A Sachin Tendulkar Classic : 2003 World Cup


Sachin Tendulkar smashed a fearless 98 ruining the morale of Pakistani bowlers on this day. 16 years ago he sent back Pakistan from the World Cup after an intense battle with the likes of Wasim, Waqar, and Shoaib.

It was the 36th match of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup at Centurion. The sub-continental neighbors India and Pakistan were scheduled to play their last group league match on this day among lots of tension and anticipation.

Sachin Tendulkar (Image- Getty Images)

The Clash Of Arch Rivals

The last India-Pakistan match was played almost three years back and being a World Cup match, the fans were looking forward to this match immensely. Also, India won all three previous encounters in the World Cup and was determined to carry on the trend.

Led by Sourav Ganguly and Waqar Younis both the teams had legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Shoaib Akhtar, and others. It was a legendary clash and both the fans and media hyped the match to the highest degree.

On the morning of March 1, 2003, Waqar won the toss and decided to bat to set a target for India’s strong batting line up. Most likely he had immense faith in his world famous bowling attack to defend any score.

Pakistan Set A Decent Target

Anwar and young Taufeeq Umar started cautiously before raising the tempo. Umar was gone in the 11th over to Zaheer. Abdul Razzaq, sent to number three as pinch-heater, did not last long, neither did Inzamam who was run out once again and did justice to his reputation. Pakistan lost 3 wickets before reaching 100. Yousuf Yuhana (Mohammad Yousuf) built a partnership with Anwar who was playing beautifully. He already passed his half-century and added 73 runs with Yousuf when the experienced Srinath came and took care of Yousuf. Anwar got a well-deserved 100 in the 40th over but any plan of him accelerating was damaged when Nehra came back to peg back his off-stump.

Afridi could not bat longer on his 23rd birthday and loft a very slow one from Dinesh Mongia to be caught by Anil Kumble. Younis khan along with wicketkeeper Rashid Latif tried to add some quick runs but Indian bowlers also maintained their control and managed to restrict them to 273.

The Chase Began

The first two overs of India’s chase was one of the most talked about match situations during an India-Pakistan clash. The fans from both the nations, especially the Indians still can visualize those 12 balls even today. 

Wasim Akram started the proceeding and was in control from the first ball. However, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were not in a mood to restrict. The third ball of the over was driven through cover for four by Tendulkar whereas Sehwag fetched another boundary in the last ball. From the other end, it was Shoaib Akhtar on his pomp. He was on top of his form and Waqar trusted him with the new ball and held himself back as first change.

Shoaib looked tensed. He started with a wide. His first three legal deliveries went for four runs and Tendulkar was back on Strike.

The Unstoppable Sachin Tendulkar

The fourth delivery of the over was a wide raising delivery outside the off stump, Tendulkar went for it. It was sweetly timed and the ball flew over the third man boundary for a massive six. It was an iconic shot that changed the mood of two nations in two completely different directions.

Sachin Tendulkar (Image- Getty Images)

But Sachin Tendulkar was not going to contain easily. Shoaib changed his line but his next delivery on the middle stump was flicked by Tendulkar for Boundary through the square leg fence. The last ball of the over, a very similar line, was driven back between the bowler and mid on for another boundary and suddenly India were 27 for no loss in two overs and the target was already below 250.

India continued to chase with enough dominance and reached 50 in the fifth over. But Waqar then gave two back to back blows as he got Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly on back to back deliveries. But Tendulkar got good support from Mohammad Kaif who was surprisingly sent at number four before Rahul Dravid.

Kaif held on one end with a sedate 35 when Tendulkar kept playing his shots. All the Pakistani bowlers faced the same fate that day and looked like he was in an unstoppable mood. But if not by the bowlers, he was stopped by his hamstring. He started having cramps. Although after a few moments of treatment he resumed and hit Razzaq for four in no time.

Kaif finally went with the score at 155 for three. Dravid joined Tendulkar who by that time was severely impacted by the cramps and still kept running by himself as he did not prefer taking a runner. But with the team’s total score of 177 and his personal score of 98, Tendulkar could not take it anymore and Sehwag appeared as his runner. This was the first instance of Sachin Tendulkar taking a runner in international cricket.

But Shoaib was also back as a last-ditch effort from Waqar and delivered a vicious well-directed bouncer. A fit Tendulkar might have evaded. But this time the ball took the shoulder of the bat and a diving catch was taken by Younis Khan in the point to get the little master out. His 98 of 75 balls played against Pakistan on this day is one of the top performances in a World Cup match.

