Jon Holland has bolted into contention for a shock Test recall if he can overcome a finger injury in time for Australia's series opener…
During my examination of 1,675 odd scorecards for result Test matches, I couldn’t help but notice the odd coincidence and strange occurrence along the way with how matches end.
This final article is probably only for the very bored indeed, but here is evidence that cricket can indeed, be a very odd pastime.
One player having the wood on another
On India’s tour of Australia in 1967/68, the tourists lost the third and fourth Tests by 39 runs and 144 runs respectively. On both occasions the final wicket was tailender Motganhalli Jaisimha, caught in the field.
You might think that Australia’s premier spinner John Gleeson would have taken those wickets, but no, he took the final catch both times. The bowler on both occasions was part time spinner Bob Cowper.
In the first test of the 1903/04 Ashes, England’s George Hirst hit Australian spinner Jack Saunders for 2 runs to complete a five-wicket victory. In the second test Hirst had Saunders caught as the last man out as England won by 185 runs. It is not known whether Hirst was on Saunders’ Christmas card list.
In the 1910/11 Ashes, Australian Bill Whitty dismissed Sid Pedler LBW to win the second test. In the following test, Pegler returned the favour, having Whitty caught to end the match.
On England’s 2008 tour of New Zealand, Monty Panesar was last man out in the first test, caught by Kiwi keeper Brendon McCullum. Panesar got his revenge in the 2nd test, having McCullum caught as last man out as England squared the series.
In New Zealand’s tour of Australia in 2004 both tests finished with Shane Warne dismissing Chris Martin. History repeated in 2009 when Mitchell Johnson bowled Martin to claim both Test victories.
When Bangladesh toured New Zealand in December 2001, both Tests finished in identical fashion: Manjurul Islam, caught at slip from the bowling of Chris Cairns. In each case Cairns took two of the last three wickets to fall.
When the West Indies toured Australia in 2005, Michael Hussey hit the winning runs in two consecutive Tests, both times off part timer Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Consecutive Test matches, numbers 129 and 130, were both victories for England – over Australia in 1912 and South Africa in 1913 and both finished with players caught and bowled.
There has been only one other instance in history where consecutive tests have been ended in this way: victories to New Zealand and India in 2009 over Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively.
It is also rare for consecutive tests to finish via a stumping – it only ever happened twice:
– In January 2019, with victories to the West Indies and Australia over England and Sri Lanka respectively. The alert keepers were Shai Hope and Tim Paine.
– In October 2004, New Zealand and Sri Lanka both achieved away victories in this manner against Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively.
In Johannesburg in 1956, England defeated South Africa in the first time in Test history where the final two wickets lost were both run out. Bangladesh managed to match this feat against Sri Lankan in Colombo in 2007, as did the West Indians in 2016 against Pakistan in Dubai.
In December 1974 Australia defeated New Zealand in the Boxing Day test in Melbourne by an innings and 25 runs. The final two wickets were both dismissed caught and bowled, the only time in history this has occurred. The bowlers were Kerry O’Keefe and Ashley Mallett.
In 1988 India defeated the West Indies with a similarly rare sequence: the final two wickets to fall were both stumped by keeper Kiran More.
In the 1981 Ashes, at Leeds Bob Willis took the last five wickets to fall, finishing it off by bowling Ray Bright. Taking the final five wickets has only happened 13 times in all of test history. So it was some coincidence when it happened in the very next test In the next test, with Ian Botham taking the last five wickets, and finishing it off by bowling Terry Alderman.
In India’s tour of Australia in 2000, both the Melbourne and Sydney Tests ended with the final Indian batter being run out. Anil Kumble and Venkatesh Prasad run out by Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist respectively. Bangladesh went one better in Sri Lanka in 2008, finishing with a run out in both tests of a two-Test series.
Catches win matches
In the second and third Tests for the West Indies’ 1928 tour of England, the matches were ended by a catch taken by English great Wally Hammond – the first time in history that this had happened. Lindsay Hassett of Australia came close in 1947/48, when he finished the first and third Tests against India with a catch at square leg, with the second Test being drawn.
Hammond’s feat was later matched in 2014 by Azhar Ali, who caught Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon in consecutive test victories for Pakistan, both from the bowling of Zulfiqar Babar. It happened for a third time in late 2021, where Sri Lanka’s Dhananjaya de Silva took the final catch at slip to finish consecutive victories over the West Indies.
The 1962 Birmingham test, won by England over Pakistan was not particularly remarkable except that the final wicket was caught behind by Peter Parfitt, who was substituting as wicket keeper, after an injury to Geoff Millman. This has only been repeated once, with Dinesh Karthick substituting for Parthiv Patel against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2018.
