October 22, 2012

You gave us such a start

Players who defined a series by the way they began it
  shares 49

Saeed Ajmal
Top-ranked England were arguably favourites going into the series against Pakistan in the UAE earlier this year... but Ajmal soon changed that. In the first innings of the first Test in Dubai he took 7 for 55, mesmerising the batsmen with a crafty mixture of offbreaks and doosras. He took three more in the second innings, and finished the series with 24 wickets at 14.70, as Pakistan completed a devastating 3-0 clean sweep.

Ian Botham
It was memorably claimed in the build-up to the 1986-87 Ashes series that there were only three things the England tourists couldn't do: bat, bowl or field (and this was from an English journalist!). But that forecast proved to be rather wide of the mark, as England made 456 in the first innings of the series in Brisbane, the highlight a rollicking 138 from Botham, who slammed 13 fours and four sixes, and took 22 off one over from the young Merv Hughes. England never looked back, and secured the Ashes with an innings victory in Melbourne.

Richard Hadlee
New Zealand had never won a Test in Australia before their 1985-86 tour - but a one-man demolition job set up a crushing victory in the first match in Brisbane. Hadlee took 9 for 52, and caught the other one. New Zealand replied with 553, Martin Crowe scoring 188, and went on to win by an innings. Hadlee was in irresistible form in the series, which New Zealand eventually won 2-1, taking 33 wickets: only George Lohmann, with 35 on the mats in South Africa in 1895-96, had taken more in a three-Test rubber.

Don Bradman
The great Bradman was undecided about returning to Test cricket after the Second World War: he was 38 by the time of the 1946-47 Ashes, and hadn't been in the greatest of health. He decided to play... and made 187 in the first Test in Brisbane. Australia won that one, went on to take the series 3-0, and the Don was encouraged to take charge of what is remembered as the "Invincibles" tour of England in 1948. History might have been very different, though, had Bradman been given out early on, after making his way unconvincingly to 28: all the England players were convinced he'd given a catch to slip, but Bradman (and, crucially, the umpire) thought it was a bump ball. "A fine bloody way to start a Test series," observed England's captain Wally Hammond to Bradman shortly after the incident.

Viv Richards
The England captain Tony Greig's ill-advised threat to make the West Indies "grovel" was shoved down his throat at the earliest opportunity in 1976, when Richards stroked a superb 232 in the first Test at Trent Bridge. England's bowlers did a fair bit of grovelling over the rest of that five-match series, which West Indies romped 3-0: Richards, who also made 291 at The Oval, piled up 829 runs, even though he missed one match through illness.

Abdul Qadir
England started the 1987-88 series in Pakistan in upbeat mode: they'd just reached the World Cup final, losing out to Australia in a tight finish. But they were soon on the back foot in Lahore, where Qadir took 9 for 56 in the first innings. He took four more as England were shot out again for 130: Pakistan won by an innings, and sat on their lead for the rest of a series bedevilled by umpiring controversies. The famous spat between Mike Gatting and Shakoor Rana happened in the second Test, but many felt that Qadir - who finished the three-match series with 30 wickets - had been helped by some compliant officiating too.

Greg Chappell
Chappell faced a tough task in taking over the Australian captaincy from his brother Ian (who remained in the side) for the home series against West Indies in 1975-76. But he made a superb 123 in the first innings in Brisbane, and an unbeaten 109, to take his side to victory in the second. "It was as well as I ever batted in my career," he said. West Indies were on the verge of becoming the world's leading side - but Chappell led Australia to a 5-1 victory in that series.

Virender Sehwag
Series between India and Pakistan always have a special edge. India started the 2003-04 rubber in Pakistan never having won a Test there, in 49 years of trying: but Sehwag changed all that, with a rocket-powered innings of 309, India's first triple-century. He hit six sixes in all, including the strokes that took him past 100 and 300. His assault - and his stand of 336 with Sachin Tendulkar - set up an innings victory to kick off a series India eventually won 2-1. Sehwag's second triple-century, 319 against South Africa in 2007-08, also came in the first Test of a series.

