February 4, 2013

That's spooky

Cricket's history is littered with coincidences. Here's a selection
  shares 44

Captains born on the same day
The captains in the 1905 Ashes series, the Hon FS Jackson and Australia's Joe Darling, were both born on the same day - November 21, 1870. But Jackson had all the luck going in the Tests - he won all five tosses, and topped the batting and bowling averages. Not surprisingly, England won the series.

Being there
As a ten-year-old, Bob Woolmer was taken to a cricket match while his father was working in Pakistan - and watched Hanif Mohammad get run out for 499, a new world-record score. Woolmer was thus ideally placed when, 35 years later in 1994, Brian Lara came in at lunch on the final day of Warwickshire's Championship match against Durham at Edgbaston with 285 to his name, and idly asked what the record score was. Later that day Woolmer, Warwickshire's coach at the time, watched Hanif's mark broken as Lara sprinted to 501 not out.

The same result
What is now recognised as the first Test of all, the match between Australia and England in Melbourne in March 1877, ended in a win for the home side by 45 runs. One hundred years later, a special Centenary Test was staged in Melbourne to mark the occasion... and Australia won an exciting encounter by 45 runs.

Birthday boy dismisses birthday boy
South Africa's Alviro Petersen went out to bat in the second innings of last November's Adelaide Test hoping to mark his 32nd birthday with a big score - but was dismissed for 24 by Peter Siddle, who turned 28 the same day. You'd have thought this birthday double must be unique, but it wasn't, as dedicated Facebooker Michael Jones found out. On April 4, 1962, the Indian spinner Bapu Nadkarni dismissed West Indian opener Easton McMorris - and it was both their birthdays too. In 2010 Siddle started the Ashes series with a hat-trick in Brisbane... on his birthday.

Captains with the same name
History was made in the one-off Test in Bulawayo in November 2011: for the first time in more than 2000 Test matches, both captains had the same surname - Brendan Taylor for Zimbabwe, and Ross Taylor for New Zealand. Ross, who scored 76 in both innings, came out with a narrow victory, despite Brendan's 50 and 117.

Same three batsmen in hat-trick
According to Liam McCann's recent book, Cricket: Facts, Figures and Fun, Ralph Lindsay took a hat-trick in the annual match between Oudtshoorn Defence and Port Elizabeth Defence in South Africa in 1957, dismissing Messrs Voges, Jones and Le Grange with successive balls. Six years later, in the same fixture, Lindsay did it again - removing the same three batsmen, in the same order.

113 - 113 = 0
Bangladesh's Abul Hasan, selected as a fast bowler, delighted himself and his fans by scoring a century in his first Test, against West Indies in Khulna in December 2012, after going in at No. 10. He was eventually out for 113, and then started bowling. This time it wasn't quite such a fairytale: he finished with 0 for 113.

Dropped by his dad
As Andrew Flintoff scurried to his highest Test score - 167 against West Indies at Edgbaston in 2004 - he smashed a ball into the crowd. Wisden reported: "He lofted Lawson high into the top tier of the Ryder Stand. A powerfully built middle-aged man stood up to take the catch. From a crowd of 20,000, Flintoff had somehow picked out his father, Colin, who muffed it: the only false move from a Flintoff in the entire Test."

Batsmen both born on Christmas Day
The England pair of Marcus Trescothick and Alastair Cook were both born on Christmas Day (as was Simon Jones, who played for England with Trescothick but not with Cook). At Lord's in 2006, Trescothick and Cook shared a second-wicket stand of 127 against Sri Lanka - the second-highest Test partnership by unrelated batsmen born on the same day, behind the 163 of Vic Stollmeyer and Kenneth "Bam Bam" Weekes (both born on January 24) for West Indies at The Oval in 1939.

Dismissing a relative in a Test
In Wellington in February 1986, Australia's beanpole left-arm fast bowler Bruce Reid had his cousin, New Zealand's John Reid, caught behind. In Adelaide in 2002-03, Craig White of England dismissed Australia's Darren Lehmann, his brother-in-law.