India Won 

In 1999, India could not win the Chennai test match when Sachin was dismissed post getting troubled by a bad back. This time close to 100 runs more were required. Tension and nervousness were creeping into Indian fans’ minds. But the young confident Yuvraj Singh arrived to rescue.

He started positively and soon with his stroke play the momentum was back to India. Even Dravid was also looking tired after keeping and batting on a hot day. Yuvraj anchored the chase and reached his 50 with only a few runs to get. In the 46th Over, Dravid (44 not out) pulled one from Waqar to the boundary for the winning runs and rejoiced the glory along with Yuvraj and other team members.

The entire nation was celebrating. After not a strong start in the campaign, India turned out to be one of the strongest teams to qualify for the next round. Pakistan had to return home among lots of controversies and retirements.  

Also Read: On This Day – 28th Feb

World Record By Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum scored a century off 54 balls to enter into the record book of cricket. 

Brendon McCullum is one of the most influential New Zealand players in the last twenty years. There are many innings in all formats of the game where he has lit up the ground with his atrocious shots and risk-taking. His 158 at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in the opening match of 2008 IPL was a perfect way to start the IPL Band-wagon. Some of his shots were unbelievable and made fans wonder the power of his wrists.

On This Day

On February 20, 2016, in the first morning of his last test McCullum played similar innings and stunned the cricketing world. The conditions at Hagley Oval were conducive for fast bowling and Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson utilized the lively nature of the pitch after sending New Zealand in. New Zealand were 32 for three when McCullum came to bat. He did not waste any time to familiarize himself with the tough conditions and started playing his shots from the beginning. The second delivery he faced was hit for a four. Soon he hit two fours and two sixes in a Mitchell Marsh over to reach 26 in 10 balls. Williamson at the other end was not comfortable and went to lunch with 64-ball 7. He was gone in the first over after lunch after a partnership of 42 where his contribution was 4.

But Brendon McCullum did not get distracted by this wicket. He was joined by Corey Anderson and continued his merry way. Anderson was also keen to play his shots which helped McCullum. He brought up his fifty of 34 balls and celebrated by taking 14 runs in that Jackson Bird over. In that phase, New Zealand were scoring in a break-neck pace and added 55 in four overs with McCullum contributing 38 of it.

World Record By Brendon McCullum
World Record By Brendon McCullum (Image- Getty Images)

Brendon McCullum & World Record

At the beginning of 36th over McCullum was standing at 82 of 48 balls. The fastest test century with respect to balls faced was scored off 56 balls by the great Sir Viv Richards in 1986. Later this record was equaled by Misbah Ul Haq in 2014. McCullum needed 18 runs off 7 deliveries to make the world record his own.

After a couple of dot balls, Brendon McCullum got a top edge six in the third delivery of Hazlewood. Then there was no stopping back, McCullum hit three consecutive boundaries in the last three balls of that over and with the third boundary reached his century on 54 balls, the fastest century in the history of test cricket. Out of the 143 runs scored post him coming to bat, 100 was scored by him and it was a dominant performance like no other. He kept playing his shots and finally got dismissed for 145. The New Zealand total was 253. Anderson and Watling took New Zealand to 370 but it was not enough as Australia replied with 505. There were a couple of big centuries from Joe Burns and Steven Smith.

In his last innings, Brendon McCullum scored 25 out of total 335 but a target of 201 was easily chased down by Australia. Although McCullum could not finish in a winning note, his batting master class was a special innings and took him to the record books.

Also Read: On This Day – 19th Feb

India And Pakistan World Cup Face Off- Virat Kohli’s Unique record

India And Pakistan World Cup Face Off- Virat Kohli's Unique record

India and Pakistan World Cup Match, 2015 saw a unique record by Virat Kohli. 

India and Pakistan cricket matches are infrequent nowadays due to the ongoing tension and restrained political relationship.  But with the intensity of a battle, these matches live up to its billings more often than not. Nowadays, these two countries generally meet only during multi-national tournaments like the World Cup and Asia cup. Although India has the upper hand in recent times, it was not the case always and time to time, both teams deliver some memorable encounters.

Indian And Pakistan World Cup Encounters

In the first four World Cups, India and Pakistan did not get a chance of face-off. They were the joint organizers in 1987 and when they qualified for the semi-final, the fans from both the countries hoped a final showdown between them. But both India and Pakistan faltered and Australia played England in the final in the Eden Gardens.

India and Pakistan first met in a World Cup game in 1992 and since then there is an India-Pakistan clash in every World Cup except 2007 when both the teams were relegated from their respective groups. Most of the Indian fans proudly cherish the fact that in 50-over World Cup India has a 6-0 scoreline against Pakistan, which was hyped more before the 2015 World Cup with the famous ‘Mauka Mauka’ ad by the official broadcasters in India.

