New Zealand v Zimbabwe at Dunedin, 1st ODI

(This is part seven, find part six here. In part six, you will find a link to part five. In part five, you will find links to parts four, three, two, and one.)

On the surface, there just isn’t a lot to say about the seventh member of the 199 Club.

It was Younis Khan, against India, in Pakistan, on Saturday the 14th of January, 2006.

Nothing extraordinary happened on that date, historically speaking.

The test itself was forgettable: the pitch was a flat joke, it ended in a draw after losing two entire days due to rain, and it is roundly ridiculed in the Wisden Almanak (sic).

On top of all of that: Kahn had already hit a 267* at the time of the knock in question, and then went on to score a triple century three years later. So, it’s not like January the 14th was his one and only chance at 200.

One bit of note: he got out on a run out, the only member of this dubious club to get out in such a fashion. His stumps were taken out by none other India spinner, Harbhajan Singh.

The match was played at Gaddafi Stadium (no, not that Gaddafi) in Lahore, Pakistan.

Actually, wait a minute, the ground is actually named after recently toppled Libyan dictator Colonel Mummaur al-Gaddafi – you know, the guy who ordered his armies to kill their fellow citizens. Are you kidding me!?

According to Wikipedia, the Colonel gave a speech in 1974 that was in favor of Pakistan acquiring the rights to nuclear weapons – so, of course, they named a cricket ground after him.  The logic there is fool proof.

In late October of 2011, the Pakistani Cricket Board requested the name to be changed. Of course, they waited until after he was dead – don’t want offend the nice murderous dictator that thought we should get these nukes – and to date the name has not been changed.

I am surely oversimplifying a complex regional conflict, of course, but that is par for the course around here these days.

The Lahore Stadium, as it was known previous to the 1974 speech, and how I will refer to it going forward, was also the host ground for the 2009 test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka that saw the visitor’s bus shot at by armed militants, injuring nine* of the players – and the shooting occurred very near to the Stadium.

Pakistan has not hosted an international match since.

Violence begets violence.

Your geography lesson:

Now, of course, renaming a stadium is not going to end the volatile security situation in Pakistan, and it is not going make the ICC think twice about their banning of international matches there, but taking a crazed lunatic dicatator’s name off of the marquee of one of your most well attended grounds might a good first step toward returning to world cricket’s good graces.

And that, in so many words, are my thoughts on Younis Khan’s 199 at Lahore, in 2006.

Well, I will add that I greatly admire Khan.  I like that he quit the T20 format right after captaining them to T20 World Cup championship in 2009.  And I like that Cricinfo describes as a “complex but honest man.”

He has played in 75 tests for his country, scoring 6,267 for a commendable average of 52.22.

His most recent test of course was just last week at Abu Dhabi against England.  Neither of his innings were worth writing home about: he got out for 24 in his first innings, before being bowled for one by Monty Panesar in his second.

However, that one run was more than Morgan, Broad, Swann, and Panesar scored in their second innings for England, and it was just as many runs as scored by Pietersen, Trott, and Anderson in their second innings.

So, chin up, Younis.

Gosh, you know, the more I write and read and watch these Pakistani cricketers, the more I love them. Their nomadic status is one of cricket’s real shames.

*I always forget that Mahela Jayawardene was one of the nine Sri Lankan players injured at Lahore. I don’t know. It’s just odd to think about the fact that he has been SHOT.

I am sure it is odd for him, as well.


On the pitch: hey, speak of the devil: the dead rubber between England and Pakistan starts up in three and a half hours.  Sorry, but I am not staying up for that.

Australian and India’s second T20 is in six hours – I would rather get shot at dawn then stay up for that.

But, hey, the first ODI of Zimbabwe’s tour of New Zealand is on as I type. Zimbabwe are chasing 248 – and already down a wicket in the fifth over. Oh wait, make that two wickets.

All right, I am off to watch the cricket – for this could be over in like 20 minutes.

South Australia v Victoria at Adelaide, Sheffield Shield

(This is part six of the 199s. Find part five here – and in part five you will find links to parts one, two, three, and four.)

I have to wonder if Andy Flower, the architect of England’s recent phenomenal success on the cricket field, ever falls asleep thinking about a certain knock of his…a knock where he finished one run short of a double century against his birth country of South Africa for his adopted country, Zimbabwe.