Chris Gayle
After being ditched as captain for West Indies' tour of Sri Lanka late in 2010, Gayle could have taken it easy - especially as he'd recently said he "wouldn't be so sad" if Test cricket died and T20 cricket (which he's also quite handy at) took over. But you wouldn't have guessed from Gayle in Galle: he put his head down for nearly 11 hours for 333 (breaking out occasionally to smack nine sixes), his second Test triple-century. That series was drawn 0-0, a triumph of sorts for West Indies against the home side's phalanx of spinners. However, thanks to a bitter dispute with his board, Gayle played no more Tests for 19 months, but he returned recently to show he was still reasonably keen on the five-day game by battering New Zealand for 150 (and 64 not out) in Antigua.

Graeme Smith
Going in to the 2003 series in England, South Africa's young captain Smith - he was only 22 back then - was being perceived as a weak link, with some predicting that his batting style wouldn't work in English conditions. People had said that about Don Bradman too: and like the Don in 1930, Smith soon shut the critics up, scoring 277 (a national record at the time) in the first Test, and after making 85 in the second innings at Edgbaston, broke Bradman's record for a visiting batsman at Lord's with 259 in the second Test. It established Smith as captain for a decade in which he inflicted much pain on successive England captains, even if that particular series somehow ended up in a 2-2 draw.

Steve Harmison
And finally, an example of how not to make a statement of intent... few could recall as much hype and hullaballoo as surrounded the build-up to the 2006-07 Ashes series Down Under, the first one after the epic 2005 encounter in England. Harmison loped in to bowl the first ball in Brisbane... and it bobbled away straight to second slip. It was as if someone had let the air out of a balloon. England went from bad to worse, eventually suffering only the second 5-0 whitewash in Ashes history. In Harmison's defence, a couple of years previously he had started the tour of the Caribbean - where England won 3-0 - with a devastating 7 for 12 as West Indies imploded for 47 in the first Test in Jamaica.

*1750 GMT, October 22, 2012: The caption incorrectly mentioned 30 wickets for Saeed Ajmal

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kickassPakistan on October 25, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    can't remember a series being dominated by one individual more than the pakistan india series of 82/83 where imran khan truly decimated india with his swing bowling. he took around 42 wickets in six tests and scored quite a few runs.it was total dominance apart from the class of gavaskar and amarnath they could not play imran at all.

  • FRRR on October 24, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    Ajmal is one of the greatest bowler the game has seen. Mystery spin will be tagged with Ajmal. He has perfected this art.

  • __PK on October 23, 2012, 21:21 GMT

    Mike Leach - didn't England lose the 05 Lords Test? Hardly a game-definining ball, let alone a series-defining one, then. I would have thought there would have been at least one player from the Gabba Test of the 2002/03 Ashes, of which Australia won the first four tests. Hayden's 197 (followed by another ton in the second innings), Ponting's 123, but probably the most significant was Nasser Hussain's winning the toss and sending Australia in, to see them rack up 2/364 by the end of Day 1.

  • on October 23, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    Another Harmison example I would add would be his 7 for 12 in the 1st Test in West Indies in 2003-4, it set the tone for the England pacemen to set up a historic 3-0 series win in the Caribbean.

  • on October 23, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Two Pakistani Spinners great ...!

  • on October 23, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    Others have got here before me, but I do think that if Harmison is to figure in the list both his series-defining deliveries should be mentioned - Lord's '05 as well as Brisbane '06. I realise (unlike some) that you only have eleven places available - but one I'd like to nominate would be Conrad Hunte's 182 at Old Trafford in 1963, which signalled that WI were there to play businesslike cricket and win the series, and not just be fun-filled Caribbean entertainers.

  • crram on October 23, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    What about Dilip Vengsarkar in 1986 series against England in England and also he repeated the same against SL in India later.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on October 23, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    How about the greatest trendsetter of them all......'Pigeon' Glenn Mcgrath, who set the ball rolling before a series as far as some 'verbal disintegration' is concerned for his Invincibles Aus team waiting for their next prey .Incidentally the spearhead of the Aus attack didn't need to wait for the actual game to start but already demoralize a wary opponent with his famous predictions of a series whitewash for Aus. Unsurprisingly ,he has had a very high success rate with his predictions as well - not that there was any doubt as to the possible result anyways.The Poms would certainly be waking up in cold sweat even today with memories of the eerily but sickening regularity with which they faced the ultimate ignominy of a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of the Aussies.Not that it needed Mcgrath or anybody else for that matter to 'predict' the sickeningly obvious.......