In 2011, they faced each other in the semi-final in Mohali which India won by 29 runs and went on to play the final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

Once the grouping of the 2015 World Cup was announced cricket fans were delighted to see, India and Pakistan placed in the same group. Similarly, arch-rivals England and Australia were placed in the same group. On February 15, 2015, India started their campaign against Pakistan.

                      Virat Kohli Amazed All (Image- Getty Images)

Virat Kohli Amazed All

There were few changes in the teams especially for India but still, there were players like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Misbah-ul Haq and Shahid Afridi who were part of their 2011 clash. MS Dhoni won the toss and as was the norm in such pressure matches opted to bat first.

After a solid start by Rohit and Shikhar, Kohli replaced Rohit in the 8th over. After an early chance, Kohli was set quickly and looked in sublime touches and kept rotating the strike with few exceptional shots in between. However, Kohli understood the importance of him staying in the middle and mostly played risk-free cricket. Shikhar was in good touch and the duo added 129 runs in 23 overs. Once Shikhar was gone, Suresh Raina came and helped India to get the big push around 40th over. He scored a 56-ball 74 with 5 boundaries and 3 sixes. Kohli, on the other hand, grew on his innings and reached his well-deserved hundred in the 43rd over.

Unique Record

With this Kohli became the only batsman to score centuries in his country’s opening matches in two consecutive World Cups. He also scored a 100 against Bangladesh in India’s first match during the 2011 World Cup. This also made him the only Indian to have a century on World Cup debut. The century came at Adelaide Oval, Kohli’s lucky venue. 

Pakistan tried their best but Mohammad Shami ensured that they were never in the hunt. Shami’s four wickets included Younis Khan, Misbah, Afridi and Wahab Riaz. India ended up with a comfortable 76 runs win to open their World Cup defense.

Four years have passed and the legend of Virat Kohli has grown further. Now he is the Indian captain and world’s best batsman in all formats. With another World Cup in a few months, when India will start their campaign against South Africa at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, India fans all over the world will hope for an encore from him and wish him to complete his hat-trick of centuries in World Cup opening matches.

Also Read: OnThisDay – 14th Feb

A Combined Cricket Team From India And Pakistan

India and Pakistan Cricket Team Came Together for Sri Lanka

India and Pakistan came together in 1996 to help Sri Lanka for the sake of cricket. A combined India-Pakistan cricket team played together to showcase the highest level of sporting spirit. 

In the current age of IPL and other franchise leagues, players from different teams playing together are a common feature throughout the year. In the ongoing Big Bash League, Chris Lynn was opening with Brendon McCullum in some of the matches for Brisbane Heats. This IPL, he will come to open with Sunil Narine for KKR.

During ’90s such matches were not frequent, except for some exhibition matches players from multiple teams used to come together and play. Especially seeing the players from India and Pakistan in the same squad was something unthinkable for cricket fans.

India and Pakistan Came Together

India and Pakistan fought multiple wars post their independence. There were long gaps when bi-lateral cricket was absent between these two nations. Post India’s tour of Pakistan in 1989-90 the bi-lateral matches were stopped. They used to play ODIs in Sharjah and also played a very entertaining match during the 1992 world cup in Sydney.

Both India and Pakistan shared the 1996 cricket world cup organizing responsibilities along with the small island country Sri Lanka. During the mid-90’s Sri Lanka was not a safe place as the militant groups were quite powerful. There was a blast just outside the team hotel of the touring New Zealand cricket team during 1992. Once the 1996 world cup schedule was out Australia and West Indies expressed their concerns over visiting Sri Lanka to play their respective group league matches. Zimbabwe and Kenya were okay to visit and Sri Lanka’s other group league match was against India at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.

ICC was not willing to make a change of venue. Sri Lanka requested India and Pakistan to help. Fortunately, those two countries decided to send a combined team to Sri Lanka to play a match against the Sri Lankan team and show the world that there was no concern regarding security.

Moment to Cherish

It was a great moment and once in a generation opportunity for cricket fans to see top players from India and Pakistan to play as part of the same team. Both the countries also sent their top players and the final playing eleven looked like this,

Sachin Tendulkar, Saeed Anwar, Aamir Sohail, Mohammad Azharuddin[C], Ijaz Ahmed, Ajay Jadeja, Rashid Latif, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Anil Kumble, Ashish Kapoor.

 The Sri Lankan team was also a strong squad led by Arjuna Ranatunga, although Aravinda de Silva was not playing. Both captains expressed their excitement in playing this special match.

