Hogging the show

Memorable one-man performances in Tests and first-class matches

Steven Lynch

November 19, 2012

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Jim Laker walks back after taking all ten wickets, England v Australia, 4th Test, Old Trafford, 5th day, July 31, 1956
Jim Laker: took 19 out of 20 wickets © PA Photos
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Charles Bannerman
Bannerman - born in Kent but a proud Aussie nonetheless - scored the first Test century, in the very first match of all, in Melbourne in March 1877. By the time he had to retire hurt with a broken finger, Bannerman had made 165, which constituted 67.43% of the final total of 245. More than 2050 Test matches later, that - remarkably - remains a record.

Jim Laker
Probably the ultimate example of one man monopolising a match, or at least half the scorecard - in the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in 1956, the Surrey and England offspinner Laker followed figures of 9 for 37 in Australia's first innings with an even more eye-popping 10 for 53 in the second. No one has come close to his match figures since, in Test or first-class cricket. Some people suggest an even more remarkable statistic was that Tony Lock, Laker's combative Surrey spin twin, managed only one wicket in 69 overs on a pitch so helpful that the Aussies suspected foul play.

Vijay Hazare
The great Indian batsman Hazare's side was up against it in the final of the Bombay Pentangular tournament in December 1943: the Hindus had run up 581 for 5 before skittling the Rest, including Hazare, for 133. Following on, the Rest quickly subsided to 60 for 5, whereupon two Hazares proved better than one. Vivek Hazare wasn't much of a batsman - but his brother had obviously taught him a good defensive stroke, because he survived for five and half hours for 21... while Vijay hustled to 309. "I tried to play from both ends," he observed simply. The Rest still lost - but their innings of 387 remains the lowest to contain an individual triple-century.

Ian Botham
England's greatest allrounder turned the Golden Jubilee Test in Bombay in February 1980 - played to mark the 50th anniversary of the Indian board - into a one-man show, hammering 114 (the next-highest score was 43), in between taking 6 for 58 in India's first innings and 7 for 48 in their second. The only other man to score a century and take ten wickets in the same Test is Imran Khan, for Pakistan against India in Faisalabad in 1982-83.

Glenn Turner
The winner of the "good thing you turned up" award in county cricket goes to Glenn Turner, who carried his bat for Worcestershire against Glamorgan in Swansea in 1977, and scored 141 out of 169 - the next-best was 7, and the other ten batsmen managed only 14 scoring shots between them. "As each of them came out, in what looked like a disaster area," remembered Turner, "I told them there was nothing wrong with the pitch, but they didn't seem to believe me!" Turner's percentage of the innings total - 83.43% - remains the first-class record.

Harbhajan Singh
Few bowlers have monopolised the wickets column as Harbhajan did in the famous home series against Australia early in 2001 - the one in which India won in Kolkata after following on; they then pinched the series from the previously all-conquering Aussies with another victory, in Chennai. Harbhajan became the only bowler ever to take six or more wickets in four successive Test innings, grabbed India's first hat-trick for good measure... and finished the three-match series with 32 wickets. Next for India came Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan, with three apiece.

Vallance Jupp
One of the most heroic solo performances was turned in by the Northamptonshire allrounder Jupp, against Kent at Tunbridge Wells in July 1932. First Jupp, who had won eight England caps in the 1920s, took all ten wickets (for 127) as Kent made 360 on the first day. Then he top-scored in both Northamptonshire's innings. But Northants weren't very good in those days - they were about to embark on a record run of 99 Championship matches without a victory - and none of the other batsmen reached 20 in either innings. Kent won easily.

Muttiah Muralitharan
With the honourable exception of Chaminda Vaas, the ever-smiling Sri Lankan offspinner Muralitharan didn't have a great deal of bowling support during his illustrious career. He famously finished with 800 wickets in 133 Tests - and the combined tally of all his team-mates in those matches was 1270. Murali thus claimed 38.64% of all the wickets in the matches in which he played - a record percentage, just beating England's SF Barnes, who took 189 out of 494 (38.25%). Richard Hadlee (34.34%) comes next. No prizes for guessing who heads the corresponding run-making list: Don Bradman scored 24.28% of his team's runs when he played (6996 out of 28,810), with George Headley (21.38%) second.

Wayne James
The sometime Zimbabwean Test wicketkeeper James equalled the record for dismissals in an innings (nine) and broke the one for a match (13; since beaten) for Matabeleland against Mashonaland Country Districts in the final of the Logan Cup in Bulawayo in April 1996. Not only that, but he was out for 99 in the first innings, and had reached 99 not out in the second when his side won the match, courtesy a delivery from Alistair Campbell that went for four byes.


