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How Chris Tremlett was cruelly denied a hat-trick on England debut

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner 2 minute read

Speaking on the Broken Trophy Podcast, former England fast bowler Chris Tremlett recounted the tale of how he came agonisingly close to taking a hat-trick on his international debut.

Making his ODI bow against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge in 2005, Tremlett struck twice in his fifth over, bowling Shahriar Nafees and nicking off Tushar Imran with successive balls. In walked Mohammad Ashraful to face the hat-trick ball. But though he couldn’t prevent the ball from hitting the stumps, he somehow survived.

“My third ball to Mohamamd Ashraful, he went off the back foot, it dropped down, bounced up and it smashed the top of the bails,” Tremlett said. “And for some reason the bails just didn’t move! It was probably the most unlucky delivery you’ve ever seen. And obviously it was on my debut for England.”

Ashraful made the most of his second life, scoring a rapid 94 off 52 balls. But he couldn’t prevent Bangladesh sliding to a 168-run defeat. Perhaps fittingly, it was Tremlett who claimed the final wicket.

“It was a pretty special debut anyway, I got four wickets for about 30, but it would have been nice to start off with a hat-trick for your country,” he said.

For Tremlett, the incident was all the more odd considering he’d taken three wickets in three balls at the same ground earlier that month as Hampshire secured a thrilling County Championship win over Nottinghamshire by 14 runs. He dismissed Mark Ealham, Graeme Swann, and Greg Smith in successive deliveries as Notts, chasing 275 to win, suddenly plummeted from 261-6 to 261-9.

“I played at Trent Bridge two week’s before for Hampshire and got a hat-trick in a Championship game which kind of got me selected into that squad,” he said.

Tremlett would have been the first England bowler to take a hat-trick on debut in any format, and it remains a feat no England player has achieved. He is at least able to be philosophical about it now. “It’s one of those freak things that you see in cricket. You see the ball go through the stumps a couple of times. You do see the odd occasion these freak things happen on a cricket field and that was certainly one of them.”

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