India and Pakistan Cricket Team Came Together for Sri Lanka
Anil Kumble (Image- Reuters)

On February 13, 1996, the match began with Sri Lanka batting first and Sri Lankan keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana was first to go, caught Sachin bowled Akram. It was a peculiar thing but something which was thoroughly enjoyable by cricket fans all over the world. Although Gurusinha and Ranatunge both scored 30’s, the Sri Lankan squad kept losing wickets on regular intervals. It was a great combined performance from players from India and Pakistan. Six bowlers were used, three from India and three from Pakistan. Anil Kumble was in great rhythm and finished with 8-1-12-4. Sri Lanka could master only 168 for 9 in their allocated 40 overs.

Also Read: The day when Kumble did the Jumbo

Combined India and Pakistan XI (Called Wills XI) had a good start as Tendulkar and Anwar added 53 but Sri Lankan spinners put on the breaks. Muralitharan, Dharmasena, and Chandana shared five wickets between them. Tendulkar’s 36 was the highest score in the match but at 126 for five, Wills XI still required 43 to win. Ajay Jadeja and Rashid Latif came to rescue and added 38 runs in the partnership. Jadeja could not finish the match and was out to Vaas with only five runs required which were duly scored by Waqar Younis. The Wills XI got the Wills Solidarity Trophy but with the background of the match, cricket was the real winner.

What Followed Next

Unfortunately, all these still did not convince the Australia and West Indies to travel to the island country. They forfeit their matches and Sri Lanka ended with full points from the group stages. Sri Lanka reached the final of the world cup by beating England and India in knockouts. The other finalists were Australia who beat the West Indies in the other semi-final. In the final, Australians could not compete with a sound Sri Lankan outfit and Aravinda de Silva’s century during the chase ensured Sri Lanka’s maiden world cup win.

But the wonderful sportsman spirit and camaraderie displayed by the two bitter rivals just before the world cup was an enormous incident and still remembered fondly.

Gundappa Viswanath – An Indian Cricket Legend


Gundappa Viswanath who was born on February 12, 1949, was one of the batting mainstays for India during the ’70s. An artistic batsman, ‘Vishy’ as he was often called was known for his sportsman spirit and calm nature on and off the field. 

Vishy was also a classical batsman for India who has many memorable innings for India played in extremely difficult conditions. The ‘Bob Taylor Recalled’ incident during the 1980 Jubilee test match was one of the most talked about incident of that era and a great illustration of Viswanath’s honesty and the spirit with which he used to play the game.

Gundappa Viswanath Calling Bob Taylor (Image- Getty Images)

Viswanath started very early and despite not having a formal coaching and a short stature came up the ranks pretty quickly through age-group cricket and Ranji Trophy for Karnataka.

Gundappa Viswanath didn’t have a great debut to start with. During the test against Australia at Kanpur in 1969, He scored a duck in the first innings. But the skipper, Tiger Pataudi showed complete faith on Vishy.  

Tiger told him, “Relax, don’t worry, you’ll get a hundred in the second innings.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Viswanath scored 137 runs in the second innings, a knock crafted with 25 boundaries. Thus he became the first cricketer to score a duck and a century on test match debut.

Gundappa ‘Winner’ Viswanath

Gundappa Viswanath from his debut match went on to become the lucky mascot for India. Whenever he scored a century, India never lost any match. His maiden Test ended in a draw with the remaining 13 where he hit a hundred resulted in Indian wins. Viswanath always rose to the most difficult situations. He was particularly brilliant against the powerhouses of the 1970s, Australia and the West Indies. He had a batting average of over 50 against both the giants.

One of his famous knocks came against West Indies In 1976 in Trinidad. India successfully chased a target of 403. Gavaskar set the tone with 102 but it was Gunwapa Viswanath’s 112 that helped India to chase the score. One year back his well crafted 97 against West Indies in Madras was yet another example of his master class. In India’s total run 190, Vishy’s contribution was 97 and that knock came against the bowling attack containing Andy Roberts. It didn’t only help India to win the match, it was also acknowledged by Wisden.

The Gentleman

Above all his greatness on the 22yards, the fans always remember Vishy for his sportsmanship. He captained India in two matches and one of the matches was the Golden Jubilee Test against England in 1979-80. The Indian captain was fielding at first slip and Boy Taylor was on the strike.  A catch behind the wicket, off Kapil Dev, was given out by the umpire Hanumantha Rao. Taylor was hesitant. So was Vishy.

The Indian skipper was certain that there was something wrong. There had been no contact and persuaded the umpire to change his decision. Calling back Bob Taylor meant taking a huge risk for his own side. But to Vishy, it was always the spirit of the game ahead of anything else. Recalling the incident Gundappa Viswanath never took the credit and explained how his colleagues were influential behind the same.