Starting and finishing the same
The Indian offspinner (and sometime captain) Ghulam Ahmed had a remarkably neat Test career. He made his Test debut on New Year's Eve, 1948, against West Indies in Calcutta. Exactly ten years later, on New Year's Eve 1958, he started his final Test - against West Indies in Calcutta. Paul Harris, the South African slow left-armer who has just announced his retirement, did something similar: he made his Test debut, against India in Cape Town, on January 2, 2007 - and started his final Test, against India in Cape Town, on January 2, 2011.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY DEDKIK on | February 5, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    Tony Greig took 4-53 on his Test debut in 1972. 10 years later his brother Ian Greig also took 4-53 on debut, though he was to play only one more Test.

    Another more complicated one relates to Tests between India and Australia at Kanpur, in 1959-60 and 1979-80. Both times India won despite conceding a first innings lead. Both times an Australian pace bowler took 12 wickets (Davidson and Dymock).

  • POSTED BY Venkatb on | February 4, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    This may not qualify as spooky but in the early 70s, the English batting order, with a couple of exceptions, followed the alphabetical order - they could pick from Amiss, Boycott, Cowdrey, Denness, Edrich, Fletcher, Greig, Hayes, Illingworth, Jameson, Knott, Luckhurst....

  • POSTED BY Grutness on | February 4, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    Two words - Wayne James. 1995-96, for Matabeleland vs Mashonaland Country Districts - 99 in the first innings, stranded on 99* in the second, and taking nine catches behind the stumps in the Mashonaland first innings. So near to perfection...

  • POSTED BY DMPant on | February 4, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    26 January Indian Republic day... Only two Indian scored century in international cricket on 26th January. Interestingly both against Australia in Test matches, venue was same Adelaide Oval, both cricketers name starts with "V" and both scored identical 116 runs. Vijay Hazare in 1948. (he also scored 145 runs in second innings) and Virat Kohli in 2012. India lost both matches by big margin.

  • POSTED BY splitinfinitive on | February 4, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    How about the uncanny story of Richard Stokes, who saw Laker take all 10 against Australia as a boy and then saw Kumble take all 10 against Pakistan (on his birthday too!) http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/153418.html

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    Peter Wiley was part of the England team which won against Aus in 1981 at Leeds after following on, the only second such instance. The next time, a team followed on and won a test was on March 15 2001, when India beat Aus in that great Kolkata test. Wiley was one of the on-field umpires then.

  • POSTED BY Baddabing on | February 4, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    How about this....when Steve and Mark Waugh walked onto the field for their very last appearance in first-class cricket in a Sheffield Shield match Steve's batting average was 0.03 runs ahead of his brother (0.03 runs is about the length of a bat handle).. after scoring more than 50000 runs and 160 centuries between them only 10 runs seperated their batting averages before that match...Mark scored 83 runs in that match and Steve got 73 therefore finishing on the exact same average down to 2 decimal places...however since Mark had been not out in the 1st innings he was able to overtake his brother and finish 0.1 runs ahead after each had played for almost 20 years (0.1 runs is about 1.8 metres or the height of an average person)

  • POSTED BY IcemanForbes on | February 4, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    How about Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh, started and finished their test careers at similar times, both from Western Australia, and Lillee 355 Wickets, Rod Marsh 343 Catches + 12 Stumpings = 355 dismissals.

  • POSTED BY jaygee02 on | February 4, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    In this game: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/574248.html both teams had an M D Bates playing - both Michael David Bates. And their birthdays are on consecutive days - October 10 and 11!

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    Damien FLeming dismissed SAchin Tendulkar in coca colacupfinal in Sharjah in 1998....on 24th April.....birthday of both the players......

  • POSTED BY DEDKIK on | February 5, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    Tony Greig took 4-53 on his Test debut in 1972. 10 years later his brother Ian Greig also took 4-53 on debut, though he was to play only one more Test.

    Another more complicated one relates to Tests between India and Australia at Kanpur, in 1959-60 and 1979-80. Both times India won despite conceding a first innings lead. Both times an Australian pace bowler took 12 wickets (Davidson and Dymock).

