Something to remember me by

Rahul Dravid made a fifty in his final ODI last week. We take a look at players who lit up their final matches

Steven Lynch

September 19, 2011

Comments: 34 | Text size: A | A

Seymour Nurse flicks, May 1, 1966
Seymour Nurse: refused to stay on even after scoring a career-best 258 in his last innings © Getty Images

Imran Khan
It doesn't get much better than leading your country to World Cup victory in your final match - and that's what Imran managed, in front of a huge crowd on a steamy Melbourne evening in March 1992. Just to put the icing on a very large cake he took England's final wicket to seal the triumph - and had earlier top-scored with a responsible 72 when Pakistan batted. The others whose final international match was a World Cup final victory were Rohan Kanhai for West Indies in 1975, and the Australians Paul Reiffel (1999) and Glenn McGrath (2007).

Muttiah Muralitharan
It was one of the great soap operas of 2010: Murali went into what he vowed would be his final Test match, against India in Galle in July, needing eight wickets to reach 800 in Tests. It looked as if he'd have no problems when he took 5 for 63 in the first innings, but wickets proved harder to come by in the second, and he had managed only two by the time India's last pair came together. After an incredibly tense period - during which Murali himself narrowly missed a run-out - the final wicket finally came, appropriately enough caught by Mahela Jayawardene, his 77th catch off Murali in Tests (another record). Sri Lanka soon knocked off the 95 runs they needed to take the lead in the series, and Murali could have a rest at last, with 800 Test wickets to his name.

Seymour Nurse
The big Barbadian Nurse had already decided to retire after West Indies' 1968-69 tour of Australasia, and was as good as his word despite being in the form of his life: he started his final series, in New Zealand, with 95 and 168 in Auckland (the hundred coming as West Indies chased down a lofty 345 to win), and bowed out with a career-best 258 in the third Test, in Christchurch, with what Wisden called "a magnificent display of aggressive but responsible batting". Nurse refused all blandishments to continue, though a tour of England was only a few months away.

Bill Ponsford
If Don Bradman hadn't come along, Ponsford, his fellow Australian, might now be remembered as the greatest batsman of all: two quadruple-centuries helped him maintain a first-class average of 65. Ponsford started his Test career with a century, against England in Sydney in 1924-25, and signed off with 266 - his highest Test score - at The Oval in 1934, when he shared a partnership of 451 (a world record at the time) with Bradman, who made 244. Australia totalled 701, and won by the small matter of 562 runs.

Andy Sandham
Surrey batsman Sandham was the first to score a triple-century in a Test, with 325 against West Indies in Kingston in April 1930. But it was his final Test: he was already 39, and could not displace the regular opening pair of Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe when the Ashes series started at Trent Bridge three months later. And Sandham's new Test record only lasted until July, when that man Don Bradman scored 334 at Headingley.

Jason Gillespie
Fast bowler Gillespie was dropped during the epic 2005 Ashes series, so he probably knew he was on borrowed time when recalled for Australia's tour of Bangladesh early the following year. In the second Test he went in as a night-watchman at the end of the first day... and, helped by rain, was still batting on the fourth. After reaching a maiden Test century he extended his score to a barely credible 201 before Ricky Ponting declared. Gillespie never played another Test, but it was quite a way to go. He still signs his autographs "Dizzy 201".

Andy Caddick
The Somerset fast bowler Caddick had a ten-year international career, in which he attracted a surprising amount of criticism, considering that he finished with 234 Test wickets. Ten of those came in his last match, in Sydney in January 2003: with Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath absent with injuries, England walloped Australia by 225 runs. The bad news was that, given England's habitual poor form Down Under in those days, that only made the final scoreline 1-4. Seven for 94 in the second innings was the final scoreline for Caddick, too: a back problem kept him out for the rest of the year. He carried on in county cricket until 2009.

Clarrie Grimmett
The tiny legspinner Grimmett bowed out of Test cricket with an astonishing haul of 44 wickets in what turned out to be his final series, Australia's tour of South Africa in 1935-36. By then he was 44 - his age was the main reason offered when he was overlooked for the following year's Ashes series, Don Bradman's first as captain - but he had showed no sign of decline in South Africa, taking 10 wickets in both the third and fourth Tests before signing off with 7 for 100 and 6 for 73 in the final one, in Durban.

Andy Caddick celebrates the wicket of Ricky Ponting, Australia v England, 5th Test, SCG, 2nd day, January 3, 2003
Andrew Caddick took a seven-for in his last Test innings © Getty Images

Anthony Stuart
Usually taking a hat-trick is a sign you have arrived in international cricket. At the very least it usually guarantees you a few more caps... but Stuart, a wiry pace bowler from New South Wales, took a hat-trick against Pakistan in Melbourne in his third one-day international in January 1997, and never played for Australia again. The game was the last one in the qualifying round, and since the Aussies, unusually, missed out on the finals of their tri-series that year, it was a while before they played again, by which time Stuart was out of form.