Harbhajan Singh claims the wicket of Ricky Ponting, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 5th day, March 15, 2001
Harbhajan Singh: 32 wickets in three Tests against Australia in 2000-01 Hamish Blair / © Getty Images
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George Giffen
The great 19th-century allrounder Giffen specialised in long bowling spells - helped by the fact that, as he was often captain, he wasn't in danger of being taken off. For South Australia against Victoria in Adelaide in November 1891, Giffen took 9 for 96 in 50.1 overs, then bowled throughout the follow-on to add 7 for 70. That would have been impressive enough... but he had already hit 271 in South Australia's big total of 562.

Eddie Hemmings
When the England offspinner Hemmings signed up to play for an International XI against a West Indies team in a festival match in Jamaica in September 1982, he probably imagined a few gentle overs before relaxing with a rum or two. But the reality was rather different: the pitch was badly affected by rain, especially at one end, and - in order that the crowd could see some cricket - the captains agreed that only spinners should bowl from that end. Hemmings was the only genuine spinner in the visitors' ranks, so he ended up sending down nearly 50 overs in a row. He finished by taking all ten wickets - including the famed opening pair of Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge, not to mention Lawrence Rowe, Clive Lloyd and Jeff Dujon - for 175 runs, the most expensive ten-for in first-class history.

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

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Posted by 1983naps on (November 21, 2012, 1:05 GMT)

Brian Lara bellowing his arrival with 277 vs AUS.His incomparable series vs them in1999,and his one man show(600+)in a three match series,all in defeat,vs Murali & co in Sri lanka.If ever there was a lonely GIANT it has to be Lara.

Posted by sonipatX1 on (November 20, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

how come anil kumble's 10 for is missing?

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

If you can include ODIs Sir Vivs 189 vs England with only #11 for company comes to mind...

Posted by khuddian on (November 20, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

Some of these lists are nothing but exercises in time pass. How can you possibly think that you can include every monumental contribution in a list of 11. I mean with that much cricket played, there's got to lot more. Having just 11 of them is a disrespect to others. And to add to the irony, they decided to include First-Class matches too. Interesting no other but English county games are included. A far more better list would have been of such performances from each country. (I know cricinfo is not going to post my comment)

Posted by Brenton1 on (November 20, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

What about Nathan Lyons 14 out of 47. 30 % of a teams score by the number 11!

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

Allan Border gets my vote. Carried Australia for a decade.

Posted by yocasi on (November 20, 2012, 4:17 GMT)

How about Brian Lara's 180 out of 219 scored while he was at the crease in a 1994 Red Stripe Cup match vs Jamaica? Courtney Walsh was part of that Jamaica attack. Lara protected the Trinidad tail and almost single-handedly won the match for T&T.

Posted by harshthakor on (November 20, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

I would also add George Headley's 270 n.o v England at Kingston in 1934-35 where he batted like a lone crusader.Gary Sobers 254 at Melbourne in 1972 could also be added.

Vinoo Mankad's all-round effort in 1952 was certainly amongst the 3-4 best one man efforts.

Posted by harshthakor on (November 20, 2012, 3:41 GMT)

Ian Botham's superlative feat of a century and 13 wickets in the 1980 Jubilee test in Bombay stands out to me as the best ever cricketing performance.He took the game by the scruff of the neck dominating the game like an emperor commanding his knights.Botham literally ressurected England from the grave.Even Sobers has not equalled this.

Next I would place Imran Khan's effort at Leeds in 1982 when he captured 8 wickets and scored 141 runs.Infact he almost won the game for his country single-handedly with his 1st innings 5-49 and 75 n.o as his best efforts in the game.

Then I would remember Gary Sobers all-round performance at Kingston v.England in 1968 when he scored 113 runs and took 8 wickets and Mushtaq Muhammad's century and 8 wickets at Trinidad in 1977 which won the game for Pakistan.

Lara's 400 n.o.and 375 also stand out as well as his 501.I must applaud Shrikanth for remembering Vinoo's performnace in the 1952 test taking 5 wkts and scoring 184,which has to be added.

Posted by RostronRedbacks on (November 20, 2012, 2:30 GMT)

Great article as unsual. The Cricinfo XI is my favourite section of the website. Not only great articles but the comments also provide plenty of chuckles. Do people not read the introductory comments to the article? Surely examples such as VVS's 281 do not qualify for inclusion due to the small fact that a bloke named Dravid made a lazy 180 in the same innings. I think it would be best if all future XI's are restricted to tests and first-class as well.

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Steven LynchClose
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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