  • POSTED BY Venkatb on | February 4, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    This may not qualify as spooky but in the early 70s, the English batting order, with a couple of exceptions, followed the alphabetical order - they could pick from Amiss, Boycott, Cowdrey, Denness, Edrich, Fletcher, Greig, Hayes, Illingworth, Jameson, Knott, Luckhurst....

  • POSTED BY Grutness on | February 4, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    Two words - Wayne James. 1995-96, for Matabeleland vs Mashonaland Country Districts - 99 in the first innings, stranded on 99* in the second, and taking nine catches behind the stumps in the Mashonaland first innings. So near to perfection...

  • POSTED BY DMPant on | February 4, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    26 January Indian Republic day... Only two Indian scored century in international cricket on 26th January. Interestingly both against Australia in Test matches, venue was same Adelaide Oval, both cricketers name starts with "V" and both scored identical 116 runs. Vijay Hazare in 1948. (he also scored 145 runs in second innings) and Virat Kohli in 2012. India lost both matches by big margin.

  • POSTED BY splitinfinitive on | February 4, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    How about the uncanny story of Richard Stokes, who saw Laker take all 10 against Australia as a boy and then saw Kumble take all 10 against Pakistan (on his birthday too!) http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/153418.html

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    Peter Wiley was part of the England team which won against Aus in 1981 at Leeds after following on, the only second such instance. The next time, a team followed on and won a test was on March 15 2001, when India beat Aus in that great Kolkata test. Wiley was one of the on-field umpires then.

  • POSTED BY Baddabing on | February 4, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    How about this....when Steve and Mark Waugh walked onto the field for their very last appearance in first-class cricket in a Sheffield Shield match Steve's batting average was 0.03 runs ahead of his brother (0.03 runs is about the length of a bat handle).. after scoring more than 50000 runs and 160 centuries between them only 10 runs seperated their batting averages before that match...Mark scored 83 runs in that match and Steve got 73 therefore finishing on the exact same average down to 2 decimal places...however since Mark had been not out in the 1st innings he was able to overtake his brother and finish 0.1 runs ahead after each had played for almost 20 years (0.1 runs is about 1.8 metres or the height of an average person)

  • POSTED BY IcemanForbes on | February 4, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    How about Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh, started and finished their test careers at similar times, both from Western Australia, and Lillee 355 Wickets, Rod Marsh 343 Catches + 12 Stumpings = 355 dismissals.

  • POSTED BY jaygee02 on | February 4, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    In this game: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/574248.html both teams had an M D Bates playing - both Michael David Bates. And their birthdays are on consecutive days - October 10 and 11!

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    Damien FLeming dismissed SAchin Tendulkar in coca colacupfinal in Sharjah in 1998....on 24th April.....birthday of both the players......

  • POSTED BY on | February 7, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    Interesting fact about Ghulam Ahmed and Paul Harris.... All 4 tests mentioned above were 3rd test of respective series.

  • POSTED BY EngineerKhan on | February 7, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    You missed a thing which I am sure will never be repeated again. I am unsure whether it was 2nd or 3rd test of Pakistan vs England, UAE, 2012 when going into the lunch, both batsmen had same average and so had both the bowlers

  • POSTED BY HyderabadiFlick on | February 5, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Kapil Dev's story Faislabad Oct 16-21' 1978 Vs Pakistan in Tests to Faridabad Oct 17' 1994 Vs WI in ODI. Both the cities starting with 'F' and ending in 'BAD' with same dates on the calendar. :)

  • POSTED BY manish3415 on | February 5, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    @ Makarand Wakankar : Sachin was dismissed lbw by Kasprowicz. I remember it clearly as 2 balls before he hit him straight back over his head (1 of the best shots ever I saw ). He then came around the wicket, ball was pitched way outside leg, was going to miss off but, Bucknor gave him out. ps: for the records : http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/65774.html the score card for you.

  • POSTED BY Cricket4World on | February 5, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Hannan Sarkar of Bangladesh was dismissed 3 times by the first ball of a Test(Including twice in 8 days). All three times was against the West Indies and all by the same bowler, Pedro Collins!