Hugh Trumble
Tall and distinguished - he later became secretary of the Melbourne Cricket Club - Trumble ended a fine career by bowling Australia to victory in the final Test of the 1903-04 Ashes series, although England had already won the rubber. In the final innings at the MCG Trumble took 7 for 28, including a hat-trick just before taking the final wicket to end the match.

Greg Chappell
Like Ponsford before him, Chappell started and finished his Test career with a century. His farewell - which coincided with the Test retirement of two other great Aussie stalwarts, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh - came against Pakistan in Sydney in 1983-84. Chappell, always one of the most elegant of batsmen, made sure he savoured every moment of his final Test, batting for almost nine hours; during his innings he became Australia's leading Test run-scorer at the time, passing Don Bradman's 6996. Wisden paid due tribute: "Chappell's 182 just about summed up his career; it contained his full array of strokes, most notably his inimitable on-drive."

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2011.

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Posted by ListenToMe on (September 21, 2011, 9:07 GMT)

@BoonBoom, why are you making such nonsense comments? How many Indians have complained about this list? If there is any, you can see more than that who ask for other country's players to be added as well. If you are frustrated about the Indian hold in cricket, go 10 years back to see how the Indians got frustrated about Aus and ICC. We were at the receiving end always. For sledging, excess appealing and a hell lot of reasons, our players got banned or penalized always while the AUS players, SA players and all others just got a warning as max. The Asians were always punished. Do you remember when 6 of Indian players got banned for excess appealing in a test match against SA. I was so much frustrated seeing the partiality of the umpires and ICC.

Posted by HellDiver on (September 20, 2011, 23:10 GMT)

What about Sidney Barnes? Didn't he take a small matter of 49 wickets in his last test series?

Posted by Jonathan_E on (September 20, 2011, 13:34 GMT)

Let us not forget that Muralitharan has, in fact, only 793 real Test wickets. The remaining 7 came in the "Australia vs. ICC World XI" match - which is, no matter who else says what, no more a Test match than the matches played by the "Rest Of The World XI" in the 1970s, and will surely one day be removed from the records.

Murali ought to just make sure of his 800 by coming out of retirement for however many matches it takes him to get seven MORE wickets...

Posted by   on (September 20, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

Completely agree with @catch_amin and @aisaacsbe, Nasser Hussain has to be included in this list. A ton at Lord's to win the game against New Zealand also making up for running out Strauss on debut meaning he missed out on tons in both innings. Stepped aside realising his time was up, not wanting to stand in the way of a clearly-talented Strauss with Vaughan coming back from injury, the perfect finale to the career of England's most valued servants.

Posted by   on (September 20, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

@BoonBoom-- totally agreed....hahahha

Posted by chandau on (September 20, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

Of the lot MURALI stands out simply becoz of the magical figure 800!!! Just imagine it peeps, if he failed to get that last wicket 799 would still be a world record BUT now 800 stands out like the 400 scored by Lara (as even 399 would be a record but then 400 is something else). And that wicket to be the last available made it more interesting especially considering the fact that in one test Murali missed getting all 10 wickets (forgot the team but i guess it was in Kandy) when Vass took the last wicket. There were so many possibilities, last man may get run out or even India may declare ! Murali could not go back on his word and play another test just to get the 800th wicket so.... What a man whaat a maan :)

Posted by   on (September 19, 2011, 21:41 GMT)

Hadlee? Made a sir in his last game. Scored 80 odd took a wicket with his last ball. Not bad.

Posted by   on (September 19, 2011, 21:11 GMT)

Nasser Hussain may not make the list because of his other achievement in that match - running out Andrew Strauss who was all set to complete a century in each innings on debut, and at Lord's! After a howler like that, a century was the least Naz owed by way of amends. :D

Posted by   on (September 19, 2011, 20:51 GMT)

And where is Shaun Pollock? The man finishes with a great test at Kingsmead, and an unforgetable one day series being cheered and loved in all 5 matches played, carried of on his team mates shoulders.

Posted by BoonBoom on (September 19, 2011, 20:38 GMT) expected indians have started complaining why no Indians in the list?? Steve...I have told you number of times that no list must be considered completed unless you have at least 50% Indian cricketers included in your list/Cricinfo XI.... you must keep the 'business need' in mind and keep the audiance happy while you make the selection. I know you wont print my comments but I am 100% sure you will agree with me.

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Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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