  • analyseabhishek on October 23, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    Many people think Ganguly's 144 in Brisbane in the 2003-04 series deserved to be in the list. However, India only drew the series, not win it. As for Hashim Amla aaints England this year, the tone was set by Graeme Smith yet again- Amla simply followed it up with an epic innings. But yes, Azhar's 182 was absolutely unexpected and set the tone for the resurgence of Indian batting which was toiling away in test matches abroad till that time.

  • on October 23, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    If this list doesn't feature Hashim Amla's 311 in England 2012 & Sourav Ganguly's 144 in Brisbane against Steve Waugh's unstoppable Aussies in 2003, its not worth looking at!

  • kickassPakistan on October 25, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    can't remember a series being dominated by one individual more than the pakistan india series of 82/83 where imran khan truly decimated india with his swing bowling. he took around 42 wickets in six tests and scored quite a few runs.it was total dominance apart from the class of gavaskar and amarnath they could not play imran at all.

  • FRRR on October 24, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    Ajmal is one of the greatest bowler the game has seen. Mystery spin will be tagged with Ajmal. He has perfected this art.

  • __PK on October 23, 2012, 21:21 GMT

    Mike Leach - didn't England lose the 05 Lords Test? Hardly a game-definining ball, let alone a series-defining one, then. I would have thought there would have been at least one player from the Gabba Test of the 2002/03 Ashes, of which Australia won the first four tests. Hayden's 197 (followed by another ton in the second innings), Ponting's 123, but probably the most significant was Nasser Hussain's winning the toss and sending Australia in, to see them rack up 2/364 by the end of Day 1.

  • on October 23, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    Another Harmison example I would add would be his 7 for 12 in the 1st Test in West Indies in 2003-4, it set the tone for the England pacemen to set up a historic 3-0 series win in the Caribbean.

  • on October 23, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Two Pakistani Spinners great ...!

  • on October 23, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    Others have got here before me, but I do think that if Harmison is to figure in the list both his series-defining deliveries should be mentioned - Lord's '05 as well as Brisbane '06. I realise (unlike some) that you only have eleven places available - but one I'd like to nominate would be Conrad Hunte's 182 at Old Trafford in 1963, which signalled that WI were there to play businesslike cricket and win the series, and not just be fun-filled Caribbean entertainers.

  • crram on October 23, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    What about Dilip Vengsarkar in 1986 series against England in England and also he repeated the same against SL in India later.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on October 23, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    How about the greatest trendsetter of them all......'Pigeon' Glenn Mcgrath, who set the ball rolling before a series as far as some 'verbal disintegration' is concerned for his Invincibles Aus team waiting for their next prey .Incidentally the spearhead of the Aus attack didn't need to wait for the actual game to start but already demoralize a wary opponent with his famous predictions of a series whitewash for Aus. Unsurprisingly ,he has had a very high success rate with his predictions as well - not that there was any doubt as to the possible result anyways.The Poms would certainly be waking up in cold sweat even today with memories of the eerily but sickening regularity with which they faced the ultimate ignominy of a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of the Aussies.Not that it needed Mcgrath or anybody else for that matter to 'predict' the sickeningly obvious.......

  • analyseabhishek on October 23, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    Many people think Ganguly's 144 in Brisbane in the 2003-04 series deserved to be in the list. However, India only drew the series, not win it. As for Hashim Amla aaints England this year, the tone was set by Graeme Smith yet again- Amla simply followed it up with an epic innings. But yes, Azhar's 182 was absolutely unexpected and set the tone for the resurgence of Indian batting which was toiling away in test matches abroad till that time.

  • on October 23, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    If this list doesn't feature Hashim Amla's 311 in England 2012 & Sourav Ganguly's 144 in Brisbane against Steve Waugh's unstoppable Aussies in 2003, its not worth looking at!

  • Tomwm on October 23, 2012, 2:00 GMT

    Gary Sobers Brisbane 1960/61. Richie Benaud called his first innings 132 one of the greatest ever played. That series was also regarded as one of the greatest series ever played.