  • POSTED BY regofpicton on | February 5, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Some of these coinsicences are much spookier than others. For examples, batters and bowlers being born on the same day should be fairly common. There have now been 2072 tests. reckoning on an average of 30 dismissals each, that makes 62160 bowler-batsman combos. These chaps will on average share a birthday once in 365 cases, so there have probaby been about 170 examples. . . .

  • POSTED BY FAB_ALI on | February 5, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    Why not mentioned....Brian Lara scoring highest test score of 375 at St. John's Antigua against England in 1993-94 which was surpassed by Matthew Hayden (380 vs Zimbabwe at Perth in 2003-04)........ but again Lara broke the record in the same year and scored 400*, where???? at St. John's Antigua against England.!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Rally_Windies on | February 5, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    what about a fateful World Cup game between Canada and WI ... where Chirs Gayle broke the record for fasted 50 in a world cup game..... and then next over Lara broke Gayle's record which was 10 mins old ....

  • POSTED BY Rowayton on | February 5, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    Actually, AlbertEinstein, it's not that uncommon. I got formerAustralian player Brian Booth's autograph many years ago and was intrigued that he signed left handed, even though he batted and bowled right. And I have a feeling that Allan Border is right handed (in writing). One from my local (Canberra) comp - there have now been two scores of 300 in Canberra club cricket - first by Peter Solway, second last Saturday by Jono Dean. The next batsman waiting to come in when Dean got 300 was Peter Solway's son.

  • POSTED BY LastKnight on | February 4, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    Nice pick Bogus.That's an amazing happening.

  • POSTED BY Chris_Howard on | February 4, 2013, 22:26 GMT

    I always remember the most unusual dismissal: Lillee caught Dilley bowled Willey.

  • POSTED BY Bogus on | February 4, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    I think you're missing the most amazing one I have ever seen. Look at the total number of runs scored in the past few ODI world cups...

  • POSTED BY SidLovesIndia on | February 4, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    @Makarand - Sachin was dismissed by Fleming in the previous game to the final of that tournament. The final was played on their birthday - 24th April - where Kasprowicz got him out. Sachin made centuries in both games.

  • POSTED BY sk12 on | February 4, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    The Flintoff incident probably doesnt count as a spooky coincidence..

  • POSTED BY swissfrank43 on | February 4, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    Warwickshire played Essex twice in the County Championship in 2010. In both matches Warwickshire scored 155 and 155-3, winning by 7 wickets.

  • POSTED BY Scube on | February 4, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    @DMPant: The part I liked the most in your comment: "India lost both matches by big margin." :-))

  • POSTED BY AlbertEinstein on | February 4, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    Another spooky fact Wasim Akram is a left hand bowler and a left hand batsman while he writes with his right hand. Sachin Tendulker on the other hand is a right hand batsman and a right hand bowler but writes with his left hand.

  • POSTED BY Haleos on | February 4, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    Another interesting one was the paul harris question in Ask Steven. http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/600866.html

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | February 4, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    i actually find it amazing that there has never been two opposing captains with the same last name before the ross and brendan taylor. haha and boof is brother in law of a former england player? classic.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    at begining of 89 summer England captaincy prospects were the 3 Gs - Gower, Gatting, Gooch. 97 Ashes series started with openers from both sides having same first names - Mike Atherton, Mark Butcher, Michael Slater, Mark Taylor.

  • POSTED BY Noman_Yousuf_Dandore on | February 4, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    Uncanningly spooky fun facts! :)

  • POSTED BY Whatsgoinoffoutthere on | February 4, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    If you lot ever write a cricket trivia quiz I'm stuffed.

    How's this one: Kent batsman Neil Taylor made his 32nd first-class hundred on his 32nd birthday if I recall correctly.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Superb article, love this stuff. How about Lillie C. Willey B. Dilley! The Waughs in the highest 5th wicket FC partnership. The scorer for England during the 94 WI series was the Warks scorer too, forget name; so he saw every ball of Lara's 375 and 501. Bobby Simpson played in 1st Tied Test, was coach in 2nd Tied Test.

