Few Firsts of Test Cricket
The world cricket is getting ready for the World Test Championship Final. India and New Zealand will face each other in Southampton for the finale of the WTC starting from June 18. Ahead of this very first edition of WTC Final, let’s look at some of the iconic first moments of Test cricket.
First Test Match, First Batsman, First Bowler
In March 1887, the first Test match in the history of cricket was played between Australia and England in Melbourne Cricket Ground. Alfred Shaw delivered the first ball of the Test cricket ever whereas the Australian Charles Bannerman was facing the same. While Shaw became the first Test bowler of the history, Bannerman went on to become the first run scorer in the history of Test cricket and then scored the first Test century before getting retired hurt on 165. This was not the end. This also made him the holder of another unique record, first cricketer to become retired hurt in Test. He also contributed more than 65% of team’s total.
One & Only Don of Cricket
There’s no doubt over the greatness of Don Bradman. He is arguably the greatest ever batsman and the records made by him is next to impossible to break. He led the Australians in the hugely successful tour in 1948 and the Aussies were called ‘The Invincibles’. The last Test of the series was also his last. He had amassed 6996 runs till then and required just four runs for an average of 100. Bradman came to bat amid thunderous applause. He played the first ball cautiously but missed the line of the second ball that broke the stumps. The ground went quiet. Even Bradman took a few seconds to realise before walking back to the pavilion. The world cricket saw the greatest to score a zero in his last Test. The zero meant that his average remained 99.94. The number has been a magic figure in the history of Test cricket and tough to match by any other great.
First 10,000 Test runs- the little master
The 10,000-run mark calls for the highest level of celebration for any cricketer and if that comes in the Test, it is one of the highest honours. It took 110 years for any batman to reach that feat for the first time and the original little master of the game, Sunil Gavaskar recorded the same. Most fittingly, Sunil Gavaskar became the first player to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket. During 70s and 80s Gavaskar was the mainstay for Indian batting and often took the lead for the team abroad. Some of his epic innings came against West Indies who used to boast a great unit of fast bowlers back then.
Highest Scores, Most Runs in Test- Lara & Sachin
The highest individual innings in Test matches was played by Brian Lara. The record was held by West Indian great Gary Sobers for more than 36 years thanks to his 365. In 1994 Brian Lara broke the record at St. John’s Antigua. Australian opener Matthew Hayden scored 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003 to own the record. However, Lara came back in full glory and reclaimed the record within six months with his unbeaten 400 at the same ground in Antigua. He still holds the records.
Sachin Tendulkar came to the cricketing world as a prodigy and continued to entertain all for 24 years. He finished as one of the greatest of the games and was often compared to the Don. As rightly pointed out by Virat Kohli in the night of India’s World Cup win after 28 years, Tendulkar, also known as ‘Little Master’ carried India on his shoulder for around 20 years. During his illustrated career Tendulkar was considered to be the greatest batsman in the world and the most popular sporting figure in India. He was the mainstay of Indian cricket and the whole fest was used to be around him. He was the centre of all attraction. Some of his records are unparallel including his tally of 34,357 international runs (15,921 in Tests, 18,426 in ODIs, 10 in T20I) and 100 international hundreds (51 in Tests and 49 in ODIs).
Overarm bowling- the first of its kind
Till the first half of the 19th century cricket world was only aware of the underarm bowling. Then in a practice match between the Kent cricketer John Willes and his sister Christina Willes, Christiana introduced a new style. She could not deliver the underarm bowling because of her attire as she was wearing a skirt. She improvised her style. Raised her arm higher than usual the sister bowled to the brother Willes. Willes went on to adapt the style and later opted for the the same in a match against MCC at Lords in 1822. There are some other theories regarding the inception of overarm bowling but the most popular one hists at the brother-sister practice match.
10 wickets in an innings- Jim Laker
During Australia’s tour of England in 1956, Jim Laker was flawless and he took himself to record books at Old Trafford in Manchester. England scored 459 runs in the first innings and won the match by an innings and 170 runs as Australia were bowled out for 84 and 205. Laker got 9/37 in the first innings and not being contained with that claimed all of the 10 wickets for 53 runs in the second innings. Laker finished the match with 19 wickets conceding just 90 runs which is the greatest ever match figure in history. India’s legendary spinner Anil Kumble became the only other bowler apart from Laker to take all 10 wickets in an innings of any Test match.
First Test hat-tricks
Till now there are 45 hat-tricks in Tests, 49 in ODIs and 13 in T20 Internationals. Interestingly the first hat-trick in all of the formats involves one Australian. The first Test hat-trick dated back to 1879 when the great Australian fast bowler Fred ‘The Demon’ Spofforth achieved the first one at Melbourne Cricket Ground against England. If we consider One Day Internationals, it was the Pakistani fast bowler Jalal-ud-Din against Australia who got selected because Imran Khan was resting. The first hat-trick in T20 International also involves an Australian as the speed-star Brett Lee completed the hat-trick against Bangladesh during the inaugural T20 World Cup.
First & Highest Test Wickets- Muralitharan
There is hardly any cricket fan who did not enjoy the battle between Murali and Warne in the 90s. Muttiah Muralitharan was a controversial figure because of his bowling action but was one of the biggest match-winner during his prime. The fans were divided regarding his greatness and his constant duel with Shane Warne, the Aussie spinner. Whereas Shane Warne finished with 708 wickets and widely considered as more skilful among the two, Murali finished with a magical wicket tally of 800 wickets with 67 five-wicket and 22 ten-wicket hauls. Hence Muralitharan took his name to record books after registering the world records.