The date was September the 7th, 2001.  In four days, the entire world would be changed forever, but on the seventh, we were all still worried about Gary Condit and shark attacks, and Flower was doing his best to lead his team to a hard fought draw.

In Zimbabwe’s third innings, he batted for 590 minutes, amassing 199 runs, only to simply run out of partners.  199 with an asterisk.  The only member of the 199 Club to finish the innings not out.

It was the first test of a two test series…ergh, wait a minute…

I have run into a bit of problem with these 199 posts.

It seems when Cricinfo lists the date, it is not the date that the batsman actually scored his 199th run, it is instead the day that the match started.

And so: Azharuddin did not get his 199 on the same day as the first triple organ transplant, and Waugh got out not on the third day of the NATO led bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, but probably on the fourth day or so.

And as such: Flower’s 199 not out came not on the 7th of September, 2001 – but on the 11th of September, 2001.  Not probably six hours before the first plane hit, considering the time difference.

Considering that, I bet he thinks of that knock quite often, as we all remember quite well where we were when the towers fell.

The match was the first in a two match series – the second took place as scheduled a week later – ending in a draw at Bulawayo.

Flower’s 199 happened in the third innings, but before that, South Africa put up a huge score in their first at bat, then scuttled the hosts for 286 which forced the follow on, at which time Zimbabwe put up a decent score  of 391 – thanks of course to Andy Flower – but it wasn’t enough as Kirsten and Kallis (after Dippenaar’s duck) gave South Africa the victory in just a little over two hours.

As with the most of his fellow 199 Club members, Flower will not rue not seeing the happy side of 200 too much, as he had a double century against India at Nagpur the previous November.

Flower, of course, had a wonderful Test career for Zimbabwe. He played in their inagural Test match against India at Harare – and then went on to play 63 more for his country, scoring 4,794 runs, including 12 hundreds.

Interesting enough, seven of those 12 triple digit scores have astericks next to them: it seems he found himself quite often in the position of just simply running out of people to bat with.

A great many of those tests were played alongside his brother, Grant Flower.  Grant was more of all rounder: scoring 3,457 runs in his 67 matches but also taking 25 wickets.

Big brother Andy retired from Test cricket in 2002.

His nickname was Petals.

If I ever meet him, I am going to ask him about that 199 he scored in Africa on September 11th, 2001.


Today, Mohammad Amir was released from jail. His six month sentence for gambling related activies was halved thanks to UK law.

His appeal to the ICC to shorten his five year ban from playing cricket is on going.

Now, like cricket fans the world over: I loved watching Amir bowl:

Loved, loved, loved.

And that’s why it pains me to say this: he should never bowl again.

Sure, of course, he is the least complicit of the four jailed parties, but it is absolutely imperative that a lesson be taught to cricketers the world over: this sort of behavior will not be tolerated – and it will end your career.

The ICC in this case can take a lesson from Major League Baseball and their lifetime ban of Pete Rose for betting on baseball.  It might seem overly harsh, but such bans are vital to the game – when people start to question every play, every result, every error, every meatball, then your game is ruined forever.  MLB knows this, and the ICC needs to take heed and increase the length of the ban to a lifetime ban for all guilty parties.

I loved watching him bowl, and I love Pakistani cricket, but it needs to happen.

And the same lifetime ban needs to be handed down to Mervyn Westfield, and all other County Cricketers whose behavior comes to light during this period of amnesty.

Your amnesty is you don’t go to prison – but you are still not allowed to ever play cricket again.

All of the above is simply my opinion, I would love to hear yours.

Now back to watching the match in the title of this post on Free and legal; god bless the future.

Australia v India at Sydney, 1st T20I

(This is part five of the 199s – parts one, two, three, and four are here, here, here, and here.)

In the last week of March, 1999, all eyes were on the Balkans, as US led NATO forces had just started a bombing campaign in order to quell the Kosovo War and the tragic and enormous loss of civilian life happening through Serbia, Albania, and Yugoslavia.

The Kosovo War had been raging for a year, this after the Yugoslav War earlier in the decade.

It is a sad and complicated chapter in Europe’s history, and I do not claim to be an expert on the conflict, but reading the casualty reports is a shocking endeavor: 800,000 displaced citizens, 12,000 civilian deaths (including 10,000 deaths at the ends of the Yugoslav military), and two mass graves in Belgrade that contained almost 1,500 bodies.

