of the series for his tally of 408 runs, besides 12 catches behind the wicket.

2001

  England faced two superior ODI outfits in Australia and Pakistan in what was a tough summer. Pakistan condemned the hosts to a 108-run thrashing in the first game at Edgbaston, after Saeed Anwar (77) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (79) led their side to 273/6. World Cup champions Australia then chased down Pakistan’s challenging 257 to win by seven wickets.

  Australia’s batting firepower was evident in the next game at Bristol as well, where England’s 268/4 (Nick Knight scoring 84) was overhauled with five wickets in hand thanks to Ricky Ponting’s 102. Lord’s witnessed a thriller as England fell just two runs short of Pakistan’s 242/8, despite Trescothick’s career-best 137.

Gillespie has just bowled Wasim for 17

     Jason Gillespie is jubliant after bowling Wasim Akram in the final of the 2001 NatWest Series between Australia and Pakistan (source – espncricinfo.com/gettyimages)

  The hosts were then shot out for 86, their lowest ODI total, in pursuit of 209 against Australia at Old Trafford. With England needing to win to stay alive, an ugly crowd invasion overshadowed a fine performance by Waqar Younis at Headingley. Waqar (7/36) reduced the hosts to 58/7 before the total recovered to 156.

  When Pakistan were 153/4, the crowd stormed onto the field, leading to the injury of a steward and the conceding of the match by captain Stewart. This incident rightfully led to the prohibition of spectators from coming on to the field. Another Waqar special of 6/59 enabled Pakistan to beat Australia by 36 runs at Trent Bridge. 

  Another tame defeat to Australia, this time by eight wickets at the Oval, meant that England failed to win a single game in the tournament. Two years after the lop-sided World Cup final, Australia and Pakistan met at Lord’s again and Steve Waugh’s men came up trumps with a similarly thumping win, by nine wickets and with 141 balls to spare. Waqar was named player of the series.

  Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals after electing to bat first, and at 60/4 in the 20th over, a deja vu of 1999 was already on the cards. Penetrative bowling from Brett Lee and Ian Harvey was aided by Shane Warne’s guile as Pakistan were dismissed for 152. Adam Gilchrist completed the formalities with an unbeaten 76.  

2002

  The presence of two subcontinental teams ensured that most grounds were packed to full houses. The evergreen Stewart, still going strong, scored 83 in the first ODI at Trent Bridge before Andrew Flintoff’s timely strikes ensured Sri Lanka fell short of England’s 293/6 by 44 runs.

  India were a tougher nut for the hosts in the second game at Lord’s, where they won by six wickets facing a target of 272. Rahul Dravid (73*) and Yuvraj Singh (64*) added an unbroken 131 after Virender Sehwag’s quick 71 had laid the platform. India went on top after a four-wicket win in a tricky chase of 203 at the Oval against Sri Lanka, whose batsmen fell to Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar.

  Sanath Jayasuriya’s 112 went in vain in a 32-over affair at Headingley, as the hosts rode on Trescothick’s equally attacking 82 to chase down 241 for the loss of seven wickets. Sachin Tendulkar’s 105* against England at Chester-le-Street helped India pile up 285/4, but rain had the final say.

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     The Indian players rush to congratulate Mohammed Kaif after he guided India to victory in the 2002 NatWest Series final (source – skysports.com)

  Sri Lanka, after being bowled out for 187 at Edgbaston, had India in trouble at 59/4 and it took a mature 64 from Dravid to help his side score a scratchy win by four wickets. The Lankans finally opened their account after four defeats with a 23-run win at Old Trafford over England, who failed to chase 229. Interestingly, Michael Vaughan scalped 4/22 with his part-time off breaks.

  In another rain-shortened match of 32 overs, England won by 64 runs with Ronnie Irani’s 5/26 bowling India out for 165. Tendulkar stroked a vintage 113 out of a total of 304/5 in the last league game at Bristol as Sri Lanka, who were already out of the race, lost by 63 runs. Harbhajan Singh starred with the ball, taking 4/46.

The final was one of the most nail-biting ODIs ever played. After England opted to bat, player of the series Trescothick (109) and captain Nasser Hussain (115) shared in a second-wicket stand of 185. This was Hussain’s only ODI ton. Openers Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly (60) replied to England’s 325/5 by adding 106 in 15 overs, but a collapse soon saw India slide to 146/5.

  Yuvraj and Mohammed Kaif turned the tide by adding 121 for the sixth wicket. When Yuvraj was out for 69, India still needed 58 from 50 balls. Kaif (87*) kept going and was given valuable company by Harbhajan. Two wickets fell at 314, but Zaheer held his nerve to score the winning runs off the third ball of the final over, inspiring captain Ganguly to take his shirt off in celebration on the Lord’s balcony.