  • johnathonjosephs on October 22, 2012, 23:36 GMT

    Chris Gayle's triple was superb, but the series was marred by severed raining and I don't think a single Test was rain free. If memory serves me right, the 2nd and 3rd test were complete washouts (not even a day's play). Would have liked to see some Sri Lankan and more South African names here (Murali, Sangakkara, or Steyn, Sri Alan Donald?)

  • chicko1983 on October 22, 2012, 21:49 GMT

    Id like to nominate Glen McGrath match figures of 10/27 in the first test of the 2000 Frank Worrell Trophy, which Aussies went on to win 5-0 whitewash.

  • anilkp on October 22, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    Hi Steven, how about Cook's double ton in the first Test in the last Ashes at the Gabba? Will it qualify, as it was the third innings of the match? I guess that was a huge innings that set the tone for the series. And, for those SRT/RSD fans, I am sorry to remind you all that neither Sachin nor Dravid ever played any "trend-setting innings" for a series. If at all anything, I would rather cite Ganguly's "captain's innings" at Gabba in 2003 that set the 'we-can-win' tempo in the Indian team and won India accolades (even as he contributed little thereafter).

  • on October 22, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    hw can this not include ganguly's knock in the 2003 ind-aus series in australia...his hundred set the tone for the series which india almost won at sydney n prevented steve waugh a perfect swansong

  • BoonBoom on October 22, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    no tendulkar? no dravid? and no Laxman......do you want to visit India in the future, if yes then ad at least 50% indians in nthe list.............. and yes, pls do publish these comments.

  • muski on October 22, 2012, 17:35 GMT

    What about our Original Little master? Out of his 8 Innings in his first series in International Test Cricket, you had 1 double hundred, 3 hundreds and 3 fifties- was that not a good enough qualification to be included in this list. India won that series too!!!!

  • jackiethepen on October 22, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    Harmison in 2006. He had a bad first ball but his bowling didn't get worse but a whole lot better. His mate Fred Flintoff was a terrible captain and the side was hit by injuries to Vaughan and Tresco. The Test side was badly managed and led.

  • kash2011 on October 22, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    how can you miss ganguly's 141 in brisbane???

  • shyamsunder1045 on October 22, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    wat about punters 196 at the gabba which set up the ashes..........it was a innings of a man on a mission that side was the best in history of test cricket

  • ChampionX on October 22, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    CORRECTION: Please correct your caption of top right Image "Saeed Ajmal: 30 wickets in three Tests against England in the UAE © Getty Images" its 24 not 30. thankx

  • on October 22, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    Not sure if it would technically qualify as an official tournament, but Brendom Mcculum's start to the inaugural IPL pretty much defined not only the tournament but also the way franchise cricket would be played in the future.

  • siddharth_r2001 on October 22, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    How can you not include Mohammad Azharuddin's 182 vs England in the 1st Test at Calcutta in 1992-93? He was under fire for India's dismal performance until then (though all in overseas tests), and his captaincy was on the line - he was initially appointed captain for only the first test, as against the whole 3-test series. His innings of 182 set the tone for England's 3-0 whitewash that was to follow!

  • rahulcricket007 on October 22, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    SIR , WHAT ABOUT HASHIM AMLA'S TRIPLE TON AGAINST ENGLAND IN FIRST TEST RECENTLY WHICH SET THE TONE FOR SERIES .

  • INDIA_DO_ONE on October 22, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    @chancricfan - care to guess where Wasim Akram scored his maiden double century???

  • stormy16 on October 22, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    Interesting read surely Warnes ball of the century was a worthy inclusion. I found it poor to refer Abdul Qadir's 30 wickets being aided by poor umpiring. Surely this was based on what a few English players and journalists said and not on facts - like proper replays etc. I think there was too much of 'Pakistan' umpires being bad thrown around. We now know even the best umpires make horrible mistakes regardless of where they come from.

  • Trapper439 on October 22, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    Great that you included Hadlee's destruction of Australia in 85/86 in this list.

    I remember that I was playing cricket that day myself in the U15's. My team had a bad day with the bat, but all the while I was itching to get home and see how Australia was doing vs New Zealand. Got home, saw that Hadlee had abolutely obliterated us by taking 9/52. That man was such a magnificent bowler. The statistics don't do him justice. At his best Hadlee was almost unplayable. Swung it both ways with movement off the seam. 431 wickets in 86 Tests, and if anything he's underrated as a bowler.