“ I didn’t call him back on my own. The close-in fielders were looking at Bob. They asked me, ‘Is he out?’ I said no, certainly not. Then they said why don’t you call him back… so I went up to Hanumantha Rao, the umpire, and said, ‘Sir, I am withdrawing the appeal.’

The Teammate & Friend

As a cricketer, Gundappa Viswanath is easily one of the best test batsmen that India has ever produced. Even the little master Sunil Gavaskar went on record to certify him as the greatest. Gavaskar said,

“I have seen situations when we all struggled against the opposition,  but then Vishy would score off the good deliveries. The rest of us, we thought we could keep out the good balls and score off the bad ones. But Vishy, he had four-five strokes to the good balls that were bowled to him.”

Gundappa Viswanath and Sunil Gavaskar shared a great bond. They were so close that it went beyond friendship and Vishy married Sunny’s sister Kavita. Interestingly, when Gavaskar became a father, he named his son ‘Rohan Jaivishwa’ after three of his favorite players – West Indian Rohan Kanhai, Indian greats ML Jaisimha and Viswanath.

Also Read: Gavaskar hits century in each inning, thrice

Sir Frank Worrell – Debut of A Legend

Sir Frank Worrell - Debut of A Legend

West Indies cricket has given many great characters to the game. There were fiercest fast bowlers like Wes Hall, Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose and others, majestic batsmen like Viv Richards and Brian Lara but whenever we talk about the charisma and sporting behavior on the ground, we have Sir Frank Worrell. 

The first ever colored person to lead West Indies in a test match Sir Frank Worrell made his debut on this day, 71 years ago. It was a test match against England played at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad. England won the toss and elected to bat first. A century by the debutant Billy Griffith helped England to put 362 in the first innings. Wilf Ferguson, the Trinidad born bowler had a five-wicket haul. The deadly Griffith lost his wicket to the Windies debutant Franck Worrell. Coming to bat, West Indies openers produced two centuries. One of the openers, Andy Ganteaume, had his debut on the same match.

Frank Worrell (Image-EspnCricinfo)

With two wickets down on board for Windies, Sir Frank Worrell entered. His well crafted 97 off 195 balls helped the Windies to continue the momentum. Although he fell short of three runs to become a centurion on debut he was instrumental to put a mammon Windies total of 497 in the first innings. The second innings saw century from another opener Robertson (133). Ferguson was again destructive to take six wickets in the second innings but Windies could put a decent total of 275 on board. With a target of 141 on day five, West Indies finished the match with 72 for three in 16.2 overs. Interestingly Sir Frank Worrell was the highest scorer in this innings for Windies with 28 runs.

Billy Griffith and Andy Ganteaume became only the second pair of players to score debut centuries in the same test match. Bryan Valentine(136) and Lala Amarnath(118) were there first two to do so in Mumbai in 1933 between the test match of England and India. Ganteaume never played again after this match despite producing a century.

The Legend

Sir Frank Worrell was the part of the famous Windies Three W’s. He became one of those names who lifted the West Indian middle order to an unprecedented high. The combination of Clyde Walcott- Everton Weeks-Frank Worrell was arguably the best middle order in the history of test cricket. They played 29 tests together and Worrell had the best average in those matches compared to the other two. Worrell’s average was 51.97 with Walcott (49.78) and Weekes (47.22) in the second and third positions respectively.

Sir Frank Worrell became the captain of West Indies cricket team prior to the 1961-62 Australia tour. The first test of the five-match series ended in a tie. This was the first ever tied test match in the history of the game. Don Bradman went on to declare it as the “greatest thing that’s ever happened to the game”. It was considered to be the ‘most wonderful cricket tour Australia has known’. The Aussies were so impressed by Sir Frank Worrell that they went on to name the trophy after him. West Indies first won the trophy in 1964-65 and took it home.

Sir Frank Worrell Day

We began the article mentioning how sporting Sir Frank Worrell was. Let’s conclude the article in the same note with the mention of a famous incident. During India’s West Indies tour in 1962, the Indian captain Nari Contractor was hit on the head by the delivery of Charlie Griffith. The skipper needed blood urgently while undergoing an emergency operation. Among the Indians, there was one West Indian who came forward to donate blood and it was none other than Sir Frank Worrell. The Cricket Association of Bengal observes the same day as Frank Worrell Day and organizes a blood donation drive.

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Glenn McGrath – The Birthday Boy

Glenn McGrath - The Birthday Boy

Glenn McGrath is one of the greatest fast bowlers to play the game. His tally of 563 test wickets is easily the highest for any pacers in the longest format of the game. 