1,500 people – killed, and dumped into an unmarked mass grave.

In Europe.

In 1999.


Your geography lesson:

Meanwhile, at the same time, five thousand miles away, at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados: Steve Waugh scored 199 runs in a cricket match for Australia against the West Indies.

For five days, as the war raged in Yugoslavia, two countries played out a cricket match – and what a cricket match it was.

Australia won the toss and had a bat, scoring 490 all out – thanks to Waugh’s 199 and 104 from Ricky Ponting (13 years later he is still scoring important centuries for Australia…he deserves the legacy of a cricketing hero.)

The West Indies responded with 329, and then scuttled Australia for 146 in the visitor’s second innings thanks to a five-for from Jamaican Courtney Walsh – who according to Cricinfo: “bowled faster for longer than any man in history.” 132 Tests, 30,019 deliveries, 519 wickets…

But this is not his story.

In the fourth and final innings, the West Indies scored 311 runs and won the match by one wicket…

West Indies last innings featured a 54 run ninth wicket stand from the incomparable Brian Lara and the incomparable Curtly Ambrose.

Lara finished the innings 153 not out – and the Wisden Almanak described his knock thusly:

“Irrefutably, his undefeated 153 was the hand of a genius. Exhibiting the new awareness and maturity he discovered in Jamaica, he brilliantly orchestrated the conclusion to an unforgettable match. He guided his men to victory as though leading the infirm through a maze.”

But this is not Lara’s story either.

The four match series ended in a draw. Australia won the first test at Port of Spain by 312 runs; the West Indies won the next two, at Kingston by one wicket and Bridgetown by ten; and Australia won the final match by 176 runs at St. John’s.

A thriller of a match, a thriller of a series.

All while 100,000 Serbians fled their homes from the Kosovo Liberation Army, and NATO bombers scorched Albanian hillsides.

Steve Waugh, he of the 199 knock, is one of the most beloved cricketers to ever don the baggy greens for Australia.

He played in 168 Tests for his country, scoring 10,927 runs.

His 199 in Bridgetown was the second highest Test score of his career – had scored 200 four years earlier in Kingston, also against the West Indies.

He captained Australia in both Tests and in ODIs – and led them to a World Cup victory in 1999.

Considering his captain’s temperant, I am sure he was upset at getting out because it let his team down, and not because he was on the verge of a personal milestone.

And just like in the previous 199, Waugh’s wicket was taken LBW by a little known and little used bowler: Nehemiah Perry.

He only played in four tests for the West Indies, and took 10 wickets for them in all.  In 2004 he was forced to retire due to back problems, and is now on the West Indies national selection panel.

But, again, I bet ending Waugh’s innings stands out more for the bowler, than for the batter.

An interesting theme in these posts, for sure.


On the pitch? Nothing.

The first T20I between Australia and India is today at the SCG.

Like I said: nothing.

East Zone v West Zone at Valsad, Duleep Trophy (#3)

(Part four of 199s is below. Parts one, two, and three are here, here, and here.)

The fourth score of 199 in Test cricket happened on August the 9th, 1997.

The batter? Sanath Jayasuriya, for Sri Lanka.

It happened in the third innings of the second of two tests in Sri Lanka versus India. Both matches ended in draws.

In the first Test, Jayasuriya scored a massive triple ton, 340 to be exact, giving him 571 runs for the series: a record for a two match Test series, besting W. Hammond’s record of 563 runs set way back in the 1930s.

In the match, Tendulkar hit a ton in his first innings (of course) for India, as did Ganguly, as did Mohammed Azharuddin – who of course is also a member of the 199 Club.

Jarasuriya is best known for lighting up the stage during his One Day International career, but he was equally prolific as a Test batsman, playing in 110 Tests and hitting 6.973 runs – including 14 100s, two double hundreds, and the triple hundred discussed above.

Also, of course, he is a politician, and was brought out of retirement in a rather farcical manner to play in the one-dayers last summer in England.

In ODIs, he really is king: 445 matches and 13,430 runs (only Sachin has more), including 28 hundreds and the fifth highest ODI score ever: 189 v India at Sharjah in 2000.

He also scored the fastest 50 in ODI history: off of only seventeen deliveries.



His 199 took place at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, in Colombo.

The ground in 2001, Sri Lanka v England:

And your geography lesson:

The ground has hosted Tests since 1984, and according to its Wiki Page, it is known as the Lord’s of Sri Lanka – the spiritual home of Sri Lankan cricket.

