First left-arm spinner to reach landmark August 26, 2009

Vettori joins 300-wicket club


Daniel Vettori prised out the two wickets he needed to cross 300 Test victims on the first day of the second Test at the SSC. He reached the landmark in his 94th Test when, in his 16th over, Kumar Sangakkara attempted a slog-sweep and was caught at deep midwicket by Jacob Oram. Vettori now sits eighth on the list of players to have taken 300 wickets and scored 3000 runs.

At the end of the day's play he allowed himself the satisfaction of soaking it all in. "For a spin bowler from New Zealand, it's not something a lot of people would expect to happen," he said. "To play for that amount of time and to do so well is very special. It's difficult to be a frontline spinner in New Zealand, so to have longevity and to revel in some conditions means that I've had a pretty good career. I'd like to think I've stayed pretty constant."

Vettori was more pleased to have joined an elite group of allrounders. "To be up there with the four allrounders of the eighties is special," he said. "It's been an exclusive group and to think that you're one of only eight in that list is something I cherish."

It didn't take long for Vettori, who on Tuesday admitted he was itching to cross the landmark. He brought himself on in the 11th over, after New Zealand's new-ball pair bowled well but without luck, and struck with his second delivery. He tossed one up with that customary high-arm trajectory, got the ball to gently drift in towards Tharanga Paranavitana, and Ross Taylor at slip did the rest.

The landmark came when Vettori dismissed Sangakkara two balls after the Sri Lankan captain reached his half-century. Vettori and Sangakkara had battled all session and Sangakkara seemed to have finally stamped his authority with a couple of smashes over mid-on. But while attempting another he picked out to the sweeper.

There was no massive celebration from Vettori as his team-mates mobbed him. He received warm applause from the smidgen of a crowd, the loudest cheer coming from two small groups of New Zealand fans. Vettori smiled and raised his arms in celebration, then dropped his head as he slowly walked towards his team-mates.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan led the tributes for Vettori's achievement. "This is a huge honour for Dan - he can be rightfully proud of his record as a preeminent Test cricketer," Vaughan said. "To have achieved to the standard of players of the calibre of [Shaun] Pollock, [Ian] Botham and [Imran] Khan, for example, speaks volumes for Dan's ability with both ball and bat."

To claim 300 Test wickets is an achievement for any bowler but it is especially noteworthy for Vettori given the workload he's had to shoulder since making his debut against England in 1996-97. Vettori played his first Test at 18, the youngest to represent New Zealand, and has lugged the weight of his side almost since. He has rarely had support at the other end, be it from the fast bowlers ahead of him or from a quality support spinner. Of his 94 Tests, 45 have been at home often on unfriendly surfaces designed to hamper the longevity of spinners. Along the way he has fought back from serious stress-fractures that could have laid low less strong-willed bowlers.

Today Vettori bowled as he has for much of his career, sticking to the routine that made him New Zealand's second most prolific bowler, and well past the tally of the only other spinner from his country to take 100 Test wickets, John Bracewell. To the left-handed batsman he drifted the ball in and tried to get the slips involved as much as possible. To the right handed Tillakaratne Dilshan, habitually one to feast on spin, Vettori pushed the ball in quicker, at times operating on a line more prone to nagging stump-to-stump medium-pacers. He varied his flight to Mahela Jayawardene, clearing his throat when a straighter one hit the batsman as he went back. The wicket of Sangakkara was reward for perseverance in the face of adversity, a microcosm of Vettori's career.

Click here for the full list of players with the double of 300 wickets and 3000 runs.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Richard on August 27, 2009, 7:15 GMT

    I think people are missing the difference between someone who is a genuine all rounder and someone who bowls but occassionally chips in with the bat, or someone who bats and occassionally chips in with the ball. Dan does both, especially over the past 5-6 years where his batting average is about 42. Career average isn't reflecting this yet but it will get above 30. Jayasuria was a fantastic batsman, great to watch, who sometimes rolled his arm over and took a wicket. But in 130-odd matches he failed to take 100 wickets. Not even 1 per match. Not exactly a regular bowling option. You could argue that Warne was the opposite, taking huge numbes of wickets but failing to score a century and a batting average under 18. He wasn't a reliable batting option. With the number of tests some players are racking up its inevitable that some will make an all rounders list when either their batting or bowling don't warrant it.

