September 19, 2011

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
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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.

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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ListenToMe on September 21, 2011, 8:07 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.

  • HellDiver on September 20, 2011, 22:10 GMT

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

  • Jonathan_E on September 20, 2011, 12:34 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...

  • on September 20, 2011, 11:44 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.

  • on September 20, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    @BoonBoom-- totally agreed....hahahha

  • chandau on September 20, 2011, 4:21 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 :)

  • on September 19, 2011, 20:41 GMT

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

  • on September 19, 2011, 20:11 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

  • on September 19, 2011, 19:51 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.

  • BoonBoom on September 19, 2011, 19:38 GMT

    LOL...as 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.

  • ListenToMe on September 21, 2011, 8:07 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.

  • HellDiver on September 20, 2011, 22:10 GMT

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

  • Jonathan_E on September 20, 2011, 12:34 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...

  • on September 20, 2011, 11:44 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.

  • on September 20, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    @BoonBoom-- totally agreed....hahahha

  • chandau on September 20, 2011, 4:21 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 :)

  • on September 19, 2011, 20:41 GMT

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

  • on September 19, 2011, 20:11 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

  • on September 19, 2011, 19:51 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.

  • BoonBoom on September 19, 2011, 19:38 GMT

    LOL...as 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.

  • amin.bintory on September 19, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    Where is Nasser Hussain? He deserves to be here easily.

  • shenoyragh on September 19, 2011, 17:46 GMT

    Guess Mohammed Azharuddin should have made it to the list.

  • cricketSB on September 19, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    @ Balarka Hajra - Sourav Ganguly scored a duck in his last innings (although he scored a 50 earlier in the same test). Azharuddin should have been on this list.

  • NALINWIJ on September 19, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    Murali"s 800th wicket off his last bowl in test was the ultimate classic achievement. Dizzy"s 201 is an achievement that even Dizzy could not have dreamed of.Will Sachin retire when he gets the 100th hundred??

  • on September 19, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    Where did Saurav Ganguly go ??

  • Charindra on September 19, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Oh Murali... On the scales of drama and personal achievement, I don't think anybody will better that. Long live the King of Spin :)

  • aisaacsbe on September 19, 2011, 8:35 GMT

    What about Nasser Hussain's test exit. Last innings, an unbeaten 100 to see England to victory at Lord's, finished off with a glorious cover drive. And he left at the top with great dignity.

  • on September 19, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Why drag Sachin every now and then? He can still play better than many in the Indian team. Just because he is on the wrong side of the 30s does not mean he should retire. If he plays good, he should play till eternity.

  • on September 19, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    The article was "Players who went out on a high". It is about players who might not have very great career stats but ended up with a high note.

  • on September 19, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    unfortunately, you can only fit so many people into an XI

  • on September 19, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    You missed Glenn McGrath's last ball in test cricket

  • on September 19, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    Didn't Gladstone Small take a wicket with his last ball in LOIs (as Hadlee did in tests?)

    Is there a list of wickets with last balls in the international formats anywhere?

  • on September 19, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    You have missed Azharuddin as well...What an innings it was against SA

  • Truemans_Ghost on September 19, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    Murali adopted Ian Botham's script writer..... Dizzy's is the best tale of the lot though

  • Aashish_goyal on September 19, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    @Roamer..dont worry dude even if Sachin is playing for his own records still they go to Indian team also...Most Test runs in last 2 years not only for India but all over world..Just think about what you say about such a Legend..personal records???

  • Roamer on September 19, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    Sachin, Are you reading this?!?! .... you have missed a golden opportunity to retire after winning the worldcup, I believe at that time you had achieved almost everything possible (Indian team World #1 in test rankings and odi world champions) what else you would have wanted if your intention was to play for your country but I guess your hunger for personal records has kept you going and you are still looking for your centruy of centuries. but I think its always best to leave on a high !!!

  • on September 19, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    cmon rohit and apurv, there are so many other performances that have been left out, Steve waugh's last test, saeed anwar scored a hundred in his last completed innings. I agree though that Gavaskars innings on a minefield shouldve been on the list because it was a great game of cricket.

  • on September 19, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    Richard Hadlee got 8 wickets in his final test, including 5 in the second innings and a wicket with his final ball. NZ, however lost the match to England.

  • on September 19, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    And Steve Waugh's match saving 80 against India?

  • on September 19, 2011, 4:53 GMT

    ganguly made 88 in his last test .... desmond hanyes 100 in his last ODI innings ....

  • on September 19, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    @Apurv Patel When Gavaskar scored 96 in his last test, India lost that match, so it wasnt that memorable and neither was that his highest score.

  • on September 19, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    One serious miss here is of Steve Waugh's match saving (in fact series saving) 80 at Sydney against India.

  • RohithShenoy on September 19, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Has the author of this article forgotten about Mohammed Azharuddin? He scored 102 vs South Africa in Bangalore in what was his last test match.

  • on September 19, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    You missed out Sunil Gavaskar, he scored 96 on a last day pitch in banglore 1987, when next highest score in the match was 50 by Vengsarkar.

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  • on September 19, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    You missed out Sunil Gavaskar, he scored 96 on a last day pitch in banglore 1987, when next highest score in the match was 50 by Vengsarkar.

  • RohithShenoy on September 19, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Has the author of this article forgotten about Mohammed Azharuddin? He scored 102 vs South Africa in Bangalore in what was his last test match.

  • on September 19, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    One serious miss here is of Steve Waugh's match saving (in fact series saving) 80 at Sydney against India.

  • on September 19, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    @Apurv Patel When Gavaskar scored 96 in his last test, India lost that match, so it wasnt that memorable and neither was that his highest score.

  • on September 19, 2011, 4:53 GMT

    ganguly made 88 in his last test .... desmond hanyes 100 in his last ODI innings ....

  • on September 19, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    And Steve Waugh's match saving 80 against India?

  • on September 19, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    Richard Hadlee got 8 wickets in his final test, including 5 in the second innings and a wicket with his final ball. NZ, however lost the match to England.

  • on September 19, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    cmon rohit and apurv, there are so many other performances that have been left out, Steve waugh's last test, saeed anwar scored a hundred in his last completed innings. I agree though that Gavaskars innings on a minefield shouldve been on the list because it was a great game of cricket.

  • Roamer on September 19, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    Sachin, Are you reading this?!?! .... you have missed a golden opportunity to retire after winning the worldcup, I believe at that time you had achieved almost everything possible (Indian team World #1 in test rankings and odi world champions) what else you would have wanted if your intention was to play for your country but I guess your hunger for personal records has kept you going and you are still looking for your centruy of centuries. but I think its always best to leave on a high !!!

  • Aashish_goyal on September 19, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    @Roamer..dont worry dude even if Sachin is playing for his own records still they go to Indian team also...Most Test runs in last 2 years not only for India but all over world..Just think about what you say about such a Legend..personal records???