As of late, however, the preeminent ground in Colombo has been the Premadasa Stadium. In fact, the SCC did not host a single match during the 2011 World Cup, while the Premadasa Stadium hosted five group matches, a quarter-final, and a semi-final.

Unlike other members of the dubious 199 Club, Jarasuriya had a long and propserous career.

His 199 was a a blip, all but forgotten I am sure, especially since he knocked a double Test century just a little over a year later, versus England at the Oval.

One last note: Jarasuriya’s wicket was taken by the fast bowler, Abey Kuruvilla – probably the tallest player to bowl for India at six feet, six inches.

He only played in 10 tests, and only took 25 wickets. He did play First Class cricket in India for ten years, taking 290 wickets, but his international career never really took off.

So I bet Jarasuriya’s wicket, though maybe long forgotten by the batsman, is remember fondly by the bowler.

Back on the pitch:

Not a great deal happening. I summed up the #testcricketweek that was in my post last night.

The cricket world is busy less with cricket and more with figuring out what exactly went wrong for India in Australia, and England in the UAE; something best left to the experts.

Until next time (which is what the NPCs in Skyrim say when conversations end, so I am going to stop ending my posts with it.)

East Zone v West Zone at Valsad, Duleep Trophy

(Note: this is the third post in a series entitled “The 199s.” Part one is here, part two is here.)

200s in Test cricket are not unheard of. In fact one could say they are even a little bit common. There have been 313 of them in the 2,000 plus Tests since 1877.

But that does not mean that they are easy; getting to 200 requires hours of concentration, it requires mental fortitude, luck, and batting skills of the highest order.

And while it is really an arbitrary number, getting to 200 I am sure is a bit of a relief for a player, as it releases the pressure; and just the same, I am sure falling at 199 is far more painful than falling at 176 or 184, especially when the player might never get to such great heights again…

In July, 2010, Armando Galarraga had a chance to pitch a perfect game, a true rarity in sport, a wonderful accomplishment; only the umpire, one Jim Joyce, blew the call on the final out and wrecked it for the young man.

The most heartbreaking part of it all was that everyone knew that Galarraga, an average pitcher at best, would never in a million years get another chance to complete a perfect game.

Which brings us to today’s entry in the 199 club…

Now Matthew Elliot was not the victim of a bad umpiring decision when he got out for 199 at Headingley during the Ashes series on 24 July, 1997, but it was the only time throughout his career that he would come anywhere near a double century.

In fact, in his 36 Test innings, he only scored two regular centuries, and only scored a total of 1,172 runs.

That 199 in 1997 accounted for nearly 17% of Elliot’s career Test runs.

Matthew’s knock came in Australia’s first (and only) innings after his countrymen had bowled out England for 172 (this was the 1990s, remember.)  He batted for nearly seven and a half hours, seeing 351 balls…and he was dropped three times by England fielders (this was the 1990s, remember.) (Armando Galarraga could have used a bit of Elliot’s luck, surely.)  …26 fours, 3 sixes, and a strike rate of 56.69…

The match was the third in the Ashes Series. England had won the first Test at The Oval, but Australia went on to win at Nottingham, at Leeds, and at Old Trafford to retain the Ashes.  The dead rubber at Lord’s was a draw.

As mentioned, the ground that hosted Elliot’s 199 was Headingley, in Leeds, a last minute ground change which Australia unsuccessfully protested.

It seats 17,000 and has hosted Tests since 1899 – most recently Australia v Pakistan in July of 2010 (Pakistan won by three wickets.)

It is a beautiful and famous old ground, and is home to Yorkshire, by far County Cricket’s most successful domestic side.

Your geography lesson:

(I was hoping that I would discover something cool when looking into the 199s, like that they all happened in the Subcontinent. But Elliot’s knock came in Northern England, which is just about as far from the Subcontinent as you can possibly get without going to the moon.)

Despite Elliot’s lack of long term success at the International level (he as only played in one ODI for his country, and no T20s) he did have a long and somewhat successful career in Australian domestic cricket – though it was also riddled with injuries.

He retired from professional cricket in 2008, but surfaced again a year later to play in the Indian Cricket League for the Chandigarh Lions.

Elliot’s career was marred by bad luck and a bit of tragedy (he blew out his knee in only his second test match, for instance), this despite his immense talent at the crease.

