February 4, 2013

That's spooky

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

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

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Talha 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

  • Santosh 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. :)

  • Manish 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.

  • Sean 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!

  • Reg 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. . . .

  • 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.!!!!!!!

  • Ali 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 ....

  • David 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.