In the international stage, Glenn McGrath has 949 wickets which is another record for pacers with Wasim Akram coming second. McGrath also has a wonderful record in the game’s biggest show, World Cup and he is the most successful bowler in the World Cup with 71 wickets from 39 matches with an average of 18.19.

McGrath was born on 9th February 1970 and let us a throwback to some of his greatest spells in international cricket across formats.


Image source – ESPNcricinfo.com

This was one of the strongest Australian team and at that time Perth was widely considered as the fastest pitch in the world. Pakistan with their poor record in Australia was not the favorite. But once they won the toss and sent their opponents in, they did a good job to make then tottering at 78 for 5. But once again Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist combined to build an important performance. Australia finally ended with 381, half of it score by Langer who got out agonizingly close to a double century. Michael Kasprowicz took 5 wickets and helped his team to get a 202 runs lead. Australians were much more attacking in the second innings and after Langer and Ponting were out for 97 and 98, Damien Martyn was successful to reach his century. At that point, Australians declared setting a massive target of 564 in front of the Pakistanis.

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It was always going to be a very difficult task for the Pakistanis but McGrath with his accuracy and control made this ridiculously easy for the Australians. He took first seven wickets of that innings. His first wicket Imran Farhat was leg before missing a ball on off stump line. Out of the next six wickets, three were caught by Gilchrist behind the stump and rest three were caught on slip and gully by Hayden, Warne, and Clarke. He also got Pakistan’s 9th wicket (his 8th) when a tame drive from Shoaib Akhtar Went straight to Darren Lehmann in cover. Pakistan surrendered for a meek 77 allout giving Australia win by 491 runs, then the 4th highest victory margin in tests. McGrath bowled unchanged for 16 overs and ended with an astonishing 8 for 24. This was the second best test bowling analysis in an innings for Australia after Arthur Mailey’s 9 for 121 against England in 1921.

This was McGrath’s second 8-wicket haul in tests. The first one came seven years earlier in Lords against hapless England batting line up. That time it was the best bowling performance by a pacer in Ashes which was later broken by Stuart Broad during his 8 for 15.

One Day Internationals

Image Source – Quora

As we have already mentioned McGrath always saved his best during the world cups. And it is no surprise that two of his best ODI bowling performance came during World Cup matches. During the 1999 World Cup match against West Indies at Old Trafford, Manchester McGrath presented a wonderful display of pace bowling to finish with 5 for 14 in 8.4 overs. The wickets included Brian Lara with whom McGrath had a long-standing battle in various forms in test and one day cricket. McGrath’s five wickets and Warne’s magic spell of 10-4-11-3 restricted Windies to just 110.

The Australia tactic of chasing this paltry total slowly to ensure the West Indies qualifies for the super six in the expanse of New Zealand faced huge criticism from the cricket world. But finally, New Zealand qualified thanks to their big win against Scotland the next day.

One of the biggest mismatches happened during the 2003 World Cup when the new boys Namibia were slotted against the world champion Australia in Potchefstroom. Australia batted first after winning the toss and half-centuries from Hayden, Symonds and Lehmann took them to 301. Namibia would know that this target is out of reach for them against a bowling line up of Glenn McGrath, Lee, Bichel, and Hogg but at least they would hope to give some fight and bat deep into their allocated 50 overs. But with McGrath in the prime form, it was not going to be. He picked up a wicket in the very first wicket and kept picking wickets at regular intervals. He took seven out of the first 8 wickets to fall, 4 of those caught by Gilchrist. His final analysis was 7 for 15, a World Cup record. For Namibia, extras contributed one-third of the total 45. Only the captain Deon Kotze reached double-figure (10) and four out of the rest 10 batsmen were out for a duck.

A Duleep Trophy Master Class By Yusuf Pathan

A Duleep Trophy Master Class By Yusuf Pathan

Yusuf Pathan remained an enigma for Indian cricket fans. Some of his performances in domestic cricket, IPL and in India colours have proved that he can be a world-beater on his days. But there were also many days where he did not click and fall flat. 

Pathan made his senior national team debut in the final of the 2007 T20 World Cup due to an injury of Virender Sehwag. For the next four-five years, India tried him to fit into the coveted all-rounder spot in the team. He scored two ODI hundreds, roughly within a month. The first one against New Zeland helped India to chase a 300 plus target. The second one was scored at Centurion. Chasing 250, Indian top order was blown away by the trio of Steyn, Morkel, and Tsotsobe. Pathan came to bat at 60 for 5 in the 12th over. Pathan Started slowly but India were soon 98 for 7 and at 119 for 8 looked like the end was near. But then With Zaheer Khan for company Pathan found his touch. The duo added 100 runs in less than 13 overs for the 9th wicket with Pathan contributing 79 of 40 balls. This was India’s highest 9th wicket partnership against South Africa.