  • on October 22, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    What about Amlas innings recently

  • on October 22, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    I've noticed how so many great cricket stories are about performances in test matches...not ODIs or T20. Speaking of Harmison, I think his bouncer to Justing Langer in the 2005 Ashes set the tone for the series.

  • on October 22, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    How can you forget Saurav Ganguly's inings of 144 in first Test agaibst Australia in Australia?? with the kind of form Ganguly used t have..that knock was very very significant for the confidence of the Team

  • jazzaaaaaaaa on October 22, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    What about Shane Warne in the 1993 Ashes with the ball of the century, set the tone for not only the series but for over a decade of Ashes series.

  • Jonathan_E on October 22, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    I'd have gone for Gooch's 333 in the first innings of the 1990 series against India... especially since he carried on with another century in the match, another to start the second match, and a pair of important 80s in the third match.

    His 154* to begin the home series against the Windies in 1991 was also quite the statement of intent, too, although he scored no more centuries that series (but a few useful fifties)

  • Yagga175 on October 22, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Not too many bowlers here: I think one has to include Brisbane 74/75 when Thommo cleaned up England with 6/46 in the second innings of the series opener. It set the tone for a series which saw England mentally shattered and physically battered by relentless short-pitched pace bowling as well as undermined by the inability of their top six (40 year old replacement MC Cowdrey honourably excepted) to move into line behind the ball. It also saw Dennis Amiss (at that stage coming off a stellar year) reduced to impotence and introduced Tony Greig to the infamous sandshoe crusher. Thommo took a further 27 wickets in the series (33 in total at 17.93) and established himself as one of the fastest amd most lethal fast bowlers in the history of the game.

  • analyseabhishek on October 22, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    @cnksnk- And Cricinfo says it happened precisely on the same day in 1983, 22nd October! Marhsall went on to take 33 wickets and WI won 3-0 in a 'revenge' series post 1983 WC- so he surely deserved to be on this list!

  • on October 22, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    Surely Harmison should be included as the man who signalled England's statement of intent in the 2005 Ashes. He battered Justin Langer and drew blood from Ponting. Despite losing that Test, it showed England's desire to attack which was the true definition of that series, be it the aggression from the pace bowlers, Trescothick attacking Warne, Pietersen and Flintoff going after the Australian bowlers etc.

  • chancricfan on October 22, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    And then the Captains knock of Sourav Ganguly (144) down under, who else gave a tough fight to the Australians at their helm?

  • ravikb on October 22, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    @Udendra,Why? Just because it had come against your team?

  • on October 22, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    But even then I believe MoYo's heroics in 2006 home series vs WI should've been here as he helped Pakistan whitewashing the WI with a PK record for most runs in a 3 test series. He is clearly an underrated modern wonder!

  • on October 22, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    I wonder where are Mohammad Yousuf's heroics of 2006 England Tour down under are? The only reason I could think off is depite his heroics, Pakistan failed to win the series!

  • Romanticstud on October 22, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    What about Hashim Amla 311 in England when England looked to have the measure of SA on day 1 ...

  • on October 22, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    I don't think Gayle's innings/series fits in this article. There are much more appropriate scenarios in that case.

  • chancricfan on October 22, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    Where is KPs 200 at lords that started the Indian slide from 1-4? That set up the tone of the series and the result is even bigger 4-0.

  • kirands on October 22, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    I can never forget the way Mohammad Azharuddin paved the way for India's 3-0 cleansweep victory over England in India in 1993. India won the toss in the first Test in Calcutta, and Tendulkar with 50 was the second highest scorer ---- behind Azharuddin who scored a magnificent 182, thrashing the England bowlers to all parts of the Eden Gardens. India went on to win the match by 8 wickets after England collapsed twice, and eventually India went on to win the series 3-0.

