My publisher, Ronald Cardwell was in Chittagong last week. His mission was to take some kids from a local orphanage to see some of the 1st Test between Bangladesh and New Zealand. It turns out that they were part of a very historical event. Bangladesh off spinner, Sohag Gazi, made a century in Bangladesh’s first innings (101* off 161 balls) and took a hat trick in New Zealand’s second innings. To say that this is a rare event understates the position. It is unique in Tests.
That’s correct, this is the first time ever that a player has taken a hat trick and made a century in the same Test match. Before Sunday, it wasn’t even unique – it hadn’t been done. No wonder the crowd went wild. No wonder the players went wild.
I read a little about the hat trick and it sounded worth watching. I had a look on Youtube last night. Any hat trick is full of drama. The excitement that builds when a bowler, ‘on a hat trick’, completes his approach to the wicket is always palpable. Most times, there is an anti-climax as the ball is safely negotiated by the batsman. But this hat trick ball had ups and downs of its own. More on that shortly.
Firstly, I’m pleased to report that none of the dismissals were controversial. That is to say, they were all clearly out. I remember reading Steve Waugh’s comment about Harbhajan Singh’s hat trick in 2001. He said it was probably the most curious hat trick ever as none of the dismissals should have been given out. On this occasion in 2013, the first wicket was plumb lbw and the batsmen walked for the second two, which were caught behind. That is, the batsmen walked, once those catches were actually completed.
The second wicket was from a spitting off break that jumped and caught the outside edge. The ball hit the ‘keeper, Mushfiqur Rahim, in the chest and he finally grabbed it at the third attempt. The hat trick ball was similar. It took the outside edge, eluded Rahim’s gloves again and stuck him just above the knee. Sohag had to endure the sight of the ball ballooning behind the ‘keeper while he looked around in a bewildered state, wondering just where that rascally ball had got to. If he had have known, he could have simply turned around and pouched it.
Meanwhile, Batman and Robin (first slip and leg slip) were swooping towards the scraps. Shakib Al Hasan (one of Bangladesh’s most famous cricketers and a fine all rounder himself) won the race and reminiscent of David Boon completing Warnie’s hat trick at the MCG in 1994, at full stretch, scooped up the ball just millimetres from the ground. You can imagine the bowler’s relief. Of course, you’d need to ask Damien Fleming to find someone who really could imagine the relief [Ed: Fleming received no such reprieve as Warne grassed a dolly at first slip in Adelaide 1999].
PS: Did I mention ‘my publisher’ in paragraph one? That is correct. Selections from this blog will be published in a book very shortly. It will contain about 90 of the most significant posts from between 2002 and 2009 and has 22 original illustrations. All things going to plan, it will be available by mid-November – in plenty of time for Christmas. I will provide more details at the end of this month.