Pathan has similar performances in IPL too, his 37-ball 100 against MI was the then fastest century in IPL and he was a key performer for IPL wins for the Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders. Pathan was generally considered better suited for limited over games and was not considered to play a test match for India. However, he has 11 first-class centuries playing for Baroda in Ranji Trophy and West Zone in Duleep Trophy. And his most memorable performance came on 6th February 2010.

Yusuf Pathan (Image- Getty Images)

It was the final of Duleep Trophy played in Hyderabad between South Zone and West Zone.

South Zone was lacking their stars like Uthappa and Ashwin. The captain Dinesh Karthik had a young team to work with and he led from the front on day one to take the early initiatives. South ended the first day with 356 for 6 with DK remaining not out at 161. The next morning Karthik went on to score 183 and South were bowled out for 400. The other Pathan, Irfan got a five-wicket haul. Coming out to bat West Zone was in early trouble as C Ganapathy ran through the top order. Yusuf started to counter-attack and despite no support from other end completed his century and ended with a 76-ball 108. The next best score was 27 from Dhawal Kulkarni which helped West to score past 250.

In South Zone’s second innings, Karthik was once again the star and scored another big hundred. His 150 and fellow wicket-keeper CM Gautam’s 88 took South to 386 and when they declared after setting a target of 536 for West Zone, the fate of the match looked sealed. But West Zone batsmen were ready to fight in the second innings. The openers Chirag Pathak and Harshad Khadiwale added 117 followed by another 100 run partnership between Pathak and captain Wasim Jaffar. But they lost their way and at 294 for 5 with only bowlers to chase the target looked out of their reach.

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Once again Yusuf Pathan took a lead. With Brother Irfan, he added 84 where Irfan was the primary contributor. Once Irfan was gone at the score of 378, it was left to Yusuf to finish. He added 105 runs with wicketkeeper Pinal Shah where Shah’s contribution was 16. Pathan kept hitting his shots. When Shah was out the target was just around 50 which Pathan scored in the next 10-11 overs with Ramesh Powar giving him company. In the process, he reached his double century and remained unbeaten on 210 scored on 190 balls. In total, he hit 19 boundaries and 10 massive sixes. West Zone completed one of the least likely chases to win by 3 wickets.

The previous highest first-class chase was 513 for 9 in Sri Lankan domestic cricket. The teams were Central province who completed this against Southern province. But Pathan’s best ever performance ensured that West Zone broke this record. This is also one of the rare incidents when two players from opposing teams scored centuries in both innings of the match.

Spot Fixing ruins the career of young Mohammad Amir

Spot Fixing was brought to highlight

In 2010, the cricket world was astonished by the Spot Fixing revelations by the undercover reporters from ‘News of the World’. Although 5th February 2011 was a key date but to understand the incident we have to go back to August 2010. 

Pakistan were touring England. Salman Butt was the leader and along with Mohammad Yousuf, Azhar Ali, and Akmal brothers would take care of the batting. They had a strong bowling attack led by Mohammad Asif with Riaz, Ajmal, and the young talented Mohammad Amir. Amir burst into the scene in 2009 and by that time had played 13 test matches to get 45 wickets.

It was the fourth test of the series in Lord’s. Pakistan won the toss and elected to field. Most of the first day was wasted due to rain and bad light. On day two, Amir bowled a huge no-ball while bowling the first ball of the third over of the day. Amir had problems with bowling no-balls but this was over the line by such a big margin that both umpires and commentators were surprised. In total Amir bowled 4 No-balls and Asif bowled 2 in that match. England won the match easily by an innings and 225 runs.

Image- Getty Images

The disturbing news started coming a few days later. On 29th August the tabloid ‘News of the World’ broke the story that the no-balls bowled by Amir and Asif were pre-planned and was under the control of captain Salman Butt. It was revealed as a result of a sting operation where their investigations editor Mazhar Mahmood got hold of Mazhar Majeed who was also the manager of Butt and some more players. They captured footage of Majeed taking bribes to ensure that the Pakistani bowlers Amir and Asif would bowl no-balls in specific points of the match. This was considered as a spot-fixing by which the bookies could ensure a huge profit by betting on that particular incident. Before the Lord’s test, Mazhar handed over 140k pounds to Majeed so that he could arrange 3 no balls from Amir and Asif on the particular point of games and Butt was also involved as being a captain he could control his bowlers and bowling changes.

