The first-ever international game was played way back in 1877. It’s been almost a century and a half and cricket has evolved in a huge way. In fact, it seems to be improving every single day. More than 7500 international games (2365+ Test matches, 4210+ ODIs and 985+ T20Is) have been played so far.
Out of so many, coincidences are a little common. You will tend to find similar patterns between two games separated by years, decades and even centuries. Quite a few players tend to get compared by their scoring patterns and consistency. Coincidences occur between numbers or any sort of stat between players from two different eras as well.
Hence, here we look at the five most interesting coincidences in the history of the game.
1. Scoring 183 and becoming India’s next captain
183 is a special and an interesting number in Indian cricket. It is the highest ODI score of three Indian greats. Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, all of them have a career-best ODI score of 183. Moreover, another interesting fact is that, all three of them became the Indian captain soon-after making that score.
It was in the 1999 World Cup that the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ made that score. In the 21st game of the tournament, Ganguly smashed Sri Lanka to pieces when he struck 183 off 159 balls. And in 2000, after the spot-fixing controversy broke out, Ganguly became the Indian captain.
In 2005, Dhoni smashed an unbeaten 183 when he was promoted to No. 3 in a chase of 299 against Sri Lanka in Jaipur. A couple of years later when most of the seniors opted out of the T20 World Cup in 2007, Dhoni was made the captain. Right after the tournament, he ascended to the ODI captaincy as well but had to wait for a year to reach the helm in Test cricket.
In 2012, during an Asia Cup game against Pakistan, India were chasing 330. Kohli stroked a fine 183 to lead the ‘Men in Blue’ to a win. A year later, he made his captaincy debut and in December 2014 when Dhoni retired from Test cricket, the Delhi lad took over the captaincy in the longest format. In January 2017, he became captain of all formats.
2. Double tons, Sachin, Sehwag, Rohit and mother of all coincidences
Before 2010, there were a few players who came close to breaching the 200-run mark in ODI cricket. But when it was breached, the first three to do so were all Indians. In fact, the first four double tons were all by Indians. Moreover, there is another big coincidence with all three of those double hundreds.
It was Sachin Tendulkar who became the first man on the planet to register an ODI double ton. He did it against South Africa in Gwalior in 2010. About 18 months later, Virender Sehwag followed his idol’s footsteps as he became the second man to do it ODI cricket when he smoked 219 against West Indies in Indore.
But Sehwag had broken the record of the highest individual score. Rohit Sharma did it once against Australia in 2013 but became the first man to score two double tons in ODI cricket a year later. In November 2014, Rohit smashed Sri Lanka to all parts of the Eden Gardens when scored a record-shattering 264.
In 2010, 2011 and 2014, each time the three players scored a double ton, the highest individual score by a batsman in ODIs was broken. But another interesting fact was India won each of those by a margin of 153 runs.
3. Nelson of all Nelsons
The first Test between South Africa and Australia in November 2011 which took place at the Newlands in Cape Town was a peculiar and a very interesting one. It broke multiple records. We are used to seeing two innings on a single day of a Test match. But in this Test, all four innings were a part of a single day’s play (Day two of the Test match).
Australia were 214/8 at the start of the second day. They were bowled out for 284 before lunch. However, South Africa collapsed and were dismissed for 96. All it took Australia was 24.3 overs. Meanwhile, Australia in their third innings suffered a worse collapse. They were shot out for a mere 47 and the innings lasted only 18 overs. Hence, South Africa batted for 18 more overs in the second innings and ended the day on 81/1.
While a manic 23-day wicket day two entered the record books, a very interesting yet bizarre incident occurred on day three. ‘Nelson (111)’ struck from all corners. South Africa needed 111 runs to win at exactly 11:11 on the 11th day of the 11th month in 2011 (date was 11/11/11, time was 11:11). Cricket South Africa asked its fans in the stadium to stand on one leg. In fact, umpire Ian Gould also was in good spirits in what was a Nelson of all Nelsons.
4. Michael Clarke + Alistair Cook = Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar is arguably one of the best batsmen to have ever played the game. No player in the history of the sport has more runs than the Indian master in Tests and ODIs. He has scored 15921 runs in Test cricket and 18426 runs in ODIs. He even has the most hundreds in both formats as well.
Tendulkar retired from all forms of cricket in 2013 and retired with exactly 200 Test matches to his name. However, in December 2013, a weird yet very interesting coincidence was trending. Michael Clarke and Alastair Cook played their 100th Test match together. It was the third Ashes Test which was played in Perth.
After the first innings of that Test match, Cook had mustered 7955 runs in his Test career with 25 Test hundreds. At the same time, 7964 runs with 26 Test tons. When you add them up, it comes up to 15,919 Test runs and 51 Test hundreds. Tendulkar had 15,921 runs and 51 centuries in Test cricket. Hence, at that point of time, it was indeed Michael Clarke + Alistair Cook = Sachin Tendulkar.
5. 1st and Centenary Test: Same teams, same result, same margin
Australia and England are the oldest Test teams and played the first-ever Test match in the history of the game. That was back in 1877 and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) hosted it. A century years later, the two teams played a Test match to mark the 100th anniversary of Test cricket at the same venue where it all began.
In 1877, Australia batted first and made 245. England replied with 196 giving Australia a 49-run lead. However, the English bowlers came back strongly and skittled Australia out for 104. Needing 154 to start the Test history with a win, England were bundled out for 108. In the Centenary Test, Australia were put in to bat and were shot out for 138.
However, England couldn’t capitalize and were bowled out for 95 in return. The Aussies turned the tide and declared at 419/9. England needed 463 but fell agonisingly short as they were all out for 417. In both games, the result went in Australia’s favour. Not only that, they won both games by 45 runs.
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