Warning: this article is going to be nerdy. Extremely nerdy. Even for this website.
James Faulkner became just the sixth Australian bowler, and the 40th overall, to take an ODI hat-trick when he achieved the feat in the second game against Sri Lanka during the ongoing series. The hat-trick was completed across two overs and was the first in ODIs not to include a duck.
Three of those six hat-tricks have come at home, two away, and one at a neutral venue. Australia have recorded the third-most ODI hat-tricks, behind Pakistan (8) and Sri Lanka (7). Here’s a look at these six instances, in chronological order.
Bruce Reid vs New Zealand, Sydney, 1985-86
The gangling Reid – whose bowling action was described as “all arms and legs, like a porn movie without the sex” – was the second bowler to ever take an ODI hat-trick after Pakistan’s Jalal-ud-Din. This was the 13th match of the Benson and Hedges World Series, which also involved India.
Australia started off solidly and were placed at 123/1 in 30 overs before New Zealand pulled things back, limiting the final total to 239/7.
In reply, New Zealand’s batsmen struggled from the outset, never recovering from a poor start of 39/3. As many as 108 runs were still needed when the final ten overs began, with four wickets remaining.
Reid struck first off the final ball of his eighth over – the innings’ 40th – with the wicket of Bruce Blair, who was caught by Geoff Marsh at square leg. His next victim was Ervin McSweeney, dismissed in a similar fashion off the first ball of his next over thanks to a catch from captain Allan Border.
Reid (3/29) completed the hat-trick by knocking over the castle of new man Stuart Gillespie as New Zealand slumped to 137/9.
The innings duly terminated at 140 in the 43rd over, the last five wickets falling for 18 runs. Australia went on to win the triangular series by beating India 2-0 in the best-of-three finals.
Anthony Stuart vs Pakistan, Melbourne, 1996-97
With the finals between Pakistan and the West Indies confirmed, Australia were only playing for pride in this inconsequential Carlton and United Series game at the MCG. However, it provided a moment to cherish for unheralded fast-medium pacer Anthony Stuart, who took a hat-trick in only his third ODI.
Stuart had already dismissed Aamer Sohail and Zahoor Elahi to reduce Pakistan to 20/2, and his figures read a tidy 2/12 when he was into his sixth over. Off the third ball of that very over, he induced an edge from Ijaz Ahmed and wicketkeeper Ian Healy did the rest with a simple catch.
Mohammad Wasim came in at number five and met the same fate, as both Stuart and Healy made it two out of two. The Australians had their tails up and the spectators were filled with anticipation when Moin Khan strode out to face the hat-trick ball.
Stuart produced the perfect leg-cutter, which was edged straight to Mark Taylor in the slips.
The crowd erupted in delight as Stuart (5/26) celebrated the hat-trick as well as his five-wicket haul. Pakistan, who were reeling at 29/5 at this stage, recovered to 181/9. Australia slipped to 54/3 under the lights and it required an unbeaten 79 from Michael Bevan to steer the hosts to a three-wicket win in the last over.
Brett Lee vs Kenya, Durban, 2003
Kenya had stunningly sealed a spot in the semifinals of the 2003 World Cup after subduing Zimbabwe with ease, and they now faced defending champions Australia – the only unbeaten team in the tournament – in the last game of the Super Six round.
The Kenyan top order ran into a rampaging Brett Lee, who became the fourth bowler to grab a World Cup hat-trick after Chetan Sharma (1987), Saqlain Mushtaq (1999) and Chaminda Vaas (2003). Lee warmed up with a testing first over, a maiden, before unleashing himself three balls into his next, the innings’ fourth.
Kennedy Otieno received a snorter that crashed into his left elbow before falling down and disturbing the woodwork. The batsman left the field in pain, making way for Brijal Patel, who was rendered helpless against another excellent delivery that was deflected into the safe hands of skipper Ricky Ponting at second slip.
Lee’s hat-trick ball was even better; David Obuya had no clue what to do to an absolute peach that left his stumps rolling on the grass.
After four overs, Kenya were teetering at 3/3. However, they not only posted 174/8, but also worried the Australians during the chase as a spell of 3/7 from Asif Karim reduced the score to 117/5. Normality was soon restored, with Australia securing a five-wicket win in the 32nd over.
Daniel Christian vs Sri Lanka, Melbourne, 2011-12
The MCG witnessed another hat-trick, this time in the Commonwealth Bank Series, 15 years after Stuart’s feat. Sri Lanka fought back after being 17/2, with Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal adding 123 for the third wicket.
At 204/5 in 43 overs, a final flourish seemed to be on the cards, but the Lankan lower order had reckoned without Christian, who delivered a career-best return of 5/31.
Christian had figures of 1/23 when he began the innings’ 44th over. His third ball was clouded by Thisara Perera towards deep midwicket, where Michael Hussey held an acrobatic catch. Sachithra Senanayake was the second victim, out LBW to a ball that would have hit leg stump.
The hat-trick ball to Nuwan Kulasekara, however, seemed to be missing leg stump according to replays. Nevertheless, the umpire thought otherwise, giving Christian his third consecutive strike. His late burst ensured that Sri Lanka were bowled out for 238.
Australia faltered in pursuit of the moderate target, slumping to 26/3 in just five overs. Fifties from David Hussey and Shane Watson kept them in the hunt, but clever bowling and tight fielding helped Sri Lanka sneak into the finals against the hosts with an exciting nine-run victory.
Clint McKay vs England, Cardiff, 2013
This was the fourth match of the ODI series that followed England’s Ashes retention. England, down 1-0 in the five-match series, needed to win to stay in contention for a series victory.
Australia slid to 57/4 after batting first, before George Bailey hit 87. A lower order collapse of 5 for 18 meant that the final total was a below-par 227.
England were 8/0 after two overs in reply when McKay (4/39) decided to write his name in the history books with the first three balls of his second over.
The Victorian fast bowler first collected the prized wicket of Kevin Pietersen, trapping him plumb in front.
Jonathan Trott then played a poor shot off the next ball, driving a wide ball straight to Aaron Finch at second slip.
Joe Root was next in the firing line, and he too perished first ball after nicking one to Shane Watson at first slip. McKay’s hat-trick was the first by a visiting bowler against England.
England, however, recovered from the perils of 8/3 through a fourth-wicket stand of 104 between Michael Carberry and Eoin Morgan, and then again from 144/6 thanks to an unbeaten, match-winning 65 by Joss Buttler. They won by three wickets to square the series before going on to lose the decider.
James Faulkner vs Sri Lanka, Colombo, 2016
Faulkner’s hat-trick was the fourth to be achieved at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and the first by a visiting bowler. The three previous instances at the venue are Lasith Malinga (twice, in 2010/11 and 2011) and Thisara Perera (in 2012).
Australia reduced Sri Lanka to 12/2 before the middle order revived the innings. Fifties from Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera put the hosts in a strong position.
The score read 252/5 when Faulkner (3/45) began the 46th over of the innings.
Faulkner, who was wicketless until then, had Kusal Perera LBW off the last ball of the over. The runs kept on flowing though, and it was left to Faulkner to put on the speed breakers. His second wicket came off the first ball of the 48th over when Matthews holed out to Moises Henriques at long-off.
Thisara Perera, who was the non-striker on the previous delivery, faced the hat-trick ball as the batsmen had crossed. The batsman attempted a late cut, but couldn’t save himself from being knocked over.
Faulkner’s efforts ultimately went in vain as Australia caved in for 206 to lose by 82 runs.