Once the news was out, it created a huge controversy. The entire cricket world was rattled. UK police did a search of players’ rooms and found 2.5K and 1.5K pounds from Butt and Amir’s room. The currency notes were the same which was marked by Mazhar before handing it out to Majeed.

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Both the teams were under shock and on September 2, ICC banned the three players and started proceeding for hearing. It was a long procedure with multiple changes of venues for the hearing. The players kept mentioning their innocence but for the entire cricket world, it was a sad incident. Not only some very talented players wasted their career it all brought back the memories from the match-fixing saga from 10 years back.

Finally, on 5th February 2011, ICC announced their decision. All the players were banned; Butt for 10 years, Asif for 7 years and Amir for 5 years. Even Scotland Yard also did an independent investigation and the players were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments (Spot Fixing) and were sentenced to jail. The period for Butt was 2.5 years, for Asif 1 year and for Amir 6 months. Majeed was handed a sentence of 2 years and 8 months. After spending three months in the Portland Young Offenders Institution, Amir was released.

Amir started playing the local club cricket in Pakistan from 2015. He made a return to international cricket in January 2016 and remained an important member of the Pakistan team since then. Butt and Asif, although played domestic cricket, never get close to a return to the national team.

Sir Hadlee – First Member of the ‘400 Wickets’ Gang

First Member of the ‘400 Wickets’ Gang

Bowlers are always key members in a team and almost always the reason for the victory in test cricket. Whereas the ’90s and 2000s were the era of spinners with Murali, Warne, and Kumble in the top of their form, ’70s and ’80s were the witness of those big mean fast bowlers to rule the test cricket. 

There was obviously the pace battery for West Indies with Marshall, Holding, Roberts, Croft, Garner, and others. There were Lillee and Thomson for Australia, Botham, and Willis for England and even India and Pakistan had Kapil Dev and Imran Khan respectively. And then there was Sir Richard Hadlee from New Zealand.

He tirelessly carried the New Zealand bowling and their hopes for the better part of 16 years. He was instrumental for them in their first test win and first test series win in England. His 9 for 52 in Brisbane also gave them a memorable victory over their neighbours Australia. Richar Hadlee is considered as the greatest proponent with the new ball by many experts. The bowling all round took 431 wickets in his 86 test appearances which was a world record at that time.

Richard Hadlee (Image- Getty Images)

He became the first bowler in the history of test cricket to add 400 wickets to his name with an average of 22.29. His batting stints were modest enough and he scored 3124 test runs at an average of 27.16 with two centuries and 15 fifties. Sir Hadlee is one of the four players to have taken 400 Test wickets and scored over 3,000 runs. He was the first to achieve this feat followed by Kapil Dev, Shaun Pollock, and Shane Warne. He is considered to be one of the finest four all-rounders of all time, the other being Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham. Hadlee had the best bowling average of these four.

Sir Hadlee has the third most five and ten-wicket hauls in test cricket in the list of fast bowlers. The toppers are Muralitharan and Shane Warne. He played 43 Tests and took 201 wickets at an average of 22.96 in the home. But his records are better for away matches as he took 230 wickets at an average of 21.72 in 43 Tests. In overseas games, he took 21 five-wicket hauls, the most by any fast bowler with only Muttiah Muralitharan leading with 22.

400th wicket

Hadlee debuted in test in 1973. But he was an inconsistent performer for several years. He couldn’t prove himself at test level until he got the first breakthrough against India in 1976. He took 11 wickets to seal the win for his side along with his position in the team.

Hadlee’s 400 wicket feat was also achieved against India. In a home series against India in 1989-90 New Zealand was playing the first test at Hadlee’s home ground I Christchurch. A group of old boys from his school was chanting his school song. O the third day, February 4, 1990, he dismissed Sanjay Manjrekar in the second innings and became the first test bowler to take 400 wickets by dismissing in the history of test cricket. He took seven wickets in the match and Danny Morrison took six. John Wright took nine long hours to craft 185 that eventually gave New Zealand a comfortable ten-wicket victory.

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Sir Hadlee stands as the second fastest test bowler to reach 400 wickets milestone. Muttiah Muralitharan is ahead of him as he took 72 test matches to take 400 wickets and Hadlee took 80 matches. The other three in the top five list are the joint holder of the second position with Hadlee, Dale Steyn (80th match v Bangladesh), Herath (84th match v Pakistan) and Anil Kumble (85th match v Australia). Interestingly only two closest contemporaries of Haldee in the list are Courtney Walsh at 13th rank (107th match v Australia) and 14th rank (115th match v Australia).