  • Vivek.Bhandari on October 22, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    What about Michael Slater blasting 17 runs off Darren Gough in the first Ashes Test in 2001. Slater didn't do much in the remaining matches, and was in fact replaced by Justin Langer as the opener in the last Test and thereafter, but that one over took all the steam out of the English

  • cnksnk on October 22, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    one more. I think it was the 1983 series - India vs Wst Indies ( at kanpur) . Malcom Marshal was bowling at this fastest. The most defining moment of the series was Sunil Gavaskar playing or trying to play a defensive shot to a short one from Marshal and the bat flying from his hand. That set the tone for the rest of the series and no Indian batsmen was comfortable in facing Maco or any of the WI fast bowlers. As defining moments go this certainly was one...

  • on October 22, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    I had the feel Harmy would be in the list when I saw the headline!

  • denwarlo70 on October 22, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    Well, how come this writer missed out on Sanath Jayasooriya the Sri Lankan legend? He was an opener, a match turner and a batsman every bowler feared and there are enough of instances where SJ has turned matches to his sides advantage. I remember how he pelted Glen McGrath and Co down under and even here in SL, Phil Defraiters never played for England after he was taken to the cleaners by SJ, Manoj Prabaka never played for Indian after been thumped by SJ, Wasim Akram once said SJ was the most difficult batsman to bowl at. I don't know? Did I miss anything here?

  • 9ST9 on October 22, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    The Gayle series was actually washed out - not a single game could be played completely. The 2nd and third tests hardly made it to the 2nd Innings.

  • Dashgar on October 22, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    When one of these comes up there's always one example that always springs to mind and 10 times out of 11 it'll be up there at number 1. For me this time it is Ponting's 196 against England in 2006 in Brisbane. The captain set the tone in that series and Australia never looked back, going on to win 5-0. Somehow it didn't make this list though

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  • Dashgar on October 22, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    When one of these comes up there's always one example that always springs to mind and 10 times out of 11 it'll be up there at number 1. For me this time it is Ponting's 196 against England in 2006 in Brisbane. The captain set the tone in that series and Australia never looked back, going on to win 5-0. Somehow it didn't make this list though

  • 9ST9 on October 22, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    The Gayle series was actually washed out - not a single game could be played completely. The 2nd and third tests hardly made it to the 2nd Innings.

  • denwarlo70 on October 22, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    Well, how come this writer missed out on Sanath Jayasooriya the Sri Lankan legend? He was an opener, a match turner and a batsman every bowler feared and there are enough of instances where SJ has turned matches to his sides advantage. I remember how he pelted Glen McGrath and Co down under and even here in SL, Phil Defraiters never played for England after he was taken to the cleaners by SJ, Manoj Prabaka never played for Indian after been thumped by SJ, Wasim Akram once said SJ was the most difficult batsman to bowl at. I don't know? Did I miss anything here?

  • on October 22, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    I had the feel Harmy would be in the list when I saw the headline!

  • cnksnk on October 22, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    one more. I think it was the 1983 series - India vs Wst Indies ( at kanpur) . Malcom Marshal was bowling at this fastest. The most defining moment of the series was Sunil Gavaskar playing or trying to play a defensive shot to a short one from Marshal and the bat flying from his hand. That set the tone for the rest of the series and no Indian batsmen was comfortable in facing Maco or any of the WI fast bowlers. As defining moments go this certainly was one...

  • Vivek.Bhandari on October 22, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    What about Michael Slater blasting 17 runs off Darren Gough in the first Ashes Test in 2001. Slater didn't do much in the remaining matches, and was in fact replaced by Justin Langer as the opener in the last Test and thereafter, but that one over took all the steam out of the English

  • kirands on October 22, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    I can never forget the way Mohammad Azharuddin paved the way for India's 3-0 cleansweep victory over England in India in 1993. India won the toss in the first Test in Calcutta, and Tendulkar with 50 was the second highest scorer ---- behind Azharuddin who scored a magnificent 182, thrashing the England bowlers to all parts of the Eden Gardens. India went on to win the match by 8 wickets after England collapsed twice, and eventually India went on to win the series 3-0.

  • chancricfan on October 22, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    Where is KPs 200 at lords that started the Indian slide from 1-4? That set up the tone of the series and the result is even bigger 4-0.

  • on October 22, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    I don't think Gayle's innings/series fits in this article. There are much more appropriate scenarios in that case.

  • Romanticstud on October 22, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    What about Hashim Amla 311 in England when England looked to have the measure of SA on day 1 ...