Again in Johannesburg in 1966 South Africa defeated Australia by a comfortable 233 runs. The last two Australian wickets to fall were both caught by a substitute fielder, future great all-rounder Mike Proctor.
It was tough being a tailender in the mid 1970’s. Indian spinner Bhagwath Chandrasekhar was once bowled in consecutive test matches by Richard Hadlee and Michael Holding, probably while backing half way towards square leg. Later on he also suffered the same fate twice to John Lever.
Uncannily similar Test match results
When South Africa toured England in 1924 they lost the first two tests by identical margins: an innings and 18 runs. In both cases England’s Maurice Tate took the final wicket.
There has never again been consecutive victories by the same margin of runs. It has happened twice with victories by wickets:
– In 1978 when Pakistan defeated India by 8 wickets in consecutive Tests.
– In 1985 when the West Indies defeated New Zealand by 10 wickets in consecutive tests. In each case the great opening combination of Greenidge and Haynes was at the crease, with Gordon Greenidge hitting the winning runs.
There were also two tests in a row during Pakistan’s tour of South Africa in 2007 that ended with five-wicket margins, however the wins were shared between the two sides. This was repeated by Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2015, swapping seven-wicket victories.
In 1954 England won the third and fifth tests of their tour of the West Indies, with a draw in between. This is not unusual. Both victories were by 9 wickets. This is pretty unusual. In both cases the last over of the match was bowled by the same part time bowler, Everton Weekes, so it’s getting little freaky now.
In both cases English batter Willie Watson was at the crease, although to prove that this is not the actual end of the universe, he only hit the winning runs in one match, being at the non-strikers end in the other. Incidentally in the test where Watson did hit the winning runs, he did it with a 6.
In the fifth Ashes test of 1904 Australia spanked England by 218 runs, with England’s final three adding just 40 runs. The very next test – 1905 in England – saw an almost complete reversal, with England winning by 213 runs and Australia’s last three putting on 44.
In December 1953 in Johannesburg, South Africa defeated New Zealand by 132 runs, with the final wicket being Guy Overton, run out by Ken Furston. The next test was a draw, but less than a month later, half way across the world the West Indies defeated England by a very similar margin, 140 runs, with the last wicket being Alan Moss, also being run out. Unfortunately for Moss this was his test debut. He was never run out again during his career.
On India’s tour of New Zealand in 1968, New Zealand won the second Test by 6 wickets, with Indian Rusi Surti bowling the final over. Bevan Congdon hit the final runs while Keith Thomson looked on from the non-striker’s end. India won the third Test by 8 wickets, with Keith Thomson bowling the final over. Ajit Wadekar hit the final runs while Rusi Surti looked on from the non-striker’s end.
When New Zealand toured South Africa in 1994, the second and third tests were won by successful chases from the hosts. In the 2nd test Gary Kirsten hit 2 boundaries in 3 balls to ice the game, in the 3rd test Hansie Cronje went one better and hit 2 boundaries in a row. In both cases the unfortunate bowler was Kiwi Matthew Hart.
Between November and December 2007 six tests in a row were won by a margin of runs and in all six cases the test ended with the satisfying sight of stumps cartwheeling as the last wicket was clean bowled. Muralidaran suffered this fate twice during the sequence, while South Africa’s superb Dale Steyn was the bowler to do it twice during this period.
Between September and December 2001, there were 17 Tests where no catches were taken to decide a match.
On the West Indies tour of Australia in 1975 the first test was won by Australia by 8 wickets, with the first recorded instance of brothers being at the crease together to celebrate – Ian and Greg Chappell. Little brother Greg hit the winning single from Alvin Kallicharran.
Not to be outdone, older brother Ian hit Kallicharan for 4 to win the next test (Rick McCosker was at the other end). Greg matched his brother in the next test with a boundary to win off Vivian Richards. The brothers finished another run chase together in Melbourne in February 1980 against England. Again, Ian let Greg hit the winning boundary.
This was matched in 1985 in Perth when New Zealand brothers Martin and Jeff Crowed steered the tourists to a 6 wicket win, with Jeff hitting the winning single. The Waughs also achieved the feat in 1998 in Perth against England, with Mark hitting the winning single.
Taking the Mickey
You have to love those Kiwis. In Christchurch in 1990 against India, the home team only needed 2 runs to win as they commenced their second innings. So they sent out noted bunnies Danny Morrison and Martin Sneddan to successfully complete proceedings.
In February/March 1994, three of four consecutive Tests around the world were won in comfortable chases by the West Indies, New Zealand and Australia respectively. The odd thing here is the final bowler in each case: Alec Stewart (ENG), Saeed Anwar (PAK) and Gary Kirsten (SA) . Talk about giving up.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly weird and pointless series. I’m heading off to the rugby league tab for a while now, but I’m sure cricket’s wealth of random statistics will require further articles and arguments down the track.