He scored two centuries during his first Ashes series, was named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1999, but his form dipped and he was dropped from the national side that same year.

I can’t help but think that maybe things would have been different for him if he had gotten just one more run on that July day in northern England…


On the pitch: GAH! Too much to even go into…Napier, Abu Dhabi, Adelaide – I suggest Cricinfo.

I will say this about the Australia-India test at Adelaide: it is just about the most melancholy sporting event I have ever experienced. @mannerofspeakin tweeted that “an entire generation of Indian cricket fans are watching their heroes fade into the sunset.”

It is very sad to watch our heroes age, grow old, fade away. And we are watching that with VVS, Sachin, Dravid.

After 816 Test innings and 37,422 runs, their Test careers are over.

It is so terribly sad – and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

God speed, fellas. You deserved better.

Until next time.

Free State v Boland at Bloemfontein, CSA Provincial Three-Day Challenge

On December 17th, 1986, in Huntingdon, England, a 35 year old woman received the first triple organ transplant: new heart, new liver, new lungs.

On the same day, on the other side of the world, in Kanpur, India, Mohammed Azharuddin got to 199 in a cricket match against Sri Lanka before being called out LBW.

The former is probably a more fascinating topic for exploration, but today I will concentrate on the latter, as Limited Overs continues its series on the 199s in Test Cricket.  (Part 1 here.)

Azharuddin’s knock came in India’s first innings, on the 2nd day of the match;  he batted for 555 minutes, and the match eventually ended in a draw.

It was the first match of a three match series, a series that India eventually won 2-0, winning the next two matches by an innings and 106 runs and an innings and 67 runs. (Note that Sri Lanka had only been playing tests for four years at the time.)

Also putting up big scores for India in that match were Sunil Gavaskar (176) and Kapil Dev (163.)

Azharuddin had long partnerships with both men during his knock: 163 with Gavaskar and 272 with Kapil Dev. (There was also a 19 run partnership with none other than Ravi Shastri.)

The match took place at Green Park in the densely populated and smog ridden city of Kanpur, India.

The ground:

The geography lesson:

The ground seats 45,000, was established in 1945, and has hosted 22 tests: the first in 1952 versus England (England won by 8 wickets) and the most recent was in 2009 versus Sri Lanka (India won by an innings and 144 runs.)

Up until recently, it was known to produce rather dour draws, but the pitch has been relaid and is a bit of a batsmen’s paradise, and no longer does the lifeless pitch produce lifeless draws: Of the 14 tests held there between 1960 and 1986, only two produced a winner; while of the five tests held there between 1996 and 2009, four produced a winner.

Mohammed Azharuddin himself, was quite the batsmen. Cricinfo described him as: “a Michelangelo in the midst of housepainters.”

The 199 was his highest test score, and he also played in 99 tests. A frustrating end to his knock at Kanpur, and a frustrating end to his test career (I won’t go into too much detail, but it seems as though there was a wee bit of match fixing going on near the end there.)

Over those 99 tests, he scored 6,215 runs, including 22 tons, with an average of 45.03. He also took 105 catches.

He was captain of India for most of the 1990s, winning 14 test matches (a record at the time) and 103 ODIs (still a record.)

In 1991 he was named Wisden’s Cricketer of the year, and after his forced retirement he entered politics and is currently representing Uttar Pradesh for the Indian National Congress party.

The highlight of his test career came in his debut series against England in 1984-1985, where he had hundreds in three consecutive test matches: 110 in the first innings at Kolkata, 105 in the second innings at Chennai, and 122 in the first innings at…Kanpur.

Tomorrow, another segment of The 199 Club.


Back on the pitch:

Yesterday I watched so much Test cricket…it was a cricketing paradise. I watched New Zealand v Zimbabwe, Australia v India, AND Pakistan v England.

That last match was unexpected, as Willow only has the rights, supposedly, to show the match in Canada, but when I flipped over to at 11:45 CST last night, there was the match preview, live and in color. And at promptly midnight out walked Misbah and Co., and I was able to watch Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad bowl out Pakistan’s tail before wising up and heading to bed.

Meanwhile, in Adelaide, India continue to capitulate, despite a lovely ton for Kohli, who looks to be the real deal; while in Napier it was New Zealand’s day, ending at 331/5.

All three tests were a joy to watch, but I really need to start getting more sleep.

Until next time.