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Golden arms: Great batsmen who took big wickets

Great batsmen
by Aadya Sharma 5 minute read

Champions of their trade, these batsmen were largely non-threatening with ball in hand, but, in sudden moments of inspiration, managed to conjure a dismissal with their limited skill.

Here’s celebrating the rare bowling accomplishments of some of cricket’s finest batsmen – while some of them managed to produce unexpected bits of magic, others benefitted from a lapse of concentration from the batsman, or their uncontrollable urge to target seemingly harmless part-timers.

Sachin Tendulkar b Michael Vaughan

Trent Bridge, 2002

Sachin Tendulkar had long-standing issues with unheralded bowlers, but even streams of video bytes wouldn’t have prepared him to face that Vaughan ripper. A classic off-spinner’s dismissal, the ball struck one of the rough patches at Trent Bridge and snuck past Tendulkar’s intended drive, leaving his stumps shattered. “Big gap between bat and pad” thundered commentator Michael Holding’s voice on-air, as Tendulkar trudged off, Vaughan celebrating with unbridled joy with his teammates in the background.

Wally Hammond b Don Bradman

Adelaide Oval, 1933

Don’t feel too bad if you can’t remember Don Bradman’s bowling action, because there’s hardly any visual evidence. The greatest batsman in Test history captured two Test scalps in his 70-match career, both in Adelaide, three years apart. Bowling as fourth-change in 1933, he managed to clean up Walter Hammond with a leg-break, three years after he claimed his maiden Test victim, West Indies’ Ivan Barrow.

Ramnaresh Sarwan c Paul Collingwood b Marcus Trescothick

Headingley, 2004

This was more Paul Collingwood’s wicket than Trescothick’s, plucked out of thin air, in classic Colly style, at backward point [ask Matthew Hayden how it feels]. Ramnaresh Sarwan’s eyes must have lit up when he saw a half-tracker pitching outside off, and decided to give it an almighty smack. The result – one of Trescothick’s four ODI wickets. He also dismissed Imran Nazir once, in a Test in 2000.

Kevin Pietersen st MS Dhoni b Virat Kohli

Old Trafford, 2011

There are few sights as unlovely as Virat Kohli, ball in hand, approaching his delivery stride with flailing arms before that wrong-footed release. While he’s stopped bowling altogether after the experiments went a tad too far, he has, among his eight international wickets, dismissals of Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen to hi name. Let’s take the crazier one – on his T20I debut, he slid one past Pietersen’s legs and got him stumped off a wide. It was his officially his “zeroth” delivery in the format.

Mohammad Yousuf c & b Ian Bell

Faisalabad, 2005

Ian Bell’s 118-Test career accounted for a solitary moment of happiness with the ball, which was more a product of his exceptional reflexes. Bowling his seventh over as a sixth bowling option in Faisalabad, against Pakistan in 2005, Bell broke a 128-run stand by snaffling a gentle tap off Mohammad Yousuf’s bat in his follow through, sticking his right hand out to claim the return chance inches from the ground. Yousuf was reluctant to walk back, unconvinced by the legitimacy of Bell’s grab. Rashid Latif, the former Pakistan skipper, called for a suspension on Bell for the “unfair catch”.

Zaheer Abbas c Chetan Chauhan b Sunil Gavaskar

Faisalabad, 1978

The proud owner of 10,000 Test runs, Sunil Gavaskar didn’t have much reason to turn his arm over, but has, to his credit, a wicket apiece in Tests and ODIs, both coincidentally that of Pakistan great Zaheer Abbas. Playing in Faisalabad, Abbas had already tonked 176 in the first innings and was on the cusp of another three-figure score when Gavaskar’s dibbly-dobblies enticed him to jump out of his crease on 96 and smack one straight to Chetan Chauhan, Gavaskar’s opening partner, at mid-on.

Michael Vaughan c Adam Gilchrist b Ricky Ponting

Nottingham, 2005

Ricky Ponting might cringe at the mention of the Nottingham Test and Gary Pratt’s famous throw, but the game also featured another Ponting dismissal, of a different kind, without the Kookaburra in his hand. Bowling his gentle right-armers in the first innings, he sent down a harmless delivery outside off to Michael Vaughan, the opposition captain, who managed somehow to edge the ball, sending it to Gilchrist and kickstarting some happy celebrations. Among his five Test scalps are Jimmy Adams, Ridley Jacobs and Moin Khan.

Saeed Anwar c Nayan Mongia b Rahul Dravid

Jaipur, 1999

Rahul Dravid’s classic batting technique somehow percolated into his bowling style too, making for an orthodox off-spinner’s action and ample usage of flight, one which we did not see enough of at the international level. Known to be a handy bowler at school level, Dravid took the majority of his five international wickets in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before giving up the role of part-time bowler for the role of slightly-more-than-part-time wicketkeeper. In 1999, one of his spells accounted for an on-song Saeed Anwar, pushing the left-hander on the backfoot and sneaking an edge to the wicketkeeper. Neat and sweet.

Kumar Sangakkara c Phil Hughes b Michael Hussey

Pallekele, 2011

Operating at seemingly non-threatening, military medium levels, Mr Cricket captured seven Test wickets, including a gift of a dismissal from Kumar Sangakkara, one of Sri Lanka’s finest. Sangakkara stood at his crease aghast, not believing his luck when he creamed an inviting half-volley off Hussey straight to Phil Hughes at short cover, a classic part-timer’s dismissal.

Hussey also dismissed Daniel Vettori, Jesse Ryder and Darren Bravo in Tests – a clear bias towards left-handed batsmen.

Dilip Vengsarkar c & b Michael Atherton

The Oval, 1990

Mike Atherton’s greatest moment with the ball, perhaps, came during the 1992 NatWest Trophy, when his leg-spin got the better of Graham Gooch. Bowling his loopy leggies, he captured two Test wickets too – one of them being India’s Dilip Vengsarkar, who was caught & bowled by Atherton in his final Test innings in England. Atherton, 22 at the time, offered an insipid low full-toss, which Vengsarkar somehow returned back to the bowler, giving him his maiden Test wicket. Six years later, he got the better of Wasim Akram to take his count to two.

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