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Watch: England collapse spectacularly as ‘tactical genius’ Ajay Jadeja takes three wickets in an over

Ajay Jadeja 1-0-3-3 v England, Sharjah 1999
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: At Sharjah in 1999, England needed 27 to win in 24 balls when stand-in captain Ajay Jadeja brought himself on. England imploded in that over.

The Coca-Cola Cup of 1999 was the archetype triangular ODI tournament that defined cricket in the era. This one also featured Pakistan, who had already beaten both India and England by huge margins.

India rode on S Ramesh’s 60 and captain Mohammad Azharuddin’s unbeaten 74 to post 222-5 as Darren Gough claimed 2-42 and Andrew Flintoff 2-24. Jadeja made 21 in 27 balls.


England became 25-2, then 80-4, in response before Neil Fairbrother (57) took charge, adding 73 for the fifth wicket with Flintoff (32). Despite some excellent bowling from Venkatesh Prasad (10-2-28-3), England were on track after 46 overs, with Fairbrother and Robert Croft at the crease.

Azharuddin had injured his foot while batting, and had not taken the field. Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble had bowled nine overs each, while Robin Singh had three left. At this point, Jadeja surprised all by taking the ball himself.

Jadeja had never bowled in Test cricket. In ODIs, he had bowled only eight balls in the previous year and a half, and had not taken a wicket in two and a half years. He had taken a wicket every 85 balls in ODIs until this point. It was indeed a surprising move.

Croft stepped out against the first ball and missed, and the ball passed between him and the stumps. Croft stepped out again, and this time substitute fielder Hrishikesh Kanitkar ran to his left from long off to take the catch.

Jadeja followed with a wide outside leg-stump. He appealed for caught-behind off the next, against Fairbrother, and got the appeal in his favour.

Gough joined Ian Austin at this point. and chipped the next ball to mid-wicket, where Sourav Ganguly could not hold on to a difficult catch. The next ball hit Gough on the pad, the Indians appealed, but Gough survived.

It did not matter, for Gough played the next ball on to the stumps. Jadeja finished with 1-0-3-3 – an over that also featured a dropped chance and an LBW appeal. In the next over, he ran out Austin to end the match. “This made him look like a tactical genius,” commented the Wisden Almanack, as India won by 20 runs.

Watch Ajay Jadeja trigger an England collapse:

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