  • Jonathan on August 27, 2009, 4:30 GMT

    Dear Otautahi - I think you should re-visit Jayasuriyas stats and wipe your eyes cause it just proves hes Legendary journey of 20 years (so whats wierd ??). Ok, I admit he is more of a "Batting All-Rounder" than bowling, but thats not a hard & fast rule in cricket is it.. Last but not least I would also like to mention a word for Heath Streak who is in the all time list. He also was a professional who lived upto expectations !!

  • Phil on August 26, 2009, 23:14 GMT

    What a really weird comment from IanJF about Jayasuriya being an all-rounder....laughable. And as another comment says, that's insulting to the 3000/300 club members. Ankit_jn - interesting........who says a wicket is worth 20-25 runs? The recent Ashes series saw only Hilfenhaus with an average under 30....and the man the Poms think is a worldbeater (James Anderson) running at about 34 runs per his most favoured conditions!! On this basis Sir Richard Hadlee's wickets are equivalent to 14,000 runs; put his runs on top and Tendulkar is left in the dust. Just settle on the fact that there are only 8 members in the long history of this great game. And Vettori richly deserves the recognition......there have been no finger spinners from Asia or England in the there's no argument that his is a fantastic achievement.

  • Simon on August 26, 2009, 23:09 GMT

    congrats dan. the path to world domination is just beginning.

  • Ankit on August 26, 2009, 20:29 GMT

    To add to my last comment, see how bowling all rounders like Vettori and Vaas make it to that 3000/300 list and batting all rounders like Sobers and Kallis don't. And we all know who among them are superior all rounders (with all due respect to Vettori and Vaas). So let's stop discussing this club for which entry criteria are so skewed.

  • Ankit on August 26, 2009, 18:22 GMT

    I don't totally understand the concept of 3000+300. Every wicket is equivalent to about 20-25 runs. So if in a certain club of all-rounders, 300 is cut off for wickets, 6000 should be for runs to make it equally difficult for both batting and bowling all rounders to get in that club.

    Else, you could even create a club out of 11000 runs and 25 wickets and Tendulkar will be the only one in there, but who would take such a club with any degree of seriousness.

    I think this celebration over 300 wickets and 3000 runs should stop; 300 wickets alone are a cause for celebration

  • Roshen on August 26, 2009, 13:50 GMT

    Congrats Daniel Vettori. Its an elite goup of all rounders you've joined. I agree with IanJF that Vass probably is the least spoken about & appreciated, sadly in Sri Lanka as well. And Jayasuriya and Kallis are legends in any form of the game.

  • mike on August 26, 2009, 13:43 GMT

    What you have to consider from the outside looking in is that Vettori unlike players like Kapil Dev, pollock and Kallis is the condition Vettori plays under. Being the best batsman bowler and captain of a team that are perennial under performers must be insanely difficult. Not to mention whenever he is usually coming to the crease he is trying to dig us out of a hole and somehow still manages to put up decent scores batting with such established batsmen as Iain O'Brien and Chris Martin, the fact that he will most likely overtake Hadlee and be one of only 3 players to bear 400 wickets 4000 runs is truely amazing. To put it in perspective he has almost identical stats to the great Kapil Dev and if plays the same ammount of games he will most likely end up with similar results while playing for New Zealand.

  • Dipak on August 26, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    The 300 wickets milestone is praiseworthy for a fighter like vettori. He rarely has any sopport bowler from the other end and he always bast under lots of pressure.Congratulation to Dan, the Man, for the wonderful achievement. He is now the second best allrounder in Test behind Kallis.

  • Matthew on August 26, 2009, 11:32 GMT

    I think including Sanath Jayasuriya in the list of all-rounders is a bit rich; he is primarly a batsman, has scored a lot of runs in Tests, nearly 7000, but he has only gotten 98 wickets, and hasn't played a test in nearly 21 months. Saying he is a better all-rounder than Vettori is insulting and incorrect on numerous levels. Kallis is probably the pre-eminent all-rounder in the game now Flintoff has retired, but he has had the luxury of playing in South Africa and having Donald, Ntini, Steyn and Pollock up the other end, while Vettori has had to do with the green topped pitches of New Zealand and being partnered with the likes of Cairns, Martin, Morrison and probably the only world-class paceman New Zealand has had since Sir Richard Hadlee, Shane Bond, who only played 17 tests.

    Vettori also has at least 5 years left in international cricket, so I forsee a minimum of 500 wickets for him if New Zealand can play 10-12 tests a year until his retirement. Congratulations Daniel.

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