  • POSTED BY Jonathan_E on | February 4, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Incidentally, to follow up to the Trescothick / Cook / Jones triumvirate of being all born on Christmas Day:

    Sadly, Jones's international career was over before Cook's started. Trescothick's overlapped both.

    Both Cook and Trescothick are specialist opening batsmen, but they never opened in a Test or one-dayer together - when they played together, Trescothick opened with Strauss, and Cook batted at 3.

    Their century partnership against Sri Lanka at Lords was their only signficant partnership (the only other, in 6 tests together, being a 14: Trescothick - following a century at Lords - had a run of bad form, Cook usually came in to replace him, with Strauss at the other end still.)

    Trescothick did, however, bowl at the opposite end to Simon Jones for a brief period (four overs) during the 4th Test in England's tour of the Windies in 2003-4.

    All three (Cook, Trescothick, Jones) bat left-handed and bowl right-arm, although Cook has only bowled one over in his Test career.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    wat about sehwag's sequence of best scores Test, 319; odis 219; t20i 119

  • POSTED BY Shookey on | February 4, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Another was the fact the Michael Hussey and David Hussey made their international debuts on the very same day - February 1st, four years apart - Michael in 2004 and David in 2008, with both debuting against India.

  • POSTED BY Smack-DAT on | February 4, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    Simply fantastic article!! and followed by awesome comments,and I believe many more to follow, love the ones posted by splitinfinitive and Kuldeep Kulkarni

  • POSTED BY TimSmith on | February 4, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    The batsman's Holding the bowler's Willey.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    @DMPant

    Whoa awesome stat...;)

  • POSTED BY ParkarPakistani on | February 4, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    what about this in the DXB test last year between ENG & PAK, Keven Pietersen & Alaister Cook batting together at career average of 48.93 while at the bowling end both PAK bowlers Saeed Ajmal & Abdur Rehman bowling together at career average of 26.98 Isn't interesting....

  • POSTED BY hoodbu on | February 4, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    I love this post! And the comments. Fantastic!

  • POSTED BY ovshake on | February 4, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    I guess what makes the Taylor-Taylor combination even more unusual is the fact that Brendan's full name is Brendan ROSS Murray Taylor.

  • POSTED BY kirands on | February 4, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    One that you could add to this list is Kevin Pietersen's three highest scores in Test cricket for a while ---- 158, 158 and 158. He finally broke the "158" hoodoo by scoring 226 in a Test match.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Am I right in thinking there were the same number of runs scored in the 2007 CWC as at the 2011 CWC?

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Am I right in thinking there were the same number of runs scored in the 2007 CWC as at the 2011 CWC?

  • POSTED BY kirands on | February 4, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    One that you could add to this list is Kevin Pietersen's three highest scores in Test cricket for a while ---- 158, 158 and 158. He finally broke the "158" hoodoo by scoring 226 in a Test match.

  • POSTED BY ovshake on | February 4, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    I guess what makes the Taylor-Taylor combination even more unusual is the fact that Brendan's full name is Brendan ROSS Murray Taylor.

  • POSTED BY hoodbu on | February 4, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    I love this post! And the comments. Fantastic!

  • POSTED BY ParkarPakistani on | February 4, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    what about this in the DXB test last year between ENG & PAK, Keven Pietersen & Alaister Cook batting together at career average of 48.93 while at the bowling end both PAK bowlers Saeed Ajmal & Abdur Rehman bowling together at career average of 26.98 Isn't interesting....

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    @DMPant

    Whoa awesome stat...;)

  • POSTED BY TimSmith on | February 4, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    The batsman's Holding the bowler's Willey.

  • POSTED BY Smack-DAT on | February 4, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    Simply fantastic article!! and followed by awesome comments,and I believe many more to follow, love the ones posted by splitinfinitive and Kuldeep Kulkarni

  • POSTED BY Shookey on | February 4, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Another was the fact the Michael Hussey and David Hussey made their international debuts on the very same day - February 1st, four years apart - Michael in 2004 and David in 2008, with both debuting against India.

  • POSTED BY on | February 4, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    wat about sehwag's sequence of best scores Test, 319; odis 219; t20i 119